On the trail of Jack Swilling

Non LDM treaure hunting and Old West history.
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Potbelly Jim
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On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:45 pm

All,

I've been chasing down info on Jack Swilling, and made a trip to Gillett just to reconnect with the place. Unfortunately, there's not much left. The last time I'd been there was about 1982. I think it's on private property now, maybe it always has been, but it's about to vanish. Much has changed since '82. Anyway, there's a strange fort-like structure on top of a mesa directly to the west of the old townsite that I was wondering about. Does anyone know what it is, or any history on it? It sure has a commanding view of the Agua Fria, both up and down stream.
I'd like to post some pictures of it within my post, but can't figure out how to do it! Can anyone help me with that? Thanks, Jim
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:45 am

[img]C:\Users\Goob\Desktop\Jack%20Swilling\mesa[/img]
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:53 pm

[img][IMG]http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah9/J0s1E/IMAG0333_zps193f21f0.jpg[/img][/img]

Trying to figure out how to post pictures. I'm all thumbs...
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:58 pm

[img][URL=http://s1376.photobucket.com/user/J0s1E/media/IMAG0333_zps193f21f0.jpg.html][/img]

Still trying...
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:07 pm

Image

Sorry. Still trying to figure out how to post pics.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:10 pm

Holy smokes, I finally got it. OK, the pic above is in reference to the fort-like formation on a mesa about 1km west of the ghost town of Gillett. We are standing on the east side, looking up west. You can see the stacked stone wall on top of the mesa. There is only one way in....
Image
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:14 pm

Image

On top of the mesa. The rock wall circles the entire top of the mesa, except for a small gap where you can climb up.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:19 pm

Image

Some of the walls have fallen down. Anyway, does anyone know what this structure is, or have any history on it? It's not far from the old stage route, Gillett, and on the road to top-top mine. Jack Swilling lived here and was arrested in Gillett after being accused of robbing the C&A stage outside of Wickenburg. Structure is located at 34 00 56N/112 10 58W. Thanks, Jim
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby djui5 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:08 pm

That looks like an old Indian encampment. I know where a similar one is near Queen Valley. They're amazing structures.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:47 am

Hi Randy! I'm not sure about indian origins of this particular structure, but I know what you mean. The lack of mortar for one, but who knows. That is a small time span that indigenous peoples didn't use mortar. I have found two more structures in the area that have period rifle shells and spoons that indicate other inhabitation, circa 1870, but that may have been later white occupation of the structures or evidence that indians in that time lived with white accoutrements, both of which could be true. The reason I am looking for info on Jack Swilling is because I detect a similarity between the Lost Adams and the Lost Dutchman. The link between the two is Jack Swilling and people he knew or could have influenced. I think this link occurred before the "Black Range Tales" were published, but those stories were old before they were actually put to paper.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby djui5 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:35 pm

Oh now that's a connection!! Awesome. I have no info for you but wish you the best. I hope you find something.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:35 am

:D I know, but I figure hey, why not research it? I'm only in AZ a few weeks a year, so I have to have something to do while getting cabin fever back here in the snow. Thankfully it's finally melting.

According to court testimony, Jack Swilling brought Jacob Snivelly's body to Gillett right before he was arrested there. I have never found a grave for him in Gillett, (not that it means anything) and Swilling's widow said years later that she believed Snivelly was buried at their cabin in Black Canyon. I've not been able to find the site she described, it may be long gone or I just was too dumb to find it. Have you found anything about Snivelly in your research? Thanks, Jim
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby djui5 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:53 pm

No, but there are some remote grave sites in that area. Very random sites not shown on maps.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Oroblanco » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:00 pm

Tag post, very interesting! Please do continue.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sat May 02, 2015 9:41 pm

Hi Randy, I haven't ever looked at a map of that area for graves, it never occurred to me. I went up the Agua Fria from Gillett and tried to re-trace the route Swilling's widow described. I was trying to find the cabin site, she gave pretty good directions and described an irrigation ditch J.S. dug, which she said caved in not long after he dug it. I thought that would lead me to the cabin site, but I just couldn't find anything. I think flooding has washed it away, and for all I know has changed the river as well. Or, it's in a subsequently developed area of BC City and has been built over. She said there were two graves there, one was her daughter and the other was Jacob Snivelly. At any rate, it appears to be a dead end.
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Sat May 02, 2015 10:14 pm

