The story that follows is the one that got me hooked and the Spanish lore... It was the consistent coincidence that occurred throughout the course of discovery... I am not in the habit of chasing after what I call story book tales, I use this term not to diminish the story or any authors who may have written about it, but to distinguish the difference between a fresh new story and one that has been hashed over so many times due to publication, we then begin to seemingly loose what is real and what isn't.
This story was not a story book tale when I first came upon it, but it has since been through the shredder and is one of the most famous among the Utah treasure hunters and most talked about today. What makes this story so appealing is the rather large cache left behind and documented by the Captain of the expedition of which the estimated amounts will be given herein.
Some of you will no doubt recognize the story although the actual published story is not here, and identifying details left out, other have never even heard of this story and in either case, you will read things herein you did not know. Regardless, enjoy!
It was in the year of 1989 I believe, a friend of mine and I were in the mountains looking for elk and driving up to the top of a well known mountain when we left the main two track road and following a faint two track branch which looped around a corner to the right into a small draw and upon an old mine site. Having visited many old mine sites in my day, there were some things about this site which intrigued me. I had not suspected an old Spanish mine in the slightest at that time, but something just pulled at me and I had to know more about the old mine.
When I returned to the valley I stopped at a metal detector shop that I frequented and walking in I was greeted and asked what I had been up to. The care taker knowing my research pertaining to the Native American Petroglyphs was curious as to what I might be working on. To his surprise, my visit that day had nothing to do with petroglyphs and I explained to him where I had been and what I had come across, and I asked him what would be the best method to research an old mine. He told me what he thought but insisted that I hold on a minute as he had something for me to read. He slipped into the back and returned with a yellow manila envelope and handed it to me. He told me to take it home and read through it and let him know what I thought.
I returned home and settling in I sat down and opened the envelope to find what would later become a published story of a mine. I turned a few pages and to my surprise, there was a photo of the very mine I had just visited that day! Needless to say, my curiosity greatly increased. Here in the transcript was every thing I needed to know about this mine, or was it?
In this envelope was a copy of an old document which begins with the Old Spanish word Redotero (derrotero) which means track road map or course and dated 1814. The document itself had a few problems, several of which that were pointed out in later years as the story became much better known and quite frankly were without merit. With one exception, I have determined with my own research that the document, or rather the story it tells is factual. This will become more evident as we go on.
I never trust anyone else’s translation of an old document and although it had already been done, I had to pursue my own methods of which I did and for the most part it was fairly accurate with some issues that in my mind makes a great deal of difference in understanding the intent and descriptions given resulting in my mind as the true location of the intended mine..
With careful study of the document it became clear to me that the mine I had visited was not the mine described in the document, but what would later become known was in fact one of the seven mines considered as one or as one mining area. What was described in the document was one specific mine of the seven, to date, the general location of 6 of the mines are known with a 7th suspect. I have come to realize that those who acquired the document some time in the 1970’s must have found the mine first and later discovered the document and assumed it to be the mine described in the document and I fully understand why they and the majority believe it to be the mine, but the evidences of the known history of the mine and the details given in the road map or charted course are in conflict with its location.
Knowing the correct mine described in the document was other than the mine I had stumbled upon, I began my own search in the area I just felt it was, with persistence and help from friends who also felt it was located elsewhere, we finally found in 2003, what we today believe to be the mine site. Before refining the site to discover the actual portal, I needed verification or confirmation of some sort which is my habit or method of research.
The same day of my friend finding a key clue in the new suspect location I visited my chiropractor friend after returning from the mountain. While visiting with him, he asked what I had been up to and I explained to him the story to date and that I had just came from there. In mentioning the location he stopped for a moment repeating the name as if trying to recall something of the past. He then asked if the mountain I was referring to was east of a small town in the area of which I confirmed. Upon hearing this he recalled a personal experience he had some 35 years earlier with his father. His father was an avid treasure hunter in his day and had many connections, he has been instrumental in many of the stories told today but has remained obscure. My friend however is what we call a roadside treasure hunter, often seeking bank or stagecoach robbery stories or the like.
His father knew a little old Indian woman who had befriended him over the years and who trusted him and helped him from time to time. This little Indian woman has been mentioned from time to time in several published stories. She came to visit my friends father one day in about 1969. She had reached an age wherein she just could not get around as she use to and had come to him in confidence to share with him something she had never told him. She told him that he was her best friend and that she has never had any friends other than him of which he was somewhat surprised to hear, at this time he was grateful that he had always treated her as such. She explained that her grandfathers had killed some Spaniards on this mountain long ago, and that it was given to her family the responsibility of keeping the mine covered and hidden away. She said that through generations the responsibility had fallen upon her in which she was faithful in carrying out her whole life. She explained that she was to old to continue visiting the site and that no one else younger in her family wanted anything to do with it and so, the only thing she could think of was to pass it on to her friend hoping that it might somehow reward him for his kindness over the years.
