Posts Tagged With: Miners

Mystery mummified monster discovered in Siberia diamond pit….

Remains of a strange creature have been found by Siberian miners in diamond-yielding sands.

Siberia mummified monster
This little mummified monster has been found in a diamond mine north of SiberiaSiberian Times

A bizarre mummified creature has been discovered at the heart of a diamond mine in the Sakha Republic, in northern Siberia. This ancient “monster” could date back to between 252 and 66 million years ago.

The Siberian Times reports that the miners who found the remains had been working at the Udachnaya pipe diamond deposit, an open-pit diamond mine located just outside the Arctic Circle.

Siberia mummified monster
The Udachnaya pipe diamond deposit is an open-pit diamond mine located just outside the Arctic Circle.Siberian Times

The site was discovered in 1955 and since then yielded 350 million tonnes of ore containing rough diamonds. There has also been a number of unusual discoveries such as that of a mystery red rock full of diamonds.

However, no find has been as strange as the mummified monster that has just been uncovered. Its origins are particularly puzzling because no one is capable just yet to say what this species is – it is like nothing ever found before in the region.The miners believed they had just stumbled upon the remains of a previously unknown species of dinosaurs.

Their theory has yet to be proven. The creature will therefore be taken for more analysis to the regional capital Yakutsk, a city 1,686km south of the Udachnaya diamond pit.

Siberia mummified monster
The miners believed the creature to be an ancient unknown dinosaur. Siberian Times

Other hypothesis about the little monster’s potential origins are that it might have bee the ancestor of the wolverine, a carnivorous mammal resembling a small bear or of the marten – another slender, agile mammal living in the snow forests of Siberia.

Closer analysis of the mummy’s morphology, bones, and of possible DNA samples should yield more clues about its origins and give a more precise approximation of the time it lived at.

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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.

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1898..Dyea Trail…Alaska…Miners headed up the trail, backpacks and animals…..

1898 gold miners alaska

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1900’s….Gold Hunting on beach in Alaska…home made sluice

1900's miner washing gold Alaska

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1900’s…Nome, Alaska…Panning for gold

gold panning 1900's Nome Alaska

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New Header Photo….Winston New Mexico

Originally called Fairview, the town was settled in 1880-81 by miners who found the area more agreeable than nearby Chloride. By 1884, it had 3,100 people, a school, a newspaper, horseraces and a bar, and featured literary readings, plays and songfests at Cloudman Hall (named for the local butcher, William Cloudman).
Miner, businessman and future state legislator Frank H. Winston moved to town in 1882. He eventually owned Fairview Cattle Co., Frank Winston Co. general merchandise and the Fairview Garage. He was a kind man, extending credit to customers during bad financial times. After his death in 1929 (he is buried in a cemetery in Chloride), the town was renamed in his honor.
Winston declined as silver prices dropped. By 1940, the population was about 400, and was 250 by 1946. Today, only a few families remain. Some old buildings still stand, including the school (built in 1890), Frank Winston’s home, his carriage house and store. A flood in the 1950s wiped out many others

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Amplats fires 12,000 South African platinum miners…….

The world’s biggest platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, has fired 12,000 striking South African miners after a protracted strike over wages.

Amplats said three weeks of illegal strikes by 28,000 workers in Rustenburg had cost it 39,000 ounces in output – or 700m rand ($82.3m; £51m) in revenue.

South African mining has been hit by a wave of wildcat strikes, in which miners and officials have been killed.

Some 34 South African platinum miners were shot dead by police in August.

Explaining its decision on Friday, Amplats said the miners had failed to attend disciplinary hearings and had therefore been dismissed.

Attendance levels of less than 20% meant four of the company’s mining operations in Rustenburg could not operate properly.

Employees would learn the outcome of disciplinary hearings later on Friday, and would have three days to appeal their outcome, said the company.

“Approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence.

Strike “contagion” meant operations had ceased at the Union and Amandelbult (Tumela and Dishaba) mines after workers presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg, added Amplats in a statement.

Gold fields eviction

The workers at the Marikana platinum mine where 34 people were shot dead returned to work after receiving pay rises far higher than the rate of inflation.

A commission of inquiry into the deaths began earlier this week.

Ten other people, including two police officers, were also killed.

Thousands of gold miners and truck drivers are also on strike in South Africa.

On Tuesday, one of the country’s leading gold mines, Gold Fields, evicted 5,000 striking employees from company dormitories, saying they were intimidating fellow workers.

