John Van Houten

Houten grave

Col. John Van Houten murdered at Brunkow silver mine, near Tombstone Arizona.

Col. John Van Houten was murdered, supposedly by Frank Stillwell and James Cassidy, a site sometimes described as "the most haunted cabin in the U.S." Van Houten was, according to newspaper accounts, "beaten in the face with a rock until he died." No dramatic shootout here - just a brutal rock in the face. Stillwell was to go down in history as the murderer of Morgan Earp, brother of Wyatt Earp, who later killed Stillwell, avenging Morgan and by coincidence, Van Houten.

John Van Houten, was a Cariboo, B.C. miner and Victoria merchant, with a family in Nanaimo. In the 1870s he and many others headed south to the new silver mines of southern Arizona.
According to local legends over 24 people have been murdered at this cabin site, including German mine owner Frederick Brunkow, who was found in a mine shaft with a drill steel through his chest. He and some of his workers had been murdered by Mexican employees. Over the years the body count evidently increased, and included Barkerville, Cariboo miner Colonel John Van Houten who died here November 9, 1879, at age 55.

The reason for the murder is lost in history but at the time it was suspected to be over some claims that Houten had staked and that Stillwell and Cassidy laid claim too.

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