The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1996, Volume 42, Number 2
Richard W. Crawford, Editor

by Stephen R. Van Wormer and James D. Newland

See also The History of Hedges and the Cargo Muchacho Mining District Part II

Images from the Article


In 1900 the largest town in present-day Imperial County was the mining camp of Hedges.1 Consisting of around four hundred inhabitants, the largely Hispanic community occupied a narrow desert canyon of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains in the southeast corner of the Colorado Desert.2 Prior to the formation of Imperial County in 1907 this area constituted the eastern edge of San Diego County. From the mid-1880s to 1917 the region was the scene of a locally significant, though relatively unknown, mining boom. Originally discovered by Mexican prospectors, serious development of the site began in the early 1890s by corporations with sufficient capital to invest in required machinery and the latest technology. Eventually, development of the mines brought establishment of the mining camp of Gold Rock, later known as Hedges and then Tumco, a community with a cosmopolitan population containing a large number of Mexican inhabitants.

The importance of Hedges’ history is twofold. First, it provides an example of the largely undocumented role of Hispanic pioneers, prospectors, and miners in the development of mining in the California deserts and western Arizona. Second, it provides a case study of the difficult financial and managerial problems faced by mining operators at the turn of the century. Development of Hedges exemplified the merging of corporate American mining interests during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a Hispanic mining frontier that had existed in the southwest for approximately three hundred years.

Hedges’ establishment resulted from the mining boom that swept through the west during the late nineteenth century. Following the Civil War successive waves of pioneers swept over the trans-Mississippi west. Unique among these were the miners. While the frontiersman, trapper, and farmer moved gradually west, the mining frontier eventually traveled from the west coast eastward. Many miners and prospectors originally came to California in 1849 and then followed successive strikes in Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, and the Dakotas as time passed. Mining

technology that developed in California gold fields in the 1850s and Nevada’s Comstock Lode in the 1860s also shifted eastward with the mining population.3

Unlike the farming frontier, miners occupied some of the western region’s most inhospitable locations, establishing major population centers in a matter of weeks or months following a mineral rush. Mining camps, in the form of small towns, constituted urbanized settlements often removed by miles of formidable terrain from the nearest neighboring settled region. These urbanized frontiers formed suddenly, without the preceding stages that occurred in other frontier areas. As a result, miners were instrumental in opening up regions that had not attracted other settlers.4 Mining settlements have been compared to islands of imported social and cultural environments surrounded by inhospitable wilderness. The settlements were financed, manned, and supplied from urban centers of America and Europe and were often linked on a regional, national, and international scale into vast transportation, communications, demographic, and economic networks.5

EARLY PERIOD, 1775-1880

The evolution of the Cargo Muchacho Mining District differed somewhat from the typical mining regions of California, Nevada, and the Rocky Mountains. Mexican miners worked the area for decades before Americans entered the district in the late nineteenth century. In this sense it was more characteristic of mineral regions in Arizona and New Mexico that constituted the northern edge of a Hispanic mining frontier extending north from Mexico, which had been developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Spanish colonists first entered Sonora in the mid-1600s in order to exploit mineral resources. A dozen mines were established by the 1680s.6 During the late seventeenth century, Jesuit missions were established in northern Sonora, within the boundaries of present day southern Arizona. As missions, presidios, and related settlements expanded, colonists and Indian converts began mining placers and shallow deposits, producing mainly oxidized rich silver bearing galena (lead sulfide), as well as some gold. Mining remained small-scale within present-day Arizona during the Spanish period, and was carried out mostly in the southeastern part of the state. Development was hindered by the high cost of shipping equipment, the limited labor supply, and Apache raids.7

In 1775 the Hispanic Sonoran frontier reached the junction of the Gila and Colorado Rivers, at present-day Yuma Arizona, when Spanish missionaries and soldiers under the leadership of Captain Juan Bautista de Anza established an overland route between Sonora and the Spanish missions on the California coast. To protect the route the Spanish founded a short-lived mission and presidio near Yuma on the site of the present Fort Yuma Indian Reservation from 1780 to 1781.8 Gold mining began in the Cargo Muchacho region during this period, but lasted only a short time. Originally known as the Sierra de San Pablo, the Cargo Muchachos were first described by Spanish explorer Father Francisco Garcis, who recorded rich looking surface ore in 1776.9 Spanish colonists worked productive placer deposits near present-day Laguna Dam as well as surface ore in the Sierra de San Pablo in the areas of present day Jackson Gulch and the Madre Valley. In 1781 the Yuma Indians rose in rebellion, destroying the small settlement and closing Anza’s route. The region of the lower Colorado River remained closed to European settlement until the conquest of northwestern Mexico by the United States.10

War between the United States and Mexico resulted in re-establishment of Anza’s former Gila River route as invading American armies traveled overland to the West Coast.11 This trail became extremely important following the discovery of gold in January 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.12 Within a year 80,000 people had traveled to California from around the world.13 Gold rush emigrants from the United States and Mexico used the Gila River trail, which eventually led the Army to establish Fort Yuma where the Gila joined the Colorado River.14 Mexicans were among the first to learn of the strike, receiving the news from passing ships calling at the ports of Colima, Guaymas, and Mazatlan. Between six and ten thousand Sonorans followed the old Anza trail to California, crossing the Colorado at its junction with the Gila, during 1849 to 1850. Sonorans differed from their Anglo-American contemporaries. They often traveled and worked as family units. In addition, they possessed a knowledge of prospecting and mining techniques so that they found gold where Americans could not. The resulting antagonism against Mexican miners caused discrimination and abuse culminating in the Foreign Miners Tax of April 1850. By 1854 most Hispanics had left the state.15

Some Mexican miners who had been run out of the Northern California gold fields began prospecting along the lower Colorado River in the mid-1850s.16 In 1854 Hispanic prospecting families rediscovered gold placers at Laguna.17 In 1858 American and Mexican miners encountered placer deposits on the Gila River, twelve miles east of Yuma. A year later prospectors discovered another rich placer field at Chimney Peak, fourteen miles north of Yuma. In June 1860 the Alta Californian reported that prospectors on the Gila and Colorado Rivers included around 350 Mexicans and only five “Americans.” Jose Maria Mendivil and a man named Valenzuela made strikes at Picacho in 1861 where Mexican families were already prospecting. Rich placer deposits were discovered at La Paz, 60 miles north of Yuma, by Jose Maria Remodino in 1862. Mexican prospectors recovered gold from the arid sands using dry washing techniques developed in Sonora.18 Caution and hostility that resulted from their Northern California experience makes accurate documentation of their activities difficult. They seldom recorded mining claims or discussed their finds with non-Hispanic “Gringos.”19

