I know what James Holmes said he was thinking as the lunatic approached, "waving his arms and shouting like a mad man". Holmes said he feared for his life. If that was true, it was couragous when he stepped from the cool dark of Brunckow's adobe (above) into the dessert sun to display his double barrel shot gun. He said he warned the hulking figure "not to move a foot". But the big man, whom Holmes recognized as Milton Duffield, "The Most Violent Man in Arizona", infamous for his "withering temper, belligerent and disputatious" nature, whose fists were “as big as any two fists to be seen...”, and who always carried an arresnal of weapons, kept coming. And Holms insisted that reputation justified what he did next. But because there were no wittnesses to corroberate his version of this 4 June, 1874 confrontation, I habor doubts as to Mr. Holms' veracity.
Edward Laurence Schieffelin (above) was not an educated geologist like Frederick Brunckow. But Ed had been criss-crossing the Basin and Range province since he was 17, looking to reverse his family fortunes. Yet seperated by 16 years and by a yawning education gap, both men, Brunckhow and Schieffelin, ended up in the same 3 room adobe, a mile east of the San Pedro River.
Army Scout Al Sieber warned Edward about prospecting in Apache territory of southern Arizona. "The only rocks you will find there will be your tombstone." But in the spring of 1877, about 8 miles from the Brunckow adobe, Ed found chunks of silver "float", rocks washed down by the occasional cloudbursts and gully washers during the summer "Monsoons". He started working his way back up the wash, toward the plateau at the southern end of the Dragoon Mountains (above), a tilted plane called Goose Flats.
In 1852 the 42 year old Milton Duffield (above) abandoned a wife and child to seek California gold. His pugnacious personality made him so unpopular in the gold fields that in 1854 he was confronted at gunpoint by 3 antagonized acquaintances. Milton killed one and wounded another. Within ten years he's reputation earned him appointment as the first Federal Marshal of Arizona Territory. Shortly thereafter a drunken lout named "Waco Bill" boasted he could not wait to meet the new marshal. Whereupon, Milton, who had been drinking at the same bar, knocked Bill down, shot Bill in the stomach and then grandly introduced himself.
Ed Schieffelin spent June and July combing Goose Flats mesa for the source of the red and black silver ore. The vein he found was 50 feet long and 12 inches wide before it disappeared into the earth. It was so rich in silver, that a coin pressed against it left an imprint. Gathering samples of the ore, Ed built 3 foot high stone cairns bracketing the site, "staking his claim", and then hurried to the San Pedro river camp of would-be rancher, William Griffith, who had offered to "stake" Ed if he found a likely spot. At the end of August the two traveled the 70 miles northwest to Tuscon, where, on 3 September 1877 Griffith paid the $5.00 double filing fee to the county clerk. Ed called his new mine the "Tombstone" and Griffith's "The Grave Yard".
When a lynch party broke into the Phoenix jail, Marshal Milton Duffield defended his 4 prisoners - sort of. As they tied him to a chair, he warned the vigilantes, "You can hang a Mexican, and you can hang a Jew and you can hang a nigger, but you can't hang an American." Evidently, they could - hanging all four men. Once he was released, Marshal Duffield found it politically expedient not to arrest the prominent members of the lynching party.
Schieffelin (above) and Griffith showed their ore samples to several Tuscon miners, and none thought the rocks worth a chemical examination. Griffith accepted their judgment and bowed out of the partnership. But with only 30 cents to his name, Ed Schieffelin could not afford to surrender his dream. However, in his present incarnation, he could attract no other investors. One observer described him in 1877 as having "...black hair that hung several inches below his shoulder and a beard that....was a mass of unkempt knots and mats", and wearing "...clothing pieced and patched from deer skins, corduroy and flannel..." Ed gathered up his ore samples and headed out to find his brother Al, who was working at the Silver King mine 100 miles north of Tuscon, in Globe, Arizona.
Marshal Duffield continued to inspire people to try and kill him. One would-be assassin even took a shot at him in open court. Finally, in 1865, offended by his low salary, Milton resigned. The lack of a badge did nothing to mediate his personality. One night in a whore house a friend, John Gregory Bourke, asked Duffield just how many weapons he carried. Milton was just drunk enough not to take offense, and proceeded lay his ever present hand gun on the table, joined by a second gun from a hidden shoulder holster, and derringers from his vest pocket, tucked into his boot, his hip pocket, his front pant pocket and a rear pant pocket. Then he began to produce a variety of knives. Eventually Milton Duffield lay 11 weapons on the table, and no one thought he had completely disarmed.
