- 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.
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The Dalton Gang Loot
The famous Dalton Gang made history in 1892 when they attempted to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kansas. The result was the death of four of the outlaws and four citizens, and a prison term for the only survivor, Emmett Dalton.
Less well known is the fortune in gold and silver coins allegedly buried by the outlaws on the evening before the Coffeyville attempt. The cache was estimated to be worth between $9,000 and $20,000 in 1892 values.
Before their Coffeyville robbery, the Dalton Gang held up a Missouri-Kansas-Texas train near Wagoner, Oklahoma, and another near Adair. From these robberies, they netted $10,000. A few weeks later, they walked into an El Reno, Oklahoma, bank and took $17,000.
Following these robberies, the gang members purchased new saddles and clothes. The remaining loot was carried in their saddlebags as they made their way toward Coffeyville.
On the evening of October 5, the gang arrived at Onion Creek where it joins with the Verdigris River near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. There, they set up camp. Desiring to travel as unencumbered as possible, they unloaded all of the goods from their horses. The gold and silver coins were placed in a shallow hole they dug adjacent to their campfire.
At dawn the following morning, the outlaws breakfasted, checked their firearms and ammunition, and saddled their mounts. Before leaving, Emmett told the gang members that if they became separated, they were to rendezvous at this site, where they would retrieve the coins and escape deeper into Oklahoma.
The robbery attempt was a disaster and spelled the end of the gang. All were killed, save for Emmett. He served only 15 years in prison when he was pardoned in 1907. Lawmen believed that when freed, Emmett would lead them to the buried cache. They followed him for weeks, but he stayed away from Onion Creek. He once told an interviewer that he believed the coin cache was tainted and he wanted no more to do with it.
The precise location of the Onion Creek campsite has been debated for years, but recently discovered information has narrowed the area of search. On the morning the Dalton Gang departed for Coffeyville, Mary Brown, the young daughter of a nearby rancher, was riding her horse when she heard voices near Onion Creek. Reining up her mount, she listened and heard the sounds of men eating and saddling horses. Moments later, Brown saw five horsemen riding out from under a small wooden bridge that spanned the creek and making their way toward Coffeyville.
Years later, when Brown was an adult, she heard the story of the gold and silver coins buried at the Onion Creek campsite and was determined to find them. During the time that passed since the Coffeyville Raid, however, the old bridge had been torn down, portions of the creek had changed course and the road had been relocated. Though she searched for a full day, Brown was unable to find the location where the Daltons had camped so many years earlier.
As far as anyone knows, the treasure is still there.
Belle Starr’s Lost Iron Door Cache
Belle Starr was arguably the American West’s most famous female outlaw. She was known to deal in stolen horses, and she provided sanctuary in her eastern Oklahoma home to Frank and Jesse James, the Younger Gang and other notorious banditti. Some believed that she helped plan crimes and aided her accomplices in hiding and spending money taken in bank and train robberies.
A tale that has surfaced over the years involves gang members Starr allegedly knew. They stopped a freight train bound for the Denver Mint during the mid-1880s. The train was transporting a cargo of gold ingots destined to be turned into coin.
Though the robbery went as planned, the gang feared immediate pursuit from federal agents. They decided to hide the gold in a cave in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. Before riding away with the loot, gang members removed one of the iron doors from a railroad car and, using ropes, dragged the door along behind them as they made their escape on horseback.
When they arrived at the cave, the bandits stacked the gold against one wall. The iron door was placed over the entrance, wedged into position, and covered over with rock and brush. Before leaving the area, one of the outlaws hammered a railroad spike into an oak tree located 100 yards from the cave.
A short time after the robbery, railroad detectives learned of the possibility that the gold had been hidden in the Wichita Mountains. Though they hunted for weeks, they were never able to find it.
During a subsequent train robbery attempt a few months later, all of the members of the gang were killed. In 1889, Starr was murdered, a crime that has never been solved. With her death, no one remained alive who knew the exact location of what has come to be called the “Lost Iron Door Cache.”
During the first decade of the 1900s, a rancher and his young son rode into a canyon in the Wichita Mountains near Elk Mountain. Their attention was captured by the reflection of the sun from an object located on the eastern slope. On investigating, they encountered a large, rusted iron door set into a recessed portion of the canyon wall. The son wanted to see what was on the other side of the door, but the father reminded him they had to reach their destination before nightfall. Later, the father learned the story of the Iron Door Cache. The two returned to the region, but were unsuccessful in relocating the site.
During the ensuing years, a number of ranchers, hunters and hikers have reported spotting the iron door against one wall of a remote canyon in the Wichita Mountains. On learning the story of the gold, they attempted to return to the location, but could never find it.
While traveling through a remote canyon in the Wichitas in the 1950s, a rancher decided to pause and take shade under a large oak tree. He hung his hat on a railroad spike hammered into the trunk. Familiar with the story of the gold cache and the spike, he made plans to return to the canyon and search for the treasure, but was never able to relocate the site. Later, someone cut down the oak tree for firewood.
The latest sighting of the door was in 1996. A middle-aged man making his way on foot from the small town of Cooperton to Lawton, in search of work, took a shortcut through the Wichita Mountains and spotted the iron door. Three weeks after arriving in Lawton, he learned the story of Starr’s Iron Door Cache. He purchased a few tools and set out to recover the gold. On the way, he suffered a heart attack and died.
