Legends Of America
Since 2003
LEGENDS OF AMERICA  

 Tip Jar

Legends Facebook Page    Legends on Pinterest    Legends on Twitter

California Flag - Golden State Legends IconCALIFORNIA LEGENDS

Rattlesnake Dick's Stolen Loot

Bookmark and Share

 

 

Yreka Mine, 1860Richard Barter, also known as Rattlesnake Dick and Dick Woods, was born in Quebec, Canada, the son of a British officer around 1833. Though little is known of his early history, he was said to have been a reckless sort of boy

 

During California’s Gold Rush days, he migrated there in 1850, accompanied by an older brother and an old man who was some sort of relative. Settling in at Rattlesnake Bar, a small mining camp in Placer County, the brother and other man soon returned to Canada. But, Dick remained at the camp, working for other miners and doing a little prospecting on his own.

 

However, Barter was unsuccessful in his quest for gold and soon decided to turn to a life of crime. He began with rustling horses but was as unsuccessful at that as he was at finding gold. In no time, he was arrested and sent to prison for two years.

 

When he was released he formed a gang made up of  brothers, Cyrus and George Skinner, along with several others. In 1856, Barter learned from a drunken mining engineer that large gold shipments were being sent down Trinity Mountain from the Yreka and Klamath River Mines.

 

Barter sent George Skinner and three others to intercept the gold shipment, which was packed on mules. George and the other bandits stopped the mule train outside of Nevada City, California holding guns on the muleskinners. Meekly the men turned over $80,600 in gold bullion to Skinner and his men, without a shot being fired.

 

The bandits then made off with the shipment to keep a rendezvous at Folsom with Barter and Cyrus Skinner. However, George Skinner found it next to impossible to take the heavy gold shipment down the mountain passes without fresh mules. Soon, he split up the gold shipment burying half of it in the mountains.

 

Making their way to Auburn, the outlaws were soon intercepted by a Wells Fargo posse and gunfight ensued. In the melee, George Skinner was killed and his confederates fled. The lawmen recovered $40,600 of the stolen loot and though they searched diligently, they failed to find the remaining $40,000.

 

In the meantime, Rattlesnake Dick and Cy Skinner weren’t at the rendezvous point in Folsom, as they had just been jailed for stealing mules. When they were released, Barter immediately sought out George Skinner to obtain his share of the gold shipment, only to find that Skinner had been killed. Cy Skinner and Barter spent the next several weeks trying to find the buried gold before they finally gave up.

 

Both men soon went back to robbing stagecoaches but their luck soon ran out. On July 11, 1859, Sheriff J. Boggs trapped Barter and Skinner in a mountain pass near Auburn, California. Boggs fired a shot right into the heart of Rattlesnake Dick, killing him instantly. Skinner was wounded, but lived to be taken into custody and given a long prison sentence.

 

The treasure has never been recovered.

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated May, 2017.

 

Back to California Treasure Tales

 

 

 

  From Legends' General Store

 

The Wild West DVD - 12 Documentary Set - 2 DisksAmerican History of the Wild West (12 Documentary Set) 2 Disc DVD - Saddle Up for a Rousing Look at the Wild West! A fascinating 12-part documentary series! An incredible historical overview! Be transported into the wild and wooly past of the American Wild West! In this fascinating 12 documentary collection, you'll find history, lore and biographies of the lives and times of those who populated the Wild West. Featuring such names as Wild Bill Hickok, Geronimo, and Jesse James; as well as all sorts of legendary historical figures from pioneers and scouts to lawmen, outlaws, gangs and gunslingers, to the American cowboy, and pioneering women on the frontier.

 

Documentaries include: Wild Bill Hickok - Parts 1 & 2, Wyatt Earp - Parts 1 & 2, Old West Cowboys - Parts 1 & 2 , Gunfighters of the Old West - Parts 1 & 2, Great Indian Wars - Parts 1 & 2, and Geronimo - Parts 1 & 2
 

Just $9.95    Buy Product

 

  About Us      Contact Us       Article/Photo Use      Guestbook      Legends Of Kansas      Links      Photo Blog      Site Map     Writing Credits     

Copyright © 2003-Present, Legends of America