The north central Arizona town of Globe earned its name in 1875 when a round clump of horn silver was found on Apache lands. When Ed Schieffelin arrived in the fall of 1877, there were 3 mines operating in the area. But Ed's brother Al had just left town, chasing a new silver strike, 300 miles north on the Big Sandy River, at the foot of the Poachie Mountains. Ed spent 2 weeks working at the Champion mine in Globe to earn enough money to make the trip. When he arrived in the new town of Signal, it had a post office and barely 100 residents, one of whom was Al Schieffelin. After a brief reunion (the brothers had not seen each other in 4 years) Ed showed his ore samples to a number of other miners, none of whom thought them worth anything. That night Ed got drunk, and threw his samples as far as he could into the desert night.
Milton Duffield went into real estate, speculating in mining claims. And he continued offending people. When he got into a poker argument, Milton knocked his opponent to the ground, then kicked him in the head. And for good measure, Milton ended the discussion by shooting the stunned man in the ass. One night in June of 1870, 2 men tip toed into his bedroom. Milton awoke to the pain of an axe slicing into his shoulder. He fought the attackers off, sending them retreating into the dark. But it cost Milton his right thumb, in addition to 31 stab wounds
In February of 1878 a new assayer arrived in Signal. His name was Richard Gird. When Ed Schieffelin worked up the courage to show him some ore samples he had missed throwing away the previous fall, Gird was interested enough to run some chemical tests. Three days later he informed Al and Ed the ore tested as being worth $2,000 a ton. The three men (above) made a handshake deal on the spot. Gird bought a second hand blue spring board wagon, and a mule for Ed, and the partners headed back to the Goose Flats mesa.
Time, and his lifestyle was taking a toll on Milton Duffield. His dark eyes still flashed, but his dark hair was turning white. Since the nighttime attack he "...no longer took pleasure in rows, but acted like one who had enough of battles..." Known now generally as "Old Duffy" Milton concentrated on speculating in other people's mining claims. And in 1872 Milton acquired claim to the "Bronco" mine and the adobe, once owned by Frederick Brucnkow (above). A year later, in a tax ploy, he transferred ownership of the mine to his Phoenix landlady, Mrs. Mary E. Vaghn.
In the early spring of 1878 the three partners occupied the Brunckow adobe (above). Gird built an assay furnace in the remains of the cabin's fire place, and the Schieffelin brothers began chipping away at the lode on Goose Flats. The vein proved worth the $2,000 a ton estimate, just as Gird had predicted, but there was barely a ton of it. The vein pinched out three feet below ground level. Al and Gird were despondent, but Ed insisted there was more silver in hills above the mesa, and set out to find it.
The day that Milton Duffield rode his wagon out to the Brunckow adobe - Thursday, 5 June, 1874, he was 64 years old. "Old Duffy" knew he was going to confront a claim jumper - James T. Holmes. Holmes had occupied the cabin a few weeks before, and had ostentatiously begun working the Bronco mine. But Milton knew there was not enough silver left in the 14 year old Bronco to be worth digging out, dragging to the surface and grinding into dust. Apache's and local bandits had murdered some 20 men within sight of the cabin, and it seems that Milton might even have been trying to talk sense to the younger man. It may even have been that his arrival was not a surprise to Holmes, since "Old Duffy" made the trip unarmed.
On Tuesday, 17 June, 1879, Ed Schieffelin arrived in Tuscon driving a battered blue spring wagon. He stopped first at the county recorder's office, to register 2 new mining claims above Goose Flats - the "Tough Nut" and "The Lucky Cuss". He also filed paperwork forming a legal partnership, The Tombstone Gold and Silver Mining Company. Then, Ed delivered his buggy load of silver bullion to the bank, making a deposit the bank valued at $18,744 - almost half a million in today's currency.
The 90 foot wide "Tough Nut" (above) vein would assay out at $15,000 a ton. And it would not pinch out for ten years.
Milton B. Duffield (above) , "The Most Violent Man in Arizona", was buried near the Brunckow adobe. But the Marshal testified he had been killed by a double barrel shotgun blast to the head. The wound suggested that James Holmes had laid in wait and assassinated "Old Duffy". And it was said that in jail Holmes confessed to having been paid $2,000 to eliminate the old man. But who paid him would remain a mystery. Holmes "escaped" before his trial, and was never seen or heard from again. Maybe he changed his name and moved to California, or maybe his employers shut his mouth forever. Much of Milton Duffield's estate had already been signed over to his Phoenix landlady, Mrs. Mary E. Vaghn, hinting the old man was near broke. What was left would be contested by his three wives - the one abandoned in West Virginia, one in California and one in Arizona. About the only thing the first Marshal of Arizona Territory never did, was divorce.