Hill / Stanton
Rich Hill is famous for the quality and quantity
of gold that has been found in its vicinity. The drainages
surrounding Rich Hill are the legendary Weaver and Antelope
creeks that have been the source of successful placering operations
for a century or more. These placers are still actively worked
today by prospectors with metal detectors, drywashers, and
even on a much larger scale with trommels and backhoes.
This information is taken directly from US Geological
Survey Bulletin 1355, Placer Gold Deposits of Arizona, by
Maureen G. Johnson, 1972.
The Weaver placer area covers about 40 square
miles on the south flank of the Weaver Mountains. The most
important area in production and placer mining activity is
the area at the top of Rich Hill, parts of the sides of the
hill and gravels along Weaver and Antelope Creeks. The district
is just north of Octave and east of Stanton. At the top of
Rich Hill, gold was found under boulders and in crevices in
the granite bedrock, where it was quickly gathered by prospectors
during the early years after the discovery of the placers.
Below Rich Hill, in Antelope and Weaver Creeks, the gold was
found in reconcentrated stream gravels, a few feet thick to
more than 50 ft thick, that contained numerous large boulders.
The Rich Hill placers were discovered by a
party of prospectors led by Captain Pauline Weaver in 1863
or 1864 about the same time as the discovery of the Lynx Creek
placers. According to many reports, a Mexican in the party
found loose gold on the top of Rich Hill while looking for
a stray animal. Immense excitement and intense mining activity
followed the discovery. Within 3 months, $108,000 in gold
ranging in size from a pinhead to large nuggets worth hundreds
of dollars was recovered, and within 5 years, $500,000 in
placer gold was recovered. The placers have been worked extensively
since the discovery, but because of the nature of the gravels,
few large-scale operations have been attempted. Most of the
mining has been done by drywashers, pans, rockers and sluices,
although some miners used power shovels and dry-separation
There has been no detailed geologic study
of the Weaver Mountains, therefore details of the nature of
gold-bearing veins are not known. The mountains are composed
principally of Precambrian granites and schists that contain
numerous gold-bearing veins considered to be of Laramide age.
Some of these veins in the vicinity of the placers have been
mined for their gold content, and it is probably that the
placers were probably derived from these and other similar
veins in the vicinity.