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Lost Treasure in Arizona…..

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.


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Lost Treasure tales….Arkansas

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.

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Lost Treasure in Alaska

In 1903, the International Boundary Survey was in the process of establishing the exact boundaries of Alaska and Canada. Gold had been discovered in the Yukon. The only feasible means of access to this region lay through U. S. Territory. Canada hoped, by insisting upon a boundary survey, to acquire a port or ports on the coast to use as a starting point to the Yukon.

It was one of the surveyors who stumbled upon the gold. The party was crossing the mountainous divide between the Iskut and Unuk Rivers. It had become the custom of members of the survey party to produce, in camp after supper, any interesting rock they had picked up during the day. On this particular evening, various surveyors laid out attractive fragments of galena and gaudy chunks of copper float on a canvas. One man waited until last, then took out his knotted handkerchief from his pocket, and began to unwrap it.

There was no mistaking the speckles of yellow in the piece of snow-white quartz he laid on the canvas. It was gold!

He told his companions he had picked up the chunk of white quartz on a high ridge, the one they had just crossed at 6400 feet. But he had not found an outcropping or any other samples in the immediate area. However, he had made only a hasty search.

The men were working against time. They had to press on. And when the job was completed, none ever returned to that rough, remote area to search for what could be a fabulous outcropping of gold-bearing ore.

Somewhere between the markers on the divide between the Iskut and Unuk Rivers, there is a 6400-foot ridge. Perhaps by intense research of the atlas published in 1919 entitled Joint Report upon the Survey and Demarcation of the International Boundary between the U. S. and Canada along the One Hundred and Forty-First Meridian from the Arctic Ocean to Mount St. Elias, one could find the right 6400-foot ridge and perhaps a fortune in gold.

The Mad Trapper Johnson treasure is located on the boundary line between Alaska and the Yukon Territory. After murdering several prospectors for their gold and robbing Indian trap lines, Johnson was killed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1932. After shooting a Mountie while making for the Alaskan border, he cached the gold near the border, either in Alaska or Yukon, and was then shot and killed. There is no record of his caches being found.

The Yukon riverboat Columbian caught fire and was beached and destroyed on September 25, 1905, while en route to Dawson. The great amount of gold she carried has reportedly never been found.

Johnny Watsons gold, collected during a lifetime spent on the Yukon River, is hidden somewhere on Watson Creek, 60 miles downstream from Dawson. Watson Creek was named for Johnny, who died at the age of 83.

The great Klondike gold discovery came early in the winter of 1896-97, but the news didnt reach the United States until June 15, 1897, when the Excelsior sailed into San Francisco. On board were hardened sourdoughs toting an average of $10,000 in gold that they had found.

On July 17, the Portland steamed into Seattle, cargoing one and three quarters million dollars worth of gold. The stampede to the Far North was on.

Telegraph wires flashed word of the gold strikes across the continent. And, in the little settlement of Welsh Hill, Pennsylvania, a young man felt his heart pump fast with excitement. Remembered today as Frank, he packed up and set out for the Klondike, which is on the upper reaches of the Yukon River, in both Alaska and Canada, to make his fortune.

Perhaps the only person from Welsh Hill to go to the Klondike in search of gold, he succeeded beyond all expectation. He found plenty of it, enough to fill a dozen fruit jars with dust and shiny nuggets which he brought back to Welsh Hill four years later.

But that was only a sampling compared to what he left cached on his claim near Dawson, which is approximately 50 miles from the Alaskan border. And this gold, a virtual fortune today, is still where Frank hid it. For when he returned to the Klondike for it he died mysteriously without a chance to recover it.

Wealth did little to change Frank when he came back to Alaska. He was generous with his gold, spending it freely on those he loved and those whose company pleased him.

When asked what he expected to do with the gold he brought back, Frank laughed. Enjoy it, he said. And to close friends he confided that he would soon return to the Klondike, for the gold he had brought home was just a sample.

A few months later Frank announced about town that he was going back to the North Country. Friends in Welsh Hill waited impatiently for his return. Months passed. There was no word from him. One day relatives received a letter signed by a stranger. It said simply that Frank had died in the Klondike of an illness.

Those who knew him couldnt believe it. He had left in the best of health. He was a rugged man who could take anything the North Country could dish out in the way of hardships. A sister especially was skeptical of the letter, and she set out to learn what had really happened to her brother. She gathered up some of the gold he had left with her and used it to finance a trip to the Klondike.

