Gold mine
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Thread: Gold mine

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  1. #1

    Nov 2019
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Gold mine

    Lost Indian gold mine near gales creek
    Terry Soloman likes this.

  2. #2
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    TerrysKnifeStore.com

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    White Plains, New York
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    The lost "Indian Gold Mine" of the Tualatin Valley, Oregon.
    To give a quick synopsis of the story, and sticking to known facts, during the mid to late 1800's several local Indians were known to use gold nuggets, almost pure, to make purchases in the area. It borders on questionable legend that at the end of the 1800's one of the Indians told a white man to "look in a valley with a dark lake". At first blush a set of directions to "lost mine" are almost always a "with a grain of salt" proposition but in this case I happen to think there is good reason to consider it-with some proviso's.
    There is another tale of whites trying to follow and Indian and him losing them around an area known as "Gales Creek". This may again have a bit of truth to it.

    If this is still interesting, stick with me while I explore the history of the region and the story a bit to flesh out the information needed to consider my hypothesis.
    Oregon is divided by the Cascade Mt range toward the center of the State. This runs north to south. There is another, coast range, to the west that parallels the Cascades. Between the two is the Willamette Valley, named for the Willamette River.


    Towards the north end of the State the Tualatin river runs west to east from the coast range to the Willamette.
    A bit of connecting the dots historically turns up the fact that the story of Indians paying for goods with gold exists as far west as the coast as well as the interior valley. The stories run quite a way north and south on the coast side, which would make sense since the white communities follow the coast line where as, in the valley the go up the valley following the Tualatin river.
    Most seasoned prospectors would ask at this point "where has gold been found in the area?" and there is the rub. There are no "lode" mine in the region, despite its having been prospected. Some noticeable amounts have been found in a few of the creeks and rivers that flow off of the west side of the coast range to the ocean and much recreational panning is done in the previously mentioned Gale's Creek. I have seen a small amount of gold taken from the Tualatin river as far east as within 10 miles of its conflux with the Willamette. No single "large" deposit has yet been found by the white man.
    To further add to the information available today is the work of some dedicated searchers beginning many years ago with a man who went to his grave believing he had found the "lost" deposit, but it was on someone else's private property. I happen to know some of his relatives. The current crop of searchers are likewise stymied by the fact that, in large, most of the area is in private hands. I don't think however that is the only limit to their efforts. I have seen, on another forum, quite a discussion of their efforts and their comparing notes and combining search efforts. I notice that for all their efforts they seem to have a couple of preconceptions that are self limiting.
    A great amount of their time is spent looking for geology that would be consistent with gold bearing indigenous deposits. It seems unlikely given that, despite the area having been farmed, logged, surveyed and populated, none have been found. That directly bears upon the conclusion I have reached, and yet have not run into mention of it.
    Just outside of the town of McMinnville, in this very region is an Oregon Highway Department Historical Marker noting the presence of "Glacial Erratic's". These are huge boulders with no connection whatsoever with the geology of the region at all. They were moved and then left stranded during the ice migration and retreat during the last ice age.
    It seems rather possible therefore that the deposits of gold in a region that shows no indication of indigenous gold bearing geological occurances would indicate the possibility of glacial deposition. This it self points to another thing I feel current searchers have overlooked and it is a bit more complicated and requires some historical revisit.
    If my premise about glacial deposit is correct then it would make some sense out of the story about the "dark lake". A glacial deposit would work like a sluice box in a way. The heavy gold being released from an ice prison would seek the lowest point in the melting run off to settle. Coincidentally that is how many mountain lakes are formed, by glacial melt. This is however where I separate from the commonly followed "trail" of clues. Knowing the area I know that just in terms of "recreational use" the existing bodies of water are well travelled and visited. Even if a "lake" grew to cover the bulk of the deposit it is hard for me to believe that the odds favor all of the deposit being covered or that the odds have favored not one piece being found around any standing body of water. All of the gold known to have been panned out since the start of the 20th century have been in running water. I would also point out that, again if the glacial deposit theory is correct, there is no saying that all gold that has been found in the area comes from this one deposit. Certainly, and almost without question, there may be other such deposits and one or more of them may be feeding the streams. Those who have found what gold has been reported have tried the "follow the gold to the source" method with no success whatsoever. That indicates to me that the "sources" are random, as in separate, small pockets.
    To delve a bit more into known history, and to attempt to tie together some threads in this hypothesis I'm weaving, The Tualatin valley is the east side of a trail, commonly used by the Indians, connecting the coast and the valley. It is important to note for the record that the Indians of Oregon had no use for gold, before the arrival of the whites, at all. I have never found any native working or collecting of the soft yellow rocks. Only when the whites arrived and their obsession with the rocks did the Indians take note and bother with it. To also Throw in a bit more about the native miners", they did not climb any mountains for the heck of it. Their trails were all along the easiest path to walk from point "A" to point "B". This, again, reinforces the idea of a deposit being in a lower depression and gives credit to the "lake" story.
    Further things to consider: Indians from around the area of the coast would work their way by shortcuts, to the main trail through the pass into the valley. This main trail became the road for the white man. It would seem unlikely that for all these years, despite all of the searching, that the deposit is in or near any of the water bodies near the main trail, now a highway.
    Another historical fact to remember is that most of the trees that were in the Tualatin valley bottom and inner hillsides were logged of in the 1800s to provide charcoal to fuel the iron smelter (first one west of the Mississippi) in Oswego north the terminus of the Tualatin river where a reasonable iron deposit was found. There has never been any gold found in the are related to the geology, just what has come from somewhere to be found in the river.
    Most of the upper hills in that area of the coast range have been logged and it would seem that any potentially interesting geology would have ben discovered.
    We also have to be conscious off the fact that there is no universal translation and definition of the very word "lake". It is more likely than not that before translation to English, in the Indian toungue their term could have referred to any standing body of water from a "puddle", "Swamp", "pond" to more grand bodies of water. It must also be borne in mind that many, many small bodies of water in those hills have dried up as feeder streams cutting through overburden encountered hard rock and changed course. in fact something a simple as a beaver dam can create a "lake" from a stream, for the life of the beaver residents. I have seen on as far north in coast range as Astoria.
    As noted, it is hard to believe that logging did not turn up any evidence, or any gold to be more specific, to my mind that means the "site" wasn't logged. That seems simple but suppose there was still the "lake" or traces of it, swamp marsh etc? There would be no trees there to log, soft ground is not where one builds a logging camp and low and soft, wet ground is not a good candidate for a "log landing" as higher clear ground would be. Without having a logging use the area, which could be, as a guesstimate as small as 2 acres would have dried out and Douglas Firs and other forms of vegetation would have developed, none of these near the center of the depression could, logically, be much over 100 years old.
    It is also a very good bet that this specific deposit lies above the alluvial fan of the mountains. If it had reached the heavy populated and travelled region comprising the alluvial fan it would have bee dispersed by the nature of the fan and discoveries would have been made. For this reason, and the fact that Indians did not climb mountains for the heck of it a higher position for the deposit can, I feel, be effectively ruled out.
    Given what is known and removing obviously rather improbable possibilities, it is a good bet that the specific deposit that is referenced in the tales does indeed exist and that it is in a concave depression that formerly held water and had no value to loggers in the last 150 years. There has been no significant "flushing" of the deposit by the many, many heavy rainstorms the region is noted for. No significant amounts have ever been found in the alluvial fan or below. This alone would almost certainly rule out a current location in water of any kind. With the maps, satellite pictures, etc, IF big IF it were "fair game" today I think it entirely possible to narrow down the possibilities and greatly increase the efficiency of a search using, of course, the most efficient and effective metal detectors of today when it came down to the " boots on the ground" portion of the search.

