Posts Tagged With: Utah

Utah…Lost Treasure….The Lost House Range Placers..


The explorers and surveyors of the American West are an august company that includes the great Lewis and Clark as well as a host of other renowned pathfinders. Men like Fremont, Long, Stansbury, Pike, Abert, and Beale opened up the west as surely as the mountain men who preceded them and the sutlers and traders who followed them. One of the most promising of these early explorers and surveyors was an Army engineer and West Point graduate named John W. Gunnison.

The idea of an intercontinental railroad stretching from coast to coast was not new in 1853. Fremont’s expeditions during the 1840’s were focused on finding the best route through the mountains for a railroad. In 1853, when an expedition was mounted to survey the west-central portion of Utah, John Gunnison was a natural choice to lead the party. His credentials were impeccable. He had cut his teeth as a surveyor for the Stansbury Expedition in 1849 and he knew the central Utah area well. Gunnison assumed command of the party, which included two survivors from Fremont’s disastrous fourth expedition of 1848, Richard Kern and Frederick Creutzfeldt. Kern was the expedition’s artist and topographer while Creutzfeldt served as botanist. The Gunnison expedition entered Utah Territory in the fall of 1853, passing through the town of Manti on its way to Fillmore. From Fillmore, the party traveled west, reaching the Gunnison Bend of the Sevier River, southwest of present-day Delta. To the west, Gunnison could see the wrinkled peaks of the House Range rising up from the Sevier Valley. To the southwest, he could see the meandering course of the Sevier River as it disappeared toward Sevier Lake. This was a good place. They made camp.

The following morning, the Gunnison Expedition awoke to the sounds of war cries and rifle shots. The end had come. A band of 30 or so Pahvant Indians descended upon the hapless explorers, killing all but four of the party. The dead included the leader, John Gunnison, and the two veterans from Fremont’s expedition, Kern and Creutzfeldt.

As he gazed westward the evening before the massacre, Gunnison may have been contemplating a route through the House Range into the Tule Valley beyond. The House Range stretches some 60 miles in a north-south direction and forms the western boundary of Sevier Valley. It extends from Sand Pass southward to the Wah-Wah Valley. Along its entire length the range is no more than 10 miles wide. House Range is transected by three major passes. Dome Canyon Pass is the northernmost pass, Marjum Canyon lies eight miles to the south, and Skull Rock Pass, south of Sawtooth Mountain, forms the southernmost and main portal through the range.

The House Range still holds many secrets. Prospectors have roamed these mountains for over two centuries. Evidence of early Spanish mining activity still occasionally surfaces. Caches of old Spanish tools and mining equipment have been discovered in the central part of the range, near the only major gold-producing area in the entire county.

Millard County has never been a major producer of gold. Only 500 ounces are officially recorded for the county. Most of this production hails from the small placer deposits of the House Range. Located in North Canyon and Miller Canyon, the gold placers were worked extensively during the 1930’s. Surely more than 500 ounces of gold were taken from the two canyons during the depression years, not to mention the efforts of the early Spaniards in the area. One story in particular has come down to us regarding an incredibly rich placer deposit somewhere in the House Range. In a single transaction, the discoverer of this placer sold more than 300 ounces of gold – 60% of the total recorded production for the entire county! The discovery occurred sometime during the late 1930’s. A Mexican sheepherder working in the House Range stumbled upon a glory hole of placer gold somewhere on the slopes of the mountains. The deposit must have been rich for the Mexican turned up in the nearby town of Delta with several sacks of fine gold dust. On one of his visits, the sheepherder sold more than 20 pounds of gold to a local doctor. Of course, the Mexican never revealed the location of his find and soon dropped out of sight. He was never seen again. Prospectors have searched the House Range for many years but the Mexican’s lost placer remains hidden to this day.

Categories: gold, Lost Treasure, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Utah…Lost Treasure…The Lost House Range Placers…


The Lost House Range Placers….

The explorers and surveyors of the American West are an august company that includes the great Lewis and Clark as well as a host of other renowned pathfinders. Men like Fremont, Long, Stansbury, Pike, Abert, and Beale opened up the west as surely as the mountain men who preceded them and the sutlers and traders who followed them. One of the most promising of these early explorers and surveyors was an Army engineer and West Point graduate named John W. Gunnison.

