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Thread: Peglegs Black Gold Nuggets

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  1. #151
    Sep 2008
    Gold Bug II

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Greetings fellow black nugget hunters. I also have been hunting the nuggets in the desert for several years and have perhaps avoided some of you at one time or the other. I hunt in the mountains in the summer and the desert in the winter. I believe there are several locations and they are related to the ancient river of gold. I have been to many of the areas in So Cal and find the minerals to be consistent in each location. I ran across this on the web and wanted to post it as a possibility of more information.

    Sunflower Springs, California - Peg Leg Smith Rock: Baseline for Lost Peg Leg Gold
    I just read your story on the Peg Leg Smith Monument. My wife's Dad had a cabin in the California desert in Sunflower Springs. There is a large rock about 1/4 mile from the cabin. Carved on the face of it is the inscription: "Peg Leg Smith Zalias, Springs 1854."
    Peg Leg Smith had wandered into Warner Springs in late 1854 with gold nuggets the size of a fist in the saddle bags on his horse. He told those who found him suffering from dehydration that he found the gold nuggets in the Old Woman Mountains near Essex. He also told them that he had carved his name on a rock where he could see the location of his gold looking away from the rock. The gold was where you could see three buttes looking away from the rock and it was just laying on top of the ground. No one believed him because no one had ever found gold nuggets in The Old Woman Mountains. The statue of the Old Woman for whom the mountain range is named can also be seen from this inscription. The rock is located southeast of the cabin and the letters are about 5-6 feet tall.
    If this information leads you to the lost gold I want my share of the findings. [Ralph Amet, 01/09/2008]

  2. #152
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Hi Ralph,
    Welcome to Tnet....... Zalias huh.... I have not come across that name but the year seems about right. As I'm sure you know, there were several " pegleg's " in the area. I'm interested in why he was that far north ?? Most people but him in Anza Borrego area or possibly the Chocolate Mts. I have heard of a " few " stories with him that far north, however, what path was he on ? and why would he go from there to Warner's Ranch- so far south-. Sounds like it might be a crossover from the Lost Arch story...


  3. #153
    May 2007
    Western Colorado
    271 times

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    I think you may be correct.
    If we can get Roy back to confirm it we could be on the right track.

    I sure have been enjoying this thread.
    thanks guys.

    "Everybody dies"
    "But not everybody lives."

  4. #154
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    hey gang,
    I'll throw another monkey wrench into it... I met a guy at the --deleted--go pow wow, and was suppose to meet him this morning at Pala Mission. He was a no show but I did meet some interesting people. One of which said, that Pegleg's Mom was involved in a shoot out in Valley Center ( a city near San Diego ). He said it was his family and Pegs that was involved. Anyway he's going to copy the newspaper article and email it to me. When I have it I'll post it. I asked him what year did it happen and he said late 1800's or very early 1900's. This " may " shed some light on the angle I have been saying that Thomas L Smith was NOT the pegleg of legend. My contention is that Pegs was a guide out of Yuma and a outlaw, and that's why there hasn't been much " proven " material available. If one is a successful outlaw -and always on the run-, then there would be little " truth " written about them ( except for the ones who wanted fame- James brothers etc. ). I hope to get the article soon... we'll see...


  5. #155
    Sep 2008
    Gold Bug II

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Greetings again,
    PLL I must apologize for the confusion. Ralph is the author of the Sunflower Springs message. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/17223

    I do know there were several “Peglegs” spoken of and in my opinion many more stories attributed to him or them that should not have been. Many times on this forum it is stressed about the accuracy of the information and to always go back to the original source. I have done some far-reaching studies and found history to pass down erroneous stories entwined with lies, sketchy information, embellishments, and even the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure. Even two people witnessing the same thing will have differing stories. So much for trusting any of these stories.

    Why was he that far north? This happens to be part of the old Spanish trail that was used on a regular basis. (http://www.oldspanishtrailcentennial...ry/Gallery.htm and click on the AAA map from 1926. Part of the trail follows hwy 40 or closer to the train tracks. From Bannock he probably cut through Sunflower Springs to save time to Amboy. Why he traveled to Warner’s Ranch from there if he did is something I am not able to answer. Also notice the trail from Yuma goes to Descanso following hwy 8 and does not follow the De Anza trail which goes up through Anza Borrego. Might be a new twist for you mappers.

