|The "Discovery" of Beale's Springs
Lt. Edward F. Beale, a Naval officer in the service of the U.S. Army Topographical Corps, was ordered by the War Department to build a government funded wagon road across the 35th Parallel. His secondary orders were to test the feasibility of the use of camels as pack animals in the southwestern desert.
Beale made five trips through the present day Kingman area: the first, in 1857 from east to west surveying the road; the second in 1858 from west to east improving the survey; the third and fourth in 1859 from east to west to build the road and from west to east to improve upon it. His final journey was in 1860 when he travelled to the west to inspect the finished road and returned to California to pursue other interests.
The first reference to the springs is found in Beale's journal during his third trip when, on April 28,1859, he writes:
- "Leaving our last night's camp [in the Hualapai Valley] we came twelve miles to Saavedras spring, near the mouth of Boy Pass [Railroad Pass] ; here we found the water abundant, but grass scarce. About three miles before we got here [Saavedras Spring], and about a mile after entering Bog [sic] Pass, I went off with Mr. Bishop to the right, some two miles, to look at some springs which he had discovered when coming to meet me. They are fine springs, and well filled with water; here any amount of stock could be. watered. I only visited two of the three discovered by him, but he informed me there was another a mile or two beyond in the same line; the road to these springs from our road is not difficult, and I drove my small instrument wagon to it. I am contemplating a change in the location of the road, so as to pass these fine waters, which are important discoveries."
During his fourth trip, on July 4, 1859, Beale acted on his earlier thoughts, completed improvements at "Bishop's Springs" and rerouted his road to pass by them. F. E. Engle, in his journal of this visit writes (On July 3, 1859, travelling from Saavedra's Spring the Engle party moved to Bishop's Springs),
On July 4, 1859, his entry records
- "...We drove about three miles further, and then followed a trail to the left for two miles, where we joined the camel train. They had encamped near a beautiful spring of water, which afforded a sufficient quantity for any number of stock; about 500 yards further on there is another spring fully equal to the first." He continues with, "...The hole dug around the spring by which our camp is watered is about 12 by 9 feet, and about 5 feet in depth. The upper spring has proved to be superior to the lower."
Ironically, there is little to no clear evidence, at this time, to indicate that Beale ever actually camped at Beale's Springs, as the journals appear to indicate that Beale's construction party camped at Atlantic Spring. (Atlantic Springs appears to be the 'lower" spring in the journal as it is the closest to the road from "Boys Pass", is located a little lower in elevation than Beale's Springs, and Beale's springs are further west and north of Atlantic Springs. It is also true that Beale's Springs have generally produced more water than Atlantic Springs.)
- "..... The lower spring is about 12 by 9 feet and about 5 feet in depth; the upper spring is about 18 by 12 feet, and about 6 feet in depth."
It is not entirely clear when Bishop's springs became Beale's springs, but this author would venture to guess that the change was brought about by William H. Hardy when he helped build and operate a toll road through the area in 1864 and established a way station called Beale's Station at the location. Since Bishop's Springs referred to a series of springs, the springs at Beale Station may have taken on the Beale's Springs name.
The Hualapai War and the Beale's Springs Outpost.
This war was caused by an increase in traffic through the area on the Fort Mojave-Prescott Toll Road which elevated tensions and produced armed conflicts between the Hualapai and the Euro-Americans.
Throughout the 1850's, the Hualapai had extracted a 'toll" from the parties that crossed their territory. They ran off and killed livestock and begged for flour, sugar, etc.
It appears that the war had its beginnings in May, 1865 when a man named Hundredmark, or Hundertinark, in a drunken fit, killed Anasa, a Hualapai leader, near Willow Grove.
In March, 1866, a man named Clower was killed at his cabin at the Willows and the death was blamed on the Hualapai but it may in fact have been done by Euro-Americans.
The next month, Wauba-Yuma, a Hualapai head man, was killed in cold blood at Beale's Springs by a freighter out of Prescott named Sam Miller.
At about the same time two other settlers were purportedly killed in the Hualapai Mountains by a "son" of the murdered Anasa. This was said to have been followed by the killing of two men, a woman, and five children, all innocent Hualapai, at Mud Springs by a party of Euro-Americans out to "kill some Indians". One of the members of that party was Ira Woodworth who may not have taken part in the killings, as it is reported that he argued against it.
