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Shorty Harris

Reported by Shorty Harris



Rhyolite Herald June 23, 1905

Shorty Harris, well known pioneer prospector, has returned from Death Valley and reports the finding of four dead men on the desert. The skeleton of one man was found about twelve miles north of Lone Willow. In the hills about 8 miles away, a horse was found running alone, and it is supposed that the animal belonged to the dead man.

At Furnace Creek ranch, Mr. Harris learned of the finding of three partially decomposed bodies between Lee's camp in Echo canon and the Lida C. [sic] borax mine, at the foot of a low hill on the north side of the Funeral range. The presence of the bodies was first reported at Ash Meadows by an Indian, who was attracted to the spot by a band of coyotes and a multitude of flies that swarmed about the remains. The Indian said that the bodies appeared to have been partially buried as there was considerable loose dirt over them, and it is believed from that that [doubled word] the desert travelers met foul play. The fact that these bodies were found close together indicates that the men were murdered.

Some connect these men with the three dead burros found at Salt Creek 35 miles away, the burros having traveled on another day or so before perishing.

Another horror of the desert is reported from Johnnie, a mining camp in that section, two man, raving maniacs, having been picked up on the plains. The unfortunate men were taken to Johnnie where everything possible is being done to bring them back to sanity. It is one of the stages of death from thirst for men to go crazy. The tongue swells up and becomes black, and very often a man made crazy from thirst will undress and wander about naked.

Daylight Springs, says Mr. Harris, ic [sic] going dry and will be exhausted within two weeks. Hole-in-the-Rock it [sic] now dry. There is a new water hole called Salt Well, 12 miles north of Furnace Creek. The water is somewhat salty but does very well for stock.


Courtesy David Wright


Furnace Creek Ranch - Photo by Linda W. Greene 1978


Ash Meadows


Echo Canyon


Salt Creek - 2000

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