Although not formerly recorded, evidence existed that Mexican miners also worked in the Cargo Muchachos at this time, digging shallow pits by hand and processing the ore in arrastras. In 1891, a visitor to the Madre Valley noted that “…many acres have been burrowed by the [former] Mexican miners, who, digging down until they almost stood on their heads were compelled to be satisfied and quit.”20 It may have been during this period that the mountains received their present name. According to legend, two young Mexican boys came into their family’s camp one evening with their shirts filled with gold ore. These muchachos cargados (loaded boys) became the namesake for the Cargo Muchacho range.21 Another version says the boys found gold while looking for horses that had strayed from an immigrant party on their way to Los Angeles in 1861.22

First established in 1862, the Cargo Muchacho Mining District was redefined several times in later years.23 Continued small scale prospecting and mining characterized the 1860s and 1870s. The inhospitable environment and limited access retarded development of the region. The most important mines at this time were the Padre and Madre claims, located on the eastern edge of the Madre Valley. As previously noted, this area contained rich surface ores mined by Spanish colonists in the 1780s and Mexican prospectors in the 1850s. The Madre and Padre ledges were first formally recorded by William Pulter, James J. Spauer, James Palmer, and Edward Neal in April 1875.24

In 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad completed the Los Angeles to Yuma link of its transcontinental line. The rails ran within two miles of the Cargo Muchachos, paralleling their western edge. This newly provided access eventually brought large numbers of American prospectors into the region and started a mineral rush during the next decade.25 Mining activity increased moderately at first, but soon attracted attention from many individuals looking to strike it rich. In February 1877 a northern extension of the Madre Mine was registered to William E. Smith.26 A second claim to the Padre Mine was filed the following June by James Norton and in July, William Van Arsdale filed a location on the Cargo Muchacho Mine situated 0.75 mile southeast of the Padre and Madre ledges.27 Van Arsdale also obtained interests in the Padre and Madre Mines.28 The mines proved to be productive. In 1883 it was reported that the Madre was the “principal mine” in the Cargo Muchacho District, followed by the Cargo Muchacho.29 However, they would soon be eclipsed by other strikes.


By 1880, the railroad had established a siding and section headquarters at Ogilby, approximately 2.5 miles southwest of the Padre Mine.30 Peter Walters, a railroad employee stationed there, prospected a valley of the Cargo Muchachos three miles north of the Madre Mine that came to be called Gold Rock Canyon. His discoveries soon started a small rush into the area.31 Of Swedish descent, Walters had a permanent residence in Santa Monica. He filed his first claim, the Grand Mogul, in November 1883. He soon filed a series of additional claims that included the Little Mary in January 1884 and the Black Butte, Three Sisters, Little Pete, Alice Mary, and Carbonate in March of the same year.32 Assays of ore from the Black Butte were valued at $130 per ton. Walters personally realized $114 after working a “sack” of ore with an arrastra. He continued to prospect and filed on the General Lee in December 1884, and the Lady and Horn Silver in January 1885.33 News of the discovery brought a flood of prospectors to the Cargo Muchachos who filed numerous claims between 1884 and 1886.34

Events at Gold Rock Canyon followed a sequence repeated throughout the western United States. Mining communities generally developed in three successive stages. The first was the camp, which formed immediately upon announcement of a major discovery causing a “rush” into the region. The typical mining camp was made up of makeshift temporary structures consisting largely of tents with some brush or log lean-tos and dugouts. If the discovery was substantial and the region continued to develop, the camp phase was usually very short, lasting from a matter of months to one or two years.35 The early beginnings of Gold Rock Camp represented this type of settlement.

The second phase of mining community development was the boom stage. If the mineral strikes proved valuable more permanent buildings soon appeared to replace the tents and lean-tos. Speed was essential, however, and no time could be spared to build anything beyond a simple, functional, unpainted structure, which resulted in a community of small, undecorated buildings that often gave the settlement a haphazard appearance.36 If the settlement continued to prosper, it soon passed from the boom period into the third or mature stage. This phase included development of the surrounding region, especially in the areas of transportation and agriculture. Community services such as schools, churches, and fraternal organizations were established. Community architecture became more substantial with larger, more ornate wooden and brick buildings in the business district and residential neighborhoods.37 The transformation of Gold Rock Camp into the town of Hedges at the turn of the century manifests aspects of the second and third phases of mining camp development.

A first stage mining camp soon developed at the site of Walters’ strikes.38 On December 14, 1884, Gold Rock miners held a meeting that formally established the Ogilby Mining district and christened their settlement Gold Rock Camp. Persons present included Peter Walters, Andrew Rabbiet, J. P. Kennedy, D. D. Field, and Edwin Lundy. In addition, M. C. Era, J. Lambie, Edwin Lambie, and Jerry Long were represented. Officers elected consisted of President Peter Walters, Secretary P. J. Kennedy, and District Recorder Edwin Lundy.39 In later years the Ogilby and Cargo Muchacho mining districts would be synonymous.

The Yuma newspaper reported creation of the district on January 3, 1885, and noted that two shipments of ore had been sent to San Francisco and milled with favorable returns. Another shipment of “several tons,” the third in as many months, was presently in San Francisco. In the Black Butte excavation had exposed a body of ore 40 feet thick and 600 feet in length. An open cut 20 feet into the ledge, all in “pay ore,” assayed at $100 a ton in San Francisco. Another claim had been opened by two cuts and showed 64 inches of ore that assayed at $200 a ton. The high cost of shipping ore to San Francisco was partially solved when Gillespie and Childs, San Francisco based owners of the Cargo Muchacho Mine, erected a ten-stamp mill on the Colorado River at El Rio (present-day Winterhaven) in 1885.40

Establishment of Gold Rock brought accelerated development of the region. Like earlier works at the Madre Padre ledges, rich ore at Gold Rock was on or near the surface and easily recovered.41 Samples from Walters’ Little Mary lode assayed at $9,000 and $12,000 a ton in April 1884.42 Ores worked with arrastras yielded $75 a ton.43 Continued rich assay reports brought substantial outside capital and Walters associated himself with prominent San Francisco and Los Angeles investors.44 Others also showed interest in Cargo Muchacho mines. In May 1885, J. W. McKay bonded the Racett Gold Mines for $90,000. The following November, San Diego newspapers reported that unnamed mining properties in the Cargo Muchacho District had changed hands for $76,000.45

