Feb 22, 2011

The Mystery Of Alberta's Lost Lemon Mine

Somewhere in south-western Alberta, in the Crowsnest Pass, close by Coleman (according to some), it is said, is a gold vein worth millions. 

All you have to do is find it... and get past the curse!

If you see a dead man with an axe in his head, you may be close!

It was back in 1870 or so, when a group of prospectors came into Canada, from Montana, to search for gold along the North Saskatchewan River. 

Two of their number, Lemon and Blackjack, decided to strike out on their own, and left the group to explore the southwestern foothills of Alberta.

The two adventurers followed up the river spotting small pieces of gold. 

In an article published in the Alberta Folklore Quarterly in 1946, Senator Dan Riley, who was Mayor of the town of High River in 1906, wrote an account of the find this way:

"Blackjack and Lemon found likely showings of gold in the river. 

Following the mountain stream upwards toward the headwaters they discovered rich diggings from grass roots to bedrock. 

They sank two pits and, while bringing their cayuses in from the picket line, they accidentally discovered the ledge from which the gold came..."

(Note: A cayuse is a small native range horse used to carry gear)

Lemon and Blackjack were rich!

But all was not happy in gold country. 

Senator Riley continued:

"In camp that night the two prospectors got into an argument as to whether they should return in the spring or camp right there. 

After they had bedded down for the night, Lemon stealthily crawled out of his blankets, seized an axe and split the head of his sleeping partner. 

Overwhelmed with panic when he realized the enormity of his crime, Lemon built a huge fire and, with his gun beneath his arm, strode to and fro like a caged beast till dawn."

It was rumoured that some Blackfoot Indians witnessed the slaughter and reported it to their Chief, who, in turn, put a curse on the area of the deed. 

In a cruel turn, the Blackfoot were blamed for the murder rather than Lemon.

Shortly after the murder a robust trapper named John McDougall was dispatched to bury the body of Blackjack. 

Later, McDougall was hired to lead a party back to the mine area. 

On his way to meet the group of miners that hired him, he stopped at Fort Kipp, Montana and drank himself to death,

(Could it be the curse?)

Lafayette French, a prospector who initially funded Lemon and Blackjack, also went looking for the mine.

 It is possible that he succeeded as he wrote to a friend stating that he had found the mine.

 Unfortunately French was killed when a cabin in which he was staying mysteriously burned to the ground. He did not live long enough to share the secret of the mine’s location. 

(The curse strikes again?)

Even Lemon, who you would assume knew the location of the mine, had trouble.

 His was the anxiety he felt and exhibited when came close to the location of his evil deed.

Did Lemon and Blackjack actually find gold in Alberta. 

Geologists will tell you that the chances of the story being true are remote. 

Gold deposits are generally associated with volcanic activity, which is why BC is filled with gold while Alberta is not. 

Did Lemon and Blackfoot steal the gold from other miners? 

Did they find any gold at all?

Just to make the soup a little murkier, in 1988, Ron Stewart, a geological technician with the University of Alberta, and later author of the book "Goldrush, The Search for the Lost Lemon Mine", announced that he had found traces of gold in the Crowsnest Volcanics formation and a mini gold rush was on. 

The newspapers were full of reports that at long last the mystery of the Lemon Mine had been solved. 

However the gold found was in such poor concentration in the ore that it was uneconomical to recover.
This would have been at odds with what Lemon reported as their find.

Fred Kuhn, and his wife, both of Winnipeg, spend 5 weeks per year looking for the Lost Mine. 

But Fred states that even if he finds it, it will remain lost! He stated in an interview:

"I might go up and get the odd nugget or two...but as far as I’m concerned, there’s more appeal in looking for it then probably finding it".

Seems that the Lost Lemon Mine will remain a Mystery of Canada!

Below is a Google Map of Coleman, Alberta. Happy hunting, but watch out for the CURSE!

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Feb 15, 2011

Feb 14, 2011

Lost Civil War Gold In The Pennsylvania Mountains

A tremendous treasure is lost somewhere in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Elk-Cameron County.
During the Civil War, a shipment of gold bars worth today over $3 million dollars or more!
It has never been found...

