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  1. #21
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Thanks Pippinwhitepaws, that seems to dovetail nicely - for this site
    http://tomlaidlaw.com/otkiosks/vale.html
    says it WAS the Meeks party that found the Blue Bucket gold,
    quote
    "The captain of the company told all of the young people who had saddle horses to take buckets and go hunt for water. My father, who was then 23 years old and his sister...took their old blue wooden buckets and started out to find water. They finally found a dry creek bed which they followed until they found a place where a little water was seeping through the gravel, and while father was digging for water his sister saw something bright and picked it up."
    W. H. Herren, son of W. J. Herren, emigrant of 1845

    Stephen Meek, pilot of an ill-fated 1845 emigration, successfully persuaded 200 families to attempt a shortcut around the Blue Mountains. Although the endeavor proved disastrous, legend holds that in their desperate search for water the lost emigrants discovered a small amount of gold!
    The search for the Blue Bucket gold led to other discoveries, and prospectors soon descended upon the countryside with their gold pans and pack mules. Although many deposits of precious metals have been found in the region, and mining lured many settlers back to the banks of the Malheur River, the Blue Bucket gold has eluded all seekers.
    So the Blue Bucket is somewhere along their path, probably not far from the Malheur River. The site where the kiosk is located is explained here
    http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2J2C (Marker 6)
    N 43 58.975 W 117 14.154

    Topo of this place (where the kiosk is located) gives a starting point to look for the Meeks cutoff trail
    http://mapserver.maptech.com/homepag...latlontype=DMS

    that is presuming the Blue Bucket gold was actually found in this area. I tend to think YES this is a VERY HOT spot to hunt for the Blue Bucket gold since we know that Malheur county is a (fairly) well known GOLD region! Here is a brief description of Malheur County (Vale is the county seat) gold deposits
    MALHEUR COUNTY

    Considerable gold has been produced from the Malheur district, in northern Malheur County, and
    from the Mormon Basin district which extends into Baker County. As might be expected, early production from such border-straddling districts was reported with little consideration for geography; however, it is fairly certain that the bulk of the Mormon Basin output was from the part of the district in Baker County. Gold production data for Malheur County are complete from 1904, but data on district production before 1932 are fragmentary. From 1904 through 1959 Malheur County produced 13,522 ounces of lode gold and 13,860 ounces of placer gold. More than one-third of this came from the Mormon Basin district.

    MALHEUR DISTRICT: The Malheur district is about 10 miles west-south-west of the Mormon Basin district in northern Malheur County. Information on this district is fragmentary. The district's greatest production was in 1875, just after the completion of the Eldorado ditch which pro-
    vided sufficient water to mine the gulch gravels on a fairly large scale. Production for that year was
    $150,000 in gold. No further mining was reported until the late 1930's and early 1940's. From 1932 through 1942, the district produced 36 ounces of lode gold and 2,277 ounces of placer gold.
    From 1942 through 1959 no production was reported. The minimum total production for the district through 1959, including Lindgren's report of $150,000 for 1875, was about 9,600 ounces of gold.

    MORMON BASIN DISTRICT: The Malheur County part of the Mormon Basin district produced 4,133 ounces of lode gold and 5,199 ounces of placer gold between 1904 and 1959, but before 1932 not all the annual production was reported. from 1952 through 1959, no gold production was reported from the district
    also this bit from my own notes, back when we did a lot of prospecting:

    Ironside, about 47 miles NW of Vale on US 26 and NE to old Malheur City are within the Malheur district, plenty of lode gold produced from numerous mines (some quite deep) found no info on related placers

    <Explanation - as you might guess, with no info on any placers in the Malheur district, and we were ONLY interested in placer areas, Mrs Oro and I didn't bother to do any prospecting there. Might have been a huge mistake, seeing what we now know!>

    I know you already know this, but when you have a legend of a lost gold mine and it just happens to be IN an area KNOWN to have gold (and some fairly rich deposits at that) in my opinion you have a "winner" - for as they say, it pays to hunt elephants in the elephant country!