Arriving at his claim, she found a cabin on it. When she entered, she screamed in shock. On a bunk lay Frank. He had been dead for months, but his body had been preserved, life-like in appearance, by sub-zero temperatures.

But there was something strange about it all. Though it was later decided that he had succumbed to typhoid, many never accepted the verdict. His sister was one. She had found Franks cabin in great disorder. Boards were pried loose from the walls. Floor planking had been pried up. Obviously, someone had searched for Franks rich cache. And efforts to track down the stranger who had written the mysterious letter failed.

Franks body was thawed out and embalmed, and he was shipped back to Welsh Hill for services. Intimates began whispering that he had told them the cache of gold was in fruit jars, like those he had returned from the Klondike with. Friends felt certain from conversations with Frank that he had not hidden the gold in the fruit jars on the cabin site. He was much too smart for that, they said.

Many from Welsh Hill vowed one day to visit the Klondike region and search for the fruit jars of gold. But if the cache was ever found, no word of it leaked out.

It is possible that one shipwreck off Kodiak Island may contain somewhere between $8,000,000 and $24,000,000 in gold in its battered hulk, and it is also very probable.

Shortly before the turn of the century, the Aleutian, loaded with gold from the mining regions of Nome and Fairbanks, went down in this region during a storm. She was reputed to be carrying a gold shipment then worth somewhere between $1,000,000 and $3,000,000. Todays prices would bring quite a bit more than that.

During a violent storm the Aleutian was blown more than 100 miles off course. Suddenly, a grinding crash was heard as the ship struck a partially submerged boulder. She sank within eight minutes, and only a handful of those aboard escaped. Reaching safety, they told of the huge gold shipment on the ship.

Several years later, a pilot accidentally sighted the masts of the ship while flying off Kodiak during low tide. He said he also observed the boulder close by on which the vessel had foundered. Others, too, have reported seeing the masts. The pilot organized a group to dive for the trove, but before they could return, he died in a plane crash. The others were unable to locate the site.

Only time will tell if the ship can again be located. But those who search for her might find one or two other vessels, as well, also profitable to their finder. One is the sloop Servia, which sank off Kodiak in 1905 while carrying about $35,000 in gold. The other is the schooner St. George, which sank in 1878 with around $15,000 in gold, which would be vastly more valuable today. But compared with the rich Aleutian, these two would be mere bonuses.

Cortez D. Thompson, better known in Denver as Cort, was the card-playing, free-wheeling husband of Martha A. Silks, a madam during Denvers lurid red-light-district days. Cort went to Alaska during the gold rush and is said to have accumulated a fortune of $50,000 in gold through crooked card games. When he became involved in a brawl with Jefferson Randolph and Soapy Smith, Cort fled Alaska, leaving his gold buried someplace in or near the town of Chitina.

Among the most fascinating of Alaskan stories is the tale of the Lake of the Golden Bar.

According to the legend, in August of 1884, three prospectors started across the St. Elias Mountains near the Yukon River.

One evening the men came to a small lake and saw myriads of golden rays beaming in the sunlight from a bar only a few feet from the shore. Throwing down their packs, the men swam to the bar and found it literally paved with gold nuggets. The first one they picked up was supposed to have weighed ten pounds, and another weighed fifty pounds!

The prospectors built a cabin and remained at the lake for weeks, picking up gold nuggets and stowing them in a nearby cave. They estimated their hoard at a half ton or more of the precious metal.

Then came hostile Indians, probably one of the fierce Tlinghet tribes who inhabited the area. The Indians burned the cabin and killed one of the partners.

The other two prospectors escaped but became separated. Without provisions, each started alone for civilization. After unbelievable hardships, they reached the coast and eventually the States.

One prospector was paralyzed as a result of the hardships he had undergone during the trip. The other started for Alaska the next summer in the hope of recovering the gold the three had accumulated. He was never heard of again, and his fate remains a mystery.

Though many prospectors have searched for the shining bar and the cave filled with nuggets, neither has ever been found, and the Lake of the Golden Bar remains among Alaskas most intriguing lost treasures.

One of the strangest stories of a ship lost at sea involves a ghost ship and a fortune in furs. In 1931, the steamer Baychimo was caught in an ice pack off Ft. Barrow, Alaska. She carried a million dollars in furs for the Hudson Bay Company. When the ship became trapped, the crew decided they would be safer on the ice, so they abandoned the Baychimo. That night a blizzard came up, and the next morning the ship was gone.

