Oregons Lost Blue Bucket Mine
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  1. #1

    May 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    White's Coinmaster Pro
    3317 times

    Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Mine

    People have searched for the Lost Blue Bucket Mine in Oregon for the past 160 years. Some hunters have made good gold finds during the search, but no one seems to have found the original spot.

    As posted by me elsewhere, the original wagon train was led by Stephen Meek, nephew of mountain man Joseph Meek, who agreed to lead a late wagon train via a "short-cut" to get to the Willamette Valley faster. This wagon train started in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1845, and did eventually find its way to the Willamette Valley. But the route proposed by Meek had never been travelled before, and the wagon train knew they would be blazing a completely new trail.

    Some of the best data on this train comes from Ruby el Hult's "Lost Mines and Treasures of the Pacific Northwest" and "Treasure Hunting Northwest", which are 2 of the bibles of treasure hunters here. Another excellent source, perhaps the best source, is "Terrible Trail: The Lost Meek Wagon Train of 1845" by Tiller and Lowell.

    I just re-located in my library a third source, which offers nothing new, but is one of the first references in print to the Blue Bucket Mine. As the copyright has long ago expired, I give it in its entirety here. It was written by G. W. Kennedy who was a pioneer in 1853 himself. In 1914 he wrote a book called "The Pioneer Campfire", of which I have a copy:


    The Tethero-Allen train was met on the Malheur River by a man by the name of Meek, nephew of Jo Meek, who proposed to them a new route into the Willamette Valley, shortening the travel. He would guide them. It was late in the season, and they readily accepted the proposed shorter way.
    He turned them up the Malheur, thence across Harney valley, making straight towards the Twin Sisters snow peaks, over the range and down McKenzie River -- a shorter route, surely.
    After traveling several weeks and the train had come to the desert part of Harney Valley, they became discouraged and lost confidence in their guide. They held a secret conference one night, concluded their guide was an imposter -- meaning to destroy them by betraying them to the Indians. So they determined to execute him in some manner the next day. Mr. Meek got knowledge of their intentions and fled on horseback during the night toward the Columbia. It is supposed that the train at that time was on the headwaters of Crooked River.
    Bending their course northward, following the track made by Mr. Meek’s horse, they soon came down upon the Deschutes River. Not finding a crossing possible, they crossed the table lands through Grass Valley, Spanish Hollow, etc., down to the mouth of the Deschutes. Then they proceeded on with the march of the regular emigration, arriving in the valley very late in the fall. The hardships, dangers and suffering of men, women and children, and cattle on the “Meek’s Cutoff” can never be told.
    Somewhere on upper Malheur or in Harney Valley, Mr. Tethero (possibly others with him) found quite an amount of coarse placer gold. It seems that here it was at the surface and mingled with the gravel, in a small stream. The stream was among abrupt hills, “a narrow and steep gulch,” Mr. Tethero gathered some fine specimens and took with him, keeping them safely in a blue bucket. When they were ferrying the Deschutes River in their wagon boxes, the boiling current of the river upset the wagon box ferry, and upset that “blue bucket” with its precious contents and all was lost. This statement has been made over and over by Mr. Tethero, whom I very well knew.
    Much search has been made for that “mine” but in vain. It may yet be found; and the history of the “Lost Train” some time be more fully written out.

  2. #2
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
    Tesoro Lobo Supertraq, (95%) Garrett Scorpion (5%)
    9494 times

    Re: Oregon's Lost Blue Bucket Mine

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



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