Treasure Stories

Ships & Coins

Introduction

The American Continents have a rich treasure history dating back to ancient civilizations of the Toltecs and Aztecs who understood the mining and smelting of gold and silver from which they made ornaments shields and household utensils. These wealthy civilizations flourished for hundreds of years spreading over the American continents until the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century.

The shiny white men who arrived on clouds from the East were treated as friends until they quickly showed their true intent. Then the reaction of the local citizens to the arrival of the Conquistadors was to remove their great treasures from their homes and temples and bury it in the ground and the many caves of the region to prevent it falling into the hands of the Spanish invaders.

The Spanish reaction to the thwarting of their intent was cruel and swift. With torture and murder they were able to obtain huge amounts of the hidden wealth; however, just as much treasure still lays scattered over South America, Mexico and parts of our Great Southwest the original owners being forever silent as to the locations.

Following the plundering Spaniards, Jesuits established their missions in the Aztec and Inca mining centers and proceeded to gather the wealth of the country for return to Europe. This exploitation continued until the enslaved citizens rose up against their oppressors forcing them to flee in terror while desperately trying to haul loaded pack trains of loot over rugged terrain scattering it and burying it in a desperate attempt to escaped their fate.

After the Spanish and during the last century, when our country was developing, travel was not the rapid marvel of today, prospectors and emigrants even pirates and adventurers including those intent on carrying the country’s wealth back to their European masters traversed the continent discovering rich mineral deposits, exploiting their discoveries and transporting their wealth to banks and their homes.

With the accumulation of wealth came the inherent problems of protecting it from marauding bandits, Indians, angry local natives and the dangers associated with the natural elements. These forces required the original owners of the treasure, at times, to abandon it or secrete it in some hidden place. Due to the conditions of life at the time, the original owners never seem to be able to return to retrieve it.

Added to all the legitimate hidden wealth are the hordes collected by bandits and other malcontents who on gaining possession of someone else’s treasure could never let the knowledge of their possession stand the scrutiny of the light of day.

All these sources have provided ample background for the search for lost mines and hidden treasure, an ongoing search that has ever intrigued mankind, and for ages has worn the glamour of legend and the romance of mystery. Over the West and Great Southwest legends of lost treasures were repeated around campfires and passed down to us by letter or stories. That these stories are authentic is amply proven by history; many of the facts are recorded in the records of the old western forts and the newspapers of the time.

The stories were not only limited to the western half of our nation. Tales of lost treasure span the whole breath of the country including the New York Islands, the Great Lakes and the pirate haven of New Orleans. The collection of the stories fell to the writers of the past. Some with the desire to entertain their readers often added to and embellished, so that the books they produced only contain a ghost of what the story originally was.

What follows in this book are not my stories. They are the stories from these past writers who recorded the events in newspapers, and the letters of witnesses and people close to them. Also, articles by authors who spent lifetimes traversing the country collecting the legends and writing of the events.

I have stripped away the grand scenes and romances of the book-writers and selected the small and important descriptions from this collection of thousands of recorded events, that when placed in the fertile mind of a treasure hunter can provide the clues for discovery.

It becomes the task of the treasure hunter to gather all information to himself. Starting with a reference site from this book, he should read all available material that he can uncover. A good source of reading material is "Treasure Hunting Bibliography and Index to Periodical Articles" by John H. Reed, this reference contains more than five thousand listings and collects all articles related to the same treasure.

After exhausting the reading references the next step is to observe and ask questions from whoever may provide additional insight. Then the treasure hunter has the task of assembling all this information and, if all goes well, he will experience the ultimate thrill as the pieces fall into place to show him, what has escaped others in the past.

For convenience the best site to start with is an area that you are familiar with or an area where you had planned to be for vacation or other reason. It is important to observe the local country, for many subtle clues can be seen by an astute observer that may not be recorded in the written stories. A lesson can be learned by the experience of Kip Wagner who on looking over his anticipated treasure site observed some shallow depressions in the adjacent dunes that marked the location of the original salvage operation that had gone unnoticed for 250 years.

One of the best methods of site observation is to try to put yourself into the scene at the time the original events occurred and try to see what was there at the time the original participants made their decisions. This method had proved successful in several found treasure stories.

Found treasure stories are most notably lacking in this book although my archives were full of such, but, to me they have no meaning. There can be no benefit to a treasure hunter of treasure already found except the benefits of lessons learned which are generally omitted from the reporting newspaper stories. Since there is plenty of glamour, excitement, and the thrill of coming close to a solution in the search for lost treasure, we will leave the story of found treasure for the armchair treasure hunter with the exception of one lesson:

Found treasure stories are almost always reported in newspapers and here is the important lesson for any would-be treasure hunter. If you are close to discovery and most certainly if you have made a discovery do not, in spite of the temptation, tell anyone about it least of all newspaper reporters.

Silence, in this case, is golden but it is not the intention of this book to advise anyone to do anything that is not strictly legal. As a treasure hunter, you are obligated to observe the property rights of all landowners and to observe all regulations pertaining to federal lands. However, all this aside, the rule-of-thumb is that bureaucrats and reporters are not on your side.

A good way to remain current of all the regulations concerning treasure hunting is to belong to a treasure hunting club or association. A good association that I hardily recommend is "The Gold Prospecting Association of America." For your 20 dollars per year dues you have access to the current regulations and are part of a group intent on keeping the right to prospecting open for American citizens. An added bonus of this association is a telephone-book-size manual, listing mining claims opened to you for a small yearly permit fee.

And now see what is available to you in the list of exciting true legends of Lost Treasure with appendices of over one hundred seventy five sites of sunken or buried treasure and lost gold mines.

 

Ebook Table of Contents

Title...................................................................................................................................................page

INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................5

Cox’s Cave..............................................................................................................................................9

Arizona’s Buried Treasure....................................................................................................................11

The Lost Dutchman...............................................................................................................................16

Iron Door Mine......................................................................................................................................23

The Treasure of Three Peaks...............................................................................................................26

Yuma’s Gold..........................................................................................................................................30

The Bluestone Hoard............................................................................................................................34

Lost Cement Mine................................................................................................................................36

Diamond Prospecting............................................................................................................................38

Cocopah Mountains..............................................................................................................................42

The Lost Peg leg Gold Mine.................................................................................................................44

Gold of Treasure Mountain..................................................................................................................49

Sunken Treasure...................................................................................................................................52

The Reno Gang Loot............................................................................................................................56

The Iron Box Mystery..........................................................................................................................61

Jean Lafitte's Golden Hoard................................................................................................................64

Treasure of Arizpe................................................................................................................................67

The Lost Negro Mine............................................................................................................................70

Copper Axe Cave.................................................................................................................................77

Bushels of Diamonds............................................................................................................................81

The Lost Pack Train Mine...................................................................................................................83

The Madre del Oro...............................................................................................................................85

Yellow Metal Bars................................................................................................................................88

The Missing Army Payroll...................................................................................................................90

The East River Bank............................................................................................................................92

The Treasure of Barren Island............................................................................................................97

Lost Blue Bucket Mine.......................................................................................................................100

Three Rocks Beach.............................................................................................................................103

The Fateful Opals................................................................................................................................105

The Jesuit Mine of El Paso................................................................................................................108

The Lost Bowie Mine..........................................................................................................................110

The Red Eyed Cat...............................................................................................................................114

The Blue Ridge Code..........................................................................................................................117

John Dillinger’s Loot..........................................................................................................................120

APPENDIX A sunken treasure sites ................................................................................................124

APPENDIX B buried treasure sites ..................................................................................................129

APPENDIX C lost gold mines ...........................................................................................................134