Alameda County -
With a posse on their
tails in 1893, two
allegedly buried a cache of stolen loot near a brick kiln
at Adams Point on Lake
Merritt. When the
caught up with the
one was killed and the other immediately arrested. The surviving
outlaw died later died in prison. The ill-gotten treasure has never
Contra Costa County - Dr. John Marsh, a
pioneer who was sometimes referred to as
first American doctor, was allegedly known to bury his money near his home
nestled in the foothills of Mt. Diablo.
Lake Merritt from Adams Point, 1884, photo
California Digital Archives.
Marsh was murdered in 1856 while on his
way home from Martinez, without ever telling anyone of the exact
location of his hidden riches. The treasure tale today alleges
that Marsh had hidden a cache of some $40,000 gold coins near his home
or Marsh Creek, that bears his name. Currently plans are under way to
develop the location into a
Another, even larger treasure is said to be buried along the beaches
of the county. In 1901, the Selby Smelter at Vallejo Junction was busy
refining ores that were shipped from a number of neighboring mining
districts. But, one employee by the name of John Winters, was "busy”
at a different task -- that of removing gold bars, one at a time from
the vault, and burying them on the beach near the water’s edge. Taking an estimated $283,000 in gold, Winters was finally caught and
about $130,000 of the bars were recovered. However, more than $150,000
Humboldt County -
In July of 1928, the
small post office at Willow Creek was robbed by two
that escaped with some $2,800. According to the story, the
buried the loot in one of two places and never returned to retrieve
it. The first version of its location tells of the stolen cache
being buried near the Cedar Flat Bridge that crosses Trinity River
about four miles upriver from Burnt Ranch. The second location
has the loot hidden at some point up New River Canyon on the first
ranch above the mouth of New River.
cache, taken by an employee of the San Francisco Mint in 1894, is said
to be buried in Humbolt County. The thief was later captured and
sent to prison for his crime but refused to reveal the
exact location of
The treasure, containing some 290
pounds of gold ingots, is thought to be buried at
Shelter Cove near Point Delgado.
Inyo County -
Near Scotty's Castle
in Death Valley, some say that a hidden cache of gold coins, amounting
to as much as $200,000, was buried by Walter Scott. "Scotty," as
he was more familiarly known, was a flamboyant and outrageous character,
and a known swindler and prospector. Though he did not build or
own the castle that bears his name, he was closely associated with the
man that did.
County - In 1873, the small town of Kingston,
was a stopping place on the Overland Stage route between Stockton and
California. In December of 1873, Tiburcio
outlaw band made a bold raid,
robbing the entire village and holding 39
men hostage. When an alarm was raised , the
dashed to their horses and began to flee. However, in the ensuing
melee, three of the
were shot and killed and the man carrying the stolen loot was wounded.
is gone today but was thriving in 1870, photo
California Digital Archives
Unable to reach a horse, the injured bandit escaped on foot and made
his way across the Kings River. Though
outlaw was pursued, neither he nor the loot could be found. Years later, a skeleton was discovered in the area and was thought to
have been the injured bandit, but again the ill-gotten cache remained unrecovered.
By the 1890's the town of Kingston had
totally been abandoned and is completely gone today. The site of the town
is now a
California Historical Landmark (#270), which can be found in Kingston
Park in the city of Hanford.
Marin County -
Not all lost treasures of
are related to the
Gold Rush. During the wild and wooly days of Prohibition, a German whiskey smuggler
named Carl Hause was doing a brisk business. Hause's operations were
Point Reyes Peninsula at the edge of Drake's
Inlet just south of Inverness. The whiskey smuggler was said to have
buried approximately $500,000 in gold-backed currency somewhere between
Inverness and the
old Heims Ranch. However, the liquor entrepreneur would not live to
retrieve his ill-gotten gains as he was found shot to death in his car. The currency has never been found.
Modoc County - Though Modoc County was never known as prime mining country, a few
treasure tales continue to be told in this region that is most known for
its Indian lore and unparalleled scenic beauty.
In the last years of the
19th century a sheepherder picked up a heavy rock on the west
slope of the South Warner Mountains. Forgetting about it for months,
he finally retrieved the stone and took it to an assayer. Imagine
his shock when he was told that the heavy rock was almost pure gold. He soon found an Alturas banker, who grubstaked him and the sheepherder
returned to the Warner Mountains. However, try though he might, he
searched relentlessly and was never able to find the source of ore again.
Another fairly well
authenticated story tells of an
emigrant who picked up a similar piece of rock in the 1850’s in the area
of Devil's Garden. Though no mineral deposits of any amount were
ever found in the area, the legend of hidden ore persists.
In the lava beds of
northwest Modoc County a family was seeking refuge from a snowstorm some
sixty years ago. While there, they said they found a rich copper
vein in a crater of the rugged volcanic formations. Though Mr. Courtright and other prospectors returned to the area to search for the
rich ore, it was never found.
During the 1860's an army scout by the name of Daniel Hoag was stationed
at Fort Bidwell. While on a scouting trip into the Warner Mountains,
in the area of Fandango Peak, he reportedly found a rich gold ledge. However, it was at this time that the area was in the midst of what is
referred to as the Modoc Indian War. Hoag was killed in one of the
battles before he was able to return to the site and the location of the
ledge remains lost. Fort Bidwell, used from 1864 to 1892, is located
on the Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation, where the officer's quarters
continue to stand near the old post cemetery.
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