By: Neal Du Shane
To quote from Robert
W. Service “The Spell Of the
There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land “way up yonder”,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
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Photo courtesy of: Peter and Lynn Lowrie
Such was April 20, 2007 when I
ventured west from Wickenburg. Having researched both
Traveling South West from
Wickenburg on Highway 60 approximately 54 miles, I come to
Harrisburg was established on this site in 1886 by Captain Charles Harris, and his partner Governor Frederick Tritle, as a mill town to process ore from the Socorro and other mines in the area. By 1887 two mills were operating here.
The post office was
established April 29, 1887 and discontinued September 29, 1906.
It’s not clear based on
historical information but
Photo courtesy of: Peter and Lynn Lowrie
Today the valley is populated with Hobby Mini-Ranch’s, a gravel operation and full fledged working Ranch’s.
Slightly south of this marker on
the right side of the road, just past
The cemetery is fenced with a large stone monument in the center which was erected by the La Paz Sheriff’s department in December 1985. A tattered United States Flag flutters in the breeze. There are five headstones currently standing that are ledge able. Several small white rock enclosures outlining additional graves, but no names or dates indicating those interred.
When I walked the cemetery with dowsing rods, I identified five additional interments which had absolutely no markings. To the best of my ability I outlined the graves with rocks for future reference.
In total there are 33 interments, there were 17 children, including one infant. Children represent 52% of the graves in this pioneer cemetery. Unfortunately mortality of children and adult males was high in pioneer days. Epidemics and mine accidents took their toll on the residents. Twenty six male interments with seven female interments, 73% of the graves are male.
Using the existing headstones as reference, William J. Bear was the last interment here, passing on June 19, 1920. Unless there has been more recent interment’s that were not identified by a headstone.
In 1886 Capt. Charles Harris, a Canadian who had served with the
northern forces in the Civil War, started the town of Harrisburg in company
with Gov. Frederick A. Tritle. The men hauled a five-stamp mill from
Post Office established February 9, 1887, William Bear, Post Master - discontinued Sept. 4, 1906
At the request of Peter and Lynn Lowrie the APCRP Booster’s volunteered an effort to find Peters Grandmother, Midora Davis Ambrose Kast.
Peter and Lynn had tried to find
a record of where Dora was interred but were never able to document her grave.
Their belief was that Dora would have been interred at the
Photo By: Kevin Hart
Having researched this cemetery over the past four years, I knew out of some 33+ graves at this cemetery there were only five that are currently identified with a headstone. A whopping 85% of the graves, no one seems to know who is buried in the graves with the exception possibly of the families of the interred. There are obvious rock outlines of some of the graves, others nothing remains to identify there is even a grave below.
L-R: Harry Simmons
Ed (I found another one!) Ade, Mary Ann Wunderlin,
Bonnie Helten, Jennel Breuer, Neal Du Shane.
November 28, 2007 Photo by: Glenda Simmons, not pictured
Such was the Arizona Pioneer
& Cemetery Research Project quest. To find, document, identify, restore and
preserve the grave of Dora Ambrose Kast. In all seven APCRP Boosters and one
Photo & Enhancement courtesy: Bonnie Helten 11/28/07
Seven intrepid APCRP Boosters and
one honored guest from
Once establishing with 99.9% certainty this was in fact the correct grave, we proceeded to outline the rectangle by laying stones at the perimeter of the grave to identify it for future reference of family and friends visiting this cemetery.
Photo courtesy: Lynn Lowrie
There are still many unidentified
graves in the
I am in hopes of finding the person that is the Record Keeper of Harrisburg Cemetery to help identify all thirty three plus graves here. If you know who that person is, please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-970-227-3512.
WebMaster: Neal Du Shane