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  1. #1
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    238 times

    Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891


    Record-Union
    Sacramento, Saturday Morning, May 16, 1891

    THE DONNER TREASURE
    Claim Made That the Money Has Been Found
    A MINER ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERS THE HIDING PLACE
    The Spot In Plain Sight of the Wagon Road ___ ___ Margin of Donner Lake -
    The Coins Found are of Date Prior ro 1845, and comprise the Markings of
    America, France, Spain, Bolivia and the Argentine Republic-Truckee Excited
    Over the Discovery.
    TRUCKEE, May 15 - Truckee is feverish with excitement over the discovery of
    a portion of the treasure buried by the Donner Party in 1846-47. There is
    not a doubt about the authenticity of the find or the identity of the money.
    McGlashan's history of the Donner party, in speaking of the second relief
    party, says: "Reed's party encamped the first night near the upper end of
    Donner Lake. They had scarcely traveled three miles upon starting from the
    Graves cabin. Mrs. Graves had taken with her a considerable sum of money.
    This money had been ingeniously concealed in augur holes bored in cleats
    nailed to the bed of the wagon. These cleats, W.C. Graves says, were
    ostensibly placed in the wagon-bed to support a table carried in the back
    part of the wagon. On the underside of these cleats, however, were the augur
    holes, carefully filled with coin. The sum is variously stated at from $300
    to $500.
    "At the camping-ground near the upper end of Donner Lake one of the relief
    party jokingly proposed to another to play a game of enchre, to see who
    should have Mrs. Graves' money. Next morning Mrs. Graves remained when the
    party started, and concealed her money. All that is known is that she buried
    it behind a large rock on the north side of Donner Lake. So far as is known
    this money has never been recovered, but still lies hidden where it was
    placed by Mrs. Graves."
    The history proceeds to recount the death of Mrs. Graves from cold and
    starvation three days afterwards. She buried the money on the morning of
    March 3, 1847, and it was found yesterday afternoon by Edward REYNOLDS.
    Stewart McKay employed Amos Lane, keeper of a livery stable, to take him
    to the upper end of Donner Lake yesterday afternoon. A commercial traveler
    by the name of HUNTSMAN went as far as Johnson's Resort with them, and then
    took a boat and went out on the lake fishing. This left an empty seat in the
    wagon at starting, and Lane asked his friend Reynolds to go along.
    Reynolds is a stranger in Truckee, having come from Sierra Valley last
    Tuesday. He is a miner, and instead of going fishing, he went up on the side
    of the hill to look for quartz.
    Meantime Lane and McKay had driven on toward the head of the lake.
    Reynolds' attention was accidentally called to some dark-looking pieces of
    money lying in plain sight on the top of the ground. Stooping down he picked
    up ten ancient-looking dollars, and upon scratching slightly in the earth
    uncovering a large quantity of silver. Not knowing the nature or extent of
    the deposit he prudently covered it up, and when Lane returned reported that
    he had found the buried treasure, and offered to take Lane in with him.
    It was resolved to drive back to Truckee with McKay and the drummer
    without disclosing the secret, and to return after dark and dig up the
    money. Their anxiety finally overcame their discretion, however, and about 3
    o'clock they started back to get the plant, taking with them a pick, shovel
    and two barley sacks to hold the coin.
    They found the silver scattered over quite a surface ground, and by the
    side of the stone, in the place where Reynold's had uncovered the main
    deposit they found a hatful of coins. Darkness coming on, they returned to
    town.
    On examining the money closely it was all found to be ancient, and all
    more or less blackened, stained or oxidized, according to the position in
    which it was found. Suspecting that they had found some of the Donner Party
    money, they took Stewart McKay and C.F. McGlashan into the secret. They had
    found $146 in silver, and a number of pieces were of more recent date than
    1845.
    This morning they returned to the lake, taking Stewart McKay, C.F.
    McGlashan and Mrs. Nora McGlashan along as witnesses and experts. In one
    hour the party found $9. Several pieces were firmly imbedded in the earth,
    while others lay loosely on the surface. A large pine tree had been felled
    directly across the original plant, and it is evident that when the saw logs
    made form the tree were snaked away they tore up the ground and carried the
    money along with them for a number of feet.
    Logs and wood have been cut all around the spot, and probably a thousand
    men have passed over the money since the days when the railroad was built.
    The place is in plain sight from the wagon road, about 400 feet form the
    margin of the central part of the lake, opposite the fishing resort of
    Johnson.
    When it was learned that the money was widely scattered and that it would
    take days and perhaps weeks to find it all, Messrs. Land and Reynolds
    erected a tent over the spot and had it inclosed with a fence. Guards are
    stationed on the ground to protect the buried treasure it still contains.
    Some authorities place the amount of money buried by the Donner party at
    $10,000, and searching parties are already being organized to make a
    systematic hunt for the long hidden coin. From the present indications the
    hills on the north side of Donner Lake will be covered with treasure hunters
    to-morrow.
    Reynolds and Lane will have the money on exhibition at their tent while
    continuing their part of the search.
    The money they found would delight the heart of a numismatist. There are
    old, antiquated coins of all dates prior to 1845, and of the most obsolete
    and forgotten marking. Coins from France, Spain, Bolivia, the Argentine
    Republic, and a number of other foreign countries besides. A very rare
    collection of American pieces are included in the treasure trove. As relics
    of the Donner party the find is very valuable, one hundred dollars having
    been offered for one of the pieces. A Truckee hotel-keeper offered ten
    dollars a day to have the coins places on exhibition at his hotel. No
    arrangements will be made regarding the disposition of the money until it is
    known how much can be found.

