Gold Butte Lost Lode
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  1. #1

    Oct 2016
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    Gold Butte Lost Lode

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    Gold Butte was known for its placer deposits, a man named Rodney Barnes made the discovery here and is said to have taken out around $125,000. All others combined totaled roughly what Barnes recovered. This is a good example that he took the time to find the best piece of ground to stake his legal claim. No one is said to have ever found the source of the gold, in fact a man named Jack Monroe was searching for it as late as 1942!

    Missing Mother Lode
    Almost all sources tend to agree in every detail about the gold that was discovered at Gold Butte in the Sweet Grass Hills in Toole County. Everyone agrees that the gold was known to the Native Americans living in the region, but they kept it a closely guarded secret for obvious reasons. It wasnít until 1884 that prospectors named Barnes and Walters who ventured onto land that was considered off limits to whites because it belonged to the Blackfoot Indians discovered gold. Some sources claim the party was made up of 4 members (M. Carey, F. Derwent, G. Walters and J Des Champ). Little could be done at this time because of the treaty and so it wasnít until the area was ceded back to the Government for settlement that prospectors could venture back in search of gold. But still some staked claims prior to being allowed to legally enter the region and for a time a company of infantry was stationed close by to ensure that order was maintained. Barnes returned with another partner and happened to stake the first claim. There was little water to wash the dirt and the majority of the work was hard and slow going.
    A town was founded called Gold Butte of which some interesting old photographs still survived. The old pictures show what appears to be just a couple of dozen wooden buildings in a bleak environment. Still the expectations of making the big strike drew somewhere between 400 to 500 to the area. The area produced gold in all the gulches to the west of Middle Butte with nothing found in the direction of East Butte.
    There was an old newspaper called the River Press May 27, 1885 edition, published at Fort Benton I believe that carried a short mention of the gold. The short article stated that sluicing was taking place and all of the course gold had quartz mixed with it. From the sounds of the goldís description there was a quartz vein somewhere close by. The easy to get gold was basically gone around 1900 and Gold Butte became a ghost town. Years later strip mining was tried in the 1930ís, but that company ran out of money. The lure of gold sparked the interest of yet another company a few years later, but they too packed her in prior to World War II. The source of the gold was never located and is still out there somewhere. Maybe the lure of the missing gold will caused another expenditure of time and money sometime in the future. Almost every book Iíve read that covers Gold Butte claims folks are still poking around in the hills hoping to find a little color, who knows what tomorrow will bring.




    Gold Butte Regional Topo Map
    This map has Gold Butte basically centered and shows the region surrounding the site of the gold strike. The mother lode from which the gold came was never discovered and might be found some day. One would think that the placer gold came from the higher elevations. This could mean that Middle Butte could hold the hidden vein that has been long sought!


    Gold Butte Topo Map 2
    The map for this region shows the site of the gold boom town of Gold Butte. Some detail that can be seen by looking at the map are the two placer mines areas and Eclipse Gulch. The cemetery to the north and what appears as a single grave to the south must be desolate places to visit.

  2. #2

    Oct 2016
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    Researching Treasure Stories Author
    This piece tells who the last searcher was:
    Gold Butte Lost Lode
    Gold Butte was known for its placer deposits, a man named Rodney Barnes made the discovery here and is said to have taken out around $125,000. All others combined totaled roughly what Barnes recovered. This is a good example that he took the time to find the best piece of ground to stake his legal claim. No one is said to have ever found the source of the gold, in fact a man named Jack Monroe was searching for it as late as 1942!

  3. #3

    Oct 2016
    1,960
    1185 times
    Researching Treasure Stories Author
    Gold Butte Lost Lode
    Located southwest of Whitlash, Montana, in Liberty and Toole County, are three small mountains—West Butte, East Butte, and Gold Butte—commonly known as the Sweet Grass Hills. Gold Butte was known for its placer deposits. The Blackfeet Indians were probably the first to discover gold in the Sweet Grass Hills as their reservation was located there. But, they kept their secret to themselves. Later, in the 1870’s, a government survey party found gold, but did not pursue further development.
    It wasn’t until 1884 that prospectors named Barnes and Walters, who ventured onto land that was considered off limits to whites because it belonged to the Blackfoot Indians, discovered gold. Some sources claim the party was made up of 4 members: M. Carey, F. Derwent, G. Walters, and J. Des Champ. Prospecting was limited at this time because of the treaty the U.S. Government had with the tribes. In the late 1800’s it was illegal for white people to mine for gold there, but they did it anyway. They had a lookout on a high hill called “look-out station” where a man would keep watch for the soldiers approaching from Fort Benton. When the lookout saw them coming, he would warn the miners. By the time the soldiers got there, no one would be in the mines. The soldiers would remain quite a while but the prospectors laid low until the troops left. Once they were out of sight, the search for gold resumed. These miners had to be tenacious to deal with the soldiers and the working conditions. There was little water to wash the dirt; and, the majority of the work was hard and slow going.
    It was not until the area was ceded back to the Government for settlement, that prospectors could lawfully search of gold and stake legal claims. Rodney Barnes, with another partner, happened to stake the first official claim. Barnes is said to have taken out around $125,000. All others combined, totaled roughly what Barnes recovered. This is a good indication that he took the time to find the best piece of ground on which to stake his legal claim.
    As word of the gold find got out, more gold seekers joined Barnes. Ultimately, the town of Gold Butte was formed. If you look at the few surviving photos of the town, the photos show what appears to be just a couple of dozen primitive wooden buildings, in a bleak environment. In spite of this, the expectation of “making that big strike” drew somewhere between 400 to 500 people to the area at its peak.. This once thriving boom town folded in the 1940’s, and the area reverted back to ranching. Before and since the Sweet Grass Hills gold boom, the main economy has been ranching.
    The area produced gold in all the gulches to the west of Middle Butte, with nothing found in the direction of East Butte. There are not reports that anyone ever found the source of the Gold Butte gold, though. In fact, a man named Jack Monroe, was searching for it as late as 1942!
    There was an old newspaper published at Fort Benton, The River Press. In its May 27, 1885 edition, there is a short mention of the Sweet Grass gold. The short article stated that “sluicing was taking place, and all of the coarse gold had quartz mixed with it.” From the sounds of the gold’s description, there was a quartz vein somewhere close by. The easy-to-get gold was basically gone around 1900 and Gold Butte eventually became a ghost town. Years later, in the 1930’s, strip mining was tried; but that company ran out of money. The lure of gold sparked the interest of yet another company a few years later. But, they too, gave up just prior to World War II. The source of the gold was never located and is still out there somewhere.

