- 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.
Posts Tagged With: ingots
NANCHANG, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists on Tuesday discovered 75 gold coins and hoof-shaped ingots in an aristocrat’s tomb that dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD).
The gold objects — 25 gold hoofs and 50 very large gold coins — are the largest single batch of gold items ever found in a Han Dynasty tomb. They were unearthed from the tomb of the first “Haihunhou” (Marquis of Haihun) in east China’s Jiangxi Province.
The coins weigh about 250 grams each, while the hoofs’ weights vary from 40 to 250 grams, said Yang Jun, who leads the excavation team.
They were packed in three boxes placed under a bed in the main chamber of the tomb. According to Yang, the gold objects appear to have been awarded to the marquis by the emperor.
Researchers are still working through the main chamber of the tomb in the Haihunhou cemetery, the most complete known Western Han Dynasty cemetery. It covers roughly 40,000 square meters and contains eight tombs and a burial site for horses used to pull chariots.
The tomb is thought to belong to Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu. Liu was given the title “Haihunhou” after he was deposed as emperor after only 27 days. Haihun is the ancient name of a very small kingdom in the north of Jiangxi.
The site’s excavation started in 2011. Artifacts unearthed so far include a portrait of Confucius, nearly 3,000 wooden tablets and bamboo slips and a large number of bronze, gold and jade items.
Far beneath the ocean waves, nestling silently on cold dark sea beds around the world, lie the remains of about three million shipwrecks.
And that’s a conservative estimate by Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
They have fascinated generations of artists, writers, anthropologists and scientists.
Many mark the final resting place of their crew and passengers. Some are hundreds of years old, a time capsule from distant ways of life.
All are guardians of the treasures that sank along with them – be they in the form of uniquely preserved cultural heritage or cold hard cash.
Excavators of the Tudor ship the Mary Rose, which sank off the English coast in 1545, found 500 pairs of shoes among the 19,000 artefacts retrieved from the site, many of which are now on display.
In 2010 a US-based company called Odyssey Marine Exploration won a tender put out by the government to retrieve that silver from its resting place, 4,500m below sea level – one mile deeper than the Titanic.
That sort of depth can only be reached by machine (the deepest recorded human scuba dive is currently 332m, according to Guinness World Records) and getting there is, to put it mildly, a technical challenge.
“Ten years ago you couldn’t possibly have done it,” Andrew Craig, senior project manager onboard Odyssey Marine vessel Explorer, told the BBC.
“It would have cost so much. Just getting a work class ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to 5,000m – they’re just not built because there’s so little requirement for them.”
It took 3.5 hours for Explorer’s onboard ROV, a 6.5-tonne vehicle named Zeus, to make each journey between the ship and the site of the wreck.
With any sort of deep sea exploration, positioning is crucial. The proverbial needle in the haystack is much harder to find when it’s floating in gallons of sea water, surrounded by marine life, and you can’t use your fingers to feel for it.
“You want to know to within 10-15 cm where things are – and you need to be able to go back to them repeatedly,” says Mr Craig.
In addition to Explorer’s onboard sonar scanners and magnetometers (a kind of deep sea metal detector also used by the military to seek out submarines), Zeus has been equipped with an Inertial Navigation System.
This captures a range of data from numerous sensors, not only to navigate a path, but also to remember where it has been. It cost over £100,000 ($157,000; €126,000) and is just one of many sensors used by the team in guiding the ROV.
The technology advances still on Andrew Craig’s wish list are surprisingly familiar.
The first is better wireless communication – ROVs still need to send data and receive instructions by fibre-optic cable, meaning they remain tethered to the ship.
The second is truly universal – better battery life.
“On our largest dive the ROV spent five and a half days on the bottom,” he says.
“But we had to come up when the battery went on the beacon.”
It’s fair to say that deep sea shipwreck exploration is eye-wateringly expensive.
The cost of running a research ship such as the Explorer is about $35,000 (£22,000; €28,000) per day, including staff.
Those boats can get through five to 10 tonnes of fuel per day at $1,000 per tonne.
“You can be onboard for six months to a year to do a proper exploration,” says Mr Craig. “You’re into the millions very quickly.”
Not surprisingly, funding is hard to obtain.
Odyssey Marine operates by keeping – and selling – a share of valuable hauls, while retaining items of cultural note and offering them up for display in museums. The firm kept 80% of the value of SS Gairsoppa’s silver as part of its tender agreement.
“Odyssey Marine Exploration is very open about its business model,” says Dr Sean Kingsley, founder of Wreck Watch and a company consultant.
“The concept ensures that unique cultural artefacts are permanently retained for museum display, while types of trade goods known by the thousands in museums across the world are considered for sale to cover expedition costs.
“Income is cycled back to pay for the expensive science: make no bones about it, deep sea wreck studies is by far the most expensive arena in archaeology,” he adds.
Not everybody agrees with this commercialisation.
When Unesco drew up its Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention in 2001 it specifically blocked what it called “commercial exploitation”, and encouraged “in situ preservation” as its “preferred option” – permitting the removal of artefacts and the lifting of wrecks only for cultural rather than financial reasons.
Critics of the convention point out that iconic excavation projects like the raising of the Mary Rose would have been inconceivable under its rules, and just 44 of Unesco’s 195 member states have ratified it to date.
Of course, not all of the world’s wrecks are overwhelmingly inaccessible.
It is not uncommon for amateur scuba divers and even beach walkers to also find themselves in possession of shipwreck bounty.
In the UK, a government official called the Receiver of Wreck is responsible for identifying and trying to trace the ownership of any artefacts from the seabed in UK waters – or brought into the country from elsewhere.
In 2013 the department received more than 300 reports detailing more than 36,000 found items – and the majority came from recreational divers, deputy receiver Beccy Austin told the BBC.
The most commonly reported artefacts include portholes, fixtures and fittings, navigational equipment, and ship bells, she says.
The department has one year to attempt to establish ownership.
“The law says the onus is on the owner to prove ownership, but lots of owners don’t realise they are the owners,” says Ms Austin.
“Reaction is varied – some are really interested, others see their wreck as a liability.”
Often those owners will be government defence ministries or insurance companies.
Many simply allow the finder to keep their find, although they have no legal right to do so, she adds.
Astonishingly, about 60% of finds are traced to their rightful owner, but if the investigation fails, the artefact becomes the property of the Crown.
Either way, the finder is entitled to a salvage award, which is negotiated by the finder and owner – a fair combination of a percentage of the market value plus the effort gone to by the salver. It can be up to 90%.
The Crown, however, does not pay the award – the Receiver will generally try to find a suitable museum for the artefact.
Sometimes ancient material can find a surprising new lease of life once it is back on land.
In 2010 Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics used 120 ingots of lead, retrieved from a Roman shipwreck, to conduct a major investigation into neutrinos.
The ancient lead was useful because it had lost all its radioactivity – but Donatella Salvi, an archaeologist at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari where it had been kept, admitted to the science journal Nature that handing the ingots over was “painful”.
During the Second Anglo-Boer War the South African descendants of the Dutch settlers, the Boers, realised that their capital, Pretoria, would soon be captured by British troops so they swiftly commandeered as much gold as they could from government reserves, banks and the mines. They also minted many thousands of new gold coins. Much of this gold is believed to have travelled with the Boer President, Paul Kruger, as he journeyed eastwards through Middleburg, Machadadorp and Waterfal Boven towards Mozambique to escape the advancing British. He departed, by ship, for France on the 19th of October 1900. The gold remained behind, hidden somewhere in the bushveld of the North Eastern Transvaal. It has never been officially found although it is a popular ‘scam’ for con men to try and sell the whereabouts of the gold to gullible tourists. Claims that the treasure (or part of it) was discovered in 2001 close to Ermelo are generally considered somewhat dubious.
Current Estimated Value: $250,000,000.00
Contents: Gold coins, ingots, gold dust, silver ingots & coins.
It has been estimated, by knowledgeable people, that there is enough information in Arizona concerning what we call treasure and ghost towns to fill half-a-dozen books. Arizona also had more than its share of blood and thunder daysthe stuff of which treasure legends are born. Hostile Indians raided its ranches and mining camps, carrying away and concealing treasures they had little use for but wanted to deny the white man. Outlaws preyed upon the bullion trains packing gold and silver from the mines, ambushing stages carrying Wells Fargo chests, and held up passenger trains as they stopped for water at lonely tank stations. Many of the treasures seized by these bandits were cached for recovery at a later date, which for some reason or another, never arrived.
The earliest known treasure hunt in the United States was in what is now called Arizona. In 1539 Fray Marcos de Niza was sent by the Spanish governor of New Spain to check on reports made by Indians of large cities of great wealth to the north. This journey triggered a hunt for precious minerals that is still going on in the Grand Canyon state.
When a meteor crashed on the Coconio Plateau near Winslow, Arizona, an estimated 22,000 years ago, it created a crater 4,000 feet across and 570 feet deep which scattered fragments over an area two and a half miles in diameter. It is believed that the main body of the meteor, perhaps a mile deep, may be worth as much as $20,000,000 because of the many diamonds it might contain.
Dolph Cannon, a mysterious character who lived the life of a recluse in the caves of Canyon Diablo, spent many years gathering meteor fragments, breaking them apart and extracting the tiny diamonds. When he appeared in Winslow on frequent trading trips, he always carried a large roll of bills. Some thought this money was secured from selling the diamonds he had recovered. However, some believed he had entered the country with a supply of money which he kept cached in one of the caves.
One day Cannon disappeared and was never seen again in his canyon haunts. It was speculated that he had accumulated a fortune in diamonds and had left the country. But some ten years later it was learned that he had been murdered, supposedly by someone attempting to force him to tell where his accumulation of meteor diamonds was cached. Many subsequent searches of Canyon Diablo revealed the caves in which the recluse had lived, but no diamonds or cash have ever been reported found.
In the early 1870s, a troop of soldiers from Fort Tucson were engaged in chasing a band of Apaches toward the Mexican border. If the Indians succeeded in crossing over into Mexico, they could not be brought back to their reservation, so, in spite of the terrific heat, the soldiers pressed hard to overtake them.
Somewhere in the Baboquivari Mountains the troops were brought to a halt in a small canyon where a pool of cool water had collected at the foot of a rocky ledge. A second pool was found near the first and the men split into two groups so that they could all gather around the welcome water. As one of the soldiers knelt to fill his canteen, he noticed that the bottom of the pool was covered with bright shining pebbles. He scooped up a handful and showed them to his companions. Someone recognized the pebbles as gold nuggets and there was a wild scramble to fill their pockets. More nuggets were found along the ledge and the men, forgetting their tiredness, rushed madly to gather as many as they could find before ordered to resume the chase.
When the officer in charge gave the command to mount, several of the men expressed their desire to abandon the chase and collect the gold. But the order stood and their request was denied. As the soldiers rode away, the men tried to locate the landmarks in their minds so that they could return at a later date. But in a country where all the landscape looks remarkably similar, it takes an extremely experienced man to retrace his steps weeks or months later.
Eventually the fleeing Indians were headed off, captured, and returned to Tucson. The soldiers, however, did not forget the gold. Some asked to be discharged, but they were denied. Two of the more determined deserted, stole mounts, and rode away to the south. They eventually found the ledge, but the water in the pools they depended upon had dried up. Nevertheless, they gathered all the gold they could carry, and loaded their horses so heavily that they were forced to walk and lead the animals. Before long, the extreme heat began to take its toll, and they had to lighten their animals burdens. Time and time again they discarded some of the gold. One of the horses fell and could not rise, and before long the second horse dropped of thirst and exhaustion.
When a search party found the deserters, one was dead, and the other was in a dying condition. Before death claimed him, he managed to gasp out an account of their experiences. It is said that several of the men who had seen the gold in the tanks in the Baboquivari Mountains made several searches after they were discharged from the army. If any ever found it, the news was kept a secret.
This story was given to me by Thomas Penfield (deceased) who wrote the book A Guide to Treasure in Arizona.
