The Schieffelin Monument is the last resting place of Ed Schieffelin, the prospector who discovered the mineral deposits that triggered the Tombstone silver boom in 1877. Located in the beautiful high desert just northwest of Tombstone, the Monument is now part of the Tombstone Courthouse State Park. It is a place where you can feel a direct connection to the Old West days of Tombstone, “the town too tough to die.”
Edward Schieffelin was born in 1847 in Pennsylvania. In 1856, he moved to California with his family to follow his father who had gone west as part of the California gold rush. The family ended up as farmers in Oregon, but Ed soon followed his father’s footsteps and in 1864 left home to work as a prospector. By 1877, he was in Arizona prospecting, sometimes working as a scout for the Army. He used Fort Huachuca as his home base. He told a soldier that he was confident he would find something and he received the famous reply, “Yes, you’ll find your tombstone.”
Well, he did find something – several outcroppings of rich minerals. In August of 1877 he filed claims, named the Tombstone and the Graveyard. He formed a partnership with his brother Albert Schieffelin and Richard Gird. Together, these three returned to southeastern Arizona and began to develop the claims. Other deposits were located: the Ground Hog, the Owl Nest, the Lucky Cuss, the Tough Nut, and the Contention. These claims made them rich. In 1880, Ed sold his share of the claims for $500,000. These mines provided the economic basis for a new town, facetiously named “Tombstone.”
Wealth could not change Ed. He continued to prospect, including a trip to Alaska. In 1897 he was found dead in his Oregon cabin, where he was still searching for another strike. As specified in his will, his body was returned to Tombstone where he was buried in prospector’s clothing, with a pick and canteen on a hill near the site of his first camp. A monument 25 feet high, shaped like a prospector’s claim, was built over the grave. An inscription reads “Ed Shieffelin, Died May 12 1897, Aged 49 years, 8 months, A Dutiful Son, A Faithful Husband, A kind Brother, A True Friend.”
You can visit the Monument during daylight hours. It is located on Allen Street, about two miles northwest of Tombstone. There is a picnic table, a short trail, and amazing views of the desert terrain where Ed Schieffelin found treasure. For more information, contact the Tombstone Courthouse State Park at (520) 457-3311.