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Details of the Life of Bisbee, Arizona Prospector George Warren

Prospector George Warren
George Warren
By Unknown, published
by S.J. Clarke Publishing Company
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
George Warren was born in 1835 in Massachusetts. When he was young, his mother died and he lived with his aunt until he turned ten years old. He was then sent off to New Mexico to live with his father. Tragically, he would lose his father when he and his father were attacked by Apaches. George only had non-fatal wounds but his father was killed. After the attack, the Apache took George with them and held him captive for nearly two years. He was let free when some local prospectors saw George and he was released for a trade of sugar. These prospectors would end up being the ones that taught George Warren his trade.

A few photos exist of George Warren since the photographer Camillus Sydney Fly would visit Bisbee and take photos of the miners as they collected their pay. The man on The Great Seal of the State of Arizona is based on one of Fly's photos of George Warren.

George Warren was talked into staking a mining claim by Lt. John Rucker and a man named Ted Byrne after a scout, Jack Dunn, found a good place to mine while looking for a water source. Their only requirement was for Warren to use Dunn's name on all mining claims. George Warren didn't stick by his agreement and got drunk and gambled away the mining stake. Later on, he would get backers to stake new claims. Which would lead to the creation of the Warren Mining District. He also held an interest in the Copper Queen Mine at this time.

George Warren had two serious injuries from fights. He was also known to be a heavy drinker. Once, in a duel, he was shot in the neck. Another time, he was shot in the arm and the leg and he survived both incidents. In other words, he was one tough 'son-of-a-bitch'.

Stories about George Warren, 
other individualsand the history of 
Arizona are presented in this book 
in the form of poetry.
He lost his investment in the Copper Queen Mine when (probably while drunk) he made a bet with his "friend" George W. Atkins that he could run faster than a horse over a distance of 100 yards. Fifty there and fifty back. The "race" took place on July 3rd, 1880. Warren had the belief that he could beat the horse around the turn back but he was wrong. Though it's said he might have outrun the horse for the first 50 yards until the turn.

In May of 1881, the scheming Atkins had a Cochise County Judge, J.H. Lewis, declare George Warren insane and had him held in an institution in California (possibly for a few years). A man named George Praidham became Warren's guardian and Praidham was ordered to sell the rest of Warren's assets. He sold them for $923 at an auction. Warren was released a while after the sale and only learned about the sale after the release.

George Warren, after finding out about the sale, took off to Mexico to begin mining. In 1885, he discovered a mining claim and had to become a Mexican citizen to take the claim. He went into servitude, working as an interpreter for a Mexican judge, to help pay off a debt of $40. A judge back named G.H. Berry, learned about Warren and his debt, so he paid off Warren's debt for him. Warren then came back to Bisbee after the debt was paid. Once back, Warren worked as a blacksmith and tool dresser while also receiving a small pension from the Copper Queen Mining Company.

His work as a blacksmith and tool dresser didn't last that long. His alcoholism caught up with him and he was little more than what would be considered a janitor, only worse. He was looked down upon by the miners and swept floors and cleaned the chewing tobacco spitting bowls (aka cuspidors) for drinks of whiskey. His lifestyle was little more than that of a rounder, someone who lives for the drink, by this time.

George Warren's Grave

A short time went on and George died in either 1892, 1893, or 1894. Though the most descriptive date puts his death as the date of February 13th, 1893 and the cause of death as pneumonia and heart failure. Broke at the time of his death, George Warren was originally buried in a pauper's grave with a wooden grave marker, with the text G.W. 24, marking his grave in the Bisbee-Lowell Evergreen Cemetery.

He was mostly forgotten until 1914 when the Bisbee Elk's Lodge wanted to put a monument over his grave. They located George Warren's grave, which was likely hard to find since the wooden grave marker was probably gone, and they had him reinterred to a better location in the cemetery. Over his new gravesite, the large monument was put in place. It features the a C.S. Fly's image of him and an inscription, "George Warren Born unknown Died 1892 Poor in Purse, Rich in Friends."

His grave, and the monument, are still present at the Evergreen Cemetery in Bisbee, Arizona.