Approximately twenty mines operated in the Gold Rock District.46 By the late 1880s surface ores were all but exhausted. Faced with increasingly greater expenditures to pursue deep rock mining, Gold Rock operators sold out. In 1889 the Arizona Sentinel reported, “Dougherty and Young have purchased the Gold Rock mines and will send the ore to the El Rio Mill. Several carloads of horses, tools and equipment had arrived at the mines last week.”47 Ore bodies in many of the mines continued to become more difficult to work, however, and in September 1890 the paper noted that A. J. Dougherty who owned “some” of the Gold Rock Mines was trying to interest Los Angeles capitalists to invest in erection of a twenty-stamp mill.48


The Gold Rock operator’s inability to fund and run a more extensive hard rock mining enterprise was typical of the situation of many small mining companies in the 1880s. The need for expensive, modern equipment, qualified geologists, and mining engineers, along with unstable national and world metal prices, unionized labor costs, and restrictive land and mining claim laws, all but eliminated the small company and individual prospector from significance in the American mining industry by 1910. Although small companies remained, the shift to technologically-intensive from labor-intensive mining forced profitable hard rock operations into the realm of corporate big business. By 1890 only a large company or corporation could raise the capital to continue profitable mining operations.49 To gain success in these ventures, mining entrepreneurs needed to handle several factors of production: acquisition of property, affordable labor, large amounts of capital, and technological expertise in the guise of competent mining engineers. This meant that entrepreneurs not only needed to acquire these factors but they needed to manage and organize them to establish a successful operation.50

These changes in mining during the decade of the 1890s soon affected the mines of the Cargo Muchachos. As the initial strikes began to wane mining entrepreneurs and promoters brought investments of capital and installation of modern equipment to the older mines, as well as development of new claims throughout the area.

The increased investment in gold mines of the Cargo Muchachos also resulted from several other domestic factors that helped make gold mining throughout the west more profitable during the 1890s. The first and most important was the re-establishment of the gold standard for the United States economy. The gold-silver controversy had been a major economic and political question for the United States since the Depression of 1873. The great success of the Comstock Lode silver mines in the 1870s and early 1880s, along with repercussions from the weak economy led to passage of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890. The act called for the government to purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver per month. When the severe Depression of 1893 hit, President Cleveland quickly called for repeal of the Silver Act and an increase in government gold reserves to remedy the crisis.

Although Cleveland’s initial plan failed to end the depression and caused his political defeat, it created a new demand for gold. Prosperity returned by 1897. This economic upturn, along with a drop in silver production, led to the political defeat of the pro-silver standard Populist Party and re-establishment of gold as the main commodity purchased by the treasury to provide backing for the U.S. economy. For mining entrepreneurs attempting to interest investors into the unstable and technologically experimental frontier industry of hard rock gold mining, the repeal of the Silver Act produced the incentive they needed to obtain new capital.51 The development resulted in the great interest manifested in the Cargo Muchacho area mines during the 1890s.52

In early 1893, outside financiers moved to purchase and develop the mines around Gold Rock Camp from various owners who held title to the claims, including the original locator Peter Walters.53 The complex of Gold Rock mines consisted of thirty claims with three principle shafts prime with potential; the Golden Cross, Golden Crown, and Golden Queen.54 In 1892, the Golden Cross alone had produced $24,374 in gold from its small scale operation in which the ore was still hauled by wagon to Ogilby station and shipped by rail to the El Rio Mill.55

Realizing this potential, investors Thomas S. Fuller and William V. Hedges, of the Sioux City, Iowa-based firm of Hedges, Fuller, and Company, along with George G. Mullins and William Rantz, Jr., consolidated the Gold Rock claims and formed the Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company in April 1893.56 Less than a month later the new company actively began to improve the property. In May the Arizona Sentinel reported that the “…new owners of the Gold Rock mines have just sent 18 men, 28 mules, 4 carloads of machinery and pipe, 2 carloads of lumber, and a carload of supplies…” to the camp.57 The company had big plans for their new operation including its own stamp mill and a pump and pipeline to bring water from the Colorado River. Work progressed through the summer and into the fall. In October the company started up the newly built twenty-stamp mill and began processing fifteen dollars a ton ore.58 Within a year of their establishment, the Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company had also installed a water pumping plant on the Colorado River near Yuma. The plant conveyed between 100 to 125 thousand gallons of water a day through a twelve mile pipeline.59

Early returns seemed favorable and by December of that year the company had developed plans to expand the mill with another twenty stamps and had installed a new Huntington Mill which could crush up to twenty-six tons of ore in 24 hours.60 In March 1894, the Sentinel reported that the additional twenty stamps were ready to start up so that the mill could handle the proposed development of the Golden Cross and Golden Crown shafts. Up to this time work had proceeded only in the Golden Queen Mine.61 The newly expanded mill consisted of forty, 850 pound stamps and employed eight men. The machinery crushed one hundred tons of rock that produced one thousand dollars daily.62

Early in 1894 reports from the Gold Rock mines painted a bright picture of further expansion and certain success. The Yuma based Arizona Sentinel published several articles on the continued development and good prospects of the new Cargo Muchacho “boom-camp” at Gold Rock. By late March 1894 the camp had already enlarged to a reported thirty-one tents and houses. The settlement’s name was officially changed in April 1894 when Golden Cross secretary Thomas Fuller bonded a post office named Hedges in honor of the company’s vice president.63

The promotion of the area’s success led to a “boom” in interest for the Gold Rock mines. Early profits brought added investment and offers to purchase the operation outright. In March, Capt. J. B. Mullen, a 10 percent owner of the Golden Cross company, said that he turned down an offer of $250,000 for his share.64 A reported offer of two million dollars was also made for the whole operation.65 Although those offers were refused, several investors in the operation did sell. Local miner Thomas Johnson, gave up his 4/23rd of a share for seven thousand dollars.66 In June 1894 the San Diego Union reported outside interest in the Cargo Muchachos from as far away as Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, and Kansas City. The Golden Cross Company employed fifty men in their mines and eight more at the mill.67

With profits rolling in and success seemingly imminent, Golden Cross announced plans in August 1894 to add an additional sixty stamps to their mill during the upcoming winter. This move would give them a total of one hundred stamps and make the company one of the largest milling operations in the state.68 However, these rapid expansion plans soon initiated a series of grave managerial mistakes.

