Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Version 112408


White Picacho Mountain



November 23, 2008 found Kevin Hart, his dog Opy and me, exploring Trilby Wash northwest of Morristown, Arizona.


For the past five years, in my research of Jack Swilling this was the location Jack ventured in his quest to exhume the remains of Col. Jacob Snively.


Kevin Hart and Opy getting ready to head up White Picacho Mountain. Nov. 23, 2008


Fate being what it is, Jacks ability to make boisterous comparative statements eventually led to his arrest and trial as well as the two others for a Sate Coach robbery (which they never committed) near Wickenburg.  No evidence was found to link Jack and the other two to the robbery. The three accused were acquitted in Yavapai County but a legal technicality, in that the robbery happened in Maricopa County, they were hauled off to Yuma for a second trial. Evidently there was no jail in Phoenix or Maricopa County at the time. Do to Jack’s extended incarceration and poor health lead to his death on August 12, 1878 in the Yuma County Jail. A tragic and untimely end to one of Arizona’s true Pioneers and founders.


APCRP research has found what we believe to be Jack Swilling’s final resting place in Yuma. We have also indentified and located the second interment of Col. Jacob Snively’s in the back yard of the former Jack Swilling Stone house in Black Canyon City. 


History writing noted several others were killed with Col. Snively on that fateful day near White Picacho Mountain. Trying to relive the tracks of Jack sojourn, I have traveled some of the historic route we believe Jack traveled to exhume Col. Snively’s remains.


Kevin and I talked to a couple of cowboys a few weeks ago in San Domingo Wash that gave us an idea where the graves were. We parked at the well on the northwest side of White Picacho Mountain in Trilby Wash. Proceed to hike to the east following the cattle trail and vague resemblance of a vehicle road. Stopping regularly to research what the rods were indicating, we proceed to the “Saddle” just before it went down the east side.


Graves at White Picacho Mountain, identified by pile of rocks for headstones


At such point on the right side of the road/trail we identified five graves. Three adult male’s to which accompanied Col. Snively and were killed with him do to Indian attack. We also found a lone woman’s grave and a Cowboy’s grave.


While the major portion of Col. Jacob Snively was exhumed by Jack Swilling we found a location that gives reason to believe not all of Col. Snively’s remains were gathered by Jack Swilling when he was exhumed.


The Cowboys be met in San Domingo Wash indicated during prohibition there was a bootleg operation in or at the saddle due to the remoteness of this location, the cowboys referred to it as “Bootlegger Spring”. Although there is no spring in the saddle but there is a spring approximately ¾ mile down at Trilby Wash from this location.



It is a ¾ mile hike from Trilby Wash with a six percent grade. Lots of washouts but an easy climb if you follow the cattle trail.


Only a trained eye will identify the graves or person using dowser can identify them. They are typical of early western graves in that they are very likely buried where they died. No formality of alignment as is the standard today.


We were warned by the Cowboys to watch for Rattlesnakes along the trail but never saw anything crawling, however it was a cool morning.


Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

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