    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2
    us
    Jan 2007
    Northern Illinois
    Whites XLT Tecnitiks Delta 400
    3,209
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    Interesting stuff Gypsy.
    The Donner party----What a nightmare.
    Turned to canabalism in desperation.

  3. #3

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

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    About twenty years ago my son and I were working on the stonework at a new ski resort, about five...or so miles up the Truckee river from Truckee. We stayed in a motel there. Across the highway was a greasy-spoon resturant. Believe it or not, the name of the place was 'Donner Burger'. The old woman who ran it looked to be old enough to have been a member of the party. Anyhow......stupidly, I ordered a 'Donner footlong hot dog'. My son ragged on me so bad describing my meal, I had to throw it away. I think about it every time I see a wiener.

    Bud

  4. #4
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    238 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891


    sorry
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  5. #5
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11799 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891



    Don Jose de La Mancha

    P.S. I have been in the area many times. The area was my jumping off point for the high Sierras. I would take off with a back pack and just hunt, fish, and explore for a month at a time. Never see anyone in those days. ?? I never checked to see if donner party ever ice fished? The deer etc are always down below in the winter. Food can be scarce in heavy snow.

    I wonder what parts of gypsy would be best broiled over an open fire?
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  6. #6
    us
    Apr 2010
    138
    17 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    Going over that site with a detector would probably reveal a decent amoint of coins, if you could find it

  7. #7
    us
    Aug 2008
    501
    51 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    I think it was in the early 1950's someone was walking down by the lake and found a cairn or rocks with a metal bucket underneath it. I think the were about 70 10 dollar gold pieces in it that they said probably belonged to the Reed family or another one of the families in the wagon train. There are pictures of the find in one of the books on the Donner Party.

  8. #8
    us
    Gold Whispers

    Feb 2010
    AZ
    172
    80 times
    Metal Detecting

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    I had a friend who lived on "Donner Lake Rd." just a block from the lake. I visited him there a few times to go snowboarding. Was not into treasure hunting back then so never bothered to look for coins. The lake is very accessible so there's no reason someone on this forum who lived in Reno, Sacramento or the bay area couldn't go out there and look.

  9. #9
    us
    Jun 2007
    Simi Valley California
    439
    11 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    I was planning on backpacking that area with a buddy. We were going to start there and bump around the American river. I'm taking my MD as well.

  10. #10
    us
    Jun 2007
    Simi Valley California
    439
    11 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    Quote Originally Posted by cuzcosquirrel
    I think it was in the early 1950's someone was walking down by the lake and found a cairn or rocks with a metal bucket underneath it. I think the were about 70 10 dollar gold pieces in it that they said probably belonged to the Reed family or another one of the families in the wagon train. There are pictures of the find in one of the books on the Donner Party.

    Sounds like they found Mrs Graves money. Here is an excerpt from James Reeds actual diary.


    "Cont'd) and as fast as possible resusitate the enfeebled (?) so that they might in a few days start, took 3 children of J Donner and the men (?) I took in and returned the same day making this 20 miles carrying 2 of the child got back to the other cabins about 8 o'ck, much worn down, as I passed Mr(s) Graves (?) told them I would be (?) of in the morning, the men that remained with him (her?) today cached the principal of his (her?) effects and got for her out of one of the waggons about 800 in gold & silver which was concealed in a slat (-----?) or (?) bracket that was nailed in the middle (?) of the bed the money being placed (?) in grooves (-----?) made for the purpose"

  11. #11
    us
    Aug 2008
    501
    51 times

    Re: Donner Party Money.... May 16, 1891

    Yeah I found the picture just today of the gold in the back of a Donner Party book. It shows two men on either side of a cairn with gold coins coming out of the middle. Then there is a second picture of the coins flat on a table. I think it mentioned that it was Mrs. Graves' money. I will post a picture of the page sometime in the near future.

 

 

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