Some time later in the year, a party of Eskimos discovered the Baychimo about 50 miles south of where it had disappeared, and they took off part of the furs. When they returned to take the rest of the valuable cargo, the ghost ship had again sailed away. It was not heard of the following year (1932), when another band of Eskimos found it near Barrow. They went aboard, intending to remove the furs, but the wind began to drift the ship, and they barely escaped with their lives.

The ship was last seen in 1956 in the Beaufort Sea. The chances are good that it is still afloat somewhere in the Arctic, with a treasure of furs preserved by the cold.

There is a rich placer lost somewhere in the wilds of Alaska. Following is a brief account based upon the known facts.

Joe Quigley, a well-known sourdough prospector with an Indian wife, was an independent, hardy man for whom the search was, paradoxically, more important than the gold itself. In the early spring of 1905, he was one of the first white men to reach the Kantishna Hills, a group of rugged 3500-foot high ridges about 30 miles north of Mount McKinley, the highest peak on the North American continent.

The remote Kantishna area, like much of interior Alaska, was almost inaccessible except during the long winter when eight months of bitter cold made dogsled travel possible over the frozen muskeg and tundra. As soon as the spring thaw freed the water, Quigley began panning the gravels of the local Kantishna Creeks. He soon found color in a small unnamed creek that emptied into Moose Creek, a main drainage river in the Kantishna Hills. Working alone, as he preferred to do, he began digging, and when he found the shallow bedrock, it was literally covered with yellow and black nuggets of coarse placer gold.

Joe Quigley knew he had made a major strike. He named the creek Friday, in recognition of the day of discovery, a name which has lasted to the present.

Word of the new strike spread rapidly through the Alaskan brush during the summer. When winter made travel more practical, a small stampede brought hundreds of miners and prospectors, and a gold camp developed rapidly.

But, like all gold camps, the rich gravels played out, and the miners drifted elsewhere in search of new gold fields. A few remained to work what was left, which by todays standards would be considered quite rich, and over the years almost all of the buildings that made up the town were torn down for firewood. Only one cabin that was part of the original townsite still remains.

In 1912, two sourdough prospectors, Forrest Hayden, who had come to the Alaskan gold fields from California, and Russell Hixon, who had made the long trek from Ohio, set out from Kantishna to prospect the other creeks in an untried area near the Kuskokwim River 70 miles to the north. Accompanying them was a half-breed Russian Indian known only as Anatol, who had worked for a year in Kantishna and was widely known because of his pronounced nose, unusual for an Indian.

The three men set out with one sled in the early spring and nothing more was heard of them until September, when Hayden, weak and exhausted, and with a painful toe injury that had become badly infected, stumbled into Kantishna with a wild story about a fabulous gold strike he and his partners had made on the Kuskokwim.

The men listened, more with curiosity than anything else, to Haydens story of several small creeks that emptied into the Kuskokwim where coarse gold, often trapped in the grass roots, was waiting to be picked up. He claimed he had returned for supplies and men to help set up a permanent camp.

While on the way back, he had fallen from a rocky ledge and injured his foot, which had become infected.

It was necessary to amputate Haydens infected toe, and it was very fortunate that he did not lose his entire foot. When he regained his strength, he managed to borrow two dogs and a sled, and cursing the men of Kantishna for not believing and following him, set off alone into the Alaskan winter, where Russell Hixon and the half-breed Anatol were waiting. That was the last anyone ever saw of Forrest Hayden.

In 1914, it was reported that a half-breed Indian had made his way on foot to a small settlement near what is present-day Palmer, Alaska. He was carrying with him two heavy leather bags of coarse placer gold. His arrival caused much excitement, but the Indian wisely did not brag to everyone where he had sluiced the gold. Old-timers recognized the Indian as Anatol, the same man who had once worked the Kantishna area several years earlier, lending credence to the belief that the gold came from the Kukokwim.

There has never been any large scale placer mining in the area where Hayden claimed to have made his strike. To this day, the area has never really been thoroughly prospected, and there is a good chance that a rich placer deposit awaits the man who can retrace Forrest Haydens footprints.

