Memories > Mohave County - A.D. 1890
Mohave County - A.D. 1890(1)
The following information is from the Introduction to "The History of Mohave County to 1912" by Dan W. Messersmith. Mohave County Historical Society, Kingman Arizona, All Rights Reserved � 1991. 
(Presented exactly as it was written with syntax, punctuation and spelling unchanged.)
"Mohave County is situated in the northwestern part of Arizona, has an area of 12,000 square miles and population about 1500.  Principal industries are mining and stock raising.  Mines have been worked in this county for the past twenty-four years, and when first discovered the ores were shipped to England by the way of the Gulf of California for reduction.  Then upon the advent of the Southern Pacific Railroad into the Territory, they were sent via the Colorado River to Yuma, thence by rail to San Francisco, Cal.  From this it can be readily understood that only mines with exceedingly rich ores, could be worked profitably on account of the enormous cost of transportation.  Of late years, however, considerable attention has been attracted to the mineral resources of Mohave County.  Capital is finding profitable investment in the mines.  Properties are being opened up.  New discoveries are being made.  The prospector is enabled to realize on his ores as soon as they are brought to the sampling works, which are located at Kingman, and a new era of prosperity has evidently dawned on this comparatively unknown section of Arizona.

A conservative estimate of the ore produced from July, 1889, to July, 1890, is placed at 5000 tons, returning to the owners from $750,000 to $1,000,000.

The general formation of the country is granite and porphyry with lime.  The mines are easily worked and very little timbering is necessary.  The mountains are of a comparatively easy grade and roads to the mines are made with little difficulty.  The principle mining districts(2) are Mineral Park, Chloride, Stockton Hill, Todd Basin, Cerbat, Weaver, Hualapai, Layne Springs, Lost Basin, Signal, Hackberry and Music Mountains, and from a great many of the mines which are now shipping ore the grade will average from $200 to $500 per ton.

About twenty miles southeast of Yucca, on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, is located the Antler mine, recently purchased, along with others by the well known mining firm of Phelps, Dodge & Co. The product is copper and silver.  Development work is now being pushed on this property, and a large body of ore of excellent grade has already been uncovered.  A branch railroad from Yucca Station to the mines is in contemplation, and reduction works will undoubtedly be built at the mine in the near future.  This district promises to be one of the most prosperous in Mohave County.  At Signal, sixty-five miles southeast of Kingman, is located the famous McCrackin mine.  This is one of the largest in Arizona, having a vein that will average 35 feet wide.  The ore is free milling, silver, but of a low grade.  On the same ledge is located the Signal mine.  On the McCrackin mine there is a twenty-stamp mill, and on the Signal mine a ten-stamp mill.  Quite a large amount of development work is being done in this section, and it is confidently expected that, with an advance in the price of silver, active operations will be resumed on these large properties.

An excellent opportunity is presented in this neighborhood for capitalists to secure valuable properties at much less than their actual value, on account of the fact that water is encountered at a depth about 100 feet, and to furnish proper pumping machinery entails an expense which few of the prospectors are able to pay.  The Arizona Sampling Works, established since 1883, at Kingman, have a capacity of 30 tons per day and employ eight men in the works, steam rock crushers, breakers, rollers, and jaws, run by a 35-horse power engine.  The sampler has been a boon to the miners in Mohave County, and has been the means of stimulating the mining industry in this section.  The product of the sampling works in 1889 was $500,000.  This amount distributed among the miners of Mohave has been the incentive to the large amount of development work which has been done.  At Cerbat there is a five-stamp gold mill erected, and a fivestamp silver mill, with roaster, pans, settler and concentrator; also the Flores mill, with ten stamps.  At Mineral Park is a five-stamp mill, on the Sunlight mine, a dry crusher and concentrator.  At Gold Basin, a ten-stamp combination gold mill, complete.  At Cedar, one five-stamp mill.  At Signal, one ten-stamp mill and one twenty-stamp mill.  A fourfoot Huntington mill is built on the Moss gold mine on the Colorado River.

On a great many of the mines now being worked, the owners are erecting hoisting machinery and reduction works of various kinds, and the mining industry in Mohave County is in a prosperous condition.

