Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

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By: Cindy Enos

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008.


Rock Cabin near Johnson Mine on Weaver Creek – Author Cindy Enos exploring.

Photo courtesy: Bonnie Helten



By: Neal Du Shane


At this juncture in our research, there has been no documentation that this small mining camp with a grouping of buildings, along Weaver Creek had a recorded name. Not even a localism reference.


Talked to local Historian Ira Kelley . . . what an absolute delightful honor. Ira worked at the Johnson Mine at the age of 17 in the 1930's. He remembered the stone house and the house the woman lived in across Weaver Creek.


Ira remembered a story of a person being shot in the general area of the stone house and that person was buried near the creek. Ira indicated there was a cemetery there with approximately 50 + - graves.


He didn't recall the area having a name, nor the name of the man who lived in the stone house. Ira indicated the land area was so small he only remembered 4 or 5 structures.


Ira indicated at one time the Johnson Mine had a boarding house but couldn't recall exactly where it was. Its location was near the mine itself for convenience of the miners.


Ira’s father had a ranch on the other side of Rich Hill (to the west). If you travel north out of Stanton on the old stage road to Yarnell you will come to the ranch on the right after crossing the creek (approximately 2 to 3 miles), this was his dads ranch. The house and buildings still appear to be occupied. The Kelley family had a section (640 Acres). Ira would walk from the family ranch to the Johnson Mine, work the week, then hike back over Rich Hill to the family ranch. Ira recalled sleeping out under the stars when working at the Johnson Mine.


 The Old Kelley ranch is where the cemetery that "Claudia" and six others are buried. He didn't remember anything about Claudia or any cemetery near the ranch. He assumed the graves came about after the 1930's and his family’s departure from this area.


House of a woman that lived here for many years.

Photo courtesy: Bonnie Helten


A great day for an outing as Dee Smith, my neighbor, and I wait for Bonnie Helten and Brenda Berge to arrive at my house. Brenda had never been to Stanton, Octave or Weaver, and was very excited to see that part of the area. By mid morning we had our gear loaded in the Jeep and were bouncing slowly down the dusty dirt road to Stanton.

A brief drive through Stanton and a quick oral history of it to Brenda, satisfied everyone.

With the sun shining in our eyes we continued past the ghost town of Weaver. Bonnie had a map and directions to go to the Johnson Mine area, which was past the ghost town of Weaver. Neal Du Shane of APCRP had suspicions regarding a cemetery between the Johnson Mine and Weaver. Neal's directions were precise and we had no trouble finding the site.


Upon arriving, excitedly we all jumped out of the jeep and grabbed our cameras. We headed out in different directions to photograph the remains of a once very busy establishment.

I snapped a picture of a stone building nearest the jeep, then put my camera down and grabbed my dowsing rods. Before I could even start my research, the rods pointed to the west where the cemetery was. Turning, I knew exactly were the graves were. The energy was so strong and I knew the interred wanted to be found. I climbed down to the creek bed, while the other gals went on up the road to explore.


Cindy Enos (center) researches the derelict Johnson Cemetery

Photo courtesy: Bonnie Helten


Although the graves were not easily visible due to water damage I stepped off about six graves. Only two were women. These graves were of Mexican descent and research was difficult. Upon further investigation many more graves were visible down stream, especially on the east bank on the creek where the graves were more protected from the elements.


Josefa Alverez Grave in Weaver Cemetery

Similar graves in Johnson Cemetery

Photo courtesy: Bonnie Helten


My attention however was directed to a particular grave on the west side of the creek. The energy was extremely strong and angry. This gunslinger couldn't spill it out to me fast enough. My dowsing rods began to shake and the thoughts were fast and furious.

"Ok-Ok-Ok!" I said. "Slow down, e-a-s-y."

The anger that was built up came out a little more relaxed. The man had been shot in the back in front of a hotel, boarding house or possible saloon, but defiantly wooden in structure. His money was taken, but not his weapons. The reason wasn't really known why, but the gunslinger's anger at being shot in the back was horrific.

I left the gunslinger to find the other gals. Heading up the road I tried to logically think through what I had just experienced. Deep in thought, I stopped instantly, looking to my right, and there it was. The wooden building where the gunslinger was shot. There was no doubt. That was it or what was left of it. A satisfied feeling blew over me, as if the gunslinger was at peace knowing that I knew what happened here.


Remains of a possible boarding house, hotel or saloon

where the gunslinger was shot in the back and killed.

Photo courtesy: Bonnie Helten


I was ready to move on now, but decided to take a quick look around at the old buildings. Heading back to the cemetery Bonnie and I estimated about 50 graves. We both decided to name the site “Johnson Cemetery”.



Interred at Weaver Cemetery


Our attentions quickly diverted to finding the grave of Josefa Alverez (The Goatherder Woman) at Weaver Cemetery. Upon entering the cemetery we had no trouble finding her grave. Individual graves are easily visible inside the fencing; however, there are many graves beyond the area that are not so plainly marked.



Our last stop for the day was Octave Cemetery. Again, we found the same thing as with Weaver Cemetery. There are many graves outside the fenced in area. We dowsed the grave of Javis Thomason, and also that of Amelia Thomason.

We ended the day by looking northeast from the entrance of Octave Cemetery toward the mountains. About halfway down along a ridge and reflecting on Henry Buck Schoonover, who was buried there and what life was really like for all these people who once lived here.


Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

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