In September, 1866, six men working a claim on or near Silver Hill, at present day Chloride, were attacked by the Hualapais and four of them were killed. Ironically, of the four killed, one was Ira Woodworth.
In December, a force of "Yavapai Rangers" attacked a Hualapai camp and killed twenty-three Indians (men, women, and children). That same month, a temporary post was established at Beale's Springs Station by the military who were stationed at Fort Mojave to escort the mails.
The Hualapai War lasted from 1866 to 1870. During most of this conflict, the springs served as a temporary outpost for soldiers from both Camp Willow Grove and Fort Mojave.
A letter from Captain S. B. M. Young, the commanding officer at Fort Mojave, details the beginning of Beale's Springs as a military post:
- "...I established a small Post Consisting of One Sergt. one Corpl and Six men of "K" Co. 8th Cavalry and One Corpl and Three men of 'E" Company 14th Inf. at Beal Springs on the 27th day of March 1867 with instructions to patroll the road from that point to Fort Rock Constantly with the mounted force, and the Infantry to guard Supplies. Also to furnish an escort for the Mail between those two points. The Cavalry however deserted on the 12th inst. and I have now at the Post One Corpl and Three men (mounted) and the same of Infantry whose duty is merely to hold the Post at present until my Company of Cavalry (which is now detached on escort duty with Dr. McCorniick Col. Reese & General Rusling, and with Lieut. Stevenson pursuing deserters on the trail toward the Mormon Settlements[)], returns it is my intention when a sufficient number of men withdraw the Post already Established at Beal's Springs and scout the Country North and south of the Prescott road wherever and whenever and Indian sign may be see." [sic]
During the Hualapai War, the San Bernardino Guardian, reported on June 8, 1867,
- "On Friday week last, about 200 Indians attacked Beale's station, about 35 miles from Hardyville, burning the station to the ground, capturing ten horses and two mules from John Taggart, two horses and three mules from the stage company, and three horses from other parties. There were nine men at the station at the time of attack. It appears that Mr. Taggart, who is a resident of the Monte, was on his return from Prescott, and had turned his animals out to grass the evening before. Next morning he observed some Indians in the vicinity, and at once went after the horses, brought them in and tied them near the station house. About noon, the Indians made a rush for the animals, which, Mr. Taggart seeing, he sallied out and fought them single-handed. In a short time, a ball from a Henry rifle penetrated his shoulder, and not long afterwards a second ball took effect in his stomach, and he fell. The other men remained in the house. The expressman came along shortly afterwards, on his way with the mails from Prescott, and seeing the state of affairs, rode on to Hardyville, gave the alarm, and at once a physician and fifteen soldiers were dispatched to the scene of disaster. We believe Mr. Taggart was not dead when the expressman passed by. Mr. Tribbetts, who went to Prescott with Mr. Taggart, returned by the La Paz road, and escaped the disaster. The stage stock will be at once replaced."
That same conflict was recorded by Wm. Redwood Price, Bvt. Lt. Col. Maj. 8th U.S. Cavalry, in his correspondence as the Commanding Officer of Fort Mojave as,
- "...On May 30th 67, the Wallapi Indians said to be about 250. in Number attacked the Mail at Beal Station 40. Miles from this post[.] it was Guarded by an Infantry Corporal and 3 men from here. There were also present the Mail Carrier and hostler and 4 other Citizens with a team making ten (10) men in all. The Indians Succeeded in driving off the stock (nine Animals) one of the Citizens endeavoring for to save them went out of the Stockade Contrary to the advice of the Soldiers when he was Mortally Wounded and died the following day. They Report having Killed five Indians. The Indians retired during the Night."[sicl
About a month later, on June 26, 1867, a mail carrier was killed within sight of the station and then the station was attacked again. This was also recorded in the correspondence of Wm. Redwood Price, Bvt. Lt. Col. Maj. 8th U.S. Cavalry as,
- "...[about 3 pm June 26th] the Indians attacked and Killed the Mail rider as he was coming from Prescott and when within Sight of Beales Springs 45 miles from this Post [Fort - Mojave]. One man Escort who was with him reached the Station the Indians then attacked the Station which consists of a 30. ft. square wall about the height of a man garrisoned by an Inf. Sergt and five men from this Post and the Herder of the Mail Co. with the additional Escort - there were 8. at the Station.
