Grandfathers Stories of Lost Fortunes
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  1. #1

    Jun 2010
    Wherever there be treasure!
    An older blue Excal with connector, remote, Skullie headphones, and various coils. Got rid of the rest of my machines.
    8673 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Grandfather's Stories of Lost Fortunes

    Grandfather's Stories of Lost Fortunes
    Toss another log on the fire, pour yourself a steaming cup of hot coco, spring is still several weeks away. Perhaps, even after death, grandfather can help you while away the winter.

    My grandfather will forever hold a special place in my heart. He was someone I really admired and looked up to when I was young and his presence really impacted my life. Now I could go on and on about my grandfather but this text isn't about my grandfather, but rather it is about the many stories that he told. Where all of those stories came from one can only wonder, however, it seemed he was never short in providing new ones whenever he thought a good story might be appropriate.

    Of the countless stories he told me many of them touched upon treasure in all of its various forms. These tales of adventure, whether long or short, always flowed from his lips as if they were still fresh in his mind, as if he had actually lived them. Of these treasure stories the one's I enjoyed the most were those tales of lost fortunes, the adventures and colorful characters always striking a deep cord inside of me.

    Through grandfather's stories I learned the thrill of adventure and the agony of defeat. So allow me to share some these lost treasure stories with you now. True or not they excite the imagination and they expose the possibilities. I hope you enjoy! I only wish my grandfather was here to tell them to you himself.

    The Lost Ferret Mine, in Dead Man's Hole
    Now we've all read some pretty wild treasure stories over the years but I doubt the majority of them can hold a candle to the legend of Willy “The Ferret” Smith. Now Willy wasn't always known as The Ferret, this nickname not being bestowed upon him until after the event that I'm about to tell you. So lend me your ear while I relay to you the tale of a fabulous lost mine, The Lost Ferret Mine, in Dead Man's Hole.

    Today we might think the nickname, The Ferret, would be more liking to a gangster but if you lived in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in south-central Colorado during the late 1860's then you'd know this nickname had to do with the legendary prospector, Willy Smith.

    Willy was well known in the region, though mostly for his heavy drinking, bad temper and tall but slim frame. On account of his very nature not too many folks liked Willy and most tried to avoid having anything to do with him. Legend says there wasn't a nastier and meaner man in the entire mountain range and that was sure saying quite a bit about the man. Part of the man's legend says that he was so evil tempered that he once strangled his burro to death just because it was moving too slow. Another tale claims that he once shot a partner dead just for splashing more mud on his already muddy boots. True or not these little sidebars offer evidence as to just what people thought of Willy Smith.

    In the fall of 1867, after a long absence, Willy came strolling into Santa Fe with two pack mules and a load of gold ore. When the ore was finally essayed it was said to be worth $10'000 to $12'000 a ton, so it was an extremely rich ore. Needless to say everyone spent that entire winter trying their best to get Willy to tell them where he had found the ore, they even tried bribing him and buying him drinks hoping he'd eventually slip up but he never did. In fact, legend says Willy even quit drinking and that he even started to tone things down a bit, nearly becoming a good man. Funny what money can do to a man. Funny how the lack of it can cause him to be angry and nasty all the time.

    Anyway, come the next spring Willy knew there would be folks trying to follow him to his mine so he took extra precautions and measures to insure that none would be able to. This he got away with for two years before an Indian named Redfox finally took up his trail. Redfox wasn't exactly a renegade but he wasn't exactly a saint either. There was a lot of suspicion surrounding Redfox but never any proof so he was left alone until which time there was enough proof and it certainly wasn't going to take much to quickly earn him the rope. But Redfox was smart, smart like a fox, just as his name hinted.

    Unlike the others who had tried to follow Willy to his mine Redfox was patient and he knew the lay of the land like the back of his hand. This allowed Redfox to follow Willy without losing his trail despite all of Willy's extra precautions and measures. And once Redfox knew where the mine was at he was patient again, waiting until Willy had gathered a good load of rich ore before deciding to kill him. But what Redfox hadn't counted on was that Willy was a whole lot tougher and meaner then his thin appearance presented. When Redfox finally launched his assault that morning it wouldn't be until dusk that same evening before the battle had been decided, Redfox laying on the ground dead as a stone and Willy being very close to the same.

