9 Lost Treasures of Kansas

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Cory Haasnoot

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Kansas is the home of the fictional character Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I have to admit that I was amazed at the number of lost treasure stories that come out of the state of Kansas. Kansas was admitted to the Union on January 29, 1861. Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was the first Spanish explorer to visit Kansas in 1541.

With Kansas’s history, there are many lost treasure stories that date as far back as the 1500s. From French, Explorers buried treasure,  buried loot by outlaws, buried miners gold to buried army payrolls. You will find a little of every kind of lost treasure story in Kansas.

So get your metal detector and shovel ready as I bring you 9 lost treasures of Kansas. I know you will come away amazed at what’s waiting for discovery in the Great State of Kansas!

9 Lost Treasures of Kansas

21 Bags of Silver Buried Near Fort Dodge$21,000 in Silver CoinsA few miles from Fort Dodge just a few miles east of Dodge City, Kansas
Gold and Silver Caches at Pawnee RockUnknownPawnee Rock in Kansas
Cherokee Bad Boy Henry Starr’s Buried Loot$60,000Along the banks of the Cimarron River which is located in Stevens County Kansas in the southwest part of the state.
Felix Goldman’s Buried Treasure$17,000 in gold and silver coinsHamilton County Kansas which is close to the Colorado border between Medway and Syracuse Kansas
Buried Wealth of Davie MorrisUnknownOld farmstead is located near Randall, Kansas in Jewell County.
Peter Robidoux’s Hidden CachesUnknownBuried around the town of Wallace, Kansas.
Sunken Steamboat (Francis X. Aubrey) Treasure$500,000 in gold and silver bullionbeach near the Leavenworth National Cemetery
The Fleagle Gang’s Buried TreasureUnknownFleagle Family Ranch in Western Kansas
Train Robbery Loot Buried Near Paola, KansasA safe containing gold and silver coins100 yards in the woods close to the railroad tracks near Paola, Kansas

21 Bags of Silver Buried Near Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge in Kansas
Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge was an outpost on the Sante Fe Trail in the mid-1800s. This story takes place in 1853 when a wagon train led by a trader named Jesus Martinez was attacked by Indians about 5 miles from their destination of Fort Dodge.

The drivers of the wagon train fought the Indians for days. They were all killed except for Jesus Martinez who was able to hide from the Indians. When the Indians finally left Jesus came out from hiding. He noticed some of the wagons were left intact and were still holding 21 bags of silver coins. Each one of those bags had $1,000 worth of silver coins in them.

Martinez buried the 21 bags of silver coins because he was unable to carry them. He ended up being rescued but didn’t tell a soul about the buried coins. He probably thought he could come back and claim them for himself at a later date. Who knows?

He never did make it back but he told his son on his death bed about the Indian attack and that he buried the coins. After his father’s death, his son went looking for the buried silver coins in 1876 but he found nothing but broken wagons that were left from the fight with the Indians.

The 21 bags of silver could still be buried just a few miles from Fort Dodge just a few miles east of Dodge City, Kansas. Those coins would be worth well over face value if they were found today!

Gold and Silver Caches at Pawnee Rock

Pawnee Rock 1880
Pawnee Rock 1880

Pawnee Rock is a sandstone rock that was used as a landmark from the time of the Indians through the time gold prospectors and settlers traveled through Kansas via the Sante Fe Trail.

The Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Kiowa Indians originally used the rock to hold war and peace meetings. The Indians also used Pawnee Rock to look over buffalo herds and spy on passing white travelers in the area. There were many Indian wars here and many died both Indian and White Men.

Many travelers camped in this area. It became popular for people passing by to carve their names and dates in the soft sandstone. So much so that a man named James Birch wrote in his journal said there were so many names in the rock that he couldn’t find a spot to carve his own name.

Although many were attacked by the Indians while camping at Pawnee Rock they continued to stop there because it was the only place for miles where wild game was abundant and they could get fresh water from the nearby Arkansas River.

Over 100 Buried Treasures

People traveling the Sante Fe Trail would bury their valuables when they camped so if they were attacked the Indians wouldn’t steal from them. Many of these travelers died before they could dig up and retrieve their valuables. So it’s said that there are hundreds of buried caches of gold and silver in the area.

The town of Pawnee Rock was built in the 1870s at the foot of the rock. The builders of the town quarried rock from Pawnee Rock and subsequently reduced the rock cliff by half. The state of Kansas took over Pawnee Rock in 1912 as a historical site. A monument was erected on the rock and it’s now a state park.

