Gold In Them Thar Hills?
Gold strikes and tales of buried treasure are inextricably woven into Arizona’s history.
Gold fever began in 1858 when Jacob Snively discovered a placer deposit near the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers. The announcement brought an influx of prospectors to the state. A second discovery in 1862 by Pauline Weaver near La Paz created a second gold rush.
As larger gold deposits were discovered, including the famous Rich Hill near the future site of Prescott, thousands of fortune hunters headed to Arizona. The flood of gold seekers helped propel Arizona to become a U. S. Territory in 1864, and Prescott the only wilderness capitol in the nation’s history.
Early mining towns were rife with hard-living, hard-drinking and hard luck. Hold-ups along the stage routes were common, and anyone caught trespassing on a claim took his life in his hands.
The dearth of lawfulness contributed to tales of gold stolen, buried or otherwise disappearing, leaving modern treasure hunters to wonder – are the stories are true?
Truth or tale? Your guide to stories of buried treasure
Here are just a few stories of treasure purportedly buried near the town of Prescott.
Black Canyon Hill: Located 38 miles south of Prescott, Black Canyon Hill was the site of many stage coach holdups. Rumors persist that some of the stolen riches were buried somewhere nearby.
Chino Valley: One of the earliest prospectors in Chino Valley, located 20 miles north of Prescott, is purported to have buried a cache of gold close to his cabin. To this day the treasure has never been located.
Granite Mountain: Stories circulate that robbers buried two strongboxes taken from stagecoaches on Granite Mountain.
Kneeling Man Boulder: In the late 1800s, a group of miners carrying a chest containing gold was being pursued by hostile Indians. The miners supposedly buried the gold intending to return, however all but one perished. Nearly dead, the last miner confessed that the treasure was buried by a natural spring at the foot of a mountain near Prescott. The gold was placed beneath a boulder that looked like a kneeling man, near a tree carved with a cross above a half circle. Though the landmarks exist, the gold was never found.