Lost 4-leaf clover shaped gold ingots in Colorado

G

g80002

Guest
I'm trying to verify the validity of a story concerning 200 missing gold ingots shaped during smelting into 4-leaf clovers. The gold was being transported by pack mules to Denver from the Pikes Peak area in 1860 by 4 men hired by the Clark and Gruber Co to be minted into coins. Three of the men were killed during an argument and the 4th man, Thomas Gavin, was wounded. Gavin buried the ingots in several Marmot holes along Cherry creek just outside of Denver. He died 2 days later and the gold was never found, despite a search launched by the Clark and Gruber Co. One of these ingots surfaced at a Denver gun show in the 1980's. The finder discovered it in Cherry Creek in the 1960's after a massive flood and believed it was made of lead. He could not recall or remember where he found it. Has anyone else heard of this story or have more information about it?
 

Las Vegas Bob

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Aug 25, 2005
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I have heard of this story.

I for one was skeptical when I first heard about, mainly because of the odd shape of the ingots. Clover shaped. Hard to pack, hard to handle etc. etc.

Then I remembered that the miners in the Panamints had smelted their silver into large balls that could only be transported via wagon as a preventative measure to deter robbers who even if they stole the wagon would have a hard time selling the large ball of silver to anyone.

So maybe the minters at Clark and Gruber Co know what they were doing as well.

Then when the one ingot showed up and the guy not knowing what he had could put some more truth to the story.

It is surprising how many people do not know what natural gold looks like.

I once was invited into a friends house and as we sat there having a drink, I noticed that he had a bowl full of gray and white tumbled rocks on his coffee table.

As we talked I stared at the rocks which were the size of hens eggs and about twenty in number.

I scared my host to death when I shouted "WHERE DID YOU GET THESE?" as I spilled my drink while trying to pick up one of the rocks.

"I don't know he replied at first, then he said I think we got them in the Sawtooth's about ten years ago........maybe...I think....Why?"

My excitement was from the fact that each one of the rocks, which his wife had so beautifully tumbled, had a vein of gold running through it.

The guy still can't give me an exact location of where he and his wife found theses stones. However he does remember that they where all concentrated in one area.

So I can believe that a person could have gold in their possession for years and never know it and lose the source/loction of where they found it to the years.
 

dralston

Greenie
Nov 20, 2005
13
1
Wyoming
All I've read is the standard story in one of those treasures of the west type books. If someone is in Denver, I would think the library and newspaper archives for that year would be the real place to start. If the events actualy ocurred, then there would be a chance that it is still out there and has not been found.
 

pseudodragon

Greenie
Jan 7, 2006
13
3
Well, I don't know about the legend, but around here in Colorado those varmints are called prairie dogs. Marmots are the larger rock chucks that live up in the mountains. ;)

pseudodragon
 

Melbeta

Jr. Member
May 10, 2010
32
11
g80002 said:
I'm trying to verify the validity of a story concerning 200 missing gold ingots shaped during smelting into 4-leaf clovers. The gold was being transported by pack mules to Denver from the Pikes Peak area in 1860 by 4 men hired by the Clark and Gruber Co to be minted into coins. Three of the men were killed during an argument and the 4th man, Thomas Gavin, was wounded. Gavin buried the ingots in several Marmot holes along Cherry creek just outside of Denver. He died 2 days later and the gold was never found, despite a search launched by the Clark and Gruber Co. One of these ingots surfaced at a Denver gun show in the 1980's. The finder discovered it in Cherry Creek in the 1960's after a massive flood and believed it was made of lead. He could not recall or remember where he found it. Has anyone else heard of this story or have more information about it?

I have heard the story, and I have researched the names, and so far, have come up with nothing on it, I read it myself in a magazine. They did have photos in it, but who knows...
 

lastleg

Silver Member
Feb 3, 2008
2,876
653
Lets back this wagon up and contemplate some facts. In 1860 the gold camps
under Pikes Peak were yet unfounded. It wasn't until 1890 that Bob Womack
made a gold discovery. Put that in your pipe and figure out where the clovers
came from. Maybe they got them out of marmot holes after hearing the tune
the rock chucks were whistling. The only marmots I ever saw or heard was
just below or above timberline.
 

