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Mansel Carter (May 12, 1902- June 5, 1987) a.k.a. Man of the Mountain was a businessman and prospector. In 1987, Phoenix Magazine named him one of "Arizona Legends". The San Tan Historical Society of Queen Creek recognized his gravesite in the Gold Mountain of the San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek, Arizona a tourist attraction. In 2017, the town of Queen Creek named a new community park the "Mansel Carter Oasis Park" in his honor.

Mansel Carter
Queen Creek-SanTan Regional Park-(C) Gold Mountain-Mansel Carter Grave Marker.jpg
Mansel Carter gravesite marker in San Tan Mountain Regional Park.
BornMay 12, 1902
DiedJune 5, 1987(1987-06-05) (aged 85)
OccupationProspector, Mountain Man


Early yearsEdit

Carter was born in Quaker City, Ohio. When he was young, he studied photography and worked as a mechanic in his hometown. He moved to Indiana and purchased an airplane with which he provided a shuttle service. During the Great Depression, he worked as a lumberjack on the Zuni Indian Reservation.[1][2][3][4]

Marion E. KennedyEdit

In 1941, Carter moved to the town of Gilbert, Arizona and opened a photography shop. He was drafted by the United States Army during World War II and served a short tour of duty. He was eventually discharged on account of his age. He met and befriended Marion E. Kennedy (1874-1960), a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma whose job was delivering ice. Kennedy had at one time attended the Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he studied geology. One of his classmates was Jim Thorpe, a notable Native-American sports hero.[1][2][3][4]

Gold prospectingEdit

Gold Mountain
Gravesite of Mansel Carter and Marion E. Kennedy with the Gold Mountain in the background.

Carter received a monthly pension from the military. Both Carter and Kennedy decided to try their hands as gold prospectors and moved to the San Tan Mountains in the town of Queen Creek. The Mountain Men, as they became known, established various claims and their campsite became their home. Kennedy taught Carter how to drill for gold and they became life-long friends. When Kennedy died in 1960, Carter buried him near their campsite.

Carter discontinued prospecting for gold after the death of his friend. He handcarved and sold "cactus curios" to the many visitors which he received from different parts of the country. Carter was featured in "Arizona Road" with Bill Leverton. He kept a guest book, which along with some of his cactus curios and many of his personal belongings, were donated to the San Tan Historical Society’s Museum after he died in 1987 of cancer. That same year Phoenix Magazine named him an "Arizona Legend".[1][2][3][4]

Both Carter and Kennedy are buried where their campsite was located by the Goldmine Trail. Their gravesite is considered a historical tourist attraction by the San Tan Historical Society of Queen Creek. The mountain in which they prospected is known as the Gold Mountain and the area is now part of the San Tan Mountain Regional Park system. In 2017, the town of Queen Creek named a new community park the "Mansel Carter Oasis Park".[1][2][3][4]

Gold MountainEdit

The following images are that of the San Tan Mountain region where the San Tan Mountain Regional Park is located. The images included are that of Gold Mountain and those which are related to the gravesite of Mansel Carter and Marion E. Kennedy.

Further readingEdit

  • "Queen Creek"; by Sylvia G Acuna; Publisher: Arcadia Publishing Library Editions; ISBN 1531675379; ISBN 978-1531675370
  • "Around San Tan Mountain (AZ)"; by David Salge; Publisher: Arcadia Publishing; ISBN 0738548952; ISBN 978-0738548951

See alsoEdit