Treasure Magazine, Dents Run Gold, 1974-75

pa plateau hiker

Hero Member
Jul 15, 2012
969
1,035
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
A few days ago, Carl-NC asked when the earliest stories were written about the gold. These are the earliest I have, there could very likely be issues before these. The first one was published in July 1974 "26 Missing Pennsylvania Gold Ingots". The 2nd issue was February, 1975, "A Treasure and Relic Hunter's Paradise".
184_5444.JPG 184_5446.JPG
 

jeff of pa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2003
80,392
51,941
🥇 Banner finds
1
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
1
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Folktale is the word Jeff. Even back then the old timers around here, may they all rest in peace ,RIP, commented on how some of the articles Francis wrote were more or less fabrications.

History Is also Up there pa_ "He talked about Local Folktales, Legends & History"
a well rounded Speech if you Ask Me :coffee2:

& No it doesn't say he Brought up Dents run !
I should add, He probably Said most Folk tales & Legends Come from Exaggerating an Historical Event,
over a period of time. Doesn't mean it never happened. sort of like changing the names to Protect the Innocent, Or simply because they Never knew their real names :coffee2:

You see what You want ! & ignore the Rest ?
 
Last edited:

jeff of pa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 19, 2003
80,392
51,941
🥇 Banner finds
1
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
1
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
local folktales

these were thought of as "legendary slot machines"
people laughed at the thought someone would dump a load of slot machines
in a lake and not retrieve them

attachment.php
attachment.php


attachment.php
attachment.php

call them what you want, the laughers didn't get them.
the newsapapers who laughed didn't get the pics or story

Slot Machines :dontknow:
 
Last edited:

Carl-NC

Bronze Member
Mar 19, 2003
1,808
1,192
Oregon & Texas
Detector(s) used
Custom Designs and Prototypes
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Yeah, I have those issues. I start with the assumption that any "story" published in a treasure magazine is fake unless I see solid historical references, which are glaringly lacking for this story. The former article has a made-up sound to it and the latter article is a rehash with minor embellishments. Ergo, I'm way more interested in the 1961 publication that Washington Post mentioned.
 

GoDeep

Bronze Member
Nov 12, 2016
2,062
4,340
Detector(s) used
Whites, Garrett, Minelab
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
A few days ago, Carl-NC asked when the earliest stories were written about the gold. These are the earliest I have, there could very likely be issues before these. The first one was published in July 1974 "26 Missing Pennsylvania Gold Ingots". The 2nd issue was February, 1975, "A Treasure and Relic Hunter's Paradise".
View attachment 1936003 View attachment 1936004

Can you post the rest of the story? I'm only able to read the first page.
 

KANACKI

Bronze Member
Mar 1, 2015
1,445
5,862
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Hola amigos

It might be worth searching through United States state papers in regards to missing gold. Key would be find evidence that a shipment of actually took place to begin with.

Also in regards to alleged claims of Pinkerton detective agency in the alleged search of this alleged gold.


Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part A: Administrative Files, 1857–1999
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part B: Criminal Case File, Series 1: A–C
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part B: Criminal Case File, Series 2: D–J
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part B: Criminal Case File, Series 3: K—N
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part B: Criminal Case File, Series 4: O—Y
Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, Part C: Family Directors File, 1853—1990


You can sign up

https://proquest.libguides.com/historyvault/pinkerton

Have fun Kanacki
 

GoDeep

Bronze Member
Nov 12, 2016
2,062
4,340
Detector(s) used
Whites, Garrett, Minelab
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Here's the Sandra Gardner story:

26 Missing Pennsylvania Gold Ingots
By Sandra Gardner 1973 – Treasure Magazine


With today’s gold market the way it is, it would be a dream come true for the lucky person who was this treasure trove. The government reportedly, will give the find ten percent, and the finder will most likely pay tax on that.

Some believe that the shipment was stolen and the bars divided because at one time, half an ingot was found according to one of the many varying stories about it.

In 1863, Lee’s army invaded Pennsylvania. This movement ultimately led to the historical battle at Gettysburg’s in south-central Pennsylvania, near the Maryland border just off Route 15 in Adams County.