    Given his injuries Willy knew it wasn't very likely that he could make it back to Santa Fe so he decided to head down into the Rio Grande Valley with the hope of encountering some help on the main trail, which against heavy odds he did. It was here that he ran into three rough and tumble miners who were on their way to Santa Fe and at first Willy thought that he might be safe but it just didn't go down that way.

    Sure enough the minors made camp and tended to Willy's serious injuries as best they knew how, or how Willy told them to. The next morning Willy told the three miners what had happened between him and Redfox, told them how Redfox had ambushed him with a well placed arrow and then how he had tried to finish the job quickly and quietly with a hatched. The three minors knew the story was true on account of the arrow they had removed from Willy's back and all the deep gashes they had tended to on Willy's arms, chest, side, and even his head. From what they had seen of his wounds Willy was close to death, no doubt about it.

    Blame it on the blows to his head or exhaustion and fatigue from the many wounds on his body, but when Willy told those three miners his story he had also told them his name, a name they had all heard in connection with a fabulously rich mine. This set the three miners to thinking things over, Willy pretty much telling them where his mine was at, or pretty darn close, and besides, he was close to death and the odds were pretty good that he'd never live to see Santa Fe again anyway. Given the circumstances the three rough and tumble miners figured this might be their only chance at ever striking it rich. All they had to do was to find the body of Redfox, the rich mine being only a few short steps away.

    Well now, the next day old Willy found himself laying in a shallow grave with some dirt and rock tossed over him, the rock allowing for a few air holes to the surface. And this is where Willy earned the nickname, The Ferret, on account that he was able to ferret his way out of that shallow grave. Once he was standing on top of the earth again Willy thought things over and he decided it would be best if he covered that shallow grave back up so that folks would still believe he was in it. Then Willy just sort of disappeared into the landscapes. It would be ten years before anyone ever heard from Willy again.

    Ten years later Willy was laying in his death bed in Denver and in his last days he made an incredible confession. Willy said that after he crawled out of that shallow grave he went back to his mine and discovered the three miners inside, a few sticks of dynamite sealing their fate forever. When asked why he never went back to his mine to mine more gold Willy told those listening that he already had enough gold to last him his lifetime, and apparently he had. When asked where his rich mine had been located Willy would only say, with a slight grin, that it was in, “Dead Man's Hole.”

    And that there is the story of The Lost Ferret Mine in Dead Man's Hole.

    The Lost Bear Trap Mine
    Wallace Went was a loner, as were a lot of mountain men. In size he was a stout man but by nature he was generally a quiet fellow, a man of few words. Wallace wasn't a prospector, instead he was a hunter and a trapper of fine animal furs, this being how he made his living. So when Wallace came riding into to town with a saddlebag full of rich gold ore it created quite a stir in Cripple Creek. And when this rich ore was eventually assayed at $11'000 per ton this really got folks excited.

    Naturally everybody wanted to know where Wallace had found the ore and one evening while sitting for a few drinks Wallace decided to tell them. “I was trapping bear, had one all holed up in a small cave just below the timberline. So I set to burying a few big steel bear traps outside the cave's entrance. It was while I was burying those heavy foot-traps that I started finding that rich ore, chunks of buried everywhere. And that's all I got to say about it.” And that's all Wallace would say.

    Well, as one might expect some folks didn't like the idea of Wallace hiding his secret from them and as a result insults started mixing with all of the drinking. Wallace was seen as a mountain man, not a prospector, so the notion that he had lucked into a rich pay just didn't settle very well with some of the area's drunken miners. Soon a fight broke out and it was during this violent brawl that poor Wallace was shot dead from a single shotgun blast, his secret apparently dying with him. Or so folks thought.

    About a year later two prospectors came strolling into Cripple Creek and it was here that they told of a mysterious scene they had witnessed while passing through the mountains. The miner's said they entered a narrow valley and started up the opposite ridge where they found the remains a man with a big steel bear trap clamped tight on his leg. Upon closer inspection they had found a piece of rich ore wedged into one of the heavy links. When assayed that piece of ore matched those that Wallace Went had found.

