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Thread: Earl Francis of Oracle, Arizona

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    Default Earl Francis of Oracle, Arizona

    While not exactly a ghost town, here's some interesting history regarding a miner in the 1960s who had a cabin and small claim near Oracle, Arizona. There's a gravesite to a man named Earl Francis on a small mountain (hill) just south of Oracle. He had a small rock cabin where he mined his claims. It is now gone (except for the grave).

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    Here's the information as I know it:

    Earl Francis lived on top of this mountain in the 1960s. He was a man who enjoyed his freedom, not wanting to be tied down to a 9 to 5 job and the burdens of society. He once said, "A man can be free in the mountains. He doesn't have to punch a clock or take orders from a boss."

    He staked a small gold and silver mining claim nearby and was able to make just enough money to get by. He built a small rock walled home, made jewelry from precious metal and painted landscapes of his precious mountains.

    In 1964, at the age of 33, the US Government judged his homestead claim unacceptable due to it not being "profitable." Francis said it was profitable enough for him to survive, "There's a few dollars' worth I can scratch out. But I like it better that way than if there was enough to make me rich. At least I don't own nobody and nobody owes me."

    He spent over a year fighting the government, but ended up losing his case. His claim was declared null and void and the government ordered him to tear down his home. In 1966, Francis decided he would never leave his house and committed suicide by blowing himself up in his home with a keg of dynamite.

    There is nothing left of Francis or his house now. His gravestone was erected by his friends, the words stamped in a sheet of copper.

    You can find more information (how to get there, pictures, etc) at my website:
    http://www.experience-az.com//advent...smountain.html

    matt@experience-az.com

  2. #2
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    WOW! That is one heck of a story there. Great story and great pics make for a great read. Thanks for posting!!!

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    Sunrise is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Great story!
    “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”http://thinkexist.com/i/sq/as4.gif Teilhard de Chardin quote

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    Sadly, in spite of his self sacrifice, the ponderous gears of Government grind on and one man who tried to stand up to them is quickly forgotten by society. Thanks for bringing one more individual to our attention.

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    Great bit of little known Arizona history. To remember these mavericks enriches us today.

    danm those Gov assholes!
    Last edited by Vulture; 10-20-2011 at 07:39 PM.
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

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    I went out to Francis Mountain today and when I got home I decided to see if I could dig anything else up about him. I found this from "Rootsweb" of all places. http://boards.rootsweb.com/localitie...a/1536/mb.ashx


    Francis, Earl L. - blows self to bits by sitting on dynamite 1966
    stephenmathews51 (View posts) Posted: 30 Mar 2009 10:00PM GMT
    Classification: Death
    Surnames: Francis
    [This Tucson Ariz newspaper clipping was one of many found among my grandparents collection. Although undated, handwritten in the margin, looks like 08/18/1966. I am not researching this family]'FEARING EVICTON HERMIT ENDS LIFE'"Tucson, Ariz. (AP)Earl L. Francis rebelled at civilization for all his 33 years. His lonely fight seemed impossible to win.""A thin, balding man who held a variety of white-collar jobs, Francis left Washington D.C. fo flee the turmoil of 20th Century life, he said.""'I'll never work another eight-hour, six day week for any man,'" Francis said in 1964.""He picked a mile-high peak in the Catalina Mountains, overlooking Oracle, Ariz. For a year Francis, standing 5 feet 5 and weighing 125, worked night and day on a stone and glass cabin.""Up the mile climb where there was no road Francis hauled his building materials and he built a cozy place with electricity supplied by a power generator, running water and other conveniences. Then, he settled back to read, paint and meditate.""It happened to be on land in Coronado National Forest. An eight foot hole in his backyard was called a gold mine by Francis but the U.S. Forest Service said he trespassed on public lands. Francis replied he would never move.""The law permits constructin of a dwelling near a claim but states the claim must contain enough gold to warrant a patent of title to the land. This wasn't so with Francis' mine.""Discouraged and expecting eviction from his self-made castle, authorities said, Francis sat down on a case of dynamite Tuesday, lighted the fuse and blew himself to bits."

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    Very cool. Thanks for the additional info. Glad you liked the place. I thought it was very cool.

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