Richinbar Mine

Richinbar Mine
Richinbar Mine - Photo from 1940 - Courtesy of Arizona Geologic Survey files

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Another Day in the Crown King Saloon

This is my new song based on the story of Justice Reynolds and Andres Bustamente described in my last blog post.  I hope that you enjoy it.  Feel free to leave comments on the blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sept 10, 1904 - Justice Reynolds Murdered by Andres Bustamente

Here is a story that needs telling - A drifter murders a justice of peace in a Crown King saloon in 1904.  The Territorial Governor contributes $250 reward money in addition to $100 from the county sheriff.  The story captured the attention of the entire state with news stories printed from Bisbee to Flagstaff.  The accused murderer eludes capture for 9 days and then severely beats one of the three deputies who attempt to capture him while he slept.

According to the Bisbee Daily Review, "Justice Killed Near Prescott...Posse Surrounds Murderer and Will Close in This Morning...Judge Reynolds Was Widely Known in the Territory - Was Shot Through the Heart By Mexican Because of Woman".  This information is based on the story as report in the Coconino Sun, Arizona Silver Belt, and the Bisbee Daily Review.

Here are the facts as reported:
Justice Reynolds was 60 years old.  He was in Crown King on official business, but he spent the much of the day on September 10, 1904 in the local saloon.  He spent part of the day drinking and quarreling with Andres Bustamente, a 25-year old man from Mexico.  They argued several times about a beautiful Mexican woman.  Bustamente may have been a mine worker, or a drifter who frequented the local saloons.  After shooting and killing Reynolds, Bustamente "sauntered into another saloon", but quickly left.  "Bustamente is said to have a bad reputation and the Mexicans throughout the area are afraid of him".

A $100 reward was offered by the County Sheriff and a $250 reward was offered by Governor Brodie of the Arizona Territory.  Bustamente was described as 5'10" and 150 pounds with a scar from a bullet wound on the right side of his neck.  Sheriff Roberts led a posse of twenty men in search of Bustamente after the shooting.  A miner by the name of Dennis Welsh encountered Bustamente on September 16th near Hot Springs Junction and reported him to the Sheriff.  "Bustamente was captured this morning (Sept 19) after a hard fight with three officers.  He was tracked to the house of a woman in Columbia (Near Humbug) by three of Sheriff Roberts' deputies and surprised while asleep.  As soon as awakened Bustamente got his rifle and before Deputy Mike Welch could defend himself he had been struck two vicious blows over the head, falling to the floor in a senseless condition.  The other two deputies closed in on the Mexican, and by beating him severely with revolvers were able to handcuff his wrists."
"Bustamente, charged with the murder of Judge Reynolds at Crown King was yesterday lodged in the county jail.  His passage from the depot to the jail was thronged with curious people, fully 100 following him to the portals, from where he may emerge to the scaffold.  He appeared to take a keen delight at the notoriety he was receiving and expressed his satisfaction with a broad grin."

My song will explore the ambiguity of the situation:  Why did Justice Reynolds spend the day with Bustamente?  Was the woman who was the subject of their arguments the same woman who was with Bustamente the day that he was arrested?  Was Bustamente protecting Maria in the only way that he knew?  While all of the news accounts focused on the "Mexican" no one talked about Reynolds.

These two powerful men collided during a violent period in Arizona history.  While Bustamente led a short and violent life, Justice Reynolds may have had a more colorful life than first appears.

Look for my song to be posted on this blog in the coming days.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Humbug Open House

Mill at Humbug Creek

The public was invited to the Humbug Open House on March 3rd, sponsored by Dave Burns, Neal Du Shane, and the Arizona Pioneer and Cemetery Research Project.  This is an annual event that offers a rare view of one of Arizona's best-preserved ghost towns.  Dave led several groups through a tour of the original home-site of Charles Champie, the original smelter, the home of Frank Hyde, the cemetery, and mill.  You can read more about the history of Humbug by referring to this link History of Humbug.

Neal led our caravan of vehicles about 10 miles north of Lake Pleasant on Saturday morning.  The route passed through several gates that were unlocked for the open house.  Small group tours were offered to the Columbia and El Paro Bonito mines.  At its peak, approximately 200 people lived at Humbug.  The current owners are working to preserve the remaining structures, while providing the public with an opportunity to enjoy a day learning about one of Arizona's unique ghost towns.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Richinbar Mine (updated song)

This is an updated version of The Richinbar Mine:
- Added a final verse
The miners all left without telling their story.
A few men are buried, the end of the line.
If you go, say a prayer for the miners and families
Their memories live at the Richinbar Mine
- Added historical photos courtesy of the Arizona Pioneer and Cemetery Research Project and the Sharlot Hall Museum
- New musical arrangement

Please post your comments to provide me with your feedback about the song. Bookmark my blog and check back to see new posts about Arizona history, mining, hiking, and music.