View Full Version : Thomasville and Dagger Well, Arizona

01-01-2013, 03:57 PM
While doing research on some locations near Kelvin and Kearny, Arizona, I came across multiple references to Dagger Well and the small town on Thomasville. Dagger Well was supposed to be about three miles from the Rispey Mine and quite the location. A small camp that had tons of water and beautiful trees. I have not been able to find it on any old or new maps. Thomasville was also close to the area and I have not been able to find that either. Maybe they changed names or were forgetten? Or maybe I just haven't found them yet (still working on that). Has anyone ever heard of these two places and/or know where they are?


01-01-2013, 07:22 PM
From the September 8, 1894, Mohave County Miner:

"Thomasville a Myth"

"Pinal county is undoubtedly a rich mineral bearing section, and to-day is proud to boast of a number of fine gold properties which will compare very favorably with those of any other portion of the territory, or the Pacific coast. There is ample room for prospectors, and ample opportunities for capitalists to invest in paying property already developed. With these facts before the public, we have sufficient faith in the future of our country to rest easily upon the truth. The exaggerated and highly imaginative article which appeared in the Citizen of the 26th, is from the pen of Joseph Mulhatton, widely known in the east and south as an erratic, imaginative, and highly sensational newspaper contributor. Undoubtedly, with his vivid imagination, he can already see a fifty or one hundred stamp mill pounding away upon rich rock, in his new creation, Thomasville. From the best information we have, there are a few prospectors, as there always are, in the neighborhood of Dagger Well, but as to there being a city of tents, it is bosh. We advise all who read the article to curb their excitement; avoid the dangerous rush. There will be plenty of room, plenty of ledges and plenty of gold after Mulhatton's crowd of eager investors have been satiated........The publication of such articles as the one referred to in the Citizen has been the source of untold detriment, not alone to Pinal county, but to the entire territory........"

I guess this article kinds of explains why Thomasville doesn't appear on any maps! I haven't been able to locate Dagger Well. I am trying to re-construct the history of my hometown, Winkelman which is just to the east. I have looked at many maps. Dagger Well doesn't show up on any of those dating back to the 1800's.

BTW, was the original article published by the Citizen the source that turned you on to this area. It would be interesting to see!

01-01-2013, 08:31 PM
Matt, you are correct in that there are multiple references to Dagger Well! Those references certainly make it seem like a real place. For all of its perceived importance, I am really surprised that it doesn't show up as such on the early maps. I did find one reference that it was at one time owned by a James Thomas. There is a short wash east of the old Ripsey Mine by the name of Jim Thomas Wash that drains into Hackberry Wash. At that junction there are the ruins of old mining activity called the Hackberry Mine. There does not seem to be a lot of info available for that old mine. I cannot remember if there are any signs of a well there or not..... Another clue from another article might be that Dagger Well was once a water source for the Ripsey Mine. I have a friend who is familiar with the history of that mine. Perhaps he can provide some info. Thanks for your original post! This is interesting!

01-02-2013, 07:17 PM
Toysx2, thanks so much for the responses! Yes, some of the references were from the Arizona Weekly Citizen, but also the Arizona Republic, Mohave County Miner and Coconino Weekly. And I did find the article you referenced above. Very interesting. If those articles making those claims were made up, why did they do that? What was in it for either the newspaper or the author?

The original articles were from 1894, but I was still finding references to Dagger Well and mines nearby that were supposed to be a big deal in the area of Ripsey in 1912 newspapers as far away as Bisbee. They also reference Jim Thomas as you said (among others that I am trying to track down).

It's also interesting that you mentioned the Jim Thomas Wash and Hackberry Mine. I was JUST there last Saturday (well, very close). Here's a picture of the stone building at the mine.


This is about 1/4 of a mile from the Jim Thomas Wash (though I never actually made it to the Jim Thomas Wash itself).

The articles reference that Dagger Well is about 3 miles from Ripsey Mine, has lots of water (which could be seen coming out of the mine and the Hackberry Spring) and a large flat area (which for the area does match), so maybe???? I look forward to any more information you can find and will do the same.

01-03-2013, 08:53 AM
I have also wondered why the early editors and publishers seemed to be so enthusiastic and somewhat gullible in the articles that they wrote. Perhaps just as the miners were digging for valuable metals, the newspaper folks were mining for readers. It is interesting that the articles from those years, no matter for which mine, were often quite similar in their themes: The discoveries were destined for greatness and had been “blessed” by prominent mining men or authorities. It was often mentioned that there were abundant supplies of fuel and water to provide for the operations deep into the future.
One article on the Two QueensMine, several miles east of the Dagger Well area noted: “With thousands and thousands of tons of rich ore only waiting to be removed, and with the work of opening up and developing this wonderful property being pushed forward with all possible speed, it is not surprising that authorities on the subject of mining investments are declaring Two Queens stock to be one of the greatest money-making opportunities now before the public”
And articles written on the Huachuca Development Company in the Huachuca Mountains stated: “A gentleman prominent in mining and milling circles, who recently spent several days in the camp, stated that there were at least five ledges on the property, any one of which would justify the erection and operation of standard reduction works”…..”The Huachuca Consolidated, one of the most promising gold propositions we have ever seen.”
And then a description of the Dagger Well area: “It is undoubtedly destined to become one of Arizona’s great mining camps that will equal and rank in importance with Bisbee, Globe, Ray or Jerome as the vast bodies of rich minerals are here beyond all question…….”This article is from the April 15, 1909 Arizona Republican.
The article above also mentions a rich strike discovered on the property of a “Judge S. H. Snider”. Interestingly, Mr. Snider was soon convicted of fraud in connection with the promotion of the Two Queens Mine, a totally bogus operation!! It also appears that the operation in the Huachucas never progressed beyond the development phase.Was the Dagger Well situation similar—a case of hype and over-enthusiasm that really never panned out?
When I was a teenager, there wasa large engine/compressor in the stone building in your photograph.
The photo enclosed was taken near Hackberry Spring in 1910. It is of an oil derrick. Starting in 1902, the Pinal County Oil Field was being heavily promoted with many newspaper articles written. Nothing was ever discovered. By 1906, the drilling rig was up for sale. The enthusiasm expressed for the outcome of the oil drilling in those articles sound very similar to that expressed for the Dagger Well development!

01-08-2013, 04:31 AM
Wow. Great stuff. Nice picture of the oil rig. I wonder how many investors fell for the old "oil in the desert" trick. It seems a little strange for us in Arizona to think about oil below our desert, but then again, we have the middle east, sooo .... I'm going to change from looking for gold to looking for oil ;-).