- In 1878 a wagon train was attacked in Chavez Pass 30 miles S.W. of Winslow and everyone except two of the party were massacred. The two survivors said all of the valuables and cash of the wagon train were buried the night before the attack near the campsite and never recovered after the melee. Even though the remains of the burnt wagons were found, the treasure wasn’t.
- A cache of gold dust and silver coins was secreted by Apache Indians after they attacked a wagon train a few miles N.E. of the stage station at Mountain Springs. The dutch oven containing the treasure is hidden behind two rocks at the point of the Winchester Mountains N.E. of Wilcox.
- Two heavy bags of gold were buried by outlaws after a robbery. Captured and sent to jail, they admitted the crime and gave these directions to the cache: from Douglas, go north on a country road for 18 miles. Where the road forks take it to the left leading in a westerly direction and continue for about 5 miles, then turn north again. Straight ahead is a corral. Go through two gates and follow this road 8-10 miles to a goat ranch. From goat ranch: about 200 yards up a canyon is a spring and old campsite. Up this canyon, towards a dike, is the area where the loot was hidden.
- Profits from the 250 acre Spade Ranch, established in 1883 by William Craig and Paul Vogel, are believed buried somewhere on the property located in a meadow on Webber Creek below the Mogollon Rim and near Pine.
- In 1903, Jake Johnson and his brother were taken to a treasure cave, by a Paiute Indian, containing a vast quantity of Aztec gold and silver, from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. They were blindfolded one day’s ride S of Pipe Spring and rode another 4 days. At the base of the Grand Canyon they entered the cavern, where their blindfolds were removed. The two men were allowed to take all the treasure they could carry, in return for their help in saving the life of the Indian’s wife. They searched for years and could not find the cavern.
- The Nazi Germany war regime is said to have cached upwards of $300 million in the area of Chloride.
- 1870s—2 bandits robbed a stagecoach of an army payroll and stole $72,000. The loot is believed buried in the vicinity of Canyon Station.
- Indians planned and made several attacks on emigrant trains in Secret Pass and buried a large store of weapons in a concealed cave. The cave is located at the western or Colorado River side of Secret Pass where Thumb Butte is a prominent rock formation nearby.
- Spanish priests, in charge of a wagon train enroute from Mexico to California, were loaded with everything needed to establish a new mission including, chalices, candlesticks, crosses, vestments and other church articles. Indians forced them to conceal the treasures in a cave in the area of Secret Pass and then the party was attacked and massacred. Two nuns escaped the foray and returned to Mexico to tell of the tragedy.
- In the 1880’s, 5 bandits robbed a saloon in the booming mining camp of Mineral
Park. While escaping, they robbed a stagecoach of a strongbox containing 400pounds of gold bars, dust and nuggets and the passengers of additional valuables.The strongbox was too heavy to take with them and in their haste, pushed it off tothe side of the road and covered it with dirt. A posse caught up with the gangshortly afterwards and killed them all. The posse found the stagecoach and itspassengers not far from Topock and all made a thorough search for the gold, butnothing was ever found. The location is along the Yucca-Needles stage road to the W of the Yucca Stage Station.
- The above coins may or may not have come from a cache made by 4 outlaws who robbed the Sante Fe train in 1889, 34 miles E of Flagstaff. The loot was taken up Canyon Diablo to a cedar thicket where the spendable loot was divided and the diamond jewelry and separated rifles and watches buried on the rim. The outlaws then separated.
“Long Tom” Watson found some old papers in 1910 in a cabin written by outlawsthat told of a cache of gold nuggets hidden behind a waterfall that exists only in the spring of the year in the vicinity of Havasupai Village in the Grand Canyon. The site is W of the old Tanner Trail in the Grand Canyon, about 4 miles N of Hwy. 64. He began his search in 1912, and after 2 years of futile searching was on his way out of the canyon to the Arizona strip via the old Horse Thief Trail from Morgan Point where he saw a falls. Behind it was a cave and, inside, a bushel of gold nuggets. As he was about to leave, he fell and broke his leg, but managed to get to the Buggelin Ranch, leaving the treasure behind. When he recovered, he made numerous attempts to relocate the cave and waterfall, but failed. In disgust, Watson later committed suicide and the story became legend.
The owner of an Indian trading post N of the peaks from Flagstaff during the 1800’sburied the profits from his store in jars and cans around the fences on his property. The caches are believed to have numbered in the hundreds, many of which are still awaiting discovery to this day.
An outlaw cave is located to the W of this trading post, possibly in the North FriscoPeak region, where it it believed a large cache of gold coins remains unrecovered.
$100,000 in outlaw loot was buried by Curly Walker near his stone fort-likeheadquarters in the N end of the Painted Desert. The ruins are still visable and, somewhere nearby, the unrecovered cash.
In the 1880’s, 7 outlaws of the Valenzuelo gang were killed by lawmen at MexicanPocket S of Flagstaff and another five bandits escaped, only to be killed later. The 12 bandits buried their shares of loot from series of rich hauls in separate cachesand contained in saddlebags here and were never able to return to recover them.Shortly after the shooting spree, 2 separate caches were found; one contained$5,000 in gold and silver coins, a few years later, $8,000 was found in saddlebags in another cache in the same area. It was presumed that another 10 caches of outlaw loot with a face value of some $80,000 remains buried in separate places inMexican Pocket.
A cache of stagecoach loot was buried by a lone bandit at Viet Spring nearFlagstaff. The outlaw was killed in a gunfight and the treasure was never recovered.
On May 10, 1881, 5 outlaws robbed the Canyon Diablo-Flagstaff stage about 30miles E of Flagstaff. Two mail sacks were taken containing two 5-gallon oak kegspacked with a Wells Fargo shipment of gold ingots and coins cosigned to a SanFrancisco bank. The gold was worth $125,000. The bandits made good their escape and holed up in a log cabin at a place later called Viet Spring. A posse trailed the gang and trapped them at the cabin. In the shootout, all the bandits were killed and a search of the area made, but no gold was found. Many fruitless searches have been made for this cache over the years until a local man, Jim McGuire, suddenly started spending $50 gold coins at the saloon. McGuire was not a wealthy man and boasted that he “found” the coins. When he died suddenly, a search of his cabin turned up nothing and it is presumed that he had indeed found the stagecoach loot but only took a few coins from the cache at a time. The treasure still awaits recovery.
Roy Gardner was a train robber and gunrunner who started his crime career in 1906. He concealed $16,000 in gold coins in the cone of an extinct volcano near Flagstaff before he was captured during a train robbery in 1921 and sent to prison. His cache was never recovered.
- In 1878, outlaws attacked a packed train loaded with silver bars enrouted from the Stonewall Jackson Mine at McMillenville. Each of the 25 mules carried 2 huge ingots which weighed 190 pounds each. Taking over the mules, they turned NW from the Globe Trail and moved the train into the Mogollon Moutains in Navajo County . Seeing that they were being followed by Indians, the outlaws led the caravan to the area of Little Valley ( Clark Valley ) where the silver was cached in an old 40-foot-deep mine shaft on the side of the slope and covered over. The bandits were killed in an shootout and the treasure was never recovered. The search are for this hoard is believed to be within 1 mile of the lower end of Lake Mary on the rim of Little Valley in the San Francisco Mountains.
