« ForrigeFortsett »
nature of the climate that two crops of vegetables can without difficulty be obtained every year. The only obstacle to the prosperity of the coun try, as far as natural resources are concerned, is the lack of wood, yet this want is more apparent than real. In the Sierra Guachuca, San José, Pinal, and upon the Santa Rita and portions of the San Catarina Mountains, plenty of fine pine timber is procurable, a large saw-mill being now in successful operation near the Sonoita settlement. The southern boundary of the "pine belt" of Arizona crosses the northern slope of the Apache Mountains. Cottonwoods, ash, and willows are found on the banks of all the streams, the first named being serviceable for posts and sills, but not of much account otherwise. The ash is a very hard wood and very durable. The "roble," or scrub oak, is encountered more frequently than any other tree except the mesquit; it affords very good fuel. The mesquite is a tree in favor of which much may be said; in the adjoining Territory of New Mexico it never reaches more than the altitude of a bush; here it attains the dignity of a tree. Trunk and branches furnish excellent firewood, but the heat evolved by the combustion of its enormous roots exceeds that of either the oak or hickory. The few specimens of furniture constructed from this wood indicate by their beauty and durability its value to the cabinet-maker. The "beans" are much relished as food by horses, and the Indians use them to make a kind of cake, which is not unpalatable. The gum exuding from the branches in the months of October and November is very similar to the gum arabic of commerce and is applied by the Mexicans to the same purposes and as a medicine. The piñon is something like the cedar, is a good fuel, and produces a quantity of balsamic resin which has the taste and odor of turpentine; the nuts are edible. The manzanita has a very fragile but handsome wood; the berries are similar to "bear berries."
This portion of Arizona is not as well provided with game as are the regions lying closer to the Sierra Blanca and those in the northwest, nevertheless, deer, antelope, and bears are by no means uncommon. Wild turkeys are often found, and so are ducks and quails. The fish are very insipid, excepting those found in the Santa Cruz.
The supplies of the country are drawn from three sources: from California, by way of Fort Yuma; from Guaymas, through Sonora; and from the city of St. Louis, via Santa Fé. The pressing need of railroad communication is manifest, and hopes are now entertained that the early construction of the thirty-second parallel road will soon remedy the deficiency. So much ability has already been displayed and wasted in demonstrating the practicability of the various proposed routes that the extension of the limits of this sketch for any such purpose would be unnecessary and uncalled for. One thing appears evident, that the Territories of New Mexico and Arizona would derive great benefit from the construction of the line, but the United States would derive quite as much and more. The early completion of a road from the Atlantic to the Pacific, over which travel would never be impeded by the snows of winter, coupled with the great development of trade between our own country and the Mexican provinces of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Durango seems to offer inducements not to be disregarded. Emigration pouring in would soon solve the Indian problem by the extermination or complete subjugation of the hostile tribes, while the Territory, finding its natural outlet to the Pacific in the annexation of the port of Guaymas, would soon take its place among the most prosperous of the Western States.
No part of the country can possibly offer greater inducements to the stock-raiser than the valley of the Barbacomara and the Upper San
Pedro. Covered with a perennial growth of the richest grasses, well watered by numerous springs and streamlets from the neighboring mountains, this region has a climate so mild that stock would thrive the year round without shelter, save that which would be afforded against the fervid summer sun by the numerous evergreen trees, extending well into the plain.
Nor is this country devoid of beautiful scenery. The cañons of the Colorado can scarcely surpass those of the Bonito, and of the Aravaypa. The walls of the former tower to an imposing height, (nearly 1,500 feet,) and present but one or two difficult avenues of egress for a distance of thirty or forty miles. The cañon of the Aravaypa has been referred to in the recent work of Dr. Bell, "New Tracks in North America." The country lying more to the south does not present as bold an aspect, the peaks being less elevated and the cañons less abrupt. The numerous valleys, each provided with springs or streams and clothed with verdure during the entire year, make the landscapemore interesting, if less impressive. From the summits of the mountains, forests and groves stretch down the sides, affording an agreeable contrast to the extensive plains below. The abundance of wild grapes growing luxuriantly from vines which have embraced some of the oldest trees indicate the adaptability of the soil to the culture of this fruit. In the low-lands perpetual summer reigns upon the hills, and in the cañons spring is the only season, but upon the mountain-tops can be experienced winds as severe as those of a northern autumn.
