State Treasures - Nebraska

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 39 of the May, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


McGuire’s Lost Cache
CHASE COUNTY – At Fort Kearny, a buffalo hunter named McGuire had sold a load of hides then purchased his necessary supplies.
Leaving the fort, McGuire still had $800 in coins on him as he headed to his campsite at McGuire’s Slough.
The date this occurred is unknown, but Ft. Kearny operated from 1848-1875.
Returning to the campsite on the slough, that today still bears his name, McGuire unloaded his wagon and buried his money for safekeeping.
While preparing his supper, two riders rode into his camp. Unaware that the two men had been following him ever since he departed the fort, McGuire asked them to join him for dinner. They accepted.
The two riders knew McGuire was carrying money when he left the fort and it was their intention to relieve him of it.
As the three ate and talked, McGuire stood up and walked to the spring for water.
When he bent down to collect the water from the pool, McGuire was clubbed from behind and killed.
The two killers tied McGuire’s corpse to a grindstone and threw it into the pool, then carefully searched his camp for his money, but failed to locate it. Instead, they stole his wagon team and provisions and continued on their journey.
Later, some cowboys stopped here to water their horses and discovered McGuire’s body floating on the surface of the pool. It had apparently come loose from the grindstone.
The cowboys could see the man had been murdered and provided him with a proper burial, marking his grave with the end-gate of a wagon. Then the cowboys cut the killer’s trail and started tracking them.
Near Haigler, the cowboys caught up with the murderers and attempted to arrest them. A firefight broke out that left one of the outlaws dead.
The second was taken into custody and handed over to authorities. He was convicted of McGuire’s murder and sent to prison.
With time, the grave became lost, as the grave marker had been trampled down by range cattle and buffalo. McGuire’s cache remains lost to this very day, as does his burial site.The Two L’s Treasure
MORRILL COUNTY – In 1872, soldiers ran to ground Cheyenne Joe Two Owls and his murderous gang in the eastern Wildcat Hills region of Morrill County.
Two Owls was killed by soldiers and the rest of his gang was captured, tried, convicted and hanged.
The U.S. Army knew the gang had a stronghold somewhere in the Wildcat Hills and they began searching for the hideout.
Soldiers came across a cave hidden in the Badlands region and discovered inside a number of chests filled with gold specie, jewelry, watches and other plundered valuables.
The soldiers loaded as much of the treasure as they could carry and headed for town to report their discovery.
Hostile Indians attacked them while en-route and all but two were killed.
The two survivors did reach civilization and reported the events.
Later, when they went back to the area to re-locate the cave, they could not do so.
The cave was described as being a “little north and west of the trail to Fort Sidney.”
As far as is known, the treasure cave has never been rediscovered.49er’s Gold Lost in Nebraska
THOMAS COUNTY – There is an old legend told around the tiny hamlet of Seneca, Nebraska, about a 49er who was returning home after a successful venture in the California Mother Lode area.
He was attacked by highwaymen near where present-day Seneca stands and buried an estimated $50,000 in gold near the banks of the Middle Loup River just north of town.
The 49er is said to have nearly escaped his pursuers, but took a bullet and died without telling anyone where the cache was hidden.
Locals have searched for the hoard over the years, but it has yet to be found.Flyspeck Billy’s Treasure
SHERIDAN COUNTY – A gang of road agents led by notorious “Flyspeck Billy” seized a gold shipment worth $300,000 that was being transported from Deadwood City, South Dakota, to Sidney, Nebraska, in 1878.
The outlaws fled with their prize, unaware that the haul was all gold bars.
They headed south and stopped when they reached the Niobrara River, approximately 11-1/2 miles south of the town of Gordon.
Unable to plop down a gold bar at any saloon to pay for drinks without creating suspicion, Billy had to figure out their next move.
The gang buried the haul in a cave along the river and fled the area intending to return later, but never did. Billy was lynched by an angry mob in 1881.
Several in his gang met the same end while others were apprehended later. No recovery has been reported.Beaver Creek Cache
FRONTIER & RED WILLOW COUNTIES – It was the summer of 1869 when a party of 12 surveyors pulled their wagons out of Ft. Kearney and headed for the Republican River country in southwest Nebraska.
Over $3,000 in gold coins is known to have left the fort with them in one of the wagons. All 12 perished on this trip and the gold remains lost to this day.
There are two surviving accounts of what happened. Both versions identify the vicinity of where the gold was buried and lost.
Unfortunately, my research shows each site at opposite ends of the county, so both accounts are presented here for readers.
History records that the surveying party was massacred by Indians who were defending themselves after being attacked by the surveyors.
According to Chief Pawnee Killer of the Oglala Sioux, a small party of his warriors was attacked by the surveyors “near a range of hills south of the mouth of Red Willow Creek,” resulting in three Indian deaths.
The surveyors had buried their gold and dug in for a fight before they fired the first shot at the warriors.
But as soon as the exchange of fire started, other unseen warriors in the vicinity quickly came to the aid of their tribesmen.
In an instant, the surveyors found themselves facing over 100 mounted and angry warriors. They never had a chance.
Realizing they were ill-prepared to stand against such odds, the surveyors fled for their lives into a nearby timber stand on Beaver Creek, where all were killed.
The Army investigation pinpointed the site of the surveyors’ last stand as being on Beaver Creek in Red Willow County.
None of the surveying party’s wagons, stock, or equipment was ever found.
The Army concluded the gold had been buried a short distance from the site where the surveyors first spotted the Indians, but it was never recovered.
But the specific area of Red Willow County where these events unfolded presents a problem that I have not been able to resolve.
Pawnee Killer placed the site as south of the mouth of Red Willow Creek. How far south is the question.
The mouth of this creek is located in the northwest section of the county.
Beaver Creek, which runs east-west, is located in the southern portion of the county, between 25 and 31 miles south and southeast of the headwaters.
Local research should help better locate the site.Lost & Forgotten
Forts of Nebraska
Columbia Fur Company Post, (KNOX COUNTY) – This was an American fortified trading post operated by the fur company during the 1820’s.
Location unknown, but is believed to have been near the town of Niobrara.Ft. Montrose, (SIOUX COUNTY) – Active in 1891, Fort Montrose was a temporary defense built by settlers consisting of a circular trench with an underground chamber.
Located in the vicinity of Montrose, about 20 miles north of Crawford.Ft. Mirage Flats, (SHERIDAN COUNTY) – An American settler’s sod “blockhouse” active in 1891. Thought to have been located near Walgren Lake near Hay Springs.Camp Chadron, (DAWES COUNTY) – During the Pine Ridge Campaign (1890-91), following the Massacre at Wounded Knee (1890), at least 13 military camps were established by the Army surrounding the Pine Ridge Agency.
The site of three of these camps has been lost to time. Camp Chadron was located in the vicinity of present-day Chadron.Camp Hay Springs & Camp Rushville, (SHERIDAN COUNTY) – See above. Both camps were located in the vicinity of Hay Springs and Rushville.Sources:
Leu, Henry, Buffalo Hunter’s Cache, December 1975, Lost Treasure, p. 29
Pallante, Anthony J., Nebraska-Two L’s Treasure, August 2001, Lost Treasure, p. 19
Friendly Metal Detecting Forum, Seneca’s Lost Prospector’s Cache, http://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=14075
Terry, Thomas P., United States Treasure Atlas-Volume 6, 1985, La Crosse, WI, p. 612
Henson, Michael Paul, America’s Lost Treasure, South Bend, IN, Jayco Publishing Company, p. 68
North American Forts, Nebraska, http://www.northamericanforts.com/West/ne.html