- During the winter of 1881, outlaws Henry Corey and Ralph Gaines stole 8 gold bars, each 3 feet long by 4 inches, from the old Tip Top Mine near (GT) Gillette. They holed up in an abandoned cabin on Rogers Lake and buried the bars near the cabin. They went to Flagstaff, held up a stagecoach of $25,000 in gold and silver coins and returned to the cabin. They dug up the gold bars and, together with the stage loot which was placed in wooden kegs, they chopped a hole in the ice and lowered the treasure into the lake. When the sheriff learned that the pair was at Rogers Lake, a posse set out to capture them. At their approach, Corey and Gaines managed to make a hasty escape, leaving the treasure behind. Gaines was killed in a brawl and Corey was arrested during a holdup near Globe and sent to prison. When Corey was released 24 years later, he and a friend made repeated searches for the loot but it was never found. Corey died in 1936. During certain times of the year, a search can be made on the dry lakebed.
In 1879, four outlaws robbed a stage near Gila Bend and made off with $125,000 in gold coins and 22 gold bars stamped “AJO”. The next day, the same gang robbed another stage near Stanwix Station obtaining 2 chests containing $140,000 in gold coins and $60,000 in currency. Fleeing northeastward when the posse trailed them into the Tonto Basin country, than northwestward when the posse finally overtook them. In the shootout, 2 of the gang were shot and killedand the other 2 escaped, making their way to Holbrook where they waited for things to quiet down. Here, one of the bandits was killed in a poker game and the other, Henry Tice, in a fit of anger, shot and killed the gambler. An irate made a quick job of justice and killed him.The search area for this huge store of treasure has centered around the cliffs between Mormon Lake and Flagstaff. All efforts to locate this hoard have failed.
- William Ashurst owned a ranch near a good spring, now known as Ashurst Run, 25 miles SE of Flagstaff. He is known to have buried a number of 5 and 10 pound lard cans full of gold coins somewhere on the property that were never recovered after his death.
- Outlaws headed by Henry Seymour robbed a stagecoach in 1879 of $225,000 in newly-minted coins contained in 3 boxes at the Pine Spring Station located between Beaverhead Station and Brigham City. They took the gold into the station where they holed up just as a 20-man posse arrived. After a day long standoff, the posse set fire to the rear wall of the structure and routed the outlaws who were gunned down within a few yards of the station. The posse then put the fire out and searched for the gold, but it was never found. The hoard of gold coins remain buried somewhere in or near the old Pine Springs Station.
- Herman Wolf operated a trading post for 30 years on the Little Colorado River between 1869-1899. The highly profitable business brought him tens of thousands of dollars in gold and silver coins. During all of this time, he is known never to of banked a single penny, but in 1899, Wolf decided to bring $100,000 in gold to the Flagstaff bank for deposit, but died before he did so. His 30-year accumulation was estimated to total some $250,000 and remains buried somewhere near his old store on the Little Colorado River just off the California-Sante Fe Trail near Canyon Diablo. Only small portions of his hoard has ever been found, and that nearer to the store than the location which he confided to a close friend not long before he died. A bucket of Mexican silver and 20 U.S. gold coins were found in 1966 and 1901 respectively and is but a mere part of his treasure. The main cache still eludes seekers.
East of the Canyon Diablo trading post on the other side of Hwy. 40 near the Meteor Crater is Diablo Canyon which stretches about 50 miles N and S and ends in the San Franciso Wash. In the northeastern area of Diablo Canyon, about 7 miles S of Two Guns in the late 1920’s, an old Apache Indian told the story of an old Indian ambush on a group of white miners near Meteor Crater and killed them all. After the attack, no gold nuggets were found and the Indians presumed the hoard cached before or during the battle. The aged Indian told of a stone corral and a stone structure, some sort of cabin.In the 1930’s another Indian reported seeing the stone corral and cabin but was unaware of the treasure and did not search for it.
- In 1878, a wagon train was attacked in Chavez Pass, 30 miles SW of Winslow and everyone except 2 of the party were massacred. The two survivors said that all the valuables and cash of the train were buried the night before the attack near the campsite and never recovered after the melee. Even though the remains of the burnt wagons were found, the treasure wasn’t.
- A treasure known as the Lost Ledge of the Lone Ace Desert Rat is located near Skull Valley NW of Prescott.
- An early resident of Chino Valley, about 20 miles N of Prescott, is believed to have buried a large quantity of gold coins and nuggets somewhere in or near his cabin before he died. His treasure has never been recovered.
Mose Casner operated a ranch in Beaver Creek Canyon near Rimrock and accumulated a fortune of $100,000 which he buried on his ranch in 5 dutch ovens, each containing $20,000 and each buried in separate locations. Casner died without revealing the location of his money and it was never recovered.Another source claims that Casner bored holes in several pine trees and cached hoards in his “tree banks,” then plugged the holes. This source claims that one such tree near his house yielded $1.000 in gold coins and another, in Beaver Creek Canyon, contained rolls of currency.
- For 50 years during the 1800’s, Sycamore Canyon was used as a hideout by outlaws and cattle rustlers. It is believed that a large number of treasure caches from these sources remain buried and hidden in this vicinity.
- Numerous bottles filled with gold were hidden in an orchard in Cottonwood during the peak of the Jerome mining days by two miners by the name of Marvin and Dreher. 3 of these bottles were found by a young boy in 1961, but it was a small sampling of what remains.
- 38 bars of gold, stolen in Mexico by a man named Hashknife Charley, were buried somewhere between a spring and the boundary line between Arizona and Sonora near Sonoyta on the Arizona side of the border. The valuable cache was never recovered as Charley died in jail while serving a prison term for stealing horses.
- The Treasure of Zonia, a hoard consisting of bars and bullion from a Mexican pack train and sacks of Mexican gold and silver coins and some church treasure, is buried in the vicinity of Yava between Kirkland and Hillside on Hwy. 96. It has never been recovered.
- In 1876, 2 bandits robbed the stagecoach from the Vulture Mine of $40,000 in gold bars which they sawed into chunks in order to carry it. Government men were immediately on their trail and the outlaws were shot and killed in Thompson Valley. Part of the loot was recovered several days later and indications are that the remainder was hidden in the mountains somewhere between the Vulture Mine and where the town of Hillside is located today. It has yet to be found.
- The Golden Cup Treasure is located on Rich Hill.
- While being pursued by lawmen, 2 Mexican outlaws dumped $30,000 in raw gold on a pinnacle between Japanese Wash and Weaver Creek near Stanton. The hoard was never recovered.
- Precillano Ruiz had a rich placer mine somewhere near Wickenburg in the Black Rock Mining District. Over a period of time he extracted $50,000 in gold and silver which he kept hidden in or near his mine. He was killed around 1890 and his claim taken over by others. His cache of treasure was never found and remains somewhere near his mine, now known as the Monte Christo, a short distance from the Constellation Mine in the area near the Bradshaw Mountains and adjacent to Rich Hill, Stanton, Weaver and Octave.
- In 1870, bandits attacked a pack train carrying silver bullion from border smelters at Coalmine Springs near Alto. The bullion has never been recovered and, beacause of the weight of the treasure, it is believed to be cached somewhere in the area of the holdup.
- The stongboxes of at least 2 stagecoach robberies are believed buried somewhere on the slopes of Granite Mountain NW of Prescott.
- In the 1800’s, a party of successful prospectors were returning from the Big Sandy River to Prescott with a considerable amount of gold dust and nuggets contained in canvas bags. Stopping at Granite Dells for water in a spring that was located down in a ravine, they were attacked by Indians. The gold was hastily buried near the spring as the battle went on. All of the men were killed except one who made good his escape. The lone survivor returned to the site on several occasions with a search party later, but they never found any signs of the gold cache. It is surmised that the Indians dug up the tresure and reburied it somewhere else in the same area.
