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J. Ross Browne and James W. Taylor, Special Commissioners of the Government for the investigation of the mineral resources of the United States, in their report to the Secretary of the Treasury, under date of November 24, 1866, in reference to gold in California and Arizona, said:
“The first mention of gold in California is made in Hakluyt's account of the voyage of Sir Francis Drake, who spent five weeks in June and July, 1579, in a bay near latitude 38°; whether Drake's Bay or San Francisco Bay is a matter of dispute. It certainly was one of the two, and of neither can we now say with truth, as Hakluyt said seriously, "There is no part of the earth here to be taken up wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of gold or silver.' This statement, taken literally, is untrue, and it was probably made without any foundation, merely for the purpose of embellishing the story and magnifying the importance of Drake and of the country which he claimed to have added to the possessions of the English crown.
“If any reasonable quantity' of gold or silver had been obtained by the English adventurers, we should probably have had some account of their expeditions into the interior, of the manner and place in which the precious metals were obtained, and of the specimens which were brought home, but of these things there is no mention.
“Neither gold nor silver exists ‘in reasonable quantity' near the ocean about latitude 38°, and the inference is that Drake's discovery of gold in California was a matter of fiction more than that of fact.
“Some small deposits of placer gold were found by Mexicans near the Colorado River at various times from 1775 to 1828, and in the latter year a similar discovery was made at San Isidro, in what is now San Diego County, and in 1802 a mineral vein, supposed to contain silver, at Olizal, in the district of Monterey, attracted some attention, but no profitable mining was done at either of these places.
“Forbes, who wrote the history of California in 1835, said: 'No minerals of particular importance have yet been found in Upper California, nor any ores of metals.' »
From the extracts which I have given above, it would seem that Arizona was the first of the territories under the American flag, west of the Mississippi River, in which gold had been discovered, but it remained for the opening of the large placers along the Colorado River, the discoveries made by the Walker party, and by other adventurers in 1862 and 1863, to attract general attention to the mineral resources of Arizona.
As before stated, the Walker party, after the discovery of the placers in and around Prescott, made a trip to the Indian villages for supplies, where they left letters to be forwarded east and west. Some of these letters undoubtedly reached General Carleton, in command of the Military Department of New Mexico, then embracing Arizona, with headquarters at Mesilla, New Mexico. He immediately sent Capt. Pishon, in command of a company, accompanied by the Surveyor-General of the Territory, Mr. Clark, to the new El Dorado, with instructions to prospect along the route for gold, and to report the result. Capt. Pishon, after
arriving at Chino Valley, some twenty miles north of Prescott, spent several weeks before locating the camp or camps of the Walker party. In the meantime R. W. Groom, familiarly known as “Bob” Groom, whom all old-timers in Arizona will remember, made his appearance at Carleton's headquarters, with reports of the rich discoveries in Northern Arizona, which reports resulted in General Carleton taking an interest in the mines of Arizona as will appear from the following correspondence: “Headquarters Department of New Mexico.
“Santa Fe, N. M., June 22, 1863. “My dear Captain:
“I have seen two letters written by Mr. Benedict to Judge Benedict, setting forth the wonderful discoveries which yourself and party have made. I have written to the War Department and to General Halleck on the subject. The Surveyor-General of New Mexico proceeds to visit your new gold regions, and when he returns will make an official report on their probable extent and value, so that the government can be well informed on the subject. If you can do so, when General Clark has completed his observations, I desire that you will come by Whipple's route, by Zuni to Albuquerque, with General Clark and escort, so that I may employ you as a guide for a couple of companies of troops which I will send to establish a military post in the very heart of the gold country. These companies you can guide back by the best practicable route for wagons. I am satisfied that Albuquerque will be the point from which you will draw your supplies. The people who will flock into the country, around the San Fran