Picture of a lighthouse and the words10 lost treasures of Connecticut

10 Lost Treasures of Connecticut

Pirate treasure stories are what make for a great lost treasure tale. Connecticut has its share of lost pirate treasure stories to tell. Pirates swarmed the coastline of Connecticut hundreds of years ago leaving behind many stories of buried treasure that have been handed down generation by generation since. In this article, we will explore the 10 lost treasures of Connecticut.

So go get your pirate hat, shovel, and a metal detector ready as we dive deep into the history of pirates that roamed the Connecticut coastline ages ago! Who knows maybe you will be one to find some of those long-lost treasures!

10 Lost Treasures of Connecticut

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
Money IslandN/ABradford, Connecticut
Charles IslandIron Treasure ChestMilford, Connecticut
Old LymeN/AOld Lyme, Connecticut
New HavenN/ANew Haven, Connecticut
Wethersfield CoveGold Coins FoundWethersfield, Connecticut
Haddam’s Neck2 Treasure ChestsAlong the Connecticut River in Haddam’s Neck
Kidd’s Buried Treasure in
Windsor, Connecticut
A treasure chest full of goldWindsor, Connecticut
New London Stolen Treasure$38 Million in Spanish Dollars & Gold DoubloonsNew London, Connecticut
Madison Beach TreasureGold & Silver CoinsMadison Beach Connecticut
Revolutionary War Treasure$2 Million in French Gold CoinsNear the Salmon Brook River
Captain David Marteen’s Gold Cache$250 Million in Gold CoinsEast fork of the Salmon Brook River
J.O. Maloneys CacheGold & Silver CoinsMorris, Connecticut
$250,000 In Jewels and Precious Stones in the Norwalk River$250,000 in Precious Stones & JewelsIn the Norwalk River
Jules Bourglays Lost Gold Coins$1 Million in Gold Coinsthe southern shore of Lake Saltonstall

Captain Kidd’s Buried Treasures

Portrait of Captain William Kidd

Captain William Kidd who lived from 1655 to 1701 was a pirate/privateer. He originally was a Scottish sailor and settled in New York City. From there he went on to become a pirate who sailed the seas capturing French and other ships and taking their cargo for his own.

Kidd sailed all over the Caribean and around Africa destroying ships and taking their treasure. He also frequented the New England coast praying on invading ships that dare sail into those waters. But William Kidd was eventually accused of piracy and he was hung on May 23, 1701, at wapping in eastern London.

There are a few tales of Captain Kidd burying treasure in Connecticut and we will tell them now.


Looking For a Top Rated Metal Detector That Won’t Cost You Thousands of Dollars but works like a $2000 machine? Then you will want to check out the Garrett AT Pro. This Metal Detector Has all the top features you would expect in a quality metal detector. Check it out today it’s available on Amazon!


Money Island


Money Island is a 12-acre small island part of the Thimble Islands and a part of Branford, Connecticut in Middlesex County. Tall tales are told of how the notorious Captain Kidd had actually lived on Money Island during his stay on the New England coast. It is said that he stayed on Money Island because it was a good lookout point for invading ships coming in. He could see them from the high bluffs above the river.

Although it’s highly speculative in nature and no evidence or treasure has ever been found on Money Island it’s still fun to hear about Kidd’s exploits wonder if some of his treasure is still out there waiting for discovery.

Charles Island

Charles Island at Low Tide
By Randal J. (RJFerret)  CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

Charles Island is another small island off the coast of Milford, Connecticut. It is said that Captain Kidd came to this island in 1699 when he was on his way to Boston and there he was arrested for piracy and sent back to England for trial.

The story goes that the townsfolk after hearing that Kidd had visited the Island went out and started digging. They uncovered a lid of an Iron chest but when they opened it a headless man came flying from the air. Of course, they stopped and ran. The headless man flung itself into the hole that they dug and blue flames shot out of it. When they returned their shovels and equipment were gone and the ground was smoothed over. Believe it or not! LOL

Old Lyme


Legend has it that Captain Kidd buried treasure in Old Lyme, Connecticut near a rock that looks like a lion. Although no rock has ever been found. And it’s said that the treasure is guarded by demons that come out when someone tries to dig unless they have someone reading scripture from the bible when doing so.

New Haven


In 1924 a fireman found a gold ring dating to the time of Captain Kidd. Could there be more treasure waiting for discovery in New Haven?

Wethersfield Cove

Wethersfield Cove

Buried pirate’s treasure possibly Captain Kidds is said to be buried on Wethersfield Cove. There’s a ring of truth to this one because gold coins dating back to Kidds era, have been discovered on the Cove. But treasure seekers there have been scared away by strange noises and a ghost of a sailor that Captain Kidd presumably killed with a water bucket.