    As far as Anza Borrego and the Chocolate Mountain areas, these are included in the Peninsular Range of mountains in So Cal and into Mexico. Nuggets have been found in most parts of the range more so in some places than others. Most reports are on hill tops some in washes. These nuggets have one thing in common, they all have been tumbling in a river at one time or another. Absent the black casing they look identical to the nuggets found in the Great Blue Lead.

    My place of employment is a magnet for Native Americans that need work. Not being one to let an opportunity pass by, I often inquire about gold in and around the reservations. They are cautious in what they speak, but have told me nuggets are still being collected on several of the reservations. Most of them are more concerned about their checks from the casinos or when is our res putting a casino in. I am also told that when the Indians discovered the value of gold they collected these black nuggets and stashed them, thus the stories of lost mines and the absence of nuggets where they should be.

    PLL I certainly would be interested in seeing the article.

    More to follow.

  6. #156
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    hey gang,
    OK maybe I can shed a little light on this. The most " noted " Peg is Thomas L Smith, he was a trapper, explorer, guide, drunk and liar. There I said it..LOL He was on route to La with George " Dutch " Yount in a area that is now Lake Havasu. The truth behind the story is, that one morning, old Dutch went exploring and found what he called " native copper ". Years later when the gold rush hit, peg used this in combination with the desert story and " sold " his version for food, booze or anything he could get. He was a REAL professional thief, used to steal horse's from " non whites " and sold them to points east. He and Chief Walkara stole 1000's of horse's and ran them up the Cajon pass. So I would say that THIS Smith was familiar with the Old Spanish Trail. But he is NOT the REAL Smith that found the black nuggets- this is my belief-.The Smith that I am chasing may have been part of the Mormon Battalion. There was a John G Smith and he " may " be a candidate but then there are others as well. Recently I was out near where I think the Butte's are and am trying to get closer, but, It's nearly on top of the Carrizo Impact Area.

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    Take a close look to the left, and you will see " buttes " 3 of them. Take a close look at the right, and you will see a " spur " of the ridge which is another clue. But look in the middle and you will see a area that " I think " that one would climb to find out where he is after a bad sandstorm. Here is a Google Earth pix of the area, if you look at the left you will see the buttes as well ( with ? ) and the spur on the right and the center section too ( all with ? ). In the back you will see " badlands " noted with white arrows. The stage route is in front with blue placemarks.

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    You will also note the blackness of these hills, and no I haven't been there-yet- but I will get as close as I can. This area used to be a old WWII bombing range and still has TONS of unexploded ordnance, which is also why I think it hasn't been found, and it could be scattered to the four winds by now as well. There is lava in the area which may attribute a little to the gold theory too. Anyway That's a little to chew on. I have been on this trail since I got into the " craft " ( not a hobby ) and I will stay with it until I can find a couple of nuggets or die LOL....

    Have fun people

  7. #157
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    BTW... is the Smith carving clear ? I mean " could " it mean 1834 and not 1854 ?? has anyone taken a picture of it ??


  8. #158
    Fortune Favors the BOLD, while Karma Favors the Wise!

    Jan 2006
    Arizona Vagrant
    Modded SD2000 / White's Goldmaster 4B / Fisher FX-3 / Fisher Gemini / Schiebel MIMID
    5751 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Hey PLL,

    Are you talking about Superstition Mountain? I think we have been through this before.

    I was around on the Military Side of the MT. I hit the washes and hilltops of Superstition Mt with metal detectors (except where there were manned observation buildings). NO GOLD! Only Danger Signs:

    My Motto: "KEEP AT IT!"

    ............... ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you make a typo, the errorists win...................Aloha Snackbar!

    Check out 1ORO1.COM

  9. #159
    Sep 2008
    Gold Bug II

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    I have not been out there to see the carving yet. Looks like a good place to get shot in the back by some crazy. Posted are Google pics of the three buttes and the top of one seems to have some extensive grading about 2 tenths of a mile.

    If my 300x binoculars come in soon I may get up the courage for the trip.

