Lieutenant Jack Swilling an amigo that seemed to be working for both sides. By: Rickie Pew
Jack Swilling Lieutenant And Business ManLieutenant Jack Swilling during the Rebellion, Swilling was a lieutenant in Captain Hunter's company of volunteers in Baylor's regiment and occupied himself with thirty of his men in protecting settlers and others from the Indians along the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico and along the road to Tucson Arizona. When the Confederates were driven out of New Mexico, Mr. Swilling remained in Arizona and a few months afterwards was carrying the express for the soldiers and acting as guide for them through the country. The following winter he joined the Walker Party. He was one of the party that accompanied Colonel Jack Sniveley, a veteran of the Texas War of Independence, and General Houston's private secretary in a prospecting trip when the mines of Pinos Altos were discovered and Swilling, it is said, was at the head of the party that discovered Rich Hill near Weaver Creek in the lower part of Yavapai County in 1863.
Jack Silling's Letter to the Public"In 1867, Jack Swilling of Wickenburg stopped to rest his horse at the foot of the north slopes of the White Tank Mountains. He looked down and across the expansive Salt River Valley and his eyes caught the rich gleam of the brown, dry soil turned up by the horse's hooves. He saw farm land, predominately free of rocks, and in a place beyond the reach of heavy frost or snow. All it needed was water."
Jack Swilling and other pioneers built there homes in Pumpkinville. As Pumpkinville was named for the many pumkins that grew all over. Even Swilling had planted pumkins along the canals.
Jack Swilling Father of PhoenixJack Swilling Business Man Returning to Wickenburg, he organized the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company, and moved into the Valley. The same year, the company began digging a canal to divert some of the water of the Salt River onto the lands of the Valley. By March 1868, water flowed through the canal, and a few members of the company raised meager crops that summer. By 1868, a small colony had formed approximately four miles east of the present city. Swilling's Mill became the new name of the area. It was then changed to Helling Mill, after which it became Mill City, and years later, East Phoenix. Swilling, having been a confederate soldier, wanted to name the new settlement Stonewall after Stonewall Jackson. Others suggested the name Salina, but neither name suited the inhabitants. Jack Swilling became known as the Father of Phoenix because in 1868 Swilling and pioneer Darrell Duppa renamed Pumpkinville to Phoenix. Then people began calling Jack Swilling Father of Phoenix.
The the area was the territory of the Pimas, a traditional enemy of the Yavapais and Apaches. Disputes broke out even more when white settlers homesteaded land along the Gila River east of the Pima reserve. There were many water ways the indians had built. One day he realized they could be used by farmers. Then they diverted water for their farms witch left the Indians down river with no water.
Lieutenant Jack Swillingan amigo that seemed to be working for both sides. Swilling called the military at the Fort McDowell and a meeting took place at his house between the residents, post commander Captain George B. Sanford and an Indian agent. This seemed to cause violence in the community. Along with Fort McDowell.
An indian agent was a civilian appointed by the president of the United States to serve as an ambassador to Native American nations living in the region. Agents were responsible for being the eyes, ears, and mouth of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs to Native communities. Indian agent, known later as the US government's policy of assimilation that would effectively destroy the traditional cultural identities of Native American nations. Then about 1870, settlers agitated for a central town area instead. It was decided that a new site to the west would be selected to be the new town called Phonix.
As time went on it was said that he was addicted to morphine and alcohol. As his settlement dwindled he moved on in 1873. To Black Canyon and the Agua Fria River. He prospected and found gold and silver.
Then at the local saloon and favorite watering hole. He made a remark that came to the attention of a Wells Fargo detective. The detective thought that he must have commited a Wells Fargo express and U.S. mail robbery and charged him and his friend. Swilling was out of town at the time of the robbery and evidence was circumstantial. So they were released from the jail in Prescott. The robery was in Maricopa County not Yavapai, so they were rearrested. With no morphine medication in jail. He wrote a letter and declared his innocence then he predicted that he would be found dead in his jail cell from his suffering. And he was! Swilling's friend was released from prison.
The men who actually robbed the Wells Fargo stage later confessed.
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