Cochise County, Arizona


The area of Cochise County is 6,972 miles, being about the size of the combined areas of Rhode Island and Connecticut. This county is bounded on the east by New Mexico, on the south by the northern line of the Mexican State of Sonora, on the west by Pima County, from which it was taken entire, and on the north by the county of Graham. By census of 1900 the population of this county was 9,251. Tombstone, the county-seat, by same census had a population of 646, though, in its palmy days, it boasted of a population of over 7,000; in the last few months it has revived somewhat and a railroad is in process of construction, which will go through the place striking the Arizona and Sonora road at Fairbanks, upon the San Pedro River.

This county has three great valleys almost entirely within its limits, which include a vast body of fine agricultural land. Two of these valleys run directly across the whole of the county from southeast to about northwest, viz., that of the San Pedro and Sulphur Springs, while the valley of the Rio de Sauz, or, as better known, San Simon, crosses the northeastern corner. These valleys with their laterals, embrace a large amount of fine agricultural land. What is needed in all these valleys to render them great producers of agricultural products is the development of water for irrigation. Upon the San Pedro, some seven miles south of where the Southern Pacific Railroad crosses that stream, the colony of industrious and energetic Mormons at St. Davids commenced boring an artesian well and have succeeded in fully fifty places in bringing a good flow to the surface; others seeing what these enterprising men hav« accomplished set to work and now for more than sixty miles along this stream there are flowing wells at different points.

There are two distinct mountain ranges that run the entire distance across the county with the trend of the valleys, that is, from southeast to about northwest, the great Chiricahua Range is the most easterly; and there is mineral at many points and on both sides of this great upheaval. From the vicinity of what is known as Railroad Pass, where the Southern Pacific passes through the range from the Sulphur Springs Valley into that of the San Simon, to, and a little beyond, what is known as Apache Pass, may be called a gold formation, as that is the predominating mineral. This portion of the range is frequently called the Dos Cabezas Range, though it is part of Chiricahua Range. In this section are many valuable gold claims, both in ledges and in surface washings. The great drawback to the full development of surface diggings is the scarcity of water most of the year, but if the boring now in process is a success that difficulty is obviated. In proceeding along the range southeasterly from the Apache Pass, silver, copper and lead are encountered in many places, and there are some valuable deposits of copper; about fifteen miles nearly east from Apache Pass, over quite an extent of country on the San Simon slope of the mountain range, is quite a showing of coal, but sufficient work has not been done to really show it up.

In detached hills about seven miles south from Sulphur Springs is the great Pearse Mine, which has produced within about eight years a net profit to the fortunate owners in gold and silver, and is still in successful operation, running a mill of eighty-stamps' capacity after having yielded in dividends something over $15,000,000. Some thirty miles west of the Chiricahuas is the Dragoon Range of mountains in which are many mines of great value and in the continuation southerly, sometimes called Mule Mountains.

'The great copper camp of Bisbee is in the southern portion of this county some eight miles from the boundary line of Sonora, Mexico, and a railroad from the camp enters Sonora at the town of Naco and is already in operation. There has been taken from the mines of this company, in about twenty years' operations, a vast amount of treasure; over $20,000,000 have been paid in dividends, and all improvements, amounting to many millions more, have been paid for. One item of improvement is a railroad of sixty miles, built by the company to connect with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Benson at the crossing of the San Pedro.

Tombstone is a great mining producer of silver and has yielded in the various mines fully $15,000,000. The miners' great strike of 1884 caused a suspension of work for a time, and before they were ready to resume, silver had so depreciated in value in the world's markets that it was deemed resumption would be bad policy, and they have practically remained idle ever since; though within the last few months much work is being done, and new machinery going in looking to a full resumption. East of Tombstone, some sixteen miles, is a flourishing camp called Turquoise, which must eventually be a great producer. There is the thriving town of Douglas, established upon Blackwater, at the boundary line that has only been in existence for a few months, and bids fair to become a place of large commercial importance in a very short time.