There are probably hundreds of artifacts and buried treasure that litter the area but it’s illegal to metal detect, dig or remove objects from a Kansas historical site. So the treasures buried there will probably stay untouched for years to come.

Cherokee Bad Boy Henry Starr’s Buried Loot

Henry Starr
Henry Starr

Henry Starr was the nephew of Belle Starr who was labeled the Bandit Queen. Henry and his gang consisted of a man named Happy Jack because he was laughing all the time, Kid Wilson and Frank Chennay among others. They robbed banks, stores, and trains throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

They accumulated a fair amount of loot throughout their 32 years of crime. One such robbery they got away with $20,000 of only about $2,000 was recovered by authorities. Henry confessed that he buried the rest of the loot in a place along the border where no one would ever find it. In total Henry claims he robbed 21 banks and got away with a total of $60,000!

Henry Starr was shot and killed during a bank robbery in Harrison Arkansas on February 23, 1921. As far as it is known he never did recover his buried loot.

Experts believe that Henry Starr buried his log along the banks of the Cimarron River which is located in Stevens County Kansas in the southwest part of the state. Take your metal detector down to the Cimarron River in Kansas and you just might stumble upon a rich lost treasure!

Felix Goldman’s Buried Treasure

Old Stagecoach Station

Felix Goldman was an owner of a stage station that was located between Medway and Syracuse, Kansas. A man kept visiting his station asking a lot of questions but he never got on a stage. Felix thought this was odd and he became paranoid thinking that he would be robbed by this man any day.

So Felix decided to bury all the money that he had which was $17,000 in gold and silver coins. That man came back a few days later to rob the stage station but didn’t get away with anything. He murdered Felix Goldman and was eventually caught by lawmen.

The $17,000 in gold and silver coins was never located and is presumed to still be buried in Hamilton County Kansas which is close to the Colorado border between Medway and Syracuse Kansas.

Buried Wealth of Davie Morris

Davie Morris was a hard-working farmer and a man who lived below his means. His farm was located about 3 miles south of Randall, Kansas. Davie made his money by selling produce that was grown on his farm. People always thought he was a poor man but that wasn’t the case because when he died money was found hidden all over his cabin.

It is believed that Mr. Morris buried the rest of his wealth all over his farm and property. To this day nothing else has been recovered and could still be buried on his old farmstead that is located near Randall, Kansas in Jewell County.

Peter Robidoux’s Hidden Caches

Peter Robidoux was the first merchant in Wallace, Kansas. While living in Wallace he made a lot of money and was said to have buried it in various places around the town. His caches consisted of gold and silver coins.

None of his treasure has ever been located and could still be buried around the town of Wallace, Kansas.

Sunken Steamboat (Francis X. Aubrey) Treasure

Old illustration of the steamship Washington.

The Francis X. Aubrey was a paddlewheel steamship. It was carrying $500,000 in gold and silver bullion when it sank near Leavenworth on the Missouri River. There’s a beach near the Leavenworth National Cemetery where coins believed from this ship wash ashore from time to time.

The Fleagle Gang’s Buried Treasure

The Fleagle Gang was a family of robbers and murderers during the early 20th century. During their 10 year career of robbing banks in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California they came away with a considerable sum.

The family is said to have buried loot in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California. On their last bank robbery, they robbed the National Bank in Lamar Colorado. They got away with $10,664 in cash, $12,400 in Liberty Bonds, and $200,000 in commercial paper. 

The gang got away and drove to western Kansas where they hid out on their ranch. They were all eventually caught some of them years later. It is said that there is buried loot on the property of the Fleagle Family ranch. Over the years some of the buried loot has been found in places such as Nebraska in 1952 and Kansas in 1961.

There is probably more buried in Kansas waiting to be discovered!

Train Robbery Loot Buried Near Paola, Kansas

A Missouri-Kansas and Texas passenger train was robbed near Paola, Kansas on July 10, 1918. The train thieves got away with a safe containing gold and silver coins. The robbers were unable to open the safe so they buried it about 100 yards in the woods close to the railroad tracks.

They were pursued by a posse and ended up being caught. They told the lawmen about the buried safe but to this day it has never been recovered and could still be buried waiting for some lucky treasure hunter to dig it up.

Lost Treasures of Kansas Summary

The previous stories are just 9 of the many more lost treasures of Kansas that are hidden in the state of Kansas. With some luck and a good metal detector and shovel you just might find one of these lost treasures of Kansas. Make sure you get permission before digging on any private property.

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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