From 1848, when gold was first discovered in the gravel of the Kenia River, to this day, thousands of miners have fared well in all districts of Alaska. The U. S. Geological Survey lists 43 separate districts that have each produced in excess of 10,000 ounces of gold. Until 1959, the total reported take from these districts was well over 29 million troy ounces. Every quadrangle section map in Alaska, of which there are over 150, lists both gold and silver lodes.

Those vacationers who are headed for Alaska are advised to take along a pan and try their luck. Who knows, you may be the lucky one who turns over a rock and finds a 100-ounce nugget!

It was in the late 1920s that this cache was made. The Harris River mine, located on the east coast of Prince of Wales Island, is in southeast Alaska. Among the miners was a man named John Vial. He was an Italian who had worked around Juneau, Alaska, before coming to Hollis, the town that served the Harris River mine and other mines in the area. Like many miners, Vial did a little high-grading when he was in rich ore.

On the days that he was drilling in good-looking ore, he would return to the tunnel after supper. He told the other miners that he was going down to see how the ground broke after blasting.

What he really wanted to do was pick out rich quartz samples showing free gold. He put these into sacks and hid them. Samples which were unusually rich, he brought to the surface in his coat pockets and put into a large glass jar. He kept this jar cached under the floor of the log cabin he bunked in.

About 1927, Vial was on the pump level, which was number three level. He had eighteen sacks of rich ore well-covered with rocks and boards. Under the log cabin, his glass jar was nearly full. A rockslide caught him as he was working. The cave-in nearly killed him, and it was over a year before he was released from the hospital.

When Vial returned to the mine, his first thought was of that precious jar. When he looked beneath the cabin, to his dismay, the jar was gone. Someone evidently had been watching him and had hastened to remove it and its valuable contents.

Then he checked on his sacked cache. His injuries were so extensive that Vial was still very weak. Each of his sacks probably weighed sixty pounds. He may have crammed them to capacity, making them even heavier. He knew that he could never carry out his eighteen sacks of gold ore. So the cache was left in the mine shaft.

The mine is located on the north side of the Harris River, about three-quarters of a mile from the mouth and tide water of Twelvemine Arm.

In January 1929, the mine was closed. The result was that workings below the Harris River flooded and have remained so ever since. This water has been a safeguard for Vials cache.

Years later, Vial told another prospector about his cache, but the fellow did not try to recover the cache. When asked about the mine, he said that it was considered worked out and then closed. He felt that the cost of pumping the mine would not warrant recovering the gold, as at that time the price of gold was well below what it is today. This would not be the case today, for, as we all know, the price of gold per ounce is much higher than it was in 1929.

It was inevitable that with the great Klondike gold rush, there would be some strikes that could not be located again. The Sourdough Sailors lost mine is one of these.

Among the earliest Fortymile prospectors, this mine was reputed to have been wonderfully rich. The Fortymile River headwaters were in Alaska, and the river ran into the Yukon Territory, where it emptied into the Yukon River. Occasionally, the prospectors saw samples from, or heard about, strikes such as that made by the Sourdough Sailor.

He had been a sailor before coming up the Yukon in 1897. No one could remember his name except that it was IrishCasey, maybeand that was what he was called for convenience whenever his story was told. Casey, like most prospectors in the area, worked out of Fortymile, a small town on Fortymile River. Casey was out in the brush trying to cross from Franklin to Davis Creek. There definitely was gold in the area as in the previous September a man named Howard Franklin had discovered rich deposits of coarse gold at a place where a stream, later called Franklin Creek, joined the Southford of the Fortymile River. But Casey got lost. He finally made his way to California Creek and wandered down it. At a certain point he came to a birch tree which had a rusty axe hanging in it. It had evidently been thrust there years ago by someone working in the vicinity. Being attracted to the axe, Casey looked around. Nearby he found a sort of opening in the hillside where the quartz was very decomposed. Upon examination, Casey found this had left exposed a great quantity of gold ore. It was in such concentrated form that Casey was able to pick up, with no equipment except his hands, a sufficient supply to give him what other sourdoughs termed a good competence.

After several days, so the story goes, Casey made his way back to Fortymile. He then decided to return to the States with his wealth. Shortly after going to California, Casey became ill and, before dying, he gave a map to a man named Jim OBrien. OBrien had been in the Cassiar and other mining camps, and had fallen in with Casey in 1897, after he had made his strike. Except for the map, OBrien had no knowledge of the mines location. OBrien gave the original map to a man named Arny Hart in 1898. It is not known whether Hart returned immediately to search for the Sourdough Sailors mine.

