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Galeyville: Curly Bill & wild mining. Tombstone Trip - Tombstone Tips, Issue #017
August 04, 2018

Insider Info Newsletter

August 2018


~ ~ Galeyville - Curly Bill Brocius, Mines & More!

~ ~ July Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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Galeyville was well-known to those who lived in Tombstone AZ in the 1880s. Tombstone was the county seat for Cochise County for awhile back then. The law & courts in town oversaw that area.

Miners also looked to the latest best opportunity. Some saw their options there. Cowboys also frequented the town, as they roamed throughout Southeast Arizona. Curly Bill was associated with this community - but not for mining!

Galeyville - On the Eastern Chiricahua Mountainside

Established at the End of 1880

#1 - Named for John H. Galey

~ ~ Galey was from Titusville, PA, president of the Texas Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. Silver & lead were the ores gotten from their claims.

~ ~ In mid December 1880 about 200 people were in Galeyville. Some were there to mine, but others were about to open businesses. Mrs. Dickinson built a hotel which was nearly ready.

~ ~ Houses were being built. More people were coming in each day.

From the Arizona Daily Star
Saturday, December 11, 1880 - Page 3

#2 - A Miner's Town!

~ ~ By the end of January 1880 a Phoenix newspaper had taken note of this booming new town. They gave an assessment...

~ ~ A telegraph line was in the planning stages & would soon be built. Brought in by S.M. Wessels (one of Texas Consolidated's management team).

~ ~ A stage line for transportation was needed. So Wells Fargo was soon to open an office in town.

~ ~ But of course for relaxation after a hard day's work - the paper noted there were already plenty of saloons. They also observed there wasn't a church or school to be found!

From the Arizona Weekly Citizen
Sunday, January 30, 1881 - Page 2

#3 - Going Strong Through May 1881

~ ~ Glowing reports of the mining status reached Arizona newspapers in the first part of 1881. The town was booming!

~ ~ A writer to the Arizona Weekly Citizen reported that 2 other Mining Companies came to town. Between the 3, + individual claims, he estimated at least 800 claims were being worked.

From the Arizona Weekly Citizen
Sunday, February 13, 1881 - Page 3

#4 - Comparison to Tombstone

~ ~ The local paper, the Galeyville Bulletin promoted their mining as better than what could be developed in the Tombstone area because of their location. On the Eastern foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains, they had ready access to running streams & lots of timber.

~ ~ In early April 1881, their editor equated $40 of Galeyville ore to be worth $60 of ore coming out of Tombstone mines. That because of the superior ease of working/production of the local ores.

~ ~ But soon trouble was to begin for Galeyville. The first hint was when the newspaper itself stopped publishing! Noticed all the way in Yuma AZ, along the California border:

From Yuma's Arizona Sentinel
Saturday, June 18, 1881 - Page 4

#5 - Cowboys, Including Curly Bill Brocius, Around Town

~ ~ Complaints began, in particular around September 1881, about the actions of the "Cowboys" in the vicinity of Galeyville. Acting Territorial Governor Gosper even wrote the Secretary of State of the situation in Southeast AZ. He complained "at Galeyville, San Simon & other points... the cowboy element at times fully predominates, & the officers of the law are... unable to control this class of outlaws..."

~ ~ The Arizona Star of Sept. 10, 1881 told of a Galeyville poker game robbery. It was led by David Estes, "one of two men who robbed a game of about four hundred dollars..." The other man mentioned is known to have been Johnny Ringo.

~ ~ When they were brought to trial in Tombstone, AZ none of the witnesses would appear & testify! The pair couldn't be convicted.

~ ~ An incident involving Curly Bill during the 1st half of 1881 almost cost him his life! He was with another cowboy, James Wallace. They were drinking in Galeyville saloons & got into an argument. As it got heated their friends separated the 2. They went into different bars.

~ ~ About the same time they both exited through the swinging doors, nearly opposite each other - onto the dusty main street. James got his horse as if to leave town. But he also got his Colt 45 & shot Curly Bill in his neck!

~ ~ Amazingly it missed all vital areas in that small space, but fractured his jawbone. A local man took charge, backing it up with his Sharp's Rifle. He made sure the cowboys who took sides in the issue didn't cause any more problems. Wallace was arrested.

Curly Bill - Not Authenticated

From the Tombstone Weekly Epitaph
Monday, March 6, 1882 - Page 3

#6 - Attacks & Bad Management

~ ~ In September 1881, the town's people had asked the military for arms to protect itself. The Command was to sell them surplus. Then decided to give 20 rifles & 1000 cartridges. The town & military felt an imminent threat of attack from native peoples whose traditional lands they now occupied. Many Galeyville locals just left town.

~ ~ Surprisingly, after the Epitaph's report on March 6, 1882 Tucson's Daily Star begins printing a Notice for 3 months. It read that creditors of John Galey from Texas Consolidated should present to his office in Galeyville any financial claims owed them. They would be compared with his books & the "correct amount of his indebtedness be ascertained."

~ ~ In late April of 1882 there's word that a band of "hostiles" were moving toward Southeast Arizona. Some say they'd attacked at Galeyville. Even that the town had been "wiped out." A May 1st report in the Tombstone Epitaph cleared up that rumor as false. But a local did report that mining was suspended. A battle with Apaches occurred in the area, but only affected the town psychologically.