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  10. #160
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    hey gang,
    First of all to Gollum.... We REALLY need to go out together and " explore ". I would be willing to pay for the fuel... That's how SERIOUS I am....If you are out close to the Superstitions, and are in the recovery area there is a shot up building... I was past that. If you go back to the " road " ( that has the power lines ) and head towards Fishcreek and then verve left, you will see my buttes. I went off Wheeler to Superstitons. To mountaindigger if you get close enough with your new benoxs and can take a pix... I would LOVE to see it. I have posted this before, but I have a ton of personal research from Philip Bailey ( the author of Golden Mirages ). He did research for his book for 20 years before it was printed in 1941. He had ( in my opinion ) as close to the real source as one can get. He lived in a time when " maybe " someone would have been still alive to remember the actual trip or heard it first hand. As is in this excerpt from his book:

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    ( The above pic was taken from Golden Mirages 1941. Knowles who have been between 56-76 yrs of age during Bailey's research. But It's obvious that it was taken later )

    Bailey quotes a Charles Knowles who was born in 1865 and was about 20 at the time he re-met a man named Price. he's the story:

    " I don't you suppose you remember me. You was too young to remember much of anything; but my boy saved your life when you was a kid. My name is Price, an' I'll bet your name is Knowles."
    This casual meeting grew into a real friendship and later a partnership. Price and Knowles wintered together at a camp near Cour d' Alene (Idaho) and prospected whenever the weather permitted, and it was there that Knowles first heard the story of the Lost Pegleg Mine. It seemed that, about 30 years before ( that would be 1855 ), Price and a man named Pegleg Smith had acted as guides to parties crossing the Colorado Desert from Yuma to Warner's and the coast; but about a month before Pegleg found the mine, Price quit his job as guide and got work in LA. It was there that Pegleg, on his next trip in, showed him the nuggets and told him how he had found them.
    He said he had left Yuma with a small party and headed for Warner's by the usual route through Carrizo and Vallecito. They made about 2/3 of the distance to Carrizo without mishap and camped for the night on New River, a few miles east of the Slough Lakes ( which would be Fig Lagoon today ). They planned to make a early start the next morning and reach Carrizo before it became to dark, as there was little moonlight. However, the mules wandered off, and the party was more than 2 hours late getting under way.
    About the middle of the afternoon Smith saw they were in for a bad sandstorm, and a hour later it was blowing so hard they could hardly make headway against it. It was almost impossible to keep to the trail, for the blow-sand covered it up or blew away all traces of it in less than a 1/2 hour. The line of the mountains ahead was completely lost,and even the gap to Carriso was so badly blurred that Smith was not sure they were headed for it. In Instead of letting up as it began to get dark, the wind blew harder. At last it quieted a little; but it was not until they began to ascend a gradual slope that kept getting steeper that Smith knew for certain they were off course. They had wandered into one of those long, ramp-like canyons north of the trail they should have followed.
    Smith told the party to wait where they were and he would go up a little higher to see if the could cross the hills instead of back-tracking through the sand. He climbed up the ramp for some distance to a small butte; it looked as though it sat on a ridge, so he went to the top. hoping he would get a better view of the country. But all he saw was Bad Lands and would have to take the long way into Carriso. While up there he noticed that the ridge was sort of hog-back made of 3 or 4 buttes connected by saddles.
    "Well," Smith told Price, " I started down the shortest way but I stepped on alot o' loose stones that covered the hull hill, an' if I hadn't dug my pegleg into the rocks I'd slid clear to the bottom. When I started again, watchin' where I was goin', I noticed that the stones I stepped on were kinda queer lookin'. They was all round stones, big as walnuts and black as ink, I never saw nothin', like 'em before, so I put a few in my pocket an' went back to the party."
    "Late in the evening' we got to Carriso. ( if it took " all day " to get there.. then just how far away were they? ) We was pretty well used up, an' by the time I had 'em all taken care of I was so tired I jugs' rolled in my blanket and went to sleep. I t wasn't till we was well on our way to Vallecito the next day that I had time to look at my black stones. At first they looked like jus' common black rocks; but when I knocked a couple of 'em together, a coatin' of varnish come off, an' I saw they was pretty near pure gold!... I'm goin' back an' try to find the place soon as I can, although I ain't sure how north I was. We had to plod through the sand for hours in the dark, an' it ain't possible to say how fur off the course we was."
    It's these " clues " from someone who not only knew pegs but rode and worked with him, that lead me where I go. Please understand that this area is in the Carrizo Impact area and YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO EXPLORE THIS AREA PERIOD !!!!! ( there are things there that have not blown up yet )There is also the fact that due to the bombing runs in this area it have been blown any and everywhere. The pixs I took are of this area and I NEED to get closer, I have a " idea " of where they " may " be and I'm all for headed out.
    The reason I go with this story is, all of the other books ( that talk about pegleg ) quote a earlier author of another treasure book and again and again. Bailey is the only one who does NOT quote another author... But quotes the people... and yes I'm aware that it " may or may not " be true... but it just makes sense to me. A guide would stick to his route and go the same way all the time. It's safer and the path is well known.

