ABOUT THE TOWN OF KEARNY AND ITS HISTORY
Dept. of Commerce Kearny Community Profile (in PDF format).
roots begin in the early 1800s, as legendary Arizona explorer
Father Kino sought out to convert the Apache Indian communities
in the area to Christianity. In the late 1800s, Gen. Stephen
W. Kearny set up camp near the Gila River, at the base of
the Pinal Mountains. Kearny called the area hostile and uninhabitable.
Fifty years later, that "uninhabitable area" became
something quite the opposite.
view of the Pinal Mountain range Kearny residents are fortunate
to see everyday.
Town of Kearny was founded by the Kennecott Mining Company. The
mine's operation had expanded so far, it was about to envelop
the communities of Sonora, Ray, and Barcelona. Many of the residents
of these small towns were miners with the company. To help the
residents who were about to be displaced, Kennecott developed
a planned community for the residents. The first of the new Kearnians
moved into town in 1954.
Hartford 200 Block, one of Kearny's many tree-lined streets.
located in eastern Pinal County, is also one of the county's
most unique towns. The Town is a planned community, with most
streets elegantly lined with trees, and many houses have similar,
yet inviting and unique construction. Properties are available
for immediate occupation.
Town has many ammenities, including a grocery store, hardware
store, auto parts store, banking, ATM machines, pharmacy, and
medical facilities. Kearny is equidistant to Phoenix and Tucson,
approximately 1 1/2 hours away, however, the Phoenix metro area
is easily accessed with a short hour drive. Kearny is also 30
minutes away from Globe, southern Gila County's largest city.
with the friendly ambiance, Kearny is nestled at the base of
the Pinal Mountain Range. The location provides prime opportunities
for some of the best outdoor recreation in the State. Kearny
has even developed an ATV, hiking, horseback, and picnic trail
to help facilitate safe outdoor recreation, also known as "eco-tourism."
OF THE KEARNY AREA
(Taken from an in-depth interview with Zola Hall, 1996)
the earliest Europeans to visit what is now the Kearny region
were such 17th and 18th-century explorers as the Spanish Fathers
Eusebio Kino, Francisco Garcés, and Agustín Campos.
However, Spain was never able to establish permanent settlements
because of the Apache Indians, who roamed the entire area. The
Indians became bitter rivals with the Spanish, and later with
Spain's successor Mexico that established its independence from
Spain in 1821. Very few people of European descent dared enter
what the Spanish called Apachería, or Apache country.
Even the Mexican troops who were garrisoned in Tucson from 1776
on seldom dared set foot in the territory. Certainly either Spain
or Mexico contemplated no settlements.
the middle 1820s the first Americans began to penetrate the region.
They were trappers mostly from Taos, New Mexico, and within a
few years most of these famous "mountain men" had trapped
all along the Gila and San Pedro Rivers. Later, these men became
the principal guides for the first truly important American expeditions
into the southwestern United States: the Stephen Watts Kearny
and the Mormon Battalion expeditions during the Mexican War in
1846. Kearny's one hundred mule-mounted troops struggled through
El Capitán Pass in the Pinal Mountains and tried to follow
the difficult course of the Gila River. He had such a strenuous
time that he sent couriers back to the Mormon Battalion, which
was following him, informing the troops that they should travel
further to the south, through the Mexican pueblo of Tucson. The
Battalion consequently raised the American flag over Tucson on
16 December 1846. Both Kearny and the Battalion consequently
raised the American flag over Tucson on 16 December 1846. Both
Kearny and the Battalion
then exited Arizona and secured California for the United States
later, the expedition of Kearny was celebrated in the naming
of what is actually the most recent settlement in the region
the community of Kearny. Kearny was established during the mid
to late-1950s when the older towns of Ray, Sonora, and Barcelona
were demolished to make way for Kennecott Copper Company's open
however, to the 19th century after General Kearny's passage through
Arizona, Americans began to frequent the region in search of
gold and silver. The influx of fortune-seekers was also the impetus
for the arrival of American troops to protect them. It was near
what is now known as Kearny that the first significant military
garrison against the Apaches was established in 1859. Originally
called "Camp Arivaypa" (located not far from what is
now Central Arizona College Aravaipa Campus), it later became
Camp Grant (which itself was moved to south of Mt. Graham in
1871). From the time of the establishment of this fort onward,
the Americans could no longer be prevented from settling the
region. The area became an integral part of what is often called
the 'Wild West', with mining and ranching being the magnets that
drew early settlers. Apaches, of course, took fierce issue with
the intrusion, and their resistance was immediate and bloody.
