Welcome guest, is this your first visit?
Member
Discoveries
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29
Like Tree33Likes

Thread: Lost Treasure of Columbia City

« Prev Thread | Next Thread »
  1. #1
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
    Garrett AT Pro
    79
    114 times
    Metal Detecting

    Lost Treasure of Columbia City

    I am interested in sharing efforts to find out more about this story. I rate myself as better than a newbie but not quite an advanced intermediate with my AT Pro. I do have strong writing and research skills. Anyone interested in a collaboration to learn more about this story?
    Rebel - KGC and jeff of pa like this.
    "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.

  2. #2
    us
    Mar 2015
    Orange County, CA
    137
    220 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Is this the one that Frank Fish had interest in?
    Rebel - KGC likes this.

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
    Garrett AT Pro
    79
    114 times
    Metal Detecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt1955 View Post
    Is this the one that Frank Fish had interest in?
    Sorry, I am not familiar with Frank's interests. Did he describe earlier?
    "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.

  4. #4

    Mar 2015
    669
    3425 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hello TJ

    it appears Charles M. Skinner (1852-1907) was the source of the story. authored the complete nine-volume set of Myths and Legends of Our Own Land in 1896. This tale is excerpted from these excellent works, which are now in the public domain.

    A Spanish bark, one day in 1841, put in for water off the spot where Columbia City, Oregon, now stands. She had a rough crew on board, and it had been necessary for her officers to watch the men closely from the time the latter discovered that she was carrying a costly cargo. Hardly had the anchor chains run out before the sailors fell upon the captain, killed him, seized all of the value that they could gather, and took it to the shore. What happened after is not clear, but it is probable that in a quarrel, arising over the demands of each man to have most of the plunder, several of the claimants were slain. Indians were troublesome, likewise, so that it was thought best to put most of the goods into the ground, and this was done on the tract known as Hez Copier’s farm.

    Hardly was the task completed before the Indians appeared in large numbers and set up their tepees, showing that they meant to remain. The mutineers rowed back to the ship, and, after vainly waiting for several days for a chance to go on shore again, they sailed away. Two years of wandering, fighting, and carousal ensued before the remnant of the crew returned to Oregon. The Indians were gone, and an earnest search was made for the money–but in vain. It was as if the ground had never been disturbed. The man who had supervised its burial was present until the mutineers went back to their boats when it was discovered that he was mysteriously missing.

    More than forty years after these events a meeting of Spiritualists was held in Columbia City, and a “medium” announced that she had received a revelation of the exact spot where the goods had been concealed. A company went to the place, and, after a search of several days, found, under a foot of soil, a quantity of broken stone.

    While throwing out these fragments one of the party fell dead. The spirit of the defrauded and murdered captain had claimed him, the medium explained. So great was the fright caused by this accident that the search was again abandoned until March 1890, when another party resumed the digging, and after taking out the remainder of the stone they came on a number of human skeletons. During the examination of these relics–possibly the bones of mutineers who had been killed in the fight on shore–a man fell into a fit of raving madness, and again the search was abandoned, for it is now said that an immutable curse rests on the treasure.

    As you can see in what was claimed in legend above. The key is to pick a part the story sorting facts from fiction.

    Kanacki
    J.A.A., Trapper John and BillA like this.

  5. #5
    ECS
    ECS is offline
    us
    Mar 2012
    Ocala,Florida
    9,974
    12365 times
    Treasurehunting & Historical research
    "40 years later", 1881, from whom did this story originate, an 1842 crew member, and how did the "Spiritualists" know this story to conduct a meeting in Columbia City?
    ...and what was the costly cargo?
    ...and what northwest native American tribe in Oregon used teepees?
    ...and is there a newspaper article for the March 1890 dig?
    KANACKI likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Mar 2015
    Orange County, CA
    137
    220 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks to Kanacki. I had forgot about Columbia City Oregon story. Not to hijack the thread. Found my reference to Frank Fish, its Columbia CA lost treasure he was after.
    Here's the story.