Finally, in 1920, Hart, who had by that time become Dawson Citys fire chief, took a three-week summer vacation and went across country to California Creek to see if he could find the mine. However, he was never able to locate it.

Here is the story of the Lost Cabin Mine. It began in 1902, when a lone prospector reportedly discovered a rich lode of gold-bearing quartz in a remote area near the coast of southeastern Alaska. He constructed a cabin nearby and spent several weeks prospecting the surrounding area in an attempt to determine the richness and extent of the mineralized zone. When the prospector completed his sampling and surface assessment work, he knew that a kings ransom lay at his feet.

After carefully noting all landmarks in the vicinity, the prospector shouldered his pack and trekked out to the coast, where he took a ship to Seattle in hopes of raising sufficient capital to develop his find.

In Seattle, the prospector experienced no difficulty convincing a group of speculators to invest in a partnership, as an assay showed that his clip samples contained gold worth $1370 per ton!

The following spring, as soon as the snow line began to creep up the mountain slopes, the prospector and his excited new partners boarded a steamer bound for Juneau, Alaska. They planned to spend the entire summer at the rich site and work it in earnest.

From Juneau, the party trudged their way overland to the settlement of Haines, located on the Lynn Canal. From this point, they penetrated the St. Elias Mountains, a country which at that time was almost entirely unexplored.

Several days later, his clothing in tatters, sick, and half-crazed from starvation and exposure, a lone member of the mining expedition staggered into Haines with a grim tale. He claimed that he was the sole survivor of the group. All the others had perished after crossing several glaciers before they reached the mine site. He said the country was utterly impenetrable and was frequented by wild animals.

The lost mine was allegedly in an area at the top of the Alaskan Panhandle, on the south slopes of the St. Elias Mountains, near where the Alaska, Yukon Territory, and British Columbia boundaries join, northwest of Russell Fiord on Yakutat Bay. Glaciers and towering mountain peaks over 10,000 feet high surround the area on three sides. A jungle of shattered rock and dense, tangled underbrush stretches from the base of the mountains southward to the sea. As late as 1943, this remote corner of Alaska was still called the Lost World by prospectors of the area. So far as is known, the Lost Cabin Mine has never been found.

Every mining state has its stories of rich mines that have become lost. Alaska, with its large area and wealth of valuable minerals, has its own share of lost mines.

One such story is that of the lost mine of the Frenchman of Howkan. It was early in the 1880s that the Frenchman first came to Howkan to replenish his supplies. The fact that a strange white man was in town was enough to excite the Indian villagers. But an even more unusual thing about the Frenchmans visit was the fact that he paid for his purchases with pure gold. The talk that followed, however, did not lead to a gold rush.

Howkan was an important Haida Indian village on Long Island, one of the many small islands that make up what is known as the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. There were nearly 100 natives living at Howkan at the time, and a Presbyterian mission had been established there in 1881.

But the few white people in Howkan were too busy to follow the Frenchman to see where he had filled his poke with gold. The Frenchman was soon forgotten.

Then one day, he returned for more supplies. Again he paid for his purchases with gold from his poke, and the poke was considerably larger than it had been on his previous visit.

For several days, the Frenchman returned periodically to Howkan for supplies and always his poke was full of gold.

As was typical of white men in early Alaskan days, the storekeeper did not stay long in the tiny Indian village. The new storekeeper was more interested in gold. He listened eagerly to the stories of the Frenchmans gold and decided that the man had struck it rich.

When the Frenchman next came in for supplies, the new storekeeper tried to persuade him to discuss his gold strike. But his customer cheerfully evaded all questions. This led the storekeeper to hire several Indians to follow the lucky miner, who skillfully lost them among the small islands and reefs.

A regular steamer made twice-yearly freight stops at Howkan. One fall the Frenchman came to say farewell to his acquaintances, and to board the steamer for Victoria, British Columbia. He never returned.

The area in which the Frenchman found the gold probably lies on the southern tip of Dall Island, an irregular mountainous island with summits from 1500 to 3000 feet in altitude. Many prospects have been located along the east coast of Dall Island. However, improvements of importance have been made on none of these. Because of the isolated location of the island, vigorous prospecting has never been pursued and the Frenchmans lost mine has never been reported found.