At the start of the Civil War, northern Pennsylvania was extremely remote.

Known as the Wildcat Region, this area led the entire world in lumber production.

Immense rafts were floated down the narrow valleys to great sawmills.

There were few roads and only a handful of tiny villages.

Howling wolves were heard at night and panthers and bears were common.

This was no place for the faint at heart.

During the Civil War, the Wildcat Region, was the birthplace of the famous Bucktail Regiment, those hardy men were the scourge of the Confederacy.

Following the defeat of the Union Army at Chancellorsville, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee pointed his conquering gray legions toward Pennsylvania’s lush farmlands..

The North was in chaos as Philadelphia and Harrisburg prepared feverishly to resist the invasion. 

Pennsylvania’s Governor Curtin felt the situation was so dire, that he asked the Union commander Gen. Meade, to send Gen. Couch to defend the capital at Harrisburg.

Meanwhile, a young blue-coated lieutenant headed northward from Wheeling, West Virginia, with a wagon, civilian guide and a guard of eight cavalrymen.

The young officer was stunned when his orders revealed that his cargo was gold bullion stored beneath the false bottom of the wagon.

He shook his head in disbelief, he was to proceed as far north as necessary to avoid any possibility of bumping into Rebel patrols, then turn southward and head for Washington.

His orders clearly stated, avoid contact with the enemy at all cost!

His superiors cautioned the young officer that Pennsylvania was infested with southern sympathizers. 

His was an important mission and he must never relinquish his vigilance.

The army was certain they had selected the right man for the task along with a fine squad of riders and a superb civilian guide.

So the expedition headed northward.

It is believed they stopped first at the town of Butler, then a thriving lumbering community north of Pittsburgh.

Almost from the start, the young lieutenant was seized with one fever after another and had to ride in the wagon.

While the officer was ill, the civilian guide took command.

The caravan continued northward through Clarion Valley.

When the expedition reached the town of Clarion, the young officer resumed command.

Feeling they were far enough north to avoid contact with Rebel cavalry, he decided to head northwestward to Ridgway, then eastward to the Sinnemahoning River near the town of Driftwood. 

There, they could easily construct a raft and float down to the Susquehanna River, then on to Harrisburg, putting them much nearer to Washington.

So far the journey had been uneventful, though the soldiers were puzzled by being so far away from the scene of action.

They wondered what exactly was in the wagon?

Oh, well—the army was known for doing strange things.

How about that ‘Mud March’ last winter, when 70,000 troops were stuck in the mud?

On a Saturday night in late June, the expedition pulled into Ridgway in Elk County.

The little band of soldiers were as welcome as tax collectors and the populace swarmed all over the troopers.

Several times the lieutenant had to order the jeering crowd to disperse.

The puzzled officer asked the civilian guide if Ridgway hadn’t produced the Elk County Rifles, one of the best companies in the Bucktail Regiment.

When informed that indeed it had, the young officer was stunned by the hostility of the crowd.

That night the caravan headed off through the darkness toward the little Dutch community of St. Marys, 11 miles to the east.

During the night the lieutenant had another severe seizure.

In his delirium he divulged the seriousness and purpose of their mission.

The escorting soldiers were stunned ..

Meanwhile Connors the civilian guide, once more assumed command.

After an evening in St. Marys, where the patrol was reportedly treated like conquering heroes, Connors announced that the expedition would head over the mountains toward Driftwood and the headwaters of the Susquehanna.

They were just 20 miles from their goal, but it would be rugged going.

The group left St. Marys—and that was the last time anyone would ever hear or see of the ill-fated expedition again ..

In August, a wild-eyed hysterical Connors staggered into the village of Lock Haven about 40 miles east of Driftwood.

He told a horrific story of the death of every member of the expedition and the loss of the entire golden cargo, but offered no believable explanation...

The kind citizens were overwhelmed with sympathy for the emaciated Irishman.