    Thankx for reading

  11. #161
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    hey gang,
    Has anyone ever heard of this pegleg


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  12. #162
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
    Tesoro Lobo Supertraq, (95%) Garrett Scorpion (5%)
    7388 times

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    HOLA mi amigo Pegleglooker!

    I have not been keeping up with this thread lately, sorry to admit; I have not heard of this Pegleg but what a character! It sounds like this Pegleg remains in his house even after his death!
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

  13. #163

    Jul 2007
    Eyes, ears and common sense
    6 times

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Pegleg Mine -- 1884
    Tom Cover was a systematic prospector. Determined to find
    Pegleg Smith's lost mine, he collected all the Pegleg stories, rumors,
    hints—every scrap of information or hearsay he could—and, evaluating
    them, drew up a list of clues to guide his search. Some of his conclusions
    were printed in a Riverside, California, newspaper in 1884, soon
    after Cover's disappearance on his final trek into Pegleg country—
    the Borrego Badlands of the Colorado Desert. Henry W. Splitter recently
    discovered these newspaper accounts and incorporates them into this
    story of Tom Cover's persistent but fruitless search.

    IN 1884, Tom Cover, a prominent
    citizen of Riverside, California,
    went to the Colorado Desert in
    search of the Lost Pegleg Mine. He
    never returned.
    In itself, this isn't an unusual tale.
    Many men, lured by visions of vast
    wealth, have sought Pegleg Smith's
    black gold nuggets, and many have
    lost their lives in the search. But
    Thomas Cover wasn't an ordinary
    Cover had come to Los Angeles in
    1867 from Alder Gulch, Montana,
    where he had been one of the first
    discoverers of gold in that state. With
    a fortune of $75,000, he traveled west,
    finally settling in Riverside where he
    remained the rest of his life. He is
    reputed to have been one of the first
    settlers in that community and to have
    helped introduce the Washington or
    Riverside navel orange to citrus ranchers
    The role of city founder and orange
    rancher did not entirely satisfy Cover.
    Indeed, he often declared that the main
    reason he had come to Southern California
    was to find the Lost Pegleg
    Mine. For 17 years he carried on this
    quest, and at the time of his disappearance
    was the Southland's dean of
    lost mine prospectors.
    During this entire period Cover had
    been collecting all available Pegleg
    stories, rumors and hints to help guide
    his search. Some of these were printed
    in a Riverside paper in 1884 subsequent
    to his disappearance. Eventually
    forgotten, they have only recently
    again come to light. Recorded here
    is Cover's story of the original finding
    of the mine enroute from Yuma to Los
    "On the evening of the third day
    out from the Colorado," he relates,
    "they (Pegleg Smith and his companions)
    had camped, when one of their
    number climbed a little hill or butte 50
    feet high. He found the hill covered
    with loose pieces of black rock, intermingled
    with grains of yellow metal.
    The men of the party were trappers,
    not miners, and knew nothing about
    ores. It did not dawn upon them that
    they had found a deposit of precious
    metal, but they supposed it to be copper
    or something of the sort. Nevertheless,
    their curiosity was sufficiently
    piqued to induce them to gather a
    number of the specimens to carry away
    with them.
    Drawing of the three buttes accompanied
    a story of the Lost Pegleg
    Mine which appeared in the San
    Francisco Examiner, February 21,
    1892. Another source claims the
    sketch was made from memory by
    the miner cared for by Dr. De
    Courcy. The three black buttes
    comprise the main landmark to the
    lost Pegleg gold.
    "The next day they resumed their
    journey across the desert. The first
    settlement on this side which they
    reached was Temecula, a Catholic Indian
    Mission. One of the mountains
    of the San Jacinto group near Temecula
    still bears the name of Smith's
    Mountain as a souvenir of the journey.
    Besides Pegleg, the only other member
    of the party whose name has been
    preserved by tradition is one Yount.
    It is said that a descendant of Yount's
    still remains, in the person of a grandson
    residing at Rincon.
    "Smith and Yount remained in California
    for many years, preserving the
    curious specimens which they had
    brought with them from the desert.
    When gold was discovered in California
    in 1848, their interest in these
    specimens was renewed, and they
    caused them to be examined by expert
    mineralogists. This investigation proved
    that the specimens were charged with
    free gold."
    The date for Pegleg's discovery is
    declared by Cover to be 1836, the
    usually accepted one being 1829. According
    to another source, Pegleg himself
    is said to have told a friend at San
    Francisco in 1854 that the date was
    The question has often been asked:
    why didn't Pegleg revisit the fabulous
    spot before 1850? If, as is generally
    stated, he had his specimens analyzed
    upon his arrival at Los Angeles and
    found them to be gold, the delay seems
    strange indeed. Cover's version offers
    a logical answer: Pegleg had had no
    assay made until Gold Rush days, and
    until then he believed the metal was
    merely copper. This explanation is
    corroborated by an extensive article in
    the San Francisco Examiner of February
    21, 1892.
    In 1850, Pegleg organized an unsuccessful
