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  1. #16
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Okay, so from the maps you put up I am seeing red lines in the areas I would expect them to have run across the blue bucket diggings and yet the account I am reading here of Old Man Pierce who was with the wagon train, the area he said it would be found is not along the red lines. Enough to make a person nuts!! I need to find some more detailed maps and see the areas he is talking about and see if it makes sense they would be off the red lines to that area. Thanks for your input Oro......anyone else??

  2. #17
    pippinwhitepaws

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


  3. #18
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    Thanks Pippin!! That helps a LOT! Now I can look at both trails and the Meeks portion comes far closer to the areas this gentleman mentions. Now I am not so frustrated! lol

  4. #19
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    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Diggins - A Scarce Pioneer Account of the Legend

    hmmmmm he might actually make sense now...not exactly on either trail yet close enough to the accounts of the Meek trail that it is plausible....thanks again Pippin for the link!

  5. #20
    pippinwhitepaws

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

    you are welcome...

    i had read about meeks cutoff before...

  6. #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

    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

  7. #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

  8. #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
    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
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  9. #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!

  10. #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
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

  11. #26
    Charter Member
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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!

  12. #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...

  13. #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

  14. #29
    Charter Member
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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

  15. #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
    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

 

 
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