Hard Times, Good Times & Changing Times
This wagon road was built by F.F. Brawn who was heavily invested in the Stockton Hill Mining District. In May 1889 he had purchased Canyon Station about 15 miles north of Kingman from W.H. Hardy. The station was an important stop on the road over the Cerbat Mountains to Mineral Park and Cerbat from Stockton Hill, and the junction of Stockton Hill Road from Kingman. It was here that coaches and wagons were double teamed to pull the steep grade.
Canyon Station figures prominently in a legend about lost treasure. As the story goes, in October of 1873 a man named McAllen learned that a payroll was being shipped over this road. Near Canyon Station, he and an unknown partner stopped the coach, stole the strongbox, and headed into the rugged canyons of the Cerbat Mountains.
A posse of miners and livery hands set out in pursuit, and soon ran down the bandits. The legend is that in the ensuing gun battle McAllen was killed, and his partner apprehended, tried, and sent to the territorial prison in Yuma. But the strongbox was missing and has never been found.
Brawn had also leased the C.O.D. Mine located between Stockton Hill and Canyon Station. Between 1878 and 1892 the C.O.D. Mine produced $500,000 worth of gold. Silver averaged 160 ounces per ton. Lead was also found in ore bodies.
The mine was one of the largest producers in the Stockton Hill Mining District. Prospecting and mining in the area dates to the 1860s. By 1880 a small community had developed on Stockton Hill and in 1888 a post office was established using the name Stockton. The ebb and flow of the population led to the closure of the post office in 1892, but mining continued intermittently into the late 20th century.
The Stockton Hill Road from the railhead at Kingman hugged the foothills of the Cerbat Mountains as it coursed north through the Hualapai Valley. In 1889, it was announced that F.F. Brawn was soliciting investors for the construction of new road to Stockton and Canyon Station. An article published on December 28 noted that he had planned a road through the canyon north of town to intersect the present Stockton Hill Road near J. E. Johnston’s cattle ranch. It was to be about two miles shorter than the original Stockton Hill Road and would avoid the muddy portion of the valley. He estimated that the cost of the new road would be about $500. A section of this road that opened in May 1890 is now known as White Cliffs Wagon Road.
W.H. Taggart of W.H. Taggart Mercantile was a primary investor. He also had a vested interest in Stockon, and other Cerbat Mountain mining camps. At the junction of the Stockton Hill Road and the Beale Wagon Road, Taggart built a road through Johnson Canyon to Cerbat, Mineral Park and Chloride.
Today suburbia is encroaching on the townsie of Stockton. Stockton Hill Road is one of the primary commercial arteries in Kingman and it is lined with manifestations of the modern generic era; Walmart, McDonald’s, stip malls, mini marts, grocery stores and chain restaurants. And the remnant of the old wagon road in the shadow of towering cliffs, once an artery of commerce that represented the future, has been blended into a trail system for hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts. Times change.
The good times of the 1890s would be viewed as hard times today. The frustraitions of the late 19th century businessman was an onry mule, a broken spoke, or a muddy road. In the 21st century it is being locked out of a Facebook acocunt, the internet being down, or issues with on line banking.