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  1. #16

    Jan 2014
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    Here is some Caples genealogy. Hez is in second half of the document, and was apparently a wealthy guy. Married a 22 yr old at 86... second wife... fell asleep after the ceremony. Haha!

    Hez Caples obituary here.

    Photo of Hez Caples. And first wife Jane.

    After some more Googling, can't find much more on Hez's connection to the treasure legend, although a search of Hez or Hezekiah Caples turns up a lot of hits tied to the local area.

    Would be interested in finding Telegram 7 article referenced in the Astorian article. I believe it is referencing the Portland Telegram (early Pittock paper with interesting history), April 7th, 1890. I cannot find the digital version online. It is supposed to be on microfiche at U of O if anyone is down in Eugene...
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  2. #17

    Mar 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by magniforte View Post
    There is a Dr. Charles Caples House Museum in Columbia City. It's website is here at capleshouse.com. I've personally never visited. Charles was the father of Hez Caples. Maybe a diary/journal referencing the search/story?

    I found this article in "The Columbian," August 23, 1883, that Hez was selling lots on the Oregon side. I wonder if the lots that were being sold were part of his father's homestead act claim.

    This map of donation land claims on the Oregon side of the border from 1862 seems to support that. Charles Caples, Hez Caples father, claim basically encompasses what is now present day Columbia City.

    Here is another old survey map from 1854. The Caples' homestead encompasses most of Section 22. You can also find the mark for a building/structure at the southern part of this section 22 which I would assume to be Hez Caples' home? I find the terrain on this map interesting... it was prone to flooding in the spring and I believe the "higher terrain" is more evident in this map. It also appears the the Jane Caples', Hez Caples wife, homestead to the east was being more aggressively worked in in 1854. There is also mark that looks like a golf pin at the bottom of section 15, just north of Hez Caples' homestead, and some bumpy/humpy terrain... maybe location for rock piles referenced in story Or early early settler golf course... haha!
    In reference to Columbia City Oregon treasure story:

    Hello Magniforte

    Well done some impressive bit of investigation work. One thing that does not seem logical with the legend. That the vessel was Spanish

    The Spanish had all been chased out of the Americas since the revolutions war of independence against the Spanish. However Mexican trading vessels did visit the coast of California after 1825. And in the shipping records of San Francisco there was the record of brief visit by ship below.

    Jóven Carolina (Colombian [Ecuadorian] brig), Miguelón, captail, from Guayquil, March.

    There is so far no clear information found to what this vessel was doing along the Californian coast in 1841. And no record yet as the fate of this vessel. While its only circumstantial that this vessel might be the vessel alluded to in the treasure legend? The crew spoke Spanish it would of been easy to assume the ship was Spanish?

    Ecuador was in turmoil at time around 1840-1841 . In 1841 Ecuador demands return of the jurisdictions of Tumbes, Jaén and Maynas. After violent discussions, Ecuador gives an ultimatum to the effect that if there's no answer from Peru by a certain date, Ecuador would be forced to occupy territories considered Ecuadorian according to article 5 of the Larrea-Gual treaty of 1829. So in the amidst of this turmoil what was an Ecuadorian vessel doing so far up the Pacific North west in 1841? Was they engaged in piracy? Or fleeing with looted from recaptured areas such as Tumbes. A noted Spanish Colonial period gold shipment point.

    Perhaps a little deeper look into the activities of that vessel might shake a few leads lose....?

    Kanacki.

  3. #18

    Mar 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trapper John View Post
    Kanacki, you are spot on in your comment on research.

    The power of secondary research includes sites such as this one and definitely should not be overlooked. Just take a look at the information that has been provided by the knowledgeable posters thus far. I have contacted the local historical society and obtained back copies of their pubs. I've learned a lot about the local area from those docs. It is definitely more fun to share the interest - and the work - with someone else with similar passions!
    in reference to Columbia City buried treasure California.