- The Indians attacked the Station from all sides and during the night Succeeded in letting the Stock of the Mail Co. (6) mules out of the Corral and driving them off. The Corral is another stone enclosure about 131 ft from the men. The Indians remained all night fighting and only left on the approach of a detachment of 8 Cavalry & 12 Inf that I was sending out to relieve the Stations along the road.
- ... during the fight at Beales Springs the Indians threatened that they were coming to Hardyville and Mojave to get flour, and they may be come emboldened to make some such attempt."[sic]
The killing went on, back and forth, with the military from both Fort Mojave and Fort Whipple (in Prescott) seeing much duty in this conflict. From the established military camps at Beale's Springs and Willow Grove, concerted efforts were made to pacify or eradicate the rebellious Hualapai. It is estimated that over a full one-third of the Hualapai people were killed during this war, and yet, it would take several years of hard effort to subdue the Hualapai and then only through starving them into submission.
Camp Beale's Springs:
The "official" Camp Beale's Springs was established on March 25, 1871, by Company F, 12th U. S. Infantry out of Fort Whipple, under the command of Captain Thomas Byrne. Initially the Camp was established to provide continued protection along the Fort Mojave and Prescott Toll Road and to act as a feeding and supply station for the Hualapais. In January, 1873, the Beale's Springs Indian Agency was established at the Camp as a temporary reservation and supply distribution center for theHualapai Indians. Henry A. Eastman was appointed to serve as commissary at Beale's Springs, and trouble began almost immediately. Eastman restricted the Hualapai to short rations. (Casebier in his Camp Beale's Springs and the Hualpai Indians, refers to them as "starvation rations".) In turn, it appears that Eastman sold the excess provisions to merchants and miners in the surrounding mining camps. Captain Byrne succeeded in interfering with Eastman's corruption, so much so, that Eastman brought charges against Byrne. Byrne, in turn, asked for an official Court of Inquiry to review his actions and also charged Eastman with cheating the Indians. Eastman was relieved of his commission while the review was held. The Court of Inquiry cleared Captain Byrne completely and found much abuse in the administration of Eastman. Eastman moved out, never to be heard of again.
The camp remained active until April 6, 1874, when the Hualapai were forced to leave Camp Beale's Springs for the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation at La Paz (near modern day Parker, Arizona). This action was taken despite recommendations against it by Byrne, Crook, and others who knew it would only cause trouble, not solve it. Captain Byrne established a new post called Camp La Paz and remained there until relieved in May, 1875. It should be noted that by the time Captain Byrne was relieved, most, of the Hualapai had "jumped" the reservation and moved back to their tribal homelands in and around present day Kingman. Captain Byrne would go on to be appointed as Commanding Officer of Fort Mojave in 1879, where he died, on January 11, 1881.
After 1874, the springs again became a camp site/way station on the toll road. The site remained active, well into the twentieth century.
Activities in and around the springs have included ranching/farming, a way station hotel, ore milling, a water works, and mining.
Perhaps the epitaph of the camp is best written by Dennis Casebier in his book, Camp Beale's Springs and the Hualpai Indians.
- "...It is doubtful that Beale's Springs went so much as one day without a tenant for many years after the departure of the military. With its generous supply of water, it was a point of critical importance on a major wagon road through the desert. A station or small ranch was operated there for the benefit of travelers. An ore mill was erected on the site and it sat there for many years, although it was not very successful.
- In this century the Beale's Springs site became a water source for the rapidly developing city of Kingman. A water reservoir was built there that is still standing. Local tradition says that in addition to serving its intended purpose it has at times doubled as a swimming pool. For some years after the Beale's Spring site was no longer inhabited, local people held picnics there and enjoyed the water and the shade provided by fruit trees that had been planted many years before.
- The decades have passed. Desecration has been heaped upon desecration. Roads, utility lines, cattle guards, rusting water pipes, and other improvements of similar ilk, have violated the site and had [sic] rendered it unattractive to the casual observer.
- But to those who know what happened there, it is but a jewel with a light coat of dust..."