However, late 19th and early 20th century miners and cattlemen
were rough, tough survivors and they were determined to stay.
Gradually, the Apaches realized they had no recourse, particularly
after a horrible massacre of many of their people at Camp Grant
in 1871, and they finally consented to the establishment of a
reservation on the San Carlos River in 1872.
most of the Apaches left, the new settlers quickly increased.
The terrain, however, was nearly unyielding to these people.
It demanded the utmost in physical strength and determination.
Furthermore, many of the new inhabitants were of widely disparate
origins. They came not only from the United States, but from
the Orient, the Middle East, Europe nearly every continent in
the world was represented. As a consequence, the times and camps
(mining towns were generally called camps) were wild and woolly.
It was an untamed era, and many mining camp inhabitants were
raucous and often too fond of liquor. There were few to say them
nay. Even lawmen were frequently those who had been on or near
the other side of the law. However, their dangerous reputations
helped keep some resemblance of law in the communities.
of the Wild West's most notorious outlaws frequented the area.
They included such individuals as "Jack the Ripper of Ash
Creek," for example. In 1886 the malevolent bachelor built
a hideout in Ash Creek, between Winkelman and Mammoth. He kidnapped
a number of Tucson girls and then murdered them. An army patrol
finally solved the mystery of their disappearance, and the demon
was arrested and hanged with dispatch and a strong rope.
famous outlaws were the Apache Kid and Pearl Hart, both of whom
committed some of their crimes in what is now the Kearny area.
(Some people also say the Kid may have been born near Feldman
between present-day Winkelman and Mammoth; others at Wheatfields,
near Globe). In 1889 the Kid escaped from Sheriff Glen Reynolds
in Ripsey Wash, west of Kelvin. He was never seen again. In 1899
Pearl Hart and her prospector companion "Joe Boot" (probably
an alias) held up the Globe-to-Florence stagecoach at Cane Springs
(north of present-day Riverside). She was captured near Feldman,
but she too eventually disappeared from history.
another outlaw tale is that of the crazed killer "Bluebeard," who
in about 1915 was intercepting and murdering travelers going
over Pioneer Pass between Winkelman and Globe. He would dump
the bodies into a well. Slim Gilmore, the sheriff of Hayden,
took chase, caught, and shot him down. Gilmore then draped the
body over the hood of his Model-T and paraded it up and down
the streets of Hayden and Winkelman. This exhibit was to assure
residents that they were finally safe. Gilmore subsequently became
sheriff at Ray and in 1935 was shot and killed by an escapee
from the Florence Penitentiary.
passion too on occasion was a cause for violence. For example,
during World War I, shoemaker Bill Shultz nearly got hung from
the Winkelman Bridge after he said something "nice" about
Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. Similar lack of sensitivity to local
patriotic loyalties would usually bring extremely painful results.
were also prevalent in the Old West. For example, in 1930 Mammoth
had an "oil boom." Barrels of crude oil were planted
by a group of oil scammers, who erected a derrick and "struck
oil" along the San Pedro River, south of Mammoth. After
a big stock promotion, in which many locals invested most of
their meager savings, the company made a midnight departure,
never to reappear. The derrick remained visible from the highway
for years thereafter.
there were many similar outlaw events in the area, of course
there were also often successes. Most of them were due to the
many mining operations scattered throughout the rugged territory.
They would come and go, raising excitement for a time, making
fortunes for awhile, and then, just as quickly, disappearing.
For example, in 1878 the Christmas Mine was originally discovered.
Operations were delayed until the property could be separated
from the San Carlos Reservation, but large-scale mining finally
began on Christmas Day in 1902. At its peak the town's population
was over one thousand, and it had a combined mercantile and post
office. The town suffered many ups and downs, but the last three
remaining families were given the ultimate notice to vacate in
1986. The current Christmas shutdown is said to be final, although
there has been some gold-mining work done nearby. Such are the
vicissitudes of the area.
names and sizes of the many ghost towns in the area often surprise
newcomers. The roster is long: Christmas, Ray, Sonora (named
for miners originally from Mexico), Barcelona (named for miners
originally from Spain), Belgravia (named for a hometown in South
Africa), Troy, Chilito (or 79 Mine), New Year (had ten houses),
Doak (post office established 1919), Silver, Vanadium (1883),
Hayden Junction, Feldman (originally the PZ Ranch), and Copper
Creek (post office established 1906, across the river from Mammoth
and said to have the best-preserved ruins). There were many such
of the ghost towns near Mammoth (Mammoth was one of the earliest
settlements, founded in 1873, a major mining settlement 1881-1903,
and still in existence) was called Tiger. Tiger was the name
of both the mine and the town. The Tiger mine had originally
begun as the Shultz Mine about 1919, and included large stamping
mills, a concentrator and a smelter, but in 1939 the post office
was established as Tiger. Tiger had a store and a movie theater,
among a few other amenities. Tiger became a 'ghost' in 1954.
of these 'ghosts' had at least a large boarding house or dining
hall, a post office, and sometimes a sizable population, if only
for a few years. Chilito (79 Mine), for example, had a hotel
and dining hall. Troy still has evidence of thirty- to forty-house
foundations and was the stage coach stop on the stage run from
Globe to Florence. Kelvin is said to have been a busy place.
