(The red dot is the location of Morristown within the boundaries of Maricopa County, Arizona.)
A Highly Mineralized Region
In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, young Palmer Ashley was helping his father work a low-grade gold prospect southeast of Morristown, Arizona. This region of south-central Arizona is highly mineralized and a number of rich placer gold and lode mines were discovered here, including the famous Vulture Mine near Wickenburg.
One day Mr. Ashley decided to head to Phoenix on a business trip and left Palmer behind to “hold the fort.” Glad to be free from the restrictions of the daily grind and hard work at his father’s claim, Palmer decided to do a bit of exploring.
Rich Galena Ore
Some weeks earlier a grizzled old prospector told Palmer about a rich ledge of galena the oldtimer had come across farther up Morgan City Wash from the Ashley prospect. (Note: Galena is best known as a form of lead ore, typically known as lead sulphide or PbS. Galena can sometimes also carry small amounts of silver. J.R.)
The oldtimer had also given Palmer specific directions to the ledge of galena:
“Hike about a half mile up Morgan City Wash from this spot till you come across a 20-foot high fluted wall on the right side of the wash. You’ll notice this vertical wall since it sort of looks like it’s made of organ pipes because of heavy erosion. Once you get up and over the ‘organ pipe’ wall you’ll see a steep rise a bit farther on. On the other side of that rise is a shallow prospect pit with rich galena ore scattered about.”
A Hard Fall
Grabbing a canteen of water Palmer headed up Morgan City Wash to see if he could locate the galena. However, the young man quickly became confused because he encountered more than one high wall displaying the “organ pipe” erosion the oldtimer had described.
Here is what transpired in Palmer Ashley’s own words:
“I couldn’t figure out which ‘organ pipe’ wall the old guy meant, so I went back and climbed the first one I came to. I hiked over the first steep rise I saw but there was no prospect pit on the other side.”
“So, I decided to head back down into the wash and search for another fluted wall. Well, as I was descending that steep rise from another angle, I took a hard fall and went tumbling on down the face. When I came to a stop I was a bit disoriented and bruised and banged up.”
I’ll finish this treasure tale for you in my next post. Until then be safe and, as always, good hunting out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: “More Tips for Treasure Hunters (Part 3)”
© J.R. 2011
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