The idea of an intercontinental railroad stretching from coast to coast was not new in 1853. Fremont’s expeditions during the 1840’s were focused on finding the best route through the mountains for a railroad. In 1853, when an expedition was mounted to survey the west-central portion of Utah, John Gunnison was a natural choice to lead the party. His credentials were impeccable. He had cut his teeth as a surveyor for the Stansbury Expedition in 1849 and he knew the central Utah area well. Gunnison assumed command of the party, which included two survivors from Fremont’s disastrous fourth expedition of 1848, Richard Kern and Frederick Creutzfeldt. Kern was the expedition’s artist and topographer while Creutzfeldt served as botanist. The Gunnison expedition entered Utah Territory in the fall of 1853, passing through the town of Manti on its way to Fillmore. From Fillmore, the party traveled west, reaching the Gunnison Bend of the Sevier River, southwest of present-day Delta. To the west, Gunnison could see the wrinkled peaks of the House Range rising up from the Sevier Valley. To the southwest, he could see the meandering course of the Sevier River as it disappeared toward Sevier Lake. This was a good place. They made camp.

The following morning, the Gunnison Expedition awoke to the sounds of war cries and rifle shots. The end had come. A band of 30 or so Pahvant Indians descended upon the hapless explorers, killing all but four of the party. The dead included the leader, John Gunnison, and the two veterans from Fremont’s expedition, Kern and Creutzfeldt.

As he gazed westward the evening before the massacre, Gunnison may have been contemplating a route through the House Range into the Tule Valley beyond. The House Range stretches some 60 miles in a north-south direction and forms the western boundary of Sevier Valley. It extends from Sand Pass southward to the Wah-Wah Valley. Along its entire length the range is no more than 10 miles wide. House Range is transected by three major passes. Dome Canyon Pass is the northernmost pass, Marjum Canyon lies eight miles to the south, and Skull Rock Pass, south of Sawtooth Mountain, forms the southernmost and main portal through the range.

The House Range still holds many secrets. Prospectors have roamed these mountains for over two centuries. Evidence of early Spanish mining activity still occasionally surfaces. Caches of old Spanish tools and mining equipment have been discovered in the central part of the range, near the only major gold-producing area in the entire county.

Millard County has never been a major producer of gold. Only 500 ounces are officially recorded for the county. Most of this production hails from the small placer deposits of the House Range. Located in North Canyon and Miller Canyon, the gold placers were worked extensively during the 1930’s. Surely more than 500 ounces of gold were taken from the two canyons during the depression years, not to mention the efforts of the early Spaniards in the area. One story in particular has come down to us regarding an incredibly rich placer deposit somewhere in the House Range. In a single transaction, the discoverer of this placer sold more than 300 ounces of gold – 60% of the total recorded production for the entire county! The discovery occurred sometime during the late 1930’s. A Mexican sheepherder working in the House Range stumbled upon a glory hole of placer gold somewhere on the slopes of the mountains. The deposit must have been rich for the Mexican turned up in the nearby town of Delta with several sacks of fine gold dust. On one of his visits, the sheepherder sold more than 20 pounds of gold to a local doctor. Of course, the Mexican never revealed the location of his find and soon dropped out of sight. He was never seen again. Prospectors have searched the House Range for many years but the Mexican’s lost placer remains hidden to this day.

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

Lost Josephine Gold Mine finally been found? $1.7BILLION bonanza abandoned by Spanish priests…


An adventurous treasure hunter claims he has found a legendary lost gold mine in the mountains of northeastern Utah – a $1.7billion bonanza first discovered by Spanish priests in 1650 that has laid dormant for more than three centuries.

Gary Holt believes that he and his son have found the Josephine de Martinque mine at Hoyt’s Peak in the Uinta Mountains – and they only need federal government permission to delve deep enough to claim their prize, the Park Record newspaper reports.

The Lost Josephine Mine was fabled to be the richest gold mine in the world. It was first documented by Spanish Jesuit priests in 1650.

