Mitchell Bank Robbery
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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2007
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    Mitchell Bank Robbery

    The story is told that, sometime during the latter eighties, a gang of outlaws held up the Mitchell bank and made a clean getaway with a large amount of money. They were chased into the foothills of the Ochoco Mountains west of Mitchell, but the treail was given up there, as it was soon lost on the steep rocky slopes. As told afterwards by one of the gang, they went to the top of Viewpoint on the head of Marks Creek where they stopped to rest their horses. They had just gotten their horses tied in a fir thicket and started to make camp when they were surprised by a war party of Paiute-Snake Indians. Grabbing their loot, they tried to elude the Indians on foot, as they did not have time to go get the horses which were hidden some distance where from where they were camped. Realizing that the Indians were gaining on them, the gold coin was hurriedly hidden at the base of a large pine to relieve the men of that much extra weight. Minutes afterward, the Indians caught up with them and killed all of the bandits but one who escaped and returned to Mitchell. After telling of their ill fated clash with the Indians, he led a posse back to the scene of the attack in an attempt to show them where the money was hidden, but he was so frightened from his narrow escape that he could not remember where it was. As near as anyone knows, it is still buried on Viewpoint above Marks Creek. Until recent years, one could still see where the horses had been tied, as they gnawed away most of the log to which they had been tied before they starved to death. Also their bones were scattered around in the thicket where they died.

    (Trails To The Ochoco Valley, Andrew G Ontko, Crook County Historical Society, Prineville, OR)

    I just love these books from the historical society! Such fun stories in them! Hopefully will be posting more later! Have fun and happy hunting!

  2. #2
    us
    Tuberale

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    White's Coinmaster Pro
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    This sounds too close to fact to be coincidence.

    It was not a Mitchell Bank Robbery. It was a stagecoach robbery just outside of Mitchell, in which Henry H. Wheeler was shot thru the mouth by a marauding group of Chief Paulina's warriors. A historical plaque still is near the site. Wheeler, for whom the county of Wheeler was named, was able to cut one of the stage horses out of its leads, and escaped to Mitchell, where even though wounded, he organized a fast posse to return. There was a small amount of gold on the stage which was never recovered, as well as an assortment of diamond rings bound for Bend. The truly odd thing about the holdup was that several hundred dollars face value in large-size paper money was found strewn over the nearby sagebrush, like ornament on a Christmas tree. The Indians knew what gold was, and may have hidden it nearby, as it was never recovered. The Indians correctly blamed the gold for the whites taking over their lands in central and eastern Oregon.

  3. #3
    us
    Apr 2007
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    X-terra 70 ACE 250
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    Fascinating!

  4. #4
    us
    Tuberale

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    Here is a site detailing where the historical marker is located, on Hwy. 26 east of Mitchell 4.4 miles:

    http://www.recreationparks.net/OR/wh...ker-twickenham

    Was also able to find this under Wheeler County in Oregon Geographic Names by Lewis A. McArthur:

    "Wheeler County. Wheeler County was created February 17, 1899, and according to the Bureau of the Census, has a land area of 1707 square miles. It was named for Henry H. Wheeler, who was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, September 7, 1826, of English and German ancestry; went to Wisconsin in 1855; drove an ox team from Wisconsin to Yreka, California, by way of Salt Lake, in 1857, in company with a family named Wells; came to Oregon in 1862 and located at The Dalles in 1867, but soon went to the Salmon River mines in Idaho. Mining being unprofitable, he secured work driving a stage. He returned to The Dalles, and began farming and stock raising in the vicinity of Mitchell, Oregon, where he remained until his death, March 26, 1916. He was married December 19, 1875, to Dorcas L. Monroe, who died at Mitchell in March, 1911."

    I believe Wheeler was operating the stage between The Dalles and John Day for a time, but it might have only been the segment between Mitchell and John Day.

    There is no photo of the H.H. Wheeler marker east of Mitchell in Oregon's Historical Markers by Scofield, c. 1966.

    Mitchell does have another factual treasure story. Mitchell is located in the bottom of a canyon, and just downstream from another rather extensive canyon draining part of the Ochocco Mountains. A flashflood many years ago (between 1880-1930?) destroyed a portion of the town as well as carrying away an iron safe. The safe is somewhere downstream from Mitchell, but has not been recovered that I am aware of. It would be a good place to use a magnetometer, as the safe should quickly show up from the air. It likely is also covered over by many feet or yards of debris, which would make looking for it with a metal detector problematic. The area is also noted for rattlesnakes, and is still subject to flashfloods.

  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2007
    God's lap
    X-terra 70 ACE 250
    11,346
    58 times

    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    All of this is fairly close to where I live so it might be fun to go look sometime when I can get away from the motel. We should get a bunch of folks in here together and just go follow up on some of this....would be fun even if we did not find much.

  6. #6
    us
    Tuberale

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    White's Coinmaster Pro
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    Kind of long for me to get to. I'm in Portland, so not completely impossible, either. Rattlesnakes pretty common in that area.

    Are you willing to share your source(s)?

  7. #7
    us
    Apr 2007
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    X-terra 70 ACE 250
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    I quoted the source in the original post. I got several books from the Crook County Historical Society and listed which it came out of.

  8. #8
    us
    Tuberale

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    White's Coinmaster Pro
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    Re: Mitchell Bank Robbery

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynangyl
    I quoted the source in the original post. I got several books from the Crook County Historical Society and listed which it came out of.
    Sorry! Yep, there is it!

 

 

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