In The Desert
Indian Gold in Salome, Az.
Now this whole story was given to me by the now deceased George Campbell. He was an old miner, prospector from the old days. He had (his wife Norma's now) over 50 claims in the Harquahala Mts. in the Southeast of Arizona near the town of Salome, Arizona. This is a fairly noteworthy town with an old restaurant, bar called the Cactus Bar. It used to be a garage back in the 50's. We had a good time talking to George for 2 days and roaming around in the mountains with him (he was carrying an oxygen bottle with him because of miners lung disease) pointing out where this was and that was. He related many old stories to us (myself and Jack Ross, and our wives). Several of the stories that we did check out; were true and everything was as he said would be. I really think he liked telling these tales and most of all wanted to know that these legends wouldn't die with him. So here we go......
George's great grandfather owned the only store in Salome and George spent time there when he was just a little kid. His great grandfather used to trade goods (blankets, whiskey mostly) to the Indians for placer gold. Of course they didn't know how the scale worked so he would cheat them a little. Finally one day the Indians came up short and needed more gold. So they sent a young buck out to get more, and sure enough within one day he returned with a lot more. Now this got them thinking --- if they told the Indians they didn't have enough and had friends hide up in the North (which is the way the young buck went) in the mountains waiting to see where the Indian went then they'd find the placer deposit. So they got set up with look outs and sure enough they sent one of them back for more gold. Of course the Indian was too fast and sly. He went directly North of town and they lost him in the mountains. Try as many times as they did it was to no avail. Finally the Indians got wise and stopped coming back to their trusted friend at the store. George assured me that the original source was never found; he would've known, being a local miner. This area is pretty much ignored as a source of gold in the desert, except for a few hard rock mines in the mountains (shown on the top map).
Here's a topo of the area, with Salome shown, and some other places of interest. Now maybe near one of the mines shown is where they got the gold, There is a lot of gold bearing rock in this area of Arizona.
Inside the Cactus Bar with all the relics and photo of Dick Wick Hall a town celebrity:
Very near to Salome are some rocks with petroglyphs, does the cross look familiar?
The mountains are pretty rugged in places and are also pretty unusual because of the large cave systems in them. Some are pretty extensive with a lot of off shoots. This area gets more water than the lower elevation in the desert and this may be the reason for the weathering of the rock that causes it to give up the placer gold nuggets.
Looking down the trail thru Tank Pass:
There are a lot of washes that run East out of the mountains and they should be investigated with a metal detector -- we haven't had a chance yet. And on the West side of the mountains there are some big canyons with washes that are worth looking at too! Tank Pass is passable, Cottonwood Canyon is only passable to smaller vehicles, our Cruiser wouldn't make it -- too narrow. George gave us a lot of info because all his old friends were gone or dead and he wanted to pass some of his knowledge along to us. He was a good man; and honest man.
Great place to metal detect!
Contact us via E-mail
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
More info on this area can be found HERE