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Oatman Massacre / Fourr Cemetery, AZ

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Difficulty 1 of 5
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Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 521 feet
Elevation Gain 20 feet
Accumulated Gain 20 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.1
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Historic
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11  2017-08-02 Stoic
83  2017-01-15 AZHiker456
15  2017-01-02 AZWanderingBear
15  2016-08-14 trekkintoo
8  2015-03-30 kingsnake
53  2015-03-30
Oatman-Sundad-Aqua Caliente
28  2015-02-24 kingsnake
29  2015-02-24
Gila River Valley Meander
Page 1,  2
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov
Sun  6:17am - 6:38pm
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Named place Nearby
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Rough, short, lives
by kingsnake

Visiting the Fourr Cemetery and Oatman Massacre site are an interesting side trip from the Painted Rock Petroglyph site.

Fourr Cemetery
Twenty-something years after the Oatman Massacre, William and Lucinda Fourr, and their family settled in the area., where William ranched and served as agent at the Butterfield Stage stop. Of the six children they had between their marriage in 1868, and when they left in the area in 1880, four died here. The Fouur Cemetery is where the children are buried: Seven year old A.F., month old F.F. -- on the same sad date in January, 1877 -- and an unnamed baby, still born. (I'm not sure about the fourth child.) The Fourrs eventually had eight children who survived to adulthood, with William living until 1934, and Lucinda 1942. Stanley Heisey, a Life scout of Troop 263, has installed a bench, a log book, and otherwise restored the site.

After paying your respects to the Fourr children, it is a slippery, dusty, one-mile drive to the Oatman Memorial. As the area is Gila River flood plain, and at least semi-functional farm, there may be brush that has been washed / plowed into the road. You may need to stop short, and walk a bit.

Oatman Massacre
The Oatman family were Mormon pioneers in a party that left Independence, MO, in August, 1850. The original party of 85-93 schismatic Brewsterites, further splintered as it travelled west, until the Oatman family was going it alone when they reached this area. Despite being warned about hostile Indians, they proceeded. It was not a wise choice. The parents, Royce and Mary, and four of the seven children were killed. A son, Lorenzo, 15, escaped despite being wounded. 14-year old Olive, and 7-year old Mary Ann were captured. Mary Ann died during a later famine at age 10 or 11, while Olive assimilated, possibly having children, before being repatriated at age 19.

The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a memorial to the Oatman family in 1954. It, however, is not the massacre site, which is where the Oatmans who perished are buried. The actual massacre site is a quarter mile WSW, on top of the Gila River's south bluff, a short additional walk.

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2015-02-25 kingsnake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Oatman Massacre / Fourr Cemetery
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Decided to do a day trip to historic Oatman massacre site. It had rained several days prior so Oatman rd from the south was pretty muddy. We decided to take the longer route and come in from the north off of Rocky point rd, it was a little muddy but passable. Stopped at Fourr cemetary site then proceeded to park at the southern end of the fieldsand walk to Oatman burial & massacre site. The fields were muddy,id recommend 4 wheel drive only if wanting to drive on the roads on the field. Made it up to the Massacre site, was very humid also humbling being there, not much has changed there since 1851, very remote. Def a day trip worth doing if your a fan of Az history.
    Oatman Massacre / Fourr Cemetery
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Headed out with Stoic to follow up on some previous trips, throwing in the Sundad ghost town / rock art as a side trip.

    First up was the Oatman massacre site. The actual massacre site up on the bluff, not just the memorial down on the very dusty Oatman Flat. Stoic agreed I was not exaggerating about the depth of the dust on the farm access road. Reminder: Cars should park at the Fourr Cemetery, then walk in. The massacre site itself is marked by a stone mound, topped by a cross, next to which is a historical sign. I explained the circumstances of the massacre, and that afterwards the Western Yavapai had supposedly taken the Oatman girls to the Agua Caliente hot springs, pointing out the not-too-far distant Agua Caliente Range of hills. We poked around for a few minutes on top, then headed back to the Stoic's Xterra.

    Sundad has many rock designs on the ground, some I had not spotted on satellite view. I had noticed a few whazzit's on sat view, and on close up inspection, they turned out to be grated mine covered by the BLM's Fun Prevention Police, plus some associated workings. Stoic was surprised when he looked down a shaft, and saw eyes staring up at him. :o (It was an owl.) Details to follow in a new hike description.

    Then it was down to Agua Caliente. I had explored the ruined cabins along the road a few weeks ago, but today we also checked out some ruins further up the very rocky and rather steep hill. Turns out that there was only one identifiable cabin wall on the hill, but many large cairns (as in 4+ feet tall piles of rocks). In fact, from higher up on the hill, we were able to notice something not obvious to the naked, road-level, eye: Large cairns on each of the Agua Caliente Range's summits.

    With 97° predicted for Gila Bend, it was surely that hot further west, and the heat was starting to get to me. Despite drinking plenty of water and lime-cucumber Gatorade (serious!), I was actually feeling a bit woozy. We briefly checked out the various foundations (ghost towns?) along Hyder Rd., before pulling into the lot of the cantina at Dos Palomas. It was closed. As we were headed back to the Xterra, it opened. :y: (The cantina opens at 2:00 p.m.) Though they had a new cinnamon & horchata (serious!) Blue Moon, I opted for a cruddy beer: Tecate. Then another. Then a third. (I was not driving.) Nothing refreshes quite like a bad beer on a hot day. :D (Our total damage for a bottle of tea, three beers and a bag of chips was only $9.75!) Feeling human again, we bid adios to our friendly bartender Carmen. :)