The Wildcat Region was no place to be lost in, they agreed.

 Rattlesnakes, mosquitoes, wolves, panthers and bear—all were hazards, and besides, they were guarding a wagon filled with gold.

Who could have ordered such a crazy move, wondered the people of Lock Haven.

While the local residents believed Connors, the army did not.

They put him through a relentless series of questionings. First Connors told of the officer dying and being buried, and then he told of a terrific fight.

After that, he claimed that he had no further recollection of the event, as he had lost his memory.

The army brass turned the case over to the Pinkerton's.

For a time the forest wilderness swarmed with agents, who hired lumberjacks, teamsters or whoever else was available.

They searched the area for almost a year, but with no success.

During the summer some dead mules were found—perhaps the ones that pulled the wagon.

From somewhere, an old hermit had managed to get hold of horse trappings marked with the U.S. Army insignia, but he wasn’t telling anything to anyone.

Two or three years later, several human skeletons, believed to be those of the ill fated expedition, were found in the Dent’s Run area of Elk County not far from Driftwood.

Connors was given one choice, he was inducted into the army and transferred to a western outpost.
He was never permitted to be discharged.

When drunk he would often rant and rave that he knew the whole story about the gold and offer to lead someone to it.

But when sober, he couldn’t even find Elk County on the map.

Maybe he was just smart enough to know when to keep his mouth shut?

There are stories that the government reopened the case within the last thirty years and sent agents to the area, but very little information on this was disclosed.

In fact, very little information exists on the puzzling expedition itself.  (Until just recently )

Articles about the gold appeared occasionally.

A short time ago, a St. Marys man produced some pieces of cherry wood taken from a big square antique bedpost.

The bed was found in a home in Caledonia, a small town about thirteen miles southeast of St. Marys. 

Many believed the treasure was lost near Caledonia.

The finder thinks the message written on the pieces wood and then nailed to the top of the bed had something to do with the treasure?

The message is written in the type of penmanship used in the 1860’s, and it mentions the year 1863.

It also mentions a two-hour battle near a "big rock," and the mysterious letter also stated that "they see me."

There has always been a theory that the little band was ambushed and massacred by Copperheads or a Gang of robbers.

Many feel that Connors may have planned the ambush himself?

Perhaps the mysterious message about a battle is factual?

Meanwhile, $3 million in gold remains lost somewhere in the Pennsylvania mountains.

From what I understand, hundreds of people have looked for the treasure and found nothing.

But it is believed to be there, somewhere- still undiscovered .....

Feb 10, 2011

Treasure Along The Allegheny -The Lost Golden Treasure Of Borie Pennsylvania

Those who claim to be "in the know" feel that it is valued over $550,000 by today’s gold price, and perhaps even more.

Often mentioned by the Senecas in the tales and legends handed down by the elders, the lost treasure of Borie may be the least known of all the hidden wealth yet to be found in America.

Yet, there is a good chance that it lies buried somewhere a few miles south of one of the nation’s greatest and busiest highways near Borie, in the heart of the vacation paradise known as God’s Country, Potter County, USA.

Late in the 1690’s, almost a full century before the white man’s first recorded visit to what is now Potter County, a small party of French Canadian voyageurs left New Orleans by raft,for the return trip to Montreal.

The planned route was up the Mississippi to the junction of the Ohio and then up the Beautiful River, as the Indians call it, to the Allegheny and then northward to the mouth of the Conewango near present day Warren.

From that point, a short run would bring the expedition to Chautauqua Lake near the present day furniture center of Jamestown, New York.

From the extreme north end of that muskellunge paradise, the party could practically roll down hill by the way of Prendergrast Creek and then home free by the way of Lake Erie.

The entire trip would be made by water, without the danger and travail of long overland, backbreaking portages.

And so the coureur de bois left New Orleans on rafts loaded with provisions and a number of small kegs, each of which were loaded with gold coins covered with a thin film of gunpowder, and anchored securely to the crude log transports by means of ropes and iron nails.