From present indications it would appear that Cochise County must stand well to the front as a producer for many years to come, though Arizona throughout her hills and mountains is so ribbed with mineral lodes that it is hard to tell what portion will eventually prove of the most value, but Cochise County for years to come will astonish the world.

Besides the great mines there are many others being worked in a quiet way making the mine pay all expenses, and the owners are, without ostentation, saving up comfortable fortunes.

The school census shows there are 2,122 children of school age and an average attendance at public schools of 1,826, and forty-two teachers who would compare favorably with any corps of teachers in any of the old States. The average school term is a little over six months in each year.

Almost every town has its different denominational church, and all are fairly supported. Tombstone has Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal and Baptist. Bisbee, Episcopal (at the expense of the mining company), Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Baptist. St. Davids, one church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) ; Benson, Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal. Willcox, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist,—so it may be said, no man need suffer for lack of spiritual food, though not always easy of digestion.

At Tombstone is published the Prospector; and at Bisbee there are two papers, also, the rising town of Douglass, though only a few months old, has two papers striving for patronage. Willcox has one paper, the Range News; so Cochise may be said to be well supplied with newspapers.

Source: The history of Arizona: from the earliest times known to the people of ...By Sidney Randolph De Long, Arizona Pioneers' Historical Society

Cochise County
By Joseph H. Gray, Secretary of Warren District Commercial Club.

With an extent of 6147 square miles, equal to the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined ; with rugged mountain ranges that are the storehouses of inestimable mineral wealth ; with broad and extending valleys wherein are ranges o'er which roam thousands of cattle, and which are dotted with an ever-increasing number of ranches, in the southeastern corner of Arizona, lies Cochise County which leads the state in wealth and disputes with Maricopa County the premiership in population. In assessed valuation it contains onefifth of the wealth of the whole state, while its population, which in 1910 was 35,591, is now conservatively estimated to be in excess of 40,000. Its assessed valuation of $38,000,000, gives a per capita wealth of $950 for each man, woman and child within its confines.

As Arizona leads the nation in production of copper, Cochise County leads Arizona, producing one-half of the total output of that metal, while the Warren District alone produces more than one-third of the state's output. While mining is the chief and largest industry, cattle raising is of great importance and agriculture is making such vast strides that it promises in the near future to rank second only to mining. Settlers are rapidly taking up all of the available government land and by the development of underground wrater supplies and the practice of intensive farming are developing the rich fertile lands of the county into garden spots, building up substantial homes, and gathering into agricultural communities wrhile the industry is still in its infancy. Where formerly all was cow country now are hundreds of ranch homes ranging from the most modest to substantial dwellings with large outbuildings and modern farming equipment so that the lower lands of Cochise county are in a transition period. As the hills have been only scratched over in the search for minerals so also have the valleys been little more than touched in proving their possibilities for agriculture and yet the results promise as much for the one as the other when equal development has been achieved.

Topographically Cochise County is divided from south to north by three mountain systems which separate three great valleys. The westerly mountain system is composed of three ranges, the Whetstone, Huachucas and Mules, the great Warren District being situated in the latter range, surrounding Bisbee the metropolis of the county. Farther east are the Dragoons and still farther east the Swisshelms and the Chiricahuas. In the mountains of the county in the early days were the strongholds of the fierce and bloodthirsty Apaches and from these Geronimo and his braves waged relentless warfare upon the pioneers until themselves hunted down by government regulars and volunteers from among the early day settlers.

The three valleys are the San Pedro on the west, Sulphur Springs in the center and San Simon on the east. In the San Simon, at San Simon, and in the San Pedro at Land, artesian flows of water have already been developed, while experiments in that direction are now in progress in the Sulphur Springs Valley, which is settling more rapidly than any other section. In all of these valleys the climate is unsurpassed, the land is most fertile and the magic touch of water is all that is required to make them blossom and produce. The putting down of wells, the erection of windmills and pumping plants in all directions is bringing this about.

On the foothills are luxurious growths of nutritious grasses during most of the months of the year and here and in the valleys roam the herds of cattle owned by individuals, firms and corporations, bringing in revenues mounting to millions each year. These foothills are also susceptible of cultivation into vineyards and orchards, producing fine grapes and peaches that excel any others grown in the west.