    Frank Fish's Last Treasure Hunt
    By Ben T. Traywick
    World Renowned Author

    In April 1963 death came to one of the most famous and successful of the treasure hunters, Frank Fish. To all appearances and evidence he died by his own hand. But did he? Frank was my close and personal friend; my family and I spent many hours in his Gold Rush Museum listening to him spin yarns of lost and buried treasures. To say the least, it is my honest opinion that Frank Fish was not the suicidal type. He loved his museum and its thousands of relics too well. In addition he was close on the track of a large treasure cache for which he had searched many years.
    Like all treasure hunters, Frank was never prone to reveal locations or such. However, as I was a close friend, he did tell me a bit of what he was doing. He had found positive evidence that a large treasure had been hidden in the vicinity of Columbia, California.##M(READMORE)##
    In 1850, the U.S. government cast raw gold into $20 gold pieces for the miners. This was done in order to place more legally minted money into circulation. As this service was performed free of charge practically all the miners took advantage of it.
    A cast was made totalling $600,000. Four men and a team of mules left Columbia with this huge load of gold pieces to distribute them to the miners. The men hailed several riders a short distance out of Columbia, then disappeared never to be seen again.
    Frank possessed letters and papers of the period which indicated that the popular belief was that the men had succumbed to the lure of all that gold and had stolen it. Though he did not indicate why, Frank firmly believed that the men had been ambushed by parties unknown, the wagon, mules, and gold coins stolen and the bodies so well hidden that no trace of them ‘was ever found.
    Because of my skeptical remarks Frank laid three $20 gold pieces on the table before me and said:
    “I traced the route taken by the men with the load of gold and where I believed would be a good spot for an ambush I went over very carefully with a detector. At one such spot I found these!” With a smile he indicated the gold pieces. By persistent questioning he finally revealed there were several more areas he wished to search.
    I again visited Frank Fish at his museum in Amador City, late in October 1962. One look at his face and I felt a quick surge of excitement coupled with the instant thought, “He’s found it!” Frank motioned me over to a corner and began to tell me of his latest quest for the Columbia treasure. He had not found that particular treasure but he HAD found something else! This is what he told in his slow drawling speech:
    “Ben, you remember I told you I was searching all the likely ambush places? Well, while I was doing that I spotted some unusual rocks sev-eral yards away in the brush. Upon investigation I found them to be the remains of an old cabin. I went over the entire area very carefully. About 20 yards from the old chimney I came to a shallow gully. On impulse I went down into it with the detector. There was a very strong indication of metal. My first excited thought was of $600,000 in gold. Frantically I began to dig, casting nervous glances over my shoulder to assure myself that no one was watching.
    I first unearthed a Spanish sword, then a knife and quite unexpectedly, the remains of a skeleton. The skull was well preserved and had a bullet hole in the back. Further digging revealed an old pistol (later found to be a .69 caliber of the type used to assassinate Lincoln).
    Still deeper I uncovered an earthen jar, called an olla by the Mexicans. It was heavy beyond imagination. Clearing the neck of it, I poured part of the contents into my hand. A stream of small, gold nuggets ran out. (At current prices the nuggets were worth $870.)
    Even yet there appeared to be metal in that unusual gully! I continued to dig and dis-covered a small bean pot which was every bit as heavy as the olla had been! My trembling hands poured out its contents and my happy ears heard the musical clink of coins. The pot was filled to the brim with dirty, blackened- silver dollars!”
    As he told me of each object he had found, Frank reached beneath the counter and laid each one before me; the rusty metal objects and the grisly skull which did indeed have a bullet hole thru the back. (A bone specialist later examined the skull and wrote Frank a letter stating that the hole was a bullet hole and had been made by a bullet of approximately 70 calibers).
    I agreed that Frank had found a nice bit of loot, but where or what was the con-nection to the $600,000?
    Grinning to show he was still ahead of me, Frank laid two more $20 gold pieces, dated 1850, on the counter. “I found these in the ruins of the cabin. I believe the holdup artists were there after they held up the gold wagon. Possibly they lived there before the hold-up and perhaps a while afterwards in order not to arouse suspicion. I can see no tie-in between the skeleton and the loot buried there. It is likely that someone else killed the man and buried him in the gully years before; the gully probably held its grisly secret even while the outlaws lived at the cabin. I am still convinced that the $600,000 is buried somewhere nearby.”
    Frank Fish must have had ample reason to believe his last statement, but no amount of persuasion on my part could pry it from him. Only a sly grin answered my many ques-tions.
    In January 1963, I was trans-ferred to Manitoba, Canada. Just before my departure I again visited Frank in Amador City. At that time he seemed in good health, high spirits, and full of enthusiasm over another impending trip to Columbia. He was planning a three day search in February.
    I heard no more of Frank Fish until I learned of his death in April 1963. Shocked and unbelieving, I read he had taken his life. Frank Fish the treasure hunter I knew; a suicide! Impossible! It was utterly ridiculous to believe he would do such a thing. Further to substantiate my disbelief are the following: (1) He made no disposal of the 7,000 priceless items in his museum which he had spent his life collecting. (2) Apparently he made no pro-visions for his burial, as his body lies buried in the poorest section of the Jackson Ceme-tery, with only a small metal marker, supplied by the cemetery, as a means of identification. (3) Unasked he had promised me several items for my own museum; no provision was made for these. (One was the fantastic amount of literature and information he had col-lected on lost treasures and ghost towns). (4) During his extensive searching for the yellow riches at Columbia, Frank uncovered evidence of an Eng-lish settlement not previously known to historians. English items he found placed the date of this settlement at about 1600. Future new discoveries may reveal a complete por-tion of our country’s history heretofore completely unknown unless all this knowledge died with Frank Fish.
    I am certain he would not have overlooked any of these items had he been contemplating death by his own hand. As he solved the mysterious riddles of lost and buried treasures in life, Frank Fish left behind, in death many unanswered questions.
    Did he find the $600,000 in gold coins?
    Did this treasure cause his death?
    What connection, if any, was there between the skeleton, buried with gold and silver in the gulley, and the Columbia gold?
    Did that $600,000 in gold lie buried somewhere near Columbia as Fish believed? Does it lie there yet? I probably knew more about Frank Fish and his treasure hunting activities than anyone. Yet I don’t know the answers to the mystery. I only know that the Frank Fish I knew would not take his own life intentionally or in such a manner.


