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Brunckow Cabin: Where Tombstone Began

A cache by anna and howard Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 02/21/2011
2.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

This cache is clear top “Official Geocache” Pelican case, with a log book, mechanical pencil and small trade items inside.


BLM has approved the placement of this GeoCache


Congratulations to AZtravelers for being the First to Find this cache.

A Short History of Frederick Brunckow and the Brunckow Cabin

Born in 1830, Frederick Brunckow migrated to the United States in 1850. Educated in Engineering at the University of Westphalia, he joined the Sonora Exploring and Mining Co which brought him to Arizona. In 1858, Brunckow struck out on his own to develop his San Pedro Silver Mine, located 8 miles southwest of where Tombstone would be establish 11 years later.

Brunckow exploited his claim to the fullest, relying on Mexican labor mostly with Anglo supervision. His cabin sat atop of a hill where he could oversee and protect his claim.

In 1860, Brunckow was working the mine with three other Anglo men and about a dozen Mexican helpers. He and two of his men were robbed and murdered at the cabin. Brunckow’s death was especially vicious as he was killed with a mining drill and his body thrown down a mine shaft. The only Anglo survivor was a German cook who blamed the Mexican workers for the killings, though no one ever faced justice for the murders.

In 1877, Ed Schieffelin occupied the cabin as a base for prospecting the area to the northeast of the cabin. It is said that he used the fireplace in the Brunckow cabin to assay some of his samples after he made the discovery. When Schieffelin told a soldier of his find, the soldier allegedly stated that the only rock Schieffelin was likely to collect in that dangerous area would be his own tombstone. Undeterred, Schieffelin filed his claim under the name "The Tombstone." A name the City of Tombstone would take in 1879.

In early days of the Tombstone claim, the Brunckow Cabin was the scene mayhem and carnage. There were numerous shootings, men would come up missing, and that would end it. One man was supposed to have been shot and thrown into a well, but as there was an abundant amount of men in those days, an investigation was deemed needless. It was an ideal rendezvous point for the bandits along Charleston road, and the five bodies found there was a party of plunderers who had raided a Wells Fargo bullion wagon and fought over a division of the spoils. At one point a US Marshall took up residence in the old cabin, only to be murdered weeks later. As many as 21 men found their end in and around the cabin. Rumor has at least 3 graves in the area, to include the final resting place of Fredrick Brunckow himself.

In May 1897, The Tombstone Epitaph printed a ghost story featuring Brunckow Cabin and the haunted mine. It mentioned that every night a menacing ghost was seen stalking around and through the dilapidated adobe shanty. People attempted to investigate, but upon approaching (apparently near enough to speak) the apparition suddenly vanished, only to appear as quickly at some other point, lending would be captors on a lively and illusive chase.

Even today, ghost hunters and paranormal investigators flock to the Tombstone area to have a chance of investigating at the legendary haunted Brunckow Cabin.

The ruins of the Brunckow Cabin are identifiable, but are succumbing to the desert environment fast. In a few years, it is possible nothing will remain, so here is your chance to see where the legend of Tombstone Arizona began.

If you follow the trail for an additional half mile, you will find the ruins of another mine with the foundation of a small stamping mill. The whole area is a history lesson.


The best approach is to turn off Charleston Road and park just inside the gate. The area is part of the San Pedro Riparian and open to the public. I double checked with BLM and they approved of the location of this cache. The road itself is well maintained, but only opened to administrative vehicles. Follow the admin road and it will take you past a couple of mine shafts you can glance down from a safe vantage before you head to the cache and the ruins 70 feet beyond.

About the Mine Shafts; All the shafts are well marked with well maintained barbed wire and shiny new signs. Keep in mind, these shafts have not been maintained in at least 130 years, and any supporting timbers have long since rotted away. Those who wish to live a long life, would be advised to keep out of them.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Gur pnpur vf abg vafvqr gur ehvaf, Vg vf nobhg 70 srrg fubeg bs gur ehvaf ng gur onfr bs n zrfdhvgr gerr, pbirerq jvgu n furrg bs ehfgvat fpenc zrgny (Fubg shyy bs ohyyrg ubyrf), ebpxf, qrnq oenapurf, byq pnaf naq n unaq shyy bs yrnirf naq qhfg.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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