State Treasure - Oklahoma

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 29 of the April, 2012 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2012 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Buried at Black Dog Crossing
KAY COUNTY – The location of the historic Black Dog Trail Crossing, named for Chief Black Dog (ca. 1780 – 1848) of the Osage nation, is at Newkirk, Oklahoma. Near the crossing it is reputed that several bags containing “gold nuggets of every size” was buried around 1850, which became lost and never recovered.
The story claims eight Virginia men headed to California at the beginning of the California Gold Rush. They arrived in 1849 when there was plenty of easy gold for the taking and in just a few short months struck a bonanza.
After each man had made his fortune the party decided to return to Virginia. They hired an ox team to transport their personal belongings, including their gold; three months later, traveling eastbound on the Black Dog Trail, they arrived at the crossing at present-day Newkirk.
They set up camp near the crossing for the night when one of the men spotted a war party of Osage bearing down on them. They quickly buried their gold near the riverbank and jammed a broken rifle into the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. Heavily outnumbered, the Virginia men knew there was no hope of escape so they dug in for a fight.
The Osage made quick work of the Virginia party, killing seven and wounding one. The wounded man is reported to have made it back to his Virginia home where he died.
Before he expired, he told his family of the gold buried at the Black Dog Trail Crossing. Assuming the gold was safely hidden, it took family members several years before attempting to recover the cache.
When they did arrive to recover the treasure all signs of their campsite, and the rifle used as a marker, had vanished. They camped here for several weeks searching for the cache, but finally gave up and returned home empty-handed.
The story is said to be based on fact, so local research may help learn more and pinpoint the actual site of the historic trail crossing.
The Treasures of
Cimarron County
CIMARRON COUNTY – Located in north and northwest Cimarron County are three treasure sites that could prove considerably profitable to anyone who just found one of these lost treasures.
Robber’s Roost was an infamous outlaw hideout used during the 1800’s that is said to hold a number of unclaimed outlaw caches. Robber’s Roost is a rock formation located 1.2 miles east of Black Mesa and 2.3 miles north of Kenton.
Captain William “Bill” Coe, the leader of a gang of cattle rustlers and horse thieves numbering between 30 and 50 men at any given time, engaged in raiding ranches, military installations and seizing caravans that traveled along the Santa Fe Trail.
They maintained a well-equipped blacksmith shop in a canyon five miles northwest of the Roost. They’d drive herds of cattle, horses, sheep and mules into the canyon and alter their brands before moving the herds into Missouri or Kansas where they were sold.
The US Army from Fort Lyons, Colorado, pursued Coe and his gang to Robber’s Roost where a battle ensued. Many outlaws were wounded or killed in the fight; several were hanged on the spot. Coe and others, however, escaped.
About a year later Coe was arrested in Madison, New Mexico, and hung by vigilantes on July 20, 1868.
In addition to those killed or captured at Robber’s Roost who could never reclaim their personal caches, the Roost hosted many other highwaymen and fugitives over the years so it’s possible other caches await discovery here.
The legendary treasure known as Tres Piedras Oro (Three Stones of Gold), or sometimes called the Cache of the Deadly Seven, consisting of 700 gold ingots each weighing exactly 7-1/4 pounds, is believed to be buried at one of two locations in the county.
The Tres Piedras Oro treasure is a well-documented case involving an outlaw party of 13 Frenchmen who left New Orleans in 1799 to pull off a robbery in Chihuahua, Mexico. After killing eight of the 10 armed Mexican guards protecting the treasure at Chihuahua, the Frenchmen fled north with 100 pounds of stolen gold with a company of Mexican Rurales giving chase.
Once inside present-day New Mexico, the Rurales gave up the pursuit and returned home.
The Frenchmen next turned up in Taos in 1801 after learning of a gold strike while in Santa Fe. In the mountains around Taos they worked at placer mining the streams, posing as miners and laying low until 1803 when they decided it was time to move on. By now they’d come to know which miners were successful, and which were not.
In the months to follow, the Frenchmen raided several mining camps, killing more than 20 miners and stealing their gold. In the process they lost six of their own men.
Reduced to seven in number, Father Pierre LaFarge, a defrocked French priest who’d been excommunicated after killing a nun, assumed command thinking it best to put the shores of America to their backs as soon as possible and return to France with the gold.
In the summer of 1804, LaFarge hired Jose Lopat in Santa Fe, a trail guide who’d worked with metals in Mexico City, to smelt the Frenchmen’s gold into ingots for easier transport, then to guide them on their return trip back to New Orleans where they intended to sail for France.
LaFarge and party expected New Orleans to still be under the flag of France; they learned of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 from a party of mountain men they ran into on the trail who’d just come from the Louisiana Territory.
Fearing U.S. authorities would certainly confiscate the ingots at New Orleans, the decision was made to bury the treasure and return for it once arrangements had been made to smuggle it safely out of the USA.
In order to reclaim the hoard, the French left huge stone markers along the Old Santa Fe Trail, each marked so that only those in their outfit could decipher them when the time came to recover the cache.
But fate intervened and mysteriously death claimed all but Father Pierre LaFarge, who barely escaped the noose of a lynch party in Santa Fe, only to die soon after from tuberculosis. All the Frenchmen who’d buried the treasure were now dead.
Three French markers were discovered beginning in 1844 and for more than a century it was suspected the markers pointed to something important, but it remained a mystery.
In 1962, a fourth marker was discovered. Meanwhile, Emanuel Lopat, the son of trail guide Jose Lopat, who’d documented his father’s story of smelting the gold and guiding the Frenchmen back to New Orleans in 1804, had carefully hidden over 50 pages of his father’s story and clues by gluing them into the back of the Lopat family Bible.
At what point researchers started connecting the story detailed in the Lopat family Bible to the stone markers along the Santa Fe Trail is unknown, but it soon became clear Lopat’s story provided a plethora of evidence concerning the mysterious markers and that they would lead someone who could decipher them to a buried hoard of gold weighing 5,075 pounds.
Most believe the clues identify one of two locations as possible burial sites for this cache, one is at an ancient watering hole known as Flagg Springs, and the second is a landmark known as Sugar Loaf Peak. To date none of the 700 gold ingots have been found.
The final claim came from an Indian who once rode with Capt. Coe. He stated $750,000 or more in Spanish gold specie was found after an Indian attack on a pack train around 1850 near Flagg Springs.
From his deathbed, the Indian said the Coe gang rode up on the scene shortly after the fight had ended; the coins were found scattered on the ground among the wrecked pack train, which they collected and buried by the spring, which hadn’t been recovered by the time Coe was hanged.Sources:
Oklahoma Treasure: The Miners Loot at Black Dog Trail Crossing, http://urbane-chaos.hubpages.com/hub/BlackDogOklahomaTreasure
Weiser, Kathy, Outlaw William Coe & His Missing Loot, Legends of America, http://www.legendsofamer
ica.com/ok-williamcoe.html
Terry, Thomas P., U.S. Treasure Atlas – Volume 8, 1985, Specialty Publishing Company, La Crosse, WI, p. 798
Paul, Lee, The Tres Piedras Legend, http://www.theoutlaws.com/gold6.htm
Wilson, Steve, Missing Tres Piedras Gold, October 1970, True Treasure magazine, p. 59.