- The treasure known as Yaeger’s Lost Gold is located near Yaeger Canyon in Javapai County.
- “Red” Jack Almer buried $8,000 in gold coins in the vicinity of Prescott.
- A chest containing some $100,000 in gold was buried by a miner being folowed by hostile Indians under a boulder shaped like kneeling man. The site was near a spring at the foot of a mountain past which a stream flowed into a small valley near Prescott. In a tree a few feet away he marked a cross above a half circle. The cache of gold has never been recovered.
- $75,000 in gold bars is buried in the area of Prescott.
- Oscar Johnson was a recluse-miner living in McCabe. He hoarded his wealth and buried it somewhere in or near his cabin. Johnson mysteriously disappeared and neither he, nor his money, was ever found. Most all agree that his treasure remains buried somewhere near the cabin and yet to be found.
- In 1864, miners struck a rich placer of gold desposit on Lynx Creek E of Prescott, washing out about $30,000 in nuggets packed in 5 buckskin pouches. Between Lynx Creek and Prescott, the party was attacked and killed by 2 Indians who took the gold and headed for the mountains. Within 3 hours, a posse set out after them, and about 10 miles from the scene of the attack, overtook and killed them. The posse did not find any gold and they believed that it had been buried or hidden somewhere enroute by the robbers. It has yet to be found.
- Some legends say that Montezuma’s Aztec treasure hoard, removed from Mexico during the Cortez conquest in the 1500’s, is buried in a great sink hole known locally as Montezuma’s Well, near the ancient cliff dwelling’s known today as Montezuma’s Castle.
- A treasure known as the Silver of the Dead Apache is located in the Bradshaw Mountains E of Prescott.
- 200 pounds of raw gold lies at the bottom of a creek near the junction of Slate and Sqaw Creeks close to (GT) Bumble Bee.
- An Apache Indian living in Bronco Canyon often traded gold nuggets at the store at Fort McDowell. Two prospectors went to the canyon and set up camp in Bronco Canyon and prospected the area. One day they found a rich vein of gold quartz showing signs of having been worked. The men worked the vein, taking out between $70,000 and $80,000 in gold which they stored under a huge rock near their camp. Preparing to leave the site because winter was upon them, a party of Apaches swooped down and attacked killing one of the men while the other managed to escape. The survivor waited until the Indians were subdued but by that time he was in his 80’s. Before he could return to the site, he fell ill and on his deathbed told of the story of gold and rich mine. Several years later, a Mexican sheepherder told of finding the campsite in Bronco Canyon but didn’t know of the mine or treasure cache. Others, too, have reported seeing a crude arrastre in the same region, but the mine and cache, located about 4 miles E of (GT) Bumble Bee, has yet to be found.
- Black Canyon Hill is located 38 miles S of Prescott on Hwy. 49. The place was a dangerous spot on the old stage road and many holdups took place here. It is believed that some of the stolen loot from these robberies may still remain buried in the area.
- Henry Seymour was a blacksmith in (GT) Gillett. In 1882, he held up 3 different stagecoaches on the outskirts of town, obtaining a total of $69,000. He was caught trying to hold up a fourth stage and was sent to prison, all the time refusing to reveal where he had hidden the loot. After he was released from prison he dropped from sight and never returned to Gillett to recover his treasure.
- Miners Samuel Walcott and James McNally had a gold ledge somewhere in or around Blue Canyon in Black Mountain. When they were killed in the 1880’s, the location became lost. Before they were killed by attacking Indians, the miners buried 200 pounds of gold near the mouth of Tsegi Canyon in Marsh Pass off Black Mountain. The cache is located up the canyon and buried somewhere betwen the creek running through it and the cliff-like wall not far from the present-day trading post on Hwy. 163.
- Returning from the California gold fields in 1855 with $300,000 in gold , a prospector named Darlington and his family were heading for their home in Illinois. When they reached the Sunset Crossing of the Little Colorado River, his wife took ill and died. She was buried in a box built by the post trader at Sunset Crossing and was so heavy that it took six men to lower it and leveled it off to resemble the terrain. Years later it was learned that Darlington had placed half of his gold, $150,000, in the coffin as his wife’s share. It’s still there.
- An oxcart heavily loaded with gold plates, bowls and other items was placed in a cave in the cliffs and covered over after Indians attacked a group of early-day Spaniards. The cave is located W of the Rock Point trading post and past the formation called Rock Point. The search area is just around the hill from the top of the mesa.
- A small party of prospectors recovered $75,000 from a rich gold deposit in the late 1800’s on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Pursued by irate Indians, the miners finally escaped, taking a hard, round-about journey from the area. One by one they died from exhausution until only one was left and, he too, was dying. He said that the gold was buried under a boulder shaped like a kneeling man at the foot of a mountain in a small vally that contained a small stream near Prescott. Subsequent searches failed to find the gold even though the landmarks were located.
- One suggested location of Alec Toppington’s Bear Cave Treasure is in the Carrizo Mountains.
- 3 Navajo Indians knew the location of a cave whose floor was littered with gold nuggets and ingots in the 1860’s. The Indians took Henry Adams, operator of the trading post at Fort Defiance, to the cave blindfolded. The cave was to the SW and up a steep hill from the base of a towering cliff. Adams saw 3 peaks nearly identical in size and shape looking out from the cave entrance, then he was blindfolded again and led from the cave, one night’s travel from Fort Defiance. Adams sold his store and searched for years for the treasure cave without success. After running out of money and grubstake friends, he killed himself. Some researchers believ the treasure cave is located in the cliffs N of Indian Wells.
- Profits from the 250-acre Spade Ranch, established in 1883 by William Craig and Paul Vogel, are believed buried somewhere on the property located in a meadow on Webber Creek below the Mogollon Rim and near Pine.
- Local residents fleeing the area because of Indian uprisings buried a large Mexican-Spanish treasure in the vicinity of Globe in the middle 1800’s. The cache was never recovered.
- The Sunlit Cave Treasure, consisting of several tons of Spanish gold bullion, is located on the Arizona side of the Colorado River, 15-20 miles S of Ehrenberg.
- Zuni Indians hid a cache of gold and silver and some church vessels in a cave under the mesa during the Indian Rebellion of 1680 somewhere in the area starting S of Lupton to the N Mexican border. Legends say that this treasure was never recovered. The Yuma Indians are said to have brought out gold nuggets from Cibola Cave, 50 miles N of Yuma in the Trigo Mountains.
- William B. Rood owned a ranch on the E side of the Colorado River, about halfway between Yuma and La Paz as the crow flies and between the area of Walker and Draper Lakes, except on the E side of the river. Rood drowned while crossing the river in 1870 and it was widely known that he had various amounts of gold coins hidden on the ranch, called Rancho de los Yumas. He was a very wealthy man, but only a few hundred dollars was found after his death. Various relatives, and others, searched for his caches at different times, but there were no reports of any recoveries. In 1897, Alfredo Pina dug up a baking powder tin containing $960 in gold coins. Another small cache is believed to have been found by Leonardo Romo. The recovered caches are but a small portion of what is still awaiting recovery. The remains of the old ranch buildings can still be located.