It has been estimated that over one million dollars was buried on Adak Island by the captain of the Hitsap, a ship engaged in killing seals. Captain Gregory Dwargstof, of the Hitsap, had stolen this gold from the Sealing Association, of which he was a member, then buried it somewhere on Red Bluff Hill on Adak Island in 1892. Several coins have been found, but the $1,000,000 still waits for some lucky treasure hunter.

Gold has been found in six of the rivers of Alaska. These are the Yukon, Tanana, Chena, Porcupine, Kuskikwin, and Kayukuk. If you search for gold along any of these rivers, be sure and check their tributaries. Sometimes this is where you will find the mother lode.

Two prospectors named Olaf Swendson and Antonio Pauzza found nine mineral bearing ledges in the Talkeetna Mountains, north of Anchorage, Alaska. They mined and carried out, on a packhorse, enough gold to retire them for life. The gold was so rich it could be chopped out with an axe.

Indians had known of this deposit for centuries. The two prospectors, having suffered untold hardships during their stay in the mountains, never returned to their gold bearing ledges. The lost deposit of ore is known as the Lost Swede Mine, and, as far as can be learned, it has not yet been found.

During the summer of 1881, two miners, named Bates and Harper, crossed the mountains from the Yukon River to the Tanana River. While they were fording the north fork of Fortymile River, Bates was swept off his feet by the fast-moving current. After fighting the swift water for several yards, Bates was able to grab an overhanging tree limb and pull himself up on the rivers bank. Here Harper joined him. They built a fire and decided to camp for the night. While gathering firewood, Harper noticed a ledge that had small gold nuggets in it. Taking several ore samples, the two men moved on the next day.

After several months of prospecting, the two returned to San Francisco, Calif. It was here that they had all their ore samples assayed. Imagine their surprise when they learned that the samples of ore they had picked up when Bates fell into the river assayed at $20,000 to the ton.

Harper returned to the area the following year, but Bates was unable to make the trip. Harper was never able to relocate the gold bearing ledge. The two men estimated the location to be twenty miles up from the mouth of Fortymile River, on the right hand side. This is a good location for a modern-day prospector with a metal detector to check into.

One of the best known and yet unsolved robberies in Alaska took place on the Yukon River. In early 1901, a steamer left Fort Yukon heading downstream with a large shipment of gold. A watchman had been hired to guard the shipment en route.

When the ship reached Victors Landing, on the Yukon, the watchman and gold were both gone. A search was made, and the watchman was found hiding in a cabin behind the boat landing. Victor, the owner of the landing, was suspected of having planned the theft of the gold with the help of the watchman.

Victor had developed placer claims, and it was believed by authorities that he intended to claim that the gold came from his deposits. The watchman was taken to Fairbanks and tried for the theft. Although he claimed to be innocent, he was given a long jail term.

The jury agreed that Victor was innocent, and that the watchman must have thrown the gold overboard with a buoy marker near Victors Landing, planning to retrieve it later.

If the jurys conclusion is correct, and it seems to be the only answer, then somewhere near Victors Landing, under a few feet of water, a fortune in gold awaits some lucky diver.

In June of 1900, after months of trying, and many presents, Charlie Stone finally enticed his Indian guide to talk about the gold-laden ledge, which he said was about 50 miles northwest of Wrangell, Alaska. Showing Charlie a piece of quartz laced with gold, the Indian said, You like stone like this You go up to Bay of Death, camp on the right side of Patterson River. Travel up river about eight mile, turn up to high country. Walk mile and a half, you find half-moon lake there. Plenty stone like this I found on slide there.

Thomas Bay was called the Bay of Death by the Indians because several years before a huge landslide had wiped out a native village of 500 inhabitants. Thomas Bay is northwesterly about 50 miles from Wrangell. The bay is somewhat circular and about ten miles in length. On the southeast side is a broad bight, a curve in the shoreline, extending eastward to the moraine of Patterson Glacier. The Patterson River, formed by melting ice from the glacier, flows through the moraine and empties into Thomas Bay.

Stone arrived at Thomas Bay after a three-day journey and set up camp a quarter-mile up Patterson River, on the right-hand side. After going up river two miles from camp, he ascended a hill and here he found a lake, shaped like an S. Using his pan, he obtained good colors, but nothing that excited him. Suddenly he glimpsed a piece of quartz gleaming with free gold. A snag had fallen back on the rivers bank, scraping the over-burden loose and exposing an eight-foot ledge which had been worked smooth by a glacier. Knowing he had located a rich strike, Charlie covered up the ledge, and then picked out landmarks. He could see Frederick Sound, Cape of Strait Light, and Point Vanderput at the mouth of Thomas Bay. To his left he could see the Sukoi Islands and the mouth of Wrangell Narrows.