Bill Doolin’s Gold
In spite of lore that claims Bill Doolin netted over $175,000 in robberies in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas over the two-year period preceding his death, the outlaw lived frugally in a wood frame shack near Burden, Kansas.
In between robberies, Doolin purchased a small plot of land and a shack near Burden, 40 miles southeast of Wichita. To this place he retreated with his loot, and it was here that he buried most of it. He never told anyone about his new residence, preferring to keep it secret.
In December 1895, Doolin traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. An arthritis sufferer, he often bathed in the hot springs to soothe his aches. One afternoon he was arrested by Deputy Marshal Bill Tilghman while soaking in a hot mineral bath. He was placed in the jail in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to await trial for bank robbery. Certain that he would be convicted, Doolin escaped and fled to Burden. He began making plans to move his wife and child to this location.
For days following Doolin’s escape, the Oklahoma countryside was searched for some trace of him, to no avail. One lawman, Heck Thomas, got a tip that Doolin was planning on visiting his wife and son. He learned that Doolin’s family was living in Lawton. Thomas rode to Lawton and, from hiding, watched the house where Mrs. Doolin was living.
Thomas and a posse were hiding out near the house when Doolin came walking up, leading the horse and buggy. The outlaw spotted the lawman and reached for a rifle under the wagon seat, firing twice. Thomas shot him dead.
Doolin’s friends were aware that he buried his share of the robbery loot, but never knew where. Not until 20 years after the outlaw’s death did anyone discover his secret residence in Burden. By that time, the old shack had tumbled down, and the land was covered in weeds and brush.
Though many have searched the area for Doolin’s cache of gold and silver coins, it remains undiscovered.
Sam Bass Treasure
Following a train robbery outside of Big Springs, Nebraska, Sam Bass and other outlaws got away with 3,000 twenty-dollar gold pieces, along with jewelry and money taken from the passengers. After dividing the loot, the outlaws split up. Bass went to his hideout at Cove Hollow near Denton, Texas. Some believe he buried his booty at Cove Hollow, although others believe he just as easily could have spent the money. He soon formed a gang, robbed more stages and added to his caches.
Bass made plans to rob the Williamson County Bank in Round Rock, Texas. When the outlaws stopped at the store first to buy some tobacco, a couple of local lawmen noticed they were armed and started to talk to them. They didn’t recognize Bass. The outlaws opened fire on them, and a gunfight ensued. Badly wounded, Bass escaped.
Texas Rangers caught up with him in a nearby pasture. The outlaw died more than a day later, and with his death went the knowledge of the location of his treasure caches at Cove Hollow.
Henry Plummer’s Lost Gold
In a short span of time, the Henry Plummer gang amassed an impressive fortune in gold coins, ingots and nuggets from robbing stagecoaches, freight wagons, miners and travelers throughout Washington and Montana…at least, according to legend, since no evidence supports the claim. Some historians have made the argument that Plummer was not an outlaw, nor did he lead an organized gang. But for those who believe that Plummer was a gang leader and who also believe in the legend of his treasure, Plummer’s share has been estimated to exceed $200,000.
For a time, Plummer (and maybe his gang) lived near Sun River, 20 miles from Great Falls, Montana. Plummer apparently buried his portion of the gold near a small creek located 200 yards from the house. He never revealed the location.
On January 10, 1864, vigilantes caught up with Plummer and hanged him. In 1875, a young boy was digging in the soft ground near a stream at Sun River and found one of Plummer’s bags of coins. He returned to the area with his father, but was unable to relocate the spot. Plummer’s buried treasure, at its estimated value, would be worth several million dollars today.
Cy Skinner’s Lost Loot
Cy Skinner was among those named as a member of Henry Plummer’s gang. After Plummer was killed, Skinner loaded up the gold ingots and coins he had accumulated in the same robberies—$200,000 worth—and fled to Hell’s Gate (now Missoula), Montana. After reaching his destination, Skinner carried the gold to one of several small islands in the middle of the Clark Fork. Weeks later, a mob of men stormed Skinner’s cabin, hauled him outside and hanged him.
During the 1930s, a man named Taichert found a portion of Skinner’s gold on one of the islands. When he returned the next day to search for the rest of it, heavy rains had caused the river to rise, barring access to the island. By the time the flow receded, the islands had been altered in size and shape. Taichert was never able to find the precise spot where he had found the gold. Skinner’s gold still rests beneath a foot or two of river deposit on one of the small islands.
Mexican Payroll Loot Austin, Texas
A $3 million treasure, allegedly from a Mexican payroll in 1836 stolen by the paymaster and accomplices, the loot could be buried near Shoal Creek in Texas. After burying the loot and, in turn, killing members of the party, the remaining outlaw returned to Mexico. His map to the treasure shows it was buried five feet underground, close to an oak tree with two eagle wings carved on it.
Eight men dug 40 feet of tunnel for eight months along Shoal Creek, saying they were constructing a new bridge or a large house. On April 13, 1927, according to The Rising Star Record, the workers took off with the loot:
“A box was lifted from the square cut chamber between the rocks, for the next day the workmen were gone and the blasting has ceased. Curious throngs soon found the dark tunnel and with lights discovered traces of the large wooden box that had laid beneath the dirt for more than 60 years.”