    expedition in search of his
    mine. Others believe that he made a
    second try in 1855, and still another
    in 1856. According to a Phoenix attorney
    who stated his opinion in 1893,
    the 1855 search was conducted not in
    the Colorado Desert at all, but in Arizona,
    on or near the Bill Williams fork
    of the Colorado River.
    Pegleg died in the middle 1860s.
    Meantime, a second Pegleg Smith had
    come on the scene, an ex-soldier who
    worked for years as an emigrant guide
    from Yuma to Los Angeles. Oddly
    enough, he also found gold in the desert,
    possibly the original Pegleg mine,
    and when in the middle '70s he went
    out to his secret mine and never returned,
    all knowledge of his find, too,
    was lost. Stories about the first Pegleg
    have sometimes been attributed to his
    later namesake, and vice versa, creating
    a most tantalizing comedy of errors
    for the lost mine investigator. In
    general, stories of a prospector who
    was rescued half-crazed from thirst
    and heat in the desert probably tell
    the adventures of Pegleg II.
    Vitally interesting is Cover's story
    about Dr. De Courcy of Los Angeles
    and how he came to devote much of
    his later life to a search for the Pegleg
    "About 1869 a miner, who had previously
    crossed the desert from California
    to Arizona, concluded to return,
    and he set out on a saddle mule for
    his perilous journey. Going out, he
    had followed the Butterfield stage
    route, by way of Warner's Ranch and
    Carrizo Creek. Returning, he could
    shorten the distance somewhat by deflecting
    to the northward and coming
    out through San Gorgonio Pass. Being
    unacquainted with this route, he went
    too far south and entered the 'badlands.'
    After infinite hardships he
    finally got through, but instead of finding
    his exit by way of San Gorgonio,
    he came out by Carrizo Creek canyon,
    reaching Temecula as the first settlement.
    "On the second day out from the
    Colorado side of the desert, the miner
    found himself utterly bewildered, and
    he rode to the top of a little butte
    nearby to take his bearings. While
    there he chanced to look down and
    was astounded to find the hill literally
    covered with broken quartz and parti-
    cles of free gold. He described the
    place as not a defined ledge, but what
    is known in miners' parlance as a
    'bust-up'. He lost little time in dismounting,
    and emptying his saddlebags
    of surplus clothing and everything
    that could be dispensed with, filled
    them in turn with rich ore and loose
    mineral, which he was able to gather
    from the ground.
    "Resuming the journey, he found his
    way out of the desert as described, and
    in due course of travel arrived at Los
    Angeles. Here, as a result of hardships
    endured, he fell sick. Dr. De
    Courcy was called and attended him
    through a long and serious prostration.
    As the man was finally convalescing,
    he opened his heart to the doctor, telling
    the story of his discovery on the
    desert and producing the saddlebags
    in proof thereof.
    "The contents of the bags Dr. De
    Courcy estimated to be worth at least
    $7,000. From this store he was given
    as his fee for medical attendance
    $2,000 worth of the precious metal.
    In response to a protest from the doctor
    that he was being paid better than
    he deserved, the miner said in an offhand
    way that it didn't amount to anything;
    he would soon be where he
    could get plenty more.
    "As soon as the man was strong
    enough to be about, he and Dr. De
    Courcy, with one other whom they
    took into the scheme, set about organizing
    an expedition ot the mine. They
    purchased a wagon and a team of
    mules, with the necessary outfit, but
    just as they were about to start, the
    man succumbed to the excitement, suffered
    a relapse and died. The expedition
    was then out of the question, as
    it involved too many hardships and
    uncertainties to be undertaken by novices.
    "But Dr. De Courcy never gave up
    his hopes of some day finding the
    treasure. Eight years ago (in 1876),
    in order to gain more information
    about the country and to further the
    search if possible, he left Los Angeles
    and took up his residence in Yuma.
    "His method of prosecuting the
    search is said to be by Indians, two or
    more of whom he has constantly in
    his employ. At all seasons of the year
    when it is practicable, he keeps these
    men out prospecting the desert, endeavoring
    again to trace the footsteps
    of the lost patient. Evidently the doctor
    is impressed with the perils involved
    in the search, no less than he
    is with the reality of the ledge itself,
    and he wisely refrains from offering
    himself as another victim to its glittering
    "It was from Dr. De Courcy that
    the unfortunate Cover obtained much
    information regarding the probable
    whereabouts of the mine, as well as
    this part of its traditional history. For
    this purpose Cover paid a visit to
    Yuma last winter. The Doctor gave
    him, beside the information, a specimen
    of the black quartz and free gold,
    which he had originally received as a
    part of his medical fee from the miner,
    and had treasured for 15 years. This
    specimen was Cover's madstone, but
    it aggravated his malady rather than
    cured it. He carried it with him until
    it lured him to his fate."
    The De Courcy story, substantially
    as above, is retold in the San Francisco
    Examiner, February 21, 1892. Here
    there is a variant detail referring to
    the route taken.
    "The miner left Yuma for Los Angeles,
    and in crossing the Colorado desert
    took a short cut through an old