    Irish Whiskey Gold
    He came stumbling into Fairplay drunk as a skunk and as loud as a screaming mountain lion. Tommy McGill had finally struck it rich! But unfortunately there was a problem, as one might expect in Tommy's drunken state.

    The man had discovered a rich pocket of fine gold while doing some high banking
    on a wide step just above a small creek. In fact, Tommy had found so much fine gold he had poured it all into the three empty whiskey bottles he had in camp, these he then buried at a location he could remember. Problem was, Tommy was always drunk and in celebration of his rich discovery this had only caused him to drink more. In fact, he stayed drunk all the way into Fairplay, was down to his last sip when he finally came stumbling into town with an empty whiskey bottle half-full of nearly pure fine gold.

    Needless to say Tommy could never again find his way back to where he had found his strike or to where he had buried those three whiskey bottles full of pure fine gold. Legend says that Tommy McGill quit drinking soon after and that he also turned to preaching the gospel.

    Wolf-pack Gold
    Now here's a wild story if ever there was one. In the summer of 1868 Milo Evens was roaming about the mountains sampling streams and creeks here and there, and with little luck except for a small pouch with a modest amount of color that he carried in his pocket. Needless to say he was growing quite discouraged and considering returning to the family farm in Ohio. But to do so would mean admitting defeat so he decided to give his prospecting efforts the rest of the summer. Perhaps, as you will soon learn, Milo should have just gone back to Ohio.

    They say that good things come to those who wait but there is nothing said about the good things remaining in one's life. Such was the case with Milo Evens, good fortune about to befall him only to depart much faster then it had arrived. However, in the end Milo had been a very lucky man, indeed.

    Milo was of average high and weight but he was also in great physical condition, strong and lean and quick on his feet, his thirties perhaps presenting the prime of his life. Where most men would seriously weigh the notion of climbing into the upper timberline Milo never gave it a second thought, this representing just more mountain and routine challenge to him. Besides, Milo rather liked the notion of added adventure. And so he decided to head to that higher ground in search of his fortune since it was obviously eluding him down below.

    Now all of this is said to have taken place somewhere on the north slope of Pike's Peak so the general terrain can be easily identified on just about any map of the day. Anyway, it was during one night while he was camped in the edge of the upper timberline that Milo heard three faded gun blast off in the distance, these being barely audible to the ear and Milo had good hearing. So for a time Milo put off going to bed, throwing a few extra pieces of wood on the fire so he could see if anything developed. A few hours later he was convinced things were safe so he climbed into his bedroll and he called it a night.

    The next morning he was once again sitting by the fire enjoying a little grub when some motion off to his right caught his attention. Jumping to his feet with rifle in hand he was surprised to see a lone burro slowly moving his way, a heavily loaded leather pack draped across its back. There was nobody else around, no replies to his calls for a possible individual to show himself. All there was was this one lone burro aimlessly wondering about so Milo grabbed the burro's reins and he secured it to a tree adjacent to his camp. After a couple of hours it was clear that nobody was going to show up to claim the animal.

    And this is where the story turns interesting and mysterious. Upon closer inspection Milo discovered that the leather pack was full of high paying ore of the richest nature, some of the pieces appearing to be pure gold nuggets the size of chicken eggs. How the animal had managed to carry it all was anyone's guess, at least a couple hundred pounds of the rich ore making its back arch. With nobody around to claim the ore it appeared that Milo had struck it rich and he wasted little time starting the long track back to civilization so he could cash in on his newly discovered wealth. Suddenly life was good, very good!

    In order to save the animal too much burden Milo exchanged some of the ore in the leather pack for his lighter bedroll and just enough provisions to get him back home. The ore he had removed from the packs he carried over his shoulder in his own leather pack. Travel was slow and enduring but it was the only way to insure that the burro wouldn't fall over from complete exhaustion. Had Milo been in lesser shape he could have never managed the task alone. His only other option would have been to hide half of the gold and come back for it later but he knew how those same stories often ended up badly and so he pushed forward with his heavy load at a snail's pace. With so much at stake there was simply no other way.

