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Thread: Thomas Penfield

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  1. #1
    us
    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    LST
    272
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    Thomas Penfield

    Any one have an opinion on the writer Thomas Penfield and the treasure stories he writes about.

  2. #2
    us
    Dec 2005
    Eugene, Oregon
    Fisher CZ5, White's GM VSat
    4,095
    126 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    I have "Directory of buried or sunken treasures and lost mines of the United States". There are several of those for Oregon he lists as myths, when in actuality, they have been found. Also, several that he lists as likely, have been found. Several that he lists as likely have not been found.

    It's all hit or miss. His opinion is probably more valid than most, but not necessarily the be all and end all. Its just his opinion. You may come to a different conclusion from your own research.

  3. #3
    TreasureTales

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    He wrote books for all the contiguous states, or at least most of them. How anybody could do thorough research about so many treasure stories is mind boggling. It's pretty well established that when Thomas Terry wrote his 10 volumes of United States Treasure Atlas, he only repeated what had already been written by others - IOW he created a compilation of brief statements pertaining to treasure legends. I don't know if that's what Penfield did, but you gotta wonder how one man could have written about so many stories and still had time to do any serious research.

    One of the issues of National Prospector's Gazette, written largely by Dean Miller (aka Karl von Mueller) said that Penfield had been collecting newspaper clippings and articles about treasure stories for a number of years before writing his books. I don't know if that's true, but it seems very plausible.

    I have not seen one of his books, so I can only speculate about them. But IF he did have a bibliography with each book he wrote, that alone might be worth the purchase price. Primary sources of information are almost always more useful than secondary sources (re-writes).

  4. #4
    us
    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    LST
    272
    14 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    That's really what I was curious about. Is he considered a serious "treasure hunter" or more of a collector of stories that he re-tells to sell his books. Not that I have a problem with that but I was just wondering if anyone new anything about him.
    Thanks,Bill

  5. #5
    TreasureTales

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Well, a serious treasure hunter would also be a newspaper clipper. Karl von Mueller wrote many books and wrote the bulk of National Prospector's Gazette, but he was also a serious treasure hunter. In fact, Dean Miller (aka Karl von Mueller, et al) was undoubtedly the foremost cache hunter/finder in the country in the 20th century. So a person certainly can be both a writer and a serious treasure hunter. Whether that's true of Penfield is unknown to me since I don't know much about him. I feel a google search coming on. LOL

    Don't forget about Michael Paul Henson and H. Glenn Carson. They are writers and also treasure hunters. Fact is, as a treasure hunter you have to find other ways to supplement your income because treasure hunting is not particularly reliable as an income producer.

    What I'm trying to say is that just because somebody wrote for a living doesn't mean he wasn't a serious treasure hunter. The best way to learn about Penfield might be to buy one of his books and see what type of info he included in it. If it's basic retelling of a legend with no bibliography, no maps, and no equipment suggestions, for example then you might write him off. But if there is some sense that he knew what he was writing about, maybe he's worth buying and collecting.
    Texas Jay likes this.

  6. #6

    Sep 2005
    OR
    Minelab XT17000/Explorer XS/Exp SE Pro
    91

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Hey Bill96,

    In my opinion.........Penfield is higher caliber than most. I would suggest when you initally read a story about lost.....whatever, look at AND research the writer's sources. When you see; 'Lost Treasure', 'Desert Mag.'.......'Western-Eastern' as the only sources, look at your hole card....a couple times. I want......DEMAND to see !@#$% Historical Soc., !@#$% State Archives, !@#$%'s day to day Diary as sources. Then I research,on my own, to verify the info was written by, no more than, second-person to the deed. I want to have dated verifiable info, written AT THE TIME, AT THE PLACE, BY THE PEOPLE INVOLVED or as on the spot witnesses, perhaps as a current newspaper issue that was written by someone who was reporting a current event. If the 'treasure story' has merit, this info is fairly easy to get, if you perservere.

    People tend to believe.....most things they read in a treasure magazine or books by people with 'PHD' after their name and 'guruize' (think I invented a word) the writer. A case in point is 'Terrible Trail- Meek Cutoff' by Clark and Tiller. I read this book, cover to cover, twice before I started using it as a page-by-page resource. there is a ton of good 'source' info in it. I know two different....teams(not me) of treasure hunters who used this book as 'gospel' and trudged the Malhuer breaks for weeks following Clark and Tillers directions.

    I did go to Eastern OR to scope out the 'S Chambers' headstone ('Find the grave and you will find the gold'). Talk about a 'credibility come-uppance'. Coincidentally, my trade for thirty years was Journeyman Bricklayer/Stonemason. I have cut and faced a......crap-load of stone, from granite to lava for veneers, fire-place faces....whatever. This 'gravestone was supposed to have been faced and carved overnight, between days walking daylight til dark by a greiveing(spelling?) husband with tools of the day, he had with him. NOT! COULDN"T HAPPEN! It took someone many hours, if not a couple days to carve this thing. Also, There is no stone in the area that matches it. It's not local stone. FIRST STRIKE.

