Desert Messenger

July 18, 2012

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July 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 The Valencia Mine Quartzsite was well known for its many mines and the bounty that could be found in gold, silver, copper, and other important minerals. However, it was gold that lured thousands of early-day miners into southwestern Arizona Territory. After a few weeks out in the scorching desert sun spirits could be dampened, that is, until some lucky miner showed off nuggets that he said he had found at his mine claim. Of course that miner wouldn't think of coming to the assay offi ce in Quartzsite on a direct route from his claim brag- ging about the location of his strike. He knew that if he boasted too much about where and how much gold he had found other miners would fl ock from across the desert to the area of the new strike, making it nearly impossible for him to keep his claim from being over- run by other miners or from promoters anxious to become his partner. In the early 1930s Wayne Wheeling In the 1860s many areas around hematite nugget. Bill and Sol loaded up their tools and plenty of water and headed out. It didn't take the two very long to had been camped near the Valenzuela Mine seven or so miles north of Quartz- site. He found a big nugget of black he- matite that assayed out around $5,000 a ton. During the assay he mentioned that he had already panned a lot of gold out of the dust around where he had found the hematite nugget. Some time later, when he thought he had taken out most of the gold, he moved on. Bill Keiser and one of his mining friends, Sol Pease, talked about going out and trying to fi nd the vein where Wheeling had found the fi nd Wheeling's old camp but the gully where the hematite nugget was sup- posedly found was now full of sand washed down by many years by desert downpours. Any sign of the rich hema- tite ore or gold nuggets in the dust was gone. Bill and Sol discussed whether there might be anything left under the layers of rippled sand and decided the answer was "too iffy" to undertake re- moving tons of sandy silt. After Bill and Sol moved on from Wheeling's old camp, a Mexican wom- an by the name of Doña Louisa Mar- tinez camped at the Valenzuela. Her father was a wealthy Don down in Mexico, but Louisa had run off with a half-Yaqui Indian when she was 15- years old. Even though she was of- ten very lonely and wanted to see her mother and siblings, she could not go back, as her father had disowned her. Louisa had two sons, Pablo and Joe. Pablo had a wooden leg due to an ac- cident in the Southern Pacifi c Railroad switching yard in Yuma. The railroad provided for his high school education and offered to send him to college. He didn't accept, instead he choose to come back to Quartzsite. Louisa's other son, Joe, had one arm. It was said that he had held on to a piece of dynamite too long while celebrating the Fourth of July in Ehrenberg. Pablo married and brought his family FULL SERVICE SALON See us for all your hair needs! Perms, Cuts, Colors and All Nail Services: Manicures, Acrylic, Gels and Shellac. We also do Pedicures. Come in and try our new pedicure massage chair. Tanning bed packages available! Corner of Moon Mt. & Cowell • Quartzsite • 928-927-5400 QUARTZSITE'S ONLY YEAR ROUND SALON out to the Valenzuela Mine. From time to time Louisa came to spend time with her grandchildren. Even in her old age she enjoyed taking long walks out into the desert. One day she saw something glistening in the bushes that grew along the wash. She parted the bushes and discov- ered a large quartz rock that was about three feet wide and riddled with what looked like the copper they had mined at the Valenzuela. Anyway, she didn't think too much about the "copper rock", having only seen the darker placer gold and not the rich vein gold. Years later, Joe was shown a piece of white quartz with vein gold coursing through it. He hadn't seen anything like that before, so he brought the spec- imen home for the family to see. Doña Louisa said she had seen something like that years earlier on one of her walks. She told Pablo and Joe the story about what she thought had been a "cop- per rock". They agreed that the three of them should go out onto the desert to try and fi nd her "rock". Louisa was certain that once out in the desert she Page 9 could fi nd the wash and be able to go right to the bush concealing her fi nd. However, the elements had changed and time had dimmed her view. Doña Louisa and her family never found the hiding place of the glistening rock. Bill Keiser said there was no question that what Doña Louisa saw was vein gold. Copper would not show like that in white quartz. Years later, six miles west in the River Range of the Moon Mountain area, a rich vein of gold in white quartz was found. It could have been that she actually went farther out from where she saw what she thought was a "copper rock". Doña Louisa Martinez died in Miami, Arizona, at 90 years of age. VFW Post 769 VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS 120 S. Palo Verde Quartzsite, AZ UPCOMING ACTIVITIES Burger Night 4-6pm AUG. 12 - 1pm VFW Post 769 Birthday Party! 928-927-7697 • JULY 19 - Luau Theme with Pit Roasted Pig provided. Pot-luck side dishes. Sign up at Canteen. Wood is needed for pit. Please drop off at 120 S. Palo Verde. Smoking establishment. Outside eating will be available. Alcohol service for members and guests only. Find a member and bring them with you! Comrades Meeting 1st Saturday 9am VFW Riders meeting 1st Saturday of the month at 2PM Mens Auxiliary Meeting: 1st Tuesday 6pm Ladies Auxiliary Meeting: 1st Tuesday 6:30pm, Senior Center House Committee meeting: CHECK CALENDAR This is a smoking establishment • Members & Guests Only for Alcohol Service

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