Josie Bassett, an alleged girlfriend of Cassidy’s, lived on the Bassett Ranch at Brown’s Park. Cassidy had worked there as a ranch hand. Graves along the river, Josie’s cabin and remnants of Doc Parson’s cabin, where Cassidy lived for a while, still stand today.
Lost Opata Mine South of Tucson, Arizona
About 45 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, rises what remains of Tumacacori Mission, now a national park. The 18th-century church was built by Spaniards hoping to convert the pagan Opata and Papago Indians. The missionaries hired the Indians to work in their nearby silver mines and store the yield in a giant room.
The Opata kidnapped a woman they believed was the Virgin Mary and wanted her to marry their chief. She refused, so the people sacrificed her to their gods by tying her to the silver, rubbing poison into cuts in her hands, and dancing and singing around her.
The missionaries, so dismayed by the pagan violation of their Christian teachings, had the entrance closed off, presumably sealing in the woman’s skeletal remains—and all of the silver—still waiting to be found.
Lost Dutchman Mine Apache Junction, Arizona
Rich in gold, but—some believe—cursed, the fabled Lost Dutchman gold mine generates endless stories. The treasure hunters who mysteriously go missing while looking for the gold fuel the 120-plus-year legend. Today, some wonder if the Superstition Mountains really harbor the gold or if the stories have piled upon stories to bury the truth.
Sometime after 1868, a German (not Dutch) miner named Jacob Waltz found the Peralta family mine and worked it with an associate, Jacob Weiser. Legend has it that they hid some of the gold near Weaver’s Needle, a local landmark. Details after that are unclear, according to Lost Dutchman State Park information. Either Waltz killed Weiser or Apaches killed him, leaving Waltz as the only person who knew the whereabouts of the mine.
His neighbor in Phoenix, Arizona, who took care of him before his death in 1891, and countless others have searched unsuccessfully for the gold.
Ruggles Brothers Gold Redding, California
John Ruggles fired back, killing Montgomery. Thinking his brother was dead, he cached the loot somewhere nearby. Charles was alive, but some of the loot was never found. Eventually, local vigilantes lynched the Ruggles.
Jesse James’s Hidden Treasure Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma
Legend says the James Gang, in 1876, buried stolen treasure in a deep ravine east of Cache Creek in Oklahoma. Jesse James made two signs pointing to the gold: He emptied two six-shooters into a cottonwood tree, and he nailed a horseshoe into the trunk of another cottonwood tree. Then he scratched out a contract on the side of a brass bucket to bound everyone to keep the secret. Although this doesn’t seem in his character to do so, since the written oath could have been used as evidence against him, some folks believe the treasure exists.
The words on the bucket read: “This the 5th day of March, 1876, in the year of our Lord, 1876, we the undersigned do this day organize a bounty bank. We will go to the west side of the Keechi Hills which is about fifty yards from [symbol of crossed sabers]. Follow the trail line coming through the mountains just east of the lone hill where we buried the jack [burro]. His grave is east of a rock. This contract made and entered into this V day of March 1876. This gold shall belong to who signs below. Jesse James, Frank Miller, George Overton, Rub Busse, Charlie Jones, Cole Younger, Will Overton, Uncle George Payne, Frank James, Roy Baxter, Bud Dalton, and Zack Smith.”
The gold hasn’t been found, but the engraved brass bucket and simple map have been, as have the markers pointing to the treasure’s hiding spot.
They were always portrayed as victims of fascism, but Mussolini’s soldiers committed atrocities which for 60 years have gone unpunished. Now the conspiracy of silence is at last starting to unravel.
The footnotes of Italian history record Giovanni Ravalli waging war on criminals. He was a police prefect who kept the streets safe and pursued gangs such as the one which stole Caravaggio’s The Nativity from a Palermo church in 1969. An adviser to the prime minister, a man of the establishment, he retired on a generous pension to his home at 179 Via Cristoforo Colombo, south Rome, to tend his plants and admire the view. He died on April 30 1998, aged 89.
The footnotes do not record a Greek policeman called Isaac Sinanoglu who was tortured to death over several days in 1941. His teeth were extracted with pliers and he was dragged by the tail of a galloping horse. Nor do they mention the rapes, or the order to pour boiling oil over 70 prisoners.
After the war Ravalli, a lieutenant in the Italian army’s Pinerolo division, was caught by the Greeks and sentenced to death for these crimes. The Italian government saved him by threatening to withhold reparations unless he was released. Ravalli returned home to a meteoric career that was questioned only once: in 1992 an American historian, Michael Palumbo, exposed his atrocities in a book but Ravalli, backed by powerful friends, threatened to sue and it was never published.
His secrets remained safe, just as Italy’s secrets remained safe. An audacious deception has allowed the country to evade blame for massive atrocities committed before and during the second world war and to protect the individuals responsible, some almost certainly still alive. Of more than 1,200 Italians sought for war crimes in Africa and the Balkans, not one has faced justice. Webs of denial spun by the state, academe and the media have re-invented Italy as a victim, gulling the rest of the world into acclaiming the Good Italian long before Captain Corelli strummed a mandolin.
