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City of Rocks Treasures - Page 2

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Early stagecoachKnowing that a posse would be quickly in pursuit, the outlaws headed west towards the City of Rocks near the Idaho-Utah border. Planning to bury their cache and then blend in with many travelers along the trail. However, after burying the stolen gold, a Brigham City posse caught up with them at Birch Creek near the City of Rocks.  As the posse grew close, Long threw down his gun, trying to surrender. However, his partner opened fire and naturally, the posse fired back, killing Ed Long in the process.


After a long gunfight, Long’s wounded partner was finally captured and taken to a nearby stage station where his wounds were dressed. Though thoroughly questioned, he refused to divulge where they had hidden the stolen gold.


He was then transported to Utah, where it was found that he was a wanted man in Texas. Turning him over to the Texas authorities, the nameless man maintained his silence and there is no record of the treasure ever having been found.


Two years later, the Portneuf Canyon Stage Robbery took place in nearly the same place as had Ed Long’s. Many believe that the gold taken from the robbery was also hidden in or near the City of Rocks. Valued at some $86,000 at the time, it would be worth more than $1.6 million today.


Though the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, stage and freight lines continued to run from the northern goldmines to the depot at Kelton, Utah , some 40 miles southeast of the City of Rocks.


In 1878, a stage bound for a U.S. military camp in Boise was robbed along the near Goose Creek, a few miles north of the City of Rocks. The treasure, valued between $90,000-200,000 at the time, was so heavy with gold bullion, it had to be dragged. A posse was soon on the trail following the tracks made by the laden strongbox, which led to the City of Rocks before disappearing. One of the outlaws was killed in the inevitable confrontation and the other was captured days later. Thought to have buried the cache at the base of what is now known as Treasure Rock, he later died in prison without ever having revealed the exact location of the stolen loot.


There are other records of a holdup that occurred near Oakley, Idaho that netted five outlaws about $100,000 in gold. Followed by a posse, they were trailed to a box canyon in the City of Rocks, where all five were killed in the ensuring gunfight. The stolen loot was never found.


Other tales abound of more stage robbery loot and even treasure from a couple of train robberies being hidden in the rocky crags and among the giant granite boulders of the City of Rocks.


Over the years, the Portneuf Canyon area became so notorious for its many hold-ups; it was variously described as Robber’s Roost and Hell’s Half Acre. The local lore of these many hidden treasures have been the discussion of many for well over a century and numerous accounts have been recorded of those who have attempted to retrieve the treasures over the years.


On one such occasion, a man named Leander Whittaker, a resident of Newton, Idaho, was approached by a stranger from Texas who claimed to have met Ed Long in a prison there. Whittaker was an old acquaintance of Long, having been the horse tender at the Woodland Stage Station when Long was a stage driver. The Texan asked Whittaker to help him find the hidden treasure which, he alleged Long had told him the location before he died. Though the pair spent many days in the City of Rocks looking for the hidden cache, they came away empty handed. After returning to Newton, Whittaker found out the stranger was a wanted in Texas on seven counts of murder and was much relieved when he finally left the area.


Another man known as Glovemaker Jim who had been a Rocky Mountain Trapper since the 1830’s also tried to find the Ed Long cache. Spending the entire summer of 1873 looking for the stolen gold near the Twin Sister Boulders, he found nothing.

By the 1930’s dozens of men had dug for the hidden treasures at the City of Rocks. However, if anyone ever discovered anything, they kept it a secret.



© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September, 2016.





Readers' Comments:


I enjoyed reading the articles about lost treasures. One I found most interesting was the massacre at Almo Creek near the City of Rocks. I disagree with the writer's assessment that the story is fiction. My great Grandmother Wickel was a small child when her family came to the Almo area on Mormon Wagon trains in the 1800's. She often told me stories of when they arrived, they found what was left of a wagon train and dead settlers that had been massacred by Indians. The family and other settlers then buried the dead and began to homestead. My grandmother's family built a cabin and turned the massacre site  into a pasture, swearing never to plow or try to farm that area. My grandmother told me that after the settlers built a small school, she had to step over grave mounds as she walked to school. My grandmother married a Ward and raised a family on Connor Creek, west of Elba, Idaho. Many Wards and Wickels still live in that area. - Dennis, Twin Falls, Idaho, June, 2008



Return to Idaho Treasure Tales



Register Rock in Goose Creek Mountains

Register Rock in Goose Creek Mountains on the old

Emigrant Road, Savage and Ottinger, 1860's.

Note:  This article is provided for entertainment purposes only. It is illegal to treasure hunt on National Park and Monument land. In fact, it is illegal to even have a metal detector in your vehicle. Legends of America does not condone the breaking of any federal or state laws, nor does it condone treasure hunting on any property without receiving the proper permissions.





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