    'draw,' or river bed, by whose tortuous
    twistings and windings he was shortly
    hopelessly bewildered," reported the
    Examiner. "Despairing of ever finding
    a trail in the draw, he got out on the
    plain and noticed three hills clustered
    together in the distance. He struck
    out for them in hopes of being able to
    take his bearings. When he reached
    the biggest one, all else was forgotten
    in the naked millions that blazed upon
    his tutored eye from the black spar
    with which he was surrounded. He
    packed his saddle-bags with samples
    and finally managed to get to Los Angeles."
    The story of the finding by a Yaqui
    Indian of a rich gold deposit in the
    desert southeast of Warner's Ranch is
    told by Cover as in Philip Bailey's
    Golden Mirages. Cover and Bailey
    also tell substantially the same tale
    about an Irishman who made a rich
    find in that same area, back in 1860,
    but Cover has the Irishman show up,
    immensely rich, in San Francisco, not
    in San Diego.
    Finally, there is the story of the
    squaw and the three hills. "Five years
    ago (1879), while out on one of his
    desert expeditions, Cover stopped at
    Flowing Wells, a station of the Southern
    Pacific railroad. The station-keeper
    told him that, a few days before, a
    squaw had come there in a famished
    condition and utterly worn out with
    travel. After she had somewhat refreshed
    herself with food and rest, she
    showed them several hundred dollars'
    worth of gold nuggets, which she carried
    in a small bag. They asked her
    where she got it, and she pointed in a
    southerly direction and said on some
    little pachapas, holding up three fingers
    to designate the number.
    "Her story was to the effect that she
    and a companion were trying to go
    from Warner's Ranch to an Indian village
    on the north of the mountains.
    While on their way along the border
    of the desert they ran out of water.
    The buck lay down under a bush and
    told her to go and hunt for some. She
    spent considerable time in the search,
    and finally succeeded in finding a hidden
    spring, but when she returned to
    the place where she had left her companion,
    he was gone. Frightened at
    the situation in which she was left, she
    began to search for the Indian, and
    climbed to the top of a hill to look
    about. There she found the gold, but
    she was in too much fear to gather
    much of it. She traveled all of that day
    and part of the night, when she saw
    a light. She arrived at the station early
    in the morning. As soon as she was
    able to travel, the squaw left the station.
    "It seems that the agent did not
    place sufficient confidence in her story
    to try to trace her course back into
    the desert, or his duties at the station,
    or some other cause, prevented him
    from doing so."
    This Cover material, collected as it
    was prior to 1884, deserves special
    credence as reflecting perhaps more
    exactly events as they occurred than
    do versions obtained a half century
    later. The stories probably represent
    the originaal version from which later
    variants were derived.
    Tom Cover was not content simply
    to know and record these narratives.
    He also drew certain practical deductions
    from them. He came to the following
    "A little reflection will show that
    the several stories above recounted
    point to substantially the same locality
    and describe presumably the same spot.
    Pegleg Smith and his party traveled
    three days in a northwesterly direction
    from the mouth of the Gila before they
    found it. The distance was probably
    about 90 miles. They then traveled
    one day (30 miles) to reach this side
    of the desert. The Yaqui left his hidden
    spring at the foot of Smith's Mountain
    (this side of the desert) at daybreak
    and traveled easterly until about
    three in the afternoon. In that time
    he might have gone 30 miles. The Indian
    squaw and her man, starting from
    the same place as the Yaqui (Warner's
    Ranch) might easily have followed the
    same course and arrived by chance at
    the same hills. The miner returning
    from Arizona was only two days on
    the desert when he found the gold, but
    he traveled alone, with a mule and
    lightly equipped. He might have made
    90 miles in two days. All of the stories
    concur as to finding the precious metal
    on top of a hill or pachapa. The hidden
    spring is referred to by two of the
    Indian traditions."
    Tom Cover made five separate trips
    in as many years in search of the Pegleg
    mine. In addition, he fitted out another
    expedition at his own expense,
    being composed of Hank Brown and
    O. D. Gass, who spent the greater part
    of the summer of 1883 in prospecting
    the desert. Generally it was believed
    that the Borrego badlands, being of
    secondary formation, could not contain
    gold. Cover's first expedition,
    therefore, explored the region northeast
    of the railroad. He then heard of
    the squaw's story and decided the gold
    must be south of the road. In the
    second expedition an effort was made
    to skirt the desert to the west, penetrating
    between the badland hills and
    the mountains. In Cover's third venture
    the badlands were left to the east
    and north and a passage was tried between
    them and the mountains, coming
    south. In neither of these expeditions
    did Cover get through. The
    fourth trip went by way of San Felipe
    canyon, but had to be abandoned before
    completion. The fifth and last
    expedition led to Cover's disappearance
    and presumed death.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you just might find, you get what you need- Mick Jagger