By 1894, problems resulting from poor planning began to manifest themselves. The forty-stamp mill had been erected on a low flat in order to have easy access to the numerous mines in the canyon. This was a logical idea for an operation with several main shafts. However, after only a few months, it was obvious that satisfactory disposal areas for the tailings and slag waste was not available at the site. Soon tailing piles had filled the thirty foot deep gully on the south side of the valley. Newly installed elevators raised the tailings to a point where they would flow away from the mill. The pile of sand soon grew to ten feet in height and encroached upon the mill to a point that a bulkhead had to be built so the buildings would not be buried.69

In an effort to solve this problem the company decided to build a new sixty-stamp mill on a high hill at the east end of the canyon. In December 1894, the Arizona Sentinel reported on the proposed plan, stating that “…in the new year [1895] the company will build a new mill and add sixty stamps. The present forty stamps will continue to operate until the new mill is completed and running, then the other stamps will be moved up, thus losing no time. Eight miles of additional pipeline will also be laid.”70 The planned sixty-stamp mill was to have a capacity of two hundred tons a day. By late summer of 1895, however, plans continued to change and management decided to leave the original forty-stamp mill operating while enlarging the yet to be built sixty-stamp mill to one hundred stamps. Their combined 140 stamps would provide a processing capacity of over three hundred tons a day.71

In May 1895, work began on the new mill site, which required the leveling of a large hilltop by drilling and blasting.72 The estimated construction cost, for what would be one of the largest mills in the state, was nearly $200,000. New investors were sought. H. B. Adsit of Denver took out a $36,000 bond on the mines.73 Still, prosperity seemed assured. In October the newspapers reported that the forty-stamp mill turned out $33,000 in gold per month and with the opening of the sixty additional stamps in September more profit was expected.74 By November, Golden Cross ran 140 stamps, employed over two hundred men, and had achieved a daily output of five hundred tons of low grade six to ten dollars a ton ore.75 Equipped with large 1,000 pound stamps, the new mill had adequate disposal area provided by the slopes and canyon bottom below the high bluff of its site.76

By constructing such a large mill, however, Golden Cross over-extended and created financial difficulties that would hinder its success. Ignoring the advice of several of their own engineers, and generally accepted common sense for successful mining operations, company management committed what western mining engineer Almarin Paul defined as the three main errors responsible for the financial failure of hard rock ventures: too much expenditure on speculation; inefficient systems for ore reduction and processing; and, the most costly — especially in the case of Golden Cross — construction of too much expensive machinery on unproven property.77 The costs to flatten the bluff, ship vast amounts of equipment and supplies, and construct the huge mill quickly caught up with the company only to be compounded by problems in processing the low grade ore. Much of the rock contained traces of antimony and arsenic that made it hard to amalgamate on the mercury collection tables in the mill. Therefore, even though milling operations tripled in capacity, profits did not follow. Subsequently in January 1896, owners of the Golden Cross found the company $125,822.38 in debt.78 Faced with the complete loss of their operation, the owners agreed to a receivership.

Through mutual agreement, the company’s creditors and the Golden Cross Board of Directors decided that a set of trustees should manage the mining operations. A deed of trust was made to operate the mines and apply all the proceeds to the payment of the company’s debts. The main trustees were builders and contractors of the one hundred-stamp mill. The Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company transferred title of the Cross, Crown, Queen and all other claims and property to the trustees. The trust deed provided a period of fifteen months to pay off the indebtedness, with a three month trial period to determine if the mines could produce a profit. If no earnings had been realized at the end of the trial period the trustees could sell the mines. Regardless of their profit potential, if at the end of fifteen months the debts had still not been resolved the mines would be sold at auction to pay off any remaining balance.79 The trustees assigned Mr. Dolan as the new superintendent with a new foreman, Dick Hooper, and two new assistants. They then stated that they believed unwise and unbusiness-like management during the past year had caused the company their great financial embarrassment, and that within a few months they would show that the Gold Rock mines could pay off their debts.80

The mismanagement assessment of Golden Cross was echoed a year later by mining engineer Taylor MacCleod. Writing in the Arizona Sentinel, he claimed that the problem with the Hedges mines resulted from mismanagement, over expansion, and over extension. The need to keep all 140 stamps running forced the milling of waste along with the pay ore and created a large tailings pile and low profits. The mill foreman quit after management cut his pay. Failure to replace him with a trained and competent individual compounded the problem. However, MacCleod still felt that profit could be made from the large amount of low grade ore left at the mines.81

The trustees ran the Golden Cross operation from January 6 to April 15, 1896. At that point they had received $98,754.86 from bullion and incurred $124,567.60 in expenses, leaving a loss of $25,812.74. They, therefore, concluded that it would be impossible to make a profit with the mines and on April 21 advertised that they would be sold at auction on June 1.82 The Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company immediately filed suit in San Diego County Superior Court against the six trustees, complaining that they had been unprofessional and inefficient in operating the mines. The company requested that the trustees be enjoined from selling the mines and restrained from managing the property. They further requested that the mines be managed by a receiver of the court and that Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company be paid $150,000 in damages. On June 5, 1896 the court granted an injunction restraining sale of the property and appointed W. W. Stewart receiver. The order stated that he “. . . shall not engage in construction or development work but take out only the large bodies of ore said to be blocked out already.”83

Reprieved from financial disaster, Golden Cross continued to work, improve, and develop their property. In the summer of 1896 the company installed pipelines into the mines for compressed air powered (Burleigh) hammers.84 A fire had damaged and shut down the Queen Mine in April. The shaft was re-timbered and reopened by October. At the end of the year Golden Cross had 148 employees and averaged $30,000 a month in profit. The Golden Cross shaft had been sunk to 250 feet, the Golden Crown to 350 feet, and the Golden Queen to 550 feet. Enough ore had been stockpiled to run the one hundred-stamp mill for six months straight.85 The water pipeline’s capacity had been increased to 250,000 gallons a day and the company was utilizing better mining techniques including square set timbering.86 Even the indebtedness problems seemed under control when receiver W. W. Stewart reported that he expected to be able to pay off the debt at $20,000 a month.87

However, the debt owed to the trustees did not decrease. Approach of the fifteen month deadline in the spring of 1897 forced the Golden Cross owners to look for other options. In April the Arizona Sentinel reported that Col. E. W. Stubbins of Denver had engineered a deal in which the Golden Cross mines would be sold to an English syndicate for $1,500,000. According to the report the parties had sixty days to finish the deal. The company was still running full out with 165 men employed producing $40,000 a month in bullion.88 This report was in error, however. In May, a representative of the English firm spent a week at the camp, inspecting the property with the secretary of the company, Thomas S. Fuller. The offer was actually $750,000 and while Fuller and the receiver W. W. Stewart recommended acceptance, the Golden Cross company demanded a million dollars.89

By June 1897, no part of the indebtedness had yet been paid. The trustees brought suit against Golden Cross in Los Angeles County Superior Court, requesting the property be sold for debts since fifteen months had passed as allowed by the original trust deed. The court decided in favor of the trustees and receiver Stewart surrendered the property.90 On June 14 the trustees declared the deed of trust to be at fault. On June 21 they advertised that the property would be sold at auction on July 20.91

