In 1873 there
stood a stage station in the foothills of the Cerbat Mountains near
Arizona. Canyon Station, as it was called, was near the mouth of a narrow canyon
that led to a road that twisted up the Cerbat Mountains before descending
Legend has it
that in October of 1873 a man named Macallum, or perhaps it was McAllen,
heard that the government was going to be shipping some $72,000 in gold
coins from Prescott to Fort Mohave. Near Canyon Station, Macallum,
along with an unknown partner stopped the stagecoach and relieved it of
its strongbox before sending it on its way.
A posse was immediately dispatched.
Anticipating this, the two bandits buried the heavy strongbox in order to
put some distance between themselves and their pursuers. However,
the posse soon caught up with the pair and when a gunfight ensued, Macallumís
partner was shot and killed in the melee.
arrested, convicted, and sent the Yuma Territorial Prison. Though
questioned at length, the desperado refused to reveal the location of the
However, while Macallum was serving his
sentence he became very ill and upon his death bed, relayed the story to
another inmate. When the prisoner was released he wasted no time in
following up with the lead and headed to Canyon Station.
At the time, a man named Andy Goodwill was
living in the Canyon Station building. Having no objections to the
former prisonerís search of the buried gold, the man spent several days in
and around the area, diligently searching for a marker that Macallum had
described to him. But as hard as he looked he just couldn't find the
marker. Perhaps this was because Mr. Goodwill had cultivated an
orchard and a large garden on the premises. Finally, the discouraged
man gave up his extensive search and left the area.
Several years later a woman by the name of
Nelle Clack would tell a story of how she believed that the bandits had
used a cave in Clacks Canyon to hide out. The cave, formed by two
large boulders, would have been an ideal hiding place to observe the
movements going on at Canyon Station. It was there, that Nelle had
found personal belongings left by someone who had obviously lived in the
cave for a period of time.
Today, all that is left of Canyon Station is a
few crumbling foundations at the end of a weed-chocked road. The
loot from the stagecoach robbery was never recovered.
of America, updated May, 2017.
Yuma Territorial Prison, 1945, courtesy
California Digital Library