  14. #164
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    183 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    hey gang,
    Ok, this is going to be a looooonng one so get your popcorn ready. Peerless,, first let me say, I know that you are just showing what has been printed. However most of the writers of the day were trying to sell newspapers and Pegleg was ALWAYS good for more sales. What you have are more layers than a Dagwood sandwich.

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    They have taken just about all the stories and have combined them to a point, where one would not know where to start... let alone finish. They have also NOT shown a " direct " connect to Pegleg, just someone who knew someone, who knew someone, etc....If you look at response #165 this is from Bailey's book, you'll see just how Pegleg told one of his partners just how he found the gold ( this is a direct link to Pegleg ). To me this is the most reliable source, Price rode with Pegleg and would have know the route, and the area that Pegleg traveled. These would be the words from Pegleg to Price and no one in between, and Price knew Charles Knowles from Idaho when Charles was a kid. We ( as researchers ) are always told to get to the " heart " of the story, and to me a direct "reliable " quote from one who rode with Pegleg, would be as close as one could get. Peerless, the reprint that you have does NOT quote Pegleg, it only quotes someone who knew someone.
    The closest you can get is from Dr De Cource ( not De Courcey as the paper printed and pronounced -decourse- ). The soldiers name was listed as a George Ham or possibly Bacon. If one goes to Yuma and searches the daily records, there is no George Ham or Bacon listed, and none listed as be AWOL. Here is a copy of the LA Times article with a interviews with the De Cource children.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dr De Cource did go to Yuma and became the 1st bonafide physician for the state of Arizona. He also worked at the Yuma Territorial Prison. I have personally talked with some of the de Corce family and they very very nice people. I was surprised how they opened up to me and will be eternally grateful. While Dr de Corce ( I forgot to mention his first name Albert ) did not find Pegleg's gold, he did invest in the KofA mine in Az. No back to George Ham, George was most likely not stationed at Ft Yuma, but rather a detachment assigned to Ft Yuma and that is why he does not show up on the deserted log ( see below )
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This might also mean that he was not " working " at Ft Yuma, but rather up the Colorado River at a outpost ( so the story goes ). The story also states that he abandoned his post and went NW via a old Indian trail towards San Bernardino. While on route he came across a skeleton of a mule and a prospector. There were 2 saddlebags full of course gold ( most likely from the Picacho mining district ), he took all he could carry and continued on. As these stories go, the conditions of the desert took it's toll and he found himself in a city under a doctor's care ( it has not been established which city it was, but LA is a looong way from the desert ). There is no record of Dr de Corce being in San Bernardino at this time, and I have no " proof " that he was in LA either.In the early ( I think ) 1900's there was a flood in Yuma and the last of Pegleg's gold was lost ( as per De Cource's children ). The amount that was found is also in question, $7000 worth of " course " gold would be at least 50lbs of raw material. It would very very difficult to carry ones own body weigh,t let alone another 50lbs of rocks.. in a saddle bag. The most accepted route was north of Yuma through the Chocolate Mts ( see below )
    Click image for larger version. 

