State Treasure - Idaho

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 60 of the December, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


The Lost Roaring River Mine
ELMORE COUNTY – The origin of this story is George Ogden who wrote his first hand narrative for a story that ran in Lost Treasure in August 1975.
Ogden wrote his story, Idaho’s Lost Roaring River Gold, when he was older with a game leg that prevented him from searching any longer for the mine himself, adding…
"I am getting along in years, I see no harm in sharing my secret with others.
"One of these days some serious-minded prospector is going up near the mouth of Roaring River and will find that rich vein of quartz.
"I hope it is you."
Ogden’s story has a ring of truth to it and my map research has confirmed that all place names he mentions do exist and pinpoints the location of the discoverer’s cabin, which is the key to locating this rich gold vein.
Odgen wrote, "Nothing has changed since the man who found it died, not even the story.
"To the best of my knowledge, not one person has tried to locate this lost mine since his death.
"I think I am the last man living to know the facts.”
In the early 1900’s, a placer miner named Dutch Frank was prospecting on the Boise River in Idaho.
His old diggings, which were still visible in the 1970’s, were located just west of where the creek named in his honor, the Dutch Frank Creek, empties into the Middle Fork of the Boise River. Dutch Frank Creek lies north of the middle fork; just west of this point the mouth of the Roaring River begins flowing to the south.
Frank’s cabin was located near the mouth of the Roaring River, which in later years was used as a campsite.
Ogden recommends the old cabin site as a good starting point to begin a search.
According to the story, Frank had been out hunting and was returning to his cabin carrying a small deer on his back when it began to rain.
Frank came off one of the ridges that overlook the Roaring River Canyon when he spotted a brownish looking quartz vein.
Not wanting to be delayed while shouldering his burden in the rain, Frank broke off a piece of the quartz using the butt of his rifle and put the sample in his coat pocket without looking closely at it.
Soaked and packing the dead weight of his kill, Frank quickly resumed his walk back to his cabin.
He forgot all about the sample until weeks later when he and a second man were doing some blacksmith work on his cabin.
A hot ember flew from the forge and lit on Frank’s coat, which was lying nearby.
The smithy tried to knock the ember from his coat, but hurt his hand by striking the rock sample still inside Frank’s coat pocket.
Investigating what had caused the injury, the men discovered the quartz sample and washed it, whereupon they found it to be rich in gold.
Frank hunted for that vein during his free time from working his placer mine, but never relocated it.
He later grubstaked another prospector who spent the summer searching for the rich vein, but he also failed.
Since then Ogden claims he also searched the area without success, adding… “The vein is still there, undiscovered.”
The location of Frank’s old cabin site mentioned above is in northwestern Elmore County, 41 miles northeast of Boise as the crow flies, and 6.1 miles west northwest of the Weatherby U.S. Forest Service Airport on the Middle Fork Road.The Iron Door Treasure
ONEIDA COUNTY – The story of the Iron Door Treasure had been handed down from one generation to the next for decades, having originated, according to legend, with an early homesteading family who lived west of Samaria and whose name, like the town itself, has been lost to history.
This is the first time this story has appeared in print in Lost Treasure or any other treasure hunting publication so far as I know.
Samaria, Idaho was once a rival of Malad City located less than 4 miles east of the ghost town site of Samaria.
Both rivaled for the railroad to complete tracks to their town, and both competed for the honor and title of county seat of Oneida County.
Though Samaria was the industrial center of the county back in those days, it was Malad City that got the railroad and Malad City that became the county seat.
There are several varying accounts of this story, but in essence it was the homesteading couple who, one hot summer day, spotted a rider on horseback in the distance slowly moving towards their cabin located on the western bench of the valley.
The way their cabin sat gave the couple a panoramic view of the valley from north to south, so they always knew in plenty of time when unexpected visitors were coming to call.
But this man had appeared descending the mountains from the southwest, which had never happened before since that was unoccupied wilderness country.
An uneasy feeling came over both of them the longer they watched; the lone rider appeared overly cautious approaching their cabin.
Uncertain of the man’s intentions, the couple watched with trepidation as rider and horse moved towards them very slowly.
As the rider came more clearly into view it became clear something was wrong.
Just then the man slumped over in the saddle and a few moments later they both realized he was seriously wounded.
They raced to the horse and helped the rider from his saddle though he was barely conscious.
The couple clearly observed the stranger had received at least two gunshot wounds and had lost a lot of blood.
They carried the man into their cabin and laid him upon the bed and began tending to his wounds.
It was clear to the stranger that the couple was working desperately to save his life and that’s when he decided to deliver up an impromptu telling of his life’s story.
Or at least the summarized version that lead up to his most recent arrival at their cabin.
The stranger told them he was an outlaw who’d been robbing stagecoaches for years along what then was known as the Gold Road.
The road passed through the valley connecting the Montana gold mines with Salt Lake City, Utah.
He’d thrown in with two others on his last several jobs and the three had accumulated quite a quantity of freebooted gold.
He stated they hid the gold in a cave in the mountains south of Samaria, the entrance to which they had sealed with an iron door.
The man explained that an argument broke out between him and his partners and they had shot him.
He also noted that he was the lone survivor, having killed both of them.
Too weak to haul any gold out, he managed to place both corpses just inside the cave before securing the iron door in place.
He did so, of course, hoping one day to return for the cache.
The tale does not state if the stranger lived or not, but it appears highly unlikely.
The story claims the wounded man’s condition worsened as he tried to describe the location of the cave to the homesteaders.
All they were able to understand was that the cave was located near the top of one of the peaks, which provided them a panoramic view overlooking the valley where they could easily spot any posse on the approach.
Here the story ends.
It's said that over the years locals from Samaria have kept a sharp eye out any time they’re traveling through the Samaria Mountains located roughly 8-1/2 miles south southwest of the ghost town of Samaria, or 11 miles southwest of Malad City.
There have been some reports over the years of folks having found an iron door in the mountains at a locale that fits the description provided by the shot-up outlaw.
However, they hadn’t heard the outlaw’s story and inquired about the door later.
But a report from a local resident, 13-year-old Glispie Waldron in 1891, has given this legend much credibility.
Waldron remained in the area his entire life and was highly regarded for his honesty, integrity and hard work.
He died in 1962 at 84 years of age.
Waldron stated he was working a roundup in the Samaria Mountains when he found an iron door that he described as being made from two wagon wheels and a thin sheet of iron.
He didn’t stop to inspect it any further.
To date there have been no reports of the cave having been discovered.Sources:
Ogden, George, Idaho’s Lost Roaring River Gold, August 1975, “Lost Treasure” magazine, p. 37
Malad City Economic Development Foundation, The Iron Door, http://www.maladidaho.org/irondoor.htm