One of the first Mexican families to follow Father Eusebio Kino northward into Primeria Alta was the Valverdes. They settled in the Santa Cruz Valley in the vicinity of Guevavi Mission (now only a mound of rubble, but its site can be located). With their ranch established, the Valverdes took to the surrounding mountains in search of the gold which they knew the Indians secured. They found it at some spot lost to history and developed a rich mine. Employing Indian laborers, the Valverde mine produced enough gold each year that a large pack train was required to carry it out to Mexico. The Valverdes prospered immensely, and to store the wealth for their mine between pack trains to Mexico, they built a stone vault under the main house of the ranch.
Stinging under the harsh treatment of their Spanish masters, the Indians of Primeria Alta rose in revolt in 1772, destroyed the missions and ranches, and killed all white men who did not flee their wrath. Among the families managing to escape to Mexico were the Valverdes, but they had to leave behind their horses and cattle, and about a years accumulation of gold.
Wealthy from the gold they had already sent to Mexico, the Valverdes never returned to Arizona. In time, all traces of the ranch were reduced to rubble, and today not even a low mound remains to indicate its site, which is probably overgrown with mesquite and cottonwood trees.
This little-known location of a large cache of gold in southern Pima County could very well be worth searching for.
In 1873, a Mexican prospector named Pedro Pedrillo found a crude rock cross bearing, in Spanish, the instructions dig here. This was on the eastern slope of the Cocopah Mountain range. Pedro dug up a tin box which contained a scroll with this story.
On March 19, 1682, the Spanish ship ISABELLE CATOLICA wrecked off the coast of California. Captain Jesus Arroa and his crew of twenty-five men, with tools and weapons, started traveling east. They came to what is now the Cocopah Mountain range. Here they found placer gold and spent eight months collecting it. They planned to try to get to Mexico City with what gold they could carry, but, unfortunately, Indians attacked the party while they were still mining.
A battle of two days convinced Captain Arroa that they would all be killed. He thereupon wrote directions to where the gold that had been mined could be found, then made a cross and buried the instructions beneath it. None of the ships crew is known to have escaped the Indians.
In 1874, Pedro Pedrillo organized a search party to go to the Cocopah Mountain range. After several weeks of unsuccessful searching, the party gave up. To the best of known records, the gold has not been found. With modern equipment, a good prospector has a chance of finding this cache. The location is in the Papago Indian Reservation. Permission to search will have to be obtained from the tribal council.
Although this story of a treasure site near Red Rock in Pinal County is part legend and part fact, it is still worth investigating by an interested person.
FACTAccording to an old newspaper clipping which I have, around the year 1910 near Red Rock, several Papago Indian children found some old rusty pearl heads, swords and tools. They were identified as being of early Spanish origin. These artifacts were still in the University of Arizona in 1978.
LEGENDA traditional story among the Papago Indians is that, over four hundred years ago, a group of men with white skin and blue eyes came to this area and lived with the Papagos on a large ranch that they, with the help of the Indians, built. All were eventually killed by the enemies of this Indian tribe. During their stay the strangers explained to the Indians their desire for yellow metal. Over the years a large quantity of gold was collected and concealed somewhere along an old trail, in a southwesterly direction, between present day Red Rock, and Silver Bell, Arizona.
It could very well pay a treasure hunter to learn exactly where the Spanish artifacts were found and also try to locate the old ranch site and the ancient road. Since all the white men were killed, the gold has still to be hidden somewhere in the area.
I pass this brief bit of information on so that anyone who might be interested can investigate it further. This quote by an Indian in 1960 is taken from a letter sent to me by a man still living in Arizona. (His name withheld by request.)
Long time ago, even before my great-great-grandfathers time, Apache hide many loads of yellow metal in tunnel on banks of Gila, about San Pedro River. They dig big tunnel, put in clay, then big pile of yellow pebbles. They bring pebbles from many places far away so hated iron-hats (Spanish) not find. They put more yellow metal in hole on burial grounds long way up Gila on north side. Iron hats not find yellow pebbles, them still there.
If this information is correct, then the tunnel location and the burial grounds are between Hayden and Christmas, Arizona, on the northeast side of the Gila River.
In 1872, a stagecoach on its way from Prescott to Ft. Mohave, Arizona, was robbed of $72,000 by two men near Canyon Station, located about twelve miles from Kingman, on the Stockton Hill Road in Mohave County.
The story is that one of the robbers was killed by a sheriffs posse. The second one was captured and sent to prison, where he died years later. Several attempts to find the money, which it was later learned had been buried near the holdup site, were unsuccessful.
In 1935, a man named Goodwill owned the property where the original station stood. One summer day he saw an old man searching around the foundations of the old station. When he approached, the man told Goodwill that he had been in prison with an old man in the 1890s, who told him that he was one of the robbers and that the money had been buried near the station.
The man was given permission to search, but after several days he told Goodwill that the area had changed, and he could not find any of the landmarks that the old robber had told him to locate.
While many have searched, it appears that the $72,000 is still hidden near the old Canyon Station Stage Stop.
This story of a lost cache of gold bullion, worth approximately $125,000, is unusual in that the landmarks have been found but the additional symbol telling the exact location of the cache has not.
The story of a hijacked load of gold bullion brought from Mexico to Arizona was told in the area of Safford, Arizona, for over ninety years before in 1903, when a man named George Swift discovered a triangle made of granite rocks at Snow Flat, on Mount Graham. At the time he found the triangle, Swift did not know the legend of the hijacked bullion.
When he learned the story, Swift returned to the triangle. As he knew the age of trees could be determined by the growth rings, he cut down a tree within the triangle and counted the rings, thus determining that the rocks had been placed there about 1830, the correct time period when the bullion had been hijacked. He then dug down several feet in the center of the triangle but found nothing.
After excavating in several different places, Swift decided that there had to be another marker signifying the exact position of the bullion, but search as he might, he was never able to locate the additional symbol.
According to several books I have on treasure symbols, the practice of putting more than one mark indicating a treasure site was quite common among the Spanish, French, and Indians when they concealed valuables.
The mystery of the triangle has never been solved. The odds are good that somewhere in Snow Flat, on Mount Graham, a fortune in gold bullion waits for someone who can locate a marker indicating this cache.
In April of 1884, Garvin Harmon of Boston hired a French scout named Jean Bouche to explore the eastern reaches of Arizona as part of an investment venture. Harmons plan was to acquire prime valley land that would later be the site of towns, railroad rights-of- way, good rangeland, and might contain valuable mineral deposits.
Bouche traveled the southeastern portion of Arizona until late May, and then headed north for Jaajo country. One day as he was riding along in an especially rugged region he heard low moans. He followed the sounds to the edge of a deep, narrow arroyo.
Below, in the arroyo, lay a badly injured youth. Bouche scrambled down the rocks, carrying his canteen and a rope. He first offered the youth water, and then checked the extent of his injuries. The Indian had tumbled into the cleft and broken his left thigh and left collarbone.
Bouche made a crude splint for the youths leg, and then carried him down the arroyo until he could climb out with his burden. The Frenchman fashioned a sled, or travois, from nearby branches and his horse blanket, and pulled the wounded Indian a few miles beyond the arroyo. Below he could see the squat hogans of a Navajo village, so he headed over towards the village.
As Bouche rode in, Indians gathered around the travois and carried the boy to a large Hogan in the center of the village. Others took Bouche away to another hut and kept him prisoner for a number of days. Bouche could speak a little of the Navajo dialect, but no one would speak to him.
About a week later the Frenchman was brought from his hut and learned what had happened. The boy was the son of the chief. Because of Bouches merciful actions, he was now recovering nicely. The chief told Bouche he wished to repay him for his kindness.
A small band of Indians was assembled, and Bouche was blindfolded. He was helped onto his horse, and the party rode off and was later told to dismount. With the Indians guiding him, he climbed a long slope.
Finally, the ground leveled off, and Bouche felt the sudden coolness of shade. He smelled a dank, musty odor. When his blindfold was removed, he found himself in a cave, and what a cave it was!
The walls were heavily braided with veins of gold. The chief handed Bouche a large hide sack and told him to fill it with gold. When the sack was full, the Frenchman was again blindfolded. He was led back to his horse, the party returned to the village, and there he was released.
The chief again thanked Bouche for his kindness, but warned him that the debt he owed the Frenchman had now been paid in full. Bouche was warned never to return to find the cave of gold or he would be killed.
The Frenchman rode westward, spreading his tale as he went and showing the chunks of gold he had recovered form the cave. Though Bouche kept his word and never entered Navajo territory again, others did. But to the best of anyones knowledge, no one ever found the cave.
Charles Tully was one of those lucky people you hear about. When Estevan Ochoa needed cash to expand his business in 1863, Tully was taken in as a partner, and the Tully and Ochoa Freight Company became the most successful freighting company in the southwest.
From Kansas City, Tully and Ochoa wagons rumbled westward carrying freight over the Santa Fe Trail and on into Arizona. They acquired government contracts to carry freight to army posts and Indian reservations throughout southern Arizona.
Both Tully and Ochoa amassed sizeable fortunes form their freight company. In addition, Tully ran a successful cattle spread along the San Luis wash, just above the Mexican border, roughly a dozen miles southwest of what is now Arivaca, Arizona.
Tully kept his money close at hand, hidden somewhere near his ranch-house. When he died, Tullys wealth was known to have amounted to $70,000 or more, but it could not be found. Wherever he hid his money, Tully did a good job of it, for many have looked for his fortune but no one has unearthed it.
Tullys daughter returned to the crumbling adobe ruins of the old ranch, some said to hunt for the money. But as far as it is known, the treasure is still where Tully hid it long ago.
In June of 1928, Earl Nelson and a man named Forrester robbed a bank in Clarkdale, Arizona. Forrester was killed during the getaway, and Nelson was captured and jailed, but he soon escaped. When recaptured later, he admitted he was trying to reach Stoneman Lake, a town about 45 miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona. Nelson said he and Forrester had hidden several thousand dollars from a previous crime near the town.
Treasure hunters of that era scoured the Stoneman Lake area, but as far as it is known, the loot was never found. An added inducement for modern treasure hunters is the fact that Stoneman Lake was a favorite campsite on the military trail between Fort Apache and various other forts to the west.
The Heintzelman mine, southwest of Tucson, Arizona, seemed cursed from the day fifteen men were buried in a cave-in. There was no way to recover the bodies and the other miners felt the mine was haunted.
Indian attacks caused many of the miners to quit. Although mine manager John Poston had an additional problem: his Mexican miners were robbing him blind. Finally, in a desperate act designed to halt the theft, Poston executed his foreman, Juanito, when he caught him trying to smuggle out a load of silver bullion.
But the cold-blooded act backfired. Instead of cutting down on the stealing as Poston had hoped, the killing of Juanito caused even more Mexicans to desert, and as they left they stole everything they could carry off.
The miners carried with them to Mexico the assertion that the stolen silver Juanito had been caught with was only a small part of the bullion he had buried near the mine. They said his hidden cache was worth $70,000.
Was the story of Juanitos buried treasure true? There were outlaws in Mexico who believed it. For all their prying and hunting, the Mexican outlaw did not find Juanitos silver. If Juanitos buried it near the Heintzelman Mine, then it must still be there today.
A hot summer wind blew along the railroad track as Walter Swan made his way toward the station house at Bisbee Junction. He had a part-time job handling freight for the railroad.
Topping a rise, he looked across the valley toward the depot. Something strange was happening. The train was halted at the station and several men on horseback appeared to be milling around the freight car.
A robbery was in progress. Five men with drawn guns were demanding that the guard surrender his shipment of payroll cash intended for the nearby Copper-Queen Mine at Bisbee. After a brief shouted conversation, one of the bandits fired, hitting the guard in the stomach.
Crumbling inside the car, the man cried, Oh my God, boys, you dont know what you have just done. This will follow you all the rest of your lives. As the man lay bleeding, an argument ensued around the thieves.
Crawling closer for a better look, Swan caught snatches of the conversation. I told you, no shooting, one of the bandits said, firing his pistol at the offender. The victim dropped from his saddle, dead. Horrified, Swan started to crawl away, fearful that his presence would spell death for him as well.
As he did so, another volley of shots rang out and a second bandit fell from his horse. Swan rolled into a nearby ditch and crawled to safety. Within minutes of the shootings, the remaining bandits had gathered as much loot as their horses could conveniently manage, and rode off toward Tombstone, a distance of some 30 miles.