Haddam’s Neck

Along the Connecticut River in Haddam’s Neck, there’s a story of Captain kids buried treasure. It is said that crewmen of Captain Kidd buried two treasure chests there under an overhanging ledge near Clarkhurst road. Legend has it that the treasure is guarded by the ghost of Captain Kidd.

As you can see there are many stories of Captain Kidd burying treasure in Connecticut. Most of them fantastical so who knows maybe one day someone will find solid proof of Captain Kidd’s buried treasure in Connecticut.

BOOK: Captain William Kidd and the Pirates and Buccaneers Who Ravaged the Seas

AUTHOR: John Abbott

PAPERBACK & KINDLE:  398 pages

WEIGHT: 1.52 lbs

DIMENSIONS: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches

Available on Amazon.

Kidd’s Buried Treasure in Windsor, Connecticut

Yet another story of Captain Kidd being in Connecticut! This time Captian Kidd stopped by Windsor, Connecticut. Legend has it that while Captain Kidd had his ship the San Antonio anchored Kidd and his crew came ashore with a treasure chest full of gold.

They buried the treasure chest. Captain Kidd wanted one of his crew to stay back and guard the treasure. So they drew straws to see who it would be that stayed with the treasure. The man who drew the shortest straw was murdered on the spot.

The rest of the men dumped his body in the hole with the treasure chest and the hole was covered up. It is said that the ghost of the murdered pirate protects the buried treasure in Windsor Connecticut. The treasure has never been found.

New London Stolen Treasure

In 1753 a Spanish Galleon named St. Joseph and St. Helena took refuge at the New London harbor because it ran aground on Barlett’s reef in Long Island Sound.

While the ship was waiting for repairs Captain Richard Durfey came by barge and had the ship’s valuable cargo removed. The Spanish Galleon was carrying 37 chests of Spanish dollars and 3 of those chests were filled with gold doubloons.

The crew took some of the rich cargo to Gurdon Saltonstall Jr.’s house and kept it under guard in the basement. The rest of the cargo of treasure was stored in a warehouse by the Town Wharf. The townsfolk were taken aback by all the treasure stored in their town. The estimated worth of the treasure to be $3.8 million in today’s economy.

The ship’s crew had no choice but to wait out the winter in New London. During that time four of the guards at Saltonstall’s house were charged with stealing some of the treasure. One of the accused guards said they had originally buried the stolen treasure in Cedar Swamp but then they dug it up and reburied it in various locations around New London.

Courts Get Involved

The Spanish and British courts got involved in what was called “ye Spanish Affair” and the matter of the stolen treasure was settled. In 1755 the ship with the remaining cargo sailed back to Spain. Connecticut’s Governor Oliver Wolcott was suspected of conspiring with Gurdon Saltonstall with the stealing of the treasure. Subsequently, Wolcott was voted out of office.

The matter of the stolen cargo was not spoken of for years until a few Spanish dollars were found on Water Street close to the Old Town Wharf. And two slaves found some gold doubloons and purchased their freedom with them.

Most of the stolen treasure has not been located and could still be buried somewhere in the town of New London, Connecticut!

Madison Beach Treasure

Madison_Connecticut_Beach

It is said that English silver and gold coins wash ashore on Madison beach in Connecticut. Back in the 1950’s people in the area were reported seeing a shipwreck near the beach. It could be the coins from the shipwreck that are being washed ashore.

Revolutionary War Treasure

In 1799 George Washington’s troops were on their way from Boston to Philadelphia with a payroll of $2 million in French gold coins. They stopped at Bates Tavern a popular meeting place for patriots of the Revolution at the time. While they were in the tavern, a group of Torrie sympathizers (British Loyalists) stole the soldier’s wagons that were hauling the gold coins.

The Torries took the wagons a few miles from the tavern near Salmon Brook River and buried the stolen treasure and left the wagons in a field. But soon after the Torries buried the gold coins they were killed by Indians.

Now no one was left who knew exactly where the treasure was buried. Although some people have reportedly found a total of 7 gold coins in the Salmon Brook River since 1881 but most of the $2 million in gold coins has never been recovered. Could those gold coins still be buried or possibly in the Salmon Brook River?

Oliver Hanchett and Bates Tavern Conjoined

Interesting note the Bates Tavern was bought by Darryl Hall of Hall and Oats fame. He conjoined Bates tavern with the Oliver Hanchett house and turned them into a 24 room country manor. The manor is now located on a 114-acre private estate in North East, New York pictured above.