On June 26, 1897 the Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company sold its interests in the Gold Rock Mines to the Free Gold Mining and Milling Company of Nevada. This deal turned out to be a last ditch effort by Hedges, Fuller, and the original Golden Cross owners to save the property. Free Gold Mining and Milling Company had been formed under articles of incorporation filed in Douglas County Nevada on June 18 1897. One of the members of the board was the attorney for Golden Cross.92 The transaction that transferred title had ten major provisions that allowed the original owners of Golden Cross to stay involved in the company, meet their indebtedness, and still receive one million dollars for the property. In exchange for all the claims, deeds, and property of the Golden Cross Company, Free Gold agreed to: 1) challenge the trustees’ indebtedness claim of $215,000 in court; 2) take on any pending or future court claims of which they would deduct any costs from the one million dollar sale price; 3) pay for and put into operation “suitable appliances for treating tailings and concentrates” on or near the property; 4) defend the property against all claims or claimants of possession other than the trustees; 5) perform all assessment and patent work; 6) keep the property value up and agree that in case the mines were sold Golden Cross Company would receive any balance due on the one million dollar purchase price; 7) pay off all indebtedness through payment or litigation to lift a mortgage of $215,000; 8) reinvest insurance money that may be received as a result of fire damage to the property; 9) pay T. S. Fuller as the on site representative of the Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company; and 10) issue stock to W.V. Hedges to make him a director of the Free Gold Company.93

The sale was heralded by the Arizona Sentinel as not only good for Golden Cross but as “good for Yuma.” The Free Gold Company was supposedly a successful mining syndicate with investments in California, Nevada, and Utah. The operation would be headed by Col. Isaac Trumbo of Utah. The Sentinel commented that the Golden Cross’ mismanagement and bad luck were now in the past. The new company would make the operation solvent and had plans to build a cyanide plant, develop the mines, and provide more jobs for Yuma area men.94

On July 7, 1897, Free Gold filed a suit in San Diego County Superior Court, complaining that the trustees were in illegal possession of the property and that they had greatly mismanaged the mines causing fires, flooding, cave-ins, and loss of valuable ore. They requested an injunction against the sale, possession of the property, and management of the mines under court receivership to pay off the indebtedness. The court issued an injunction restraining the sale and appointed Charles W. Pauly as receiver.95

Under the court’s receivership Free Gold continued to operate the mines at full capacity in 1898. In June Pauly had all 140 stamps at the mills running.96 When the mines reached one of their most productive periods in the fall, clearing $43,000 in September alone, he reported that $23,000 would be paid toward the still pending indebtedness.97

Perhaps the most notable part of the Free Gold’s agreement to take over the Golden Cross mines was the plan to build a cyanide plant. Discovery of the cyanide process for milling gold ore constituted one of the most important technological advances in gold mining. Developed in Scotland in 1887 and first used in New Zealand in 1889, it revolutionized the industry. Simply explained, cyanidation consisted of mixing crushed ore or tailings with a low level cyanide solution that dissolved and separated gold from the ore. The solution then passed through zinc shavings or boxes where the gold reformed into a solid, allowing for collection of virtually every atom of gold from tailings, waste, and low grade ore. Suddenly, every other form of gold milling was obsolete. Cyanidation was first used in the United States in 1891 and by that time nearly all major gold mining operations in the world were converting their mills and building the recognizable large vats used in the process.98

Cyanidation constituted not only a technological revolution but a financial one also. A company needed only a few men for its milling operations. Importantly, for remote or desert operations, the process needed little water due to the ability to repeatedly reuse the processing solution. Now, many low grade ore veins could be mined with some profit. It is estimated that cyanidation doubled the world’s production of gold literally overnight.99

Free Gold constructed a large cyanide plant in 1900. One change at the mines was the appointment of the company’s director, Isaac Trumbo, as receiver on September 11, 1899. The Yuma Sun reported in late 1899 that Trumbo would oversee the erection of a large cyanide plant so that treatment of the nearly 900,000 tons of tailings could begin.100 On November 2, Trumbo petitioned the court stating that there were 750,000 tons of tailings on the site that were worth a million dollars if treated by the cyanide process. Waste from the stamp mills were augmenting the tailings by four hundred tons a day. He requested permission from the court to install a plant with a capacity of three hundred tons a day. Fuller and Hedges protested the petition as an unnecessary expense. The court ordered installation of the cyanide plant on November 10, 1899.101

By December 1900, the three hundred ton cyanide plant was operating. There were still 170 men on the payroll which included whites and Mexicans with the Mexican miners predominating. They worked low grade ore, and the one hundred-stamp mill ran day and night. The forty-stamp mill had been shut down and its buildings incorporated into the cyanide plant operation. A 175 horse power Corliss engine continued to pump water to the 300,000 gallon reservoir one hundred feet above the town, and wood was delivered to the camp for $3.75 a ton.102 Over the next few years the cyanide plant would become the focus of the Free Gold operation. In 1901 its capacity was increased to four hundred tons a day by raising the height of the steel vats two feet.103 In 1902 the San Diego Union reported that $400,000 had been made by reworking the accumulated tailings of the forty and one hundred-stamp mills.104

The operation of the cyanide plant was so successful that by 1902 Free Gold had made considerable progress against its debt. Under direction of C. W. Pauly, who had been reappointed receiver in 1901, the number of operating stamps was reduced to twenty. In the spring of 1902, Pauly stated to the court that he felt further development of the mines was unnecessary since returns from the cyanide plant would pay off the indebtedness.105 The one hundred-stamp mill shut down in April. Former employee Bill Keiser remembered that after the mines and mills ceased operation just a few Mexican workers and their families remained to run the cyanide plant.106 By September the number of employees had been reduced to fifty.107

In May 1903, the receiver reported that the original debt to the trustees had been paid off and their claims closed. The court ordered the receivership to continue until all additional debts had been paid.108 In February 1904, receiver C. W. Pauly made his twenty-third report on the progress of the operations at Hedges. It showed disbursements of $8,090.93, unreported bullion worth $4,793, cyanide plant returns of $8,395.65, and other liabilities equaling $5,418.11. He predicted the company would be out of debt in a few months and the receiver dismissed.109 In June, a new receiver, H. A. Barker was appointed after Pauly resigned. The Sentinel noted that the Free Gold operations processed “400 tons of tailings a day.” However, the stamp mill would not be restarted until conditions changed and no improvements would be made until the company caught up with the balance sheets.110 In October, Barker’s third receivership report showed that Free Gold continued to make money.111 On October 29 the court ordered receiver Barker to prepare a final report in preparation for terminating his office. The report was filed and Barker discharged on January 20, 1905.112