The development of the mineral resources of Arizona has hardly begun, although the territorial government has been organized about eight years. It will be asked why this is so, if the Territory really contains these various mineral deposits; and the invariable answer of those acquainted with the conditions surrounding mining enterprises in that country will be, because the Apaches infest the Territory. This one fact, coupled perhaps, in some parts of the country, with high freights, is really the principal obstacle, not alone to mining, but also to agriculture, and in fact all other occupations.
It is true, the southern and western portions of Arizona are excessively hot in the summer months, and water is here scarce in the mountains at that time, but the same may be said of portions of Nevada; yet mining is successfully carried on in that State, and assumes yearly greater proportions. Again, as to high freights, it is well known that all the Western States and Territories have had to contend, to within a year or two ago, with the same difficulty, and it did not prevent the mining of the precious metals, though it has crippled the industry very much in times past.
But in none of those States and Territories have the settlers had to contend with foes like the Apaches. Their hostility to the white man, as well as to other Indian tribes, has been displayed by them, and found vent for years in a sort of guerilla warfare, which, with the limited number of troops at its disposal, the Government has thus far found itself unable to terminate successfully. And, to aggravate the situation, the peculiar climate and configuration of the surface of the Territory are the best allies the Apaches could wish for. The broad gravel plains without water, as well as the rugged mountains, forbid a sufficiently rapid prosecution of the Indians, when, after their frequent foraging expedi tions, they beat a hasty retreat to their mountain strongholds, where
they generally scatter in all directions. The Apaches are not a strong tribe, but very few of them can, under the circumstances, do a great deal of damage, and effectually prevent the settlement of the country, as long as it is not better connected with other parts of the Union.
But what the Government has not been able to do in the past the South Pacific or Texas Pacific Railroad will certainly do. As in the case of the Union and Central Pacific roads, it will attract population, and the citizens, less hampered in regard to Indians than the military powers, will soon dispose of the question in their own way. Supplies will be brought to the mines at rates permitting the industry to prosper, and safety of life and property will continually tend to expand it. As to the basis of all mining operations, the existence of the mineral veins, the foregoing report amply affirms their abundance, though not one-third of Arizona has been prospected, or even visited by white • men. It must not be understood that the mineral deposits of Arizona, as a whole, are richer in the precious metals, per ton of ore, than those of other countries. If they were, they would be the only exception in the world. But the number of veins in these barren, rough mountains, and their close proximity to each other, are surprising.
It is, in this connection, remarkable that all the veins of Arizona have either a northwest and southeast or a northeast and southwest strike. This points to the formation of these two classes of veins at two different periods, and it will be interesting, at some future time, when the action of the eruptive forces in Arizona is better understood, to follow this subject further.
One class of mineral veins in Arizona, though very valuable, will require much capital and skill in their development, and in the extraction of the precious metals from their ores. These are the gold-bearing sulphurets of the Sierra Prieta, very much like those of a portion of Colorado, and equally difficult to treat. But even if none of the new processes now contemplated for the cheap beneficiation of such ores (by a roasting which will effectually free the gold, and by subsequent amalgamation) should prove successful, the construction of the Texas Pacific Railroad will render the application of the Plattner chloridizing process remunerative. Besides, many of those ores are sufficiently concentrated to permit the introduction of smelting works, by the use of which the highest and most perfect yield of the precious metals may be obtained, as soon as the railroad shall lessen the cost of transportation sufficiently to permit the shipment of base metals.