Discovery: Brandon Holt, pictured, and his father Gary say they have found an abandoned Spanish gold mine from the 1600s

Discovery: Brandon Holt, pictured, and his father Gary say they have found an abandoned Spanish gold mine from the 1600s

The U.S. Forest Service is skeptical, saying the cavern is likely a natural formation and that it contains no gold deposits

The U.S. Forest Service is skeptical, saying the cavern is likely a natural formation and that it contains no gold deposits

The explorers say they have found calcite semi-precious gemstones in the cavern, but no gold

The explorers say they have found calcite semi-precious gemstones in the cavern, but no gold

But U.S. Forest Service officials say the mine is a fairy tale – and treasure hunters are defacing a natural cave and destroying formations that are millions of years old as they search for riches.

Mr Holt told the Park Record that he has yet to find gold in the cavern.

He obtained a mining permit and said he has so far pulled millions of dollars worth of calcite crystals from the shaft. He markets them as ‘Goldite’ and says they could become valuable as semi-precious gemstones.

So far, though, the spelunking into the cavern has not yet yielded any gold. Mr Holt remains undeterred. In a 2009 post on the treasure hunter forum Ancient Lost Treasures, Mr Holt suggests that the mine could contain $1.7billion in gold.

Officials say the ‘Goldite’ mining operation is little more than a ruse to allow Mr Holt to continue looking for gold.

The caver is at the bottom of a deep shaft that Mr Holt and his friends have been exploring for years

The caver is at the bottom of a deep shaft that Mr Holt and his friends have been exploring for years

This is a 'Goldite' outcropping - calcite that Mr Holt believes he can sell for millions as a semi-precious stone

This is a ‘Goldite’ outcropping – calcite that Mr Holt believes he can sell for millions as a semi-precious stone

Revolution: The mine was abandoned by the Spanish in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt when Indians drove them from their claims in New Mexico

Revolution: The mine was abandoned by the Spanish in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt when Indians drove them from their claims in New Mexico

He says the hunt for gold is ‘still in active development.’

References to the the Lost Josephine Mine first appear in records of Spanish Jesuit priests in 1650. It was said to be the most valuable gold mine in the world.

Three decades later, the priests were forced to abandon the mind when the Spanish were driven out of the New Mexico Territory during the 1680 Pueblo Revolution uprising by the Pueblo Indians.

The exact location of the mine has been lost ever since.

But, Forest Service Archeologist Tom Flanagan, says the the myth of the Lost Josephine Mine being in northeast Utah is nothing but a fairy tale.

‘If we had those kinds of gold mines in the Uintas (Mountains), I’d be a rich man,’ he told the Park Record.

‘A lot of treasure hunters will map on a natural solution cavity and try to purport that it’s a historic or ancient mine and then try to mine it.’

Location: Other explorers have long believed that the that the lost mine - with untold riches - was located at Hoyt's Peak in northeastern Utah

Location: Other explorers have long believed that the that the lost mine – with untold riches – was located at Hoyt’s Peak in northeastern Utah

Categories: Ancient Treasure, gold, Lost Mines, Lost Treasure, Treasure Hunters, Utah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Over 1,000 Ancient Stone Tools, Left by Great Basin Hunters, Found in Utah Desert….


An array of stone tools discovered in northern Utah — including the largest instrument of its kind ever recorded — may change what we know about the ancient inhabitants of the Great Basin, archaeologists say.

Researchers exploring the desert flats west of Salt Lake City have uncovered more than a thousand tools, such as spear points, a type of rectangular implement that hasn’t been reported before, and objects that an archaeologist describes as “giant scrapers coming out of the ground … fresh as daisies.”

Largest Haskett spear point, Utah
One of the spear heads found at the site is the largest Haskett point yet found, measuring 22.6 centimeters, or about 9 inches. (Courtesy of Far Western Anthropological Research Group)

“We collected a thousand-some artifacts on this survey, and those are tools, not just [stone] flakes,” said Dr. Daron Duke, lead researcher of the team that made the finds. “There are tools lying out there.

“It’s a virtual blitzkrieg when you’re walking. I had to be careful about how people stopped and recorded things.”

The tools were found in 2012 on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range, where Duke’s firm, the Far Western Anthropological Research Group, was hired to conduct a survey before a section of the range was developed.

“I’ve driven around down there and have found a few things, and I was always interested to be there,” Duke said, who stresses that removing artifacts from federal lands is illegal.

“Then lo and behold we have a project right where I always want to be. So I was telling people, ‘Better keep your eyes peeled — I think we’re going to find some cool stuff.’

