Posts Tagged With: lost mines

Jesuits, saving souls with slave labor for gold….


The Jesuits priests, in addition to saving souls, set about enriching the church. Through their travels in the new world, they took advantage of mineral finds by getting locals to work the mines and send the gold and silver back to Spain.

Somewhere around 1635 the good fathers established the Plazuela Monastery in Bolivia. The Monastery was located at the junction of the Inquisivi and Ayopayo Rivers. This area was very rich in gold and silver and the monastery severed as a central holding place. Massive amounts of treasure were collected here and then sent back to Spain.

King Charles III was concerned about the growing wealth and power that the Jesuits controlled. There were rumors that the Priests were planning to establish an independent colony in South America. So he ordered all the Jesuits expelled from the new world in 1767.

The Spanish set up blockades in the mountain passes to prevent the Jesuits from exporting their gold. The priests in Plazuela knew it was only a matter of time before the Spanish came in after them. Over the next few years, they assembled all the mined ores and church artifacts at the monastery. They enlisted the help of 500 local Indians and set about hiding the treasure.

There are rumors of two mass graves in the area. One is said to hold the remains of 300 of these Indians that died of yellow fever, the other is said to hold the remains of the other 200 Indians without reference as to their cause of death. In any case, no Indians survived that were involved in the hiding of the Plazuela treasure.

In 1778 the Spanish came to Plazuela. They found the monastery deserted and without the expected wealth waiting for them. They rounded up some of the local Indians and through use of various means, including torture, attempted to extract the treasure location from them. The soldiers left the area with nothing.

In 1910, Corina San Roman approached Cecil H. Prodgers with a proposition. Mr. Prodgers was a well-known mining engineer. Ms. San Ramon’s grandfather was the Prefect of Callao in 1778 and his brother was one of the last Jesuits to leave Plazuela. Father Gregorio San Ramon left his brother the following description of the treasure location:

There is a hill on the left bank of the Rio Sacambaya opposite the Monastery of Plazuela. It is steep and covered with dense forest. The top flat and with long grass growing. In the middle of the long grass there is a large stone shaped like an egg, so big that it took five hundred Indians to place it there. If you dig underneath this stone for five cordas you will find the roof of a large cave which it took five hundred Indians two and a half years to hollow out.

The roof is twenty-four cordas long and there are two compartments and a long narrow passage leading from the room on the east side to the main entrance two hundred cordas away. On reaching the door you must exercise great care in the opening. The door is a large iron one and inside to the right, near the wall, you will find an image of the Madonna, made of pure gold, three feet high, the eyes of which are two large diamonds; this image was placed there for the good of mankind.

If you proceed further along the passage you will find in the first room 37 heaps of gold, and many gold and silver ornaments and precious stones. On entering the second room you will find in the right hand corner a large box clamped with iron bars; inside this box are 90,000 duros reales in silver money and 30 bags of gold. Distributed in the hollows on either side of the tunnel and in the two rooms are, altogether, 160 heaps of gold, of which the value has been estimated at 60 million duros reales.

Great care must be taken on entering these rooms, as enough poison to kill a regiment of the King has been laid about. The walls of the two rooms have been strengthened by large blocks of granite; from the roof downwards the distance is five cordas more. The top of the roof is portioned off in three distinct esplanades and the whole has been covered for a depth of five cordas with earth and stone.

When you come to a place twenty feet high, with a wall so wide that two men can easily ride abreast, cross the river and you will find the monastery, church and other buildings.

Ms. San Roman’s proposition was to share the treasure with Mr. Prodgers if he could find it. Prodgers accepted. She provided him with the information above and with the assistance of an old Indian named Jose Maria Ampuera. Senor Ampuera was the grandson of one of those who hid the treasure and was paid by the San Romans to watch over the site many years earlier.

Prodgers found Ampuera in 1905 living in the town of Cuti. The old man was over 100 years old. Ampuera told of how President Melgarejo had searched Negro Muerto for the treasure, but that was on the wrong side of the River Sacambaya. The actual location was on a hill called Caballo Cunco.

Prodgers found the egg shaped rock where Ampuera told him it would be. He dymamited the stone and began digging at that spot. He found a manmade roof of bricks and slate slabs. He wrote that while digging:

..at 12 feet, yellow alter slab with flowers nicely engraved on it, there was no longer any doubt in my mind…

The digging was difficult and the locals were afraid that what they were doing was an affront to God. On one occasion, after sinking some bamboo into the dig, noxious fumes were emitted. By the end of 1907, Prodgers was nowhere near the depth he needed. He returned to England to gather a work force a little more skeptical. He was never able to return.

