There are endless fables about lost and buried treasure in the Superstition Mountain area. Also there are many true stories about events that have led to tales about lost and buried treasure. The following is such a story.
Don Francisco “Pancho” Monroy was born on October 18, 1840, in Altar, Sonora, Mexico. Growing up as a child in Mexico he and his brothers survived a wolf attack. When he was fifteen he survived an attack by a group of renegade Apaches by hiding in a cornfield. He was involved in a Mexican feud between the Gandaristas and the Pesquueiristas. All of this happened to him before he was eighteen years old.
Francisco “Pancho” Monroy first visited the Salt River near Blue Point in 1874. His sister had married W.W. Jones. Jones herded cattle from Sonora to the Salt River and Four Peaks area. Monroy settled on the Blue Point Hacienda about 1884.
It is said Private Sullivan, of Silver King Mine fame, brought rich silver samples to Monroy to examine. It was Monroy who told Sullivan he had discovered a rich deposit of silver ore according to legend. Sullivan wasn’t interested enough in silver to return to the site of his discovery. Sullivan left the Monroy Hacienda on the Salt River and traveled on to California forgetting about his discovery near the Stoneman Grade in the Pinal Mountains. A couple of years later Aaron Mason stumbled onto Sullivan’s discovery and located the famous Silver King Mine in March of 1875. If this story is true then Monroy must have been living in Blue Point as early as 1875.
When Roscoe Wilson interviewed Francisco Monroy in 1925 he was 93 years old. He told Wilson he had lived on his hacienda for more than fifty years at the time. Monroy’s name has appeared in different periodicals over the years, however the one that has linked him to buried treasure appeared in the Arizona Republican in August of 1918. The following account was reported.
“Savoring strongly of the methods in vogue among the bandits in old Mexico, word came to Phoenix yesterday of the robbery of an old, wealthy Mexican cattleman at Blue Point, who was threatened with death by armed and masked men, was forced to disclose the hiding place of his fortune. This netted the desperadoes some $1,500.“The robbers had ridden into Monroy Hacienda about 8:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. There were six bandits in the group. After beating the old man severely he revealed the hiding place for $900.00. A bandit accidentally moved the stove and beneath it found another $500 in gold.”
Francisco “Pancho” Monroy did not speak English. Monroy was born in 1840, in Northern Sonora. He was one of the earliest, if not the first pioneer to settle along the Rio Salinas (Salt River). Senor Monroy left Northern Sonora, Mexico in the early part [of] 1875 after [the] reign of President Benito Juarez. Many Mexican landowners left Mexico during Juarez’s reign.
Yes, it is probably true Private Sullivan visited Monroy’s Hacienda and showed Pancho the rich specimens of silver ore he had found prior to mustering out of the Army. Sullivan had worked on the Stoneman Grade. It is also believed Monroy didn’t own the Blue Point Ranch at the time, but may have been herding cattle in the area for W.W. Jones.
Yes, Don Francisco “Pablo” Monroy could have hidden a fortune in gold coins somewhere in the vicinity of his hacienda. Monroy was known to stash or cache large amounts of gold coinage.
Bill Cage, an early territorial blacksmith who had worked in Christmas, Arizona, told the following story. This old man named “Lem” who spoke fluent Spanish supposedly worked for Pancho Monroy for several years between 1910-1934. Lem said he helped Monroy dig many holes in the desert looking for gold coins. According to Lem, the only bank Monroy trusted was the desert. The old vaquero had Lem digging holes all over the desert between Salt River and Superstition Mountain. When Lem would inquire as to why he was digging so many holes for no apparent reason the old vaquero replied he had lost something he buried years ago and was trying to find it. Lem felt the old vaquero was losing his memory and had forgotten where he buried the caches. Many old timers used the ground for a bank.
It is quite likely Don Francisco “Pancho” Monroy buried gold coins somewhere in the desert. It is very likely these coins remain buried to this day. The story has been around for a long time and is quite interesting to speculate about. Don Francisco “Pancho” Monroy died at his ranch on December 4, 1935. He was 95 years old.
The old Blue Point Ranch was located near the present Blue Point Ranger Station and parking lot. So when you visit the Salt River between Stewart Mountain Dam and Granite Reef Dam or float down the Salt River you might think about “Pancho” Monroy’s various gold coin caches in the desert.