With barely time for an investigation, the Bisbee Sheriff mounted a posse of enraged ranchers and miners, and followed in the direction of the fleeing criminals. Even though the posse rode for almost two days, no signs of the bandits were found.
The search widened and spread across the state, but the thieves had made good their escape. It wasnt until almost two years later that the remains of one of the holdup men was found a days ride from Bisbee Junction, and he had been shot in the head.
It appeared that a dispute over the distribution of the loot had ended with the killing of the third bandit. This left two men with three horses to carry the heavy gold shipment of several thousand dollars, enough to pay the salaries of miners at the Copper-Queen. While records of this incident are vague, it now seems apparent that more than $11,000 was involved, most of it in gold coins, which was a heavy commodity to carry on horseback.
Many have wondered about the loot and its final disposition. It is possible the last two bandits made good their escape and took all the money. This now seems a remote possibility. The amount of gold involved was too heavy for five horses to make much time with, especially if they also carried riders.
When the three bandits left the Junction, they had only one horse apiece, and these were being forced to the limit. Plus, they were carrying the heavy sacks of gold coins and paper currency. How far could they have gone before the animals became winded? Possibly five or eight miles?
No one answering the description of the bandits was seen in Tombstone or Benson, so the men must have bypassed this population center. It was certainly impossibly to carry all the money. It would have attracted too much attention, and would have been too heavy for a horse and rider to handle. The money, or at least some of it, probably lies buried less than 50 miles from present-day Bisbee.
Somewhere, thirty miles south-east from Salome, is a rich red clay ledge of gold.
A rancher in his pick-up truck was looking after his cattle when he was suddenly attracted to a red clay ledge not often found in that area. He got out of his vehicle and examined the surface of the ledge closely. Although not experienced in prospecting for gold, he noticed shining particles in the clay. It was gold! He loaded enough of the red clay on his truck for panning and drove home. At home, he contacted an old friend and prospector to find out what he thought about the gold in the red clay samples.
The panning of the dirt brought enough gold to easily see that the rancher had found a real bonanza.
The rancher and his friend made plans for going back to the red clay gold deposit. In the meantime the rancher had to make a trop to Colorado to close a land deal. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack while gone and left his friend without the disclosure of the exact location of the ledge of gold.
All of this happened just a few years ago, hence the facts are quite fresh and accurate in the minds of the people who know about it. The prospector-friend of the deceased rancher made attempts to locate the gold, but no other information is available.
One tale, little known by treasure enthusiasts, is told by the residents of Patagonia, in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
About eight miles west of town and well into the mountainous terrain, an ancient trail can be found. It is obvious that it was built and used during the Spanish days. Its antiquity cannot be doubted nor can its long disuse, for very old oak trees now grow in the trail. The best conclusions which can be drawn today would indicate that the trail led from San Xavier del Bac (the old mission) toward California or outlying missions in the same general area.
Many years ago, an ex-soldier started digging a tunnel into one of the many cliffs which dot the area near the trail. He was a Negro and at first the occasional ranchers who ran across him believed he was mining.
Their curiosity aroused, cowboys who frequently rode though the area often stopped to see him. One day the Negro saw a mountain goat near the tunnel. Probably fascinated at what the man was doing, the goat showed now fear and stared silently at the Negro. A superstitious man, he picked up his rifle and killed the animal. Later he told the cowboys that the goat was a Spanish priest in disguise who had come to spy on him. He further related that the padres ghost was guarding a treasure that had been buried here.
As the months passed, the Negros behavior became more and more erratic. The ranchers became worried, believing that someday the man might shoot a cowboy under the delusion he was a Spanish ghost. Several of them went up to the Negros shack to bring him back to civilization for medical treatment. When they tried this, the Negro became violent and attacked one of the group with a butcher knife. The rancher pulled his gun and apparently the Negro was killed accidentally or in self defense. The place where the shooting occurred has since been known as Camp Loco and is on the ancient trail.
The story grew into a local legend. Many years ago, it tells, a mule train of Padres and Indians came over the trail and buried treasure to protect it from enemies. At the bottom of a high precipice they built a room of rocks and secreted their valuables here.
High on the cliff they dug a tunnel and filled it with lime which was used to blast off the face of the cliff. Hundreds of tons of rock and earth tumbled down on the rock house, burying it forever.
There are three signs which are positive proof of where the treasure is buried. On the east side of the canyon is a sheer cliff into which is carved a huge butterfly. It is unmistakable, with wings, antenna and head. The head is pointed toward the treasure cliff. The treasure site is in a little canyon; on one side is a tall, thin rock formation which, if imagination is used, will resemble a man standing with one arm stretched upward. The head of this formation also points toward the treasure. Still a third clue exists in the form of a huge rock which resembles a mans hand. This figure also points toward the treasure.
Several times in the last half century each of these representations have been sighted by travelers in the area. Unlike the legend, however, all three have not been located together, and no treasure has been found.
William Harrison Hardy, riverboat captain, merchant, prospector, miner, member of the Arizona Territorial legislature and county supervisor, started his lifes adventure on the Colorado in 1864.
In this story, one prospecting trip was described by Hardy. It was published in the paper, Phoenix Graphic, in 1899. It is about a mountain of silver.
This story of William Hardy starts on the morning of May 10, 1866, when he was sitting in front of his house in Hardyville. A team of wagons from California had just crossed the river, naturally on the ferry operated by Hardy. He started his story this way:
A middle-aged man rode up to the house. He was mounted on a small horse and a pack-mule followed. I invited him to stop and eat dinner. As soon as dinner was over, the man went to the corral and petted his animals. Toward the evening, he got out of his pack an old greasy sack and asked me to take a walk. The prospector, for such he was, took his sack of ore, and we went out behind the corral. He looked in every direction to see if anyone was near to hear our talk. We sat down on the ground and began to show me his find. He first showed me some lead ore and said he found it near the canyon of the Colorado.
The man then took out of the sack some silver ore that was at least half pure metal. He said this came from a mountain to the north, towards the mouth of the Little Colorado River, and the whole mountain was of such silver ore.
Hardy continued his story:
The sight of this silver ore got to me, and I was in for a trip to find it. I told the prospector that I would wait until morning. I then picked out two men. I told them the story, and they were in for the trip at once. I consulted the latest maps and found that all the country north of us was unexplored, and at least 500 miles of the Colorado River was not located on the maps. We were determined to explore it.
I set to work the next morning. We had six mules and one horse, three of the mules were packed with kegs, so as to pack water if need be and started out early. The third day out we reached Peach Springs, about 80 miles form the start. This was as far as we had knowledge of the country. Here we found a half-breed Indian and Mexican, who knew the country and would guide us.
About 4 oclock in the afternoon we reached a small spring, afterwards called Pine Springs. The next morning we got off early, as our guide said it was a long way to water, and we reach it by 5 oclock.
At daybreak all hands were up. A half mile along the foot of the mountain we found a tank of water. Here we camped and decided to prospect three days. I climbed to the top of the mountain, and with field grass I could see the banks of the Little Colorado River for many miles to the east as well as the banks of the Colorado River.
With his companions, Hardy prospected, using hammers, drills, and even powder. However, this mountain failed to be the mountain of silver the prospector had told him about. Suddenly, they had a feeling of being followed by Indians so they turned back.
Now Hardy knew that they had made the right decision, not to proceed in their search for the mountain of silver. Hardy came to the end of his story:
At this point, five Indians appeared who had been following the mules. We took a shot at them. Two of them fell, and the others ran back. We kept right on course, and four days later reached home.
After this prospecting adventure in searching for the mountain of silver, Hardy lost his interest in long trips. The mountain of silver, somewhere toward the mouth of the Little Colorado River, remains undiscovered.
The following is the story of Precillano Ruiz, his gold and silver mine, his murder in 1889, and his fortune of $50,000 in gold and silver which still lies hidden in a cache.
Precillano Ruiz and his brother, Agustin, were placer miners and prospectors residing near old Tucson, Arizona, during the early settlement of that area. The Ruiz brothers were well respected citizens around Tucson and in the San Pedro Valley. It is known that Precillano Ruiz had made several visits to his home in Sonora, before and after the death of his brother, displaying large buckskin sacks filled with gold, claiming his discovery was made near Wickenburg. Suddenly, Precillano mysteriously disappeared and residents in the Wickenburg area assumed he had been killed while returning from Wickenburg to his claim.
Later, an article in a newspaper stated that a Mexican camping near the Slim Jim Gulch had been murdered. Information was learned that proved that the murdered man was actually Precillano. At the same time this murder came to light, it was also learned that Precillano had extracted and accumulated gold and silver in the amount of $50,000, which, for safety reasons, he kept hidden in a cache in or near his mine. Later events lead to the belief that Precillano had been murdered to gain possession of his valuable mine.
There is no evidence to this day that this fortune has been found. The area where Precillano Ruiz left his cache of gold and silver is in the immediate location of many rich discoveries of precious metals.
In 1882 the railroad construction reached the Kingman area and pushed ahead toward Topock, on the Colorado River. Hundreds of people worked for the railroad, living in a camp. This camp was moved from place to place as miles of the new railroad bed were completed.
At the time of the robbery, the railroad camp was located at the present town of Yucca, which became one of the railroad stations. The railroad workers were paid in coin every few months, and naturally the payroll day was known not only to the workers, but to the people living in the area.
A gang of three men executed a daring and successful robbery of the payroll money. These men had lived in the area for some time and one of them had made his residence at the La Cienega station in hopes of eluding the posse in pursuit. The other two robbers made a getaway in the opposite direction, and their trail was lost by the posse.
The man with the loot was attempting to reach his home at La Cienega, hide the money, then play cool, pretending to know nothing about the robbery. Somehow, the posse found his trail and even picked up a few coins he had dropped along the trail to La Cienega.
The man had enough time to get to La Cienega and hide the loot. However, he was caught nearby the posse on the way to La Castaneda Wells station and brought back to the adobe station building. The posse questioned him about the loot which was not found when he was caught. They confronted him with coins found on the road very close to La Cienega station. The posse very likely used physical persuasion, and finally the robber confessed that he had hidden the loot in the kitchen. The preliminary search for the loot proved to be unsuccessful. The posse then took the robber back to Yucca.
On the way the robber tried to make an escape but was killed during his brief attempt to gain freedom. This robber was the only one who knew the exact location of the hidden payroll. He was expecting to join his two companions later and divide the loot.
The payroll money remains hidden near or at the La Cienega station. The kitchen was torn apart, and the floor area dug six feet deep, but no money was ever found. It is believed that the robber did not have too much time to hide the loot, but he had lived at the La Cienega station for some time and knew the immediate area very well.
The ranch is still known as La Cienega Ranch, and sometimes it is called the Seventeen Mile Ranch, supposedly so because the distance to this station from the one at Yucca was seventeen miles. This payroll, as far as is known, has never been found.
In Arizona Territory, rugged King Woolsey was a man to be reckoned with. In 1880, a party of men under the command of Woolsey, discovered a ledge of gold on Camp Creek, north of Phoenix. They had just been through a skirmish with a bunch of Apaches who had vanished suddenly. When they were sure that the danger was passed, the group of Indian fighters made camp in Squaw Hollow, about ten miles south of Bronco Canyon.
It wasnt long before a few seasoned prospectors in the group commented that it looked like a good country for prospecting, and the hunt was on. The group fanned out and started searching. One by one the men straggled back to camp empty handed, except for one excited man who carried his hat filled with hunks of gold-bearing quartz. It took a while before the man calmed down enough to say that there was a great deal of the ore in an exposed ledge.
The ore was passed around from man to man, and the gold fever was at a high pitch when one of the men noticed movement. It was the Apaches. They had only retreated in order to gather more warriors so they could sneak back and attack the Woolsey party with a stronger force. This time the whites were badly outnumbered and all thoughts of the rich, gold-bearing quartz were driven from their minds.
Once back in civilized country, the Indian fighters split up and went their separate ways, but to a man, they kept the existence of the gold ore a secret. One of the Indian fighters did return to the area of Squaw Hollow to hunt for the ledge of gold. It was only when he was sure that he couldnt locate it again that he made his story known, and since he was a reputable citizen, theres no reason to doubt what he told about the incident. The man was Judge J. T. Alsap, and his story begins when he felt that it was finally safe enough for him to venture into the Camp Creek country. He made a base camp at Creek and from there he roamed over the surrounding country, searching for the ledge of gold bearing quartz, however he was unable to find the gold.
