In 1829 or 1830 Captain Ewing Young led a large trapping party west from Taos, which at the time was still part of Mexico, over the Mogollon Plateau (now the Colorado Plateau) and west along the south side of the Grand Canyon to the Mojave Desert. Sources indicate that one younger member of the party was named Kit Carson, later to be famous as an Indian fighter. The party reached the head waters of the Verde River, which is very close to Kerlin's Well. It may well be that this was the first European expedition to reach this area of what is now Arizona.
My interest in Kerlin's Well stems from the fact that my Great-grandfather, Henry Martin Tanner, stopped at the waterhole long enough to carve his name in a rock with the date, 1877. In past posts, I have been reviewing some of the information I have discovered about the location of the site and its history. Since my last posts on the subject, I have found a lot more information. I am currently planning another trip to follow up on my one unsuccessful trip to find the location of the Well.
Following the Young Expedition of mountain men trappers, most of the following expeditions focused on routes further to the south, down the Gila River to the Colorado River. It is well established that these early "explorers" were following well established Indian trade routes through the desert and were certainly not the first humans to use these trails.
Most of the European visitors to northern Arizona were trappers looking for beaver. Kerlin's Well, as one of the more reliable waterholes, was likely visited by trappers such as Antoine Leroux and Bill Williams (actually William Sherley Williams).
It is very interesting to me that a place so well visited by early explorers and trappers was so completely lost from modern maps and records. As I did more research I became even more determined to locate this elusive site.