    Maybe the lure of the missing gold will cause another expenditure of time and money sometime in the future. Almost every book I have read that covers Gold Butte, makes the claim that folks are still poking around in the hills hoping to find a little color. So, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

  4. #4

    Oct 2016
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    1185 times
    Researching Treasure Stories Author
    THE RIVER PRESS
    Fort Benton, Montana
    May 20, 1885
    SWEET GRASS GOLD.
    –––––––––––
    Paying Placers Found in the Sweet Grass Hills.
    ––––––––––––
    One of the Discoverers Arrives Today After Supplies, and Has the “Dust”
    to Pay for the Same.
    –––––––––––
    Marion Cary arrived from the Sweet Grass Hills this morning, bringing with him initial evidences of gold existing there, in the way of five ounces of the metal, which has recently been discovered in paying quantities in that locality. He informed a RIVER PRESS representative today that the discovery was made last fall by himself, Fred Derwent, George Walters, and John Deschamp. At the same time they went there, they were unable to do much, and wintered in the mountains. This spring, they prospected on the east side of the middle butte and found pay dirt in all the side gulches towards the west, but found nothing in the gulches running into the east butte. They spent the time in prospecting and made no permanent locations, until a few days ago, when Joe Kipp, Charley Thomas, Hi. Upham, and about ten others came into the camp, when they formed a district, all locating claims, and appointed Hi. Upham recorder. The Cary party have taken this spring in their desultory prospecting, eleven and one-half ounces of gold. In the work that has thus far been done, they have not struck bedrock in the main gulch but find good pay in the dirt. As high as $1.50 has been taken from one pan. Mr. Cary is confident that the diggings will pay from $7 per day to the man. The boys tried to keep the matter a profound secret when the discovery was first made, and have done so for several months—but now the matter is pretty well-known. Mr. Cary left the hills the day before yesterday, making the trip in tow days; he came for grub, tools, etc., to prosecute their work. They are now sluicing water at present being plenty, and we may expect a good report from the new gold fields before long. Placer mines have been thought to exist in this locality for a number of years, but search for them has never been prosecuted to any extent. Gold and silver bearing quartz was discovered in these mountains several years ago.
    The Sweet Grass Hills are located near the boundary line, probably eighty miles from Fort Benton, in a northwesterly direction. Capt. Twining made a road there in 1874 to a point near the permanent supply camp at the Sweet Grass Hills, which resulted in finding quartz but no placers—in fact, the prospecting was of the most superficial kind, being conducted by officers and others not familiar with mining matters.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  5. #5
    gr
    Oct 2012
    3,287
    5150 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hi Tiredman

    To find the source of a rich gold placer is not something very difficult , if you have patience and a lot of time to spend .
    I gave a look at the region you have posted about , and seems is not a very large area to research for the mother lode . Enough to know the process .
    In the first GE image , you can see marked with red line , the region in which the mother lode should be . I marked with yellow , the famous gold placer region . First , you have to know , the eluvial gold particles , would roll easier on a rocky mountainside than a grassy one . In a grassy side , I can say how is almost impossible to roll down , but with a torrential rain this could be possible . You can't dismisss any possibility .

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    Now , the next step is to take ground samples in the canyon bed , upward , every thirty feet ( blue dots ) , and to pan them for gold . You will go upward doing this process till you will don't see anymore any particle of gold in your dust . Then , return about thirty feet down the canyon and start taking ground samples from one side of the mountain every ten feet . When a sample don't has gold , stop , go upside ten feet and start taking samples in the direction you have started ( parallel and back ) taking samples on the mountainside ( see green line from the second GE image ). You will do this process till you will find the source . I post a second GE image ( closer look ) with the process .

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    Good luck .
    Last edited by markmar; Nov 09, 2018 at 02:02 PM.
    Marius

    If your true to your heart, you will never go wrong. The truth is the truth, no matter how you look at it, and in every treasure story and legend there is a grain of truth. It's up to your spirit and heart to know the difference. NP





  6. #6

    Oct 2016
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    Thanks for adding to the story.

  7. #7
    Charter Member
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    Tommy

    Dec 2015
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    Great post I love reading this stuff Thanks

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