Early in June of 1864 two covered freight wagons, with four mules each, and a small ambulance wagon came from the west and headed north to avoid the Confederate infiltrators. They were bound for the Philadelphia Mint and were to go as far as Williamsport on an overland route. The party was made up of three drivers and eight men on horseback. In the two freight wagons were 26 bars of partly refined gold, painted black and weighing fifty pounds each. Today’s value at $900 an ounce, one of the twenty-six bars would we worth about $630,000.00 or a grand total of $16,380,000.00.

Lieutenant Castleton, born of a famous military family, was in command. His fighting career stopped by an acute case of malaria and a hip wound, and he was a bitter and frustrated man as a result.

Sergeant Mike O’Rourke, an undesirable, wanted by the police for many river port brawls involving murders, was chosen for his natural talent for leading and his and ability to be shrewd-talents that were lacking in Castleton.

Conners, the only other man identified, was mean, unfriendly and sullen. He had been wounded in combat and assigned to limited service.

Three days after coming upon a clearing on the old Clarion River Trail where they had camped, they again camped in a clearing near Ridgway. Arriving in town, Castleton and O’Rourke found the people of Ridgway very hostile and abusive. Castleton tried, unsuccessfully, to buy some Peruvian bark or quinine for his fever which was bothering him more and more.

In a tavern, the two men were accused of being drafter’s intent on recruiting men of Ridgway for duty. A brawl, probably instigated by the rough neck O’Rourke, ensured and the two felt fortunate to leave with their lives.

Early the next day the group carefully skirted the town and followed a road heading east, much the same as present-day Route 120. They arrived two days later at St. Mary’s. Here they came in possession of a map of the “Wild Cat Country,” made in 1842 by surveyors, that showed a possible road branching to the south about ten miles east of St. Mary’s and one mile west of the village of Truman (which may or may not have been in existence at that time.)

Today this road is little more than a jeep trail. It crosses two mountains with elevations of 2000 feet, with the west branch of Hicks Run in between, joins an unimproved dirt road just over the summit of the second mountain and here branches off into three directions. Each road, eventually, brings you to the Sinnemahoning River at different points. The road the soldiers were to have taken would have brought them to Hicks place on the same river.

The three-way branch-off was not shown on the soldiers’ map and after trying two wrong choices (to reach the Hicks place), they impatiently headed south through the timber. Detouring around swamps and rocky areas, they became hopelessly lost.

Since Castleton was growing much weaker from the fever, and the other men were quarrelsome and exhausted, they decided that two men should accompany Conners and start southeast toward Sinnemahoning, on foot to get help. Meanwhile Castleton and five other men were transferring the gold from the freight wagons to pack saddles made from the canvas wagon covers, so the mule team could start south as fast as Castleton’s condition would permit. At this point the group was on the ridge going north and south just west of the east branch of Hicks Run.

Castleton gave Conner a report of the trip and a Federal Army order so Conners could requisition supplies and men for help. Later Conners said that when he left. O’Rourke and Castleton were arguing over whether to bury part of the fold or to try to carry it all. No more was ever seen of the group.

Conners, arriving ten days later with a rescue party from the Lock Haven Post, found the abandoned wagons. It was apparent that the group had split up as there were several trails to the southwest. The rescue party searched for several days before returning to Lock Haven.

A court of Inquiry, held at Clearfield, Pennsylvania, charged Castleton and O’Rourke with treason and theft. The charges were dropped, pending further investigation, as Castleton’s family had much influence high in army circles.

In an attempt to keep the natives from searching for the fold, the Pinkerton Detective Agency convinced the War Department that the utmost secrecy was desirable. Several teams of Pinkertons posed as prospectors and lumbermen in the area, alert for any signs of sudden wealth, and asked discreet questions. The area they thoroughly searched was from the Driftwood Branch to Benezette Branch of the Sinnemahoning River as far west as St. Mary’s.

Two summers later, in 1865, Donavan and Dugan, detectives, found two and one-half bars of the gold buried under a pine stump about four miles south of where the wagons were abandoned. This indicated that the treasure had been stolen and divided.

These same detectives came to love this wild country and in 1871, eight years later when the search ended, they retired from the agency. They built a cabin north of Benezette, on Trout Run, and occasionally searched on their own for the treasure.