After the construction of the great southern transcontinental railway, Arizona will have nothing to fear in regard to its speedy development, and the mines especially will be foremost to build up a country which, so far, has been persistently decried by those who do not know or acknowledge the half of its internal resources.
Even for the present the mining districts adjacent to the Colorado River offer excellent chances for the investment of capital. But to build up a successful mining industry in those districts the ores must be beneficiated on the spot, and land transportation must be limited to that of the metals only. At the same time professional skill and economical business habits must be employed to work these ores. These qualifications, which cannot be acquired except by a thorough theoret ical and practical education in mining have, so far, not been brought to bear in Arizona, except in isolated cases.
The total product of Arizona during the fiscal year 1869-70, in gold and silver, does not exceed $800,000, coin value. This includes the value of several hundred tons of argentiferous lead ores, shipped from
the Lower Colorado. While this estimate may be too low on account of the omission of such amounts as have undoubtedly been carried off by Mexican placer miners into Sonora, it embodies all those values of which reliable information can be obtained in the Territory itself.
The decrease from last year's production is partly due to the stoppage during a great part of the year of the mills on Lynx Creek; principally, however, to the unexampled drought, which impeded both placer and quartz mining, and to the extraordinary activity of the hostile Apaches during the year.
The product of gold in the Territory of New Mexico during the last year has been little in excess of that of the year before.
The Moreno gold fields, the principal part of which, the Maxwell grant, is said to have been sold to an English company during the year, have held their own, as a whole, the Aztec Mill having made up by an increased yield what was lost by the placers. The latter have had a better supply of water than last year, the Moreno ditch having been partly puddled and connected with additional sources of a water supply. Only the larger placer mining claims, however, have been worked during any considerable portion of the season.
Of twelve claims reported six have produced over $10,000, and the product of all the claims is about $110,000. The twelve claims mentioned have employed sixty-six men on an average of six months, paying wages of about $60 per month. The average yield per day per hand of these claims has been $9 70. The most productive claim has been that of Arthur & Co., which yielded $20,000, employing ten men during eight months.
The Aztec Mining Company, whose mine has been described in last year's report, has employed thirty men steadily for twelve months at average wages of $3 25 per day. They have extracted during that time. over 3;500 tons of quartz, which yielded $76 76 per ton, or an aggregate of about $260,000. This yield is higher per ton than that of last year, and perhaps unique in the United States for so large an amount of ore.
The discovery of extensive deposits of bituminous coal on the Maxwell grant is important for the future of that portion of New Mexico. Several beds, some of which are reported to be 10 feet thick, have been found in the Raton Mountains, along the Red River and on the Vermejo. Along the course of the Upper Poñil and the Cimanoa Rivers other beds are said to have been traced. All of these are probably not coals, but rather lignites; but even if so, their discovery is a very fortunate event for a country in which timber is not overabundant.
The mines of the Arroyo Hondo Mining and Ditch Company, near San Antonio, in Taos County, which were mentioned in last year's report, on account of their great extent and the extraordinary facilities offered here for cheap reduction, on account of the low price of labor and the abundance of wood and water, the latter sufficient to drive a twenty-stamp mill, have not yet realized the expectations entertained in regard to them. The company have employed fifteen men during nine months, but realized only a little over $8,000. Wages are still low, $1 per day and board.
In Santa Fé County the old and new placers have again been worked, to a limited extent only, and the project of bringing water to these localities from the Pecos River has not yet been carried out.
The New Mexico Mining Company and the Candelaria Company are the only quartz mining companies reported at work during a part of the year. The New Mexico Mining Company at Real de Dolores has employed eighty men and some boys during nine months, and has crushed 1,800 tons of quartz, yielding a little less than $18,000, or nearly $10 per ton. This yield does not at all come up to the expectations entertained last year in regard to the ores of the Ortiz and Brehm lodes.