May 27, 2024
Sandstone Arch

Utah Treasure Legends #1

In honor of a lot of interesting materials being posted elsewhere that originate from Utah or people who live there, here are, for the first time, some Utah additions to the Treasure Map page. The legends are listed here, and the link at the bottom goes to the main Treasure Map, which I have just recently fixed – the markers had not been showing up for quite a while. Sorry!

As I have not spent much time in Utah or had any designs on going there too much, I don’t have a deep library specific to that area of the country. A dear (departed) friend of mine had always held a fascination for the Henry Mountains, though, so ironically I do have a lot of material that I can’t really share…

For what I can share, I’ll do my best to place the Treasure Map markers in relevant geographic areas from which one might perform a search based on some of the legends written up in Jimmie Busher’s book. Jimmie’s book is interesting in that he assigns a probability to the veracity of each legend, ranging from very poor to very good. You’ll have to get his book, Lost Mines and Treasures of the Southwest, to get the full scoop (he also has small hand-drawn maps for each and every story).

#1: Douglas Sand Bar Gold
TREASURE: A very rich deposit of placer gold.
SYNOPSIS: A man named Jim Douglas discovered a very rich placer deposit of gold in the San Juan River. His discovery happened during the drought of 1909, and he worked the rich sand bar furiously until the spring runoff forced him out for the season. Year after year, he waited for conditions on the river to be right to work the location again, but after 20 years, likely full of frustration and half-mad with self-doubt, he took his own life by jumping off of a high bridge into the very same river that had previously yielded such a magnificent bonanza. Somewhere near Mexican Hat is where Jim had made his incredible find.

#2 Lost Rhoades Gold Mine
TREASURE: An exceedingly rich mine of free-milling gold.
This version of the famous legend says that Rhoades and his son Caleb were shown the mine location by members of the Ute tribe. The mine was developed, and supplied the needs of the early settlers through 1850, at which point the relationship with the Utes had deteriorated throughout the region. An 1854 treaty eventually put the mine location off limits, and through Caleb is said to have drawn up a map before his death, the mine is to this day still lost to history. If you have the Eye, you may still be able to find a hint of the mine if you are in the right area, as an operation that sounds as extensive as the legend says would surely leave a trace, even if it is just ephemera like the faint outline of an old arrastre, small guidestones or marks, water works like ditches or an acequia, or even just the trail in or the camp. The recommended search area is between Rock Creek and Lake Fork Creek in the Southern Uinta Mountains.

#3 Lost Ewing Mine
TREASURE: Highly-enriched mine of copper.
SYNOPSIS: Somewhere in the Brown’s Hole area, perhaps south of Home Mountain, is where an Englishman named Jessie Ewing made a rich strike of copper, so rich that is assayed up to $5,000 to the ton, which was an incredible amount of money given that he made the strike and built his cabin on the site in 1868. He eventually met his end in an altercation following an argument, and he had not divulged the location of the mine to any known person. For those of certain dispositions, the fact that Jessie’s name is “Jessie” means that this tale may be a coded message – read up on Jessi James, the Knights of the Golden Circle, and all of those things if you want to pursue that line instead of searching for a physical mine, in which case you’d want to find newspaper article on this subject and scour them for possible hidden information tied to this geography – the point of which being to locate a cache of some sort rather than an actual mine.

#4 Herringer, Miner
TREASURE: Both a rich gold mine, ore type unspecified, as well as caches of gold, form unspecified.
SYNOPSIS: The secretive Abel Herringer had a gold mine that he worked privately somewhere back along the Comb Ridge area between Bluff and Mexican Hat. Herringer supposedly stumbled on the mine while pursuing a wayward cow. Tight-lipped, he worked the mine in secret, thus avoiding a rush to the area and all of the trouble that might bring. When he did, his secret of the mines went with him, as well as the secret of where he may have cached the majority of his gold. A sack of gold was uncovered by some young men plowing a field adjacent to the Comb Ridge, and the mine is thought to be toward the east up the wash and then to the north. Thinking like a cow may help with finding this one, as Abel located the mine while seeking out a bovine who had fled for greener pastures.

Remember that these tales and the points on the Treasure Map are just suggestions and nothing is guaranteed – go prepared, be safe, and good luck!



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