It is in the Mule Mountains that the greatest mineral resources of Cochise County have been developed. From the Warren Mining District there are being shipped daily for reduction 6,000 tons of ore by three companies, the Copper Queen, the Calumet and Arizona, and the Shattuck Arizona Companies, the former having been an active producer since the early eighties of the last century. In this district there are hundreds of miles of underground workings and yet the extent of the ore deposits remain undetermined beyond the fact that they still contain vastly more metal than has been extracted within the past thirty years and that even then the end is not in sight.

For many years copper was the only metal to receive attention in the Warren District but recently important deposits of rich leadsilver ore have been developed and are now being mined and shipped for reduction. The importance of these mines as well as the porphyry deposits is now manifest and these wr ill from now on receive deserved attention. In addition to this there is a large placer area at the southerly end of the district which contains 60 cents in gold to the cubic yard and this requires only the solution of a cheap method of extraction to become an added source of available wrealth.

Although there are but three actively producing mining companies in the district there are many mining claims on which development work has progressed sufficiently to indicate valuable deposits and to warrant assertion that further development is all that is necessary to bring them to production.

The Johnson-Dragoon District is another important mineralized section of Cochise County situated in the same general mountain system but in the northwesterly corner of the county. Here there are now half a dozen producing properties with more than a dozen others in well advanced stages of development and scores of claims that have undergone only preliminary exploration and work.

Pearce, Courtland and Gleeson are located in the central mountain system, and are all producers. At the first mentioned is located the Commonwealth, which has given up $38,000,000 in silver and is being further developed with every indication that millions remain to be extracted. Courtland and Gleeson both have their producing mines, making large shipments to the smelters. Courtland is a copper camp and Gleeson produces silver as well.

In the Chiricahuas and the Swisshelms, the easterly system of mountains, are producing and partially developed mining properties as well. There are numbers of these in the vicinity of Paradise especially. Dos Cabezas promises to become prominent in copper production in the near future.

Bisbee, the largest and most important city of Cochise County, has a population of 13,000 and with its suburbs, all connected with it by electric street railroads, the population is more than 18,000. This city with its unincorporated suburbs forms the Warren District and pays one-third of the taxes of the county. It is essentially a mining community but at the same time affords the facilities, improvements and advantages of the modern city. It is the most populous area of the same size in Arizona as well as the most wealthy. Its monthly payroll amounts to $750,000 and its business and trade importance is commensurate. Here the underground worker's lowest wage is $3.75 per day and other labor, as well as clerical work, is proportionately rewarded. No Mexican labor is employed underground and American labor predominates throughout the district. The chief foreign element to be found in the district is Slavonian and this labor is as well paid as is the American for the same class of work.

In its early days Bisbee was known as Mule Gulch and first attained notice about thirty years ago when it was merely a prospectors' camp of a few shacks and tents. Here, up among the rugged mountains the Copper Queen company developed a mine, and others followed until there grew up a great mining center. On the only level streets business houses were built, warehouses constructed, office buildings erected, while the residential districts spread up the hills and climbed to points along the mountain sides, reached sometimes by roads, more often by trails and at other times by flights of steps. The result is a city that in appearance is unique. Shacks gave place to handsome buildings of brick and stone, charming homes replaced the miners' cabins, dives and rookeries made way for churches, libraries, lodge buildings, Y. M. C. A. buildings, a Y. W. C. A., school houses and other public improvements. Water was piped and pumped from Naco, nine miles away, instead of being packed in skins on burro back. The railroad entered and supplanted the pack train. The smelter was moved to Douglas, 35 miles away, and smoke and sulphur fumes were thus eliminated. Electric lights and gas supplanted candles and smoky oil lamps, paved streets appeared, a subway system carried off the flood waters of the rainy season and devastation which had before been not infrequent was made impossible. After several destructive fires one of the best fire departments in Arizona resulted from improvements and a city water supply for fire purposes was created. For these municipal improvements hundreds of thousands of dollars were expended and permanent benefits therefrom were obtained.

