The Lost Squaw hollow gold ledge is not just one of those lost mine and buried treasure tales of the great Southwest. The story is well authenticated and the ledge was discovered by a number of pioneer Arizona Indian fighters who broke ore from the rich ledge and carried it to their camp which was located in Squaw Hollow about 40 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, in the Camp creek country and about 10 miles south of Bronco canyon.
In 1864 Judge J. T. Alsap, in company with a small number of pioneers under the command of Colonel Woolsey, whose Indian fighting proclivities are well known to all old-timers in Arizona, pitched their camp in Squaw Hollow after an engagement with a small band of Apache warriors. Following the fight, some of the men prospected for gold in the nearby hills. Their efforts were highly successful according to the story, and a few hours later the prospectors returned to camp with a hat full of the richest gold ore the judge had ever seen.
But Apache warriors returned with reinforcements and Woolsey and his little band of fighters were so outnumbered they retreated without having left any markers as a guide to the gold discovery. Later those who knew about the gold strike became separated, and it was many years before the Apaches were completely subdued and the way opened for mining operations. The location of the gold had remained a secret because all of them had expected to return at a later date to make legal claim to gold ledge.
Not having been with the prospectors, the judge did not know the exact location of the gold. But after the Apache warfare was ended he returned to the region to search for it. He made his headquarters at Camp creek and spent many days prospecting the area. He was sure none of his companions had returned to re-locate the rich quartz ledge, for he found no mines or prospect holes in the area.
Years later, an old Mexican sheepherder, driving his flocks down from the hills into Salt River valley camped one night in Squaw Hollow with a man who had built a cabin and was working a rich gold mine in the vicinity. The prospector was bringing his ore out on burros, grinding it in a large iron mortar and washing it in the creek. Reporting the incident later, the sheepherder said the man told him he was sending the gold east to put his son through college.
The sheepherder did not learn the name of the prospector and when he returned to Squaw Hollow in later years he did not find him there, nor did he see any mine workings in the vicinity. A small pile of tailings near the ruins of the cabin was all that remained. He did not search for the ledge, but remembered the rich ore he had seen at the cabin, and told the story to a friend who was interested in mining.
The whole country in the vicinity of Camp creek and Squaw Hollow is thickly overgrown with manzanita brush and unless an outcropping of quartz is large enough to stand out above the brush it would be very difficult to locate. Whether the ledge discovered by the Indian fighters and the one later worked by the lone prospector are the same would be hard to say.
Squaw Hollow is located in a highly mineralized country and is a good place to camp. Because of the character of the country, it is easily possible that the original gold strike has escaped the notice of passing prospectors through the intervening years, and remains hidden somewhere in the brush.