    That next evening, as Milo sat by the campfire resting his bones he suddenly found himself surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves, this perhaps explaining those faded gun blast he had heard the night before and the aimless wanderings of the lone burro. He couldn't tell just how many wolves there were, maybe a dozen or so but certainly more then enough to do him in if he offered them the chance. With this in mind Milo built his fire bigger and he brought the burro closer to the flame, here they remained for the rest of the frightful evening, not a wink of sleep all night long as the wolves continued to circle.

    Come daylight it appeared that the wolves had finally given up, not a trace of them to be seen or heard anywhere, though there was always the chance that they would return again in the evening. Things were more desperate now, the new threat requiring that Milo keep his rifle in his hands at all times, this new necessity no longer allowing him to carry the heavy load of rich ore. At his best guess he and the burro still had two full days of travel, if not three depending on the weather and the rate of their progress. With no other option Milo buried the bag of ore he had been carrying and he did his best to mark the location well. With this done he grabbed the burro's reins and he started leading it down the mountain.

    But about two hours later, as they were crossing a shallow stream, the wolf pack showed up out of nowhere and they now paced up and down both sides of the stream leaving Milo and the burro no place to go. His first shot struck one of the wolves square in the shoulder and it fell to the ground almost instantly but before he could get off a second shot the wolves were upon them. The burro set to kicking and screaming as the wolves tried to bring him down, Milo swinging the butt of his rifle with all of his strength as he tried to fight them off and keep them at bay. But it was no use as they just kept coming and coming.

    When the burro finally went down the entire wolf pack quickly set their focus upon it, this allowing Milo to seek higher ground behind some boulders with his back to a cliff. When Milo tried to use his rifle again he suddenly realized that it had been badly damaged during his struggling and that it would no longer load shells into the chamber. All Milo could do from that point forward was watch as the wolves continued their murderous and vicious mauling of the poor burro. And then, perhaps, even a more disheartening sight.

    The wolves went after the provisions in the burro's leather packs, their aggressive nature causing them to fight one another for the prize like a championship game of tug-a-war. Every time one of them shook their violent heads this action sent the rich gold ore flying everywhere, the lighter the pack became the more distant they dragged it and the greater the scattering of the ore. Finally they had dragged the ripped and shredded pack clear out of sight, into the dense forest and beyond a small ridge. This rage and feeding frenzy went on for nearly two hours, pieces of the poor burro now carried off in defense in all directions, the remaining carcass looking like an exploded watermelon. And all Milo could do was watch.

    By the end of the day the wolves were done feeding but still lingering, Milo not daring to make even the slightest sound. Went nightfall came upon him he remained in his small hiding place even refusing to shiver, the sound of howling and barking wolves slowly fading into the distance. Here he remained the entire night and for the first few hours of the next morning until he was sure the wolves were gone.

    Milo Evens had no working rifle, no provisions, and no packs full of rich ore. But most of all he had no remaining courage. After seeing what those wolves had done to that poor burro he wasn't about to take any foolish chances, the hell with trying to find those scattered pieces of rich ore as all the riches in the world can't benefit a dead man. Now that he was able to travel light and swiftly Milo ended up making it safely out of the mountains in less then two days time and six weeks later he was back on the family farm in Ohio never to return to the mountains again.

    A buried pack of rich gold ore, a scattering of the same rich ore near a creek shallow crossing not far below. But most of all, where had that rich ore originally come from? To this day no one seems to know. Just two years after returning to the family farm Milo was killed in a farming accident when a large tree fell on him. Maybe he should have stayed in Colorado.

    The Buzzard Party
    They had set out from Illinois, nine determined greenhorn prospectors in search of their fortunes from those promising lands in the west. Their guide had advertised himself as being an experienced prospector, laying claim that he knew every pass and watering hole all the way to California, and maybe he did, but more likely that he didn't as you will soon discover.