At an altitude of 5300 feet at the railroad station Bisbee enjoys a cooler climate in summer than do the cities of the valleys, while the surrounding mountains in close proximity effectually shelter it from the cold blasts of winter as well as from dust storms. The average mean temperature for the past twenty years has been 60.1 degrees, the average coldest month, January, is 45.3, and the average month of July, the warmest of the year, is 75.3, while the precipitation in the same period has been 17.96 annually. The result is a climate of singular health giving properties and despite the fact that accidents in mines are at times unavoidable the death rate in the Warren District is lower than in any other section of the state. Despite this fact Bisbee has been too busy with mining and with business affairs to enter the ranks of health resorts and today it takes pride in the fact that its pre-eminence is as a copper producing center.

In culture, education and socially the city is at the forefront. There is a larger proportion of college bred men in its limit than can be found outside of college cities of the same population. All churches are represented, all lodges also, and the Elks, Masons, Moose and Knights of Columbus all own their homes, as do the Woman's Club and the Country Club. A fine library and reading rooms, open to all of the public, is supported by the Copper Queen company. Both the Copper Queen and the Calumet and Arizona companies have their medical corps, their dispensaries and their hospitals, where the most modern equipment is to be found. Of the lodges it is a notable fact that the Elks built a new home on the site of the one that had been destroyed by fire and paid off $34,000 of indebtedness in two and one half years.

Lowell is the nearest and the largest suburb of Bisbee, ten minutes distant by street railway, situated to the south, and in a more open location. Here are the two hospitals, handsome business houses, and it has its own bank and theater. Lowell is closer to more mine shafts than Bisbee, and through its independence avoids the payment of municipal taxes.

Warren is the residential suburb of Bisbee. Here, on a gradually sloping plateau, commanding a view of mountains on the one side and valley on the other, are handsome homes, surrounded by lawns, shrubben", trees and flowers and in reach of Bisbee in twenty minutes byelectric railway wr ith half hour service. Here are the offices of the Calumet and Arizona company, charming Vista Park, and close by the Country Club with its spacious home, its nine hole golf course, tennis courts, rifle range and traps for the shotgun experts. At Warren water and electric light are both furnished by the mining company. It has, as has Lowell also, its own school building, all of the district being in the Bisbee School District for which there is now being erected an $80,000 high school building.

Tombstone, replete with historic interest, picturesquely located with a magnificent outlook, is the county seat of Cochise County. It was discovered in 1878, before there was a Cochise County, by Edward Scheffelin, and was long known as one of the most famous mining camps of the country. Millions of dollars of wealth it produced until the problem of unwatering the workings caused a shut down by the operating company which must continue until that problem has been solved.

Willcox is the largest town in the north of the county on the Southern Pacific Railroad, and is the center of a growing agricultural district as well as an important cattle shipping point. Other towns of the north are Dos Cabezas, Cochise and Bowie; of the south Naco, important as being the gateway to the Cananea District in Mexico and railroad junction for the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad and the Cananea Railroad; Benson on the Southern Pacific and Southwestern Railroads and important as an agricultural and possible oil center; and Fort Huachuca, the government military post. Up the Sulphur Springs Valley is Courtland, important for its mines and surrounding ranches, while numerous smaller settlements are rapidly growing up in its eighty miles of length and twenty miles of breadth with the spread of agriculture.

In addition to its natural wrealth and possibilities, Cochise boasts of its good roads and its school system. There are more miles of good roads than can be traversed at all seasons of the year than in any other county of the state, and these systems are being each year extended. It is traversed by the state highway and by two of the proposed National Highways, these passing through Douglas, Bisbee and Tombstone, and being connected up with other points.

The public schools of Cochise County, in the 65 school districts, are supported by an annual expenditure of over $200,000, and rank with the best in the land. There are in attendance 4500 scholars who are instructed by 200 teachers, the average salary for men being $111.75, and for women $83.81. As fast as occasion requires new school districts are created, new buildings erected and more teachers engaged so that the progress of education keeps pace with the growth of population in all parts of the county.
Source: Who's Who In Arizona

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