Yuma County has lots of stories about lost gold and the men who searched for them. This story comes from Thomas Penfield’s book, “Dig Here!” and tells a wild tale about an Indian named Pancho and his lost gold mine.
It seems Pancho was a Tonto Apache Indian on the San Carlos Reservation in northeastern Arizona with a good friend named Jose Alvarado, When Pancho’s young son became seriously ill, Jose’s family nursed him back to health.
The Alvarado family moved to Palomas in Yuma County, in the southwestern part of the state, before Pancho could repay Jose for his kindness.
Pancho went to visit Jose in Palomas and told him about a lost gold mine nearby and that he would take him there as gratitude for caring for his son. Jose agreed to meet but brought his friends, not a great idea, as the buddies immediately started causing trouble. Pancho and Jose agreed to split up, but not before arranging a secret rendezvous for later.
At the rendezvous, Jose once again shows up with his friends making it impossible for Pancho to show Jose the exact location of the lost gold mine. However, Pancho gave Jose explicit instructions on how to find the treasure. The men camped there for the night but Pancho snuck away that night. Jose never saw him again.
Jose never did look for the gold for whatever reason. However, on his death bed, he did divulge the location to his son. It was near the second meeting place where they camped and beside a dry wash. A pair of deer antlers was a marker for the location.
The son searched and searched but never found the hidden treasure of the lost gold mine.
The location according to “Dig Here!” Is somewhere on or near the Little Horn Mountains in northern Yuma County or the southern end of La Paz County.
Fact or Fiction? Hard to know as the Native Americans loved to tell white people tall tales about lost gold and hidden treasure. This is a legend told by both the Apaches and Indians in the Yuma area. There is a lot of gold mining done in Yuma and La Paz Counties.