The town of Gleeson was born of rock and copper at the southern tip of the Dragoon Mountains. Originally called "Turquois," it sprang up around the Apache turquoise mines after the Apache had been largely killed off or removed to the reservation. In the 1870's groups of prospectors and miners eked out a living by trying to mine turquoise, copper, silver, gold and lead from the Dragoon mountains. At every turn they had to watch for attacks from Apache warriors, who had a series of on-again-off-again truces with the encroachers. In the mid-1880's as the Apache wars were coming to an end, Tiffany and Company of New York engaged in mining turquoise from those Apache mines. They arranged it with differently-hued turquoise from New Mexico and Persia (Iran), and sold it as jewelry from coast to coast. The mining camp became large enough that a post office was opened in 1890, although it closed 4 years later when the turquoise jewelry fad began to die away.
In 1887, just 10 years after the founding of Tombstone, a prospector named Kit Charleston laid claim to mining rights just south of the Turquois camp, but was unable to undertake much of an operation. In 1896, John Gleeson, an Irish miner living in Pearce, bought up the claim and opened the Copper Belle. The scale of this operation created a much larger town, which got its own post office in 1900, this time as the town of Gleeson.
Gleeson prospered alongside its cousin-town Courtland, on the other side of the ridge. A fire in 1912 wiped out much of Gleeson, but it was in the midst of boom years, and was quickly rebuilt. The boom in Gleeson ran from 1909, when the Southern Pacific railroad arrived until the Great Depression, when prices plummeted and residents moved away in droves. By 1939 the post office closed, and most of Gleeson was vacant.
Mining stopped entirely by 1958, and ranching became the primary presence in the area. Ranchers (and folks who just want to get away) are still the primary local residents. The sole remaining original buildings are the Bono Store and the Jail. The Bono Store (originally the Renaud General Store, and later also a saloon, restaurant, and private home) is almost collapsed now, and has been padlocked by the State of Arizona. The jail has been restored, and is the centerpiece of historic Gleeson today.