Following termination of the receivership, operations were shut down and Hedges became a ghost town. In 1907, a report stated “The Golden Cross mine with its milling plant of 140 stamps and its extensive development yielded nothing and has done nothing since its tailings were cyanided in 1905.”113 A former employee, Dennis Ahern, and his wife remembered visiting the empty camp and saw the houses and buildings closed up with furniture, stoves, and cooking utensils still inside. Even large plate glass mirrors still hung in the saloons.114


The history of early mining in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains and the chronicle of the Golden Cross and Free Gold mining companies exemplify the merging of corporate American mining with the Hispanic mining frontier, and illustrate the development and pitfalls that faced western mining entrepreneurs at the turn of the nineteenth century. By 1890, mining corporations in Arizona and eastern California were investing in mineralized areas that had first been discovered by Mexican prospectors during the mid- nineteenth century, and later developed by small scale American miners who eventually sold out because they lacked the capitol required to work the more difficult ore bodies. However, corporate enthusiasm and the infusion of large amounts of money did not assure success. Mining had become a complex business that required strict management of production, property, labor, capitol, and technological expertise.115 Failure to do so brought financial difficulty to many operations of which Golden Cross was typical.

Golden Cross’ most notable short-comings were poor planning — placing the forty-stamp mill site on a flat where tailings could not be dispersed — and over speculation — construction of the one hundred-stamp mill on credit without verification that sufficient ore existed to repay the expense. Golden Cross thereby made the three main mistakes that caused most mine failures: excessive expenditure on speculation (credit), use of inefficient ore reduction and processing systems, and investment in too much expensive equipment on unproven property.116 Efficient management, on the other hand, was exemplified by Free Gold under the receivership of Trumbo and Pauly. Construction of the cyanide plant and closure of the stamp mills represent investment in proven technologies and effective direction, which eventually brought Golden Cross’ financial difficulties under control.




1. This study was first prepared as part of a Cultural Resource Management Report entitled “History of Hedges Tumco” by Stephen R. Van Wormer and James D. Newland, in Hedges/Tumco: Historic Mining Traditions of Southeastern California, by Michael S. Burney, Stephen R. Van Wormer, Claudia B. Hemphill, James D. Newland, William R. Manley, F. Paul Rushmore, Susan D. Walter, Neal H. Hupel, Jerry Schafer, and Lynne E. Christenson, prepared by Burney and Associates, Boulder, Colorado for USDI-Bureau of Land Management, El Centro, California (1993). Copies are on file at the San Diego Historical Society Research Archives, San Diego, and Arizona Historical Society Archives, Yuma, Arizona. The authors would like to thank American Girl Joint Mining Venture of Winterhaven, California and Burney and Associates of Boulder, Colorado for supporting the research involved in this study. They would also like to express their appreciation to Mr. Frank Love of Yuma, Arizona for sharing his extensive research on mining in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains.

2. The Cargo Muchacho Mining District is located in the Cargo Muchacho Mountains in the southeast corner of Imperial County in Townships 14 and 15 South, Ranges 20 and 21 East, approximately 14 miles northwest of Yuma, Arizona. Paul K. Morton, Geology and Mineral Resources of Imperial County (Sacramento: California Division of Mines and Geology, 1977).

3. Ray Allen Billington, Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974); Donald L. Hardesty, “The Archaeology of Mining and Miners: A View From the Silver State,” Special Publication 6, Society for Historical Archeology, (1988).

4. Duane A Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps: The Urban Frontier (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1967), 13-14.

5. Hardesty, “The Archaeology of Mining,” 1; Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps.

6. The earliest recorded mines in Sonora were at Santiago and San Francisco Javier de Nacatobori. See James E. Officer, Hispanic Arizona, 1436-1856 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press 1987), 4-5. During the late 1640s mining colonies (Real de Minas) were also established at San Pedro de Los Reyes, and Sinoquipe. Continued discoveries resulted in mine development at San Antonio de la Natividad, Nuestra Senora del Rosario de Nacazori, San Juan Bautista and Baccanuche. See Ana Maria Rodriguez Antondo y Martha Ortega Soto, “Capitolo III: Entrada de Colonos Espanoles En Sonora Durante El Siglo XVII,” in Historia General de Sonora Vol. II, De La Conquista al Estado Libre de Sonora, Segio Ortega Noriega y Ignacio Del Rio, editors, (Hermosillo, Mexico: Gobenador del Estado de Sonora, 1985), 80. San Juan Bautista became so important that it served as provincial capitol for almost a century. See Officer, Hispanic Arizona, 4-5. Continued mineral exploration resulted in discoveries at Cananea, Santa Barbara, Banacare, San Francisco del Yaqi and San Miguel Arcangel in the 1660s, and Los Alamos in the 1680s. See Rodriguez Antondo y Ortega Soto, Historia General de Sonora, 8; Officer, Hispanic Arizona, 4-5.

7. Michael N. Greeley, “The Early Influence of Mining in Arizona,” in History of Mining in Arizona, edited by J. Michael Canty and Michael N. Greeley, (Tucson: Mining Club of the Southwest Foundation, 1987), 14. Officer, Hispanic Arizona, 4-5, 7-8.

8. Clifford E. Trafzer, Yuma: Frontier Crossing of the Far Southwest (Wichita: Heritage Books, 1980).

9. San Diego Union, 30 January 1938.

10. J. Ross Browne and James W. Taylor, Reports Upon the Mineral Resources of the United States (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1867), 13; Frank Love, Mining Camps and Ghost Towns: A History of Mining in Arizona and California Along the Lower Colorado (Los Angeles: Westmoreland Press, 1974), 17; Thomas E. Sheridan, Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986), 11; Paul C. Henshaw, “Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, Imperial County, California,” California Journal of Mines and Geology, Quarterly Chapter of State Mineralogists Report No. 38, (Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1942), 52.

11. Trafzer, Yuma: Frontier Crossing.

12. Sheridan, Los Tucsonenses, 25.

13. Greeley, “Early Influences,” 14.

14. Trafzer, Yuma: Frontier Crossing.

15. William Robert Kenny, “Mexican-American Conflict on the Mining Frontier, 1848-1852,” Journal of the West 6 (Winter 1967): 582-592; David P. Robrock, “Argonauts and Indians: Yuma Crossing 1849,” The Journal of Arizona History 32 (Winter 1991): 21; Officer, Hispanic Arizona, 245, 249; Ralph J. Roske, “The World Impact of the California Gold Rush, 1849-1857,” Arizona and the West 5 (Summer 1963): 198-99; Joseph H. Park, “The History of Mexican Labor in Arizona During the Territorial Period,” (master’s thesis, University of Arizona, 1964), 101.