    TJ, one part of the story was coins from the Mint in 1850? The San Francisco mint did no exist until 1854? So it seemed strange however there was some businessmen who got together and privately minted coins. to day they are worth a fortune.

    Here is an 1850 newspaper article telling about the private minted coins.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is picture on the left of the real coins privately minted and the fake ones that flooded the market a few years ago as the original private minted ones have become highly collectible. One sold in Auction for 80000 dollars.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So if the treasure legend is true and there is a hidden cache of 1850 privately minted 10 dollars gold coins hidden some where they would be worth a fortune today?

    Kanacki
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  4. #19
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
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    WOW! Just got back from a trip to Eastern Oregon and am overwhelmed with all of this information. You folks are light years ahead of me in terms of my knowledge base!

    Please let me take the time to thoughtfully read your replies... And I hope we can get some real discussion going!
    "There are only three things to do in this part of Oregon. You either work in the woods, collect disability, or grow weed. I don't work in the woods, and I'm not disabled."

    - a casual remark made by a man I met while bushwhacking in rural Oregon.

  5. #20
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
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    Magniforte, do you think there is any possibility that the "incident" as described occurred on your side of the river? I realize the legend describes the area around Columbia City and the land claims clearly show that the Caples were active on both sides. Yet reportage back in those days was, um, occasionally suspect.

    Since I have done little since starting this thread I will take it upon myself to visit the Caple House and learn what I can. I'll be happy to report back to the forum. Hopefully I'll get that done this week. Also, if He's was buried in Columbia City his gravesite may be in the public records. This is another local matter that I can look into.

    Here are a few other initial reactions to the posts thus far:

    ECS offers a few compelling questions. The "teepee" issue can be addressed in at least two possible ways. First, a review of the trade, travel, and hunting patterns of indigenous peoples will help establish the validity of the point raised. The tempering factor is that early settlers and visitors to the area were prone to be dismissive of tribal members, and somewhat short on descriptive terms. I would want to know if "teepee" was a generalization applied to any Native dwelling or a reference to a specific lodge type.

    The second point ECS Raises has to do with the "spiritualists." Who were they? Who was their leader? And as ECS asks, how did they know where to gather for their seance?
    "There are only three things to do in this part of Oregon. You either work in the woods, collect disability, or grow weed. I don't work in the woods, and I'm not disabled."

    - a casual remark made by a man I met while bushwhacking in rural Oregon.

  6. #21

    Jan 2014
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    TJ, thus far, the evidence points to the "burial/search" occurring across the river from Columbia City in the Woodland Bottoms / Hez Caples farm area. The Astorian article and land records/maps posted earlier seem to confirm this. I still think finding evidence of this legend in existence prior to 1890 (around the time this legend hit the news cycle) could provide some important confirmation and further clarity. I can't imagine a better place to start this search for evidence than the Caples House Museum... and look forward to to hearing about what you find out.

    I wouldn't dwell too much on the teepees part of this legend from Skinner's story from 1896. I believe it is a generalization that Native Americans were, or became, present giving the mutineers a motive to bury their loot and/or make a hasty exit without the loot. The Astorian article (earliest version of this story in the news cycle, less whatever is in the Portland Telegram) is interesting in that it presents some inconsistencies in the story (see 2nd paragraph in article)... basically, if the mutineers have control of the ship... why would they leave the treasure behind? Perhaps later articles try to rectify this inconsistency by adding Native Americans to the legend...?

    I personally don't hold any confidence in "spiritualists/mediums," but I still think that their actions in this legend paint a bigger picture. The Astorian article puts "spiritualists" in Columbia City five to six years before the article (see 4th paragraph) was published in 1890... so 1884-1885ish. 1884 is when the Pacific Northern Railway connects Portland to Seattle, ferrying trains across the Columbia River, from Goble, OR to Kalama, WA. This rail route passes directly through Columbia City at this time and potentially brings with it interesting travelers like "spiritualists."