At this time she explained verbally how to get to it and then followed up with a hand drawn map and gave it to him. After parting ways he went to his son who is my friend and asked him if he wanted to go to the mountain with him and of course he did. My friend recalls the map sitting next to him on the long drive up the mountain and driving up the east side he recalls parking at the edge of what seemed to be a ledge and next to an old gnarled pine. He and his father got out with his father holding the map, standing at the edge and looking to the North West, he studied the map looking down into the drainage below and then at the map, then back down again several times and after a short pause, pointed down to a hill and said it’s right down there. This is when I about fell over as I knew my suspicion of the correct location was true.
In 1994 the first publication about this mine site was released and for the most part all that is said concerning the story is for the most part correct, it is the perception of the location that in my estimation is incorrect. The document tells of a captain who was on an expedition to this mine which was at the time one of the most important to the Spaniard. Because of an attack by the Indians and many men killed they were forced to close up the mine leaving their hard earned spoils or should I say their hard earned spoils by the hands of the Indian slaves?
The document is actually rather short saying the mine was operated from 1782 to 1814, of those things left behind is mentioned many slabs of virgin silver, 655 mule loads of silver (Bars) and 240 mule loads of gold. It is mentioned that of the 42 companions only 8 survived the attack of the Natives. Although I have some small problems with the document itself, I feel I have gathered enough evidence to validate the story. Of those problems, there are viable and reasonable solutions. I might point out at this time that a key tree carving we had searched for to validate a mine location was found, and core sample of the trees total growth with that of the growth since it was marked and it matches the time frame given in the document. I sent the following photo to a colleague whom I have a great deal of respect for asking his opinion, his response was, "it is a tunnel marker."
Daniel and Amy the day the tree mark was found.
At this time and to about a year ago the project has basically sat with no activity other than a few visits from time to time, it wasn't until last year a couple of friends took the story serious enough to begin working the site; we’ll see how their efforts pan out when the snow is gone. As of March of 2014, the conservative estimated silver bar value of this cache is at 25 million, the gold bar value is estimated at 524 million to 1 Billion depending on the weight of a carga... there is no estimated value of the silver slabs. At this time we cannot say that we have actually found the portal of the mine.
In addition to the information publish and the information not published there are a few newspaper articles not well known among the treasure hunters and from the late 1800’s which give much credence to the story. The first misconceptions of the correct mine location had began when an old mine was found which is the very mine thought today to be the correct mine intended in the Charted Course. After the mine had been abandoned by the Spanish, it was first found by William Bird in 1898 of which it is reported that the entrance was rocked up. William Bird definitely found an old Spanish mine, it just isn’t the mine in the charted course. I would think that William Bird did not know there are 7 mines all considered as one or one mining district.
At the time Bird found the old mine, General Kimball recalls his experience with the Spaniards some 47 years earlier when he was the Deputy Marshall of the
United States. General Kimball was ordered to
arrest certain Spaniards because they were buying and selling Indian children.
One particular Spaniard whose name was San Jose Pueblo and was a primary among
those he arrested, talked frequently to Marshall Kimball and relayed his
reasons for being there and conducting the practice of buying Indian children.
He told Kimball that in 1842 which was 9 years prior, that 4 companies of
Spaniards came to this area and worked two primary mines, one they completely
mined out, but the main mine was still a good producer. They accumulated all
they could take and headed for .
They traveled through an area that at the time was occupied by the Navajo who
were quite hostile and massacred the entire company except Jose Pueblo who made
his way to Santa
Fe Mexico Mexico.
After a few years Pueblo put together another
party of men and returned to the mines only to find the Mormons were now living
in the area and he claims they abandoned the idea of mining and resorted to
buying Indian children for the Mexico
Arolla Sampora Maps
with certain things removed
It is my opinion based and an interesting map that surfaced at about the time of
return and arrest. This map is said to be written by Arolla Le Sampora showing
the area he mined and where his cabin was. I can’t help but wonder if there is
some connection. However although the mine shown on the Arrola map is one of
the seven it is neither the mine Bird found nor the mine of the Charted Course. Pedro Nunez Villa Vicercio lead an expedition to the area as well in 1771, the mines are clearly marked but perspective blinds those who cannot see...
The left half of the Nunez expedition map
With certain things removed...
In every case that a mine was found in the area it has always been the discovery of a mine that was not difficult to see due to obvious mine dumps as in the first semi modern case of the Bird family in the late 1800’s who discovered the old workings. The short of it is this, if they discovered the obvious old workings of a mine of the past, the location is not the correct workings as is described in the charted course. The Spanish had a strict rule about leaving a mine open, however in this case it can reasonably be assumed they had to leave in a hurry, but I assure you they would not have left it open considering the contents being left behind. Also the Natives did not want these strange people coming back and I assure you they would have made every effort to conceal all evidence of the mines existence, including any evidence of a dump, hence the existence of the little old Indian woman to whom it was given to her family the responsibility to keep the mine covered, hidden and unknown, The Indians would NOT have moved the cache.