16. Park, Mexican Labor, 101.

17. Pamela Renner, “La Paz: Gateway to Territorial Arizona,” Journal of Arizona History 24 (Fall 1983): 120.

18. Ibid; Love, Mining Camps and Ghost Towns, 29-33, 57; Greeley, Mining in Arizona, 7; Park, Mexican Labor, pp. 105-106.

19. Renner, “La Paz,” 121.

20. San Diego Union, 30 April 1891.

21. Henshaw, Geology and Mineral Deposits, 52.

22. Love, Ghost Towns and Mining Camps.

23. San Diego Union, 23 November 1893, 3:1; Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 1 (1862), San Diego County, Office of Recorder.

24. Miscellaneous Records, 4 (1875), San Diego County, Office of Recorder, 123.

25. Morton, Geology and Mineral Resources, 28-29.

26. Miscellaneous Records, 4:293.

27. Ibid., 293, 336.

28. San Diego Union, 27 November 1887, 1:6.

29. Ibid., 23 November 1883, 3:1.

30. Ibid., 19 September 1971, G2, 6-8.

31. Barbara Rigby Connell, “Cultural Resources Management Plan for Hedges/Tumco Ghost Town, Imperial County, California, A Field Report Submitted in Candidacy for the Degree of Masters of Art Program in Historic Resource Management in Cooperation with The Bureau of Land Management,” (Riverside: University of California, 1979), 20.

32. San Diego Union, 23 November 1883, 3:1; 25 January 1884, 3:1; 26 March 1884, 3:1; Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 4:77, 80, 81, 83.

33. Connell, “Cultural Resource Management Plan,” 21; Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 4:89, 99, 100.

34. Other prospectors included Andrew Rabbiet, Charles Lambie, R. S. Letterwood, George Lumis, Edwin Laundy, and Patrick J. Kennedy. See Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 4:78-79, 90-95, 110, 143, 150, 152; San Diego Union, 7 December 1884, 3.

35. Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps, 13-14, 42.

36. Ibid., 43-44; Turrentine Jackson, Treasure Hill: a Portrait of a Silver Mining Camp (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1963), 23-25.

37. Smith, Rocky Mountain Mining Camps; Jackson, Treasure Hill, 23-25; Glen K. M. Chang, “Leading the Way: Prospectors in the Trans-Mississippi West,” Journal of the West 20 (Spring 1981): 31-35.

38. Connell, “Cultural Resource Management Plan,” 23.

39. Boundaries of the new district were from Cactus Station, located 2 miles northwest of Ogilby on the Southern Pacific track, southerly along the tracks to Ogilby, thence along a southeast line 9 miles to the Conductor Mine, then 12 miles northwest, and then in a direct line to Cactus Station. Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 4:97; Arizona Sentinel 3 January 1885.

40. Arizona Sentinel, 3 January 1885; 20 December 1884, 3; 5 December 1885, 3.

41. Connell, “Cultural Resource Management Plan,” 23.

42. San Diego Union, 4 April 1884, 3:4.

43. George Spaulding, Gold Mines and Mining in California (San Francisco: George Spaulding & Co., 1885), 286.

44. Walters associates included Dr. A. Sternburn, owners of the Cargo Muchacho Mine and El Rio Mill, J. H. Gillespie and Walter C. Childs; W. T. and W. K. Lambie; and H. McCrabb. Frank Love, Cargo Muchacho Files, Personal Archival Collection, Yuma Arizona; San Diego Union, 4 April 1884, 3, 4; Cargo Muchacho Mining Records, 4:99, 183.

45. San Diego Union, 15 November 1885, 3:2.

46. Connell, “Cultural Resource Management Plan,” 24.

47. Arizona Sentinel, 13 April 1889, 3; Love, Cargo Muchacho Files.

48. Arizona Sentinel, 13 September 1890, 3.

49. Mark Wyman, Hard Rock Epic: Western Miners and the Industrial Revolution, 1860-1910 (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1979), 256-257.

50. Richard H. Peterson, The Bonanza Kings: The Social Origins and Business Behavior of Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 1870-1900 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977), 23-25, 42.

51. Peterson, Bonanza Kings, 34.

52. The region’s expansion was clearly evident in the southern Cargo Muchacho area with the old Padre and Madre and Cargo Muchacho claims and new strikes such as the Pasadena, Blossom, and American Girl mines. In the spring of 1892 Lloyd Tevis, one of the primary investors in Nevada’s Comstock Lode, acquired the Padre and Madre claims, combining them under the name of the Con Padre Quartz Mine. Mineral Survey map no. 3416 (1892), San Diego County, Office of Recorder. The neighboring Cargo Muchacho mine also prospered. It was taken over in 1890 by H. H. Blaisdale. He installed a 20-stamp mill and a double pipeline 14 miles in length to the Colorado River. San Diego Union, 30 April 1891. The largest of the southern mines was the American Girl. Work began on a small scale in the early 1890s, but soon accelerated. In 1898 the mine was sold to former California Governor Markham for $300,000. San Diego Union, 1 January 1898, 5:1. At the turn of the century the American Girl mine was the largest in the Cargo Muchachos except for the Golden Cross Mines in Gold Rock Canyon. By 1902 the shaft was 625 feet deep. Ore yielded six to eight dollars a ton. A twelve-mile pipeline brought water from the Colorado River near Yuma. The mill consisted of three sets of Gates (Cornish) rolls that could process 100 tons in twenty-four hours. The accompanying cyanide plant had the same capacity. The mine employed fifty men, and a camp of around twenty structures had developed. Register of Mines (1902); San Diego Union, 6 January 1902, 6:3; United States Geological Survey, (Map of) Yuma Quadrangle (1904). The investment in these mines illustrates the interest western mining entrepreneurs had in the Cargo Muchacho District. Most of the new investors in these mines were from San Francisco and Los Angeles. As previously noted, Lloyd Tevis had been one of the primary investors in Nevada’s Comstock Lode and a successful mining entrepreneur throughout the west. Peterson, Bonanza Kings.

53. Deed Book 15 (1893): 315; 21:143-146, San Diego County, Office of Recorder.

54. J. J. Crawford, Twelfth Report (Second Biennial) of the State Mineralogist, Two Years Ending September 15, 1894 (San Francisco: California State Mining Bureau, 1894).

55. Edward B. Preston, California Gold Mill Practices, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin, No. 6 (San Francisco: California State Mining Bureau, 1894), 83.

56. Articles of Incorporation, Golden Cross Mining and Milling Company, no. 797 (15 April 1893), San Diego History Center Research Archives; Deed Book 15 (1893): 313-314.