Charlie returned to Wrangell, showed the rich ore samples to his partners, told the story of the ledge, and then without any explanation, he left for the United States and never returned to Alaska.

Stones partners spent several years searching for this deposit, but were never able to find it. As far as is known, it still has not been found.

Local research could pay off on this location. In 1903, when gold was being brought from Alaska to the United States, almost by the shipload, a theft of $40,000 in gold occurred at Fairbanks, which has never been solved.

A man known as Timothy Owens obtained a job as a guard on a ship tied at the Fairbanks wharfs. During the second night on board, Owens managed to get to the strong-box and remove the gold. He carried it ashore and buried it, then filled the empty box with buck-shot, planning on its weight to fool everyone into believing the gold was still in it.

The next day, the ships steward went to check the contents of the strong-box before sailing and learned that the gold had been removed and replaced by the buck-shot. Law men were notified, they checked stores in Fairbanks, and found that the guard had recently bought a large quantity of buck-shot. Owens was arrested, tried, and sent to prison for a long sentence. There is no record of Owens ever returning to Alaska after he was released from prison, and the gold was never found.

Kitty Hensley was the wife of the owner of the Florence S., a Yukon riverboat during the gold rush years of 1896-1899. Kittys husband eventually left for parts unknown, leaving her with a share of profits from the Florence S. In 1910, she established a home on shore in Fairbanks, after having spent many years as owner/passenger aboard the boat. Her home was 28 Eighth Street in Fairbanks and neighbors reported her as being a hoarder and saver. Forced to spend some time in the hospital with a broken hip, Kittys home was subjected to a thorough cleaning by a local Womens Society. Kitty claimed afterward that items of great value had been discarded by the overzealous ladies. On April 14, 1931, she was found dead of a heart attack, and friends later searched the house for treasure, but found very little of value. A subsequent owner of the house, however, in removing the ornate fireplace Kitty had had installed, found, hidden behind panels, a 4-cent coin in a tobacco sack, a stocking, a leather pouch with $350 in gold dust inside. The other gold dust and money Kitty is known to have had was never found.

In 1918 a stranger hiking from Nome set up camp on the Arctic slope of the Seward Peninsula on the Bering Sea. During that winters severe weather he died of exposure and was buried at Cape York just the way he was found. The body was in such a sad shape that no search of the remains was attempted. It was only later that it was learned that the stranger had paid for goods from a money belt around his waist stuffed with twenty-dollar gold pieces.

Just out of Anchorage are many old roads with abandoned buildings on them, once used by trappers and hopeful miners. South of Anchorage, on the Seward Highway, are many abandoned mines, left behind when news of more strikes elsewhere came in. Canneries were a common sight on Alaskas coast lines in the 1930s. Some were Seward, Homer Valdez, Whittier, and Seldovia. Many of those cannery buildings are now abandoned, but they are all good sites for relics.

This item appeared in the Anchorage Daily News in 1977 (date unknown), from which I quote in part:

A DC 4 Northwest Airlines plane smashed into Mt. Sanford on March 13, 1948. Unfortunately, the only persons who would be able to verify the rumors of gold bullion were killed in that crash.

Thirty-three men died that day when the plane plowed into an almost perpendicular face of the mountainthe only mountain constituting a barrier between Anchorage and the stop it was scheduled to make in Minneapolis. It slid down the mountainside in a ball of flames and came to rest in a virtually inaccessible canyon.

The plane was on its way from Shanghai to New York and carried the 30-man crew of a tanker that had just been delivered to Shanghai plus the 3-man plane crew. The tanker crew was rumored to be carrying millions of dollars in Chinese gold bullion including the money received from the sale of the tanker to the Nationalist Chinese government and their wages.

More than one party of gold seekers has tried to recover this ice-bound bonanza since the time of the crash. The most imaginative attempt has involved the packing of numerous light metal ladders up the slopes of Mt. Sanford in the hopes that they could be connected and lowered into the canyon. This party got within 300 feet of the wreckage before turning away because of extreme avalanche danger.

A group attempting the salvage operation in 1957 reported the plane to be almost buried by rock-slides at that time with only a small section of the tail still visible.

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