In 1866, a year after the fold bars were discovered, a pair of the mules was found by other Pinkerton men. The mules still carrying the army brand were in the possession of an old man in Chase Run. He said that he’d found them wandering in the woods. Then in 1876 the Elk-Cameron boundary was being resurveyed. The survey crew found the bones of from three to five human skeletons scattered around near a spring at the head of Bell’s Branch of Dents Run approximately seven miles from where the wagons had been abandoned. Nothing more is known of the gold or the men, but the government is still looking!
 

GoDeep

Bronze Member
Nov 12, 2016
2,062
4,340
Detector(s) used
Whites, Garrett, Minelab
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Here's the Francis Skully version:

PENNSYLVANIA’S LOST GOLD INGOTS

by Frances X. Scully


A tremendous treasure is lost somewhere in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Elk-Cameron County. During the Civil War, a shipment of gold bars worth over $1,500,000 at present market prices disappeared somewhere in the mountainous area. It has never been found.

The gold, 26 bars weighing 50 pounds each, won’t be easy to track down. North-central Pennsylvania is still a rugged, untamed region that contains the largest elk herd east of the Rocky Mountains, If you hunt the treasure during the mating season, you could be kept awake nights by the bugling of the monstrous bull elks. During the day, watch for the crotalus horridus, better known as the banded timber rattlesnake. You could bump into one anywhere, just waiting for an unwary arm or leg.

At the start of the Civil War, northern Pennsylvania was as remote as northern Quebec, Canada, is today. Known as the Wildcat Region, this area led the entire world in lumber production. Immense rafts were floated down the narrow valleys to great sawmills. There were few roads and only a handful of pitifully small villages. Howling wolves were heard at night and panthers and bears were common. Rattlesnakes and copperheads were as thick as flies at a picnic.

This was no place for choir boys. During the Civil War, the Wildcat Region, was the birthplace of the famous Bucktail Regiment, those hardy men were the scourge of the Confederacy. Following the defeat of the Union Army at Chancellorsville, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee pointed his conquering gray legions toward Pennsylvania’s lush farmlands.. The North was in bedlam as Philadelphia and Harrisburg prepared feverishly to resist the invasion. Pennsylvania’s Governor Curtin felt the situation was so serious that he asked the Union commander, Gen. Meade, to send Gen. Couth to defend Harrisburg, the state capital.

Meanwhile, a young blue-coated lieutenant headed northward from Wheeling, West Virginia, with a wagon with a false bottom, a civilian guide and a guard of eight cavalrymen. The boyish officer was stunned when his orders revealed what his cargo was. He shook his head in disbelief, reading that he was to proceed as far north as necessary to avoid any possibility of bumping into Rebel patrols, then turn southward and head for Washington. He was by all means to avoid contact with the enemy.

His freight was pure gold, stored beneath the false bottom of the wagon, which was covered with hay.

His superiors cautioned the young officer that Pennsylvania was infested with another type of copperhead besides those that crawled along ground—the underground organization of Southern sympathizers. His was an important mission and he must never relinquish his vigilance. The army was certain they had selected the right man for the task along with a fine squad of riders and a superb civilian guide. Time was to prove the army wrong.

So the expedition headed northward. It is believed they stopped first at the town of Butler, then a thriving lumbering community north of Pittsburgh. Almost from the start, the young lieutenant was seized with one fever after another and had to ride in the wagon. While the officer was ill, the civilian guide took command.

The caravan continued northward through Clarion Valley, where eastern bison had grazed 75 years before.

When the expedition reached the town of Clarion, the pale and wan officer resumed command. Feeling they were far enough north to avoid contact with Rebel cavalry, he decided to head northwestward to Ridgway, then eastward to the Sinnemahoning River near the town of Driftwood. There, they could easily construct a raft and float down to the Susquehanna River, then on to Harrisburg, putting them much nearer Washington.

So far the journey had been uneventful, though the young soldiers were puzzled by being so far away from the scene of action. They wondered what was in the wagon. Oh, well—the army was known for doing strange things. How about the ‘Mud March’ last winter, when 70,000 troops were stuck in the mud? How the Southern newspapers had howled over that.

On a Saturday night in late June, the expedition pulled into Ridgway in Elk County. The little band of soldiers were as welcome as tax collectors and the populace swarmed all over the troopers. Several times the lieutenant had to order the jeering crowd to disperse. The puzzled officer asked the civilian guide if Ridgway hadn’t produced the Elk County Rifles, one of the best companies in the Bucktail Regiment. When informed that indeed it had, the young officer was stunned by the hostility of the crowd.