57. Arizona Sentinel, 13 May 1893, 3.

58. Engineering and Mining Journal (14 October 1893): 403; Love, Cargo Muchacho Files.

59. Crawford, Twelfth Report, 240-41; San Diego Union, 10 June 1894, 5:1; 20 September 1894, 5:3.

60. Arizona Sentinel, 2 December 1893, 3.

61. Ibid., 17 March 1894, 3.

62. Crawford, Twelfth Report, 240-41; San Diego Union, 10 June 1894, 5:1; 20 August 1894, 5:3.

63. Arizona Sentinel, 17 March 1894, 3; 24 March 1894, 1; 7 April 1894, 3.

64. Ibid., 17 March 1894, 3.

65. San Diego Union, 10 June 1894, 5:1.

66. Deed Book 15 (1894): 315-316. Johnson undoubtedly used the money to develop his new American Girl claim.

67. San Diego Union, 10 June 10 1894, 5:1.

68. Ibid., 20 August 1894, 5:3.

69. Crawford, Twelfth Report.

70. Arizona Sentinel, 8 December 1894, 3.

71. Ibid., 7 September 1895, 3.

72. Engineering and Mining Journal, 4 May 1895, 420; Arizona Sentinel, 1 June 1895, 2.

73. Engineering and Mining Journal, 31 August 1895, 204-205; Arizona Sentinel, 7 September 1895, 3; Harold Weight and Luciel Weight, “Tumco: Two-Time Ghost Town of the Cargo Muchachos.” Calico Print (1951), 4, on file at Arizona Historical Society Archives, Yuma Arizona.

74. Arizona Sentinel, 5 October 1895, 3.

75. Ibid., 2 November 1895, 2.

76. J. J. Crawford, Thirteenth Report (Third Biennial) of the State Mineralogist For The Two Years Ending September 15, 1896 (San Francisco: California State Mining Bureau, 1896), 337-338.

77. Peterson, Bonanza Kings, 100.

78. Arizona Sentinel, 11 January 1896, 3.

79. The trustees included James Spiers, of Fulton Engineering and Shipbuilding; and Joseph Sloss of Mill, Sloss and Scott, both of San Francisco; L. W. Blinn of Blinn and San Pedro Lumber Company; J. M. Johnston of Union Hardware and Metal Company; A. Haas of Haas, Baruch and Company; and C. Seligman of M. A. Newark and Company; all of Los Angeles, Deed Book 21 (1896): 129-138; Arizona Sentinel, 11 January 1896, 3; L. W. Blinn, Affidavit of L. W. Blinn (1897), San Diego County, Superior Court, case no. 10215, San Diego Historical Society Research Archives, San Diego.

80. Arizona Sentinel, 11 January 1896, 3.

81. Ibid., 15 May 1897, 1.

82. Blinn, Affidavit.

83. Superior Court, case no. 9683, Complaint and Judgment (1896), San Diego Historical Society Research Archives, San Diego; Blinn, Affidavit.

84. Arizona Sentinel, 15 August 1896, 3.

85. Ibid., 7 November 1896, 2.

86. Crawford, Thirteenth Report, 337-338.

87. Arizona Sentinel, 7 November 1896, 2.

88. Ibid., 3 April 1897, 3.

89. San Diego Union, 26 May 1897, 5:1.

90. Blinn, Affidavit.

91. Superior Court, case no. 1,0215, Complaint; Blinn, Affidavit.

92. Blinn, Affidavit, 1897.

93. Cargo Muchacho Mining Claim Book 6 (1897): 183-190.

94. Arizona Sentinel, 3 June 1897, 3.

95. Superior Court, case no. 10215, Complaint.

96. San Diego Union, 8 June 1898, 5:4.

97. Ibid., 4 October 1898, 5:1.

98. Otis E. Young, Western Mining: An Informal Account of Precious-Metals Prospecting, Lode Mining, and Milling on the American Frontier from Spanish Times to 1893 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), 283-286; Dr. A. Scheidel, “The Cyanide Process: Its Practical Application and Economic Results,” in California State Mining Bureau Bulletin, No. 5, (San Francisco: State Mining Bureau, 1894), 67, 96.

99. Ibid.

100. Yuma Sun, 17 November 1899, 1; Love, Cargo Muchacho Files.

101. Superior Court, case no. 10,215, Petition of Isaac Trumbo (1899).

102. Yuma Sun, 10 August 1900, 1; San Diego Union, 15 December 1900, 8:3; Love, Cargo Muchacho Files.

103. Superior Court, case no. 10,215, Petition of C. W. Pauly (1901).

104. San Diego Union, 6 September 1902, 8:1. 105. Superior Court, case no. 10,215, Petition of C. W. Pauly (1902).

106. Weight and Weight, “Tumco Two-Time Ghost,” 4.

107. Weight and Weight, “Tumco Two-Time Ghost,” 4. In April 1903, the Arizona Sentinel reported that Free Gold mines were sold to Gold Fields of California, Ltd., an English company. A debt of one million dollars owed to Frank A. Gibson due on July 1, 1905 was assumed by the buyers. The sale price was $1,987,600 with a down payment of $40,000 and the balance given in paid up shares in the company. They promised to expand the cyanide plant capacity from 200 to 1000 tons daily. See Arizona Sentinel, 29 April 1903, 2. This turned out to be a false report.

108. Arizona Sentinel, 17 February 1904, 3.

109. Ibid.

110. Ibid., 15 June 1904, 3.

111. Ibid., 5 October 1904, 3.

112. Superior Court, case no. 10,215 (1907).

113. George Otis Smith, Mineral Resources of the United States: Calendar Year 1907 (Washington D.C.: United States Geological Survey, 1908), 234.

114. Weight and Weight, “Tumco: Two-Time Ghost”, 4.

115. Peterson, Bonanza Kings.

116. Ibid., 100.


Steven Van Wormer is a self-employed historical and archaeological consultant. He received an M.A. in history from San Diego State University in 1986 and has over eighteen years of experience in conducting historical and archaeological studies in greater Southern California. Mr. Van Wormer has published articles in several scholarly journals including the Southern California Quarterly, Pacific Coast Archaeology Society Quarterly, and California and Great Basin Anthropology.

James D. Newland is currently working as State Park Historian II for the California State Parks’ Southern Service Center in San Diego. He is also Archivist and Curator of the Gaskill Brothers Stone Store Museum in Campo, California and chairman of the Border Californias Museum Association. Mr. Newland earned a B.A. degree in Social Sciences and a M.A. in Public History from San Diego State University.

[Editor’s Note: In the next issue of the Journal of San Diego History, “The History of Hedges and the Cargo Muchacho Mining District” continues with part two, “A Case Study of the Lives of Mexican Miners in a Company Town in the Southern California Desert.”]