    SECOND STRIKE was when I read a passage where they cited Jesse Harrit's diary(could have been Parker or Field diary. Don't have my research in front of me). He said 'Traveled AGAIN a little West of South today'. The 'authors' corrected him saying, (paraphrasing) 'He thought he was traveling SW but he had to be traveling NW as three days hence he was at.....' The 'grave' was the denominator for ALL diary entries. If it did not jibe with the grave location(a known spot) it was ignored out-of -hand or INTERPRETED. NOW......We're talking about a fella who got up and started walking from Missouri, driving oxen, EVERY MORNING with the sun on the back of his neck. He walked all day and before dusk he had the sun in his eyes. Please do not tell me he did not know South from North.

    THIRD STRIKE; (paraphrasing)Field's diary entry of Sept. 9 (had my wife dig up my diary copies), talks about a child that died. They had a quick funeral and drove the WHOLE WAGON TRAIN over the grave to hide it. Seems they had been told the indians in E. OR had a penchant for digging up the dead and stealing the clothes. NOW......In one case they make a huge point(documented) to hide a grave,.....in another they build a.....monument, sticking up like a crapper in the fog.; same train, same people, same indian problem......Enter a Mr. Reaves, the man who searched for the grave for yyyyeeeeaaaarrrrs, found it and told everyone where it was. Anyone but me have a problem with this discrepancy Is it possible (read probable) the grave-stone is a plant to lead searchers away from the real area

    Anyhow....I'm on a rant. Please do your own investigation and use your head. Most times it's better than some writer's head, him needing to sell a story or book.

    Bud




  7. #7
    us
    Always Hunting Something.

    Apr 2006
    Central Maine
    Fisher 1210x Fisher 1236x2 Fisher 1225x
    391
    32 times
    Banner Finds (2)
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Rule of thumb,those that can,do,those that can't write about it. Bootstrap
    Ya never know what ya gonna pull out-the ground!!

  8. #8
    Cptbil

    Mar 2003
    Az/NM/Ca/Nv/Tx
    1,402
    51 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Stories in Magazines and books are just a GOOD! PLACE! to START
    your! Reseach from.
    Mackaydon likes this.
    CptBil & Bugs

  9. #9

    Mar 2003
    298
    229 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Thomas Penfield was a newspaper man. He made a hobby out of collecting information on lost mines and buried treasures. In the late 1950s he had a TV show that featured many of the current personalities that had written the stories, or that were involved in searches.

    Much of the information that was printed in his book, "Dig Here", was re-written from those newspaper and magazine clippings, and from other earlier written sources. I don't believe that there was any content in the book that he originated.
    Old Bookaroo likes this.

  10. #10

    May 2007
    42
    1 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Thomas Penfield was known to be a compiler of info, and I heard he used to clip newspaper articles.

    I like his books better than most but don't rely solely on his books if you want to search for your own treasure, as he usually printed about treasures that are already well known.

  11. #11
    us
    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    LST
    272
    14 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    Since my original post I have discovered just what a prolific writer he really was. I have enjoyed his books and he has been good about his source material.
    Bill

  12. #12
    us
    Cptbild

    Oct 2005
    NM/AZ/CA/Co/Utah & P.I. Tx.
    339
    7 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    SO!
    Are you going to JUST! read about them
    OR!
    Are you going to go looking for them
    I can furnish additional information on most any of his stories, that are located in the Western US!
    Cptbild & Bugs

  13. #13
    us
    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    LST
    272
    14 times

    Re: Thomas Penfield

    I do have my eye on one in New Mexico that sounds interesting
    Bill

  14. #14
    us
    Director of Research, Acquisitions, Archives and Library, Superstition Mountain Historical Society,and one of its founders, Member of Arizona First Families, Westerners, Arizona Historical Society, Central Arizona Museum Association and the Dons Club

    Oct 2013
    Tempe, Arizona
    eyeball it
    178
    588 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Gentlemen: The Thomas Penfield Files are in the possession of the Superstition Mountain Historical Society. They are in several file cabinets each containing numerous files on lost mines and buried treasures. Cordially, Gregory E. Davis

  15. #15

    Oct 2016
    1,830
    1071 times
    Researching Treasure Stories Author
    Seeing as how Thomas P. Terry was mentioned, he hunted treasures in his early books. His atlas has Penfield stuff, all I believe. He has many that I wondered how he came up with them since I found a few in rare books that I don't see how he could of known of. Both made some errors in listings. Terry had the newspaper clippings and threw most away. What remained he gave to me before I moved from LaCrosse. One packet he had must of been for a book he never did. My wife and I turned it into a book. It was on Tom Kelly and his gold in Dubuque.
    Texas Jay likes this.

 

 
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