    Oatman / Fourr Video:
    Sundad Video: ... wF4A


    p.s. Stoic said he is going to steal my triplog. :lol:
    Oatman Massacre / Fourr Cemetery
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Gila River Valley Meander
    I've been planning this trip for about two years. The basic plan was to: 1) Drive Painted Rock Rd. to the petroglyph site. 2) Drive Rocky Point Rd. / Oatman Rd. to the Fourr Cemetery and Oatman Massacre sites. 3) Back up Oatman Rd., when continue northwest on Rocky Point Rd., then southwest on Hyder Rd. 4) Head south on Ave. 76E / Old Agua Caliente Rd. to the ghost town / pioneer cemetery. 5) Return up Ave. 76E, then continue west on Hyder Rd. checking out the ghost towns of Hyder and Horn. 6) Head south on Ave. 64E to Dateland Army Airfield. 7) Finish the day with a date shake, before heading back to Phoenix at a rush hour avoiding time. :scared:

    Painted Rock Petroglyphs: There are two small hills. The western, larger, hill has very few samples. The eastern, smaller, hill has tons of glyphs. Some so dense you cannot distinguish the symbols. Some more modern, ranging in my view from 1879 to 1954. The indian petroglyphs were mostly on the south side; I wonder if there is some social significance to that, similar to the Navajo having their hogan doors facing east? :-k But you can see pretty much everything there is to see in 30 minutes, an hour at most if you read the entirety of the many info signs. Video: .

    West of Painted Rock, the road becomes gravel, but is a decent, car-drivable, surface. After crossing the bone dry Gila River, where the road Ts, we turned left on Oatman Rd.

    Fourr Cemetery: The Fourr family were pioneers who settled on Oatman Flat in the 1870s, where the father was a rancher and Butterfield Stage agent. Four of their six children born on Oatman Flat are buried in the cemetery. It's very tiny, but well maintained and quite peaceful. Amazingly, there is 4-bar Verizon reception here, perhaps due to the antenna farm on Oatman Mountain. This is as far as you should go without at least AWD. :stop:

    Oatman Memorial: We followed a farm road that had very deep, very fine, dusty surface. I had fun trying to keep my SUV pointing straight ahead as the rear waved back-and-forth. :D After a mile, we got out and walked the rest of the way to what I thought was the massacre site, but which turned out to be the memorial. I hate leaving things incomplete, so I will be back to visit the massacre site, which is on the south bluff of the Gila River, about a quarter mile from the memorial.

    ... Fourr / Oatman Video:

    We returned up the dusty farm road, and Oatman Rd., then I looked for a short cut to Rocky Point Rd. to avoid driving back around the farm. There is no short cut, but I did find a "car farm", with at least four vehicles from the 1930s. Rocky Point Rd., from the farm up to the pass, has a fair amount of gravel, some of it larger, but should still be car drivable: Just go slow to avoid kicking anything up into your oil pan. (Help is a long way away.) From the top of the pass down to Hyder Rd. is smooth sailing, as is the first several miles west on Hyder Rd., which is also dirt.

    Agua Caliente: The Pioneer Cemetery ( ) is still being occasionally used. The most recent burial I saw was 2012, oldest birth of a resident was a husband (b. 1835) and wife (b. 1836). Lots of Conde, Perez and Amabisca family members there. Most of the older graves are unmarked. One was obviously empty! :o After lunch and a quick Nooner -- get your filthy mind out of the gutter, it's a beer! :D -- I checked out the remains of Agua Caliente ( ). There are several intact walls, and many very decayed. I wanted to scope out the spa, but it was plastered with "No Tresspassing" signs, and had a huge satellite dish, so someone was keeping an eye on it. Onward!

    We returned to Hyder Rd. I wanted to stop at what looked like an old motel on Ave. 76E, and also check out the many abandoned buildings in Hyder, but they all had "No Trespassing" signs, and the old motel looked like someone lived on the ground in trailer. :gun: I've no need for bullet holes, so skipped them. I found two abandoned sites just west of Hyder. The first looked like an old motor court, complete with an obvious pool for weary travellers. The second, included a one-pump gas station, and several other foundations. No memorials on Hyder Rd., as there is so little traffic you will probably not see another moving vehicle unless you stop to do some exploring.

    Horn: Quite a few foundations in Horn, and an incredible amount of old bottles, especially green. Many of the bottles were intact, so a I snagged a few. There were also several of what looked like covered mine shafts. There's no mine shafts on the topo, so maybe they were wells, or something else? :-k

    Dateland Army Airfield: I did not realize Camp Horn was so close, or we would have stopped there as well. (Future trip ...) Instead, we turned south for Dateland Army Airfield. It's much larger than I an anticipated, and I had no idea where any remaining buildings would be, so we pretty much walked out to the end of Runway 1/19 (the longest) took a quick look, then headed back to the SUV. A local had seen us, and stopped to chat. He clued us in to one building, which is where they zeroed machineguns. It look like a back stop: Open on one side, with a mound of sand against the opposite wall. Lots of graffiti inside.

    Our tour complete, it was time for date shakes. :y:

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the Gila Bend ... drive ~12.0 miles west on I-8 to exit 102. Go north, then west, on Painted Rock Rd. for 11 miles to the Painted Rock Petroglyph site. Divert right onto Rocky Point Rd, instead of entering the park. Rocky Point Rd. is a decent gravel surface, but cars may wish to take it a bit slower to avoid kicking anything up into the oil pan. Immediately after crossing the Gila River, turn left, following a fence / farmland on your right, as you curve around the private property. When you reach the southwest corner of the farmland, turn left onto Oatman Rd. Follow the southern bluff of the Gila River (on your left) for ~1.0 miles. Park at the Fouur Cemetery, which is at the base of the bluff, just past the water station. Car drivable to that point. The road to the Oatman Memorial is very deep, fine dust, requiring at least AWD.
    page created by kingsnake on Feb 25 2015 12:06 pm
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