State Treasures - Nevada

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 47 of the May, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Lost in the Black Rock Desert
WASHOE, PERSHING, and HUMBOLDT COUNTIES – Nevada’s Black Rock Desert is a primitive area located in the northwest.
In 1849, overland emigrants bound for California’s goldfields came by way of the California Trail.
At Fort Hall (Idaho) the route headed southwest, following the Humboldt River before entering the Black Rock Desert in present-day Nevada.
From here one could continue to follow the trail into northern California, passing Goose and Tule Lakes, or they could access the Nobles Cut-Off at Rabbit Hole Springs, or from Black Rock Hot Springs.
A local legend tells of one California bound wagon train that passed through the Black Rock Desert in 1849.
The legend claims the train stopped in the desert next to a small spring and camped.
A group of hunters separated from the train to hunt wild game on a nearby “high plateau.”
After taking enough game to continue their journey, the men started back for camp.
Coming down a long slope, they happened upon a peculiar rock formation and stopped.
They believed the formation was created by volcanic ash, but at the lower edge of the deposit they found a number of large pieces of native silver rooted in the earth.
They collected as much of the metal as they could carry and continued on towards camp.
They became lost, however, and dumped most of the silver, as it became too burdensome to carry.
After considerable difficulty, they did arrive safely back at camp with only a few small samples.
Years later, their discarded pieces of silver were found, which led to a search of the immediate area, but the silver source was never found.
As far as is known, the men who made the initial discovery continued onto California and never returned to the area.
To date, this rich source of “large slabs” of virgin silver remains lost.The Lost Twin Bridges Mine
ELKO COUNTY – Fifteen miles south of Elko, Nevada, on the Humboldt River, lies the remains of what was once the tiny community of Twin Bridges.
It is also the site of the old Twin Bridges Ranch, where it was reported that a rich vein of both silver and gold was found and lost by the owner’s son. The story is vague, so local research will be necessary. It goes that a Bosque rancher once owned the Twin-Bridges Ranch.
His son had enlisted in the Army and, right before his departure, he discovered a ledge of ore while rounding up his father’s herd of sheep for the last time.
He removed some samples and showed them to his father.
Being stockmen their whole lives, neither had any knowledge of minerals or mining.
Thinking the ledge could be important, the son told his father he had marked the site by stacking up a pile of stones.
Shortly after, he was off to the Army and the curious samples he left behind quickly became forgotten, that is until one day when a traveler dropped in on his way to Goldfield and identified a rich vein of silver and gold in the samples.
No doubt the father tried to find his son’s marker, but failed.
When his son returned home from the war, he too attempted to locate the site, but could not. If it was ever found is unknown.
The old ranch house and little village of Twin Bridges have long faded from the modern landscape and some mining has occurred in the area since.
Map research shows the Twin Bridges Ranch was located 2/10ths of a mile south of the junction of the Hamilton Stage Road and Lower South Fork Road, and 3/4 of a mile west of Highway 228.
The house was on the east side of the Hamilton Stage Road with the property affronting the Humboldt River.
How large the ranch was is unknown.Lost Desert Bonanza
NYE COUNTY – Located somewhere in the northwest corner of Nye County, on a prehistoric lake bed between Stewart Springs and the ghost town of Goldyke, is a rich source of quartz gold found and lost by prospector Tim Cody in 1908.
Cody had set up camp at Stewart Springs and was prospecting north of his camp, passing in and out of a number of ravines on a prehistoric lakebed located just south of Goldkye.
The distance between Stewart Springs and Goldyke is approximately 2.8 miles, as the crow flies.
Cody had a very poor sense of direction, according to lost mine researcher Harold O. Weight, who published a story about Cody and his lost mine in Desert magazine in 1948.
Weight wrote, “Tim could lose himself - even when sober - and he was not always sober.”
Weight reported that Cody had left camp that morning with very little water and no food, since he planned to return later that afternoon.
After prospecting for several hours, Cody observed the sun starting to set.
He realized he was lost and uncertain as to the direction of his camp.
So he hiked to the top of a “knoll covered with junipers,” wrote Weight, hoping to orient himself again before dark.
Once at the summit, Cody recognized Paradise Peak northeast of Goldyke, and Pilot Cone to his northwest.
Cody relaxed, as he was no longer lost. He sat down, lit his pipe and was enjoying the view when his eyes fell to his feet where he noticed an outcropping of white quartz stained with iron.
Taking his hammer to the quartz, Cody was pleased to find gold in every piece he broke off.
Realizing his luck, Cody suddenly got hit with gold fever and, in his excitement he lost his ability to reason.
He felt he must file his claim right away, that evening. He stuck his pick into a nearby tree to mark the site and immediately headed off for Goldyke to file his claim. In all the excitement he again became lost.
After three days of wandering through the desert, he found himself at the abandoned Pactolus Mine, about 3-1/2 miles southeast of his Stewart Springs camp, where he found water and food.
After recovering from his three days of wandering, Cody again set off for Goldkye and this time he made it.
When asked about getting lost, Cody reportedly said, after finding gold, “I seemed to kind of go blind.”
And as you may have guessed, Cody was never able to retrace his steps back to the mine.
As far as is known, it has yet to be found.Ghost Town Johnnie’s
Lost Jackpot… A
Nevada Legend!
NYE COUNTY – Johnnie, Nevada (Lat. 36.419N – Lon. 116.07W), is located on Nevada Highway 160 about 16 miles north of Puhrump in southern Nye County.
The ghost town and the Johnnie Mine take their name from a local Indian known as “Ash Meadows Johnnie.”
However Johnnie was originally founded as Montgomery, a bit blue-blooded for this territory, in my opinion.
Nonetheless, this ghost town happens to be the location, as told in an old legend, of a buried treasure.
Buried in Johnnie is said to be roughly $100,000, the winnings of some lucky gambler whose name has been lost to history, who’d hit it big on the Craps tables in Las Vegas.
According to legend, shortly after consigning his jackpot to the safety of Mother Earth, the lucky gambler keeled over dead from a sudden heart attack.
He, too, we can reasonably assume, was consigned to the ground, like his jackpot… somewhere in Johnnie.
Johnnie is on private property so you will need permission before entering.Missing Miner’s Cache
CHURCHILL COUNTY - In 1974, 86-year-old miner Cy Cox died at his home in Fallon.
Authorities found $500 inside Cox’s residence after his death, but friends came forth reporting that Cy had much more wealth than what authorities found.
It was claimed that Cox had stashed loose cash and had, over time, accumulated a large sum.
He also had a large gold nugget the size of an egg he had shown off, which he kept hidden with his money. But nothing more was ever found.
Local research is necessary to determine where Cox was living at the time of his death.Sources:
Fish, Frank L., Buried Treasure and Lost Mines, 1961, Chino, CA, Amador Publishing Co., p. 59
Conrotto, Eugene L., Lost Gold and Silver Mines of the Southwest, 1991, Mineola, NY, Dover Publications, Inc, p. 73-74
Marx, Robert F., Buried Treasure of the United States, 1978, New York, NY, Bonanza Books, p. 261
GhostTowns.com, Johnnie-Nevada Ghost Town, http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/nv/johnnie.html
Terry, Thomas P., United States Treasure Atlas-Volume 6, La Crosse, WI, Specialty Publishing Company, p. 640.