In 1886, forty year old Barney Martin a friendly and well liked stage agent and owner of a general store was forced to sell his store and his ranch in Stanton (formerly knows as Antelope Springs) by Charles B. Stanton, a corrupt and vicious man. Barney, his 32 year old wife Rosie and their two sons, John 13 and William 10 loaded their personnel belongs into a wagon and left on the stage road to Phoenix. Barney’s intentions were to send his wife and children back east to stay with her parents while he would return to Stanton to make repairs to the stagecoach station and continue, for a while, to serve as the stage agent.
They never got to their destination. The bodies of the Martin family were found about two miles off the stage road between Seymour and Smith’s Mill at Hot Springs Junction, which was close to the current town of Morristown. They were found in the burned remains of their wagon. The fire was so hot that virtually nothing remained. Frederick Brill directed that the few remains be brought to his ranch. They were buried near his ranch house. Suspicions were that the dastardly deed had been done by the Valenzuela Gang from Stanton and that they were instigated to commit this atrocity by Charles Stanton. No one was ever charged with this grim crime and it serves as a reminder of the forbidding times that the early settlers faced.
Brill’s ranch house still exists and is used by the Hassayampa River Preserve. The grave site is located near the road going to the preserve.
Martin family gravesite