    I'm going to speculate... "spiritualists" working from town to town between rail lines arrive in Columbia City... local or locals reveal story/legend of "Spanish bark" and buried treasure, wanting to know if "spiritualists" can use their powers to help... opportunity arrises for "spiritualists" to extract further $$$ for use of their skills... wild goose chase ensues.

    Since the search seemed to have focused on the Hez Caples' farm, I'm inclined to believe that this is part of the original story/legend. As far as the rock pile and bones... I think it is far more likely they identified a Native American burial site.
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  7. #22

    Jan 2014
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    Kanacki, thank you for the lead on the Ecuadorian vessel, Jóven Carolina, visit to San Francisco. Here is list of vessels coming in and out of San Francisco from 1774 to 1847. I was surprised by the number of Mexican vessels at this time, but shouldn't have been. San Francisco was a part of Mexico during this time (post-Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821 and pre-Mexican-American War/Mexican Cession in 1846-1848.

    I was able to find a few other instances of this ship trading on the Pacific doing a Google search:
    - History of California: 1841-1845
    - Guayaquil weekly mail

    My Spanish is very poor, but the second document I believe refers to a cargo of grenadine?
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  8. #23

    Mar 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by magniforte View Post
    Kanacki, thank you for the lead on the Ecuadorian vessel, Jóven Carolina, visit to San Francisco. Here is list of vessels coming in and out of San Francisco from 1774 to 1847. I was surprised by the number of Mexican vessels at this time, but shouldn't have been. San Francisco was a part of Mexico during this time (post-Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821 and pre-Mexican-American War/Mexican Cession in 1846-1848.

    I was able to find a few other instances of this ship trading on the Pacific doing a Google search:
    - History of California: 1841-1845
    - Guayaquil weekly mail

    My Spanish is very poor, but the second document I believe refers to a cargo of grenadine?
    Hello magniforte

    Well done with the research. I am impressed!

    I suspect the story was a late 19th invention based on real locations perhaps by traveling spiritualist as you alluded to? In regards to Jóven Carolina we have no concrete evidence this vessel was the vessel of the story. While indeed grenadine was the cargo to San Francisco. We can only make assumptions that the vessel strayed north to allegedly bury treasure?

    It was interesting line of inquiry yet perhaps a few of these Mexican vessels might also be contender for the one in the story? The problem we have in regards to the story that their is no concrete motive of such a vessel to bury treasure there to begin with in 1841. Piracy by 1830 was all but stamped out but a few cases was the rule to the exception. There was few cases of mutiny and piracy. Involving crews so badly treated murdering the captains and officers and plundering their own vessel. Since in 1840 a sailors lot was pretty crap and wage poor. Most trading captains carried money during their voyages and some profits. Some times that money cost quite a few trading captains their lives. Since these alleged events happened before the Gold rush era then search is logically to any piratical events or missing vessels dated from that time period may help us confirm or disprove the story?

    Regards well done with the impressive efforts in your search.

    Kanacki

  9. #24

    Jan 2014
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    Kanacki, interesting you mention piratical events... there is a ship, the Llama/Lama, that had such an event occur on it in 1839. Before I head on this tangent, I do not think this is the ship as described in the legend discussed here. However, there are some interesting ties to the local area and people, more specifically the Hudson Bay Company/Fort Vancouver, that makes one wonder...

    I located this instance of piracy in a PhD thesis and book by Richard Mackie. A link to the thesis titled "The Hudson’s Bay Company on the Pacific, 1821-1843" is here. See pages 209-212 in thesis. A link to the book titled "Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843" is here. See pages 144-145.

    The ship is listed in the San Francisco arrival/departures posted earlier here as the Llama with a variety of owners/captains, one being John Bancroft in 1839...