- A blacksmith working a small shop at Middle Well, located just N of a sand road that runs midway between the Castle Dome and Kofa Mountains, skimmed high grade gold ore from passing wagons and buried the gold in a cellar dug beneath the floor of his blacksmith shop. He died of a heart attack and the highgraded treasure went unrecovered. In the 1960’s, treasure hunters searched the area and found many relics and bottles, but no gold.
- Wealthy Mexican Don Jose Maria Redonda came to Arizona and built a vast estate about 15 miles N of Yuma in the Gila Valley, naming it the Hacienda de San Ysidro. He added to his fortune over the years from his ranch and winery and also owned a number of stores in Yuma. When his vast estate was divided by the government in 1874, Redondo abandoned the Hacienda and moved to Yuma. Rumors had it that a huge fortune remained buried on the estate and seekers flocked to the site, literally tearing it apart but no known treasure was found. Rumors persist today that a large treasure remains buried somewhere on the property.
- The Lost Treasure consists of some 50 pounds of gold nuggets and is located near the present Laguna Dam. Indians reportedly ambushed and killed a group of miners and threw their bodies and the gold into a gorge in the hills.
- Indians attacked the mission and the gold and other tresures were gathered by the Padres and taken across the Colorado River to the Arizona side and buried close to a peak known today as Sugar Loaf, or Sqaw Peak. A second version says the treasure was buried in a cave on the face of the peak.
- Near a prominent army camp used for desert training during WWII in a mountainous area at a flat base fronting a vertically-faced wall of volcanic rock are two stacks of 220 gold bars that were discovered in the 1940’s by 5 trainees assigned to the camp. The site is near Yuma and was lost by those who originally found it.
- John Glanton was a scalphunter who was forced out of Mexico when he was caught selling Mexican scalps as being Apache to the government. At Yuma crossing, Glanton met Able Lincoln and joined him in a profitable ferry business that grossed $20,000 per month. Not happy with that, Glanton robbed California gold seekers and killed them if they resisted. Indians attacked the crossing one night and killed both Glandon and Lincoln while a third ferryman escaped. He later stated that Lincoln had $50,000 in silver coins and between $20,000 and $30,000 in gold coins which he kept buried someplace near his camp. Glanton is believed to have had a similar fortune which he believed to have been buried in the thickets on the W bank of the river, placing it in California. After the massacre, the governor sent an expedition to the Crossing to protect the travelers, punish the Indians and recover the treasure. The venture cost the state over $110,000 and they did not find a cent of the Glanton-Lincoln hoard.
- According to an ancient map, a cache of gold treasure is supposedly buried somewhere in Spook Canyon in the Gila Mountains, about 5 miles SE of the once-rich Fortuna Gold Mine.
- The English pirate Thomas Cavendish stripped several Spanish galleons of their treasure in the late 1500’s. One of his vessels, the Content,loaded with tons of gold and silver, mysteriously disappeared and is believed to lie under the desert sands while the mutinous crew tried sailing the vessel up the Colorado River with the hiijacked treasure and became caught in a tidal wave and swept far inland.
- A large cache of gold and silver coins is hidden on the Colorado River near the Pima Indian villages near Yuma.
- A gold miner returning to the East from the California gold fields with $40,000 in nuggets was robbed along the El Camino del Diablo in the 1850’s. The outlaws are believed to have fled into the Tinajas Atlas Mountains to a hideout and it is a good possibility that some of this, and probably additional caches of loot, was buried there. Numerous outlaws and highwaymen used the basins in the Tinajas Atlas Mountains as a hideaway any many caches of loot and treasure are believed secreted in the region.
- Around 1933, a Mexican couple was traveling illegally towards Wellton from Mexico and crossing the Gila Mountains along one of the old Indian trails, about 1/2 day’s hike from Tinajas Atlas. As they came through a small pass and started down the E side of the Gilas, they saw what looked like a piece of burlap flapping in the wind from behind a sand dune. Upon investigating, they found a cave nearly hidden by the dune and, inside, about a dozen wooden crates full of Winchester .30-.30 carbines dated 1903. Leaving the cache they continued on their journey, were caught by government officers and forced to return to Mexico. The rifles have never been recovered.
- The Nazi Germany war regime is said to have cached millions of dollars in war treasure in an area between Yuma and Lukeville. A similar Nazi war cache was recently recovered near Lima, Peru and lends credence to its existence.
- A treasure from a wagon train massacre is buried W of O’Neil Pass near Papago Well.
- $140,000 in gold coins, stolen from a stagecoach in which 6 people were massacred in 1871 about 9 miles W of Wickenburg, is believed buried very near the hold-up scene. The robbery was supposed to be an “inside job” with only the $140,000 and a shovel missing from the stage even though other treasure and valuables were on board. Law men found the shovel lodged between some rocks, about 300 yards from the exact massacre site which is today marked by a monument. One source places this treasure N of Hwy. 60-60 on a dry mesa near an arroyo between 2 hills in a wash. It has never been recovered.
- GT: Vulture City, near the Vulture Gold Mine, 12 miles from Wickenburg on the road to Buckeye and Aguila. Robberies, Murder and rape were a frequent occurance in Vulture City. The gold mine was robbed of bars on numerous times and much treasure is believed to remain hidden in and around the region. Wells Fargo chests, carrying the gol from the mines on stages were robbed so often that the carrier’s lives were always on the line. Highgrading was rampant in the area of the Vulture Mine during its heyday and at least 8 men are known to have been hanged for their stealing and this, too, added to numerous caches that were hidden in the region. Old timers say that as much as $8 million was highgraded from the area mines and never reported. The main gold ore body has never been found at Vulture City. $17 million in gold has already been recovered from the mines, but the mother lode source of this ore, speculated to be worth many times that amount, still awaits discovery.
- The Valenzuela outlaw gang buried $25,000 in gold bars in the area of Wittman. It has never been recovered.
- Grocery heiress Marjorie Jackson was murdered at Indianapolis, Indiana. in the late 1970’s. F.B.I. agents recovered $1.4 million in cash in the desert, 20 miles N of Phoenix and believe that an additional $1 million to $6 million in cash, stolen from her home, is still buried in the same general area.
- The treasure known as the Royal Treasure is located in the general area NW of Phoenix.
- A cave of treasure lies in the vicinity of Hidden Valley in the Salt River Mountains, or South Mountains, on the outskirts of Phoenix. The hoard was seen in the early 1900’s and one $50 gold slug was removed. The opening is now believed covered over by fallen rocks and natural washing.
- The Lost Epileptic Gold Mine and a hidden cache of gold bars worth $50,000 nearby in the Estrella Mountains.
- In 1878, two Mexican prospectors found a rich gold ledge in the Estrella Mountains and worked out an estimated $50,000 in gold which they buried nearby. Pima Indians discovered them and attacked, killing one of the men and wounding the other. The injured man reached Tucson but died before he could lead another party to the site. The mine and $50,000 in mined gold was never found and still awaits seekers high in the canyons of the Estrella Mountains SW of Phoenix.
- A Mexican bandit murdered the station keeper at Burke’s Station in an effort to learn the location of the hidden strongbox in the 1870’s. The money chest was never found and is believed to remain somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the old stage stop, just off the Agua Caliente road, a short distance E of the road on the S bank of the Gila River. The location on topographic maps is Township 5, Range 10, Section 28.