In reality Benito Mussolini’s invading soldiers murdered many thousands of civilians, bombed the Red Cross, dropped poison gas, starved infants in concentration camps and tried to annihilate cultures deemed inferior. “There has been little or no coming to terms with fascist crimes comparable to the French concern with Vichy or even the Japanese recognition of its wartime and prewar responsibilities,” says James Walston, a historian at the American University of Rome.
The cover-up lasts to this day but its genesis is now unravelling. Filippo Focardi, a historian at Rome’s German Historical Institute, has found foreign ministry documents and diplomatic cables showing how the lie was constructed. In 1946 the new republic, legitimised by anti-fascists who had fought with the allies against Mussolini, pledged to extradite suspected war criminals: there was a commission of inquiry, denunciations, lists of names, arrest warrants. It was a charade. Extraditions would anger voters who still revered the military and erode efforts to portray Italy as a victim of fascism. Focardi’s research shows that civil servants were told in blunt language to fake the quest for justice. A typical instruction from the prime minister, Alcide De Gasperi, on January 19 1948 reads: “Try to gain time, avoid answering requests.”
Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia and Libya protested to no avail. “It was an elaborate going through the motions. They had no intention of handing over anybody,” says Focardi. Germans suspected of murdering Italians – including those on Cephalonia, Corelli’s island – were not pursued lest a “boomerang effect” threaten Italians wanted abroad: their files turned up decades later in a justice ministry cupboard in Rome.
Britain and the US, fearful of bolstering communists in Italy and Yugoslavia, collaborated in the deception. “Justice requires the handing over of these people but expediency, I fear, militates against it,” wrote a Foreign Office mandarin. The conspiracy succeeded in frustrating the United Nations war crimes investigation. There was no Nuremberg for Italian criminals.
Given the evidence against them, it must rank as one of the great escapes. General Pietro Badoglio’s planes dropped 280kg bombs of mustard gas over Ethiopian villages and strafed Red Cross camps. He died of old age in his bed, was buried with full military honours and had his home town named after him. General Rudolfo Graziani, aka the butcher of Libya, massacred entire communities; his crimes included an infamous assault on the sick and elderly of Addis Ababa. His men posed for photographs holding severed heads. General Mario Roatta, known to his men as the black beast, killed tens of thousands of Yugoslav civilians in reprisals and herded thousands more to their deaths in concentration camps lacking water, food and medicine. One of his soldiers wrote home on July 1 1942: “We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them.”
Italy’s atrocities did not match Germany’s or Japan’s in scale and savagery, and it is no myth that Italian soldiers saved Jews and occasionally fraternised with civilians. Glows of humanity amid the darkness; yet over time they have suffused the historic memory with blinding light.
The distortion can partly be blamed on British prejudices about Italian soldiers being soft and essentially harmless, says Nic Fields, a military historian at the University of Edinburgh: “Many British historians liked to focus on the luxury items found in Italian barracks. It reinforced the image of opera buffoons. Your average Tommy tended to caricature the Italians as poor sods caught up in the war.”
The crimes have been chronicled in specialist journals but never became part of general knowledge. Ask an Italian about his country’s role in the war and he will talk about partisans fighting the Ger mans or helping Jews. Ask about atrocities and he will talk about Tito’s troops hurling Italians into ravines. Unlike France, which has deconstructed resistance mythology to explore Vichy, Italy’s awareness has evolved little since two film-makers were jailed in the 1950s for straying off-message in depicting the occupation of Greece.
When Japanese or Austrians try to gloss over their shame there is an outcry, but the Italians get away with it. The 1991 film Mediterraneo, about occupiers playing football, sipping ouzo and flirting with the locals on a Greek island, was critically acclaimed. Captain Corelli’s sanctification of Italian martyrdom was not challenged. Ken Kirby’s 1989 BBC Timewatch documentary, Fascist Legacy, detailing Italian crimes in Africa and the Balkans and the allies’ involvement in the cover-up, provoked furious complaints from Italy’s ambassador in London. The Italian state broadcaster, Rai, agreed to buy the two one-hour programmes, but executives got cold feet and for 11 years it has sat in a vault in Rome, too controversial to broadcast. “It’s the only time I can remember a client shelving a programme after buying it,” says a BBC executive.
Kirby did manage to show it at a film festival in Florence. The reaction was toxic. “They put security on me. After the first reel the audience turned around and looked at me, thinking ‘what a bastard’.”
A brief storm of publicity engulfed Michael Palumbo, the documentary’s historical consultant. “I was practically assaulted by several Italian journalists. There was a sackful of death threats, some from former soldiers.”
The documentary gave a voice to Italian historians such as Giorgio Rochat, who have provoked disapproval from colleagues by attacking the myth. “There remains in Italian culture and public opinion the idea that basically we were colonialists with a human face.”
Another historian, Angelo Del Boca, says those guilty of genocide were honoured. “A process of rehabilitation is being organised for some of them by sympathetic or supportive biographers.” He says that for decades his research was obstructed – an accusation echoed by Focardi. Vital documents are “mislaid” or perpetually out on loan. Just one example: 11 years ago a German researcher found documents and photographs of Italian atrocities in Yugoslavia in the central state archive, a fascist-built marble hulk south of Rome. No one has been able to gain access to them since.