Melbeta

Jr. Member
May 10, 2010
32
11
lastleg said:
Lets back this wagon up and contemplate some facts. In 1860 the gold camps
under Pikes Peak were yet unfounded. It wasn't until 1890 that Bob Womack
made a gold discovery. Put that in your pipe and figure out where the clovers
came from. Maybe they got them out of marmot holes after hearing the tune
the rock chucks were whistling. The only marmots I ever saw or heard was
just below or above timberline.

Okay, as an Colorado historian, I will have to "back this wagon up, even more". The gold seekers, when they flocked to Colorado Territory, in 1859, called the entire region, "the Pikes Peak Region", and thus a misconception was born. When the statement regarding the gold bars was made, was identified "as under Pikes Peak", that was an absolutely erroneous error. It was not located right under Pikes Peak, it was located in the Cherry Creek gold area, just southeast of the present site of Franktown, Colorado, in the vicinity of the former gold rush site of Russelville.

I have read the story, which was in a magazine story, and I have followed it here, and I have searched a vintage Colorado newspaper website that contains scanned copies, of past issues of various Colorado newspapers, and neither that story, nor any of the named persons, contained in the story, show up in the search.

But that does not preclude its validity. It could still be true. But I have not been able to substiante it. And the story is NOT related to the immediate Pikes Peak mountain area, and it is NOT related to the Cripple Creek gold rush district.

The story, as written, is purported to be relevant to the gold rush area, near the headwaters of Cherry Creek, "near the gold diggins", located southeast of Franktown, and in the vicinity of Russelville, which sprung up around the area of Cherry Creek. That was the locale specified in the story. I have that magazine stored in my large garage now.

Whether or not it really happened in that area, or is merely 100% pure fiction, I have no knowledge. I tried to come up with facts of that story, but have not found any facts of that story, other than the original magazine article.

I live south of that area, and am familiar with that area, and was in that area a few weeks ago. And I will further say, "I have no idea if they used such clover's molds either in those times"! If they used such clover molds, and they were tin, the molten gold might have melted them. If they used such clover molds as cast iron, then they could have poured molten gold into them and cast them forth.

I can say, "it is an interesting story", I enjoyed reading the story, and viewing the photos, as in the magazine article they included photos of some of the purported persons involved in the story. It sounded plausable. Again, even those photos, which were real photos, could be used as fiction and not related to or relevant to the persons named in the story.
 

RGINN

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I didn't think Pike's Peak produced that much gold.
 

chadrack

Jr. Member
Sep 20, 2008
46
1
The "Pikes Peak region" has produced lots of gold and still does. The Victor mines are producing well over 400,000 ounces a year from collapsed caldera deposits and stands as one of the largest gold mines in the US. The exploded volcano and its brecciated fill are much younger at around 35 million years than is the Pikes Peak batholith at around 2 billion years. The batholith is thin on gold in its original massive form. Contact zones produced some probably but the brunt of disseminated deposits happened well after. In the 70's transients in the Cripple Creek area lived comfortably in a few of the mine openings of old, in the winter, at elevations above 10,000 feet, warmed by temps upwards of 70 degrees generated by heat still remaining from that event 35 million years ago. Hardrock deposits at Victor are mined, crushed, and cyanide leached into production quite well. Cherry Creek stuff was placer and of a different deposition altogether and I'll bet much still remains. Remember Cherry Creek has been diverted from its original channel and that channel has been built over so check basements and new construction! And by the way, the batholith does produce the finest amazonite/smokey quartz clusters in the world. Pay for a lot of prospecting trips with a good pocket of that. The vast amounts of good ground are legally claimed though. And to get back on topic, a clover leaf ingot of gold! Lordy, lordy, lordy, what a find that would be! Luck and lucky all in one.
 

TiredIron

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Mar 10, 2009
352
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Melbeta said:
lastleg said:
Lets back this wagon up and contemplate some facts. In 1860 the gold camps
under Pikes Peak were yet unfounded. It wasn't until 1890 that Bob Womack
made a gold discovery. Put that in your pipe and figure out where the clovers
came from. Maybe they got them out of marmot holes after hearing the tune
the rock chucks were whistling. The only marmots I ever saw or heard was
just below or above timberline.