    Good luck Cynangel I hope you find it!
    your friend,
    Roy ~ Oroblanco

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  3. #22
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Yes, it was the Meeks party that found it and the account I am reading is of someone that was with that party....tis very interesting indeed...if his account is close to accurate it could be very close to where I am....such fun comparing all these maps and stories and seeing how his is more plausible. Thanks so much for the further info Oro....I need a big old map to stick pins in! lol

  4. #23
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Hello again - just wanted to add a bit. If the children found the gold on September 17th or 18th (one version) then it is possible to pin down the sites. According to "legend" Meek climbed to the top of Glass Butte on the north side of Lost Creek and spotted a green patch, which the train then made a beeline for, traveling through the night. On the 18th it is thought they camped on Bear Creek. By another set of estimations, it is a different place

    The spot they reached at daybreak was probably Buck Creek, the first southern branch of the South Fork of Crooked River, the main eastern tributary of the north-flowing Deschutes.6
    FIELD: Wed., Sept. 17 (Day 24)-- Lay by today wishing to get a smaller company if possible, three large ones being mixed together. Thurs., Sept. 18 (Day 25)--Traveled about 11 miles in a northwesterly direction, striking a smart-sized creek running in the same direction and camping upon it.
    They had now reached Crooked River itself. At last, the emigrants were now assured of a steady source of fresh water, all the way down to the Columbia. Thank God, perhaps now their fortunes were beginning to turn for the better.


    Transcribed diary of Cooley
    http://www.oregonpioneers.com/CooleyDiary.htm
    Meek Cutoff
    http://oregonoverland.com/4-new.pdf

    I think you can narrow down the area quite a bit more than I can - good luck amigo I hope you find this!
    Oroblanco
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  5. #24
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I am having a great time here....the research is a blast and you are oh so very helpful in giving me links to other accounts I can compare. Gracias mi amigo!

  6. #25
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    HOLA mi amigo Cynangel, Bookaroo and everyone,

    Cynangel wrote
    I am having a great time here....the research is a blast
    I wish I could find a copy of an account from of W. H. Herren , which family was among those who actually found gold, but so far no luck. The brief extract on the kiosk,...

    "The captain of the company told all of the young people who had saddle horses to take buckets and go hunt for water. My father, who was then 23 years old and his sister...took their old blue wooden buckets and started out to find water. They finally found a dry creek bed which they followed until they found a place where a little water was seeping through the gravel, and while father was digging for water his sister saw something bright and picked it up."
    W. H. Herren, son of W. J. Herren, emigrant of 1845
    ...does say that they had found a dry creekbed and followed it UP, until they came to a site where some water was seeping visibly, and that they noticed the gold by digging. So it is possible that no nuggets are laying on top of the ground as it is told in some versions.

    On the other hand, I did find some interesting bits. One is an article written by Choral Pepper (of Desert Magazine fame) in which she came up with a solution to where they were, even suggesting an area to search. The article is online at

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2402474/19...1967-September

    <it starts on page 22, the map showing the site she thought promising is on page 24>
    I have not found a geological map to compare with her site, but would think that a good step even though gold can occur anywhere certain types of bedrock are just less promising.

    Lane county historical society seems to have quite a collection of period documents which could be "paydirt" if a person could visit their museum, their website so far has limited material

    http://www.lanecountyhistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/

    Found an interesting website focused on the Blue Bucket gold too, haven't read all of it yet but looks interesting enough:

    http://www.thegeozone.com/treasure/n...les/nv002a.jsp

    Another interesting article from Desert magazine, with strange "censorship" blotting out some names and words is online at

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2404320/19...ne-1975-August

    John Herren kept a diary and is of the same family as W.H., if you can find this I think you stand a good chance of being able to locate this lost bonanza. Good luck and good hunting amigo, I hope you find that gold, and will keep us posted with updates!
    Roy ~ Oroblanco
    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
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  7. #26
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    My mom took my kids through the Oregon Trail exhibit when they were younger....maybe I will have to go have a look at the exhibit and any info they are willing to share as well. Would sure make for a fun field trip sometime. They also have a great exploratory center about the Oregon Trail out of Baker OR....I am certain most of the information in any Oregon Trail exhibit or archive will be from the Barlow Trail but surely they have something from the Meeks cutoff. Thanks for the added links for reading material. If nothing else eventually I might be an expert on where it is not!