    They left for California in the spring of 1862, their guide having convinced them that he knew a northern route awash with gold bearing streams, this allowing them to earn a little pay on the way so they could afford an abundance of supplies once they had arrived at their destination. Obviously their experienced guide was full of it.

    After a long an uneventful passage over the plains they soon spotted the towering landscapes on the western horizon, the thought of gold beginning to flow in their veins as they continued on their way. Weeks later, and after sampling every creek and stream in their path the party soon started to suspect that their guide had pulled the wool over their greenhorn eyes, not so much as a flake of color had showed in their pans.

    In his defense the guide told the party that it happens that way sometimes, low spring snow melts not carrying enough water to wash more gold into the small flows. He wasn't exactly lying but he was certainly using the truth to hide his own deceit. You see, he was getting paid regardless.

    But after a few more weeks, with the terrains growing more rugged and inhospitable the party began to take on an unruly state, many of the men threatening to skin their guide alive if he continued to fail to lead them to some color. Not taking their threat lightly the guide informed them he could take them to gold if they were willing to endure even more hardships, to which they readily and eagerly agreed. The problem was, however, their guide had never counted on them accepting his proposal and as a result he suddenly found himself in something of a pickle.

    Perhaps he should have exposed his deceit right then and there, took what was coming to him or maybe made for the hills, but who can say why some men remain so attached to their pride and reputation in the face of exposure. Anyway, over the course of the next few days he determined to settle on an entirely new plan and course. This, as it would turn out, would eventually result in quite the folly and lingering mystery.

    Two days later, after constant threat from the members of his party, the guide turned his party not towards a new passage, but rather he turned them right into the thick of things. For the next several days they continued to climb higher and higher into the rugged mountains until finally they found themselves standing on top of a deep gorge with no possible passage. And then it started to snow.

    Well, as you might have already guessed the party became helplessly lost in those mountains and it wasn't until the next summer that eight of them finally came straggling into a mining camp in northern California, their pack horses loaded with a rich discovery of Spanish gold. The only person who was absent from their party was their guide and nobody would say what had happened to him. But here's what they did say.

    They claimed that after they had gotten lost they had proceeded to travel west as best as they could but that the obstacles continued to be encountered in a such way that they were always changing course. Finally, and with winter now approaching, they came upon a protected valley with a freshwater supply and protective cave. They said it was inside this cave that they discovered a large quantity of Spanish gold, also some other interesting relics of Spanish design. However, none of them had experienced the mountains before and when asked where the cave was located they readily admitted that they were just lucky to be alive and that they couldn't even begin to know how to find their way back. Shortly after their arrival in camp the eight men immediately booked passage back to Illinois for good, all of them departing wealthy men.

    So what happened to the guide? Well, here's the thing. There wasn't a single man in that party with the name of Buzzard so you'll just have to figure it out as best as you can.

    The Golden Boulder
    The city is called, Boulder Colorado, and now you're about to find out how it really got its name, everything else you ever heard having been made up just to hide the real truth. You'll understand why once I tell this amazing story.

    His name was Luis Losure, a Frenchman of questionable purpose who had a long and successful history of trading with the Indians, despite Spanish protest. You see this story predates the great American gold rushes, Luis having survived in the region when it was finally transferred to the Americans in 1821. Some say Luis was a spy for the French but nobody could ever prove this one way or the other. Rumor says that he had even paid Jean Laffite a visit on more then one occasion while that privateer was occupying Galveston Island. So who can really say what Luis may have been up to in the shadows of his widely spread Indian trade.

    Few men passed through these Indian territories so easily, Luis having earned great respect from all the various Indian nations. Over the years the Indians had come to call him, “The Fair One.” Whenever hostilities broke out between the different tribes it was readily agreed that the fair one would take no sides and that he would not be viewed as an enemy and cast into harms way. So it was that Luis was able to roam through the lands with such little fear of reprisal.

    As the story goes, while making his way through what is now Colorado Luis discovered a huge boulder that was rich in gold, this being just shortly after the territory had been sold the Americans. Fearing that the Americans would eventually discover the boulder Luis had enlisted the Indians to help him dig a large deep hole so that they could roll the boulder into it so it could be covered with dirt and rock. This they accomplished in a single day of laboring. And from here the story gets a little complicated.

