The Valverdes of Santa Cruz Valley

by | Aug 7, 2017 | Treasure Stories | 0 comments

One of the first Mexican families to follow Father Euxebio Kino northward into Pimeria Alta was the Valverdes. They settled in the Santa Cruz Valley in the vicinity of the Guevavi Mission (now only a mound of rubble, but its site can be located). With their ranch established, the Valverdes took to the surrounding mountains in search of gold which they knew the Indians had secured. They found gold at some spot lost to history and developed a rich mine. Employing Indian laborers, the Valverde mine produced enough gold each year that a large pack train was required to carry it out to Mexico.

The Valverdes prospered immensely, and to store the wealth from their mine between pack trips to Mexico, they built a stone vault under the main house of the ranch. Stinging under the harsh treatment of their Spanish masters, the Indians of Pimeria Alta rose in revolt in 1772, destroyed missions and ranches, killed all white men who did not flee their wrath. Among the families managing to escape to Mexico were the Valverdes, but they had to leave behind their horses and cattle, and about a years accumulation of gold. Wealthy from the gold they had already sent to Mexico, the Valverdes never returned to Arizona. In time, all traces of the ranch were reduced to rubble, and today not even a low mound remains to indicate its site, which is probably overgrown with mesquite and cottonwood trees.