  8. #27
    pippinwhitepaws

    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    local historical society might have some records...also, if there is a university library close...special collections is your best bet for historical accounts of the Meeks tragedy..and the gold..
    they seem fairly clear on the date of the find...and where...

  9. #28
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I have gotten some info from one historical society....the problem for me is that each account seems to vary as to where...and some by a considerable distance but I can keep narrowing it down. Some of the stories say they picked them up from the prints from the hooves of the oxen, some say found in a stream....yet another says they found them in the bottom of the water bucket in mud and were not sure when they were picked up. Amazing how one incident can be seen so differently by so many people. lol

  10. #29
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I am finding the Desert Magazine '67 issue very interesting in the fact that the family of Old Man Pierce putting together his writings was searching in an area that is quite a distance from where Old Man Pierce went back to search according to the historical society account I have been reading. I wonder why that would be

  11. #30
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    HOLA amigos,
    I suspect that we have so many different versions because more than one party happened on gold, in various situations as they were traveling. This could be extremely confusing if we try to put together the clues from one version with those from another party, and likely would mean having several different places to have to check in the field - the good news though is that I suspect they did find gold in several different places, considering that Oregon is in fact GOLD country.
    Oroblanco
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  12. #31
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I suspect I find it so intriguing because it is in areas I am close to and some of those areas I am somewhat familiar with. I used to elk hunt in one of the areas mentioned and have camped in some of the others. Makes me wish I had a metal detector back then! lol

  13. #32
    pippinwhitepaws

    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    lol, i am like that with the lost dutchman...i grew up on that one...within sight and a real hard walk...

  14. #33
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Always nice to have something of interest nearby....even if you never make any big discovery you learn a great deal, don't spend as much on fuel and have an incredible time researching and poking about! I can think of much worse ways to spend time!

  15. #34
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I guess I ought to add these locations taken from the US Treasure Atlas, Vol 8 (Terry) pp 842, # 499

    • A: In the area about 40 miles N of Stinking Hollows in a lava flow
    • B: Between 2 rises now known as Coyote Hills and Rabbit Hills
    • C: In the Malheur country at the hea of the Malheur river in a stream that ran SW and supposedly a branch of the Malheur
    • D: In the vicinity of a rocky peak known locally as Chicken Hawk Butte, somewhere in the Silver River area.
    • E: In a washout on the S side of Wagontire Mountain.
    • F: On Summit Prairie near a spot called Prospect Meadows along the road to Mitchell.
    • G: In the area of Foley Creek Canyon NW of Plush on either Foley Creek or Rabbit Creek.
    • H: In Tygh Valley.
    • I: In the Silvies Valley area.
    • J: In the area of the Steens Mountains.
    • K: In Mortimer Gulch.
    • L: In Spanish Gulch.
    • M: In the area of the Blue Mountains.
    • N: In the Unity District.
    • O: In the Hampton Butte area.
    • also # 486B, One suggested location of the Lost Malheur Emigrant Gold (obviously identical with Blue Bucket) is said to be just 1 or 2 days travel S of a grave marker inscribed Sarah Jane or Mary Jane Cummings or Chambers - such a gravestone was located on the N Fork of the Malheur River just above the Agency Valley Reservoir, scratched with the markings Mrs S. Chambers, Sept. 3, 1845


    Not to further muddy the waters with so many locations, just adding to the info database that seems to be accumulating here.

    Cynangel you have a LOT of lost treasures, lost mines, etc in Oregon, heck I feel jealous that we have "only" nineteen lost mines to hunt for here in the Black Hills - I counted thirty in just a few counties of your beautiful state and quit counting!
    Oroblanco
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  16. #35
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I am ever so grateful for your so called muddying of the waters! lol I used to have the Terry's atlas set and since I don't have it now I was curious what was there regarding this. You are a God send! You are right, there are MANY lost treasures in this state and countless ghost towns as well. Even if I stuck to just the ones in the tri-county area of Central Oregon (Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes) I could keep far more busy than I am able to.....sheesh why can't a person win the lottery without buying tickets so I could just spend all my time chasing these things?