That night the caravan headed off through the darkness toward the little Dutch community of St. Marys, 11 miles to the east. During the night the lieutenant had another severe seizure. In his delirium he cried outa complete disclosure of the gold and the purpose of their mission. The escorting soldiers were stunned.

Meanwhile Connors, the civilian guide, once more assumed command. After an evening in St. Marys, where the patrol was reportedly treated like conquering heroes, Connors announced that the expedition would head over the mountains toward Driftwood and the headwaters of the Susquehanna. They were just 20 miles from their goal, but it would be rugged going.

The group left St. Marys—and that was the last anyone ever saw of the ill-fated expedition. In August, a wild-eyed hysterical Connors staggered into the village of Lock Haven about 40 miles east of Driftwood. He told a pitiful story of the death of every member of the expedition and the loss of the entire cargo.

The kind citizens were overwhelmed with sympathy for the hollowcheeked Irishman. The Wildcat Region was no place to be lost in, they agreed. Rattlesnakes, copperheads, mosquitoes, wolves, panthers—all were hazards, and besides, they were guarding a wagon filled with gold. Who could have ordered such a crazy move, wondered the people of Lock Haven.

While the local residents believed Connors, the army did not. They put him through a relentless series of questionings. First Connors told of the officer dying and being buried, and then he told of a terrific fight. After that, he;always claimed that he lost his memory.

The army brass turned the case over to the Pinkertons. For a time the forest wilderness swarmed with agents, who hired on as lumberjacks, teamsters: or whatever else was available. They searched the area of almost a year, but with no success.

During the summer some dead mules were found—perhaps the ones that pulled the wagon. From somewhere, an aged recluse had managed to get hold of horse trappings marked with the U.S. Army insignia, but he wasn’t telling anything to anyone. Two or three years later, several human skeletons, believed to be those of the guards detail, were found in the Dent’s Run area of Elk County not far from Driftwood.

Connors was inducted into the army and transferred to a western outpost. He was never permitted to be discharged. When drunk he would blabber that he knew the whole story about the gold and offer to lead some one to it. But when sober he couldn’t even find Elk County on the map.

There are stories that the government reopened the case within the last 30 years and sent agents to the area, but very little information on this was disclosed. In fact, very little information exists on the puzzling expedition itself.

Until about 25 years ago, articles about the gold appeared occasionally. A short time ago, a St. Marys man came to me with some pieces of cherrywood taken from a big square bedpost. The bed was found in a home in Caledonia, a small town about 13 miles southeast of St. Marys. Many believed the treasure was lost near Caledonia. The finder thinks the message written on the pieces wood and then nailed to the top of the bed had something to do with the treasure.

The message is written in the type of penmanship used in the 1860’s, and it mentions the year 1863. It also mentions a two-hour battle near a "big rock," and the mysterious writes says that "they see me."

There has always been a theory that the little band was ambushed and massacred by Copperheads or a Gang of robbers. Many feel that Connors may have planned arch an ambush. Perhaps the mysterious message about a battle is factual.

Meanwhile, $1,500,000 in gold remains lost somewhere in the mountains. Hundreds have looked for it and found nothing. But it is believed to be still there.
 

GoDeep

Bronze Member
Nov 12, 2016
2,062
4,340
Detector(s) used
Whites, Garrett, Minelab
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
A few days ago, Carl-NC asked when the earliest stories were written about the gold. These are the earliest I have, there could very likely be issues before these. The first one was published in July 1974 "26 Missing Pennsylvania Gold Ingots". The 2nd issue was February, 1975, "A Treasure and Relic Hunter's Paradise".
View attachment 1936003 View attachment 1936004

Ok, i found the stories. Question, do the authors list any references at all in your magazine printing of these stories? These stories contain specific accounts and details that should be readily traceable and verifiable.
 
Last edited:

Carl-NC

Bronze Member
Mar 19, 2003
1,808
1,192
Oregon & Texas
Detector(s) used
Custom Designs and Prototypes
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
No references are given, details that should be easy to verify cannot be, and the story suddenly appears for the first time in a 1974 issue of Treasure. It has the classic hallmarks of a fabricated story, with the author most likely a fake name.
 

Top Member Reactions

Users who are viewing this thread

Top