~ ~ In September 1882's Tombstone Epitaph, ads began advertising "Mines, Machinery & Other Property" from Texas Consolidated for sale.

From Arizona Weekly Citizen
Sunday, October 2, 1881 - Page 4

#7 - Galeyville the Ghost Town

~ ~ By June 10, 1882 the Galeyville Post Office closed. Their mail was sent to Wilcox. Quite a distance, especially in those days.

~ ~ On July 2, 1882 Tucson's Weekly Citizen hinted at the financial condition of mining in town: "The failure made by the company had the effect of deadening the camp..."

~ ~ Some sources say the mines gave out, but most believe it was bad business decisions by Galey in running Texas Consolidated. Most of the miners moved on. They weren't getting paid!! Businesses closed.

~ ~ Some references say that Galeyville only lasted as a town during 1881 & 1882: only 2 years. That it became a ghost town after that. But is that the case?

~ ~ On July 15, 1882 the Tombstone Epitaph reported Census results for Cochise County. They criticized its accuracy, saying it under reported the population by 33%!

~ ~ It complained that "Galeyville is not mentioned in the table, but... that place is included in Morse's Mill and vicinity." The count there reported 94, vs. Tombstone at 5,300! What's strange is Morse's Mill is even more obscure than Galeyville - just a sawmill area built by Morse & Co. near Camp Bowie.

~ ~ But Galeyville continued on. In December 1883 a few incidents happened when the law interviewed citizens living in Galeyville. It seemed outlaws still were drawn to the town. Individual small mining operations were there at least as late as 1902. E.J. Hands lived in Galeyville & sold his mine there to P.H. Clark.

~ ~ On May 4, 1886 the Tombstone Epitaph was happy to report a Wild West Show was in town that evening at City Hall (of all places!). The heading called it the "Greatest Show on Earth" with "Unprecedented Attractions." After appearing in Tombstone, they headed to other local towns, among which was Galeyville. [By the way - we've got more details about it on our Wild West Show website page!! Click that link above - kinda crazy & amazing!]

~ ~ From July 1886 until at least 1896 the Cochise County Board of Supervisors regularly assigned Galeyville Precinct numbers, + Inspector & Judge posts for elections. At times, though, nobody in Galeyville even voted.

~ ~ But in the November 6, 1894 election The Cochise County Board of Supervisors officially reported the votes from Galeyville. For Congress: 6-Democrat, 3-Republican, 1-People's Party. For Councilman-at-Large: 7-Dem, 2-Rep, 1-People's. Councilman: 8-Dem, 2-Rep. Sheriff: 6-Dem, 4-Rep [Republican candidate was Tombstone photographer C.S. Fly - he won with a total of 730 votes over 425 for his opponent Scott White.]

~ ~ Not much is known of what happened to John Galey when he left town, essentially broke. But rumor was he recovered & made a fortune in Texas oil! The mine's smelter was sent to Benson AZ. Many structures were taken down & carted off to Paradise, used for buildings there. Only a few buildings, some foundations & a slag dump were left in Galeyville by early 1911. Now it's hard to detect any town was there. A few people do still live in the area, though.

~ ~ We hope you enjoyed your trip back in history to the virtual Ghost Town of Galeyville AZ!

~ ~ We love searching through the old towns of Southeastern Arizona, learning about the characters who lived there & seeing how they fit in with the Wild West & Tombstone AZ.

We hope we'll see you in town, getting a chance to check out the streets where Curly Bill Brocius roamed. There are places in town that hold remnants of his life. Let us know if you'll be going to an upcoming event!

Tell us how you liked any of them, or what you visited here! Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments - credit with just a first name & last initial; or only initials; or anonymous.)


Tombstone 1993 Movie Anniversary Reunion

~ ~ It was quite busy in town. But maybe not quite as totally busy as we thought it was gonna be. We actually were on our way out the first day. We began a 3 week tour of Old West areas in 3 different Western states.

~ ~ But before we left we caught a few things. Heard one complaint from someone who was upset. He felt there wasn't enough publicity that to individually meet/talk to the "stars" involved - they charged a fee.

~ ~ I know this may be a bit controversial to some. I did answer questions via FB when asked about this directly. I just relay info as I can, as I don't represent the events or the "stars." But I do know this is one way they earn income, as they aren't always making films - they earn from their fame & prior films, etc. And they always make some type of free public appearance - a parade, on a grandstand, etc.

And the town/people benefit from these events. So if you ever have a question about anything, remember to ask - I'll research it, as I do have sources.

Jerry Crandall & his Wife, Judy - With Peter Sherayko
Played Texas Jack Vermillion in Tombstone
All Arrive in Town for the 25th Anniversary Reunion of the 1993 Tombstone Movie

Col. Allen West stops by Jerry & Judy Crandall's Booth
at Tombstone City Park during the 25th Anniversary Reunion

The Other Trolley - Tombstone Mine Trolley

~ ~ This is still from observation. We're kind of yet in a bit of recovery mode from our road trip through the West. We've been into town just a couple of times since we got home.

~ ~ I've noticed on the weekend I've seen this trolley out. But not on weekdays. So I'm thinking they're now running on weekends & event days. But it's still just conjecture. I will get a final answer on this soon! Thanks for your patience!!


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Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
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