    Bancroft, bought the ship from the Hudson Bay Company's/Fort Vancouver's John McLaughlin in 1837 for $5,500 to trade otter furs. Half his crew was collected from Fort Vancouver, present day Vancouver, WA which is ~15-20 miles upstream on the Columbia River from present day Columbia City, OR. The other half of the crew was collected from Fort Simpson, near present day Vancouver, BC. Supposed McLaughlin grubstaked the ship with supplies to assist with trading/acquiring otter pelts. Bancroft did not have enough money to pay for the ship and trading supplies in their entirety and would pay off McLaughlin with pelts. In Bancroft's second year of this endeavor, the Native Americans working for him turned on him and killed him off the coast of California. The "NW Indians" on the Lama "compelled the Mate to take them back to Kygarnee on the NWst Coast" and "plundered the Brig of everything of value." The ship then sailed onto Oahu, a central hub for otter fur trade to China...

    So where is Kygarnee/Kygarney? Supposedly off the coast of British Columbia. This is the only reference I could find referring to it, which surprisingly enough deals with an earlier captain of the Lama/Llama, William Henry McNeill.

    I'd be curious to know what happened to the crew whose original origin was HBC's Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River... did they relay this story upon their return and did it get twisted into the legend discussed in this thread? Was there a pit stop (Columbia City) before Kygarnee to release some/all of the HBC crew, plunder the brig, and get some fresh/unsalted water? On another note, it is interesting to see that the ship is again active after this ordeal in 1841 and 1842 by a new captain named Jones (see San Francisco port activity linked above). There is a part of the legend referring to individuals involved in the mutiny returning to recover their buried loot... I think the preceding questions/thoughts are pure speculation and a serious stretch from the legend described in this thread, but who knows...
    Last edited by magniforte; Jun 27, 2019 at 01:50 AM.
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  10. #25

    Mar 2015
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    Hello Magniforte

    Possible? But.....perhaps Kygarnee/Kygarney was tribal settlement? I did a brief search through old maps Oregon and British Columbia. But no means comprehensive. No luck!

    One of the risks researching treasure legends is subconsciously trying to connect events that might be entirely two different events. Although the 1890 story is interesting the story could of been woven around real people and events into a fictitious treasure story. For example Llama/Lama story got woven into Hez Caples farm area. Getting back to the 1890 story one of treasure hunters was William Mathews.

    I searched the Oregon, Compiled Census Index, 1841-1890

    William Mathews
    State: OREGON
    County: Jackson County
    Township: Working Copy
    Year: 1854
    Database: OREGON 1851-1859 Census Index.

    Perhaps a little dig for information might help?

    In regards to the 1890 newspaper story there is no clear source of this treasure story? Was it William Mathews ? Did he end up in an institution?

    While in 1900 there was 3 William Mathews one was born in 1874, 1887 and a William C Mathews born in 1869. Two of the ones mention was too young in 1890. Third? Possible ? But again finding the right one is challenge. Its possible the Jackson County William Mathews was dead by 1900? Did he die in Oregon or in another State?

    Sadly so many questions so few answers at present.

    Such is the lot researching such stories.

    Kanacki

  11. #26
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by KANACKI View Post
    One of the risks researching treasure legends is subconsciously trying to connect events that might be entirely two different events. . . .
    Such is the lot researching such stories.
    Kanacki
    Kenacki speaks with wisdom here. When the trail grows thin it is only natural to try to fill in the voids by looking for threads of fact which seem to be shared across legends. Speaking for myself I think this is the departure point between fact, fiction, and legend.

    FYI - as a quick scan of the Caples House website discloses, the museum is open on Fridays and through the weekend. I plan on calling the current museum coordinator to confirm and also to discuss our specific interests. I will move on to see if He's Caple's resting place is nearby. I am also trying to set up a timeline that captures the points brought up by key participants in the discussion.
    "There are only three things to do in this part of Oregon. You either work in the woods, collect disability, or grow weed. I don't work in the woods, and I'm not disabled."

    - a casual remark made by a man I met while bushwhacking in rural Oregon.

  12. #27
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
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    I just finished a delightful visit to the Caple House in Columbia City. There are no searchable papers of any kind on the premises. The museum staff was helpful and encouraging. They were cordial,witty, knowledgable, and unaware of the treasure legend. I suspect that with time and patience local knowledge and sources yet to be identified may add further dimension to the story.