The gold was to be delivered to His Most Gracious Majesty’s Royal Governor in Montreal,and the party was instructed to guard the valuable cargo with their lives.

Under no circumstances was it to fall into the hands of the English or Americans.

And so the party consisting of about a score of French runners, two Jesuit priests, and a few Indian scouts made it up the swollen Mississippi without incident, other than to comment on the awesome breadth of the Father of Waters, when at flood stage.

It is generally believed that the party spent a week or so at the mouth of the Ohio, in repairing the rafts, and building canoes for the trip up the narrower and swifter streams which the Gauls would encounter as they proceeded further north.

From time to time, the party bumped into hunting Red Men, who were gifted and feted, as only the French could do it.

During the evening by firelight the two Black Robes drew maps of the areas that had been visited during the day.

The Jesuits for reasons never explained in history books, were the greatest cartographers of their day, and maps made by the great missionaries of that era, survive to this day, remarkable in their accuracy and description.

Occasionally the party surveyed locations for forts and settlements, and hunted for provisions to feed the ravenous appetites of the expedition.

All agreed that never had they seen such a paradise as what the English called Pennsylvania, as they entered the Allegheny near the present Golden Triangle of Pittsburgh.

Bison grazed in the open meadows and elk browsed in the park-like forests bordering the historic river. The rich bottom lands could produce enough food to feed all of France, mused the French, and rightfully it all belonged to the King of France, by right of discovery, they told themselves.

There was one difficulty other than the falls of the Upper Allegheny that the French couldn’t discount, and that was the relentless warriors of the Seneca Nation, whose home the fair skinned Europeans were rapidly approaching.

Implacable enemies of the French since the time of Champlain, the fierce warriors would like nothing better than an opportunity to waylay the little party.

The leaders shuddered as they approached present day Warren.

The warwhoop of the Senecas had often been heard in the French settlements of Canada, and just a few year’s previous the stalwart and ferocious braves had brought the tomahawk and scalping knife all the way to Montreal, killing over two hundred in the process.

The Frenchmen shuddered at the thought of a confrontation with their most mortal enemy.

And so it was decided to eliminate the voyage up the narrow, tortuous Conewango, where the little band would be more vulnerable, than in the wider rivers further south, and head on up the Allegheny to its headwaters, thus skirting the hunting ground of their fierce adversary, to a certain degree.

From the head of the Allegheny, they could portage to the source of the Genessee River near present day Wellsville and then northward to the shores of Lake Ontario.

An attack through the gorges of the Genessee was a virtual impossibility reasoned the French.

And so it is believed that the little band reached the area near what is now North Coudersport.

Harassed throughout the upriver trip from Cornplanter to what is now Coudersport, the voyageurs and the priests decided that they would bury the kegs of gold, mark the site, and continue as rapidly as possible toward the Genessee if they expected to retain their scalps.

And so legend has it that they turned south, toward the valley now known as Borie.

Near a huge rock which the Jesuits marked with a cross chiseled into its side, the now thoroughly frightened Frenchmen buried the gold.

A map was made of the location, and the band headed once more back to the Allegheny and then made the perilous thirty miles over the mountains to the Genessee.

Hiding by day, and traveling by night, the French made it to the Genessee and thus back to Canada where they reported to the exasperated governor that they had buried a tremendous treasure near a large rock, somewhere near the head of the Allegheny.

They had marked the site with a cross, explained the Jesuits.

For years, the Senecas mentioned a rock in the Borie area that had a puzzling carving upon its face.

But then the white man was known to do unusual things, even planting things that wouldn’t grow. Since the carving had some religious significance, thought the Indians, they did not disturb the rock or search for the hidden treasure, of which few were aware, until the return of the French to look for the buried loot.

It has never been found, and has become one of the lesser known legends of Potter County.

While it has a ring of the improbable, it is a known fact that several historians mentioned the great rock, as did the Senecas.

 If true, it is one of the largest treasures to be buried in an area which can lay claim to four of the greatest caches made in other centuries.

Few have searched for it.

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