Okay, as an Colorado historian, I will have to "back this wagon up, even more". The gold seekers, when they flocked to Colorado Territory, in 1859, called the entire region, "the Pikes Peak Region", and thus a misconception was born. When the statement regarding the gold bars was made, was identified "as under Pikes Peak", that was an absolutely erroneous error. It was not located right under Pikes Peak, it was located in the Cherry Creek gold area, just southeast of the present site of Franktown, Colorado, in the vicinity of the former gold rush site of Russelville.

I have read the story, which was in a magazine story, and I have followed it here, and I have searched a vintage Colorado newspaper website that contains scanned copies, of past issues of various Colorado newspapers, and neither that story, nor any of the named persons, contained in the story, show up in the search.

But that does not preclude its validity. It could still be true. But I have not been able to substiante it. And the story is NOT related to the immediate Pikes Peak mountain area, and it is NOT related to the Cripple Creek gold rush district.

The story, as written, is purported to be relevant to the gold rush area, near the headwaters of Cherry Creek, "near the gold diggins", located southeast of Franktown, and in the vicinity of Russelville, which sprung up around the area of Cherry Creek. That was the locale specified in the story. I have that magazine stored in my large garage now.

Whether or not it really happened in that area, or is merely 100% pure fiction, I have no knowledge. I tried to come up with facts of that story, but have not found any facts of that story, other than the original magazine article.

I live south of that area, and am familiar with that area, and was in that area a few weeks ago. And I will further say, "I have no idea if they used such clover's molds either in those times"! If they used such clover molds, and they were tin, the molten gold might have melted them. If they used such clover molds as cast iron, then they could have poured molten gold into them and cast them forth.

I can say, "it is an interesting story", I enjoyed reading the story, and viewing the photos, as in the magazine article they included photos of some of the purported persons involved in the story. It sounded plausable. Again, even those photos, which were real photos, could be used as fiction and not related to or relevant to the persons named in the story.

As a local individual who has "also" lived near Franktown Colorado for the last 35 years.....I too have heard this story....researched the area and done my share of digging. Let me make a few changes to your information, as I have heard it. The Russleville Gold Camp was never a "Rush" area, or a producer. It geology terms its shows an "occurrence" of Gold. The Russleville area was more of crossroads of Stage and trail paths and after everyone headed more toward the Clear Creek, Pikes Peak, and other areas in Central Colorado, it became used as a Military staging area due to its good water and trees. Gold was found, but in the same small amounts as it still can be found today......an "occurrence".
I guess the magazine articles you have read didn't include the explanation for the Clover-shaped ingots. As the story goes the four men were in the Pikes Peak "region" buying gold in every form from the Miners at a dramatically reduced wholesale rate since they didn't wish to leave their claims. The four men took all these different containers of metal and decided to crudely smelt them in to a more managable shape to pack back to Denver. The story says they found a ceramic "clover shaped" candy dish or serving dish, and this is what they supposedly used to create the 200 ingots. I personally doubt a candy or serving dish would withstand the heat cycles to molten gold temps....200 times, but that's the story. I also have my doubts about them finding #700-800lbs of placer gold to purchase.....but???
I have researched, traced, and walked on foot (and chased off of private property) approximately 12-15 miles of what I thought would fit the story. We have to remember there have been at least three major floods in this area....that were documented....so a lot of ground has been moved around. I also have been an avid gun show participant and vendor since 1975. I asked around for several years about the "one" ingot showing up at a show. Only one other vendor thinks he remembers a story and he says the fellow purposely made up an ingot out of lead as a joke.....so...who knows?
There have been times where I get so worked up about this story I have almost bought a two-box detector because that's what I believe it would take....if it was still in the ground. If you read the story 70-80 times.....and look at vintage maps of the area enough times....you can make yourself crazy.
I think I have arrived at that location with this one.
The correct information of Gold not being found and mined in the Pikes Peak, Victor, Cripple Creek area till the 1890's......is the biggest hole in this story.

TiredIron

Now-a-days I spend most my time researching the alledged Ft. LeDuc in Fremont County.
 

Gimmie The Loot

Bronze Member
May 11, 2010
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Yes I am driving myself crazy looking through vintage maps and reading story after unbeleivable treasure story!
 

