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The well was being dug to get water to sell to the travelling public-mostly freight teams—and is about thirty miles west of Wickenburg. One evening a train belonging to a man named Stanfield camped near the well, and accompanying the train were several deserters from a company of Mexican volunteers that had been raised by one Primitivo Cervantes, and enlisted to fight the Apaches. This company, or a part of it, was stationed at Date Creek and Skull Valley to escort trains through Bell's Canyon, and from Skull Valley to Prescott. In the morning when the train pulled out, two of the deserters stopped behind, and after King, who was digging in the well, had been at work a short time, he heard a shot and looked up just in time to dodge his partner, who had been shot in the head and came head first to the bottom of the well, which was about a hundred and thirty feet deep. A few minutes before King heard the shot he had seen his partner looking down into the well. He often sat on the landing-board and talked with King as they worked. What must have been King's feelings, there in a well many miles from anyone who could help him with his dead partner! He lay down beside the dead man, afraid to move or cry out for fear whoever had killed his partner would come and kill him. He did not know at the time who had done this. It might have been Indians, as he rather thought it was. But Providence was kind to King. While lying there considering his chances of getting out of the hole he forgot entirely the mail carrier who made one round trip per week from La Paz on muleback, and that was the day the mail was due to pass into Wickenburg. But King never thought of the mail-carrier, his only hope being that some train might pass that way and by a rare chance find him before he perished. What could his feelings have been after several hours spent there in that terrible position, to see a man lean over the curbing, looking down into the place? He did not recognize the man, and was afraid to speak lest it might be an enemy. But the man on top, for some unknown reason, said 'Hello!' Then King recognized John Duff, the mail-carrier, and Duff told me many times that he got the greatest surprise of his life when he received an answer from the well. Duff had ridden out to the men's camp, as was customary with him when he passed, and found things all scattered around, and had concluded that the men had quit the well and gone to Wickenburg. Something prompted him to go to the well, and that probably saved King's life. Duff lowered the bucket and King put his partner's body into it, and after hoisting the body out, Duff hoisted King out.
“They dug a shallow grave and buried the dead man, and having concluded from the government shoe tracks that it was the Mexican soldiers that had done the killing and robbed the camp, they followed their trail until nearly dark; then, as the trail led across the country toward the Vulture, they turned back to the Wickenburg road, and made haste to get there.
“The next morning everybody in town had heard the news. There was one old gray-headed man that we all called Uncle Joe. His name was Joseph Blackwell. He was one of the Texans who were prisoners at the Alamo, but did not happen to draw a white bean. At that time he
was night herder for J. M. Bryan, commonly called Crete Bryan. Bryan had a large herd of mules with which he was hauling ore from the Vulture mine to the mill at Wickenburg. As there was no tame hay in the country, the mules were herded in the hills at night, and Uncle Joe was one of the herders.
“When he talked with King he learned all he could about the course the Mexicans had taken; then went to Bryan and asked him for Kit, a favorite riding mule.
""What do you want of Kit, Uncle Joe?' “ 'I'm going to get the d-d greasers.'
' "All right, Uncle Joe. She is in the corral."
‘. “In a short time Uncle Joe came back with canteen, gun and saddle-bags. Then Bryan realized that the old man meant business, and said:
“ Well, Uncle Joe, I'll go, too.'
“In less time than it takes me to write it they were off. They started to cut track between the Vulture mine and the Hassayampa. If they failed to cut the tracks there, they would probably find their men at or near the Vulture. They found the tracks east of the Vulture, going toward the White Tank Mountains, and followed them to the White Tanks, where they made a fire. From there they had taken the road to the crossing of the Salt and Gila Rivers. This road led on to Tucson via the Pima Villages. There was no Phoenix at that time.
“The Mexicans were overtaken between the two rivers, sitting beside the road. They had a string of fish which they had just caught with some hooks that they had evidently taken from King's camp, for he had some and they were
missing, as well as a lot of other plunder and the six-shooters.
“Bryan and Uncle Joe threw their guns down on them, and made them lay down their guns and go away from them; then asked them if they had any choice between hanging and shooting. A shrug of the shoulders was the answer.
So they marched them far enough from the road so that they would not smell bad, tied them to a mesquite tree, and shot them.
“The next man that was murdered by the Mexicans was a Portuguese who at one time ran a bakery in Wickenburg. He had saved some money and thought it would pay to sink a well between the Hassayampa and Salt Rivers, as it was a long way across the dry plains.
“He went to a point about twelve miles out from the sink of the Hassayampa, and started to sinking in a gulch that heads up into the hills east of Wickenburg. He had only got down twenty-five or thirty feet when some passers-by noticed that the well had been caved in around the top and the camp robbed. The place is known to this day as the 'Nigger Well' by oldtimers. The Portuguese was part negro.
“The well was never cleaned out. The Portuguese left some property in Wickenburg—an old adobe shack and an adobe oven.
“There may have been more than one man buried in the well, as his Mexican helper never showed up.
“This happened in 1866 or 1867, and the Apaches were making raids in some part of the country nearly every full moon; so the matter of a man or two did not amount to much unless
he happened to have some personal friends, like Hampton and King.
“The next murder according to my recollection was committed at what was known as the ‘Martinez Ranch,' about twenty miles from Wickenburg, on the road to Prescott by the way of Date Creek Camp, in the spring of 1871.
“A young man named Sam Cullumber was keeping a station and the Arizona Stage Company kept four standing horses there and a man to attend to them. There were some Mexicans camped near by, and the signs read that some of them had gone to the house to buy something, and while the stock-tender was weighing some flour in one room, he was stabbed in the jugular vein and fell dead, while Cullumber was killed in the other room.
“There were probably four of the Mexicans, as they took the four stage horses. Two days later a Maricopa Indian saw two Mexicans hide their guns in some brush near the Maricopa Canal and get onto their horses and ride off. The Indian (who had not been seen) rushed out as soon as the Mexicans were out of sight, and took the guns and hid them in another place; then went to Phoenix and told the officers what he had
Joe Fye (Phy) and Wilt Warden were sent out to investigate. The Indian took them to the guns; then they followed the horse tracks and found the horses tied to mesquite trees. They took the horses to town, and there they were identified by someone who knew them as the stage horses that belonged at Martinez Station. Fye and Warden returned to the place to lay for the Mexicans, but when they got there the tracks showed that the Mexicans had been