    Luis had managed to get word back to France of his magnificent discovery but with the sale of the territory the land no longer belonged to the French so it appeared that there was little could do. However, and this is where things start to get really interesting, after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo the French refugees from that failed campaign started a mass exodus to the United States in order to escape prosecution, a circumstance that could have resulted in the death penalty for many of them. This entry into the United States included Napoleon's brother, Joseph, the ex King of Spain, as well as many of his highest military leaders. No doubt that some of these men held knowledge of the rich boulder buried in Colorado.

    Almost immediately after arriving in the United States these Frenchmen formed an armed military-style expedition and in less then a year they were making new camp in the Texas region. Why? Well, the legend says that they had plans to secretly remove the boulder with the help of the Indians, this wealth then being used to buy Napoleon's freedom, and perhaps even the Louisiana territory back from the Americans. But of course this is all just hearsay and speculation as no evidence survives to support these claims, but then again, why should it if it was being done in secret. But, was the story of the buried fortune really a secret, or was the exact location the only true secret?

    Lewis and Clark, Stephen Long, the Thomas Aikens' party of 15 gold seekers, Jim Bridger, some say all of these expeditions and explorers were really in search of the fabulous golden boulder. Maybe, maybe not. But if the legend is true then somewhere under Boulder Colorado there might still lay hidden one hell of a gold nugget!

    The Lost Headstone Gold
    Now this tale was suppose to have taken place in northeastern Nevada in 1864 somewhere in the Ruby Mountains. Apparently a man named Leo Bennett hit a good gold strike on the top of a small flat ridge, it was here, as it was told, that he discovered numerous gold nuggets, “the size of a man's thumb.” After spending several days of collecting these nuggets Leo eventually had to deal with to do with them. The bulk of their weight was certainly more then he could ever carry out of the mountains, the large pile of nuggets even straining and testing the backs of two good pack mules. So after a lot of thought Leo finally came up with a pretty good plan.

    Sandstone was easily found in the Ruby Mountains so Leo located himself a rather large flat piece of sandstone that he could stand on end. In the face of this large stone he proceeded to scratch in the name, Bob Walsh, and the date of death as, June, 1864. In front of this phony tombstone Leo dug himself a hole where he could store all of his nuggets until he came back for them, the thought being that nobody was going to dig up a man's grave, especially a fairly new one. It seemed a darn good plan.

    But here's the thing, sandstone is soft and it crumbles and breaks rather easily, something Leo hadn't counted on. For the next several months Leo kept checking the top of every ridge in the entire region but he could never find that darn phony tombstone. Maybe he just missed seeing it but it's more likely that it simply crumbled into dust before his return. What seemed like a good idea ended up being an extremely bad idea.

    The Crazy Mexican Gold
    The Indians simply called him, Loco Loco, a name the local miners immediately accepted due to his unusual behavior. You see Loco Loco was always moving around, always suddenly changing directions without warning, always talking to himself or some imaginary partner, whatever the case may have been. For the most part the area miners left him alone, the poor man obviously suffering from some unfortunate medical condition. It was really strange watching him through the day, the man easily expending more energy then most men could endure. A sad case indeed.

    Left, right, forward and then back again, the course of his movements appeared to hold no rhyme or reason, like his brain was firing orders one right after the other at random. Perhaps, just as it should have been, Loco Loco kept to himself, did all of his moving about in his own space or in the wide open spaces of the Arizona desert and mountain country. How he got by and he had managed to survive was anyone's guess but somehow he had.

    Every morning Loco Loco could be seen heading off into the wild and hot country with only a leather cask full of drinking water and his small pick ax, every evening just before dark he could be seen coming back again with nothing more then had left with. This was his normal routine for nearly six long and hot months, his energy level seldom displaying decline and his quiet but rapid conversations never appearing to slow. The man was completely Loco Loco, no doubt about it. Or was he?

