Originally told by Arthur H. Lamb in his book “Tragedies of the Osage Hills” and used with permission from the late Raymond Redcorn, this story is quite well known throughout Osage County.
In 1862 a wagon train of immigrants was returning from the California gold fields. The wagon master was a stout man with a large nose. He was known as Captain Goldie. They stayed on the Santa Fe Trail until the Arkansas River crossing and took a southern turn to follow a central route known as the California Trail, also known as Evans Road., eastward on towards southern Missouri. This trail shared some footage with the Black Dog Trail. Their cargo was said to be $100,000 in gold.
One evening while the immigrants were camped a lone Indian had nosed his way into camp and offered to trade a few ponies for some of the gold. He was told no and became angry. He left and soon he had convinced a large number of Pawnees to give chase. Near present day Foraker they came into view. Upon seeing the approaching Indians Goldie had the men circle the wagons and gather together all the gold. Goldie took the gold to the edge of the woods with the intentions of burying it but saw the futility of the battle for his men were greatly outnumbered. In the cover of the woods he made good his escape. Here we pause to thank the late Mr. Lamb, for through his efforts we know what took place at the site of the massacre.
After a long and difficult battle the Indians succeeded, and after killing the wounded they searched the wagons and bodies, but found no gold. They were outraged and threatened to kill the lone Indian. He decided to find the body of the wagon master and cut off the end of his nose, but he couldn’t find the man. It was then realized that Goldie had escaped with the gold. They soon picked up his trail and followed after him.
My efforts put him following upper Sand Creek east for about a mile, turning northeast, following Dog Creek a short distance east, turning northeast again, crossing Buck Creek, then following a small creek to where he slept briefly and left a lengthy inscription on a large boulder. Late in the next afternoon he stopped briefly on top of the hill just west of Artillery Mound and scanned the countryside. He saw that he was being followed and decided to bury the gold.
Near here, according to all published versions of the story, he found a hollow tree near the base of Artillery Mound and put an old musket in this tree. So many steps from this tree stood two large trees sharing a common single trunk. So many steps from these he buried the gold. A good distance down the trail from this site he tied his mule to a tree and hung the tack and gear on a limb. From here he proceeded on foot. At this
point the Indians lost Goldie’s trail and after scouring the countryside they gave up the chase.
Goldie made it home to Missouri, to his wife and his six year old son, but weakened from the ravages of the journey he soon fell ill. In the winter shortly before his death he revealed the story of the massacre and his escape to his wife. He left her a detailed hand drawn map with instructions to where the gold was buried.
Not knowing anyone she could trust, and her son being of tender age, plus the consideration of the Civil War, she decided to wait until he grew to be a man.
The government purchased this portion of the Cherokee Outlet from a group of Cherokees who represented only the Cherokees who were not living here in what was to become Osage County, and after a forced march the Osage People were confined to the area. They then allotted the land in 160 acre tracts to each Osage Tribal member.
After stopping near the Caney River at Matoaka to investigate the twin hills as the possible site, young Goldie appeared one evening in 1882 at the farm of an Osage man named Joe Boulanger. Joe invited him in for supper. After examining the area he explained his mission to Joe, and the significance of the trees and the musket. Joe claimed to remember the trees and the musket, having cleared the land himself. He did not produce the musket but he did take young Goldie to a spot and left him to dig for several days. After failing to find anything, young Goldie made Joe a copy of the map and received the promise that if anything was found a portion would be sent to him. He returned to his Missouri home and life went on.
Just after 1900 the story of the gold had leaked out and large holes began appearing in Joe’s field. Joe called upon the law and he sat up late many nights trying to catch the diggers but none were ever caught.
Many years later, in 1961, a cowboy was repairing a fence and cut down a dead tree. The tree was hollow and had grown back shut, totally concealing Goldie’s musket within. Even now remains of the stump and roots are visible in the ground. This location was revealed to me by the late Mr. C. E. McClurkin in 1991. Accordingly, the musket was given to a member of the Boulanger family. I was also informed that the man who found the musket passed away in 1968.
After much moonlit exploration, over a dozen trips tainted with no permission, I was privately informed that the treasure had long since been removed and was only about 150 pounds instead of the supposed 300 pounds, yes, we had done the math, and that it had all been quietly turned into cash and all had been spent some years prior to my search.
Where the treasure had been found, if it really was found, was said to be near a fence line on the southeast slope of the hill. Cattle had exposed a portion while walking the fence line. If this information is true and the structure of a cow hoof is taken into consideration then my attempt to justify another search gains credibility. I can easily imagine a nugget traveling a short distance in the cleft of a hoof. Pure speculation on my part can allow for a pound or two spread out along the fence line in both directions.
Another possibility is of relics at the massacre site. My studies put this to be at the top of a hill south of upper Sand Creek east of Foraker near what was once a dense forest but now is claimed to always have been prairie. I remember the dead trees.
Copyright Bill Wade #grampawbill