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    All the other stories have too many " I heard from someone, who heard from someone, yaddity yaddity yaddity. But I will go through the Yount angle first. George Yount aka Dutch George was with a group of Trappers coming to California via what is now Lake Mead. And yes Thomas L Smith was with them when George found " native copper " back around 1829 or so. It was this story that Thomas L told and reshaped for the rest of his life for alllll the feeebie's he could get. As Major Horace Bell put it " the most prolific liar " he had ever known. It is MY belief although this Smith is the one that is CONSTANTLY brought up.... He is NOT -THE- Pegleg Smith. Besides your story says that he carried these rocks for years before he knew what they were.... Really ?? One would carry " rocks " in his saddlebags... for years...nahhhhhhhh

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now Thomas Cover, was a prominent resident of River City ( now known as Riverside California ), and was what we call today a real estate agent. He " may " have introduced the navel orange to settlers of Riverside, but I doubt it. Riverside was being promoted in LA as a place where one could purchase 10 acres " lots ". So usually it was growers that were looking for land. Cover ( as most people believe ) was killed by the Helm's family. ( here's a link for more scroll up to page 642 and start with Daunt (john ) Helm )


    Most of the the Tom Cover stories come from the Press and Horticulturist of Riverside and then reprinted or rewritten in other cities. I have all these stories and much much more. Cover was to meet his partner Russell on the other end of the " badlands " and was never seen again. Local rangers have told me how some people have " disappeared " through the years. It seems that some of the hills can literally swallow you up...One would sink quickly under their own body weight never to been seen again.

    Most likely THE Pegleg Smith was a guide, and as a guide he would have known where the trails led. If he was a smart guide he also would have befriended the local Indians to have knowledge of their trails as well.That is why to me the most logical location is the hills near the Carrizo Gap. The time to get there from Yuma would be correct, a sandstorm would really obscure any view of any direction, there are black hills in the area, there is a " spur " located near by, there is a " slow gradual slope ", the New river ( where they camped ) is close by. I have been looking at this for a few years now and it all fits... Also, why has the gold not been found Three words Carrizo Impact Area....Oh and a fourth word BOOM !!!! LOL... I would suspect that the gold " could " have been blown alll over the area ( this used to be a bombing range for pilots of WW2 ).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If you look at this picture ( above ) to your left are 3 small hills that could be called buttes, and to your right is a area that could be called a spur with a slow gradual slope. This is near the Impact Area and on the Overland stage line. It would be about 3 days out and on ones way to Warner's, Temecula and LA. Ok I'm getting hungry and the ham is done, soooooo I'll see what kinda response we get and then get back to you all.. Meanwhile MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone


  15. #165
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
    Tesoro Lobo Supertraq, (95%) Garrett Scorpion (5%)
    7388 times

    Re: Pegleg's Black Gold Nuggets

    Seasons greetings amigo,

    Peerless and Pegleglooker thank you for posting, very interesting information. There is a minor detail in the account posted by Peerless that is enlightening and if correct (how could we ever know) would at least suggest a quite different location for Pegleg's gold than the Carrizo Impact zone.

    You guys are sure giving me ideas! I hope you are having a great holiday season, and thank you again!
    your friend,
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca


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