Captain David Marteen’s Gold Cache

Pirate Treasure Chest

In the 1650s a Dutch pirate by the name of Captain David Marteen captured the Spanish Gallion Neptune. The Neptune was carrying $20 million in gold coins. Marteen being worried he would be attacked by a ship that was tracking them high tailed it to La Tortuga island near Venezuala which he went to often for safe harbor. Marteen and his crew of pirates buried the gold coins on the island and sailed away to commit more high sea crimes along the Atlantic coast.

Captain Marteen became nervous that some would find his gold cache on Tortuga island so he sailed back and dug up the cache. He put the gold on his ship and once again sailed away.

In 1657 Marteen and his pirate crew ended up off the coast of Connecticut in Long Island Sound. He was searching for a place to hide his plundered treasure. He went up the Farmington River and set anchor near the modern-day town of Windsor, Connecticut. The pirates camped there for a time and one night they carried the chests full of gold coins ashore and buried them in three feet of the ground and covered it up with brush and grass. They got back on their ship and sailed away once again.

Marteen Returns

Marteen and his men returned to the buried treasure two years later to check on it. The townsfolk were furious at the presence of the pirates and they told them they must leave. Marteen at first wanted to fight with the villagers but then decided not to because the villagers were armed and they outnumbered the pirates. Marteen told the villagers that he and his men would leave in two weeks.

While the villagers went back to their homes Marteen decided the treasure wasn’t safe where they buried it so they decided to find a better hiding spot and dug up the treasure. The pirates toted the heavy treasure chests northwestward from the river. They ended up at the east fork of the Salmon Brook River. They buried the gold cache here. They marked up stones with inscriptions a map of sorts. They left once again never to return. A year later they were all killed at sea.

Richard Nelson Searches For The Treasure

A man by the name of Richard Nelson in the 1920s heard the story of the buried treasure and decided to go searching for it. He searched around the east fork of Salmon Brook for months with no luck. Until one day he found the inscribed stone left by the pirates. He couldn’t make heads or tails of the writings on the stones. Nelson recruited a friend Anthony Ruches to help him search for the treasure and try and decipher the stones.

In 1970 after Nelson died Ruches sent the stones to an archeologist from the University of New York. The archeologist deciphered the stones and confirmed they were a treasure map. He said the stones told of the story of gold coins being buried somewhere near the east fork of the Salmon Brook River. They also revealed that a pirate by the name of Robert Caldwell who was one of the pirates in Marteen’s crew had inscribed the stones.

They also discovered that the treasure could only be found when the stones were laid in the original positions. Ruches couldn’t remember the exact locations of the stones so the stone map was useless. Ruches finally gave up on the search.

The $20 million worth of gold coins would now be worth more than $250 million. The gold has never been found and could still be buried along the east bank of the east fork of the Salmon Brook River.

J.O. Maloneys Cache

Squirrel sitting in its nest, the hole in the tree.

J.O. Maloney was a farmer back in the 1800s. He had a farmstead in Litchfield County close to modern-day Morris, Connecticut at the intersections of state roads 61 and 109. It is said that he was a frugal man who distrusted banks and liked to be left alone.

Over the years of his life, he accumulated a fortune in gold and silver coins and some currency. He died in 1890 at the age of 70. With no heirs to inherit his wealth where did it all go? He once told neighbors who asked that he put all his money in a secret place.

When Maloney died people started searching his home and farmstead for his cache. About a year later two brothers that were up from Litchfield decided to go squirrel hunting near Maloney’s farmstead. They shot and wounded a squirrel that scurried back up the tree and went into a hole in the tree.

The brother who shot the squirrel climbed the tree to retrieve the wounded squirrel. He put his hand in the hole that the squirrel went in and pulled out a fist full of shredded currency. The squirrel’s nest was filled with shredded currency being used as nesting materials.

The Brothers Tell the Townsfolk of Their Find

The brothers went back to Morris and told the townsfolk of what they had found. The people got excited and told the brothers of wealthy man Maloney and his hidden cache. The brothers came back to search the woods near Maloney’s property a few times but they were always greeted by the townsfolk. The brothers didn’t want anyone around when they found the treasure.

So the last few times they searched for the treasure they avoided the town of Morris so they could search for the treasure in peace. After a few attempts, they never found Maloney’s cache.

Two Boys Find a Gold Coin

For years the story of Maloney’s cache went quiet until one day in 1937 two boys were in the woods near the Maloney farmstead. They found an 1886 gold coin on the ground. This sparked a new interest in the hidden cache. Many treasure seekers over the years have searched for Maloney’s cache but it has yet to be found.

$250,000 In Jewels and Precious Stones in the Norwalk River

treasure chest isolated on white background

On May 6, 1853, a New Haven passenger train derailed and crashed into the Norwalk River. The train was carrying two wooden chests of gold, silver, opals, pearls, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds worth approximately $250,000. The wooden chests of treasure were the property of Thaddeus Birke an importer of fine jewels.