Such scholars are few, but thanks to their work a tentative reappraisal may be under way. While paying homage last march to the Italian troops massacred by Germans on Cephalonia, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, noting that Italy invaded Greece, asked forgiveness. Newspapers such as La Stampa and Manifesto have reported new research, and a weekly magazine, Panorama, confronted Ravalli before he died. But Italy remains entranced by its victimhood. Television commentary for a military parade in Rome earlier this month hummed the glory and sacrifice of the armed forces. Newspapers splashed on the possibility that a 92-year-old former Nazi SS officer living in Hamburg, Friedrich Engel, may be prosecuted for crimes in Genoa. Other former Nazis accused of murdering Italians are being pursued now that the fear of a “boomerang” effect against Italian criminals has evaporated.
Last month workers digging in northern Ethiopia stumbled on yet another Italian arms depot suspected of containing mustard gas. Addis Ababa asked Rome to respect an international weapons treaty by revealing the location of stockpiles and helping to clear them. Like all other requests over past decades, it was rebuffed. “All efforts on Ethiopia’s side to convince Italy to live up to its responsibilities have failed,” lamented the government.
The Lost Black Canyon Placer
Named for the black metamorphic rocks that it cuts through, Black Canyon Creek is part of the drainage system that taps the southeastern flank of the Bradshaw Mountains. Turkey Creek, Crazy Basin Creek, and Poland Creek are all feeder streams of Black Canyon Creek, which empties into the Aqua Fria River at Black Canyon City.
The Black Canyon area has a history of gold placer mining extending back at least to the 1850’s. Nearly every tributary of Black Canyon Creek, and the main stream itself, contained placer gold. The adjacent slopes of the Bradshaws were intensely mineralized. For millennia, the mountains had shed nuggets of gold into the surrounding streams. Rich pockets of placer gold accumulated throughout the Black Canyon Creek watershed. In the early 1920’s, a prospector recovered $20,000 worth of placer gold from a gravel bar in Black Canyon Creek, just downstream from the Howard Copper Mine.
In the 1850’s, Mexican prospectors were active in the southern Bradshaw Mountains. They worked a few of the lode deposits, panned many of the streams, and built arrastres to separate the gold from the gangue. Sometime in the latter half of the 1800’s, a Mexican prospector discovered an extremely rich pocket of placer gold somewhere in the Black Canyon area. The Mexican worked the deposit for a short time and then left the country, intending to return later. He never did, but his two sons tried to find the placer deposit years later. They were unable to locate the pocket. There has been much gold taken from Black Canyon, but the big pocket apparently still remains.
The Lost Duppa Mine
irst known as the Silver Range, the Bradshaw Mountains rise up west of the Aqua Fria River in central Arizona. The Bradshaws abound in mineral deposits, both gold and silver. For many years a stronghold of the Apache, the Bradshaws were slow in giving up their mineral wealth. American prospectors finally opened the floodgates in the 1860’s. In 1862, a party of prospectors led by the famous mountain man Joseph Walker discovered rich deposits of gold near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River. The following year, a group led by William Bradshaw penetrated the heart of the range and also found precious metal deposits. In August of that year, a second party of prospectors led by another famous mountain man discovered the fabulous Rich Hill gold fields.
Many rich strikes were to follow in the coming years. This rugged mineral-rich mountain range came to be known as the Bradshaw Mountains. They were named for the famous prospector and early Arizona pioneer, William Bradshaw. During the 1860’s, a wave of prospectors, adventurers, and drifters poured into the mining districts of the Bradshaw Mountains.
One such adventurer was an Englishman named Bryan Philip Darrell Duppa. Born in 1832, Duppa moved first to New Zealand, and then in 1863 moved to the Arizona Territory. He gravitated to the mining district near present-day Prescott where he lived for about five years. In 1868, Duppa moved down to the Salt River valley where he tried his hand at farming. Soon, he decided to take on the job of station manager of the stagecoach stop near present-day Dewey. Duppa’s station was located about 13 miles straight east of Prescott, on the Agua Fria River. The new proprietor of the Dewey station found himself traveling back and forth to rescott many times. One day, Duppa took a short- cut down one of the many canyons that cut the east flank of the northern Bradshaws. Somewhere in that steep canyon, Duppa stumbled on a ledge of silver-bearing quartz. The ore mineral was pure native silver! Duppa returned to the station on the Aqua Fria in great excitement. He had finally made good. Or at least he thought so. When Duppa attempted to retrace his steps to the ledge, he was unable to find it! He never did. Duppa eventually retired in Phoenix, dying there in 1892.
The Lost Flannigan Mine
The Gila Bend region of Maricopa County, Arizona was perilous country for early mountain men, emigrants, and settlers. In 1826, the first mountain men arrived in Arizona. They came in search of beaver but found hostile Indians instead. One of these early mountain men, James Ohio Pattie, claimed that after only one year of trapping on the Gila River, he could remember only 16 men left alive out of a total of 160 who started the season.
The emigrants and 49’ers who passed through the Gila Bend region during the mid-1800’s also encountered a hostile land and people. In 1851, tragedy struck the family of Royce Oatman who were on their way to California. While camping near present-day Gila Bend, the Oatman family was attacked by Yavapai Indians who killed both parents and two of the children. Two other girls, Olive and Mary Ann, were abducted by the Indians. Mary Ann died in captivity but Olive was eventually ransomed from the Indians and returned to civilization.