It had a store and post office, and it too was a stage coach
stop. It still has a few residences. The run to Tucson also required
stagecoaches to stop at Feldman, which had a store and a post
office. In the earliest days, when there was some fear of Indian
depredations, the drivers drove horses, coach, and all completely
into the Feldman station house, which still stands (barely).
It has a large fireplace in its large main room, and its adobe
walls are two feet thick. When the big heavy doors closed behind
the coach, any pursuing Apache warriors were held at bay.
far, however, the most important, and also one of the most recent,
ghost towns is that of Ray. As mentioned previously, Ray, Sonora,
and Barcelona were all demolished to make way for the open-pit
mine that Kennecott Copper Company started about 1958. Most inhabitants
were moved to the new company town of Kearny. In order, therefore,
to trace the history of the environs of what is now Kearny further
back, it is necessary to discuss the earlier development of Ray
and nearby communities.
HISTORY OF THE RAY REGION
Gold and silver mining apparently occurred in the Ray region as early as the
late 1860s, but very little is known about these efforts. It wasn't until the
1880s that larger, copper-mining operations began to develop. By 1882 a man
identified as Bullinger organized the Ray Copper Company. However, it was only
gradually recognized that large-scale mining could become profitable. It was
not until British financiers and mining engineers became interested in the
possibilities that larger operations were actually started.
is not always recognized just how important British miners were
in the development of mining in Arizona. During the latter part
of the nineteenth century many British fortune-seekers, usually
from coal and lead mines in the Cornwall region of Great Britain,
began migrating to the United States. They were already highly
accomplished miners. But some were not always of the highest
character. It was the practice in Great Britain at that time
for young men (often called "Cousin Jacks") who were
not the "first sons" of families, or who had disgraced
themselves in some manner, to receive a special "remittance" or
allowance to invest in American adventures. Some of these "remittance" men
had large endowments and invested in mines and ranches. Others,
however, were not so well-endowed and ended up migrating to America
to become miners, gamblers, cowboys, drifters, sometimes outlaws,
or a combination of such pursuits. Much of the development of
Ray must be attributed to these individuals, because in 1905
a large promotion was made in England by a mining corporation
regarding land around Ray. The area was promoted as a "heaven
on earth," and it portrayed the Gila River as navigable,
at about one hundred times its actual size. One of the largest
investors in the company was Lord Kelvin, a physicist in thermodynamics,
electricity, and telegraphy. The new town that was developed
by the company came to be called Kelvin in his honor. Kelvin
replaced the older stage coach stop known as Riverside, and Riverside
itself was moved a short distance up the Gila River.
new town of Kelvin certainly did not become as profitable as
advertised by its investors, but it did become successful enough
that some of the "Cousin Jacks" remained. One of the
interesting remains of their enterprise are some fascinating
ovens built to produce coke. These large beehive-shaped ovens
are located at a spot now called Cochran, west of Kelvin. They
have become a destination for curiosity-seekers, but are currently
on private land. The owners wish to discourage visits.
because of the enterprise of the British the vicinity around
Ray began to develop significantly. By 1909 the town of Ray was
constructed by the Arizona Hercules Copper Company on property
belonging to Hercules Townsite Company. Large-scale copper production
began in 1911. Eventually, the Ray Copper Company developed out
these beginnings, and then Ray Copper Company developed into
Ray Consolidated Copper Company. Soon, Kennecott Copper Corporation
took over the Ray mines, and by the late 1940s it was decided
that the underground mining should be replaced by open-pit mining.
The open pit was started in 1947. By the late 1950s the open-pit
mine grew larger, and also a new leach-precipitation-flotation
facility was constructed. In order to accommodate the new enterprises,
it was decided that the town of Ray itself (and the nearby small
communities of Sonora and Barcelona) should be moved. Thus, the
community of Kearny gradually came into being around 1958. Kennecott
mining at Ray was then taken over by the American Smelting and
Refining Company (ASARCO), which is the current owner of operations.
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