    The above hypothesis is NOT meant to be a "plan" for finding this particular "treasure". Private property rights, other involved laws and such make this an untenable concept. This is merely a simple mental exercise to highlight the principle of applying critical thinking in separating the facts from the legends and then applying critical thinking skills to the facts extant and increasing the odds of success by logically reducing the possibilities. I have made no more specific references than were necessary to illustrate my points. Here is a map of the general area to give a better feel for the subject.





    Legend for map.
    "A" ..............Tualatin River
    "B-D" ..........Places where Indians were known to spend gold.
    "E-H"............A few of the locations where gold has been panned
    "I"................... location of the highway marker designating the Glacial Erratics.

    ATTACHMENTS

  3. #3
    Charter Member
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    Roger

    Nov 2017
    Smith Mt. Lake Va.
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    You the Man Terry
    Terry Soloman and DizzyDigger like this.

  4. #4

    Feb 2006
    1,312
    1238 times
    Thank you for putting this tale in its proper context. Years ago, I came to a similar conclusion.

    Time for more coffee.
    Terry Soloman likes this.

  5. #5
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    George

    Jun 2019
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    A nice story, and thats about it, i grew up in Oregon....
    Terry Soloman likes this.

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2014
    Massachusetts
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    Thank you for sharing!
    Terry Soloman likes this.

  7. #7
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    Samantha

    Apr 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    White‘s Sierra Madre White‘s TM–600
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    Cache Hunting
    From pictures I’ve seen the area is heavily forested. Literally looking for a needle in a forest ! Interesting, but just too far away from me.

 

 

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