- The Aztecs took millions of dollars from the streams, rivers and mountains of Mexico in ancient times. There is an abundance of evidence that during the conquest by Cortez, a huge store of treasure was carried from today’s Mexico City to the north and buried in a cave, possibly in Arizona. Some sources speculate and legends say that the tons of Aztec gold is buried somewhere near the mountain known as Montezuma’s Head.
- Don Joaquin Campoy worked a rich vein of gold in 1847 inthe Sierra Estrella Mountains W of Phoenix. When he heard rumors of approaching American soldiers and a possible war with Mexico in the brewing, he loaded 50 bars of gold and 30 rawhide sacks of gold dust on mules and headed them up a trail toward Butterfly Peak, then down another trail that followed a high ridge from Montezuma’s Head. Somewhere along this trail it is presumed that Campoy turned off into a small box canyon and found a shallow cave where he buried the gold. He died before he could recover his hoard and it remains buried to this day.
- The Lost Treasure of Telegraph Pass, a cache of $50,000 in coins and jewelry contained in an iron pot, was buried in 1870 at the S end of the Estrella Mountains below Montezoma’s Head in a level campsite with a small butte on the E side, not far from Telegraph Pass.
- A hoard of gold bars, said to total between $1 million and $2 million, remains buried in a cave near Montezuma’s Head.
- The Lost Ortega Mine is located somewhere in the Sierra Estrella Mountains. A group of Mexicans worked the mine using hired Pima Indians as laborers during the Mexican-American War. The mine was located in a short, deep box canyon on the E side of the range and about halfway between 2 high peaks and high up the mountainside. When word was received that a force of U.S. soliders were in the area, Ortega covered over the mine entrance and concealed the mined gold in a small cave nearby. Ortega died within days of the treasure burial and the mine, nor the cache, was ever located in later years. The search area is just W of the Santa Cruz River in a line between St. John’s Mission and Montezuma Peak W of Phoenix.
- A wagon train consisting of 14 well-to-do families made its way towards the California gold fields in 1849. One of the wagons carried their accumalated fortunes to start a new life, some $50,000 in a chest. Each night, the chest was buried for safekeeping along the route within the circle formed by the wagons. Ever since leaving San Antonio, Texas, the party was plagued by Indian troubles and when the party camped for the night near the natural formation known as Montezuma’s Head in Arizona, a band of Apaches attacked, killing every member of the group. The treasure, buried the night before, was never found, even though subsequent searches were made by wagon trains who came upon the scene of the massacre and modern-day searches as well.
- An Apache chief named White Horse related that a wagon train of Spaniards came to the Superstition Mountains and chose Weaver’s needle as the place to bury a store of gold bars , jewels, statues and other artifacts. He stated that they climed the Needle and deposited the huge cache inside a cave near the top, then sealed the entrance. The Indians then attacked the Spaniards and killed them all. The sealed cave has never been found.
- The Lost Jesuit Treasure, worth an estimated $6 million, is located in the Superstitions. The hoard, possibly in 3 tunnels leading to 3 mines, was secreted when the priests were expelled in 1767.
- In 1976, famous western artist Ted DeGrazia of Tucson announced that he had concealed more than 100 original artworks inside a tunnel somewhere in the Superstition Mountains, 40 miles E of Phoenix. he said he hid the paintings, valued from $3,000 to well over $30,000 each, in order to keep his heirs from having to pay well over $1 million in taxes upon his death.
- In the late 1880’s, the stage on the Florence-Pinal Wells route was robbed of an $85,000 payroll bound for the old Pinal Silver Mine. The holdup took place along the stage road at a bend in Queen Creek about 3 miles E of Hewitt’s Station, located in a canyon now named after it and E of Comet Creek, about 12 miles NW of Old Pinal Town. The bandits rode off to the W following Queen Creek and were caught by a posse about 10 miles down the creek and off to the hills around Comet Peak. One of the outlaws was shot and killed, another escaped and the third was badly wounded. The dying man confessed that the loot was, “…buried along the trail under a palo verde tree.” A search was made, but nothing was found.
- In the early 1860’s, Andrew Pauly found a cave in some red cliffs N of Maricopa Wells near a large needle rock that contained skeletons, copper shields, spear points, axes and other artifacts as well as gold relics. Inside the cavern was a metal door that he could not open and what layed beyond is not known. Speculation ranges from a hoard of Aztec treasure to a vast Spanish treasure stockpile of gold and silver. No further reports were forthcoming.
- In 1871, the Blue Water Massacre took place at the Blue Water Station on the Yuma-Tucson road between the stations of Picacho and Sacaton. The operators of the station were killed by 3 Mexican outlaws for the money hidden somewhere in or near the station, but it was never found. The accumulated life savings of John W Baker, the operator, also remains secreted somewhere in the vicinity of the old stage stop.
- $26,000 in gold was stolen by outlaws during the robbery of an army paymaster, J.W. Whamat, at Cedar Springs in 1889 on the old military road, 16 miles NE of Camp Grant. The money was never recovered and may be buried in the immediate vicinity of the robbery.
- Frontiersman and scout William “Arizona Bill” Gardner told of a cache of gold coins cached near or on the grounds of old Camp Grant and hinted that the treasure burial occurred in 1877 and involved 5 cavalrymen on leave from the fort who made off with a $20,000 payroll. 4 of them were killed while out fighting Indians and the fifth deserted the army. It was from the deserter that Gardner learned of the treasure. Arizona Bill died at San Antonio in 1937 at the age of 96.
- Paddy Lynch was a prosperous rancher in the 1870’s and 1880’s and a miser who lived near the head of Aravaipa Valley, 10 miles N of Mammoth on the road from Wilcox to Globe. Most of his accumulated hoard of cash was buried somewhere near his house, 20 miles from Fort Grant. He was found shot to death in 1902 and the house ransacked. His cache was never found.
- An old Papago silver deposit was shown to John D. Walker in 1880 and a rich mine and boomtown sprang up. Before it was all over. 300 ingots of silver, each weighing 25 pounds, was buried by Walker within 1/2 hours wagon ride from his house at Vekol to the north along the county road to Casa Grande. The hoard was made around 1890,”almost in plain sight” near the old Walker home. The 1050 pounds of pure silver has never been recovered.
- A cache of Indian guns, pistols and rifles, numbering upwards of 1,000, is hidden on the Papago Indian Reservation in the mountains to the W of the Santa Rosa Wash between Casa Grande and Santa Rosa in the 1880’s.
- In the early 1700’s, the Spaniards mined and accumulated a large store of gold and silver in a cave in the area of the Red Rock Butte NW of Tucson. The treasure was stored in the cave somewhere in the Silver Bell Mountains. Marauding Apache Indians from the north wiped out both the Papagos and Spaniards and the treasure was never recovered. If not on the butte itself, the hoard is located somewhere along the road between Red Rock and Silverbell.
- El Tejano was an outlaw in the 1870’s who frequently robbed stagecoaches in Arizona. He was found dead one day along the Santa Cruz River S of Tucson from gunshot wounds sustained in a robbery attempt. His buried caches of stolen loot are believed to remain buried at either Picacho Pass or Cerro del Gato, both near Tucson.
- In the late 1890’s, outlaws crossed into Arizona with loot amounting to $48,000 from a Belen, New Mexico, train robbery and hid the cache at the Camp of the Double Circle on Eagle Creek. It was at this spot that the bandits were shot and killed by lawmen and the treasure never recovered.