    One day the crazy Mexican simply failed to make an appearance, not a sign of him anywhere. Figuring that something must of happened to him a few of the miners conducted a search of Loco Loco's modest shanty and what they found pretty much left them speechless. There, laying on the top of his simple bunk was a note written in perfect English, the note being held in place by several nuggets of pure gold. When the miners finally located someone who could read everyone listened with great interest as the letter was read. Here's what it said;

    “ I came here to be left alone so I could recover the rich gold that was laying just out of your view. Each day I would leave with only my leather cask full of water and my small pick ax, each evening I would return with my small pick ax and my leather cask full of gold. The drinks are on me!”
    Juan Ruez

    Loco Loco? Apparently not. Try as they may no one was ever able to find where Juan had gathered his gold. The mystery drove some of those miners nearly, well, loco.

    Fred Star's Indiana Gold
    Now here's one my grandfather told me that hits close to home, real close, in fact. Of all the stories my grandfather told me this one I can say is likely to be true, believe it or not. My reasons for feeling this way will be explained later in the tale.

    According to the tale, Fred Star was an avid sportsman, always hunting and fishing and that sort of thing. One fall season he was hunting deer with his bow and a poorly placed arrow left him to do a great deal of tracking in order to retrieve his deer. This deer eventually ran into a dense bottom on Cart Creek, several hundred yards upstream from where the creek emptied into the river. So far the weather had been dry so the creek was just barely flowing, Fred figuring that his deer would be laying in a thicket somewhere close to the water's edge. So Fred just stepped into the little creek and he started walking it upstream, the blood trail convincing him that his deer couldn't have gone too far.

    Well it turns out that Fred was right, his nice big doe laying just a few feet from the cool running creek, which was just perfect. With the deer being so close to the creek Fred could field dress the animal right there and then he could wash his hands and knife clean without any trouble. Needless to say, Fred never imagined finding gold on this day but he did.

    After he was done field dressing his deer and while he was washing his hands and knife off in the stream Fred noticed something shiny in the water so naturally he reached down and he grabbed it for closer scrutiny. What he ended up grabbing was a piece of chocolate quartz about the size of a dove's egg, this piece of brown quartz laced with a spiderweb of bright yellow.

    Now this event wasn't that long ago, in the early 1970's to be exact. But if you still don't believe the story then perhaps you'll believe this. In 2007 I was on this same section of the creek with my son doing some scouting for the approaching deer season, though we were a little further up steam from where Fred had found his piece of quartz. Keeping Fred's discovery in mind my son and I started sifted through the gravel and rocks and low and behold we found another piece of the same chocolate quartz with a spiderweb of bright yellow, only this piece had far less streaks then what Fred's had apparently displayed. So I have no doubt that Fred did find gold in this creek.

    So, is there a source of gold in or around Cart Creek? Unfortunately this portion of the creek is on state recreational ground so perhaps someone who is more familiar with the prospecting laws in Indiana should check it out if it can be legally sampled and worked. If it can be worked and you do find gold, well, I always accept donations.

    Simon's Gold Nuggets
    Kids will be kids. This story was said to have taken place outside of Etna, California. In 1869 a youngster by the name of Simon Black wondered off into the forest to do a bit of playing. The next day the search party was still looking for him. Simon was only 11 years old but he was also an energetic kid who never carried a frown. When he didn't return home that evening his mother reported the affair to the local authorities who gathered a large force of miners to set out looking for him right away. As the hours continued to pass it appeared the situation was growing more desperate. Finally, just before dark on that second day Simon was found roaming the forest some two miles away, obviously lost, hungry, and thrilled by his rescue.

    Of course, Simon was given food and water and then he was quickly reunited with his mother and father, both of them hugging their son before the father proceeded to place Simon over his knee for a good old butt whaling. But before the father could make that first swing his attention was quickly drawn to the handful of gold nuggets that had fallen out of a pocket in Simon's pants. As one might expect Simon was suddenly spared his spanking.

    Inquiry finally revealed that Simon had found “the yellow stripe” while roaming the rugged forest, this “stripe” having been discovered after he had fallen and tumbled down a small ridge. Simon said from the bottom of the ridge, as he was looking back up the grade, that he saw the yellow stripe in the belly of a small rock outcropping. Fascinated by the color of the stripe Simon said he had climbed back up the grade where he eventually discovered the loose nuggets under the outcropping, these he had stuck in his pocket just for the heck of it.