An elderly shepherd, a number of years after Alsaps unsuccessful hunt for the ledge of gold, camped in Squaw Hollow while moving his flocks down from the higher mountains to the milder climate of the Salt River Valley. A prospector was working there, grinding ore by hand with pestle and mortar. It was a tedious process, but evidently a profitable one. In later years, the sheepherder crossed Squaw Hollow a number of times, but he never saw the prospector again. He did find the tailings, though, near where the prospector had ground the ore, but he had no idea where the prospector had obtained the ore.
Squaw Hollow is easily reached and is situated about 40 miles northeast of Phoenix. Its country which is heavily mineralized, so theres a chance of finding ore, but the land is also covered with dense thickets which are almost impossible to walk through. Camp Creek cuts its way across the land, with its beginning roughly 10 miles from Horseshoe Dam, emptying into the Verde River about four miles southwest of Bartlett Dam.
Here is a lost silver mine in Arkansas which has not been found. It is a recorded fact that the Spanish had several silver mines during the early 1700s in what is now the state of Arkansas. One such mine was near the present community of Batavia in Boone County.
The Spanish worked the mine for several years but, due to Indian trouble, decided to conceal and abandon it. They planned to return when the area was more settled. Due to wars and the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, none of the descendants of the original Spanish miners ever attempted to relocate the silver mine.
In 1880, an old man who appeared to be Indian and Spanish, stopped at the general store near Batavia. Showing John Rea, the store’s owner, an old weathered map, the man described the local terrain and told Rea that he believed the old Spanish silver mine was located on “Pilot Knob,” a local landmark. If this was the location, there should be a stream one hundred yards southwest of the large rock on top of the mountain. Rea assured the old man that his description was correct.
The next day, Rea, his son and the old man went to Pilot Knob. After pacing off 200 yards north of the spring that formed the stream, the old man told Rea and his sons to dig. About six feet down the diggers came upon a cavity with a skeleton which had apparently been walled up in the cave.
Rea and his son staked mining claims on all of Pilot Knob. When, after several weeks of mining and tunneling was done, and no silver had been found, Rea and his son gave up the search and went back to their store. The aged Indian left, still convinced that Pilot Knob was the right area.
Today, very few people know of this location. But with the current price of silver, it could be worthwhile for someone to try to locate this lost silver mine.
Black Cave, or Spanish Treasure Cave, as it is often called, is just off State Highway 59, between the towns of Gravette and Sulphur Springs in northwest Benton County, Arkansas. It is thought to be the location of a mine excavated by the Spaniards during one of their early expeditions to this region. The cave was in the side of a cliff, and near it stood a large oak tree on which was carved a map.
In the early 1900s, a strange Spaniard appeared in the county, claiming to have information about a treasure buried in the cave. Naming $3,000,000 as the value of the treasure, he interested a group of men who formed an exploration company. After examining the cave for about one mile and finding nothing, the search for the mysterious Spaniard’s gold was abandoned.
When Hernando De Soto and his men left the Hot Springs area, they journeyed southward along the Ouachita River. On the way, the Spaniards met a party of friendly Ouachita Indians near what is now Camden. Noting the amulets and other ornaments of pure silver the Indians were wearing, De Soto demanded to know where the silver came from. The Indians shrewdly refused to disclose the source of the metal. De Soto ordered his men to search for the mine, especially along the Ouachita and its tributaries.
Old-time prospectors say that many years after De Soto’s death, a band of Spanish adventurers located the Indians’ mine and actually took silver from it, thus giving it the name of the Lost Spanish Mine. The Spaniards worked the mine for several years. Before returning to Mexico, they sealed its entrance with a huge rock and destroyed their crude smelting apparatus.
In about 1900, an Indian who gave his age as the late 90s, came to Hot Springs seeking eleven mule-loads of gold. He was suffering from an illness of some type and got around with great difficulty. He said that his father, Running Horse, had told him that the gold had come from the Lost Indian Mine, which the Indians had recovered after the Spanish had abandoned it. The gold was said to have been taken away by the Indians and buried along the old Indian Trail between Hot Springs and Lick Skillet, now called Hollywood. So far as is known, the aged Indian died before he could make his find.
Jesse and Frank James, Belle Starr and her husband Pony Starr, are said to have robbed a bank in Missouri of $34,000. Fleeing into northwestern Arkansas over the old Butterfield Stage route, they stopped at Shiloh, now called Springdale, and made camp nearby.
Several years later, an old woman appeared in Shiloh and spent some time at the spot, apparently picking berries. She confided to an acquaintance that she was really looking for a cave in a bluff flecked with reddish colored rock. She claimed the cave entrance was closed with a large rock on which was depicted the figure of an Indian head, and that another rock below the large rock bore the figure of a ladder. The $34,000 from the robbery was supposed to be buried in the cave. After several days of searching, without success, the old woman left and was never seen in the area again.
Near Coweta Falls is a cave under a large rock bluff. Mounds found in the vicinity along with many arrowheads and other relics indicate that the place was once the site of a large Indian settlement, and legend says that the Indians buried a large amount of gold in the walls of the bluff. The history of the cave, recorded in pictographs on a deer hide, was once brought by an Indian to Harrison, the Boone County seat. Drawn on the deer hide were the falls, a spring, an Indian moccasin, a snake, and a pot of gold. The symbols are said to have duplicated those on the walls of the cave. The Indian was never able to locate the gold.
Some time after the Civil War, John Avants homesteaded a piece of land along the Cosatot River north of De Queen. The area can be located by Avants Mountain, named for the pioneer settler. Some ten to twelve years later, a stranger came to Avant’s place and asked the assistance of the father and his several sons. The stranger was seeking a landmark, he said, near two springs close together. If he could locate the springs, he declared, they would lead him to a vast treasure. Father and sons all said that they were thoroughly familiar with the vicinity, but had never seen such a place as the stranger described.
Before departing in defeat, the stranger revealed that a party of Spaniards with seven jack loads of gold had once made camp near the two springs. Here they were attacked by Indians, and the Spaniards realized that they would have to dispose of their treasure if they were to escape with their lives. The gold, and one of the Spaniards who had been killed, were hastily buried. Then the Spaniards took flight, closely followed by the Indians. Only a few of them managed to escape to Mexico, where they told their story. One by one the survivors died or were killed before they could return and recover the gold.
It was two or three years after the stranger’s dejected departure that two of the Avants boys happened upon a pair of springs exactly as had been described to them. They found spikes driven into some of the trees and strange markings were carved on others. Not realizing the significance of the signs, they made no search for the treasure. Many years later, one of the Avants boys happened to relate the story of the stranger to a nephew, who immediately recalled that he had plowed up a skeleton near the two springs. A search was now made for the buried gold, but without success. Subsequent searches for the treasure have been made over the years, but all have failed.
This little-known treasure location certainly warrants further investigation by an interested treasure hunter. I quote this verbatim from an old tabloid, printed in September 1966:
“Back in the 1880s, a wealthy man by the name of Edgar Mason lived in a deteriorated, shabby cabin about twenty miles east of Morrilton, Arkansas. It was commonly known that he was financially well off from an inheritance, but that he was seldom seen in town. Like many people in his day and time, he did not trust banks, and the rumor persisted that a fortune had been buried at or near his old cabin site.
“The only person who had any association with him was a ranch hand named Weaver. Mason grew to like and respect the quiet, mild-mannered Weaver. After some time, he revealed to Weaver the tragic ill fates and dealings with his fellow men which had left him angry and disillusioned with the human race.
“One afternoon Weaver went over to visit Mason and found him digging in the ground near his cabin. He told Weaver that he had buried a large amount of cash which he valued at $62,000 in gold and silver coins. Weaver helped him dig, but they did not find the money. For two years, the two men dug and labored in vain. Before long, Mason became very crippled and almost an invalid. He was forced to move to Missouri to live with a sister.
“Weaver continued to search for the coins, concentrating to the north of the cabin near a large group of trees where Mason said that he had dug a hole three feet deep and buried the coins in a wash tub. After several years the ranch hand gave up the search, and drifted out of the area.”
As far as can be determined, this cache has not been found.
Several legends exist in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. Few have been written about, and most of them have been told by word of mouth to each succeeding generation over the years. One of the most interesting is the Spanish treasure of Mill Ford Hollow. Mill Ford is located at the upper end of Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas, some five miles north of Goshen. The legend tells that a party of Spaniards came through what is now northwest Arkansas from the southwest, probably trying to reach the old Spanish Trail in Mississippi, then on to the Gulf Coast, where they could sail to Spain. The Indians of the area attacked the Spaniards and stole the several wagon loads of silver bars they were transporting. The bars were placed in the back entrance to a cave, and then the cave was sealed and camouflaged.
In 1835, because of white expansion, a treaty was made with the few Choctaw, Cherokee, and Osage Indians in the area to move west of the Arkansas boundary. It was at this time that the story of the hidden cave was learned by the white men.
As the Indians were being taken westward across the White River at the Mill Ford, an old Indian related the Spanish treasure legend to one of the white settlers who had befriended him. Since the Indian knew he could never return, he felt his friend should know the treasure story. Pointing to a large cave down river, one-quarter mile from the ford, he told of millions of dollars’ worth of silver bars that had been buried in the cave’s back entrance by his ancestors.
Today, there are no visible signs of an opening on the back side of the ridge, through which the cave originally had run.
The following incident lends credence to the story of the concealed cave. Some time during the 1890s, two men, whose names have been lost to history, were walking on an old timber road which once ran along the back side of the ridge near where it is believed the rear entrance to the treasure cave was concealed. Sticking out of the ground, near the road, were two large silver bars. Rain and erosion had exposed the bars which the men took to Fayetteville and had assayed.
The report showed them to be high in silver content. Since then, numerous searches have been made for the legendary back entrance of the cave. Although the front entrance can be seen on a bluff overlooking Beaver Lake, the hidden silver bars still await discovery.
For those treasure hunters interested in old forts and towns that have disappeared, these two sites have almost certainly been overlooked.
Fort Desha in Desha County was believed to have been built by the French near the Mississippi River, as protection for a trading post which dealt mainly with Indians of the area. I quote this from the 1894 “12th Annual Report of American Ethnology”:
“Old Fort Desha had been square, measuring 150 yards from side to side. On the west side extends a grated or covered pathway a distance of 250 yards, ending near the former bank of the Mississippi River. The height of the wall of the fort is at present four feet.. The articles picked up here from time to time and found in the process of cultivating the soil belong both to the days of the first settlement of the country and to very modern times. There are thimbles, pipes, broken dishes, parts of pistols and rifles, pieces of silver coin, probably used as gun sights, a Chinese coin, a toy pistol, articles of Indian origin, old bullet molds, etc. The remains of an old forge were uncovered here a few years ago.”
Remember, this was before metal detectors were invented, so the old French fort is a virtual gold mine for the lucky treasure hunter who takes the trouble to relocate the site.
The first settlement established in Arkansas Territory was Davidsonville, near present-day Pocahontas, Arkansas. In 1805, John Davidson fled from New Orleans, where he had killed a man who had murdered his father. Davidson built a trading post which quickly became an important stop in river traffic. He also opened a jewelry store which became popular with Indians in the area.
Wealthy Spanish families from New Madrid moved to Davidsonville after the disastrous New Madrid earthquake. They are believed to have hidden caches of gold after they moved.
A city map of Davidsonville showed it wasn’t such a small town after all. The town covered fifty acres, with a school, church, four dry goods stores, drug store, hardware store, harness shop, blacksmith shop, barber shop, Davidson’s jewelry store, and two saloons. Then, suddenly in 1828, the town came to a sudden end. It vanished in one week.
The story is that a riverboat from New Orleans discharged passengers who carried yellow fever. The disease swept the town. Residents fled. Farmers burned the entire town to rid it of the ill vapor. Blackened timbers and bricks are commonly found today.
Three rivers, the Spring, Black, and Eleven Point, come together where old Davidsonville stood, a perfect set-up for frequent flooding. Those who returned after the epidemic decided to build elsewhere. There is no record of any of the Spanish gold, or any of Davidson’s jewelry being found.