It appears that Prodgers discussed his find with a Cornishish miner named Tredennick. Tredennick searched the area from 1921 to 1927. He dug numerous tunnels into the area. At one time he dymamited a tunnel that set of an internal upheaval that lasted for an hour and a half.

In 1920, Prodgers made a deal with Dr. Edgar Sanders. Prodgers gave Sanders all the details on the condition that his original deal with Corina San Ramon would be honored. Sanders set out with a small group in 1925. At 900 he found another stone. This was 618 feet by 128 feet and a perfect rectangle. The stone is now referred to as the Square Heap Stone. Sanders believed the treasure was under this stone, that the stone was the roof of the treasure room. Near there, he found a tunnel.

Sanders and his group relied mostly on the locals for the digging required. He started clearing the tunnel. As they progressed, they came across a silver crucifix attached to a board. Four feet later they encountered a wall made of stones. In the wall was a hole and in the hole was a wooden box. The digging stopped as all gathered around. Sanders removed the box and in crumbled in his hands. He was left holding a piece of parchment. With the locals and his group from England around him in the tunnel, finally at the wall to what they believed to be the treasure room, he read aloud from the parchment:

You who reach this place withdraw. This spot is dedicated to God Almighty and the one who dares to enter, a dolorous death awaits him in this world and eternal condemnation in the world he goes to. The riches that belong to God Our Master are not for humans. Withdraw and you will live in peace and the blessing of the Master will make your life sweet and you will die rich with the goods of this world. Obey the command of God Almighty our Master in life and in death. In the name of God the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Indians refused to continue. All left the tunnel and Sanders was unable to continue on his own. The rainy season was now upon them and all hope of continuing was lost. Sanders returned to England and was able to enlist a investors. He put a new group together that not only included 22 others, but included compressors, generators, pumps and tractors. They left Liverpool on June 15, 1928. They cleared out the tunnels and removed the stones only to find the tunnel ended there.

They went back to the Heap Stone and started looking for other tunnel entrances that would lead them into the room below. The local Indians said that their ancestors told of three iron doors that into the room. All the digging and prodding done by the group led them to stone. Sanders worked the area until he was broke. He wrote that he was beyond heartbroken. He believed the treasure was right below him, but could not find a way to reach it.

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Categories: gold, gold chains, gold coins, gold crosses, gold ingots, gold jewelry, Gold Mine, Legends, Lost gold, Lost Mines, Lost Treasure, Spanish gold, treasure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

California Lost Treasure….The Lost Breyfogle Mine..


Boundary Canyon slices through the heart of the rugged Amargosa Range just north of Beatty Junction, California. Besides Highway 190 which follows Furnace Creek Wash further south, the road through Boundary Canyon is the only route that cuts through the Amargosas. Boundary Canyon forms the border between two subranges of the Amargosas, the Grapevine Mountains to the north and the Funeral Mountains to the south. The canyon and surrounding mountains are extremely rugged and nearly waterless, but early prospectors sometimes used Boundary Canyon to travel to and from Death Valley. Occasionally, they left their marks along the way. On a vertical cliff in the Boundary Canyon area, an old inscription is carved into the rock. The words are enough to fire the imagination. There, cut into the rock above the canyon floor, is the message: “Hunting the Breyfogle. 1872.”

The Lost Breyfogle Mine is one of several legendary lost mines of Death Valley and is indeed one of the most famous lost mines of the entire West. And no wonder. The renowned Death Valley prospector, “Shorty” Harris, saw some of Breyfogle’s amazing ore and instantly pronounced it the richest he had ever seen! A chunk of the fabulously rich ore was on display in Austin, Nevada for a number of years. Hundreds of mining men and prospectors stared with amazement at the ore sample. It was nearly half gold!

The man who discovered this golden bonanza came west during the 1849 rush to California. Charles C. Breyfogle and his brothers Jacob and Joshua left their home in Ohio and joined the nearly 50,000 Argonauts who journeyed overland to the California goldfields. Charles spent the next 10 years of his life in the mining districts of the Mother Lode country. In 1859, he was drawn to the booming silver camps of Nevada. By 1862, Charles Breyfogle was one of many prospectors working the western slopes of the Toiyabe Range, overlooking the Reese River valley. The mining town of Austin rose up near the silver mines.