Birke was traveling with his jewels the day the train crashed into the Norwalk River. He was headed to Nigel Masseys who owned an international shipping company for a party where he was hoping to sell some of his goods to the wealthy business owners who would be attending.

Birke never made it he was killed in the accident and his chests of jewels were lost. To this day the jewels have never been found and it’s presumed to be at the bottom of the Norwalk river channel under years of sediment.

Jules Bourglays Lost Gold Coins

Cut-out of an antique wooden wheelbarrow.

Jules Bourglay was a French businessman who owned a successful leather shop in France. He worked tirelessly at his craft until his business eventually collapsed. He closed his leather business and took his wealth of $50,000 and headed for America. His family members said that the failure of the business left him insane.

When he arrived in New York he purchased a wooden wheel barrel to haul his leather sacks of gold coins in. He was always dressed in leather and people called him old leatherman.

Bourglay ended up in East Haven, Connecticut where he got a job stocking shelves and sweeping. He would always show off his gold coins to passersby when he was in town. He would always have his wheelbarrow with the leather sacks of gold with him even when he worked.

He told the people of East Haven that he lived in a cave near lake Saltonstall which was northeast of East Haven. No one could track down exactly where he lived. He tried explaining a few times but people couldn’t understand him because he could only speak French.

Bourglay Dies

One day Bourglay didn’t show up for work and the owner of the shop he worked for sent his son out to find if something was wrong. His son found Bourglay face down dead near the shore of the southwestern side of Lake Saltonstall. Bourglay’s wheelbarrow and gold coins were nowhere to be seen.

The people of East Haven started to wonder whe3re the gold was. People searched for years to no avail. They couldn’t even find Bourglay’s alleged cave.

In the early 1900s, a fisherman was fishing on the southern shore of Lake Saltonstall when he spotted a board sticking out of a nearby hillside. He went over to examine the board. He dug some dirt away and found it was a little dugout. He pulled out a single wheel and some rotted old boards. He took the wheel home and set it against the wall.

Twelve years later a friend of the fisherman was at his home and noticed the wheel against the wall. The fisherman told him the story of how he found it. His friend then told him about old leatherman and his lost gold coins.

The two men went back to the lake but they never found the gold coins or the dugout that the fisherman found the wheel. The gold coins could still be out there buried in a hillside on the southern side of Lake Saltonstall. This treasure may never be found because there is a Boston Post Road that was constructed across the slope there.

The estimated worth of the treasure in today’s economy would be $1 million.

Finale

With Connecticut’s vast history and pirates who roamed the shorelines, there is no wonder that there are many lost treasure stories in this state. Like all treasure stories you need to take them with a grain of salt because they have been passed down through the generations and more than likely been exaggerated especially the stories of Captain Kidd and his treasures.

I hope you enjoyed these 10 Lost Treasures of Connecticut. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

9 Lost Treasures of Colorado

9 Lost Treasures of Colorado

Colorado the centennial state was admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876, making it the 38th state of the Union. Colorado has many treasure stories to tell from buried loot to lost treasure troves. We will discuss each of these treasure tails in 9 lost treasures of Colorado.

So sit back take a deep breath and soak in all of the fascinating treasure stories Colorado has to offer. Maybe you will be the one to find one of these lost treasures! Before treasure hunting anywhere make sure you have permission or you could get yourself into hot water.

9 Lost Treasures of Colorado

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
Buried Reynolds Gang Loot$40,000 cash and 3 cans of gold dustNear Geneva Gulch in Colorado
Lost Deadmans Cave of Gold Bars400 Gold BarsSangre de Cristo mountain range
Virginia Dale Station Treasure$60,000 in $10 & $20 Double Gold EaglesSomewhere near Virginia Dale Station
La Caverna del Oro – The Cave of GoldGoldCaverna del Oro is found at about 3 miles above sea level on Marble Mountain.
12 Lost Chests of Spanish Gold Coins in Purgatory Canyon12 chests of Spanish gold coinsPurgatory Canyon
$33 Million in Gold Ore Lost On Treasure Mountain$33 million worth of goldIn the Mountains near Summitville, Colorado
Butch Cassidy’s Buried Treasures In Irish Canyon and Wild Mountain$30,000 & $50,000 in silver coins and lootIrish Canyon & Wild Mountain
Arapaho Princess Treasure50-lbs. in gold barsVarious locations rumored
Kegs of Denver Mint Dimes Lost Along The Gunnison River6 Kegs of 1907 Barber Dimesthe north rim of Black Canyon along the Gunnison River

Buried Reynolds Gang Loot

Third Texas Calvary Flag

Third Texas Cavalry Flag

The Reynolds Gang consisted of 22 ex-members of the Confederate Calverymen of Company A of Wells Battalion, Third Texas Cavalry at its peak. The gang was named Reynolds because of two brothers who were members John and Jim Reynolds. The Reynolds gang is said to have been commissioned by the Confederacy Military to break up the Union’s supply chains. They were also ordered to steal from the gold mine in Colorado.

