That prospector you see pictured on the
Arizona State Seal was modeled after a real person, or should I
say, a rascal named George Warren. Anyone acquainted with the
old reprobate would be hard pressed to believe his likeness
would wind up on our state seal.
George led a rough life. His mother died when
he was an infant and his father was killed in an Apache raid.
Young George was taken by the band and later sold to a party of
miners for 20 pounds of sugar. He grew up in the company of the
rough and tumble miners and by the time he was grown George had
acquired all their vices, especially alcohol.
In the spring of 1877, Company C of the Sixth
Cavalry under the command of Lt. John Rucker camped in Mule Pass
at the south end of the Mule Mountains in Cochise County. Their
scout, an Irishman named Jack Dunn, went in search of water
further up the canyon and stumbled across some rich outcroppings
of copper ore. He collected some specimens and showed them to
Lt. Rucker and a man named Byrne. They agreed to go partners and
stake a claim but the demands of Apache warfare kept them on the
trail for the next few months. At Fort Bowie they enlisted the
help of George Warren to stake and record their claims. It
wasn’t a wise decision.
They equipped him at Fort Bowie and sent him
to file the claims in their names but along the way George got
sidetracked in a saloon and lost his grubstake in a gambling
game. Others learned from the drunken prospector of the rich
find and re-equipped him. Warren went to Mule Pass but failed to
file claims for Dunn, Rucker, and Byrne. The discoverers of the
riches were left out. At the site of the strike the boom town of
Bisbee sprung up and blossomed.
Two years later on the Fourth of July Warren
got into a drunken wager in Bisbee. He bet that he could out run
a man on horseback up Brewery Gulch.
Bets were placed and the race was on. George
Warren led briefly but the horse soon left him in the dust.
George had put up his share in the mine---the one that would
become the famous Copper Queen in the drunken wager.
George Warren never got to share in the
fabulous wealth of the Copper Queen.
He lived in poverty eking out a meager
living. He sold himself in peonage in Mexico but some friends
paid his debt and brought him home. He died broke and was buried
in a pauper’s grave but somewhere along the way a photographer
had taken his photo.
Years later he was reburied and given a
headstone that read "Father of the Mining Camp." It’s located in
nearby Warren, the town named in his honor.
The photo of George hung in a local bank.
When the new state of Arizona was creating a state seal someone
noticed George’s picture and they took the likeness and put it
on our new seal.
Marshall Trimble - Official Arizona State Historian