The settlers who carved out their ranches and farms from the land also encountered hostile Indians. One such attack in 1869 led to the discovery of a fabulously rich deposit of gold-bearing quartz in the Gila Bend Mountains of southwest Arizona. It was in that year that the Gila Bend farm of Abner McKeever was raided by hostile Apaches. The Indians kidnapped his daughter Belle and headed north into the Gila Bend Mountains. Several scouting parties went out in search of the war party; one group in particular penetrated deeply into the Gila Bend Mountains. This party was made up of three soldiers, a sergeant named Crossthwaite and two privates named Wormley and Flannigan. The three men soon lost their way and found themselves wandering through some low hills. In a depression filled with water they discovered nuggets of pure gold. Above the pool of water were two veins of gold-bearing quartz, one 5 inches wide and the other an incredible 16 inches wide! The soldiers filled their saddlebags with gold and headed southeast in search of the Gila River. Eventually they were forced to separate in a desperate attempt to reach water. Unfortunately, Crossthwaite died in the wilderness. Wormley made it back to civilization but was mentally never the same again. But Private Flannigan managed to reach safety with his saddlebags full of gold! He mounted many prospecting expeditions into the mountains but never found the pool of gold. Finally, in 1881, his body was found in the desert of northwest Yuma County. He had been carrying his saddlebags with him when he died – they were full of gold nuggets again.
The Lost Four Peaks Gold Mine
The Four Peaks area comprises the southern portion of the Mazatzal Mountains, an extensive range that forms the western boundary of the famous Tonto Basin. The Four Peaks have always been an important landmark in this part of Arizona. Nearly 8000 feet high, they dominate the skyline. From the highest peak, one has a panoramic view of the Superstition Mountains rising up less than 10 miles to the south. To the north, the rugged peaks and ridges of the central and northern Mazatzals seem to go on forever.
Hidden by the intervening peaks, the historic site of old Fort Reno lies about 14 miles north of the Four Peaks area. The Reno Road, built in 1867, connected the fort to the network of military posts springing up in Arizona during the late 1800’s. Fort Reno was constructed on the eastern flanks of the Mazatzal Mountains, overlooking Tonto Creek to the east. The Mazatzal peak known as Mount Ord rises only four miles to the northwest of the old fort. Beyond Mount Ord, the mountains march away to the northwest.
During the 1800’s, the Mazatzal Mountains were in the middle of Apache country. The Tonto Apaches wandered these mountains in search of game, but occasionally found something else. For years, rumors had circulated of a hidden Apache gold mine in or near the Mazatzals. The local Tonto Apaches always seemed to have plenty of gold nuggets for trading. During the 1850’s, the famous Dr. Abraham Thorne was led to an Apache gold mine by friendly Tontos. Although blindfolded for most of the way, Thorne insisted till the end of his days that the mine was in the Salt River country. In 1853, Francis X. Aubry saw local Apaches making bullets out of gold!
Many prospectors have searched the Mazatzals for the lost Four Peaks gold mine. Unfortunately, most of them ended up dead. At least two accounts place a rich gold-bearing quartz deposit somewhere along the western flanks of the Four Peaks. In one case, a pair of prospectors discovered the lode but were later killed by Apaches. In the other, a cowboy stumbled on the gold deposit while searching for cattle. He was never able to find the mine again.
1. The Sam Bass Loot In perhaps his greatest venture, Texas’s legendary stagecoach and bank robber Sam Bass traveled to Big Springs, Nebraska, with his sidekick Joel Collins and held up the Union Pacific Railroad. They got away with three thousand freshly-minted 1877 $20 gold pieces. Although $25,000 worth of coins and jewelry have been accounted for, no one knows where the rest of the loot went, and Collins and Bass were killed before they revealed anything. Legend has it that Bass’s part of the money is in Cove Hollow, about thirty miles from Denton.
2. East Texas Gold From Mexico In 1839 Mirabeau B. Lamar, the newly inaugurated successor to Sam Houston as President of Texas, sent the Texas Army out to get rid of the Cherokees. A huge battle ensued between the two groups near what is now known as Tyler. The Cherokees started getting their butts kicked. As they retreated, they headed into what is now known as Upshur County. (All you English teachers out there, stop making fun of me for using the “what is now known as” phrase two sentences in a row.) A few of the Cherokees were accompanied by agents of the Mexican government who had promised a lot of money to the tribe if they were able to drive out the Texans. Eventually, the Mexicans unloaded the moneygold and silver coinsso they could make an escape. Many treasure hunters are convinced the money continues to lie beneath the mud of Little Cypress Creek in Upshur County.
3. Singer Treasure on Padre Island In the mid-nineteenth century, a man named Isaac Merritt Singer made significant improvements to the sewing machine. He built a new kind of sewing machine, and in 1851 he started I.M. Singer & Co., which was renamed the Singer Manufacturing Company in 1865. Meanwhile, his younger brother John was exploring the coast of Texas. At one point, while wandering the beaches of Padre Island, he came across a bunch of Spanish coins. He also might have(might have, I remind you)come across a wooden chest containing what was then $80,000 in jewelry and coins. According to legend, Singer hid the money he found in a large sand dune that he called “Money Hill.” But as fate would have it, he and his family had to abandon their Texas home during the Civil War because they were considered Union sympathizers. When they returned after the war, Singer could no longer find Money Hill because the sands had shifted and erased all the landmarks that he once knew. It is now thought that the money is on the southernmost tip of Padre Island.
