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known as the Silver Range, the Bradshaw Mountains rise up west
of the Aqua Fria River in central Arizona. The Bradshaws abound
in mineral deposits, both gold and silver. For many years a
stronghold of the Apache, the Bradshaws were slow in giving
up their mineral wealth. American prospectors finally opened
the floodgates in the 1860's. In 1862, a party of prospectors
led by the famous mountain man Joseph Walker discovered rich
deposits of gold near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River.
The following year, a group led by William Bradshaw penetrated
the heart of the range and also found precious metal deposits.
In August of that year, a second party of prospectors led by
another famous mountain man discovered the fabulous Rich Hill
Many rich strikes were to follow in the coming years. This rugged
mineral-rich mountain range came to be known as the Bradshaw
Mountains. They were named for the famous prospector and early
Arizona pioneer, William Bradshaw. During the 1860's, a wave
of prospectors, adventurers, and drifters poured into the mining
districts of the Bradshaw Mountains.
such adventurer was an Englishman named Bryan Philip Darrell
Duppa. Born in 1832, Duppa moved first to New Zealand, and then
in 1863 moved to the Arizona Territory. He gravitated to the
mining district near present-day Prescott where he lived for
about five years. In 1868, Duppa moved down to the Salt River
valley where he tried his hand at farming. Soon, he decided
to take on the job of station manager of the stagecoach stop
near present-day Dewey. Duppa's station was located about 13
miles straight east of Prescott, on the Agua Fria River. The
new proprietor of the Dewey station found himself traveling
back and forth to rescott many times. One day, Duppa took a
short- cut down one of the many canyons that cut the east flank
of the northern Bradshaws. Somewhere in that steep canyon, Duppa
stumbled on a ledge of silver-bearing quartz. The ore mineral
was pure native silver! Duppa returned to the station on the
Aqua Fria in great excitement. He had finally made good. Or
at least he thought so. When Duppa attempted to retrace his
steps to the ledge, he was unable to find it! He never did.
Duppa eventually retired in Phoenix, dying there in 1892.
history of mining in the Bradshaw Mountains extends back to
Pre-Columbian times. When the Americans entered the area in
the early 1860's, they discovered many old mine shafts, prospect
pits, and arrastres. Sometimes they found signs of the earliest
inhabitants, the Pre-Columbian Indians. The Silver Belt Mine
is a case in point. It was discovered by American prospectors
who stumbled on the old mine shaft by accident. Inside, they
found primitive stone tools and evidence that the native silver
had been worked by the Indians.
The Bradshaws turned out to be richly mineralized. During the
1860's, the northern Bradshaws saw huge strikes at Lynx Creek
and Rich Hill. During the 1870's, the focus shifted southward
to the southern Bradshaws. In 1870, the fabulous Tiger lode
was discovered followed by the even richer Crown King deposits
five years later.
northeastern flank of the Bradshaws is home to a number of rich
mining districts. The Lynx Creek/Walker District was one of
the richest in Arizona. Lynx Creek produced more placer gold
than any other stream in the state. The upper reaches of Lynx
Creek flow across ancient Precambrian bedrock while the lower
stretches of the stream flow across Tertiary-age conglomerates.
Placer gold occurs along the entire length of the stream, but
is especially concentrated along the lower stretches of the
creek. The gold deposits of Lynx Creek demonstrate that mineralization
in the Bradshaw Mountains is both Precambrian and Laramide in
age. Placers have been derived from mineral deposits of both
ages. In the case of Lynx Creek, a small Laramide granodiorite
intrusion was the source of most of the placer gold.
The Big Bug District is located about 12 miles southeast of
Prescott, on the slopes of the Bradshaw Mountains. Gold is found
in lodes, placers, and as a by-product. Over half a million
ounces of gold have been reported from the district with about
10% of this production as placer gold.