Category Archives: True Facts, Legends & Lies

Goodies that may or may not be true facts, somewhat exaggerated, or even wild-eyed stories. You be the judge.

Legend of the Hassayampa

Wickenburg, Az.

Hassayampa River, Wickenburg, Az.

At any rate, it was not people who went into the desert merely to write it up who invented the fabled Hassayampa, of whose waters, if any drink, they can no more see fact as naked fact, but all radiant with the color of romance. I, who must have drunk of it in my twice seven years’ wanderings, am assured that it is worth while.

~ Land of Little Rain – Mary Austin
Country of Lost Borders

The legend of the Hassayampa River — The Hassayampa rises in Yavapai county on the northern slope of Mount Union- flows south and enters Gila River at Powers Butte in Maricopa county. It is said to be named by Pauline Weaver  and to mean–beautiful waters. One legend says–He who drinks above the trail is ever truthful – While he who drinks below is lost to the truth.

The Hassayampa Legend
-Andrew Downing

There’s a legend centuries old
By the early Spaniards told
Of a sparkling stream that “lies”
Under the Arizona skies
Hassayampa is its name
And the title of its fame
Is a wondrous quality
Known today from sea to sea
Those who drink it’s waters bright
Red man, white man, boor or Knight
Girls, or women, boys or men
Never tell the truth again!

Shorty Harris — Out to Lunch

 

Companion & Harris, Shorty, 1857-1934

Shorty Harris and companion eating next to an automobile somewhere in Death Valley during the 1920s. Rhyolite, Nevada was founded in 1904 after Shorty Harris and Ed Cross discovered Rhyolite Quartz at the Bullfrog mine. By 1906 the town had two railroad lines and a population of 10,000. The mines, however, did not produce as expected and by the early 1910s Rhyolite was abandoned. Aurora, Nevada was a silver mining boom town founded in 1860. The heyday of Aurora ran throughout the 1860s (Mark Twain briefly lived there), but it slowly declined after 1870. It went through a rebirth in 1912 when a new stamp mill and cyanide plant were built at the mines. In 1917, however, the mill closed down and by the early 1920s Aurora was abandoned. Calico, California was initially founded as a silver mining town in 1882 but by 1890 the cost of recovering the silver became prohibitive. The town, however, continued to exist until 1907 due to the production of Borax.

Shorty Harris

At Furnace Creek ranch, Mr. Harris learned of the finding of three partially decomposed bodies between Lee’s camp in Echo canon and the Lida C. [sic] borax mine, at the foot of a low hill on the north side of the Funeral range. The presence of the bodies was first reported at Ash Meadows by an Indian, who was attracted to the spot by a band of coyotes and a …

The Prospector

Shorty Harris, Death Valley

Shorty Harris

The prospector is one of the unique, one of the most exceptional and most worthy of all those remarkable characters who have exploited and led the way for the development of the west. The west owes him a debt of gratitude which the west can never pay. Always poor, often homeless, self-reliant, hopeful, generous and brave, he has been the solitary explorer of desert and mountain vastness. He is the one who unlocked from its imprisoned silence the countless millions of what is now the world’s wealth. He penetrates the most remote and inaccessible regions, defies hunger and storms alike, sleeps upon the mountain side or in improvised cabins, restlessly wanders and searches through weeks and months and years for nature’s hidden and hoarded treasures. Often-times his search ends in poverty and distress and failure, sometimes in success. Without the prospector – this poor isolated wanderer – the great mining centers of the west would not exist. Without his uneasy, never-tiring efforts, millions of dollars now on their way to minister to the happiness and comfort of the country would never have been poured into the channels of business and commerce.

(Excerpt taken from “100 Years of Real Living” by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, 1961)

Prospectors & Miners

Shorty Harris