[Washington, D.C. (but copied in Philadelphia)]. 1863. 6pp. manuscript on recto only of six folio sheets. With original mailing envelope. Horizontal folds. Very good. Item #WRCAM41907
An interesting pair of documents, being contemporary copies of an original manuscript on the potential of mining in Arizona, sent by George M. Willing to Thomas S. Fernon, editor of the UNITED STATES RAILROAD AND MINING REGISTER. Willing's letter was comprised of two parts, a description of "Dr. G.M. Willing's Discoveries of Gold and Silver Mining in the New Territory of Arizona," and a plan for forming a company to mine in the territory. Having been unsuccessful during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush a few years earlier, George Willing led a party of prospectors to Arizona in the early 1860s. Willing would later become notorious in Arizona history for his role in the frauds of James Reavis, the so-called "Baron of Arizona." Despite the tarnishing of his reputation in Reavis' schemes, Willing did do significant work in searching for gold and silver in Arizona, as is documented by this report. Fernon has attested at the conclusion that the present document is an actual copy of Willing's original report and proposal, made in December 1863, just a few months after Willing sent Fernon the originals.
The first three pages describe the location and qualities of several areas examined in Arizona, including in the San Juan Mountains, the "La Plata District," and along the "Unka Weep River." The areas described are all ravines with nearby rivers, which would facilitate Wiling's hydraulic mining plans. Following the three pages describing the discoveries Willing appends a three-page "Proposed Plan of Operations" in which he spells out his plans for mining in Arizona. He calls for $100,000 to pay the expenses of fifty men for two years, and argues that it will be cheaper and more efficient to outfit the company in California, rather than east of the Rockies. Willing contends that Indians would not be a concern, and that "the company will have protection from the government troops on the whole route and in the occupancy of the country." He goes on to describe in detail his proposed hydraulic mining operations, comparing the potential of the region to that of the Quartz Hill mines in Colorado.
An early and interesting report on Arizona mining.