Cooney's Tomb is a reminder of his role in New Mexico history


     Fate loves irony. Not two months after James Cooney, former Army Sergeant and early miner around Mogollon, wrote to the Grant County Herald proclaiming that he "had not seen a hostile Indian in this camp for three years," he was scalped by Apaches. Later, his friends carved out a boulder in the valley where he was killed and buried him inside, using ore from his own mine to seal the entrance.


  • COUNTY:  Catron
  • LOCATION:  About 5 miles outside Alma

      Cooney's discovery of silver and copper ore in the Mogollon mountains led to the establishment of mining camps in the area, notably those of Mogollon and Cooney. After his death, his brother, Captain Michael Cooney, came from New Orleans to take over his mine. Unfortunately, the other Cooney died somewhat fatefully as well, while searching for a lost gold mine in the Mogollon mountains. The canyon where his body was found has been named Cooney Canyon. The lost mine has never been rediscovered, if it ever even existed.