The First Female Arizona Miner

arizona female gold minerArizona gold mining is rapidly growing. Gold miners have learned that there are rich pockets of gold in the area, especially in some of the mountain ranges of Arizona. Gold mining isn’t new to Arizona. There is a history of mining in the area that goes back to the nineteenth century.

Carmelita Campbell is a part of Arizona gold mining history. She was a miner in The Harquahala Mountains which are located in Southwest Arizona. They are also the highest mountain range in the area. Spanish prospectors originally located gold in this area around the year 1762. These Arizona gold mines were active again in 1814. Later, in the mid-1800s, Arizona gold miners were again on the lookout for more sources of gold in the area.

Carmelita Campbell is the only woman known to have mined during this time period. She divorced her husband after 30 years of marriage and pursued mining with her alimony settlement. Carmelita began mining with a partner named John Rarick. They established a mine on the south side of the Harquahala Mountains and called the mine “Camelita.” They mined the area from 1878 through 1883. Later, she lost the mine and many people forgot about her place in Arizona gold mining history.

The Carmelita Mine still exists today. Writers have discovered Carmelita Campbell and her contributions. She wrote of her challenges as a mine owner and described the rough living conditions of a nineteenth century miner. At one point, she lived in a stone cabin in Harquahala. There are many newspaper articles from the time period that discuss her success with Arizona gold mining.

Unfortunately, Carmelita Campbell’s story as an Arizona gold miner came to a tragic halt. Her property was stolen by people who were considered reputable. They tried to have her put into a mental asylum in Arizona at one time. Fortunately, they did not succeed in committing her, but she was taken to Los Angeles where she later died. Despite her tragic story, Carmelita Campbell had a significant impact on Arizona gold mining history. She employed many people in the area while her mine was active. She also showed the public that a woman could be successful in the gold mining industry.

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