“But I couldn’t have predicted the scale at which we did.”

Based on ecological evidence and radiocarbon dates of organic matter in the area, laid down when this desert was a wetland, the oldest of the artifacts date to between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago, Duke said.

The most striking of the tools are 55 long, slender spear points and fragments, fashioned in a style known as Haskett — a tradition that’s associated with the Great Basin region, but rarely found.

One of the complete spear heads is the largest Haskett point yet found, measuring 22.6 centimeters (about 9 inches).

And another was found to contain a residue of elephant proteins, making it the first likely evidence of mammoth-hunting in the Great Basin.

[See the first Columbian mammoth hair recovered: “First Columbian Mammoth With Hair Discovered on California Farm“]

Together, these finds help clarify a picture that has remained hazy for archaeologists: the life and times of the Great Basin’s earliest inhabitants, who may have been contemporaries of the ancient and widespread Clovis culture.

“Haskett is very rare, anywhere,” said Duke. “Like Clovis, it relates to the earliest folks.

“They were probably moving around with a sort of condensed tool kit, and I guess you could say they were low visibility. There weren’t many people around, and they didn’t leave much of a record.

“But we just got lucky here.”

The archaeologists’ good fortune was probably the result of a bit of bad luck for ancient hunters, Duke pointed out.

“If you’re slinging these [spear points] at an elephant in a marsh, you’ll probably lose some of them,” he said.

“And that’s what I think we’re finding — things lost in action.”

Haskett points are thought to be part of the larger Western Stemmed tradition of tool-making, whose artifacts are found throughout the Great Basin.

And mounting evidence, including the new findings from Utah, suggests that the people who fashioned Western Stemmed tools were contemporaneous with the Clovis culture.

“There’s no doubt that the people who made fluted [Clovis] points are not those people who made Haskett points,” Duke said.

“Even though they accomplish the same thing, they’re just completely different in their design.”

While several Clovis tools have been found in clear hunting contexts, the mammoth proteins detected on one of the newly found Haskett points is a first for this tradition, Duke added.

“There’s definitely no site that has an association with mammoths and the Western Stemmed tradition,” he said.

mammoth haskett point utah
This point was found to contain a residue of elephant proteins, making it the first likely evidence of mammoth-hunting in the Great Basin. (Courtesy Daron Duke)

“So this residue evidence, if you want to consider it valid, is a smoking gun.”

[Read about a similar recent find: “10,000-Year-Old Stone Tool Site Discovered in Suburban Seattle“]

In addition to these many revelations, the patch of barren Air Force land has also turned up other compelling finds, such as large scrapers that seem to have eroded out of the ground only recently.

“There was one big scraper in particular that was actually sticking out of the ground,” Duke said.

“When I pulled it out, the top half had a light sheen from weathering, and the bottom half looked like it was flaked yesterday.”

The team also found a type of tool that doesn’t seem to have been recognized previously by archaeologists.

“There’s a class of artifacts that’s pretty much defined [by this locality] that I’ve never even heard of before,” Duke said.

His team found 19 extremely sharp, double-sided tools that they call rectangular bifaces, fashioned from broken Haskett stems, he said.

“Let’s say you break a point so you have one of these — you rework one end and rework the other, using a special flaking technique that creates an acute angle, so they’re very sharp.

“They appear to be used for some sort of intensive gouging of hard material, like bone or wood,” Duke added.

“These are artifacts that are not recognized in any of the other Paleoindian assemblages.”

These preliminary findings from the Utah Test and Training Range have shown enough potential that Duke has already secured permission and funding to excavate the site.

[Learn about an unusual find made nearby: “Utah Cave Full of Children’s Moccasins Sheds Light on Little-Known Ancient Culture“]

His aim, he says, is to uncover more new insights into the lifeways of the Great Basin’s earliest inhabitants, from what they hunted to when exactly they made this now-vanished wetland their home.

“I’m going to go out there and do everything I can to find some buried artifacts,” he said.

“It’d be nice if they’re Haskett points, but if I’m getting big scrapers that you scrape hides with and they come up with mammoth residue on them, well, we’re really getting somewhere.”

Duke reports his team’s findings in the journal PaleoAmerica.

Categories: Archaeology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE LOST WAGON TRAIN TREASURE…………..


 

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.

Categories: Lost Treasure | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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