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Prescott in Yavapai County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County

 
 
Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joseph Cavinato, January 1, 2003
1. Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker
Inscription. The City of Prescott had its beginnings in the Spring of 1863 when a party of explorers and would-be gold miners led by the famed Joseph R. Walker arrived near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River. On May 10, 1863, at a location some six miles south-southeast of this Plaza, twenty-five members of the Walker Prospecting and Mining Company adopted "Laws and Resolutions" governing members of the first mining district in what would later become Yavapai County. The rules for the "Pioneer Mining District" provided a foundation for the establishment of mining law in the central Arizona highlands, and can be considered Prescott's birth certificate.

Thus began a gold rush that sparked the settlement and development of central Arizona, and the choice of Prescott as the first Territorial Capital. Before then, this area was almost totally unknown to white men, and gold mining prospects had been known only along the Colorado and Gila Rivers.

Joseph R. Walker led this group of explorers and miners on an expedition that started in California and went through portions of Northern Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico before ending here two years later. John W. (Jack) Swilling joined the party in New Mexico and then guided them to where he had seen significant indication of gold three years earlier.

The other twenty-three
Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 6, 2010
2. Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker
Marker with Montezuma Street and Courthouse Plaza in background.
members of the "Original Prospectors" listed in their organizational document were: Joseph R. Walker, Jr., John Dickson, Jacob Linn, Jacob Miller, James V. Wheelhouse, Frank Finney, Sam Miller, George Blosser, A. C. Benedict, S. Shoup, T. J. Johnson, Daniel Ellis (Conner), Abner French, Charles Taylor, H. B. Cummings, William Williams, G. Gillalan, Jackson McCrackin, Rodney McKinnon, Felix Cholet, M. Lewis, James Chase, and George Coulter.

When the company was officially disbanded six months later, Captain Walker noted with satisfaction that: "We opened the door and held it open to civilization and now civilization will do the rest."


Sidebar One:
Jack W. (Jack) Swilling (1830 - 1878) led the first party of non-Indians to explore the Hassayampa River in January 1860 where he and his companions declared that "this new region has the finest indications of gold of any they have ever seen." In 1867 Swilling began the first canal building company in the Salt River Valley, leading to the beginnings of Phoenix and surrounding communities.

Sidebar Two:
Joseph R. Walker, (1798 - 1876) played a dramatic half-century role in the opening of the American West; beginning as a fur trader and trapper, then as an explorer and guide, he was one of the great pathfinders across the unknown portions of the United States. This famous frontiersman was
Street view: Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joseph Cavinato, January 1, 2003
3. Street view: Prescott's Beginnings: The First Mining District in Yavapai County Marker
on his last great adventure "into the only unknown section of the United States" when he led a party of fortune seekers to this undeveloped area.
 
Erected by Prescott Corral of Westerners International.
 
Location. 34° 32.455′ N, 112° 28.211′ W. Marker is in Prescott, Arizona, in Yavapai County. Marker is on South Montezuma Street (Arizona Route 89), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. This marker is about ten feet from the "Montezuma Street" marker. They face each other on the west side of the street at a pedestrian crossing. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 South Montezuma Street, Prescott AZ 86301, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Montezuma Street (here, next to this marker); The Palace Saloon (within shouting distance of this marker); Whiskey Row (within shouting distance of this marker); Plaza Bandstand (within shouting distance of this marker); Prescott (within shouting distance of this marker); Hotel St. Michael (within shouting distance of this marker); Bashford Burmister Company (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Solon Hannibal Borglum America's First Cowboy Sculptor (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Prescott.
 
Also see . . .
Jack Swilling image. Click for more information.
Wikipedia
4. Jack Swilling
Wikipedia Article on Jack Swilling
This photo is also displayed on the marker

Click for more information.

1. The Travels of Captain Joseph Walker. Joseph Rutherford Walker, fur trapper, hunter, trail blazer, explorer, military guide, cattleman, miner, and sheriff. Capt. Joe Walker was one of the most interesting men that lived during the 1800s. Hubert Howe Bancroft was quoted as saying . . ."Captain Joe Walker was one of the bravest and most skilled of the mountain men; none was better acquainted than he with the geography or the native tribes of the Great Basin; and he was withal less boastful and pretentious than most of his class." (Submitted on July 9, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 

2. History of Prescott. GOLD - its discovery in 1838 brought national attention to Prescott, and further discoveries in 1861 by the Walker party drew the attention of President Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln was looking for possible sources of funding for the North during the Civil War and created the Arizona Territory in 1864. John Goodwin, as first territorial governor, established Prescott as the first territorial capital (Submitted on July 9, 2009, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.) 
 
Categories. ExplorationNotable EventsNotable Persons
 
Joseph Walker image. Click for full size.
5. Joseph Walker
This Photo is also Displayed on the Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 7, 2009, by Joseph Cavinato of Fountain Hills, Arizona. This page has been viewed 2,412 times since then and 82 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 7, 2009, by Joseph Cavinato of Fountain Hills, Arizona.   2. submitted on July 13, 2010, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   3. submitted on July 7, 2009, by Joseph Cavinato of Fountain Hills, Arizona.   4, 5. submitted on July 9, 2009. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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