Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Presentation

Version 032308

 

WALNUT GROVE, ARIZONA

 

WALNUT GROVE CEMETERY

 

This historic Pioneer Cemetery is well preserved and maintained by local ranchers and residents. Many interesting pioneers are interred here. Heritage runs deep with families that opened this area to ranching, mining, dam building, and forestry.

 

One such individual is the Al Francis of Fort Misery fame, Fort Misery is on Humbug Creek south of Bradshaw City, The Tiger Mine and Oro Belle. In Alís later years he was employed by James Minotto a local rancher in the area at the time, as a teamster, died of an unknown causes while working for Minotto and is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.

 

 

 

Layout of some of the known Graves at the Walnut Grove Cemetery. It is possible an additional 30 to 50 graves are unidentified Ė research continues.

Walnut Grove Cemetery Layout Courtesy: Michael and Ella McCracken

 

Walnut Grove Cemetery 2008

Photo by: Neal Du Shane

 

Another notable is one of several survivors of Custerís Last Stand. Research indicates there were arguably ten that survived, although they were not on the fateful ridge standing shoulder to shoulder with Custer but none the less involved in the general battle. According to local rancher Tripp Carter his Grandfather told him of this grave but Tripp didnít remember the personís name. Our research leads us to believe we have identified his grave site and his name was John D. Lindsay who was a scout for the 7th Calvary, was wounded and survived. John D. Lindsey was employed as a ranch hand at the time of his passing and was interred in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.

 

Walnut Grove School

Photo by: Neal Du Shane

 

Pauline Weaver resided at Walnut Grove for a short time. Arizonaís notable pioneer Jack Swilling, also resided here with his wife Trinidad and family. Jack was credited with saving the lives of miners ambushed by Indians near Turkey Creek to the east of Crown King. It always amazes me the motility these Pioneers exhibited considering their only means of transportation was walking or horse.

 

Today the old Walnut Grove School and church are still being used to limited extent by local residents.

 

Other notable activities in the area, was the building of the Walnut Grove Dam to supply water power for the mining activities down stream a few miles. The concept was to high pressure wash the Hassayampa River banks with this water to extract the perceived gold and precious metals. Fate stepped in and lack of proper engineering caused the dam to fail on February 22, 1890 and caused flooding and deaths as far away as Morristown and Seymour.

 

Historic Pictures of Lake Walnut Grove represent a tranquil peaceful mountain retreat. According to research, this area was summer haven for mothers with children with medical issues. They would bring their children to this area and would spend their summer in the Wagoner and Walnut Grove to avoid the blistering heat of the desert of Phoenix.

 

Photo courtesy: Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper

 

Research at the cemetery identified from 30 to 50 unmarked and unidentified graves. With the limited time we had during this visit with the other work we were performing, indications are that some of the unidentified graves are Mexican and Chinese individuals that were working on the Walnut Grove Dam and died for various reasons. Logically this indicates they were transient in nature and did not have had family or friends to identify their grave with a stone marker. A wooden cross may have been placed at their head but these have long since decayed and vanished.

 

While there is another cemetery on the Wagoner Road farther East, one mile past the Ghost Town of Wagoner, it is believed the majority of these graves are of the children that came to the area with their mothers in the summers and perished due to poor health. One would also have to assume some of the Walnut Grove Dam workers were also buried in the Wagoner Cemetery. The Wagoner Cemetery is been desecrated with speculators looking for precious metals and only one grave is still visible with a headstone. It is believe there is up to 100 plus graves at this cemetery. This information is subject to change with further research of the ground and cemetery by APCRP.

 

There is a continuing effort to clean the Walnut Grove Cemetery and remove some of the overgrowth that is covering and hiding graves. The local historical society has volunteered to remove the overgrowth and work on making headstones for the graves that no longer and very likely, never had markers.

 

Travel north from Yarnell to approximately a quarter mile before Kirkland Junction. Turn east on Wagoner Road and follow this road several miles to the Gold Bar Ranch. Turn right into the ranch and stop at the house to request permission to proceed further. Follow their directions to the cemetery.

 

This Cemetery is on private property. Do not trespass Ė Stop at the Gold Bar ranch and get permission to visit this beautiful historic Pioneer Cemetery.

 

 

Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project

Presentation

Version 032308

 

WebMaster: Neal Du Shane

 

n.j.dushane@comcast.net