Who was George Warren, the prospector remembered by his place on the Arizona State Seal and the district of Bisbee that carries his name? (That’s the original Arizona Territorial Seal emblazoned on the image of Warren’s memorial marker at Evergreen Cemetery above.) Here’s a link to a .pdf of a bio written by Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official State Historian, that provides a historic background for Mr. Warren.
It seems that during his rather bumpy five decades or so serving a tour here on planet earth, George Warren developed an affinity for alcohol. Love of drink led him to wager his interest in some Bisbee area mining claims—ill gotten as they likely were—on his ability to outrun a horse and rider around a fifty yard course marked by a stake in the ground. The bet, made while Mr. Warren was under the influence of demon rum as he was hanging out at a gathering in Charleston, Arizona Territory, cost him at least his one-ninth interest in the Copper Queen mine.
Had the horse stumbled, had George have somehow won his bet, he’d have been the owner of the horse he was racing against. The claim he lost was worth about a hundred thousand dollar portion of a million dollar claim sold just a few years later. That hundred thousand dollar share–that’s more than two million dollars in 2015 money–would have increased in value considerably had George hung on to the money, which was about as likely as Geronimo getting elected to the Arizona territorial legislature on the Native American ticket.
How long did it take George to let a fortune slip through his fingers? He staked the mining claim in 1877 and lost it in 1879. Easy come: easy go.
George Warren passed into historical eternity in either 1892 or 1893–the marker says 1892, Arizona Republic believes it was 1893–his precise birth date was unknown. Though the state seal has gone through a couple of iterations since Arizona achieved statehood on February 14, 1912, the current seal still bears George Warren’s likeness.
Want to know more about Bisbee history while also supporting the Muheim House Heritage Foundation? (You’ll learn about Muheim and other prominent Bisbee residents in the bargain.) Tickets are $10, refreshments are included in the price, and you’ll get to hear local residents reading material on Bisbee history as if from the lips of the citizens themselves. Place: Evergreen Cemetery in the Lowell District of Bisbee. Time: 10AM until 2PM, Saturday, September 26, 2015.