4. The Lost Padre Mine Somewhere in the Franklin Mountains overlooking the Rio Grande River in El Paso County is the Lost Padre Mine. Back in the 1580’s, Spanish conquistadors and priests often passed beneath the peaks of the Franklins on their way to New Mexico to colonize the Indian villages. According to one legend, a group of priests put about three hundred burro loads of silver in a mine on one of their expeditions to New Mexico. They then filled in the shaft. Another legend has it that in 1595, Juan de Oñate hid five silver bars, 4,336 gold ingots, nine burro loads of jewels, and four priceless Aztec codices (books or manuscripts) in the mine. My favorite part of the legend is that the Guadalupe Mission in El Paso was built in way so that the shadows of the mission point to the Lost Padre Mine.
5. The Lost Treasure of Hendrick’s Lake The infamous pirate of the Gulf Jean Lafitte took a $2 million fortune in silver from a Spanish galleon and supposedly buried it in the Sabine River near the East Texas town of Sabine. Ho-hum, right? Just another myth? Well, according to a story by Mary Rogers of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, there is evidence that in the early 1800’s the theft did happen and that Jean Lafitte’s men, afraid that they were about to be ambushed, pushed several wagons loaded with silver ingots into the muddy waters. Some fishermen in the last century pulled several silver bars from those very waters with a hoop net. That set off a huge treasure hunting stampede. In 1884 treasure hunters were all over the Sabine and a nearby lake that had been fed by the Sabine.
The story died down but regained momentum when treasure hunting became popular again in the fifties and when True West magazine printed an article about the long-forgotten silver prompting treasure hunters to flock to Carthage and Tatum. After getting some readings at the bottom of the lake (Hendrick’s Lake), two Dallas oilmen actually brought in a giant crane and attached a drag bucket to the cable. But they got nothing. More than once the crane almost toppled into the water. The oilmen then built a raft with a hole in the center and sank large pipes into the goop on the lake bottom. They lowered another contraption through the pipe to the lake floor. A light came on when the probe hit metal. But a giant storm hit the area, destroying the raft and washing away all the evidence.
Later, someone else who got high metal readings tried to dynamite the bottom of the lake. But alas, nothing came of it. There are still treasure hunters to this day who believe the Lafitte fortune would be found if the lake was drained.
6. The Lost San Saba Silver Mine This lost mine, with its rich vein of silver, has been what one treasure hunter writer has called “the Holy Grail of Texas treasure seekers.” In 1756 a Mexican official traveling through Texas learned from Indians of an exposed strain of pure silver that ran through a certain hill in Central Texas. In the early 1800’s, Stephen F. Austin, on his first trip to Texas, also heard about a rich silver mine on the San Saba River and a gold mine on the Llano. He sent soldiers to look for it, but they found nothing.
By 1829, the mythical “lost” silver mine of San Saba began appearing on Austin’s maps of Texas. More maps appeared showing various locations of a lost silver mine. Just about every book written about Texas in that era mentioned it. James Bowie went on an expedition to find it.
A Mexican drug cartel recently used its painting skills to smuggle millions of dollars of marijuana into the United States, a brushstroke of genius of sorts until the effort was uncovered by a federal border agent.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stopped a suspicious tractor trailer late Thursday on Interstate 19, south of Tucson, Ariz. Inside, the driver said, was a shipment of watermelons. But when agents inspected the shipment using X-ray imaging, they discovered the purported fruit was actually packages of marijuana painted to look like watermelons.
“These criminals use a lot of unique ways to try to conceal their narcotics,” Tucson CBP Agent Bryan Flowers said. “We’ve seen individuals use false compartments in the seats and gas tanks. We’ve also found marijuana in tractor trailers here before.”
The truck had already crossed into the United States about 20 miles south, near Nogales. The trailer’s contents were discovered at a second mobile checkpoint close to Tucson.
Drug Enforcement Administration officials later took custody of the contraband and tractor trailer, estimating the value of the marijuana in the millions.
Flowers said this isn’t the first time the agency found marijuana disguised as fruit.
In April 2010, agents discovered 9,500 pounds hidden in a load of real watermelons. In June 2008 in Nogales a narcotics dog helped sniff out 5,000 pounds of pot valued at $8.3 million. DEA officials in Phoenix are still determining the street value and total weight of Thursday night’s haul.
The driver of the truck remains in custody, authorities said.
BRAND NEW MILITARY PLANES HEADED FOR ‘BONEYARD’ Budget fight takes cargo hauler off list of available tools….
Five brand new military cargo airplanes slated for delivery to the U.S. armed services early next year will go directly to an Arizona “boneyard” set aside for equipment no longer in use, according to Military.com.
The report, citing the Dayton Daily News, said about a dozen of the new C-27J Spartan equipment haulers already have been taken out of service and sent to Tucson, where the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base stores unused equipment and airplanes.
The airplanes appear to be one of the casualties of decisions by government managers regarding the federal budget.
The DoD Buzz, which calls itself an online defense and acquisition journal, reported just months ago that the Air Force had announced it was discarding 21 C-27Js.
