Its probably not a good prac- tice to question a persons motives for doing the right thing, but other writers have suggested that Dr. Isaac Stone had something more than altruism on his mind when he came to the aide of the Shawnee Indians near Ironation during a measles epidemic in 1832. Whether or not Stone knew about the Indians silver mine beforehand or whether or not that played a part in his decision to act is a moot point. The medical assistance Dr. Stone offered during the crisis earned him special status as friend of the Shawnee, and Stone made no bones about his attempts to exploit that friendship for his own financial gain.
Some sources state that Dr. Stone was given a large quantity of high grade silver ore, but a letter purportedly written by the good doctor claims that he became aware of the silver mine through his friendship with an Indian named George:
My acquaintance with George and proximity to the village gave me the knowledge of the fact that George went into seclusion once or twice during each year and that when the seclusion was ended all the Indians had new silver ornaments, armlets, beads, and other such jewelry that their tastes demanded.
This description jibes with other accounts of early contact with Shawnee that states that the Indians were fond of silver arm bands, earrings, and bracelets.
In any case, Dr. Stone admittedly tried to worm the location of the source of the silver out of George and his Indian friends but found that all his inquiries were politely but firmly rebuffed. Friend or no, Isaac Stone was not going to be entrusted with the secret of the Shawnee silver. In desperation, Stone enlisted the help of some of his white friends in a plan to track the Indians on their next excursion to the mine. Stones party tracked the Indian ponies to an area around Wolf Creek in St. Clair County where they promptly lost the trail. While searching along the creek banks for fresh tracks, one of the men allegedly picked up a hunk of rock which 42 years later assayed out to 70 percent silver.
Many treasure hunters have taken this as evidence that the Indian silver mine was situated along the banks of Wolf Creek, but this overlooks the possibility that the ore chunk, if it really existed, was dropped on a previous excursion. Since Dr. Stones party and numerous other searches turned up no further evidence along Wolf Creek, this would seem to be the case.
The Indians and their fresh load of silver were known to be back in their village a couple of days later. How far they traveled after crossing Wolf Creek and how much time was required to mine and pack the silver for the return trip has been the subject of a great deal of intelligent speculation but, so far, the secret of the Shawnee silver has not been revealed.
It is generally assumed that the Indians concealed the location of the mine prior to being forced out of the area in 1838. The site where Dr. Stones party lost the trail was allegedly near where U.S. 78 now crosses Wolf Creek near Pell City.