In the summer of 1864, it is said that the Reynolds gang only consisting of 9 members at this point had started pillaging and plundering the Fairplay and South Park areas of Colorado. On July 24, 1864, they started their spree at Adolph Guirand’s ranch. They took his cash, horses and even molested his wife.

They then went to Dan Mclaughlin’s Stage Station which was eight miles from Fairplay, Colorado modern-day Como. Here they stole more horses, cash, and a gold watch. All in all, they got away with about $3,000. Next, they went on to steal more horses from the Michigan House Stage Stop which was located on the Kenosha Pass.

Jim Reynolds Buries The Loot

Jim Reynolds noticing many scouting parties in the area decided to bury some of the stolen loot and gold dust. According to an autobiography of a Colorado lawman David J. Cook of a conversation Jim Reynolds had with Alfred Brown another member of the posse is as quotes:

“Jim and me buried the treasure the morning before the posse attack on Geneva Gulch. You go up above there a little ways and find where one of our horses mired down in a swamp. On up at the head of the gulch we turned to the right and followed the mountain around a little farther, and just above the head of Deer Creek, we found an old prospect hole at about timberline. There, we placed $40,000 in greenbacks, wrapped in silk oil cloth, and three cans of gold dust. We filled the mouth of the hole up with stones, and ten steps below, struck a butcher knife into a tree about four feet from the ground and broke the handle off, and left it pointing toward the mouth of the hole.”

A Posse is Formed

People started to get wind of the Reynold gang exploits after the Kenosha Pass theft. A posse was formed led by Jack Sparks. The posse consisted of outraged citizens and marshalls from Jefferson, Fairplay, and Montgomery. On July 31, 1864, the posse came upon the Reynolds Gang as they camped near Geneva Gulch.

After a gunfight with the posse, only one man was killed named Owen “Single-Shot-Terry” Singleterry and Jim Reynolds was wounded in the arm. Jim Reynolds and the rest of the gang got away. But a man from the posse named Dr. Cooper cut off Owen Singleterry’s head so that he could display it in a jar of alcohol in Fairplay for all to see.

Tom Holliman and four others from the gang were rounded up days later. Jim and John Reynolds another of the gang got away to New Mexico.

The Search For The Buried Loot

Reynolds Treasure Map

Copy of John Reynolds drawn treasure map in 1871.

Years later Albert Brown and some friends of his went back to South Park to search for the treasure with a map that John Reynolds gave him before he died. When they got to the location they noticed there had been a forest fire that destroyed all the landmarks on the map.

After finding horse bones in a swamp and a white hat that belonged to Owen Singleterry they couldn’t find the prospectors hole that the stolen loot was buried in. After going back three different times they finally gave up. The Reynolds Gang buried loot has never been recovered.


BOOK: Hands Up: 
                Thirty-Five Years of Detective Life in the Mountains and On The Plains

AUTHOR: David J. Cook

PAPERBACK: 363 pages

WEIGHT: 1.37 pounds

DIMENSIONS: 6 x 0.91 x 9 inches

Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Lost Deadmans Cave of Gold Bars

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range

Sangre de Cristos Mountain Range By User: Hogs555 Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

It is said that there is a lost cave in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range in Southern Colorado called Deadmans Cave. This cave is reported to hold millions of dollars worth of Spanish gold bars.

In October of 1880 three geologists and gold prospectors named S.J. Harkman, H.A. Melton and E.J Oliver from Silver Cliff were out prospecting in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range when a blizzard hit.

They took shelter under a ledge in the canyon. As they stood there they noticed an opening across the canyon. They made their way to the opening and went in. They walked a long corridor and came into a huge room. What they saw on some homemade shelves in that room were rows upon rows of bars of gold. They counted 400 gold bars in all.

The gold bars had been there for a long time because they had layers of dust covering them. They also noticed that the gold bars had a cross and inverted carat imprinted on them. This meant that it was Spanish gold that they had found. Another thing they noticed was five skeletons strewn across the floor of the cave giving the cave’s name Deadmans Cave.

They quickly took five of the gold bars back with them to  Silver Cliff. The gold bars appraised at $900 a piece. News of this discovery became well known. Even the Denver Post did a piece on them.

Search For The Deadman’s Cave

The three men sold their share of the gold so they could fund an expedition to try and find the cave in the Spring. In April of 1881 they went out in search of the cave but because of the melting of the snow, they couldn’t recall where the cave was located. They climbed for days but couldn’t find the cave. After two years of on and off searching they finally gave up.