  17. #36
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    HOLA amigo! I had signed off and almost forgot, I did find a good online Oregon geologic map (also terrain) it is at

    http://geology.com/states/oregon.shtml

    Sheesh talk about living in a treasure hunter's land - Deschutes county lists eight or nine ghost towns, Crook county has ten or eleven (depends if you count the GI Ranch, a key site for hunting the Blue Bucket gold) plus,

    442 A Around 1850, four Dutchmen found a rich placer deposit in a canyon thought to be in the Ochoco Mountains and washed out a fortune. When fall arrived they cached their shovels and tools under a log and returned to California. For unknown reasons, they never returned to continue working the rich deposit in the Prineville area and it has yet to be rediscovered.

    442 B In 1916, 2 miners found a dilapidated cabin in the Prineville area as well as old sluice boxes, an ancient pick and a frying pan. The relics were believed to be in the area of the Lost Four Dutchmen's gold diggings, but no mine was found in the vicinity.

    442 C the Skeleton Rock Treasure, $50,000 in gold and silver coins, is buried in the area of Prineville.

    443 A lost treasure is reportedly located on the Crooked River, S of Prineville and known locally as the Lost Chimney Cache.

    Jefferson county has one too besides no less than TEN ghost towns,

    154 Ben Smith's Mystery Mine is located near Mount Jefferson.

    It IS great to have some lost treasures/lost mines to hunt virtually 'in your backyard' because we can't always take off lots of time plus the cost of traveling is so expensive now - even if something like a Lost Standoff Bar gold mine doesn't have the same glory and mystique of a Lost Dutchman, if you were lucky enough (and persistant enough) to find one it would still set you up financially so you could spend the rest of your days hunting lost treasures. (Actually this has been my plan for some time, just need to find that first great lost mine for the "setting up financially" part! )
    Oroblanco

    PS I wonder why our amigos Real de Tayopa and Cactusjumper have not weighed in?
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  18. #37
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    I do not know where they went....I expected Don Jose to chime in at the very least.

    Gracias!! That map link is perfect!

    Yes, all of this is in my backyard....very close indeed....I wish I had treasurenet buddies in my backyard too! lol I just looked at a newsletter for the museum in Prineville....got all excited because I saw a program about the Meeks cutoff being done.....it was NOVEMBER's newsletter! Aaaaargh! I will have to go over and see what all this Lent dude has compiled over the last three years of researching this legend.

    Since I don't buy lottery tickets I will have to copy your plan....persistently research and search out some of these legends that are so close to home....the odds can't be much worse than me winning off that lottery ticket in my Christmas stocking each year and this is far more fun!

    Yes Bobby...lots and lots of places to visit...now to get you all out here to visit! Perhaps you can do some research on one or more of these legends then you can check them out when you decide to visit!

  19. #38
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    As always Oro....thank you so very much for your input and insight!

  20. #39
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Cynangel - the Oregon Geological Survey has quite a range of helpful publications, many of which you can download free,
    http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/pub...pub%26data.htm

    in particular this one might prove helpful, at least in helping to rule OUT certain areas as unlikely,
    http://www.oregongeology.org/sub/pub...GMS/gms036.pdf
    <GMS-36 Mineral resources map of Oregon, by M.L. Ferns & D.F. Huber, 1984, 1:500,000 (Supersedes QM-12 & MP-2). >

    If nothing else, it might turn up some interesting places to go prospecting. The USGS has some good publications and maps that could be useful too, the search page is at:
    http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/

    Google books (online) has some that might be helpful/useful too, such as

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Y0s...=1&as_pt=BOOKS
    <The Mineral Resources and Mineral Industry of Oregon for 1903‎ >

    http://books.google.com/books?id=i3O...=1&as_pt=BOOKS
    <IDAHO AND OREGON PLACER DEPOSITS. United States Bureau of Mines - 1915 Bulletin‎>


    many more, can't always judge by the titles especially since many have just "Bulletin" which was not really the title of the publication.
    Oroblanco



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  21. #40
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Mucho gracias mi amigo!!

    all bookmarked....got a lot to deal with tonight so probably wont be looking at them right at the moment but most certainly will later.

 

 
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