This location of an Indian cache of gold coins has the ring of truth to it, because Stand Watie, the only Indian to my knowledge to become a general in the Confederate Army, said that several groups of renegade Indians, over which he had no control, did rob and pillage during the Civil War all over Arkansas, the Oklahoma Territory, and parts of Missouri. In a number of instances these renegade guerrillas were caught and either shot or hanged by members of the Union or Confederate armies.
The following incident occurred in 1863. Five Indians, believed to be guerrillas, were traveling from Western Missouri to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. They were in three wagons with contraband supplies and a large amount of gold and silver coins they had taken in isolated raids. When they reached Bee Creek in northern Boone County, they learned what white men were following them.
Realizing that it didn’t matter which army caught them, they were as good as dead, the Indians buried two metal containers, filled with the coins, near the road that skirted Bee Creek. After burning their wagons over the site, the Indians slipped away, planning to return for the coins when it was safe.
All of the Indians were killed during the Civil War except one. This man returned to where he thought he and his companions had buried the coins and burned their wagons years before. He returned several times but was never able to locate the exact spot. Finally, realizing that the area had changed and that he could never find the cache, the Indian told a man named Matthew Booth, who lived on Bee Creek, about the buried coins. This was in 1900.
The Indian then left and never returned. No record of Booth’s either having found the coins, or even searching for them, can be found. So somewhere along the old road that used to go up to Bee Creek, there may be a cache of coins well worth searching for.
While it seems unlikely, and several mineralogists have stated, that Arkansas is not geologically suited to hold deposits of gold, there is definite proof that different Indian tribes obtained enough raw ore to fashion ornaments which they wore and used in trade. The secret of these gold deposits was lost when the Indians were driven into reservations further west. But gold has been found by white men. This story tells of a few who found and mined the mineral in what is now the state of Arkansas.
One of the first trappers to reach Arkansas in the early 1800s, was a man named John Trammel. He trapped in the mountains and always traveled down the Arkansas River to its mouth, where a trading post had been established. Trammel was not an experienced prospector, although it was his habit to gather ore samples while trapping, and then have them assayed in the hope of finding something valuable.
On one of his trips, Trammel was camped about ten miles northwest of present-day Little Rock, where he picked up a quartz crystal heavily laced with gold. Selling the sample to the clerk at the trading post, Trammel was amazed to learn later that the ore sample was worth over $100. When word leaked out about this find, a company was formed in New Orleans to seek gold along the Arkansas River at a place later called Crystal Hill.
The company found deposits of gold about four miles above Little Rock, but not in paying quantities. Trammel led the group on to Crystal Hill where shafts were sunk, a smelter built and gold found that was worthwhile. Unfortunately, the shafts flooded and had to be abandoned.
Thoroughly discouraged, the prospectors decided to return to New Orleans. They moved upstream in an effort to trade with Indians for much needed supplies. Upon reaching the area of the present-day site of Dardanelle, they met a band of Caddo Indians. Noticing that the Caddoes wore gold ornaments, the white men inquired as to the location of the gold. The Indians told them of a place four days’ travel to the southeast where plenty of the yellow iron could be found. This is believed to have been in present Montgomery County, close to the Caddo River.
The party of white men decided to prospect to the southeast and after several days, using Indian guides, gold was found in rich deposits. Setting up a camp and with what few tools they had left, the prospectors began to work the new area. After several weeks in which the ore proved to be extremely profitable, the miners had accumulated quite a store of gold. Just when it seemed their troubles were over, the party was attacked by hostile Indians.
During the fight several of the prospectors were killed. The survivors were forced to retreat to the Arkansas River, leaving their mined gold behind. Heading downstream, a few of the miners managed to make it to New Orleans, vowing they would return, but there is no record that any of them did.
For interested persons, there are almost certainly deposits of gold in the vicinity of Norman, Caddo Gap, and Black Springs, Arkansas, near the Caddo River, waiting for a lucky prospector.
In 1852, a prosperous Mississippi cotton planter named John Boggs decided that slave labor was immoral. He sold his holdings and moved to the Ozark Mountains, settling on a tract of land about ten miles north of Searcy, Arkansas. Being an industrious farmer, Boggs soon increased his fortune to $40,000. He always refused to sell any farm produce unless he was paid in gold, and it was this obsession that also caused him to keep all of his money on the farm.
In 1862, when the Civil War caused bands of straggling soldiers, of both armies, to run over and pillage his farm, Boggs decided to bury his money. According to his family, Boggs put his savings into fruit jars. One he filled with silver, and one he filled with gold coins. He decided to bury these in a freshly-plowed garden. Due to his fear of the soldiers and guerrillas, and its being after dark when he buried his coins, Boggs could never locate the money after the War.
For several years the old man could be seen digging where the garden had been and in surrounding areas, but so far as his neighbors ever knew, he never found any of the coins. The jars probably sank deeper than Boggs had anticipated. This would be a good spot, with permission, to use a deep-seeking metal detector.
In the late 1800s, the little Arkansas community of St. Joe held hopes of turning into one of the most prosperous towns in the South. The cause of this hoped-for wealth was a silver mine bearing ore so rich that its owner said there was enough to shoe every Arkansas mule with pure silver shoes.
Residents in and around St. Joe had for a long time known of the mine. An Indian named Woodward had for a number of years worked it, but steadfastly refused to give any indication as to its location.
Some had tried to follow the Indian to the mine, but he always lost them a few miles out of town. In town, he was close-mouthed whenever the mine came up in conversation.
Then one day without warning the Indian let it be known that the mine was up for sale. A group of men got together and pooled their resources. They then approached the Indian and said they’d fork over the several thousand dollars he asked, but with one provision. First, they were to be taken to the mine and permitted to inspect it, to be certain it was indeed rich.
The Indian agreed. But, he said, the prospective owners were to be blindfolded during the trip to the mine. And it was to be made at night, just in case some of them slipped off their blindfolds for a peek at landmarks.
The terms were agreed upon.
At the mine, blindfolds were removed. The buyers inspected the mine, hardly able to believe their eyes when they knocked off chunks of ore and found it rich in silver. Without doubt, the mine was worth many times what the Indian asked for it.
Back in St. Joe, the men raised the money and turned it over to the Indian, who promptly lit out for Oklahoma Territory.
Misfortune befell the new owners. Loaded down with equipment, they set out for the mine. They couldn’t find it. They hunted it for weeks, to no avail. For years, generations of treasure hunters have searched for the mine around St. Joe, but no traces of it have turned up.
Almost any stagecoach stations, throughout the West, have their stories of robberies, hangings, gun fights, and buried money in one form or another. Arkansas is no different than other states in this respect.
In the days of stagecoach travel, a station stood about two miles up Eanes Road off U. S. Highway 70. The land has changed hands several times over the years. In 1934, it was owned by a man named Barker. One day while clearing his garden of rocks, Barker picked up what he thought was a rock. To his amazement, it was a bar of almost pure gold. Taking his find to a bank in Little Rock, Barker sold it for an undisclosed amount.
No one ever knew how the gold bar came to be where it was, and subsequent searching failed to turn up any more bars. Since this was over twenty years before metal detectors were used, the chances of finding more gold bars or other valuables in the area are good.
A much safer quest for a buried treasure trove can be yours in Crawford County, Arkansas. It concerns George Washington Sims, who arrived there after service in the War of 1812 to establish a homestead near the town of Shepherd Springs. You will not find this old settlement on any modern map, it just dried up and blew away years ago.
Folks tell how Sims joined the mad gold rush to California in 1849. Also, he was one of the more fortunate prospectors, striking it rich and later returning to Crawford County a wealthy man. In later years, the old prospector earned a reputation as a confirmed miser, who mistrusted banks. As a result, Sims buried his fortune on his property, perhaps in more than one location. At any rate, he was spry enough to guard his fortune until 1890, when he died at the age of 112. His corpse had hardly turned cold when grave-robbers snatched his body from its last resting place, probably imagining Sims’ shroud had pockets for carrying gold. It is presumed that the old prospector’s fortune has never been recovered from his farm.
There is a story that John Murrell, the outlaw known as “The Man in the Bolivar Coat,” buried wealth near his home in Denmark, Tennessee. But more frequently, Murrell’s treasure is associated with the site of his stronghold on Stewart’s Island, in the upper end of Lake Chicot, Chicot County. No trace of the site remains, but it is possible that some of the older residents of nearby Lake Village remember it.
This is a real authenticated treasure. The only question is, has it all been found or not? Old Jim Hawkins was a powerful and enterprising pioneer. He had a mill and a still about three miles east of Huntsville in Madison County. The place is still known to this day as the Hawkins Place.
Hawkins prospered, and he was very frugal. Everyone was certain that he buried his wealth. When old Jim died, neighbors began cleaning the place up for his heir, young Clyde Hawkins. In the hearth, they found an iron box containing $11,000 in gold eagles, double eagles, greenbacks, and jewelry. Another $8000 was found buried in three separate places in the yard. Around the old mill was found $7000 in Confederate money. Just before Aunt Ann Hawkins died in 1925, she is reported to have said that there was a lot of money hidden on the place that would never be found. Although there are several members of the Hawkins family in the Huntsville area, they no longer own the old Hawkins Place. But searches are still made for more treasure.
Along Brushy Creek near Pension Mountain in Carroll County, they tell a story of a fabulous treasure cave. In the 1850s, a country doctor was making his lonely rounds through the rugged, sparsely populated hills when he was accosted by a band of renegade Indians who had been raiding the area. He was blindfolded and taken to a cave where he was told to set the broken leg of a young Indian boy.
To the doctor’s astonishment, all around him in the cave were huge piles of treasure. Chests of Spanish coins, bars of gold and silver, suits of ancient armor and weapons filled not one, but several, rooms of the cave.
Though badly broken and infected, the boy’s leg was set and treated. The Indians gave the doctor a handful of gold coins and returned him, blindfolded, to where they had stopped him. They vanished into the forest and did not raid any more in the area of Brushy Creek.
The doctor kept the gold coins for many years and searched for the cave without success until he died, always believing it lay somewhere within a half-mile of the Brushy Creek school house.
The old William Strong tavern site is located exactly three miles north of the little village of New Castle, in St. Francis County. Strong operated a ferry on the St. Francis River, along with his tavern, inn, and general store. He was a kindly old man and minded his own business.
Just up the St. Francis River about one-fourth mile is Crowley’s Ridge. In the summer of 1885, a gang of outlaws moved into a cave at Crowley’s Ridge. The cave is a large one with several rooms. The gang was small and didn’t extend their operations much over 100 miles. They often visited Strong’s tavern, hanging about and drinking while they planned their next robbery.
Early one morning, William Strong was near the outlaw cave, hunting fresh deer meat. He saw the outlaws from a distance, digging a hole in the woods back from the cave about two hundred feet. Squatting down so he wouldn’t be seen, he saw them pouring coins from a sack into a box. Strong slipped away, continued to mind his own business, and told no one what he had seen.
At last, luck ran out for the gang one day in Memphis, Tennessee. Attempting a bank robbery on May 1, 1886, all of the gang members were killed. When news of this reached William Strong, his first thought was to try to locate their buried loot. But he was getting old, and felt that he had all he needed in life and so he rejected the notion.
A few years later, he told the story of the outlaw loot to a nephew just before he died. The nephew tried to locate the cache of buried coins, but there were not any metal detectors in those days. It was hit or miss, so he found nothing.
With six-guns blazing, a band of daring robbers shot their way out of the First National Bank in Harrison, Arkansas, in the spring of 1880, and they escaped with an estimated $5000 in large canvas bags.
The four outlaws raced west along the old stagecoach road, which wound its way past the tiny settlement of Cappa, over Gaither Mountain, and on through the town of Batavia. With a sheriff’s posse in hot pursuit, the gang continued west toward the relay station called Midway House, approximately halfway between the present towns of Alpena and Green Forest.
As the posse began to close the distance between them, the gang halted about half a mile east of Midway House. There they are believed to have buried the loot somewhere near a clay bank on the south side of the road.
Shortly afterward, the posse overtook them. In the ensuing gun battle, all four of the outlaws were killed. One lived just long enough to indicate where the loot was buried, but, while a search was made, it was never found.