- In 1905, a gang of outlaws robbed a train at Fort Thomas. An iron-bound chest containing $440,000 and another containing $65,000 was taken. The gang is believed to have buried the treasure, possibly an army payroll intended for Fort Thomas, about 10 feet deep near the holdup scene on private property. This treasure has been connected with the secretive Knights of the Golden Circle, an organization of Confederate and Southern sympathizers who attempted to raise enough money to restart the Civil War.
- $14,000, part of a payroll robbery at Cedar Springs in 1889, is buried a few miles SW of Fort Thomas.
- Padres transporting church treasure along a trail through the rough Graham Mountains were warned by a scout that Apaches were heading their way. The priests hastily buried a large store of gold coins, jeweled church vessels and other valuables in a cave and in the ensuing battle, all but a few of the party were killed. The survivors escaped and the treasure was never relocated.
- There are signs of a caravan of early Spaniards burying a cache of gold bullion on Mount Graham. The party wa traced as far as their stopping place in Shannon Canyon where the gold is believed buried.
- Money taken in a stage robbery is believed hidden on the old Camp Grant land on the San Pedro River.
- An old Mexican women said that a cache of treasure was buried in the grave of a wealthy Chinese in the abandoned town cemetery at (GT) Metcalf.
- A large bean pot buried on Bush Creek, a tributary of Rousensock Canyon, is said to contain a fortune in gold nuggets, buried by a German prospector who was a man named Rose. While on e of the men was away getting supplies, the other was murdered. When the partner returned, he buried their nuggets and left. He never returned for the cache and it is believed that he, too, was killed.
- Apache Indians raided a Mexican mine and killed all but a few of the miners. The miners had buried their accumulated gold prior to the attack in many iron bean pots just below the crest of a hill above the creek about 3 miles due W of Ajo. Searchers for decades have failed to locate the buried treasures or the rich gold placer mine.
- Papago Indians tell the story that the fabled treasure hoard of Montezuma was buried in a cave near the top of a high peak in the Ajo Mountains, SE of the old mining camp of Gunsight. The legend says that after burying the treasure, Montezuma climbed to the top of the peak and turned to stone. The peak shaped like the head of an Indian is the place to search. Many sources say that there is considerable substance to the Papago legend.
- The early Spaniards found gold and silver ore so rich that arrastres and smelters were built to crush the ore and smelt it into ingots. The ingots were stored under the floors of the San Marcelo Mission. In 1750, the Indians rebelled and completely obliterated all signs of the mines, mission and smelter and dumped the bodies of the Spaniards on top of the gold and silver ingots before they covered it over. A large flat rock with an iron ring in the middle covers the entrance to the underground treasure vault. Time, rain and drifting sands have obliterated all traces of this location.
- Captain Jesus Arroa buried a large quanity of gold from the wrecked Spanish galleon Isabella Catolica. He moved about 300 miles inland SE of San Diego near the Mexican border and N of the state of Sonara, Mexico. and cached the hoard on the slopes of the Cocopah Range in 1682. Searchers have been made for this cache as far back as 1874 without success.
- The treasure of the San Jose del Tucson Mission is said to be buried somewhere on or near the old mission grounds.
- There are rumors of treasure being buried in White House Canyon S of Tucson where the canyon comes out of the flats.
- It is said that the old owner of the house located at 1322 Fifth Street in Tucson buried a cache of treasure on his place before he died. It is claimed that his ghost appears at night and sits on the fence guarding his hoard.
- In the 1700’s, Spanish Jesuits cached a huge store of gold nuggets in sacks and stacks of gold bars in an old mine tunnel on the E slope of Baboquivari Peak. When they were expelled in 1767, they were forced to leave the treasure behind. In the early 1870’s, a Papago Indian accidently found this Jesuit treasure and removed one sack of nuggets from the location which he frugally lived on for the rest of his life. One day, under extreme pressure from his peers, he said that the site was located in a “Bat Cave” on a ridge extending NE from Baboquivari Peak toward Tucson on the Eside. He said that he closed the entrance to the mine so that flights of bats could never again reveal its location. The site is near Arivaca.
- In 1861, “Bandito Juanito,” the Mexican foreman of the Cerro Colorado Mine, highgraded $70,000 in silver bullion and buried it somewhere near the mine. The hot tempered mine owner shot and killed Juan and his stolen silver was never found. Most sources agree that the hoard of bars are still buried on th slope of Cerra Colorado facing the mine on Cerra Chiquito.
- DeEstine Sheppard, wealthy Arizona gold miner, cached $5 million worth of gold ore and bullion from his famous diggings near Tucson, accumulated after 30 years of mining, before his death in an Illinois hospital in 1907. The rich mine and huge store of gold is believed located in the vicinity of Arivaca Wash. A map Sheppard drew on his deathbed was extremely vague, but indicated the mine and bullion was located about 55 miles S of Tucson somewhere near the present Nogales-Tucson highway and perhaps the Pajarita Mountains. His route to the mine was along the old Smuggler’s Trail that led past the San Xavier Mission down through the Cerritas and through a pass NE of Cumaro Wash to another pass in the mountains to the S and in the area of Arivaca Wash near the Mexican border.
- Pancho Villa’s bandits robbed and looted towns in the Old Mexico and were chased across the line into Arizona where they hid in the mountains 5 or 6 miles from Arivaca. All but one of the gang were killed in a gun battle in 1913. The lone survivor admitted that the loot was cached where he stood as a lookout and could see Sasabe from the S slope. Old Mexico to the W and Main Street of Arivaca to the N. The 2 packloads of treasure were never recovered.
- In 1751, word was received at the Tumacacori Mission that the Indians were in revolt. The area mines were covered over and concealed and the gold and silver bars and other church fixtures and ornaments were loaded on a carreta. The hoard of valuables also included a wooden box containing the mission records and a map pinpointing the 8 satelitte mines. While making their way along the trail to the NW, 2 day’s out from the mission and along the trail in the Tascosa Mountain foothills about 6 miles S and 4 miles E of Arivaca, the group ran into Jesuits from the Altar Sonora Mission who were also fleeing the revolt. The Sonora party had with them 8 pack mules of church treasure and ingots. A scout appeared with word that an Apache war party was in the area and the Spanish turned of the road and concealed the entire hoard in an abandoned mine tunnel nearby. The padres never returned.
- The Cienega Stage Station was located near (GT) Pantano. In 1872, it was operated by a small band of outlaws known locally as the “Benders.” Murders, holdups and robberies took place here regularly and with no interference from the law. The Benders, disguised as Apaches, accounted for nearly all of the crimes. Their largest haul was an army payroll of $75,000 stolen in a ambush near their station. This hoard, and a large number of other valuable treasure caches, are known to have been buried or hidden around the site of the old stage stop and never recovered. A band of real Apaches attacked the station and killed every man.
- The Santa Lucia Lost Mine and a store of rich gold ore and bars worth $5 million is located in the Table Mountains.
- Around 1909, F.A. Edwards owned 200 acres adjoining the Tumacacori Mission and claimed that his property held a treasure estimated to be worth as much as $80 million-80 mule loads of gold. Records in Madrid and Mexico City supposedly confirm its existence and directions to the cache, but searchers have so far been futile.
- Spanish padres built a rock shelter for a large treasure and buried it under tons of rock from a cliff on an ancient trail leading from the old San Xavier del Bac Mission. The search area is 8 miles N of Patagonia and near the old trail.
- An old Chinaman named Kang operated a store in the old mining camp of Washington and secreted his gold coins and bars and a small box of jewerly in a secret hole cut into solid rock a few hundred feet from his store. The Chinaman died of a heart attack and the gold cache was never recovered.
