Verde Heritage By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Friday, December 28, 2012
"Ex-County Supervisor John Wood, who has lived in the Verde Valley since 1873, and who is one of the most responsible and respected citizens thereof, is temporarily stopping in Prescott as a witness in some water right litigation which has sprung up in the valley."
"Yesterday the 'Courier' reporter hunted up Mr. Wood for the purpose of asking him about certain hot springs in the Verde valley which he had visited, much to the benefit of his general health. Mr. Wood gave the 'Courier' the following information:"
"Some three years ago, his health had become so feeble that physicians informed him that he had but a short time to live. About this time Mr. Wood had in his employ an Apache Indian known as 'Jack.' This Indian was about fifty years of age; was an ex-Army scout, and had really been born in the Verde Valley; and when a boy, lived for some years at Brown Springs, now better known as Sullivan's ranch, and five miles above the Verde Valley Hot Springs."
"It will be remembered that the Apaches held possession of the Verde Valley and this whole section of country when white men first came; that after years of the most terrible guerrilla warfare, the Apaches were finally moved to the San Carlos reservation, in Southern Arizona. The Verde valley was more highly esteemed by the Apaches than any portion of their domain, on account of its abundance of water, its balmy climate, abundance of game and fish, and the fertility of its soil, and many of them have returned to that beloved home of their youth to camp, fish, hunt, and work for the ranchers. Of course these old Indians are acquainted with every foot of this portion of country, no place being too secluded, hidden or inaccessible to prevent their intimate acquaintance with it, for these children of nature devoted the same attention to reading the surface of the earth that their educated white brethren do to reading books."
"Ex-Army Scout 'Indian Jack,' who worked for Mr. Wood, noted the latter's sickness and one day told him of the existence of the hot springs in the valley, the waters of which would cure him. 'Jack' said that in years gone by these springs were much resorted to by the people of his tribe, who for generations had known of the curative properties of the waters."
"Mr. Wood, who was in a most precarious condition, was much in the predicament of a drowning man grasping at straws, and he gladly availed himself of the offer of his Indian friend to pilot him to the springs, concluding that if he had to die in a few weeks, he might as well die at the springs as elsewhere, and he would chance the waters doing him some good; and he is free to say today that the use of those waters saved his life. He bathed in and drank of the water, and says the benefit derived was marked and unmistakable. Fishing and hunting is always good in this vicinity and when he and his Indian friend arrived at the springs, the Indian went out and returned in a short time with a fat deer."
"Since Mr. Wood first visited the springs, others have tested them and pronounced them most beneficial. The case is cited of one man who went there a complete physical wreck, and after camping at the springs a few months, left there an exceptionally robust man. Rheumatism, kidney afflictions and indigestion are said to disappear in many cases following the use of the water."
"The springs are, Mr. Wood states, located at a point so secluded that a man might travel over that country a lifetime and not stumble across them, as they are on the non-traveled side of the Verde river at a very narrow point in the valley. The springs are located twenty miles south of Camp Verde down the Verde river. The springs, for there are a group of them, commence to bubble up from a bench of rocks above the high water mark beside the Verde river and extend well down into the river, the larger volume of water shooting up from the bottom of the river and mingling with the rapid flow of the waters of the river itself. A stream of about five inches of this hot water falls over this rocky bench and flows into the river while about 50 inches of the same hot water bubbles up in the bed of the river. The temperature of the water is about 102 degrees. Back of this rocky bench rises a considerable butte."
"Mr. Wood has been to the famed hot springs of Arkansas, and while he speaks highly of those springs, he believes the Verde Valley Hot Springs are the best."
"In the immediate vicinity of the springs are several nice places which could be improved and made quite attractive resorts, while a short distance above is a beautiful valley of about 100 acres, where nature needs but little assistance to make as charming a resort as is to be found in any country. Near and below these springs is a natural lagoon of about five acres, which is said to fill with water at times. The fall is such here that the flow of the Verde river comes under the general classification of 'rapids.' It is said that a plan to divert the waters of the Verde river to one side in order to allow all the waters of these springs to flow into this natural lake basin is feasible, and that about 55 inches of this hot water which flows all the time would go into the lake by gravity and afford a healthful bathing resort not to be excelled in any country."
"About five inches of water from the upper springs flows over the rocky bench, which is about 15 feet high, with a very attractive scenic effect."
"The nearest railroad point to these springs is Mayer, on the P. & E. railroad, about 25 miles distant. A wagon road now runs from Mayer to the summit and within eight miles of the springs. The balance of the trip would have to be made, owing to the nature of the country, on foot or horseback. The Arizona Power company will extend this wagon road on to the valley. The survey for the road runs within half a mile of the springs and the company's power house will be erected on the Verde river about half a mile below the springs." ...
Mr. Wood "believes that with the advent of capital to fit up all modern conveniences at the Verde Valley Hot Springs, that the business to and from the springs alone would go far toward paying for the running of a branch railroad. --- 'Courier'"