Today, the ruins of Midway House are still standing, and the old wagon road is still dimly evident a few yards to the south. A bank of clay does exist between a quarter of a mile and a half-mile to the east of the ruins, on the south side of the old road. The site is in Boone County, about a mile south of Highway 65.
Montgomery County is located about 30 miles west of Hot Springs. In the southwestern corner of the county flows the Little Missouri River, and somewhere near Missouri Falls there is buried a wash-pot which is believed to contain $60,000 in gold, at yesteryear’s prices. It was originally one of two wash-pots that were buried containing gold, it is stated. The other wash-pot held $100,000 in gold and was buried in a different spot.
Along about 1900, a man named Arthur C. White came to Montgomery County with a waybill to the treasure. This was the first time residents were aware of its existence. White said there were two caches and gave the above value for each. He did not say how they had come to be buried there.
Following directions given on his waybill, White succeeded in recovering the wash-pot that held $100,000 in gold, but he was unable to unearth the remaining pot and left without it. He never came back. The chances are that it is still there, awaiting some lucky finder.
At a point about 20 miles below Memphis, Tennessee, 4000 muskets destined for the State Militia of Arkansas lie buried in the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. The year was 1868, and Arkansas was in the Reconstruction Period. Crimes of all kinds were rampant, civil disorder prevailed, and a general unrest among the people led Governor Clayton to declare martial law. He divided the state into military districts and instructed the militia to enforce the proclamation with whatever means were necessary.
James Hodges was appointed as agent to go north and purchase arms for the militia. A short time later the cargo of muskets arrived in Memphis, where it was to be shipped by boat on the final leg of the journey. The steamboat Hesper, under the command of Captain Sam Houston, was chartered by the governor and sent to Memphis on October 12. After the Hesper had loaded the cargo or arms, she left Memphis on October 15 for the return trip. About 20 miles downriver, the Hesper was overtaken by the steam tug Nettie Jones. Masked men boarded her, held the crew at gunpoint, and threw the arms over the side. Returning to the Nettie Jones, they steamed away. Captain Houston continued on to Little Rock with the bad news. A few months later, the captain and the crew of the Nettie Jones were captured at Devall’s Bluff. No attempt was made to recover the lost cargo, and it still waits for some lucky treasure hunter.
Juan Terron was a foot soldier with De Soto’s ill-fated expedition up the Mississippi River and into Arkansas. Spanish records indicate that De Soto’s men found 35-weight of pearls, plus figures of babies and birds made from iridescent shells in Georgia in 1539. The treasure was divided among the men, and Juan received six pounds of the pearls.
As the expedition moved north and west, the going got rougher. Indian attacks, lack of food, and fatigue caused the six pounds of pearls to feel much heavier, and the young foot soldier offered half his share to a cavalryman if he would carry the load on his horse. When the horse-soldier refused the offer, Juan Terron opened and slung the bag of pearls in a circle over his head until it was empty.
The six pounds of pearls were valued at $12,000 in Spain at that time and would be worth much more today. Tradition says that the pearls were discarded quite near Caddo Gap in present-day Montgomery County, west and a little south of Hot Springs and Lake Ouachita.
The casino at Spring Lake, near Hot Springs, had enjoyed a busy night. Quiet now prevailed as the boss was counting the take, and the employees were cleaning up for the next day’s group of hopefuls. The quietness of the work routine was suddenly shattered as the club owner bolted out of the counting room with the money box in hand and fled down the hall toward the parking lot. Banging his way through the exit, he sprinted to his car and raced off into the night. In less than 10 minutes, he was back.
As he opened the car door, he was greeted with a hail of bullets and slumped over the wheel motionless. Several employees sprang to his aid, but he was beyond mortal help. Amidst the excitement and bewilderment, the employees had just begun to wonder what brought this chaotic scene when the sky suddenly lit up in a bright glow. The casino was on fire! Was the murderer also an arsonist?
After dealing with the fire, the employees discovered that the money box, reputed to contain some $50,000 in cash and a lot of expensive jewels, was not in the car, and it has never been found. Attesting to this is the fact that there has never been any evidence of the fencing of the jewelry, not even by gossip.
The facts stand out to suggest that the owner was aware of a threat of robbery. First, he was moving the money at night. Second, he was doing it by himself. Ordinarily, when transferring money, the owner would handcuff the money box to another man and then drive him to the bank during daylight hours to make the deposit.
The owner’s family searched diligently for the treasure box, as did scores of others, but nothing was turned up. It would seem apparent that the box was cached near the casino, as the owner was gone for fewer than 10 minutes, but the steep ravines, gullies, and small canyons have proved to be a safe depository for the cache since 1923.
For more than a century, men have searched for a fabulous silver deposit along the rock ledges overlooking Ten Mile Creek, some 16 miles north of Judsonia. Highway 157 crosses this creek one mile south of the community of Steprock, where many have spent the greater part of their lives in a fruitless search for this lost loot.
It is known that the Osage Indians worked with silver in this area. Where did the silver come from? Is there a deposit nearby? These questions are being answered, but slowly. The consensus of opinion s that large quantities of silver will one day be found along the bluffs that border Ten Mile Creek. The prospect is drawing out-of-state interest, hastening the day of discovery. Perhaps you will be the lucky treasure hunter who finds the source of the Osage silver.
On October 17, 1899, a northbound train was traveling along what is now known as the Rock Island Railroad just east of Forest City, in St. Francis County. In the train’s strongbox was a little over $12,000 in gold, which was being transported from West Helena to Jonesboro, Arkansas.
It became evident that news of the gold shipment had leaked out, for as the train approached the bridge over Crow Creek near Forest City, the span was suddenly blown apart by a blast of dynamite, and the train came to a halt. As the train stood motionless, an awaiting masked man jumped into the engine cab, and held the crew at gunpoint while two more masked men threw dynamite under the car carrying the gold shipment, and then fled to cover. It was obvious that they knew what they were doing.
The blast blew the treasure car apart and killed the two guards. The outlaws broke open the strongbox and transferred the gold to their saddlebags. They then fled to the woods.
A posse from Forest City and West Helena was soon in hot pursuit. After three days of flight, just out of range of the posse, the bandits found themselves at the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou in Prairie County. It was here that they decided on a new strategy. They would each take a handful of gold coins for spending money and bury the rest. They planned to meet back at this point on Christmas Day to divide the remaining loot. Their next move was to split in different directions, and this they did.
Information gained later provides us with the names and the fates of the outlaws. They were Max Perry, Roy Hutton, and Walter Drake. Perry had ridden north, and five days after the holdout he was shot by a farmer while trying to steal a horse. Hutton had headed south and was killed by an alert deputy sheriff, in the town of Clarendon, Arkansas. Drake had fled to the west and was captured by the sheriff of White County at Search, Arkansas. The chase had ended, and two of the outlaws were dead within six days following the robbery. But the story continues, with Drake’s being returned to Forest City for trial.
Drake was questioned many times during his incarceration by both law officials and railroad detectives as to the whereabouts of the loot, but he remained silent on the subject. While in prison, Drake contracted some unknown disease and died after serving seven years and two months of his 20-year prison sentence.
This treasure story might have ended with Drake’s death, but for Drake’s young cellmate, Billy Joe Gordon. Gordon, serving a murder sentence, had been cooped up with Drake for nearly five years. They had become good friends, and when Drake knew he was dying, he told Gordon the story of the buried gold.
At the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou, where they had split up, they had stepped off exactly 45 paces due south from an old oak tree located about 400 feet from the forks, also due south. Here they took a short-handled shovel and dug a hole about four feet deep and buried the gold coins.
Gordon, when he was released, tried to find the treasure but was unable to do so, as the passage of time had caused the landmarks to change.
So, a few hundred feet south of the confluence of White River and Cypress Bayou, about four feet deep, is a pile of gold coins worth a small fortune.
Jean Lafitte made mysterious visits to the vicinity of Fort Morgan, Alabama, during his many years as a pirate. Historians believe that he may have buried some of his $10,000,000 treasure here at Fort Morgan.
Gold discoveries in Georgia in 1828 stimulated interest in prospecting similar-appearing crystalline rocks in Alabama. About 1830, the first discoveries were made at Arbacoochee and Goldville. This boom collapsed when the California placer discoveries lured most of the miners.
Most of the gold deposits in Alabama are in Celburne, Tallapoosa, Clay, and Randolph Counties, but only two districts produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold, the Arbacoochee district in Cleburne County and the Hog Mountain district in Tallapoosa County.
The Arbacoochee district contained the richest placers of the state. By 1879, the area produced 17,700 ounces of gold. Most of the gold came from placers in the vicinity of Gold Hill and from the gravels along Clear Creek. By 1890, the Arbacoochee district became almost inactive, and the Hog Mountain district took over as the state’s main producer.
The Hog Mountain district is in the north-central part of Tallapoosa County. Most of the gold came from gold-bearing quartz veins with pyrite. The Hog Mountain mine produced almost 12,000 ounces in gold and closed down in 1938. Total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 24,300 ounces.
Keeping all these facts in mind, there is a good chance of gold’s yet waiting to be discovered. Panning the streams in Arbacoochee District may still show color, and tailings of the mines are good hunting grounds for mineral specimens other than gold.
During a storm in 1801, an unidentified Spanish galleon was wrecked near the east end of Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Alabama. Only 11 of the crew made it to shore during the stormy night, and they were responsible for telling the story of the cargo of gold and silver. The name of the galleon has been lost, but the treasure has been estimated at $1 million.
Reports of a huge concentration of silver ore first began to circulate around Talladega County several years after a newcomer arrived in the coal-mining community of Ironton. The year was 1832. A small Indian village was located a short distance away, and the friendly tribesmen often engaged in conversation with nearby settlers.
Suddenly and mysteriously, the Indians were afflicted with measles. The disease raged, but the timely appearance of Isaac Stone changed the sad turn of events for the natives.
Having been informed of the news through the local grapevine, Stone wasted no time in making a beeline to the camp. His motivation for feverishly treating the sick Indians and exposing himself to the wicked disease is not quite clear. Nevertheless, his fast medical attention whipped the disease and earned him the respect and gratitude of the tribe members, including one particular Indian, who was referred to as George.
Feeling obligated to the miracle man for saving his life, George told Stone an intriguing story. A letter, written by Stone, later reprinted in “Historical Tales of Talladega,” revealed this information: “My acquaintance with George and proximity to the village gave me the knowledge of the fact that George went into seclusion once or twice during each year, and that when the seclusion was ended, all the Indians had new silver ornaments, armlets, beads, and other such jewelry that their tastes demanded.”
Recognizing the significance of his discovery, Stone began pursuing ways of learning the location of the secret silver mine. Obviously realizing that coaxing would do little good, he attempted to loosen the Indians’ tongues with cheap whiskey. It made them drunk, but produced no information.
After much deliberation, he related his story to several friends who refused to believe him at first. They later agreed to join with him on his next scheme.
From conversations with George, Stone was able to make two important observations. From the amount of silver and the short time it took to load several pack ponies with it, the ore must be both easily accessible and close by.
Anticipating that the Indians would soon depart on their next silver excursion, Stone exchanged a brief word with George and managed to confirm his guess. His friends were to help track the Indians and supply the necessary provisions.
When the tribe broke camp in the wee hours of the morning, Stone’s party was anxiously waiting for the unsuspecting Indians to get a good head-start. When they felt comfortable about the Indians’ lead, the men started their pursuit shortly before daybreak. They followed the ponies’ hoof-prints northwesterly across the heavily-timbered stretches of St. Clair County, until they came to Wolf Creek.
Here the tracks terminated, leaving three bewildered men cursing their rotten luck. The gravel bottom beneath the crystal clear water held no clues, so the men quickly dispersed in opposite directions.
After several hours of futile searching, one of the men dejectedly picked up a curious-looking rock. In his frustration, he failed to recognize a four-pound chunk of freshly-mined silver ore. Years later, when he stumbled across the rock he had long since forgotten, the search was enthusiastically resumed. But success, always seeming imminent, was never achieved.
As the story gradually leaked out in its entirety, periodic searches continued for years, until they, too, ceased altogether. Although the story of the Indians and the silver mine is told only as folklore today, the chunk of silver ore was later authenticated in 1874, when it assayed at 70% silver content, 30% lead.