Hi Roy,
I guess I should backtrack a bit in the interest of explaining things for people new to the LDM and just starting to explore the forum. I expect you are completely familiar with the connection between the Lost Adams and the LDM, but many people reading this may not be, so bear with me. I would be very interested in your thoughts on this, as well as others on this forum. Since I don't post much, I'll also give some background; my family moved to Arizona in 1914, and I grew up listening to my grandfather talk dutchman with his cowboy buddies in Superior and AJ. I don't have any "special" information, it was mostly what came from those who knew (or read) Jim Bark and Sims Ely, repeated and changed as it passed between cowboys and generations. Thanks to recent authors and many of the people on this forum, I think we have more information these days, and it's probably more accurate.
There was a passage in Dr. Glover's Part 1, regarding Simon Novinger and the young Indian lad that told him the story of the gold in AZ. Based on what occurred after that, it seems he was describing Rich Hill. Regardless, this is an almost verbatim account of what lead to the search for, and discovery of, the Lost Adams, at least in legend. The stories are almost identical. This led me to look for a concrete connection between the two, as a discovery of how it happened may lead to narrowing down which stories are legitimate, and which might be add-ons, or "mixing" of the stories.
The common connection between Novinger, Rich Hill, and Pinos Altos NM (Lost Adams) and Jacob Snivelly was Jack Swilling. Swilling was a notorious drunk, which leads me to wonder what he talked about when in his cups. Swilling's adventures in AZ would have at least led to his knowing who Jacob Waltz was, if not knowing him personally. Jacob Snivelly, the man whose grave I was searching for, was with Swilling both in NM and AZ. Jacob Snivelly is a main character in the Lost Adams legend. Swilling must also have known Novinger. Is Jack Swilling the reason these two stories appear to "mix"? Did the legendary Adams in fact hear this story in a saloon in CA, or "Pumpkinville AZ" from a drunk but believable Jack Swilling? I'm getting long winded, so I'll stop here. Comments welcome! Jim
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby djui5 » Mon May 04, 2015 10:55 pm

:(
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Oroblanco » Tue May 05, 2015 8:15 pm

Please do continue!
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Potbelly Jim » Wed May 06, 2015 10:33 pm

I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg.

Period documents indicate Novinger was prospecting in the 4 Peaks area, was wounded pretty badly, taken to Ft McDowell, then lived out his days in Phx.

Ely's version has Novinger heading from CA to Rich Hill based on accounts from an Indian captive, but when Novinger gets there he finds the area recently claimed. Soon thereafter he takes off to find the other area the Indian captive told him about, where he's wounded. This story then gets repeated by later authors. It seems to me that the Indian captive story in relation to Novinger is an "add-on" as well as the story of him going from the Rich Hill area to the 4 peaks, as this would have to be around 1863/4, but he's treated at "Fort McDowell" which wasn't there yet. Neither was Phoenix, where he supposedly went after being treated at the Fort.

The almost identical Adams Indian captive story seems also to be an add-on. James McKenna, who lived in the area in the 1870's, never mentions the captive story in relation to the "Lost Canyon", "Lost Snivelly" Diggins stories. Along comes Dobie, and suddenly there's the Indian captive story and all this "Adams" talk. The only real reference in McKenna to an "Adams" was when Baxter relates meeting him in Arizona, and makes veiled references to his credibility. Why did McKenna seem to give little or no credence to an Adams? As with the Novinger story and Ely, the Adams story and Dobie both get the Indian captive add-on, and then most later authors include it.

Then we have some other similarities: We don't know Adams' full name, some people think it was Charles. Coincidentally, there's a well known Charles Adams in Arizona, in "Adamsville". Strangely, Jacob Waltz repairs there to get supplies, leaving Weiser in the Supes. Ely says Waltz waited an extra day because Adams didn't have any flour milled yet. Once again, the information appears to come from someone who came after the fact. Adams never had a mill in Adamsville. It was built by the Birch Bros. after Adams left. Where did Adams go? He relocated to the SRV as Jack Swilling was digging the ditches. But I digress. Like in the Waltz/Weiser story, the Lost Adams party is attacked by Apaches while a supply party is gone getting supplies. Both stories have harrowing escapes by night, treatment of the survivors by doctors, and people not knowing others in their party had survived. Both Novinger/Adams stories have the prospectors stopping to pan in the first area, while the respective Indian captives say there's richer gold over to the east in the mountains. Both Indian captives want a horse and outfit as their pay. Both Indian captives have never seen gold coins before, but say they know where lumps of that metal can be found, etc. etc. Coincidences.