- A Southern Pacific express train was robbed of $60,000 in gold coins and bullion by 2 outlaws named Alvord and Stiles in 1899 near Cochise. The gold was buried within 1/2 mile of an old cabin a few miles outside Cochise to the north and along the old trail between Wilcox and Cochise, probably within a few miles of Cochise. The money was buried with an agreement that it would be recovered once the heat died down, but the gang was arrested or killed and the cache never recovered. Wells Fargo agents made a long search for the loot, but they were unsuccessful.
- In 1895, bandits robbed the safe in the express car of the Southern Pacific RR, 5 miles W of Wilcox. In an effort to dynamite the safe, 8 sacks of Mexican silver dollars were used to weight the sticks down on the top of the safe. The explosion blew 8,000 silver coins through the roof of the RR car and spread them all over the right-of-way. It is said that RR agents recovered about 7,000 coins after the incident leaving some 1,000 behind. There have been reports by treasure hunters that these coins are still being recovered here.
- A cache of gold dust and silver coins was secreted by Apache Indians after they attacked a wagon train a few miles NE of the stage station at Mountain Springs. The dutch oven containing the treasure is hidden behind two rocks at the point of the Winchester Mountains NE of Wilcox.
- A Mexican wagon train, loaded with a large amount of treasure including a life-sized gold statue of the Virgin, a huge store of gold dust and nuggets and a large gold cross, was bound for Sante Fe and camped in the dry bed of a creek between 2 hills at the springs at Dos Cabezas. The huge store of treasure was buried before the men retired for the night. Apache Indians attacked and killed the party and only one small boy escaped and returned to Mexico. 45 years later he returned in search of the treasure, but he was never able to locate te exact burial site.
- The outlaw Zwing Hunt, who took in part in the Skeleton Canyon fracas, is said to have buried part of the treasure in gold and diamonds in a canyon on Harris Mountain. He also added to this cache with loot from other robberies and holdups. A dying outlaw is to have revealed that the value of this treasure hoard was $300,000.
- After a bank robbery in Nogales in 1884, the notorious Black Jack Ketcham hid the loot in “Room Forty Four,” a cave located in Wild Cat Canyon at the S end of the Chiricahua Mountains and about 8 miles SW of Portal. The cave is located near the old William Lutley Ranch.
- Outlaw “Pop” Clanton of the Clanton gang buried $50,000 in gold coins on or near the site of the old Clanton Ranch of Horsethief Springs near Tombstone. The coins were stolen from a baggage car during train robbery. He died in the 1930’s at the age of 90, refusing to tell his Ruffian sons where the treasure was located. It has never been found.
- In 1882, the Apache chief Cochise raided emigrant trains, ranches and robbed stagecoaches. Although he had no use for gold, he took every opportunity to take it from the whites. On one occasion he seized 2 heavy iron-bound chests filled with gold coins from the Butterfield stage and somehow managed to drag or haul the chests to his Apache hideout, later known as Cochise Stronghold Canyon in the Dragoon Mountains, about 10 miles SE of Dragoon. Even after peace was made, the Apaches vowed that no white man would ever find the hidden chests, located in a place where even a horse cannot travel. They’re still there.
- A post hole bank containing $16,000 is believed buried on the old Jones ranch near Naco, on the Arizona side, about 1/4 mile S of the old ranch house.
Highwaymen were the pirates of the land, robbing travelers along public roads leaving a path of terror in their wake. The following ten tales focus specifically on American highwaymen whose monstrous and murderous deeds throughout history have, until now, seamlessly faded from present day literature.
10The Doan Brothers
Between 1781 and 1788, the Doan brothers terrorized eastern Pennsylvania with a string of robberies, shootouts, and jailbreaks in what many historians claim was the result of retribution. Prior to their criminal ways, the brothers were Quakers until the Patriots confiscated their father’s land during the American Revolutionary War. In retaliation, the siblings began a life of debauchery and crime, ultimately forming a gang consisting of at least thirty men.
One of the gang’s biggest heists was the Newtown Treasury in which they made off with £1,307. None of the money was ever recovered. Unfortunately for the Doan brothers, their years of luck would soon run out. The oldest sibling, Moses, was shot and killed by authorities, while Levi Doan and Cousin Abraham were hanged in Philadelphia. The three remaining brothers managed to escape; Mahon is theorized to have sailed to England following his break-out from a Baltimore jail while Aaron and Joseph headed north to Canada.
The last horse drawn stage robbery in the United States was on December 5, 1916, outside Jarbidge, Nevada. Fred Searcy, the driver of the first-class mail stage, was found shot in the back of the head with the culprits fleeing with $4,000 in gold coins.
Police later discovered, in the vicinity of the crime, a discarded black overcoat and a bloody envelope. The coat was recognized by townspeople to have belonged to Ben Kuhl, a troubled drifter with a lengthy rap sheet. Kuhl was tracked down and arrested along with three of his friends, one of whom would testify against him. In addition to countless testimony from several witnesses, the most damaging piece of evidence was the envelope containing the bloody palm print. For the first time in American history, palm prints were entered into court evidence, and this led to the Kuhl’s conviction and sentence of death.
After his death sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment, Plummer was released at the age of 61 in April 1943. He would die of tuberculosis only one year later.
8Joseph Thompson Hare
In 1790, Joseph Hare traveled from Pennsylvania to New Orleans upon where he befriended three men who shared the same conniving and murderous ways as he. On the men’s voyage back north, the four robbed and murdered countless peddlers and farmers while disguising themselves in a horrific fashion; smearing their faces with dark berries, allowing for a bloody and grotesque appearance guaranteed to cast fear. Throughout their coarse journey, they would encounter and trade with Indians, as well as obtain counterfeit passports for which they would be jailed by the Spaniards during the Spanish-American War.
Following their early release, Hare began experiencing ghostly hallucinations on the wooded trails of the country, at one point witnessing a “magnificent white horse.” The apparition stopped Hare in his tracks long enough—following a recent crime in which he was in pursuit by a vigilante posse—that he was captured and spent the next five years in prison. Following his release, Hare declared himself a changed man. Despite his newfound sense of self, he was arrested the following year for the robbery of a Baltimore night mail coach. For this crime, Hare was hanged in front of a crowd of 1,500 people on September 10, 1818.
In Ireland 1816, 20-year-old Michael Martin was offered a “partnership” by a man he met at a tavern who went by the name, Captain Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt saw potential in Martin who was an exceptionally fast runner, thus, dubbed him “Captain Lightfoot”. Armed with brass pistols, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot began robbing wealthy highway travelers, never once stealing from women or the poor. Their chivalrous thievery brought the two all over Ireland, Scotland, and England until the day Martin made the journey to the United States, never again seeing his mentor Captain Thunderbolt. In America, Martin began his old ways by robbing unsuspecting people as he traveled throughout the East Coast.
Martin’s last highway victims were a Boston dignitary Major Bray and his wife. Following the robbery of $12, Martin made off into the night but was soon captured by authorities. While in prison, Martin viciously attacked a jailor which allowed him to escape and flee to the countryside. He was eventually recaptured in Springfield, and in 1821 he became the first and last person to be hanged in Massachusetts for highway robbery.
For a man who served respectable offices—Tennessee delegate, county Sheriff, justice of the peace, Captain of the Livingston County Cavalry, and overseer of the poor—James Ford was the epitome of service to his respected communities, yet what lay underneath the facade was a dark and sinister man.