StBarbara

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Apr 7, 2015
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Last edited:

40coupe

Tenderfoot
Aug 21, 2013
6
6
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Re: Gold Found Along South Platte River Near Denver, CO...

Little Dry Creek (Englewood, Colorado) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dry Creek joins the South Platte River west of Santa Fe Drive (CO Hwy 85) at what used to be an automobile junkyard, and the site has likely been remediated and developed in the 20+ years since I was by there.
Gold was also found, BITD, along the S. Platte R. at what is now Overland Golf Course (a huge mass of landfill now lies beneath the manicured greens), and at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the S. Platte where the early towns of Denver (N side of Cherry Creek) and Auraria (S side of Cherry Creek) sprang up.

Most of the gold found along the South Platte River between it's exit from the mountains in Waterton Canyon and the Denver/Auraria area was from alluvial placer deposits in the creeks running down into the Platte from the west (Ralston Creek, Coal Creek, Clear Creek, Bear Creek and Plum Creek).
The prairie plains east of the Platte were comparatively shallow seasonal streams, Cherry Creek included, that didn't cross many gold-bearing deposits such as found in the 'Mineral District' to the west of the South Platte River.

Gold mining in Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Tley430

Newbie
Dec 12, 2019
2
1
Primary Interest:
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As a local individual who has "also" lived near Franktown Colorado for the last 35 years.....I too have heard this story....researched the area and done my share of digging. Let me make a few changes to your information, as I have heard it. The Russleville Gold Camp was never a "Rush" area, or a producer. It geology terms its shows an "occurrence" of Gold. The Russleville area was more of crossroads of Stage and trail paths and after everyone headed more toward the Clear Creek, Pikes Peak, and other areas in Central Colorado, it became used as a Military staging area due to its good water and trees. Gold was found, but in the same small amounts as it still can be found today......an "occurrence".
I guess the magazine articles you have read didn't include the explanation for the Clover-shaped ingots. As the story goes the four men were in the Pikes Peak "region" buying gold in every form from the Miners at a dramatically reduced wholesale rate since they didn't wish to leave their claims. The four men took all these different containers of metal and decided to crudely smelt them in to a more managable shape to pack back to Denver. The story says they found a ceramic "clover shaped" candy dish or serving dish, and this is what they supposedly used to create the 200 ingots. I personally doubt a candy or serving dish would withstand the heat cycles to molten gold temps....200 times, but that's the story. I also have my doubts about them finding #700-800lbs of placer gold to purchase.....but???
I have researched, traced, and walked on foot (and chased off of private property) approximately 12-15 miles of what I thought would fit the story. We have to remember there have been at least three major floods in this area....that were documented....so a lot of ground has been moved around. I also have been an avid gun show participant and vendor since 1975. I asked around for several years about the "one" ingot showing up at a show. Only one other vendor thinks he remembers a story and he says the fellow purposely made up an ingot out of lead as a joke.....so...who knows?
There have been times where I get so worked up about this story I have almost bought a two-box detector because that's what I believe it would take....if it was still in the ground. If you read the story 70-80 times.....and look at vintage maps of the area enough times....you can make yourself crazy.
I think I have arrived at that location with this one.
The correct information of Gold not being found and mined in the Pikes Peak, Victor, Cripple Creek area till the 1890's......is the biggest hole in this story.

TiredIron

Now-a-days I spend most my time researching the alledged Ft. LeDuc in Fremont County.

I’m interested in finding out more information about this Russellville Gulch area. What is the access to this site? I’ve tried looking for access off of 83 but not sure if that’s the right spot.
 

KevinInColorado

Gold Member
Jan 9, 2012
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I’m interested in finding out more information about this Russellville Gulch area. What is the access to this site? I’ve tried looking for access off of 83 but not sure if that’s the right spot.

It’s all private ranches. Literally zero access unless you go knocking on doors.

PS nice job waking up an OLD thread ;)
 
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Tley430

Newbie
Dec 12, 2019
2
1
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
the history of Russellville is pretty interesting. I don’t really know if that story about the gold ingots is true though. I haven’t seen anything beyond what’s posted here that verifies the story bout Thomas Gavin. Does anyone have any other reference information about the origin of the story that this OP is referring to? sure would like to find out more. Here is info about Russellville: https://coloradocommunitymedia.com/stories/oldest-settlement-landmarked,45637
 
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