The Mowry Mine, originally the Patagonia Mine
In 1860 Sylvester Mowry purchased the Patagonia Mine and renamed it the Mowry Mine. J. Ross Browne visited there in 1864 and included the description in his book, Adventures in the Apache Country.

Browne describes the murder of two mine managers in Murder on the Trail to the Mowry

Hacienda of the Mowry Mine, drawing by J. Ross Browne

The Mowry Mine by J. Ross Browne
excerpts from
Adventures in the Apache Country

A few miles beyond the canyon we came to a series of hills covered with a fine growth of oak timber. Here we found the first indications we had enjoyed for some weeks of life and industry. Cords of wood lay piled up on the wayside; the sound of the axe reverberated from hill to hill; the smoke of many charcoal pits filled the air, and teamsters, with heavily-laden wagons, were working their way over the rugged trails and by-paths. Gradually the road became better defined, and the clearings more extensive, till we came to the brow of a hill overlooking the hacienda. A more picturesque or cheering view I had rarely seen. Down in the beautiful little valley of several hundred acres, almost embosomed in trees, stand the reducing works, storehouses, and peon quarters of the Mowry Silver Mines. Smoke rose in curling clouds from the main chimney, which stands like an obelisk in the center of the mill, and sulphurous vapors whirled up from the long row of smelting furnaces in the rear. The busy hum of the steam engine and flywheels fell with a lively effect upon the ear; the broad, smooth plaza in front of the works was dotted with wagons and teams, discharging their freight of wood and ore; and under the shade of the surrounding trees, amid the picturesque little huts of the peons, groups of women and children, clothed in the loose, variegated costume of the country, gave a pleasing, domestic interest to the scene. It was the last of the month, and consequently pay-day -- a very welcome and important day all over the world, but especially in this isolated region, where pay-days are scarce. Such an event, within fifteen miles of Santa Cruz, rises to the dignity of a grand public institution.

During the afternoon we paid a visit to the mine, which is situated in the side of a hill about a quarter of a mile from the offices and headquarters. A number of Mexicans were at work getting out the ore, and the scene upon our arrival was both picturesque and lively. I took a seat a little on one side of the "dump," and made a sketch which will convey a better idea of the general appearance of a silver mine in Arizona than any written description.

The Mowry Mine, drawing by J. Ross Browne, 1864

The Patagonia, now called the Mowry Mine, was probably known to the Mexicans, and worked by them many years ago. The Americans first discovered it in 1858. In 1860 it became the property of Sylvester Mowry, Esq. It is situated within ten miles of the boundary line between Sonora and Arizona; is 6160 feet above the level of the sea, and is distant 280 miles from Guyamas on the Gulf of California.

It is not my purpose in these casual sketches to write a report on the condition and prospects of each silver or gold mine in the Territory of Arizona, even if I possessed the requisite knowledge of mining operations. I can only say, therefore, in reference to the Mowry Mine, that the lode appears to be large, bold, and well defined, the ore of fair average richness. It is composed of argentiferous galena, impregnated with arsenic, and is easily reduced by smelting. Three distinct veins are perceptible, which cross each other in the principal lode. The ore, which was in process of reduction at the time of my visit yielded, as I was informed, about thirty-five dollars to the ton. It was not the richest, nor could it be considered a fair average. Mr. Kustel, the distinguished metallurgist, author of the "Processes of Silver and Gold Extractions," etc., visited the mine about a month prior to my arrival, and made a thorough examination of its ores and resources. From a report made by him it would appear that some of the ores average $350 to the ton. If the mines were properly worked he estimates that a general average of $50 to $70 to the ton might be obtained; and he mentions among the advantages in fluxing the presence of iron ore, manganese, and lime. The result of one day's working he found to be as follows: Produce of twenty tons in silver, $1200; in lead, $480 -- total,  $1680; expenses of reduction, mining, etc., $400 -- profit, $1280. This result is highly encouraging; but the probability is, a more perfect and extensive system of operations would greatly enhance the net proceeds of the mine.

Headquarters and Offices of the Mowry Mine, drawing by J. Ross Browne

Headquarters and offices of the Mowry Mine,
drawing by J. Ross Browne

At the time of our visit this property was in the hands of the Deputy-Marshal of New Mexico, who held it on behalf of the United States. Mr. Mowry, it appears, had been arrested and imprisoned on order of General J. H. Carleton, and the mine seized under the Confiscation Act. Of the merits of the difficulty I have no knowledge. It appears, however, that Mr. Mowry was discharged by the court which tried his case. His property, I believe, has since been restored to him by order of the Government.

Sylvester Mowry, drawing by J. Ross Browne, probably based on a photographThis gentleman's career in Arizona has been singularly adventurous and varied. In 1855 he was an officer of the Federal army at Fort Yuma. An expedition which he made into the wilds of Arizona inspired him with a high opinion of its great mineral resources, and a most enthusiastic estimate of its future destiny. He resigned his position in the army, and spent several years in exploring the country and attempting to procure a recognition of its claims by government. At one period he was elected a delegate to Congress, and visited Washington for the purpose of procuring a Territorial organization; but his object was defeated by sectional dissensions in that body. Mr. Mowry is well known throughout the United States. His name is inseparably connected with that of Arizona. It is a part of himself. He once declared, in a moment of passion, when his term of residence was questioned, that "he was born there!" Certainly no man has done more to give notoriety to the new Territory than he, and no man loves it better.

We spent the day very pleasantly, visiting the principal objects of interest at the Patagonia. After enjoying a luxurious dinner at headquarters, and various hospitable "smiles," we rode back by the valley road to the hacienda of the San Antonio. The climate of the Patagonia is unsurpassed -- I might almost say unequaled. How such a paradise ever came to be christened after the chilly, fog-smitten land where "giants grow and storms do blow," I am unable to conjecture. No wonder Mr. Mowry prefers his own name, which, if not so euphonious, is at least less suggestive of howling winds and fishy natives.

Recommended reading:

Sagstetter, Beth and Bill. The Mining Camps Speak: A New Way to Explore the Ghost Towns of the American West. Denver, CO: Benchmark Publishing of Colorado, 1998.

If you visit the ghost town of Mowry, use extreme caution in the mining district since the ground is often filled with hidden pits, shafts, rusty nails and broken glass. Do not trespass, and NEVER enter a tunnel in a mining district.