    Two miles of rough and rugged terrain can seem mighty small when an army of miners converge on the place in search of a rich strike. But look as they did no rich yellow stripe was ever discovered. Since nobody knew exactly where the boy had been that two miles suddenly grew much larger and still no discovery of a rich vein of gold. In a final desperate attempt to locate the pay streak the miners took Simon with them hoping he'd be able to recognize the spot where he discovered the nuggets but Simon had been lost and he had paid little attention to such details. After nearly three weeks of endless searching the hunt finally started to slow down and no rich pay streak was ever found. But it has to be out there, somewhere, right?

    As were the times, Simon eventually got his spanking, not for his having gotten lost, but for having paid no attention to where he had found those rich gold nuggets.

    When you're a kid does it really matter if the stories are true or not? Is the story really what contains the value? Every time I think of one of these stories I think of my grandfather, I recall how his stories ignited that sense of adventure in me. I recall the great mysteries and curiosities I entertained in those moments. Maybe the greatest mystery to it all is in understanding why grandfather told those stories. I was inspired.
    "Treasure is wherever it can be found."

  2. #2

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    10062 times
    Banner Finds (4)
    Big-scoop: All those treasure legends are a "dime-a-dozen". Great fun to read. And .... of course .... all sure-fired-bullet-proof. You can't dissuade the faithful in believing in them, because of the subconscious psychological trick of "not wanting to be left out".

    If you believe all those "lost mine" and "bandit" stories, then all you need to do is git yourself some old treasure magazines from the 1970s. Each edition was packed full of them. Heck, my buddy submitted one of them. Entirely made up . To get the $100 publication/acceptance for entries. But no matter: All you need is a few faded newspaper clippings, then throw in an artist depiction of a miner posed next to his burro, and BY GOLLY IT MUST BE TRUE!

  3. #3

    Jun 2010
    Wherever there be treasure!
    An older blue Excal with connector, remote, Skullie headphones, and various coils. Got rid of the rest of my machines.
    8673 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Tom, I think you missed the point, entirely. Sure they're a dime a dozen, "but to a kid".....they're priceless. The people who take the time to inspire us when we're very young, also priceless. Sometimes the story isn't nearly as important as why it's being told, when it's being told, and who is telling it. Apparently, you didn't read the into and the summary.
    Last edited by bigscoop; Feb 07, 2015 at 12:23 PM.
    "Treasure is wherever it can be found."

  4. #4

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    10062 times
    Banner Finds (4)


    Quote Originally Posted by bigscoop View Post
    .... Apparently, you didn't read the into and the summary.
    ah, my bad bigscoop. You're right. I didn't see that. I got about half way through the 3rd legend, and just skipped right to my answer

    Yes you're right: It's often those silly campfire stories we heard as a kid, that probably started us dreaming to get into metal detecting, haha. My grandfather, from the desert/salton sea area, spun stories for us kids of the "lost pearl ship" and the "feral camels that still roam the desert", etc... And yes you're right: My imagination ran wild, and probably fueled my eventual detector obsession
    bigscoop likes this.

  5. #5

    Jun 2010
    Wherever there be treasure!
    An older blue Excal with connector, remote, Skullie headphones, and various coils. Got rid of the rest of my machines.
    8673 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    ah, my bad bigscoop. You're right. I didn't see that. I got about half way through the 3rd legend, and just skipped right to my answer

    Yes you're right: It's often those silly campfire stories we heard as a kid, that probably started us dreaming to get into metal detecting, haha. My grandfather, from the desert/salton sea area, spun stories for us kids of the "lost pearl ship" and the "feral camels that still roam the desert", etc... And yes you're right: My imagination ran wild, and probably fueled my eventual detector obsession
    I can't tell you how those stories inspired me. Many years later I look back and I can't imagine not having been exposed to them. I try to tell some of these same type stories to my 3 year old granddaughter, but man, she's a load of questions.
    "Treasure is wherever it can be found."



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