Joaquin Murrieta's Stolen Cache
was a legendary figure in
during its Gold Rush days of the 1850's.
Depending on a
pioneer’s point of view in the mid 19th century, Joaquin Murrieta
was described by some as a Mexican Patriot, while others would say he was
nothing but a vicious desperado. When he tried to make his
living in mining, he forced off his claim. Angry about this, he then turned
to a life of crime, and was seen by some as as a Mexican patriot, resisting
the white settlers' domination. Others saw him simply as a bandit.
became the leader of a band called
Joaquins, who were said to have been responsible for the majority
of cattle rustling, robberies, and murders that were committed in the
Mother Lode area of the Sierra Nevadas between 1850 and 1853. One of those
robberies was a wagonload of gold that the
stolen from the northern mines.
However, when members of
gang were driving the load along the hills east of the old Carrizo Stage
Station they were ambushed by Indians.
According to the tale, the gold, as
well as other items taken from the gang, were hidden in an old burial
cave under a projecting rock ledge. No doubt
would have soon gone after the lost loot, but he was killed by the
Rangers before he could retrieve the gold. The Old Carrizo Stage
Station which once served the Butterfield Stage Station is located in
the Anza Borrego Desert.
Another treasure that
was said to have buried is thought to be located between Burney,
and Hatcher Pass. The $175,000 cache, said to be hidden not far
from Highway 299, has never been found.
cache, worth some $200,000. is said to be buried somewhere between
Susanville and Freedonyer Pass near today's Highway 36.
and his gang
often known to hide their stolen loot in the area of their robberies. On one occasion
Manual Garcia, known
as "Three-Fingered Jack," robbed a stagecoach along the Feather River. The strongbox was said to have contained some 250 pounds of gold
nuggets worth $140,000 at the time. Allegedly, the pair buried
the strongbox on the banks of the Feather River in a canyon a few
miles south of Paradise,
California. According to Wells Fargo officials, the stolen gold has never been
recovered. Read our full article on
Treasures Near Vallecito Station
Allegedly, a stage was traveling from El
to San Diego with a box of gold coins in the 1860’s. In addition
to the driver, the stage also carried a guard to protect the money. However, when the stage reached Yuma,
the guard fell ill and
continued on without him. Somewhere in the area of Carrizo Wash,
between the Fish and Coyote Mountains, the stage was held up by
bandits, who killed the stage driver and fled with the box of gold. According to the tale, the
outlaws buried the gold on the south slope
of Fish Mountain but were unable to retrieve it because there were so
many soldiers in the vicinity. The buried coins are said to
remain there to this day.
In addition to this
stolen cache, others are also said to be buried near the
Station, and numerous lost gold mines are allegedly in the area
Lost Bell Mine, The Lost Bill Williams Mine, and the Lost Squaw Mine. Vallecito Station is now located in the
Regional Park in San Diego County.
Holden Dick's Stolen Loot
March, 1881, when a freight wagon carrying several hundred pounds of gold ore
was traveling through Modoc County, it was stopped by a lone bandit. The ore from
was destined for
and heavily guarded by three men. But, this did not stop the an outlaw
named Holden Dick. Immediately killing two of the three guards, he forced the
stage to stop and the remaining guard and driver quickly surrendered.
Ordering them down from the stage, he sent them walking in a southerly
direction. In the meantime, he boarded the wagon, tied his horse to
the back and drove north where he was said to have buried the
loot on the western slope of the Warner Mountains.
The vicious crime went
unsolved for years until a Pitt River Indian
known as "Holden Dick” began to trade small amounts of gold ore in
Susanville and Alturas. In between appearing in the saloons of
mining camps, spending his money freely, the Indian
would disappear into some of the most rugged sections of the South Warner
Mountains, only to return again with a goodly supply of gold ore.
Eagle Peak in the Warner Mountains of
California Digital Archives
At first, the locals thought that the Indian
was working a secret mine and when in the saloons, they would try, without
success, to get him to talk. They also began to follow him when he left, hoping to find the mine. On one occasion, when another miner named Samuel B. Shaw was badgering the
for the location of his gold, Holden got fed up and shot the man, wounding
Holden Dick was soon
arrested for Shaw’s murder and locked up in the Susanville jail. On
January 23, 1886, four men stormed the jail and dragged him
into the street. Beating, whipping and torturing the man, he refused
to tell the location of his hidden cache and was finally hanged at the
Somewhere along the line,
the authorities figured out that the gold ore so freely bandied about by
Holden did not come from a mine, but rather, was the stolen loot taken
from the freight wagon some five years previously.
After a little more
"digging” the cache is believed to have been hidden in a cave where Holden
Dick lived most of the time. The cave was located in one of the many
canyons which extend from Eagle Peak on the western slope of the southern
Warner Mountains. He was also said to have constructed a crude rock
wall at the cave’s entrance, though today it would most assuredly be
collapsed. It is most likely that the cave would be located in the
lower elevations of the mountains since the
lived there year round.