This beam and the equally
enormous flywheel still are on the hillside, a monument to departed
greatness. About a year after the fire, the Contention hoist and pumping
works also were burned, this practically marking the closing down of the
In the spring of 1880 the
Tombstone District had four towns.
Tombstone then had a population of about 1,000, established on or near
the Tough Nut group of mines. Richmond was a settlement a mile and a quarter to the southeast. At Charleston, on the
San Pedro River, were the Corbin and
Tombstone Mills. The Contention Mill was at Contention City, also on
the San Pedro River. In this same area was also the "Old Bronco Mine,"
which had a dark history, in which was mixed the murders of sixteen men.
Dick Gird claimed that the old Brunckow house had been the headquarters
for a band of smugglers, who did a little mining as a blind.
Early in 1880, Gird was
superintendent of the Tombstone Gold and Silver Milling and Mining
Company, of which ex-Governor Safford was president, and which owned the
Tough Nut and five other claims. On March 13, 1879, the Corbin brothers, Hamilton Distin of Philadelphia and
Simmons Squire of Boston had purchased the interest of the Schieffelin
brothers in the Tough Nut group for $1,000,000. Gird later received the
same sum for his third.
The Corbin Company,
comprising about the same interests, purchased the others of the original
mining claims located by the Schieffelins and Gird, including the Lucky
Cuss. The Grand Central, in the same period, was mentioned only as a
prospect that had been developed to a depth of 280 feet.
Fortunes of Ed Schieffelin
Ed Schieffelin was born
near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
in 1848, and when only a lad was taken by his parents to
Disliking his father's occupation of farming, he ran away from home to
prospect for mineral in Southern
Oregon. Thereafter he knew no life save
that of the prospector, in
New Mexico. He worked at anything else
only in order to secure funds for another trip to the mountains. Almost
continually his life was in danger from
Indians of various sorts.
A description of him, written about 1876,
tells that he was "about the queerest specimen of human flesh ever seen,
about 6 feet 2 inches in height, with black curly hair that hung several
inches below his shoulders. His long, untrimmed beard was a mass of
unkempt knots and mats. His clothing was worn out and covered with patches
of deerskins, corduroy and flannel and his old slouch hat, too, was so
pieced with rabbit skin that very little of the original felt remained.
Although only 27 years of age, he looked at least forty." It was about
that time that Schieffelin had temporary service with the army as a scout,
but in 1877 he was again punching a burro in the hills of Southern