    One thing that I did pick up on was a reference to this event in the April 9, 1890 edition of the Daily Morning Astorian. This article offered up the name of one William Matthews, who reportedly ". . . was transformed into a raving maniac . . ." while examining disinterred human bones on the supposed site. The name of the steamer which transported him, presumably to either Astoria or Portland, was given as the Alarm.

    Clearly more research is needed and I will attempt to follow up unless someone else has been down this path. I have not yet attempted to locate the gravesite of Hez but will do so as time permits. I do have a procedural question though. At what point should our "conversation" shift to PM? I have no objection to sharing info but on the other hand folks have put a fair amount of time into research and I don't want to inadvertently offend someone through carelessness or insensitivity.
    Last edited by Trapper John; Jun 28, 2019 at 05:57 PM.
    "There are only three things to do in this part of Oregon. You either work in the woods, collect disability, or grow weed. I don't work in the woods, and I'm not disabled."

    - a casual remark made by a man I met while bushwhacking in rural Oregon.

  13. #28

    Mar 2015
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    Hello TJ

    Firstly thank you for efforts and most of all foresight to suggest PM for more sensitive information. For me I have no pecuniary interest in this treasure. Other than an interest to determine if there is any truth to the treasure legend in Question. Although I cannot say on behalf of anyone else. At present with all those concerned my appreciation for such wonderful research contributions in investigating the treasure legend. I say Legend as all we have at present is a legend. Yet open minded enough to keep an open mind until more compelling information comes to light. I Prefer facts to assumptions.

    If I was to make an "assumption" reading between the lines of the context 1890 newspaper. I was suspect William Mathews was a potential victim of con perpetrated by a traveling " clairvoyant" Mysticism and belief in spiritualism spread across country in that time frame. That built a treasure story around some factual events enough to make it believable? There was many opportunists who exploited people for money on the belief they could talk to dead. And possible manipulate people paying for their services in finding alleged treasure. William Mathews may of been a victim of such insidious behavior. Of course when that failure in question that most likely cost William financial loss and mental break down.

    However if we can find another version of this alleged treasure predating the 1890 newspaper treasure story it may give more legs to the legend. Sadly its all too common with such treasure stories they entwine themselves around a few facts. That said some more research into William Mathews and perhaps finding an earlier version pre dating the 1890 story will clarify the story either way.

    Regardless what ever the outcome for me the treasure story has been interesting.

    Kanacki
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  14. #29
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by KANACKI View Post
    . . . I say Legend as all we have at present is a legend. Yet open minded enough to keep an open mind until more compelling information comes to light. I Prefer facts to assumptions.

    If I was to make an "assumption" reading between the lines of the context 1890 newspaper. I was suspect William Mathews was a potential victim of con perpetrated by a traveling " clairvoyant" Mysticism and belief in spiritualism spread across country in that time frame. That built a treasure story around some factual events enough to make it believable? There was many opportunists who exploited people for money on the belief they could talk to dead. And possible manipulate people paying for their services in finding alleged treasure. William Mathews may of been a victim of such insidious behavior. Of course when that failure in question
    Well stated, Kanacki. Pecuniary interest is not a part of my motivation either. And I thought your "assumption" was a reasonable one. We are well served to remember the popularity of mysticism and spiritualism in that time. As an aside, let me suggest that reportage wasn't necessarily driven by high journalistic standards either. That, coupled with the fact that it wasn't unusual for folks, whether prominent or not, to endorse commercial products with dubious claims of effectiveness, tells us much about the ethos of the period.

    Pecuniary interest is and was expressed in many ways. And to your point, that is truly the stuff that many legends are built around!
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    "There are only three things to do in this part of Oregon. You either work in the woods, collect disability, or grow weed. I don't work in the woods, and I'm not disabled."

    - a casual remark made by a man I met while bushwhacking in rural Oregon.

 

 
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