The legend of the Deadman’s Cave has enthralled treasure seekers for over a century. This is a very believable story because there were many eyewitnesses to the gold bars found and the Spanish did mine the area 400 years earlier. The lost cave has yet to be found. It’s just waiting for discovery somewhere in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.


Looking For a Top Rated Metal Detector That Won’t Cost You Thousands of Dollars but works like a $2000 machine? Then you will want to check out the Garrett AT Pro. This Metal Detector Has all the top features you would expect in a quality metal detector. Check it out today it’s available on Amazon!


Virginia Dale Station Treasure

Virginia Dale Stage Station

In 1863 an Overland Trail stagecoach was approaching Virginia Dale Station at Long View Hill when a gang of six bandits showed up and robbed the stage. They got away with $60,000 in $10 $20 Double Gold Eagles which would be in the millions of dollars in today’s economy. The coins were reportedly back pay headed to soldiers at Fort Sanders in the Wyoming Territory.

Being close to the Wyoming Territory border a posse was soon sent out after them. The bandits decided to bury the gold coins because it was slowing them down and they would come back later to recover the coins.

The posse caught up with five of the bandits and killed them but the sixth bandit got away. All they found was a shot-up strongbox by a creek that held the gold coins.

Jack Slade Suspected of being the Lead Gunman

Everyone involved thought the gunman that got away was a man by the name of Joseph “Jack” Slade. Jack was the former station manager for the Virginia Dale Station and he was by all accounts a crooked man who even had murdered in the past. But they could never pin the robbery on him.

Jack finally moved away to Virginia City, Montana. In Montana, they ended up hanging Jack for tearing up a saloon and threatening a Judge.

With Slade dead, no one knows where the gold coins are buried. Virginia Dale is now a ghost town and is located four miles south of the Wyoming border. The Overland Trail Stage Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The buried gold coins have never been found. Will you be the lucky one to find them?

La Caverna del Oro – The Cave of Gold

Entrance to the Cave of Gold

Native Americans were the first ones to pass the story of the Cave of Gold generation by generation. In the 15th century, Spanish explorers came to the Sangre de Cristo range and were told about the Cave of Gold by monks who translated the legend for them.

Caverna del Oro is found at about 3 miles above sea level on Marble Mountain. The natives of the areas believed the cave was infested by demon spirits so they wouldn’t go near it. The Coronado Expedition had three monks who in 1541 ended up forcing the natives to work in the mine.

However, the natives revolted against the Spanish monks and killed two of them but de la Cruz the third monk survived and explained to the Indians that he had subdued the demons in the mine and the natives believed him. With their help de la Cruz brought the gold out of the mine. After the gold was out of the cave de la Cruz and some of the other Spaniards with him murdered the natives and took their gold on mules south to Mexico.

The Cave is Rediscovered

In 1869 a pioneer of Colorado by the name of Elisha P. Horn was exploring Marble Mountain. She came upon a skeleton that had Spanish armor on it. On a rock above the skeleton was a red cross right above the entrance to a cave. This was the Caverna del Oro Cave.

U.S. Forrest Ranger Paul Gilbert and a club of Colorado mountain men stumbled upon the cave again in the 1920s. Paul had been told about the cave by a 105 year old descendent of the first Spanish explorers who were in the area named Apollonia Apadaca about gold buried in the cave. He was told that when she was a child she witnessed miners taking tons of gold out of that cave.

She also mentioned that there would be doors made of oak 500 to 700 feet in front of the entrance and behind the doors would be the entrance to what was called the Three Steps Mine.

Paul Gilbert and the mountain men explored the cave going down some 500 feet but never found any gold or wooden doors. They did find various items of interest is a ladder and hammer from the 1600s. They also found old ruins of a fort that once stood there and arrowheads all over the hillside.

The Search Goes On

Many treasure hunters over the years have explored the La Caverna Del Oro and many interesting items have been found such as a human skeleton chained by the next deep in the cave. Others have found an old shovel from when the first explorers were there, a clay jar, rope, and a bucket but no gold has ever been found.

Some think that the wooden doors have been blocked by a landslide. But who knows the gold and the wooden doors could possibly still be waiting for discovery in that huge cave system on Marble Mountain!

12 Lost Chests of Spanish Gold Coins in Purgatory Canyon

Purgatory River

Purgatory River By cm195902, CC BY 2.0, Link

In 1539 a band of Humana and Bonilla expedition who were led by Portuguese don and a Spaniard first came upon El Rio de las Animas Perididas en Purgatoir or the River of Lost Souls. The group consisted of miners, priests, and soldiers who made their way into Colorado.

