Published: February 27th 2013February 27th 2013
From the north end of Patagonia take Harshaw Road eastward about 12 miles. You will be going past Harshaw, up over a saddle and down the other side towards Lochiel. Look for a loading pen on your right across from Forest Road 214. Turn left on 214 and go about 0.13 miles. Park at the first little road on your left. Hike up that road about 0.17 miles to a road junction. The mine is on your right.
Sylvester was born in October of 1830 and graduated from West Point in 1852 near the top of the class. As a sparkling new second lieutenant he went west and took part in the survey, along with George B. McClellan, through the Columbia River Gorge for the Pacific Railroad. When that task was complete in 1854 he went off to Fort Leavenworth and joined Lt Col Edward Steptoe’s command. They were taking a group of remounts and new recruits out to California when President Buchanan asked that they stop over in Salt Lake City and investigate the Massacre of the John Gunnison Party by Pahvant Indians on the Sevier River. The investigation ended in the recommendation that an Army post should be established in Utah to keep an eye on God’s chosen people. Finally, almost a year after they set out the weary remounts and recruits arrived at the military headquarters in Benecia, CA. While at Benecia Mowry came into conflict with a superior officer named James H. Carleton and resigned from the Army. By 1857 Mowry was in Arizona searching out mining property, and getting involved in the politics of arranging territorial status
SAN RAFAEL VALLLEY FROM MOWRY MINE
Continue northeastward about 5 miles on Forest Road 214. Turn left in the San Rafael Valley at the tee intersection where 214 ends and return to Patagonia.
for Arizona. In 1859 he got into a duel in Tubac with newspaperman Edward Cross over the issue of creating a separate judicial district for Arizona rather than seeking territorial status. He got elected as a delegate to Congress but the bill authorizing the territory did not pass and Mowry was never seated. He then returned to Arizona and began operating a mine near Patagonia. The Mowry Mine was a going concern and paid out about 1200 dollars per ton in production of silver and lead. The mine continued to produce even through fierce Apache depredation that began when the War Between the States broke out and Arizona was abandoned by the Army. Confederate soldiers appeared in Tucson in February of 1862 and were regarded by many as angels of salvation. Mowry supplied them with lead for their bullet molds as he would to anyone who might need protection from Apaches. The Confederate soldiers were forced to withdraw due to the advance of Federal soldiers coming east from California under the command of Mowry’s old pal, James H. Carleton. The old feud started again soon as Carleton learned that Mowry sold bullets to the Confederacy. Soldiers took Mowry into custody, charged him with treason, seized the mine and shipped him off to the military stockade in Yuma. By the time Mowry got his appeal and won his release and finally regained possession of his property the mine was in ruins. He took sick during a trip to London where he was attempting raise financial backing to reopen his mine and died on October 15, 1871. He enjoys a fond legacy as the “Father of Arizona” for his unstinting promotion of the wealth of good things around us. A book he wrote and had published in 1863 called Mineral Resources of Arizona and Sonora
was widely valued and is still being used. Several years after Mowry died the mine came into the possession of a man named Edward Nye Fish. It was renamed the Empire Mine, but the old territorial patents on the land had expired and the property had to be resurveyed under new state regulations. It is still carried forth as mine patent number 14. William Lewis Wakefield was the chainman on the patent survey. He was Fish’s brother-in-law and Grandpa Bill’s uncle.