Prospectors swarmed to the creek after hearing about the assay, but never found any more of the rock. Presumably the rock came from the mine and was accidentally dropped along the way back.
If the mine does indeed exist, it is probably only a few miles northwest of where Stone’s party abandoned their search at Wolf Creek. After the party arrived back in town following their unsuccessful trip, it was only a short time before several members of the tribe returned to camp loaded with silver as usual.
The term “short time” was later specified as one and a half days. The distance they traveled from the Creek cannot be too great, since they got their silver and returned in that length of time. Since they traveled northwest all the time they were tracked, it may be supposed that they continued in that direction at Wolf Creek.
A further enticement to treasure hunters is the fact that when the tribe was pushed out of the state to a reservation in Arkansas, they took with them only a fraction of the silver they had mined. The larger portion is believed to have been buried in or near the mine.
To get to the area of the mine, proceed east from Birmingham on Interstate 20 approximately 25 miles to the Pell City exit. Take the Pell City exit one mile to U. S. 78, which crosses Wolf Creek. This is in the general area where Stone’s pursuit of the Indians ended. Perhaps someone with a good metal detector can even yet locate the Indians’ lost mine.
About six miles northwest of Florence, Alabama, on the White’s Mill Road, stands the historic White’s Mill. For many years, this mill ground corn and flour and provided people in the community with jobs.
In 1897, a man by the name of C. E. Sharps bought the mill. Eventually, he became quite wealthy. He was fond of gold and insisted that most payments be made to him in gold coins.
Sharps owned about 100 acres of forest land south of the mill across White’s Road. His nephew, Grady Sharps, was employed in the office at the mill. About once a week, Grady watched his uncle go into the woods with a shovel and a small sack. Since he would return a short time afterward without the sack, Grady felt sure that he was burying his gold somewhere among the trees.
Fearing his uncle, who was known to become violent at times, young Grady was afraid to follow him on any of his trips into the woods.
In June 1899, Sharps was on the mill roof doing some repair work when he slipped and fell into the pond below. He could not swim, and help did not reach him in time. The knowledge of his buried gold drowned with him. Grady tried to locate the fortune his uncle had hidden, but the woods were too large to unearth with nothing but a pick and a shovel.
The old mill still stands, and the wood still lies to the south of it. With a good metal detector and a few days’ time, a treasure hunter might be able to find C. E. Sharps’ cache or caches of gold coins.
There is supposed to be a treasure buried on the Alabama side of the Perdido River, near Seminole. Here is the story. In 1815, Henry Allen Nunez placed a ferry in operation across the Perdido River, at approximately the place where it is now crossed by U. S. 90, about 16 miles northwest of Pensacola. As Nunez prospered, stories spread that he kept his fortune buried near his house on the Alabama side of the River. During the Civil War, a band of Union troops seized Nunez and demanded to know where his hoard was hidden. When he refused to talk, they strung him up by his thumbs to a tree. His wife was brought out to witness the torture, and, unable to see her husband suffer, she revealed where a cache of silver coins was hidden. Insisting that there was no gold, the soldiers lowered Nunez into a well by the neck. Again, Mrs. Nunez broke down and told them where the gold was buried. Satisfied that they had secured all the treasure, the troops left, but the story persists that a third cache is still there.
Located on the Coosa River near the junction of that stream with the Tallapoosa, 10 miles north of Montgomery, is the site of old Fort Toulouse. And somewhere around that site are six of the eight cannons which comprised its defense.
Fort Toulouse was constructed by the French in 1717, as an advance post of the colony of Louisiana, and it was built in the form of a stockade of logs.
It is probable that the logs were of oak, nine feet long, close to one foot in diameter, and stripped of bark and charred in the three feet that went underground. The logs were held by laths and a moat was dug around the stockade as deep as it was wide. Within the enclosure were frame buildings which served as offices and quarters for the garrison.
The fort stood opposite a sharp bend in the Coosa River, and the current undermined the bank under it, necessitating a move of the structure in 1748. The rebuilt fort stood only 15 or 20 yards from the original site, however.
Neither Fort Toulouse nor its garrison was ever involved in hostile action. The fort’s military potential was there, of course, but absence of hostilities emphasized the diplomatic nature of the post.
The fort was evacuated in 1763. The officer assigned to oversee the evacuation was Director General d’Abbudie. The General decided to leave the ordnance and military stores, explaining that it was impossible to move the artillery.
The cannons were spiked and dumped from their mountings into the fort yard. Excess powder was dumped into the Coosa River. The fort then fell into ruins within a few years.
Two of the cannons have been found. One of them is in the State Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. The other is on exhibition in the Wetumpka Courthouse at Wetumpka, Alabama.
The remaining six cannons are now either covered with a growing accumulation of earth and debris somewhere on the fort site, or with mud at the bottom of the Coosa River. These centuries-old guns would be a valuable find.
Late in the closing months of the tragic conflict between the States known as the Civil War, there was a wealthy man named Hansen in the State of Alabama, who decided that he had to act if his long-planned plot to assist the crumbling Confederate economy was to become a reality. By various means, honest and otherwise, Hansen and some other citizens had accumulated a vast amount of gold and silver in bullion and in coins. Two huge wooden boxes two feet wide, three feet deep, and four feet long were filled with the loot.
To conceal the boxes from discovery, they were buried under a pile of barnyard manure and decayed straw so repulsive and deceptive to the eye that there was little chance they would be disturbed and the treasure uncovered.
The military situation at this time was perilous. General Hood was hammering at Union positions at Columbia, Tennessee, on the Duck River. Sizeable Union forces were concentrated throughout most of the northern Alabama area. A previous plan to deliver the gold to Montgomery was ruled out due to the hazardous nature of the journey and the distances involved. It was impossible for a sufficient number of Confederates to be dispatched to take possession of the fortune, so Hansen decided to take the shipment to Hood at Columbia, where a Confederate victory seemed likely.
Hansen and two Rebel soldiers, who were disguised as farmers, managed to load the enormously heavy boxes onto two wagons by emptying their precious contents and reloading the boxes, after they were placed on the wagons. The fertilizer and straw were then heaped high atop the wagons, and the journey began. The horses strained under the massive loads, and the wagon wheels dug deeply into the wet ground. Approximately four miles north of the town of Athens, both wagons became hopelessly mired in a deep boghole that was like quicksand. Hansen and the two soldiers futilely tried to progress forward by hitching both teams of horses to one wagon.
Suddenly, four Union scouts appeared and, becoming suspicious at the weight of the wagons, demanded that the group unload the cargo. The bluecoats suspected that the wagons contained arms and ammunition. Hansen abruptly pulled a concealed pistol and killed one of the Union scouts, and the Rebel soldiers charged the remaining three. In the savage hand-to-hand struggle that followed, both of the Confederates were killed, but not before killing two of the Union scouts and severely wounding the remaining one. The injured soldier made good his escape into the brush, as Hansen missed with his last shot.
The frustrated Hansen then searched frantically for a way to save the shipment. It would be only a matter of hours, at the most, before the wounded soldier would reach his unit and alert more troops. Probing the area of the boghole, Hansen discovered that the quagmire of mud and water was quite deep and would not support any object of substantial weight. He succeeded in fastening the teams to the side of one wagon, and finally succeeded in overturning the wagon, dumping the box into the boghole. The other wagon was then overturned, and the fortune intended for the Confederacy quickly sank from sight.
Hansen then led the horses over the area where the boxes sank to force them still deeper into the earth. He then reversed the procedure and raised the wagons upright again. By parading the horses all around the general area, Hansen made it appear that a Confederate patrol had arrived, taken possession of the cargo, and left. He loaded the bodies of the Confederate soldiers onto the horses and pulled out to the east, following a well-traveled route from a stream crossing a half-mile east of the boghole. He soon abandoned the main route, realizing that the Union forces would likely pursue along this trail.
Nightfall found the completely exhausted Hansen at the home of a fellow Southern sympathizer, who was entrusted with the secret behind the ill-fated journey, and the pair made immediate plans to return to excavate the treasure. Hansen remained at his friend’s home for several days, hiding under the floor when Union soldiers appeared.
A Confederate soldier who was en route to join a detachment in central Alabama, eventually made an appearance, and Hansen decided to ride with the soldier to guide the group sent back to fetch the treasure. Here luck ran out on the Southern patriot. The pair was intercepted by Union cavalry, and in the running battle that followed, both were killed.
Now only one person, who had never seen it, knew about the buried fortune, and he was taken into custody shortly thereafter on a charge of suspicion of harboring a fugitive, Hansen, and was thrown into prison for the duration of the War.
When the conflict ended, the man returned to the area to search for the fortune, but he found the task impossible. Grass and shrubbery covered the landscape. Droughts and floods had drastically altered the appearance of the area. By asking questions, he found out that the Yankee soldiers had not found the treasure. They had taken the wagons with them, however, as they were seen being pulled into town, carrying the bodies of the three scouts who were killed in the battle at the boghole.
The man searched for a short time without success, then, like so many others, he left the Southern states, where the bitter memories were so strong, and moved to California. From available evidence, it would appear that the cache is still there, waiting to be found.
Hardy Clements was a farmer, politician, businessman, slave owner, and a very wealthy man. In 1845, Clements rode a mule from Sumter County, South Carolina, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with just one hundred dollars in his pocket. He bought a little piece of land in Coaling, on the banks of Big Sandy Creek, about twelve miles east of Tuscaloosa. By 1850, he had turned a few acres into 9000 acres, on which he had 30 horses, 85 work mules, 29 milk cows, 14 oxen, 113 sheep, 250 swine, and 336 slaves, making him the largest slave owner in Alabama. His real estate and personal property was valued at $300,000.
The legend is that, when the Civil War came to Alabama, Hardy Clements buried about $100,000 worth of gold. With the War going on, it wasn’t safe to travel the old Huntsville road to Tuscaloosa and deposit the gold while the Wilson Raiders were so near. So he did as other plantation owners did, and buried his money.
During the War, there were feelings of dissatisfaction among some of the slaves. Clements was afraid that they might be tempted or threatened into telling the Wilson Raiders where the valuable gold had been concealed. So he would wait until night, after the servants had left the house, and everyone was asleep, and then he would go out and hide the gold.
There have been many stories told about where the gold was hidden: under his house, around the cotton gin that stood by the spring, or around his huge bog farm. It has been told also, that he took all his gold to the cemetery, dug a small grave, and buried it among his slaves who had served him so well.
In 1863, Hardy Clements died. He did not tell anyone where the gold was hidden, not even his son, who was a colonel with the 50th Regiment of Alabama.
Today, only a few resemblances of a plantation remain. A large dying oak tree marks his homesite. The big spring that gushes into Big Sandy Creek near the cotton gin still runs swiftly, clearly, and very cold, as it did over 100 years ago. The hog farm is now sagebrush and bushes, and the cemetery is mostly a woody area with large trees growing among the graves.
Most of the old plantation is on public land, only the homesite is on private property, but, as far as is known, it is not posted.
Diamonds, believe it or not, have been found in Alabama. Two counties, Lee and Shelby, have yielded stones in the creek beds. The Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C., will send information on diamonds and other gems on request. Also, you may want to send to the U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., for some of the many booklets and pamphlets they have with valuable information.
This is a story which was one told by old men when they met in a barbershop, livery stable, or at the blacksmith shop. It concerned the small town of Newton, Alabama, located on the Choctawhatchee River in southeast Alabama, in Dale County.
The men told about a day they long remembered, December 19, 1864. This was the day when news spread fast that Colonel Joseph Sanders, with his horde of deserters, escaped slaves, and common outlaws, was on his way to attack Newton.
Plans for the defense of Newton against the notorious band were carefully made by Judge Daniel Carmichael, Sheriff J. W. Skipper, and Captain Jim Breer, in command of the home guards. Every able-bodied man and boy was conscripted to defend Newton. An alert was sent out to the farmers in surrounding areas, and most of them, with their families, came into town. Men brought their guns to help in defense of the town.
On the afternoon of the fateful day, the town was ready and waiting for the attack. One major problem remained to be solved. A box filled with a fortune in gold was in the Courthouse, and if the town were sacked, the outlaws would undoubtedly seize it. The gold must be hidden, but where? And who could be trusted with the task?