The cattle industry in Mohave County is in a very satisfactory condition; the range throughout the county is excellent.  Cattle are of a fair grade, which is yearly being improved, and those engaged in this business have, during the past year, had a profitable market for the beef which was ready to be sold from the ranges.  About 60,000 head of cattle and about 5000 goats range in the mountains and on the mesas in this county.

The only agricultural land a present in Mohave County is in the valley of the Big Sandy, about forty miles south of Kingman, and extends along the Big Sandy to the Santa Maria creek and Williams Fork, in the southern end of the county.  This district embraces about 75,000 acres, of which about 2000 acres are under cultivation.  Water can readily be had for irrigation, and, as the population increases, the amount of land under cultivation will be largely increased.  The principal products are alfalfa, barley and vegetables.  The average altitude of the Big Sandy Valley is about 2200 feet.

Hualapai Valley, about seventy miles long and twenty miles wide, is one of the richest in the West.  Wells sunk to a depth of more than 100 feet show the soil to be a sandy loam, and to be equally, as rich at the bottom as at the top of the well.  Persistent efforts have not been made to find water in this valley, as the needs of this section have not demanded a large increase of agricultural products.

Sacramento Valley, about eighty miles long and twenty miles wide is also an excellent body of agricultural land, covered with natural grasses, galleta and black and white gramma, but like Hualapai Valley, water has not yet been prospected for to any great extent, and very little of this land is cultivated.

North of the Colorado river, bordering on Utah, but still in Mohave County, there is a tract of agricultural land, in extent about sixty miles long by forty miles wide, on which are a number of large springs of pure water, sufficient to irrigate a large quantity of this land.  At present it settled by a Mormon population, whose chief occupation is cattle-raising, and who do not cultivate more of the land than sufficient to raise a crop for their own consumption.  Mount Trumbull, also on the north side of the Colorado river, is covered with a heavy growth of white and yellow pine, and the Mormons have a sawmill erected from which they produce lumber for their own use only.

The timber belt, in which Mount Trumbull is located, is the best in this section of Arizona, and is capable of producing a large quantity of lumber and of an excellent quality.

At the residence of Judge J. M. Murphy, at Kingman, can be seen what the soil will produce, with irrigation.  Grapevines two years old have a profusion of grapes, the vines being loaded down with fruit.  Peach, cherry, plum and fig trees, with an abundance of fruit, are convincing arguments that this section of Arizona is one of the best for fruit raising.  In the gardens are rose trees, oleanders, morning glories, and all the flowers that can be seen in a tropical garden.  To visit this residence and grounds is truly a revelation to anyone unacquainted with the country, and is an evidence of what the soil will produce, with a little water and some attention.  Locust trees, three years old, have attained a height of twenty-five feet.

Kingman, the county seat of Mohave County, on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, 561 miles from Albuquerque, 681 from San Francisco.  Population, 300.  Altitude, 3600 feet.  Chief industry, mining and stock raising.  It has two general merchandise stores, drug stores, hotel, three restaurants and several lodging and boarding houses, three saloons, lumber yard, Methodist Episcopal Church, good public school, one newspaper, the Mohave County Miner, court house and jail, two sampling works, blacksmith and wagon shop.

A new two-story court house is now in course of erection.  The town is supplied with water from springs and wells at Oak creek(3) and piped to Kingman, where it is distributed throughout the houses.  An abundance of water is also found in wells at a depth of about 100 feet.  Kingman is the leading town in the County, and is the base of supplies for all the mining camps and stock industry in Mohave County."


1.  This description was found in a printed article in the library of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Mills Collection.  It was identified at the top of the page as ARIZONA, with no other identifying information.  It is hand dated to be 1890, and the information it contains corresponds with the time period given. 
2.  The �districts� listed, except Hualapai (Wallapai), Lost Basin, Music Mountains, and Weaver, refer to geographical areas and do not reflect official mining districts. 
3.  �Oak creek� most likely refers to Oak Spring  which is located at the head of Johnson Canyon and which along with Johnson Spring provided the first water sources for the new settlement of Kingman.  The springs and Johnson Canyon is located a few miles west-northwest of Kingman.

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