By Marjory J. Sente

Born in 1862 in New Mexico on the Maxwell Land Grant, Rose Abell Traux lived there with her parents James and Polinah Traux and five siblings until the family moved to Denver in 1867.

Born in 1854 in Cornwall, England, William John “Jack” Martin immigrated to the United States in 1879, working first in Michigan and then living with an uncle in Pennsylvania. He came west to Nevada in 1882. Five years later, Jack arrived in Prescott by way of San Francisco. His move to Arizona initiated a long association with Frank M. Murphy and the local mining industry. He worked initially at the Congress Mine and then Crown King. 

Rose and her first husband, Harlan Conner Thompson, moved to Prescott from Mohave County in 1889. He died of dropsy the following year and was buried in the Citizens Cemetery.  In 1893, Rose and Jack married in Colorado Springs. After their wedding she continued to reside in Prescott, while he lived at and supervised the development of mines throughout the territory.

Jack is perhaps best known for the three years (1902-1904) that he was the superintendent of The Poland Mining Company. During his tenure, building of the 8,071-foot-long Poland Tunnel, complete with double tracks and electric powered cars, was undertaken and finished. It cost $500,000, equivalent to $16.6 million in today’s U.S. dollars. 

The tunnel linked Walker and the mineral-rich Lynx Creek area to Poland and the Prescott and Eastern Railroad, where the ore could easily go by rail to the local smelters and beyond. Using the tunnel eliminated moving the ore 14 miles over the mountain by wagons and mules. The Poland Mining Company also realized a nice stream of revenue from the toll it charged for using the tunnel. 

In 1902, Jack traveled from Poland to have Christmas dinner with Rose in Prescott, and the following holiday season, she stayed with him in Poland. The December 23, 1903 Weekly Journal-Miner reported that she had come from the Poland Mine to do her Christmas shopping. By then the mining town had a couple of hundred people, a general store and several boarding houses, as well as the South Poland Hotel and Saloon.  

Jack worked in the mines around Arizona until about 1916 when cancer forced him to retire to Prescott. In 1920, he took over the Barnhardt Assay Office and operated it until his death in 1925.

Before Jack died, he was a patient at Dr. Perry Nichols’ Sanatorium for Cancer in Savannah, Missouri. At that time, it was considered one of the best cancer treatment centers in the United States. Jack’s obituary stated he had gone there on June 10 seeking treatment for cancer on his face. By early July he was pronounced cured and was about to be released, according to a letter Rose received after his death. Rose posted a letter to Jack from Prescott on July 4, eight days before his death on July 12, 1925. A charter member of Prescott’s Knights Templar, Jack held numerous high offices in masonic organizations in Arizona and was given a Masonic funeral. 

A friend of Mary Cummings, Doc Holiday’s mistress (popularly known as “Big Nose Kate”), Rose worked for four years helping Cummings write her story. Rose, however, knew they needed assistance, so in 1935 she enlisted A.W. Bork to help them write a professional manuscript which never found a publisher.

Rose lived in Prescott for another twenty-one years, making it a total of fifty-seven in Prescott, before dying in 1946 at the age of 83. Both Rose and Jack are buried in Prescott’s Mountain View Cemetery.

“Days Past” is a collaborative project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Corral of Westerners International ( This and other Days Past articles are also available at The public is encouraged to submit proposed articles and inquiries to Please contact SHM Research Center reference desk at 928-277-2003, or via email at for information or assistance with photo requests.