This dilemma was solved by selecting three men who were to hide the gold, and each man was held responsible for its secrecy and safekeeping. And to say the least, these men did an excellent job of it.
Colonel Sanders, with his band of rogues, crossed the river at the old ford less than one-half hour before sundown; then the man raced uphill towards the Courthouse. The defenders of Newton began firing into the ranks of the attackers. Surprised, Colonel Sanders shouted to his men to return fire, while at the same time they were trying to encircle the town. Charge and counter-charge was made by the Sanders outfit, but the resistance of the defenders was too strong for them to break through and get into the town. In the darkness of the night, the Sanders band crossed the river and disappeared.
The jubilant defenders of Newton called a muster roll, but twelve men failed to answer. Four were dead, and eight wounded. As fate would have it, out of the four dead, three were the men who had hidden the box of gold. The secret of the hiding place died with them.
To this day, the gold has not been found. How these three men, hurrying practically in the face of the enemy, could have found such an elusive hiding place remains a mystery, for hunt as they might, the citizens of Newton were unable to find the gold.
There is a relatively small island which was probably the first settled portion of Alabama, known as Dauphin Island. Old books record a small portion of its history, but the most intriguing part is its unwritten history, that which is felt as one slowly becomes acquainted with the Islanders.
There is a story about a large, jeweled cross being dropped in a well to prevent its being stolen by pirates and never being recovered. There are other stories which circulate quietly among the native Islanders, concerning jars and pots and chests of buried savings, back through several generations.
The island has never had a bank, and until only recently has been rather isolated from the mainland. Now a bridge crosses the Mississippi Sound, connecting Dauphin Island with the outside world. The large, prehistoric Indian Shell Mound is but a shadow of its former self. The area immediately around the trailer park has, in turn, been a Spanish army camp, a French army camp, British army camp, and a Federal army camp of occupation after the Civil War.
The Island would be a good place to search for relics, alone, and you just might be lucky enough to find one of the treasures that legends tell about.
This site of an Indian village and several possible treasure caches is almost certainly overlooked. The army records of General Dale, who served under Andrew Jackson, could help on this one.
Around 1812, in Montgomery County, there was a Shawnee Indian village known as Souvanogee. It was located near a corner formed by the Tallapoosa River and Likasa Creek.
The leader of the village was a half-breed Indian prophet called Savannah Jack. He and his band of braves robbed, murdered, and pillaged this section of Alabama for six years.
There is no known or itemized record of the amount of plunder that fell into the hands of Savannah Jack and his renegades. However, Jack had been exposed to the ways of white men and knew well the value they placed on gold and silver. Certainly, anything of monetary value was gathered up by Jack on these raids and carried back to the village.
Savannah Jack and his band of renegade Indians were finally pursued and caught up with by General Dale and his troops in 1818. In the running gun battle that followed, several of the Indians were killed on the spot. It is believed that Savannah Jack was severely wounded in the gun battle and died a short time later in Sipsey Swamp.
It is obvious that there should still be several caches of Savannah Jack’s loot buried near the old Indian camp of Souvanogee. He had six years to accumulate it. The village was taken by surprise in the attack, and there was not sufficient time to dig up any of his various caches. The campground covered quite an area, but remains and traces of it can still be found.
There is an old story of a strongbox being dropped into the Tambigbee River, south of Myrtlewood in Marengo County. This money, $30,000 in gold, was being transported by a tax collector in 1860, when outlaws tried to rob him. He threw the strongbox into the water close to the ford that was operated here at that time. The bandits killed the collector, but research reveals that they did not find the money. The best places to look would be along the tracks between Atmore and Bay Minette, Alabama, as this was his favorite hiding area.
In September 1724, a French vessel was sighted off the coast of present-day Alabama. The vessel was the Bellone. In her hold was stored a cargo of beaver skins, deer hides, and coins and bullion valued at 40,000 crowns. She was on her way to Dauphin Island to collect the yearly production of goods by the French colonials in Louisiana, and transport them to France.
While trying to enter Pelican Bay, the Bellone ran aground. The ship was not damaged, however, and was soon anchored safely in the small harbor. The captain of the ship, a Seigneur de Beauchamp, kept the ship in the harbor until the next spring, when finally he decided to sail for France.
On April 1, 1725, April Fools’ Day, the Bellone raised anchor and headed out to sea on a perfectly calm day. Mysteriously, she suddenly sank near Dauphin Island. A nearby brigantine saved most of the passengers and crew from drowning, but two men and three children were lost.
The entire cargo, including the bullion and coins, and all the passengers’ personal belongings, was lost with the Bellone. It was determined by French officials at the time that the ship was unsalvageable, thus no effort was exerted to recover the gold.
The Bellone was wrecked off Dauphin Island over 250 years ago. Since she sank, Dauphin Island has been partially washed away by hurricanes, Pelican Bay has been largely sanded in, and battles in the War of 1812 and the Civil War have added many other wrecks to the coastal floor.
Of all the old wrecks in and around Mobile Bay waiting to be rediscovered and salvaged, the Bellone is the richest. Could you be the one to uncover this colonial fortune?
The area of northern Alabama that encompasses Huntsville and its environs falls within the Cumberland Plateau that gently rises in central Alabama. The basic rock is Mississippi limestone. This type of material, particularly for those interested in lapidary work, is not noted for its beauty. However, for the mineral collector, there are some interesting crystals available.
Dolomite, which is a calcium magnesium carbonate, has saddle-shaped crystals with a pearly luster, and has been found in pink, white, and gray colors.
Limestone containing calcite and fluorite crystals has been found in different areas. Also, celestite has been found, and the different rocks make good conversation pieces.
On the northern bank of the Tennessee River, in an area near Muscle Shoals, Alabama, lies a hidden limestone cavern containing an incredible multi-million dollar fortune in gold, silver, and jewels. Known as the Spanish treasure cache of Red Bone Cave, the history of this great lost wealth goes back to around 1540, the time of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto’s march into the New World.
In 1538, Charles V of Spain had given De Soto permission to conquer Florida at his own expense, and the Spanish explorers sailed with a richly equipped company of 600 men, 24 ecclesiastics, and 20 officers. The expedition landed at the Bay of Espiritu Santo, now Tampa Bay, and the Spaniards first marched north as far as the Carolinas.
Here, legend has it, De Soto and his men came upon the sacred mountain city of the Cherokees. The Indians were hostile, but the Spaniards subdued them, took their gold and other treasures, and pushed on westward to Alabama, then back through Tennessee to Alabama.
Since fall was over, and cold weather was coming on, the Spaniards began constructing a winter camp. Chickasaw Indians who lived on the south side of the Tennessee River proved friendly until spring came. At that time, De Soto, who was breaking camp for a trek into Mississippi, arrogantly demanded that the Chickasaw chief furnish several hundred pretty maidens to accompany the Spanish expedition.
This high-handed request was an indignity the Indians could not ignore, and a night-time attack on De Soto’s camp was the result. The Spaniards, taken by surprise, were forced to flee. In doing so, the great treasure they had taken from the Cherokees was left behind. In his retreat, De Soto’s guides led him into swamps and trackless forests where great numbers of his men perished.
Turning south along the river, he headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, but he never made it. At a place called Chickasaw Bluffs, he was seized with fever and died. Fearing that the hostile Indians would find his grave and mutilate his body, his men buried him in the Mississippi River. Only a handful of the remaining expedition ever succeeded in reaching the Spanish settlements on the Gulf.
Once the Spaniards had been driven away, the Chickasaw chief had some of his braves take the discarded treasure to a point on the north bank of the Tennessee River, where there were large limestone caverns. In one of these the treasure was concealed.
For 180 years, the story of the great treasure in the river cave was handed down from one Indian chief to another. All but forgotten otherwise, the treasure site lay undisturbed until 1720.
Then, one day in the summer of that year, a tall and handsome white trapper appeared at the Chickasaw village. A friendly man, he asked permission from the chief to trap game on tribal lands. Impressed by this act, the chief readily agreed. However, this wasn’t the only reason for the chief’s ready acquiescence.
He had only one child, a beautiful daughter. For some time he had been trying to marry her off, since he needed a grandson to succeed him. The girl, however, would have none of the braves who were brought before her for approval. But once she laid eyes on the handsome trapper, she lost no time in letting her father know he was the man she wanted.
Unaware of what was going on, and unmindful of the fact that the chief’s daughter was watching him constantly, the trapper accepted the quarters offered by the chief and quietly went about his business of trapping.
A month passed, and one night he was awakened by two braves. Before he could fully awaken from a deep sleep, he found his hands being tied. He started to resist but when the Indians softly told him they meant to do him no harm, he let himself be blindfolded.
All that night and the following day, he was led through the cool dark forest. Several times the group rested, and he was given something to eat and drink. On one of the occasions the blindfold slipped from one eye, and before the Indians could readjust it, he managed to see a river and white cliffs. Since he had been up and down the river many times, he thought he recognized the area which lay many miles from the Indian village.
Shortly afterwards, he was led into a canoe, and the party moved across the river. Alighting, they went up an embankment. Then the ground began to slope downward, and he felt sand under his feet. From the change in the air, he knew they had entered a large cavern. At this point, the Indians told him to walk stooped, so as not to hit his head on low-hanging rocks. On several occasions, he heard the sound of bat or bird wings near his head and instinctively ducked.
After a while, the party stopped, and the trapper’s hands were untied and the blindfold removed. Frightened and confused, he rubbed his eyes and wrists. Two Indians held torches to dispel the darkness, and, to his amazement, he saw that one of them was the Chickasaw chief himself, while the other was the tribal medicine man. Then he looked around the cave.
Reaching from the cavern floor to its ceiling were stacks of gold and silver bars, while rotted chests spilled jewels and other objects across the floor. The trapper could only shake his head in wonder. Where had all this wealth come from? He listened with open mouth as the old chief told him the story of the Spaniard De Soto and how the Chickasaw tribe had gotten the treasure many moons ago. But after being hidden for all these years, the trapper wondered why it was now being shown to him.
It was simple, explained the chief. If the trapper would marry the chief’s daughter, all of the treasure he now saw would be given to him. And if he didn’t want to marry the daughter, what then?
The old chief sadly shrugged. Since the trapper had been blindfolded and didn’t know where the treasure cave was located, he would be allowed to leave in peace.
While the chief was talking, the trapper was doing some quick figuring. All of this wealth would be his if he married the daughter, but, if he had to live in the wilderness with the Indians, he might as well not have it. If he refused to marry the daughter, he would be allowed to leave unharmed. The old chief had said so, and he believed him.
Trying to hide his anticipation, the trapper told the chief that he would have to think about his decision for a few days. Since he already had a wife and family in one of the white settlements, he lied, he just couldn’t make up his mind that quickly.
The trapper was blindfolded again, and the return trip was accomplished until the three men were once again in the great forest near the Indian village. The old chief was tired, so the men made camp for the night.
Later, as the two Indians lay sleeping, the trapper killed them both and threw their bodies into the nearby river. Thus, he made certain that he could leave the area. The next morning, he departed and soon showed up at Fort Rosalie, where he enlisted the aid of a friend to recover the treasure.
Hiding in caves by day, and looking at night, the two men spent several months in searching. Finally, the friend grew disgusted and returned to the settlements where he later died of yellow fever.
Alone now, the trapper took a chance and returned to the village of the Chickasaw. He was greeted warmly, and, to his surprise, heard nothing about the two men he had killed. Apparently, no one had ever known about their taking him to the treasure cave. This was just what he had counted on.
Searching out the old chief’s daughter, the trapper told her that he wanted to marry her, and did so. In a roundabout way, he soon found out that she only knew her father had disappeared. It was apparent that she knew nothing of the treasure cave, nor did any other member of the tribe seem to.
Under the guise of trapping trips, the trapper continued his search for Red Bone Cave. But, try as he might, he could never find the right place.
In 1729, the trapper’s wife died, and he returned to Fort Rosalie. But the place lay in ruins, the settlers having been massacred by the Natchez Indians. As the years passed and he grew older, he would sometimes tell the riverboat men at Natchez-under-the-Hill about the lost treasure cave. Maybe in time some lucky treasure hunter will find this lost cave and the multi-millions still hiding there.