Posts Tagged With: Mormon

The Lost Rhodes Mine…Where Brother Brigham Got His Gold……

A man named Mr. Boren has discovered that he was a descendant of a man who was good friends with Chief Wakara, who happened to be the Chief of the Northern Ute’s/Aztecs during the crucial time that the Pioneers first inhabited Salt Lake. Journals of his great grandfather (Bro. Isaac Morley) were given to him, although he does not say by whom, and found out that this descendant was the company leader of a team heading south to settle in the San Pete valley. His journals described the relationships between the Indians and the Pioneers, but mainly reflects his friendship between himself and Chief Wakara as they became very close. Their friendship would prove valuable in later years. Chief Wakara would eventually demand that he take Bro. Morley to Carre-Shinob and “The Sacred Mine.” Carre-Shinob, to the Ute Indians, is a sacred place that supposedly was built by the ancestors and holds millions of dollars in gold. The Sacred Mine on the other hand, is just one of the extensive caves that contain stashed, already refined gold. Chief Wakara admitted to Bro. Morley that he had received a vision from “Towats”, (the Lord,) that he should give the gold to the “tall hat’s” when they arrived. That spring, with Brigham Young’s permission, the Chief lead Bro. Morley to the sacred mines where bro. Morley collected about 58 pounds of refined gold and eventually sent it to B.Y. in Salt Lake City. The Church used it to decorate the temple and for funds to construct new highways from Salt Lake southward. Young decided to test out the new roads and made a trip south to the newly established colony in the San Pete valley. (During his stay, Young named the city “Manti” at Morley’s’ request.) Here he met with Bro. Morley and the Chief to discuss the possibility of bringing more gold down from the Uinta mountains. Young explained that the gold would be used for a sacred purpose of which “Towats” would be pleased, for the adornment of the temple, in his honor, and to make a statue which would stand atop the Temple of Towats in Salt Lake City. Chief Wakara happily agreed but told them that only one man was to know where the mine was and that the man that knew had to be equally trusted by both parties. The Chief quickly nominated Bro. Morley as his candidate and Young agreed, but soon there after Morley stated that he was too old to make any more trips. So during the next few years the search was on for a new man to make the, almost yearly trip. The problem was, was that by mid January of 1851, the church was running low on money again. Gov. Young had no choice but to ask Bro. Morley if he would make one last run, but he denied the request. Finally after almost begging on Young’s part, Bro. Morley left for one last trek to the caves.
In May of 1852 Young had chosen a new man to bring the gold from the sacred mine. His name was Thomas Rhoades. He took Rhoades to Manti to meet Morley and the Chief. Moreover, Young wanted the Chiefs approval on Rhoades being the new person for the gold extractions. Wakara tentatively agreed, but wanted Young to act as a mediator to bring peace between the Ute’s and the warring Shoshone Indians. Brigham also wanted further assurances that the Chief was not going to change his mind once the agreement was made and had the Chief swear on a Book of Mormon. Gov. Young held a meeting for the two tribe leaders and eventually got them to pass the peace pipe. Rhoades was subsequently sent for more gold and returned with 62 pounds of “pure gold.”

Less than a year after this treaty was made Chief Wakara declared war again, but this time it was on the Mormons, for passing a law outlawing the selling of their own children, as Indian slaves to the Spaniards passing through the area. The Indians made lots of money doing this. This war was considered the “Wakara War.” (An interesting note is that the Chief never once attacked the City of Manti or any of Morley’s’ colonies.) After a year of fighting Chief Wakara gave up to Young. He and Morley surprisingly became closer after the war, which would make Young a little suspicious of Morley. It was said that during a meeting with the apostles, Young stated that it seemed that Bro. Morley cared more for the Indians than his own Mormon affairs. Of course this is speculation, but it is clear from Morley’s journals that their relationship suffered during these times.

In January of 1855, Chief Wakara died and his son, (Arapeen), succeeded him as Chief. At the same time Thomas Rhoades also became sick and could no longer make the trips into the mountains. So, Brigham was faced with a huge dilemma. He wasn’t even sure if the new chief would honor the agreement that he had made with his father and even if he did, Young would have to get permission from Arapeen to allow Caleb Rhoades (Thomas Rhoades son), to take over the gold extractions. But due to the fact that Arapeen new that his father trusted Morley to a great extent, the new Chief had no problems with this, but obviously did not trust Caleb, because for the first three trips Arapeen sent Indian escorts with him. After Caleb married an Indian girl, however, he became, in Arapeen’s eyes, trustworthy enough to go alone. In the end though, Caleb would be shot with an arrow on Tabby Mountain, because he secretly went back to the mine with out Ute permission. After this the mines were sealed up and the maps, that were secretly drawn by Rhoades, along with others that were found on a dead Mexican found in Chicken Creek, were hidden in the church archives.
Young new that if the word got out that Utah had these treasures, it would cause a gold rush bigger than that of the California Hysteria. Thus the reason why the church keeps this information so concealed even to this day. The other reason is that, as mentioned above, early church leaders including Brigham Young, threatened excommunication for saints that participated in the prospecting for gold. This is why very little information about these men and their expeditions can be found, because they were done in secret. Mr. Boren does insist though, that he has uncovered various state and church documents proving these facts/stories, found in his great grandfathers journals, to be true. The documents mainly being found in the churchs’ granite vault. NOTE: This is probably the largest of Montezuma’s hidden stashes. And even though the Church does not have legal “claims” on it, the Lord may be keeping it for future use. As for the Ute’s, they won’t go near it. They say that it is too sacred.

Spanish Map used by Rhodes…..

Rhodes hand drawn map to mine…

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In 1856, war between Utah and the federal government appeared imminent. Brigham Young and the Mormon elders decided to gather the wealth of the Mormon Church and to protect it by finding a suitable hiding place. They dispatched several converted Indians to find an appropriate place. A large cave was found between the present towns of Pioche and Ely in what’s now the state of Nevada.

In Utah, every attempt was being made to convert every possible asset to gold. Goods were sold to passing travelers, banks were being liquidated, and church members were being drained of all possible cash. Over $1.5 million dollars were collected, mostly in gold.

Relations with the federal government seemed to be improving until news reached Brigham Young of the infamous Mountain Meadow Massacre. For reasons still unclear, the members of an entire wagon train from Arkansas were slaughtered, leaving only a few of the very youngest children alive.

Brigham Young now felt that even the cave would be unsafe. He ordered that the gold be transferred to the Mormon town of San Bernardino in California, from where, if necessary, it could be moved quickly to Mexico.

Twenty-two wagons with an armed escort of forty Utah militiamen traveled to the cave to remove all of the gold. They decided to take a route that would bypass any settlements to avoid any detection. To do this, they would have to travel across the uncharted area of south-central Nevada.

However, the desert proved to be too much, even for these hardy men. They soon found themselves critically short of water and all efforts to locate water proved futile. Finally, they decided the best solution was to go back to the last water they had passed. So, leaving the gold wagons and horses to the care of the teamsters, the forty militiamen headed back.

Several days later, the militiamen returned only to find the teamsters murdered, the wagons burned, the horses stolen and the gold gone. The Piutes had wiped them out to a man. There was absolutely no trace of the gold. After a diligent search, the militiamen returned home. Subsequent searches by the Mormons proved equally fruitless. None of the gold has ever surfaced, as far as anyone has ever been able to tell.

The gold is still out there for someone to find. By today’s value, the gold would be worth over 30 million dollars. However, the aesthetic value would be much, much higher.

The gold is too heavy to have been moved very far without the wagons, so it would have to be hidden close to the massacre site.

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