One evening in 1861 a small group of men sat around the iron stove in the cook shack of the Santa Rita mine in southern Arizona. A man named Grosvenor was chief of operations at the mine, his Superintendent Rumpelly, and others were employees. This evening the talk concerned the dream world and what dreams mean. Most of the tales were light-hearted and everyone laughed.
Finally, the conversation slowed and the men seemed to be reflecting on their thoughts. Then Grosvenor spoke in a heavy, hushed tone. He told of a dream that had come into his life as a child in Ohio. It had continued through his life and, at times, was so constant as to cause him serious physical problems – he became ill and lost a lot of weight.
But when he reached manhood, it suddenly stopped. He paused. It was a difficult dream to explain, really. But the men could see the terror in his face.
He dreamt that he was standing alone on a seashore looking out over a calm sea toward the horizon. As he watched a thin black line rose vertically from the horizon and stretched into the air. It seemed to break off at the bottom and a black dot appeared beneath it. This symbol would then retreat until it disappeared; only to return and grow closer until it was menacingly close and the black dot seemed ready to engulf him. It was at this point that he awoke.
He told the story with such graphic detail and emotion that the group listening fell silent for some time. Then one of the men said, “What could the line and dot mean?” No one knew, but for several days the story was discussed and the men at the mine began to chide Governor’s “Exclamation Point” dream.
Some weeks later, Grosvenor returned from his weekly “mail run” to Tubac. He asked Rumpelly to ride back down the trail to a spot called “Point of the Rocks.” He had distinctly heard a voice laughing as he passed and he was concerned that some Apache’s might be hiding in ambush. His friend investigated, but found nothing on the trail.
For three weeks, after making the same trip, Grosvenor reported hearing voices at the Point of the Rocks. Because of his reports, and other indications of problems with Apache raiders, Grosvenor decided to close the mine until the U.S. Army could secure the area. The men packed wagons with as much equipment as they could and prepared to leave. It took many wagons to do the job, and some were sent ahead as they were packed.
When the final wagons were nearly loaded, Grosvenor told Rumpelly, “I think I’ll walk down to the Point of Rocks and see if the wagons we’ve sent earlier are all right on the road.”
“Okay, I’ll finish up here and wait for you.”
The afternoon passed and Grosvenor didn’t return. Rumpelly had been too busy to notice, but as the sun set behind the hills, he decided to search for his friend. He got his gun belt and rifle and began to walk cautiously down the road toward the Point of Rocks.
As he approached the point he was struck by a strange sight. In the silhouette of evening, as the greying outlines of the mesquite blended together, an exclamation point seemed to rise from the crest of the trail in front of him. In the silhouette, it appeared that an Apache lance formed the vertical shaft and Grosvenor’s head the dot as he lay on the trail. It was a perfect exclamation point.