    Frank Fish's Last Treasure Hunt
    By Ben T. Traywick
    World Renowned Author
    BillA, lastleg and chub like this.

  7. #7

    Apr 2017
    Fisher F75, Minelab Soveriegn XS 2 Nokta pinpointer
    946
    1299 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    A good read there '55

    Chub

  8. #8
    ECS
    ECS is offline
    us
    Mar 2012
    Ocala,Florida
    9,974
    12365 times
    Treasurehunting & Historical research
    ...but entirely two different treasure stories.
    KANACKI, Trapper John and Dirt1955 like this.

  9. #9

    Mar 2015
    669
    3425 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hello All

    The Following link may be of interest.

    Oregon Pioneers of 1841

    At least to find leads to references and journal that was in the region at the time. Although I have my doubts surprises can some times happen will diligent research.

    Kanacki
    Trapper John likes this.

  10. #10
    us
    Dec 2014
    St Helens, Oregon
    Garrett AT Pro
    79
    114 times
    Metal Detecting
    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!
    "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.

  11. #11

    Jan 2014
    9
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks for bringing this legend to my attention. Didn't realize this one was right in the backyard. I live on the other side of the river, Kalama, and have an interest in local history. I spent some time looking into this story today using some of the resources I'm aware of... let me know if you'd like to hit the ground... I usually run a Minelab CTX 3030.

    First, I could not find a record of a farmer Hez Copier (see KANACKI's post, 4th in this thread) or Copler (as referred to in this thread/newspaper article posted by jeff_of_pa).

    I did find the name Hez Caples referenced in the St. Helens' "The Oregon Mist" using University of Oregon's historic newspaper search engine during the later part of the stories time period.

    Here is a link one of the more relevant references. From this I learned that Hez Caples lived in Caples, WA, across the river from Columbia City, OR.

    I then used the used BLM Land Status & Cadastral Records to look up homesteads in the Caples, WA / Woodland, WA area. This original survey/homestead map from 1864 identifies the homestead of H. L. Caples which is on the banks of the Columbia River directly across from Columbia City. Have not researched relation with Jane Caples, owner of property to east, wife? Also, looking at other maps across the river, there were a number of Caples that settled in what is now Columbia City, OR. I believe the H.L. Caples homestead was the farm searched and referenced in the legend/story.

    I overlaid the map onto Google Earth satellite imagery to ID homestead property lines. Then used Cowlitz County GIS to ID property owners. The property line of the homestead northern boundary is just south of the Columbia Riverfront RV Park at 1881 Dike Rd, Woodland, WA 98674. The property line of the homesteads southern boundary runs through Columbia Fruit, LLC at 2526 Dike Rd, Woodland, WA 98674. Most the the homestead property east of Dike Rd is owned by the owners of Columbia Fruit, LLC. The homestead west of Dike Rd is a mix of Cowlitz Diking District, private land owners, Port of Woodland, and WDF&W.

    I did do a quick look at the LIDAR from the area at the Washington LIDAR portal. Might be an interesting place to look further for disturbances/features.

    I could not find any evidence of Spanish ships on the waters of the Columbia during this time period... but I have also not done an exhaustive search.

    Lastly, I was able to ID the H.L. Caples's homestead in a Columbia River map from 1888. It is just south of Maxwell's Point at east bank river depths of 9ft.
    BillA, KANACKI and Trapper John like this.

  12. #12

    Jan 2014
    9
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here is a Metsker Map of the area from 1956. It shows properties owners and boundaries at the time. Donation Land Claims are labeled, although those property line are more difficult to discern. H.L. Caples is listed on the map in the same location as the survey/homestead map posted earlier.
    KANACKI likes this.

  13. #13

    Jan 2014
    9
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here is some more information about the land owner of the searched farm from findagrave. Hez Caples is short for Hezekiah Caples. Site says he died in Woodland, WA and was buried in Columbia City, OR. Also confirms spouse was Jane Caples... adjacent donation land claim to the east.
    KANACKI likes this.

  14. #14

    Jan 2014
    9
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Here is an article referencing the same story in the Daily Astorian, April 9, 1890. Farmers name is listed as Hez Caples in article, and not Copier or Copler, as suspected.
    KANACKI likes this.

  15. #15

    Jan 2014
    9
    14 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    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!
    Trapper John and KANACKI like this.

 

 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Columbia City Oregon
    By Gypsy Heart in forum Treasure Legends
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Dec 01, 2018, 05:12 PM
  2. Mysterious Treasure... Columbia City ? Oregon . ?
    By jeff of pa in forum Treasure Legends
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Apr 22, 2018, 09:07 AM
  3. Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jan 20, 2016, 05:27 PM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: May 06, 2015, 11:34 PM
  5. Howard County/Columbia/Ellicott City etc?
    By JasonHanscom in forum Clubs & Hunts - Maryland
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Mar 21, 2011, 12:08 AM
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.3.0