The blog said the original plan was to buy a fleet of 38 of the haulers as part of a “Joint Cargo Aircraft Program” at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion. Reports said 16 had been delivered already, and another five are in line to be released for use early next year.
The report at the time of the U.S. budget sequester, which cut funds for the military, said that the C-27J cost around $9,000 an hour to operate while the larger C-130, which doesn’t have the C-27J’s capability of landing on some airfields, cost about $10,400 per hour.
The newest Military.com report Monday said the new C-27Js already produced are now being shipped to storage, and any new ones that were contracted and scheduled for delivery will follow the same route.
Ethan Rosenkranz of the Project on Government Overnight told Military.com that the military wanted the airplanes because they could land on less-developed runways, but when budgets were reduced, military officials decided the program wasn’t a priority.
“When they start discarding these programs, it’s wasteful,” he said in the report.
The five new planes still to be delivered were so close to completion that it would have been counterproductive to cancel the plans. The 209th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group will try to keep the airplanes operational so that another use – or another user – may be found, the Military.com report said.
Thousands of airplanes already are at the Arizona site, which features a hard-soil runway and low rainfall and humidity.
The airplane is made by Alenia North America, a subdivision of Italy’s Finmeccanici Inc.
Members of the Ohio congressional delegation have been fighting for the airplane, because the Ohio Air National Guard was one of several units designated to fly the C-27J. The National Guard disputed other cost estimates, saying it costs $2,100 per hour for the C-27J and about $7,000 for the C-130.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in the Military.com report that he was looking for ways and opportunities to “redeploy” the airplanes, possibly by letting the Forest Service or the Coast Guard use them.
1…Golden, on railroad and West county line, 10 miles Southwest of Aguila
2…Gladden, on West county line, 3 miles South of Golden
3…Columbia, on West county line, on Humbug Creek, 25 miles West of Wickenburg.
Mining camp from 1894 to 1915
4…Forepaugh, on railroad and North county line, 10 miles East Northeast of Aguila
5…Divide, on railroad and North county line, 13 miles West of Wickenburg
6…Cullings Well, Stage coach station, old stage road, 6 miles West of Wickenburg.
7…Vulture City, near Vulture Gold Mine, 12 miles from Wickenburg, on road to Buckeye and Aguila
8…Brill, on railroad, 7 1/2 miles Northwest of Morristown
9…Seymore, 10 miles from the Vulture Mine
10..Camp Creek, 10 miles Northeast of Carefree
11..Currys Corner, 9 miles South of Carefree
12..Maryville, on the Salt River, just West of the junction with the Verde River
13..Hassayampa, on railroad, 3 miles Northeast of Arlington
14..Verde, on railroad, 4 miles West of Buckeye
15..Norton, on railroad, 5 miles West of Avondale
16..Rainbow Valley, 10 miles South of Liberty
17..St. Johns Mission, on Gila River and East county line, 6 miles South of Laveen
18..Sundad, near West county line, 25 miles due North of Sentinel
19..Stanwix, on railroad and West county line, 7 miles West of Sentinel
20..Delosa, on railroad, 2 miles West of Sentinel
21..Tarton, on railroad, 7 miles East of Sentinel
22..Painted Rock, on railroad, 14 miles East of Sentinel
23..Piedra, on railroad, 14 miles East of Sentinel
24..Smurr, on railroad, 7 miles West of Gila Bend
25..Coledon, on railroad, 5 miles East of Gila Bend
26..Bosque, on railroad, 12 miles East of Gila Bend
27..Ocapos, on railroad, 15 miles West of Mobile
28..Estrella, on railroad, 10 miles West of Mobile
29..Buchan, on railroad, 5 miles West of Mobile
30..Enid, on railroad and East county line, 4 miles East of Mobile
31..Smith’s Mill, on the East bank of Hassayampa River, Southeast of Wickenburg
An Arizona gun store owner says he will not sell Mark Kelly the AR-15 rifle that the vocal advocate for tighter gun control bought earlier this month.
The manager of the Tucson, Ariz., store where Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, bought the firearm has said that he will not complete the March 5 transaction, according to a statement posted on Facebook.
“While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible manner, his recent statements to the media made it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm rifle from us was for reasons other then [sic] for his personal use,” Douglas MacKinlay, owner of Diamondback Police Supply, said in the post.
The store was required to hold the rifle purchased by Kelly for 20 days, MacKinlay told the Associated Press after Kelly purchased the firearm.
“He is a U.S. citizen, an Arizona citizen expressing his Second Amendment rights to purchase and own a firearm,” MacKinlay told the AP at the time.
The gun store owner said in his statement posted on Monday that he had reconsidered the sale. MacKinlay did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday morning.
“In light of this fact, I determined that it was in my company’s best interest to terminate this transaction prior to his returning to my store to complete the Federal Form 4473 and NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] background check required of Mr. Kelly before he could take possession of this firearm,” MacKinlay said in the statement.
The store sent Kelly a refund last Thursday, according to the statement. Kelly, an astronaut, has promoted tighter gun control since his wife, Giffords, was shot in the head at point-blank range by Jared Loughner in 2011.
The couple launched a new national campaign in January to combat gun violence. Americans for Responsible Solutions was launched “to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.”
Kelly, who is a gun owner, has said his purchase was meant to demonstrate how easy it is to buy a semi-automatic rifle.