Table of Contents
Pioneer E. Plorer Pauline Weaver led an expedition in 1863
that discovered gold nuggets the size of potatoes on the top of Rich Hill. The hill
became the richest fold placer discovery in
Author: Tom Barkdull’s book “LONESOME WALLS”
Black & White Photos by: Author
A mile above the warped and bleaching walls of
On a scorching, gluey day in the early fall of 1886, seven men labored silently up Antelope Wash, pausing frequently to mop their brows and gaze back at the village below. Six of these were clad in the rough attire of miners. Their burden was in a rough pine box nailed securely around the remains of a tyrant. The seventh man, dressed in black, walked at the rear and carried only a Bible. Thus the bullet riddled body of Chuck Stanton was transported as far as practicable from the town he had terrorized, buried deep in the ground he had drenched with blood. . . buried and forgotten.
Photo by: Neal Du Shane
Carefully preserved news items place
Photo by: Neal Du Shane
Antelope Station prospered with the mining industry, which by 1871 was flourishing along Weaver Gulch on the east and Antelope Creek on the west. During that year Charles C. Genung started construction of a road through town to accommodate the stage lines. Yaqui Wilson opened a store in partnership with John Timmerman, and a man named William Partridge started a hotel and station in preparation for the arrival of overland passengers. Barney Martin and his wife owned a neat red-brick store in the center of town. Thus Chuck Stanton had three competitors; and he had a consuming determination to dispatch them all and become the town's absolute ruler.
He hadn't long to wait for his chance to act, as
prosperity soon brought the least desirable element to town with the advent of
the notorious Venezuela gang, as bloodthirsty crew as ever roamed the
The road was completed
by Genung in 1872, and Antelope Station became a regular stop for two stage
lines: the Pierson and the Jim Grant. Passengers from both lines invariably
went to the Wilson-Timmerman store for rest and refreshments, a fact that
infuriated Partridge and at the same time afforded
In addition to running
his store and stage stop,
House/Stage Stop where Charlie Stanton was shot and killed. Photo by: Neal Du Shane
Historians wrote that at that time travelers avoided the town as they
would the plague. However, due to the influence of
It's small wonder that in September, 1875, citizens successfully
petitioned to have the town's name changed to
In 2006, Hotel Stanton, Rich Hill in background. Photo by, Neal Du Shane
With his property still encumbered, Barney Martin sold it to
Thus Chuck Stanton had systematically disposed of each and every
competitor. However, the cash Barney Martin had received for his store was not
forgotten, nor was the note which Barney held for the balance due.
The Martins were subjected to constant molestation and harassment. Barney
was challenged to a dozen fights everyday, Mrs. Martin dared not even go to the
store for fear of jeers and insults from the
Finally, in July, 1886, Mr. and Mrs. Martin, heeding repeated warnings from
the ruffians controlling the town, decided to load their wagon and head for
As the wagon dipped down through the gulch the
Martins were held up and taken off the road by eight men, headed by Vega. At
about a half mile off the road the wagon was stopped and Elano Hernandez
ordered Barney to get to the ground. As Barney leaned over to comply, one hand
on the dashboard and the other on a wheel, Hernandez plunged a butcher knife
through his heart. Hysterical with terror, Mrs. Martin jumped down on the
opposite side and ran back toward Vega, who was standing with rifle ready. She
cried, "Francisco, 'save our lives!" The little boys ran after their
mother with Hernandez pursuing from behind. Catching her, he grabbed her hair,
pulled her head back and cut her throat. He then cut the little boys' throats
while they were still clinging to their mother's dress. Some woodchoppers were
in the area cutting fuel for the pump near
When the Martins failed to arrive on time, Calderwood formed a search party and backtracked along the route he knew they would travel. From the point where the wagon tracks left the road, the party could see smoke rising at some distance up the gulch. Arriving at the scene of the massacre, they found the bodies still smoldering. The desert air was pungent with the stench of burning flesh. After the fire was extinguished, only charred skulls and bone fragments remained.
Hotel Stanton – 2006, Photo by: Neal Du Shane
Indignation ran high throughout the entire territory and terrific
pressure was brought to bear on public officials.
After the Martin family murders and the subsequent trial, Chuck Stanton's carousals became more wanton and frequent. He had cronies and in-house doxies surrounding him at his hotel, where orgies were often continued around the clock, until the night that a Mexican boy named Lucemo fatally gun-shot him for trifling with his sister Froilana.
The Lucemo boy stood on the porch for only a moment, staring down with
contempt on the man who had insulted his sister, then, turning, he mounted his
waiting horse and headed for the border. The next day Tom Pierson from Crown
King met the lad on the trail and listened to the story of
And so ended the unbelievably gory career of Chuck Stanton, despot of the town that bore his name for a mere six months.
For some inexplicable reason the town's name was officially changed back
Today, as the desert wind combs the tangled brush away from the old
November 18, 2005 – Neal Du Shane
On a quest to discover the grave of Charles Stanton, I
ventured to the community of
Spoke with a very friendly person at the information center, former Stage Stop and home of Charlie Stanton. Was informed the most likely person to identify Charles grave was Ben Evens. She gave me directions to find Ben “if he hasn’t gone to Congress to get his mail”.