The second in command the Spaniard was jealous of the Portuguese leader and killed him. Now he was in charge of the group. The Priests were angered by the killing of the leader and they returned to Mexico. The rest of the group was subsequently killed by Apache Indians.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came to the area a year later in search of the seven cities of gold but they left never to return.

Story of Lost Treasure

In the 1700s a man by the name of Carrasco Rodriguez was leading a regiment from Santa Fe, New Mexico to St. Augustine, Florida. They had with them 12 chests of Spanish gold coins that were the payroll and garrison expenses needed in Florida.

For some reason, they were traveling through Colorado and got stuck for the winter near modern-day Trinidad, Colorado. They waited until Spring and tried to leave but Rodriguez led them in the wrong direction and they were never heard of again.

The rest of the story is speculation but makes for a good lost treasure story. Some think that Rodriguez and his men buried the gold near the Purgatory River. Others think that the Apache Indians killed them for their weapons and animals and put their chest of gold coins in a cave somewhere.

Evidence of the Spanish Expedition

Some items have been found in the Purgatory Canyon including a Spanish suit of Armor located on the banks of the Purgatory River. In 1924 there was a skeleton and ancient weapon found in a cave east of the Willow-Vogel Canyon Junction.

A man was discovered alive but with a broken leg in 1924 by a couple of people. The man told them that he had fallen from a cave. While he lay there dying he told how he found some Spanish coins and gold ingots along a trail he was on in Purgatory Canyon.

He had also seen a chest in a cave that had gold coins in it. He also found an old harness that had detailed carvings on it and silver trim. Before he died he said he had put a knife into a tree outside of the cave. It’s possible the twelve chests of Spanish gold coins are still out there hidden in a cave in Purgatory Canyon.

$33 Million in Gold Ore Lost On Treasure Mountain

Treasure Mountain

Treasure Mountain By John Sowell, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Legend has it that 350 French men with a team of 450 horses made their way from an outpost that was located in modern-day Leavenworth, Kansas to Wolf Creek Pass close to modern-day Summitville, Colorado. They were out there prospecting for gold. They made camp near Wolf Creek Pass.

It is said that the men discovered a treasure trove of gold on Treasure Mountain. Some say it was worth $33 million worth of gold in today’s gold prices. They ended up storing the gold ore in three different places and drew a map that the commanding officer was in charge of safekeeping.

Eventually, the Frenchmen were attacked by Indians and they buried their gold ore and made a map of its location. Out of the 350 men, only 17 to 35 got away but they were attacked once again at the Front Range. Out of those men, only five made it out alive. But after a brutal winter, only two of the men made it back to Kansas.

In the end, only one man named Le Blanc survived the ordeal and he went back to France. He had two copies of the map. He gave one to the French government and kept the other.

Expedition Formed to Recover The Buried Gold

An expedition of 50 men headed to Summitville area to recover the buried gold. They hired a guide in Taos, New Mexico but only the guide returned to Tao claiming all the men were killed by hostile Indians. Many of the towns fold accused the guide of murder. He was set on trial which was the last Mexican trial held in the U.S. He was acquitted and let go.

Others think that the Frenchmen found the gold and went back to France.

The Treasure Map

A man by the of William Yule claimed to have the map to the buried gold. He searched north of Saguache and never found the gold. He then gave the map to Asa Poor and it is said that he and his partners were able to locate many of the landmarks on the map. But they never did find any gold.

Direct descendants of Le Blanc said they had the original map that was written in French and they had been searching for the buried gold for 3 generations. They are said to have located seven of the eight landmarks on the map.

Le Blanc Family Find a Tunnel

One of the  Le Blanc family members was out elk hunting in 1993 in the mountains south of Del Norte. He took shelter in a 3-foot hole in the mountain to get out of the rain. Turns out it was a man-made tunnel about 4 by 5 foot wide.

He found the eighth clue on the map at the end of that tunnel. The next day the man came back with more family members who dug another twelve feet into the mountainside. But when they were going to aluminate the whole tunnel a rattlesnake came out and almost bit one of the family members.

Then a swarm of bats flew out of the side of the mountain. One of the lights they had placed in the back of the cave flickered on by itself and then an owl flew out at them. The family members left the tunnel thinking it was cursed.

The family did obtain the legal rights to whatever treasure might be in that cave. But as of yet, no gold has been recovered. A rich cache of gold ore could still be waiting for discovery somewhere in the mountains around Summitville, Colorado.

Butch Cassidy’s Buried Treasures In Irish Canyon and Wild Mountain

Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch Circa 1900

Butch Cassidy and The Wild Bunch Circa 1900

Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch originally named the Hole-In-The Wall-Gang because they operated out of a cave system near Kaycee, Wyoming. They were outlaws who robbed trains and banks all over the west in the late 1800s to early 1900s. As a matter of fact, they were the most successful train robbers in history.

