Desert Messenger

April 18, 2012

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April 18, 2012 Desert Messenger celebrates the Arizona Centennial with Voices from The Past in Quartzsite, AZ Excerpts from "In the Shadow of Saguaros" by Rosalee Oldham Wheeler LOST TREASURES from the past If we are to believe the curious stories about lost treasures that have been found hidden in walls, buried under dirt fl oors, out by old corrals, under or in trees, and deep down in old mine shafts, there wouldn't be much gold left for today's treasure seekers to fi nd. However, there are many fascinating stories about lost caches of gold coins, dust, nuggets, and other treasures still waiting around to be found in and around Quartzsite. One such story is from the 1850s about a wagon trail from Quartzsite to Yuma that paralleled the Colorado River, but in most places was actually some dis- tance from the river. This route was used by the ore wagons that had wheels that were six foot high. The route was very hot during the summer and water was so scarce that when the trail came close to the river, travelers anxiously renewed their supply of water for themselves and their team of horses or mules. On many occasions H. B. Coons, one of the freighters, observed Mexican miners panning for gold along the river. He guessed he could make more money by panning for gold than he was at hauling gold ore from the mines in the big wagons and taking care of the horse teams. So he quit hauling and took up panning. After he had accumulated his fi rst few ounces of gold, he just could not resist bragging about his good fortune and went to show his fi nd to some men down river. Coons' bragging was the broadcast mistake of his life! Within weeks, a boomtown of both Anglo and Mexican miners crowded in on his new placer gold strike. Word traveled as fast as light- ening about the new strike. Newspa- pers were going to press with stories about "Coons' new placer fi eld sure to be the next big boom town with river- 928-927-6589 MOBILE SERVICE ONLY Betty Crenshaw CML Owner 37 Years Experience LOCK & KEY C & B Residential Commercial Autos RVs Bonded - Insured BLM Approved Serving Quartzsite and Surrounding Areas Give us a call: 1-800-560-8061 Your RV and Auto Windshield Specialists! 41 West Main St., Quartzsite, AZ boats that would bring miners from as far away as San Francisco." By the time the newspapers were printed and de- livered, the value of the new gold fi eld along the Colorado River was already "playing-out." No one else ever found what Coon had found in his fi rst days working his new "placer gold strike." Then along came the rains and fl ood of 1862 that almost entirely washed the little adobe boomtown away. Many of the gold seekers and dream- ers lost everything they had accumu- lated, including their gold. When the fl oodwaters receded they came back to search for the cache they had hidden in their se- cret places. It was gone. Their gold had vanished with the receding water of the Colorado River. The river had washed away their dreams. Another lost treasure story follows the saga of Don José María Redondo and his brother Jesús. In the 1860s, they brought their families from So- nora, Mexico to the Gila Valley and es- tablished a vast 2,000-acre hacienda about 15 miles north of Yuma. Here José María used some of the fortune he had made in mining gold, operating a ferry, and other enterprises to build Page 13 his magnifi cent two-story adobe, Ha- cienda de San Ysidro. It is said that he designed and built 27 miles of irri- gation canals to bring water from the Gila River to irrigate crops of alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, and corn in the rich bottomlands. At the hacienda head- quarters, a mill was built to process fl our that was sold to military posts throughout Southwestern Arizona Ter- ritory. Other crops included peanuts, melons, vegetables of all kind, and sugarcane that was processed into sugar on the hacienda. The brothers built adobe houses for the fami- lies of their 300 or so workers. Jesús was the cattle baron, importing over 2,500 Sonoran cattle to graze along the river bottom. Redondo meat was featured at markets in mining towns up and down the Gila and Colorado Rivers. José María was named Yuma Coun- ty's fi rst territorial legislator and served in other civic positions. Then in 1874 government land surveyors came to the Gila Valley and divided his vast hacienda into sections and town- ships because he could not prove title to his holdings. The vast hacienda was SEE LOST TREASURES PAGE 17 "Since 1992, we've only trusted Jeff, owner of Windshield Magic, with our auto and RV glass. Jeff always does quality work, gives us very affordable prices, delivers on time and treats us Why Choose & Trust Windshield Magic? • Over 22 years RV install experience • The highest customer quality rating • Work with all Insurance companies, including Candian • Here in Quartzsite from Nov. to April • Help with your insurance deductible • From rock chips to full replacements, we'll gladly do it all. like family. We wouldn't go anywhere else!" Roy T. Livingston, TX "We're looking forward to meeting you and getting you safely on the road again" Jeff and Nonda Certificate! Gift Silly Al's Pizza with RV Windshield replacement YUMMY!

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