Several accounts of the Lost Breyfogle Mine have Charles setting out from Austin on his fateful journey. Other sources have him traveling from Los Angeles to the Nevada silver camp when he made his discovery. The sources are confused and contradictory, but in any case, Breyfogle and at least two companions were traveling through Death Valley in 1863 when they were attacked by Indians. All were killed except Breyfogle. Breyfogle scampered into the foothills of the Funeral Range and started wandering through the mountains in a generally northward direction. Somewhere on the western flanks of the Funerals, Charles spied a solitary mesquite tree in the distance. As he headed toward the tree, he stumbled on an outcrop of incredibly rich gold ore! It consisted of native gold in an iron-stained “chocolate brown” quartz. The ore contained nearly 50% gold! He continued northward, his pockets bulging with gold. Charles was eventually discovered wandering in the Nevada desert and brought in to Austin, where he recovered from his ordeal.

The incredible richness of Breyfogle’s ore astounded the local miners. By 1865, Charles was ready to return to the Death Valley country to search for the ledge. Breyfogle, Jake Gooding, and Pony Duncan wandered the valley for months but were unable to find it. Charles returned many times; his last attempt in 1869 ended in failure. He died the following year. In 1872, Jacob Breyfogle (Charles’ brother) took up where his brother left off. Unfortunately, his efforts also proved to be futile. The fabulous ledge remains hidden today.

Categories: California, gold, Lost Treasure, Mines, silver | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arizona lost treasure tales and legends…..


The Lost Black Canyon Placer

Named for the black metamorphic rocks that it cuts through, Black Canyon Creek is part of the drainage system that taps the southeastern flank of the Bradshaw Mountains. Turkey Creek, Crazy Basin Creek, and Poland Creek are all feeder streams of Black Canyon Creek, which empties into the Aqua Fria River at Black Canyon City.

The Black Canyon area has a history of gold placer mining extending back at least to the 1850’s. Nearly every tributary of Black Canyon Creek, and the main stream itself, contained placer gold. The adjacent slopes of the Bradshaws were intensely mineralized. For millennia, the mountains had shed nuggets of gold into the surrounding streams. Rich pockets of placer gold accumulated throughout the Black Canyon Creek watershed. In the early 1920’s, a prospector recovered $20,000 worth of placer gold from a gravel bar in Black Canyon Creek, just downstream from the Howard Copper Mine.

In the 1850’s, Mexican prospectors were active in the southern Bradshaw Mountains. They worked a few of the lode deposits, panned many of the streams, and built arrastres to separate the gold from the gangue. Sometime in the latter half of the 1800’s, a Mexican prospector discovered an extremely rich pocket of placer gold somewhere in the Black Canyon area. The Mexican worked the deposit for a short time and then left the country, intending to return later. He never did, but his two sons tried to find the placer deposit years later. They were unable to locate the pocket. There has been much gold taken from Black Canyon, but the big pocket apparently still remains.

The Lost Duppa Mine

irst known as the Silver Range, the Bradshaw Mountains rise up west of the Aqua Fria River in central Arizona. The Bradshaws abound in mineral deposits, both gold and silver. For many years a stronghold of the Apache, the Bradshaws were slow in giving up their mineral wealth. American prospectors finally opened the floodgates in the 1860’s. In 1862, a party of prospectors led by the famous mountain man Joseph Walker discovered rich deposits of gold near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River. The following year, a group led by William Bradshaw penetrated the heart of the range and also found precious metal deposits. In August of that year, a second party of prospectors led by another famous mountain man discovered the fabulous Rich Hill gold fields.

Many rich strikes were to follow in the coming years. This rugged mineral-rich mountain range came to be known as the Bradshaw Mountains. They were named for the famous prospector and early Arizona pioneer, William Bradshaw. During the 1860’s, a wave of prospectors, adventurers, and drifters poured into the mining districts of the Bradshaw Mountains.

One such adventurer was an Englishman named Bryan Philip Darrell Duppa. Born in 1832, Duppa moved first to New Zealand, and then in 1863 moved to the Arizona Territory. He gravitated to the mining district near present-day Prescott where he lived for about five years. In 1868, Duppa moved down to the Salt River valley where he tried his hand at farming. Soon, he decided to take on the job of station manager of the stagecoach stop near present-day Dewey. Duppa’s station was located about 13 miles straight east of Prescott, on the Agua Fria River. The new proprietor of the Dewey station found himself traveling back and forth to rescott many times. One day, Duppa took a short- cut down one of the many canyons that cut the east flank of the northern Bradshaws. Somewhere in that steep canyon, Duppa stumbled on a ledge of silver-bearing quartz. The ore mineral was pure native silver! Duppa returned to the station on the Aqua Fria in great excitement. He had finally made good. Or at least he thought so. When Duppa attempted to retrace his steps to the ledge, he was unable to find it! He never did. Duppa eventually retired in Phoenix, dying there in 1892.