The Adams of the Lost Adams legend was supposedly a freighter between Tucson and the Pima villages. Jack Swilling actually spent some time doing that. Jack Swilling knew Charles Adams at the Pima villages, in fact it would have been his destination coming from Tucson. Another coincidence. Jack Swilling was with Jacob Snivelly in Pinos Altos while Snivelly was locating some good gold claims. The references to the Lost Snivelly Diggins have Snivelly coming into Pinos Altos with lots of gold. This makes perfect sense. However, some of the Lost Adams tales have Snivelly coming into Yuma with lots of gold. Huh? What about the supposed rescue of Adams and Davidson by soldiers from the as yet non-existent Ft. Apache? Seems to come from someone after the fact, but the Snivelly story makes no reference to any rescue by soldiers, or anyone named Adams. Where did the Adams reference come from? Who knew an Adams, A Snivelly, Pinos Altos, freighting from Tucson to the Pima villages, gold finds that originated with local Indians?

Charles Adams was killed in, I think, 1871. It was the Wickenburg Massacre, I don't want to look it up right now but will later. Anyway, if he is the name-model for the Adams of legend, someone who lived in AZ prior to that date might be the source of the Indian captive yarn.

In another coincidence, the Adams yarn has Adams freighting up to the Pima villages from Tucson, then going over to NM somewhere north of Pinos Altos, while Swilling in actual fact went that same way in reverse when with the Gila Rangers, and later he would do it again while guiding the Walker Party. Swilling leaves the Walker party after meeting up with the Peoples party while getting supplies at the Pima villages. Some historical sources place Charles Adams there when this occurs, but in all likelihood Swilling already knew Adams before then anyway. Swilling goes with Peoples up to Rich Hill, the Weaver District, builds a mill, etc.

Another coincidence, as we know there actually was a disastrous fight between Indians and the Peraltas, which Swilling was very familiar with. It was at the original Valenciana. Could this be the source of all the Peralta/Indian fight stories that we can't seem to make fit in real timelines? Swilling located his own mines in that area and was almost certainly aware that Miguel Peralta had gone back to the Valenciana once the Indian threat had died down. I don't know for sure, but my best guess about the structure on the mesa just west of Gillett was a miner's rock-fort/lookout position. That's why I was asking about it originally, as someone may actually know what it was.

There are many other connections between some of the LDM stories and Lost Adams, but these are just some off the top of my head. I think Jack Swilling is a good guess for the origination of these stories because he was in all these places and experienced pretty much everything in those legends. The only other people that easily fit would be other men from the Walker party, which Swilling joined I believe in Pinos Altos. He fits well with the Peraltas, Pinos Altos, Rich Hill, Indian figths, etc. Quien Sabe? Those stories got started somehow. Take care, Jim
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Re: On the trail of Jack Swilling

Postby Oroblanco » Thu May 07, 2015 12:18 am

Potbelly Jim wrote:I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg.

Period documents indicate Novinger was prospecting in the 4 Peaks area, was wounded pretty badly, taken to Ft McDowell, then lived out his days in Phx.

Ely's version has Novinger heading from CA to Rich Hill based on accounts from an Indian captive, but when Novinger gets there he finds the area recently claimed. Soon thereafter he takes off to find the other area the Indian captive told him about, where he's wounded. This story then gets repeated by later authors. It seems to me that the Indian captive story in relation to Novinger is an "add-on" as well as the story of him going from the Rich Hill area to the 4 peaks, as this would have to be around 1863/4, but he's treated at "Fort McDowell" which wasn't there yet. Neither was Phoenix, where he supposedly went after being treated at the Fort.