Drove around to space 8 and setting in his pickup after
returning from Congress to get his daily mail, sat Ben Evens a 92 year young
gentleman who is a fountain of information on this area. Ben indicated he has
Ben went on to explain that after the claim where Charles is buried, was sold the new owners came in with a bulldozer and leveled the ground. Charles explained “After that, when I used to go to my claim and try to stay there, I couldn’t as Charles was still active and I couldn’t get any sleep. When I moved across the creek on the east bank there were no problems and I could get some rest”. It would seem Charles didn’t like to be disturbed and was letting everyone know his dissatisfaction.
Ben also explained that as you travel up the road from
One of the main goals for the Arizona Pioneer & Cemetery
Research Project is to delve into long forgotten historic Pioneer Cemeteries
within the state. One such cemetery that has had nothing written or documented
Good friends Bonnie Helten, Shelley Rasmussen and my self
set out on a quest to find the exact grave of Charlie Stanton. A friend of
Bonnie and Shelley had showed them a location where when a young girl she
remembered a grave with a picket fence surrounding it when she grew up in
The location was just west of
Our next stop was to find the grave site approximately one
mile up the creek from
Fortunately as we walked the creek on the west bank we continued to observe and identify graves. To our amazement we found and identified Charlie Stanton's grave approximately 1/4 mile farther up the creek than previously believed.
Interesting facts: At the foot of Charlie Stanton's grave is the grave of a small male - could this have been his dog? We proceeded to work the total plateau and found additional graves, all Hispanic. There are adult male and female graves and our estimate is the total may reach as many as 15 to 20 graves with detailed research of this area.
To answer our burning question, who is buried where it was believe Charlie was buried? Bonnie and Shelley came back at a later date and researched this area. Sure enough there are graves at that location also but not Charlie Stanton's grave. This research tells we have found Charlie Stanton's grave.
Courtesy Patti Jares, Staff Writer “The Wickenburg Sun”
The Original Stanton Opera House is presently being restored.
Photo courtesy: Patti Jares
There was Charles P. Stanton, the ruthless villain for whom the town was named, Francisco Vega,
Stanton eventually died in his home with a bullet to his
head, but the mysteries surrounding him are alive to this day, including an
estimated $60,000 worth of gold he supposedly hid somewhere between Antelope
Creek and Prescott, possibly along County Road 109, through Yarnell to
Prescott. Many have intensely scoured the area in search of the treasure, but
it has never been found.
The settlement diminished into a ghost town about four years after
In the late 1950s The Saturday Evening Post is said to have purchased the 10-acre town, and then gave it away during a contest. It remained uninhabited until the late 1960s, when hippies moved in, pulling rafters out of the ceilings of the original buildings for firewood.
The town was finally scooped up in 1976 by then-President of Lost Dutchman's Mining Association (LDMA) George Massey, purchasing 65 deeded, patented acres for LDMA members to enjoy six months out of the year. The organization recently purchased an additional 60 acres. It now owns the entire town and surrounding area, including the wash that flows from Rich Hill.
LDMA members arrive in the fall in RVs of all shapes and sizes.
According to membership rules, the maximum stay at
Members Larry and Linda Walton are year-around caretakers, residents a total of 10 years. The couple, like many others, found
Assistant caretakers are Dave and Joanne Ringquist, who also stay all year.
The resident who has lived at
In addition to basic amenities offered in Stanton, such as water, a main office with a telephone, showers and electrical hookups; the town utilizes the 11-room original Stanton Hotel, which has been renovated to offer a large, functional kitchen and dining room, a library, a laundry room, a poker room (money is not supposed to change hands in the room) and a TV room.
“This is mostly a man's town,” exclaimed one resident. “But we women have our moments!”
The town members possess a rare camaraderie, reflected in their potlucks, parties and friendliness within the community. As one part-time resident exclaimed: “When you start doing this, you become a member of a big family. A neat thing about it here is that nobody cares whether you have a $300,000 motor home or a tent.”
There is not much left of the town that once boasted three stage stops, but original buildings sit among the RVs, and many have been restored. The Stanton Opera House is presently being restored and workers are being careful to leave the bullet holes intact - they are a reminder of a wilder, more dangerous time. The town originally named Antelope Creek sprung up virtually overnight after an incredible gold discovery in 1863 - a gold prospecting party led by Mountain Man Pauline Weaver - yes, he was “Pauline” - found gold nuggets the size of potatoes at the top of a mountainous hill later named “Rich Hill.” The town developed at the base of it.
The settlement was later changed to “
Two brothers of the Lucero family eventually murdered
So hated was Charles Stanton that he was not permitted to be buried next to the decent residents in the town cemetery. He was put in the ground along the banks of Antelope Creek. His gravesite is no longer visible.
Although some residents take gold mining seriously, most are hobbyists. But whatever the attitude, it is a pleasure shared by residents.
Caretaker Larry Walton summed it up when asked how he like living in
“It's heaven - absolute heaven - after you get used to the heat.”
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