Of the many talents Ford possessed, he was a well-skilled ferry operator who worked the streams of the infamous Cave-in-Rock waters. Ford, who has been described as “Satan’s Ferryman,” was nothing more than a skilled counterfeiter turned murderous river pirate known for creating the “Ford’s Ferry Gang”; a cast of degenerates who preyed on travelers passing through the vicinity.
Ford’s gang of hoodlums would ravage and murder the region for the better part of the 1820s until their reign of terror came to a sudden and unforeseen halt. In 1833, a mob of unknown vigilantes took the law into their own hands and assassinated the gang leader bringing to an end a decade of violence and death.
5The Potts Inn
Even after the death of James Ford, lawlessness continued along the Ford’s Ferry High Water Road, only now the unsuspecting victims would first be made to feel right at home. Potts Springs was the location of Potts Inn, a quaint residence where travelers seeking food and lodging could lay their heads for the night.
The Inn was owned and operated by none other than husband and wife, Isaiah and Polly Potts who primarily catered to ferry goers. Whether renting a room for the night or merely stopping by the Inn’s tavern while passing through, the Potts would murder their guests and bury their remains in a shallow grave. In fact, one did not even have to be a guest of the murderous couple to fall prey, given that many travelers were killed along the route leading to the Inn. It is said that the Potts’ long lost son, Billy, was lured to the tavern and murdered, all the while both parties never recognizing one another.
Soon after enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, David Lewis became a deserter. Escaping the death sentence bestowed by the Military Court, Lewis broke from the shackles of the ball and chain. He would soon make his way to Vermont where he embarked on a new trade, counterfeiting.
Following his second imprisonment, Lewis escaped with the help of his future bride, Melinda. After relocating his operations out of the Doubling Gap Hotel, Lewis focused his sights on the city’s elite, robbing those he assumed would bring in the highest amount. After a profitable succession of robbing the wagons of wealthy travelers, the “Robin Hood of Pennsylvania” was in due course wounded and captured. In the end, gangrene infested his wounds and he died in jail in 1820.
In 1856, Henry Plummer was elected sheriff of Nevada City, California and served two terms before he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mistress’ husband. Having served only six months in San Quentin before being pardoned by the governor, Plummer returned to Nevada City, this time he was elected to Assistant Marshal. Avoiding prosecution for killing a man in a whorehouse brawl, Plummer fled in 1861, ultimately settling in Idaho where he took up with a gang of highwaymen.
Due to his influence, the gang became known as “The Innocence” who robbed and murdered travailing miners. In 1863, “The Innocence” followed Plummer to Bannack, Montana, where he was elected sheriff. While in office, Plummer ran an effective and deadly criminal ring, providing his henchmen with the routes of gold shipments, as well as their protection, all the while the gang ran rampant in Bannack without the fear of ramification. After the robbery and murder of more than 100 locals, a team of nearly 2,000 settlers turned vigilantes captured and hanged a weeping Plummer and two of his men on the same gallows the crooked sheriff had prepared for another.
The infamous shelter for roaming highwaymen, Cave-in-Rock, became a temporary respite for Samuel Mason in 1797. The Ohio River, situated on the Illinois-Kentucky border, was the site of Mason’s criminal headquarters. He murdered all who trespassed through his waters. Mason’s river piracies involved setting up a sign near the cave that read “Liquor Vault and House of Entertainment,” leading many unsuspecting victims into a deathtrap.
Once aground, any and all were murdered by Mason’s heinous band of criminals, in addition to the countless who were attracted to shore due to the beautiful “stranded” women hired by Mason. The bodies of the dead were gutted and filled and with rocks so they would sink to the bottom of the river, while all valuables were sold in New Orleans.
After Mason and his accomplices were detained by Spanish authorities in 1803, they escaped en route to Tennessee after murdering the commander overseeing their transport to American territory. Because of this, the bounty on Mason’s head substantially increased, leading one of his gang affiliates to take note. In July 1803, Mason’s head was cut off by his trusted criminal associate, Little Harpe, who brought it back to Mississippi to claim the reward.
1The Harpe Brothers
The Harpe Brothers are often referred to as America’s first true serial killers. Regardless of the assessments factuality, Micajah (“Big Harpe”) and Wiley (“Little Harpe”) left an endless trail of mutilated corpses throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, casting fear in the hearts of frontier families. They murdered not for financial gain, but for the love of the sport. Their lust for death proved even too much for fellow outlaws to bear, casting the brothers out of the Cave-in-Rock territory. Nevertheless, they continued their murderous spree of torture and disembowelment, with no discrimination pertaining to age, gender, or race. No one was spared. Their victim count is estimated to be between 25 to 50, although the actual number has never been known.
Big Harpe met his end from the blade of a tomahawk in July 1799. Subsequently, he was decapitated, and his head was fixed to a tree where it remained for ten years. Little Harpe escaped authorities and later joined the forces of Samuel Mason’s gang. After beheading Mason, Little Harpe strolled into town with the intention to claim his rightful reward only to be immediately recognized by officials. Consequently, Little Harpe was arrested and hanged in 1804.
Looking for Custom Gold Jewelry by one of the finest Goldsmiths in the United States?
Specializing In Heavy Mens Gold Rings…
Here are some pics of a ring he has made for me..from the wax mold to finished product.
NATURAL GOLD JEWELRY
IN SPANISH MEANS THE GOLDEN ONE AND IS THE NAME OF A MUISCA TRIBAL CHIEF WHO COVERED HIMSELF WITH GOLD DUST AND, AS AN INITIATION RITE, DOVE INTO LAKE GUAVATITA. I AM KNOWN AS EL DORADO IN THE ARTISAN MINING COMMUNITY AND HAVE BEEN A PROSPECTOR FOR 30 YEARS. PRETTY MUCH DONE IT ALL BUT NOWADAYS I MOSTLY DETECT FOR GOLD AND PURSUE MY PASSION OF MAKING UNIQUE JEWELRY FROM NATURAL GOLD. ESPECIALLY FROM GOLD FOUND IN THE CALIFORNIA MOTHERLODEALL THE YEARS I WAS MINING FOR GOLD I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO USE MY FOUND GOLD IN JEWELRY. IN 1994 I ATTENDED THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF JEWELRY TRAINING, JEWELRY ARTS PROGRAM AND LEARNED GOLDSMITHING. I LOVE TO TURN GOLD DUST AND NUGGETS INTO ONE OF A KIND CREATIONS IN MY PRIVATE STUDIO. WHEN I’M NOT OUT PROSPECTING I AM USUALLY SLABBING, CABBING, SMELTING AND CASTING GOLD. AT TIMES I AM COVERED IN GOLD DUST LIKE EL DORADO.
MY SMALL ARTISAN COMPANY IS KNOWN AS NATURAL GOLD JEWELRY. THIS SITE IS A GALLERY OF A FEW OF MY PAST CREATIONS. THERE IS NOTHING TO SELL, BUT JUST SHARE MY WORK WITH THOSE THAT ARE INTERESTED. I DO NOT MAKE JEWELRY AHEAD OF TIME. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME MAKE A PIECE FOR YOU, MY CONTACT INFO IS AVAILABLE ON THIS SITE.
Here is the link to Steve’s website, many pics of the type of jewelry he has made.
Don’t see something you want, just contact Steve and he will work to insure your custom design is made just for you. Old World Craftsmanship is just an email away. Check him out today, use your gold or his.