The almost identical Adams Indian captive story seems also to be an add-on. James McKenna, who lived in the area in the 1870's, never mentions the captive story in relation to the "Lost Canyon", "Lost Snivelly" Diggins stories. Along comes Dobie, and suddenly there's the Indian captive story and all this "Adams" talk. The only real reference in McKenna to an "Adams" was when Baxter relates meeting him in Arizona, and makes veiled references to his credibility. Why did McKenna seem to give little or no credence to an Adams? As with the Novinger story and Ely, the Adams story and Dobie both get the Indian captive add-on, and then most later authors include it.

Then we have some other similarities: We don't know Adams' full name, some people think it was Charles. Coincidentally, there's a well known Charles Adams in Arizona, in "Adamsville". Strangely, Jacob Waltz repairs there to get supplies, leaving Weiser in the Supes. Ely says Waltz waited an extra day because Adams didn't have any flour milled yet. Once again, the information appears to come from someone who came after the fact. Adams never had a mill in Adamsville. It was built by the Birch Bros. after Adams left. Where did Adams go? He relocated to the SRV as Jack Swilling was digging the ditches. But I digress. Like in the Waltz/Weiser story, the Lost Adams party is attacked by Apaches while a supply party is gone getting supplies. Both stories have harrowing escapes by night, treatment of the survivors by doctors, and people not knowing others in their party had survived. Both Novinger/Adams stories have the prospectors stopping to pan in the first area, while the respective Indian captives say there's richer gold over to the east in the mountains. Both Indian captives want a horse and outfit as their pay. Both Indian captives have never seen gold coins before, but say they know where lumps of that metal can be found, etc. etc. Coincidences.

The Adams of the Lost Adams legend was supposedly a freighter between Tucson and the Pima villages. Jack Swilling actually spent some time doing that. Jack Swilling knew Charles Adams at the Pima villages, in fact it would have been his destination coming from Tucson. Another coincidence. Jack Swilling was with Jacob Snivelly in Pinos Altos while Snivelly was locating some good gold claims. The references to the Lost Snivelly Diggins have Snivelly coming into Pinos Altos with lots of gold. This makes perfect sense. However, some of the Lost Adams tales have Snivelly coming into Yuma with lots of gold. Huh? What about the supposed rescue of Adams and Davidson by soldiers from the as yet non-existent Ft. Apache? Seems to come from someone after the fact, but the Snivelly story makes no reference to any rescue by soldiers, or anyone named Adams. Where did the Adams reference come from? Who knew an Adams, A Snivelly, Pinos Altos, freighting from Tucson to the Pima villages, gold finds that originated with local Indians?

Charles Adams was killed in, I think, 1871. It was the Wickenburg Massacre, I don't want to look it up right now but will later. Anyway, if he is the name-model for the Adams of legend, someone who lived in AZ prior to that date might be the source of the Indian captive yarn.

In another coincidence, the Adams yarn has Adams freighting up to the Pima villages from Tucson, then going over to NM somewhere north of Pinos Altos, while Swilling in actual fact went that same way in reverse when with the Gila Rangers, and later he would do it again while guiding the Walker Party. Swilling leaves the Walker party after meeting up with the Peoples party while getting supplies at the Pima villages. Some historical sources place Charles Adams there when this occurs, but in all likelihood Swilling already knew Adams before then anyway. Swilling goes with Peoples up to Rich Hill, the Weaver District, builds a mill, etc.

Another coincidence, as we know there actually was a disastrous fight between Indians and the Peraltas, which Swilling was very familiar with. It was at the original Valenciana. Could this be the source of all the Peralta/Indian fight stories that we can't seem to make fit in real timelines? Swilling located his own mines in that area and was almost certainly aware that Miguel Peralta had gone back to the Valenciana once the Indian threat had died down. I don't know for sure, but my best guess about the structure on the mesa just west of Gillett was a miner's rock-fort/lookout position. That's why I was asking about it originally, as someone may actually know what it was.

There are many other connections between some of the LDM stories and Lost Adams, but these are just some off the top of my head. I think Jack Swilling is a good guess for the origination of these stories because he was in all these places and experienced pretty much everything in those legends. The only other people that easily fit would be other men from the Walker party, which Swilling joined I believe in Pinos Altos. He fits well with the Peraltas, Pinos Altos, Rich Hill, Indian figths, etc. Quien Sabe? Those stories got started somehow. Take care, Jim


Nice post Jim!
"We must find a way, or we will make one." --Hannibal Barca