By Bob Harner
While the Central Highlands of Arizona has its share of famous historical figures, we should also remember the many ordinary people in Arizona’s past whose courage and hard work helped transform a territorial wilderness. Today the remains of a stone cabin and a pair of graves are among the few reminders that ordinary people like Wales and Sarah Arnold lived here.
Wales Arnold was an Army private stationed in the New Mexico Territory when he was assigned to accompany government officials on their way to establish the new Arizona Territory in 1863. Posted at Fort Whipple, Wales began prospecting in his spare time, staking a claim that would someday become the productive Accidental Mine. Under pressure by miners who didn’t appreciate competition from soldiers, Wales abandoned the claim. He mustered out in August 1864.