Butch Cassidy’s real name Robert Leroy Parker and the Wild Bunch were made famous by the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid starring Robert Redford.

Irish Canyon

Legend has it that Butch and the Wild Bunch had hideouts in Colorado. When they were traveling through the Irish Canyon in Moffat County Colorado they reportedly buried $30,000 in silver coins there.

Wild Mountain

Another story suggests that Cassidy and the Wild Bunch buried another $50,000 of stolen loot near Powder Springs, Colorado near Wild Mountain. The gang was on the run from the law most of the time and was never able to go back and retrieve the buried loot.

If you are ever in Colorado you might want to take a metal detector and shovel with you and visit Irish Canyon and Wild Mountain. There might be a fortune waiting to be discovered. I hear the area of Irish Canyon is gorgeous with a vast amount of hiking trails that you can explore while you are there.

Arapaho Princess Treasure

Arapaho Dress

Arapaho Dress By Wolfgang Sauber, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

In the early 1800s, there was a group of Spanish Pioneers who lived in close proximity with the Arapaho tribe in Southern Colorado. The Spanish relied on the Arapaho for helping them as laborers in the gold mines and help stave off the hostile Ute Indians. This took place in what is now Walsenburg, Colorado.

In 1823 a group of the Spanish prospectors decided to load up 50 lbs. in gold bars on mules and head for Mexico City. They were led by Spanish Lieutenant named Carlos Montenegro. Soon after they left they were attacked by Ute Warriors. Knowing they couldn’t get very far carrying all that gold they decided to bury it. Only three of the men made it out alive and went to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Determined to go back

The three men were determined to go back for the gold. Montenegro needed to go back not only for the gold but he had married an Arapaho Chiefs’ daughter and they had a daughter together. It took a decade before he returned. He found out his wife died of fever. He also found his now 13-year-old daughter that he tried to convince to go back with him to Spain.

He told his daughter about the story of the buried gold bars but Montenegro became convinced that the gold was now cursed and the natives said that rattlesnakes were protecting the gold.

There are a few legends of where the gold is buried. The first is that the gold is buried near a 30-foot high outcropping of rocks known by the Spanish as La Muneca or the Doll. You can find this outcropping on the Northwest slope of the West Spanish Peak close to La Veta, a short distance from U.S. Highway 160.

The daughter of Montenegro thought her father meant that the buried gold was above the Purgatory River about 10 miles east of Las Animas. Yet historical records indicate that the treasure is buried close to the Eastern Spanish Peak.

So there are contradicting accounts of where the gold might be buried. But if you want to do a thorough search of all possibilities you will want to start at the Purgatory River and work your way west. Who knows 50 lbs. of gold bars could still be out there waiting for you to find it.

Kegs of Denver Mint Dimes Lost Along The Gunnison River

Black Canyon and Gunnison River

By Terry Foote – I took this photograph while visiting Black Canyon National Park, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94106686

This story of lost treasure has a lot of truth to it. In the early 1900s around about 1907, a wagon train left the Denver Mint hauling six kegs of newly minted 1907 Barber dimes. The wagon train was headed to Phoenix, Arizona. They got lost around the north rim of Black Caynon near the Gunnison River. The four wagons and the crew were never heard from again.

Until years later some people were walking along a trail and found four smashed-up wagons at the rim of the canyon. Part of the trail had washed away into the river below. Along the Gunnison river, they found gallons of dimes. But that was only a small fraction of the number of dimes that were lost.

Most of the dimes are still out there somewhere about the north rim of Black Canyon along the Gunnison River. The 1907-D mint Barber dimes are quite valuable and hard to find in mint state conditions. If they are still in the Denver Mints kegs they would be in great condition. The dimes could have broken from the kegs and spilled into Gunnison River. Who knows but it would be a thrill to find even one of those dimes out there.

The Black Canyon and Gunnison River is now part of a National Park called the Black Canyon of The Gunnison. I’m not sure it’s legal to metal detect there I’m thinking not so due some due diligence and find out before you get there. But you don’t need a permit or permission to look and looking for shiny dimes is all you might need!

Is Treasure Waiting For You In Colorado?

Well, there you have it the top 9 lost treasures of Colorado. Is there treasure waiting for you in Colorado? If your willing to navigate some rough terrain you just might find yourself a fortune in lost treasure. But before you go metal detecting in Colorado make sure it’s legal to do so and you have permission. Otherwise, you might get yourself in a heap of trouble and nobody wants that.

But if nothing else Colorado is a beautiful state with many canyons and sites that it’s worth a visit treasure or not. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

By the way, if you enjoyed these lost treasure stories you might enjoy the 12 Lost Treasures of Arkansas.