History

Shakespeare has had several names through the years and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of tits second mining boom. It is located here because there was a small but reliable spring located in the arroyo west of the town. The reliable water sourcePyramid
                              Mountain Minesattracted many people, Indians who ground mesquite beans left their metates scattered about, probably a few Spaniards stopped by, and then some of the Forty-niners who were taking the southern route to the gold fields of California, watered their stock at this little spring. About 1856 a building was built here by the Army, evidently to serve as a relay station on the Army Mail line between Fort Thorn on the Rio Grande and Fort Buchanan, south of Tucson. This spring served as an alternate stopping place for the San Antonio and San Diego mail line but was bypassed by the first Butterfield coaches. However before the Butterfield quit running in 1861, they had moved the road back up in the hills and had built a square adobe stage station here. During this time the spring was sometimes called Mexican Spring according to old timers.

The outbreak of the Civil War completely disrupted the stage line, what with fighting around the eastern terminals and Union soldiers being moved back East, leaving the Southwest to the mercy of the Apaches. But the Civil War brought more people to Mexican Spring-- soldiers of both sides. First a small detachment of hard-riding Texans led by Colonel Sherod Hunter traveled through this area on their way to Tucson, and from there, they hoped, to the gold fields of California. Their hopes were futile because California was overwhelmingly Union in its sentiments. Carelton and the California Volunteers rode east across Arizona and met the tattered Texans at Picacho Pass, west of Tucson. The Texans were defeated and trailed back to Texas, their dreams of California gold crushed under overwhelming numbers. During this time one or two more buildings were built at Mexican Spring by the Soldiers. The largest one was later referred to as the "old stone fort."

With the close of the Civil War a new stage line was started by Kerens and Mitchell. They hired men in San Diego to reopen some of the Butterfield's stations. A man named John Eversen was hired to reopen this station. Evensen came here in 1865 and lived on here until his death in 1887.

In 1870, some of the prospectors hanging around this little station discovered samples of very rich silver ore in the surrounding hills and they went hunting for financing to develop  their new mines. Some of them must have had San Francisco connections because they interested the group of financiers connected with William Ralston, President of the Bank of California. A company was formed and the town was named in Ralston's honor. The town grew rapidly and newspapers as far away as San Diego carried stories about the promising new camp.   Continued on Page 2.


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