The Lost Flannigan Mine

The Gila Bend region of Maricopa County, Arizona was perilous country for early mountain men, emigrants, and settlers. In 1826, the first mountain men arrived in Arizona. They came in search of beaver but found hostile Indians instead. One of these early mountain men, James Ohio Pattie, claimed that after only one year of trapping on the Gila River, he could remember only 16 men left alive out of a total of 160 who started the season.

The emigrants and 49’ers who passed through the Gila Bend region during the mid-1800’s also encountered a hostile land and people. In 1851, tragedy struck the family of Royce Oatman who were on their way to California. While camping near present-day Gila Bend, the Oatman family was attacked by Yavapai Indians who killed both parents and two of the children. Two other girls, Olive and Mary Ann, were abducted by the Indians. Mary Ann died in captivity but Olive was eventually ransomed from the Indians and returned to civilization.

The settlers who carved out their ranches and farms from the land also encountered hostile Indians. One such attack in 1869 led to the discovery of a fabulously rich deposit of gold-bearing quartz in the Gila Bend Mountains of southwest Arizona. It was in that year that the Gila Bend farm of Abner McKeever was raided by hostile Apaches. The Indians kidnapped his daughter Belle and headed north into the Gila Bend Mountains. Several scouting parties went out in search of the war party; one group in particular penetrated deeply into the Gila Bend Mountains. This party was made up of three soldiers, a sergeant named Crossthwaite and two privates named Wormley and Flannigan. The three men soon lost their way and found themselves wandering through some low hills. In a depression filled with water they discovered nuggets of pure gold. Above the pool of water were two veins of gold-bearing quartz, one 5 inches wide and the other an incredible 16 inches wide! The soldiers filled their saddlebags with gold and headed southeast in search of the Gila River. Eventually they were forced to separate in a desperate attempt to reach water. Unfortunately, Crossthwaite died in the wilderness. Wormley made it back to civilization but was mentally never the same again. But Private Flannigan managed to reach safety with his saddlebags full of gold! He mounted many prospecting expeditions into the mountains but never found the pool of gold. Finally, in 1881, his body was found in the desert of northwest Yuma County. He had been carrying his saddlebags with him when he died – they were full of gold nuggets again.

The Lost Four Peaks Gold Mine

The Four Peaks area comprises the southern portion of the Mazatzal Mountains, an extensive range that forms the western boundary of the famous Tonto Basin. The Four Peaks have always been an important landmark in this part of Arizona. Nearly 8000 feet high, they dominate the skyline. From the highest peak, one has a panoramic view of the Superstition Mountains rising up less than 10 miles to the south. To the north, the rugged peaks and ridges of the central and northern Mazatzals seem to go on forever.

Hidden by the intervening peaks, the historic site of old Fort Reno lies about 14 miles north of the Four Peaks area. The Reno Road, built in 1867, connected the fort to the network of military posts springing up in Arizona during the late 1800’s. Fort Reno was constructed on the eastern flanks of the Mazatzal Mountains, overlooking Tonto Creek to the east. The Mazatzal peak known as Mount Ord rises only four miles to the northwest of the old fort. Beyond Mount Ord, the mountains march away to the northwest.

During the 1800’s, the Mazatzal Mountains were in the middle of Apache country. The Tonto Apaches wandered these mountains in search of game, but occasionally found something else. For years, rumors had circulated of a hidden Apache gold mine in or near the Mazatzals. The local Tonto Apaches always seemed to have plenty of gold nuggets for trading. During the 1850’s, the famous Dr. Abraham Thorne was led to an Apache gold mine by friendly Tontos. Although blindfolded for most of the way, Thorne insisted till the end of his days that the mine was in the Salt River country. In 1853, Francis X. Aubry saw local Apaches making bullets out of gold!

Many prospectors have searched the Mazatzals for the lost Four Peaks gold mine. Unfortunately, most of them ended up dead. At least two accounts place a rich gold-bearing quartz deposit somewhere along the western flanks of the Four Peaks. In one case, a pair of prospectors discovered the lode but were later killed by Apaches. In the other, a cowboy stumbled on the gold deposit while searching for cattle. He was never able to find the mine again.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Arizona, Lost gold, Lost Mines, treasure | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting history on ancient Roman mining Technology:


One problem these old miners faced was pumping water out of mines once they dug below the water table. The reverse overshot water wheels were the solution.
The Romans dewatered the mines using several kinds of machine, especially reverse overshot water-wheels. These were used extensively in the copper mines at Rio Tinto in Spain, where one sequence comprised 16 such wheels arranged in pairs, and lifting water about 80 feet. They were worked as treadmills with miners standing on the top slats. Many examples of such devices have been found in old Roman mines and some examples are now preserved in the British Museum and the National Museum of Wales.
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Categories: Lost Treasure, Strange News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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