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The Gold Adventures of Edwin Waters Pt. 1

Adventures and tales of treasure await!

It all started in 1988. That summer I was working for my grandparents on their orchard in Idaho. I rose up every morning early to move water pipe. I would pick cherries for a greater part of the day and then before the day was through end up moving pipe again. Honest labor and sometimes hard farming work. In between, all that work, I did have a few hours during the high sun, to find shade under a cherry tree and think of things thirteen year old boys do. Although there was not very much time, I was in desperate need for entertainment. I found my entertainment in a pile of old treasure books and coin books that belonged to my uncle. I was already interested in silver coins and had a pretty good collection. I delve into those treasure books and read everything I could get my hands on the subject.

My uncle noticed that I took interest in them, and soon told me of other tales that he had read, or heard. He told me of local legends and history. Some were far fetched, as most tales of treasure usually are, but they were enjoyable tales just the same. That was the start of it all. Later on my interest in life changed, but eventually I came full circle and my interests returned to those magazines that I had known so young.

While serving in the military I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and I took frequent walk-about’s (as I call them) and came across a silvery rock in the ditch. The ground around Ft. Bragg is sandy. The tree’s that grew there were a knotty pine of sort. The rock in the ditch had obviously came from a quarry and shipped there. I took that 12 pound rock and placed it inside my backpack. That rock sat inside my barracks room for at least two weeks before I located a guy in Fayetteville, NC who said he could identify it. He was amazed when I showed him what I had. I did not know if I had iron, or some other metallic mineral.

After some tests it turned out to be a high grade of silver. I had 12 pounds of it. At the time Silver was selling for around $4.75 an ounce. We struck up a deal and I sold it to him. After all military pay was not very good, and extra money was always appreciated.

Thunder Egg From Brazil

Thunder Egg from Brazil

I went back to that ditch somewhere in in the middle of Ft. Bragg and followed it for miles, turning rocks over on each other. I was dreaming of returning and finding twelve or thirteen silver rocks along that ditch, but believe it or not, I did not find even one tiny pebble of silver.

After leaving the Army, I turned my interest towards gemstones. I had collected thunder-eggs from Oregon, Utah,and South America. Some the size of a small platter. One time, while near Scott Mountain, near Sweet Home And Holley, Oregon I walked up into a clear cut and found a crystallized log. It was probably the most beautiful piece I had ever found, with a rainbow of colors running through it. However it shattered when I tried to remove it. The clear cut was also recently slashed burned and the heat had caused it to fracture and crack.

I mined Holley Blue, and variations of it. I entered into old mines and located quartz crystals the size of a man’s arm. I even found black opal in a old gold mine in Oregon.

Although I still have my rock-hound side of me, eventually my interests would turn to gold.

to be continued….

Explorers look for Gold, Rubies and Diamonds on Ice Cold Gold

Located in one of the most geo-active locations on the face of the planet, a team of explorers from the United States search in Greenland for treasures which could include gold, rubies, and diamonds. The show airs “Ice Cold Gold” on Animal Planet, an unusual channel to have a show such as this, but with the great success of other gold prospecting and mining shows I can see why they would want to get their piece of the pie. The group that assembled to tackle the wilderness of Greenland come from different backgrounds and have different strengths. Their biggest obstacle is the very short window that Greenland provides for exploration. The terrain is also a huge and sometimes dangerous obstacle.

Ice Cold Gold

The expedition crew members include Americo DiSantis, Eric Drummond, Jack Duggins, Jesse Feldman, Josh Feldman, Zach Schoose, John Self, and Chad Watkins. The season is underway and airs on Sundays at 10:00 PM PST. As far as gold mining locations, this is a very interesting area, but time will tell to see if the expedition meets with success or failure. I love all the recent shows about gold mining and with this show a twist, because they are not ruling out the possibility of finding gemstones or diamonds. This is entertainment television that makes a guy like myself thirst for adventure and hunger for that elusive treasure.

Ice Cold Gold Television Show

UPDATE: The television season is now over, and the team found a ruby deposit which they plan to mine this coming summer.

Jimmy Dorsey to Gold Rush – You are a Joke!

On the evening of the season two finale of Gold Rush Alaska, Jimmy Dorsey posted on his Facebook account the following comments:

“I made $30000 gold mining last summer in four months! Gold rush… you guys are a joke!” found on his wall.

Jimmy Dorsey

Gold Rush Jimmy Dorsey

“I made 30k last summer in four months, Gold mining. Dorsey won.” posted on the Gold Rush wall. He then went on to say in the comments of that post “Did they censor me yet? There is the proof.”

He even wrote to Greg Remsburg: “I got more gold and more money than u did mining this last summer. U lose”

Greg Remsburg

As a friend of many of the players on Gold Rush Alaska, and as the webmaster of oregongold.net, I am not playing sides and I always enjoy people finding the gold. The Hoffman crew did much better from the previous season. Personally I want to say “good job”. I have been following everybody from the show the best I can and Jimmy Dorsey has improved himself as gold miner. The fact that he made $30,000, while the Hoffman crew made $8,000 per share shows just that. It probably makes Jimmy Dorsey feel a lot better after they basically made him look bad in season one of the show. I don’t blame him for wanting some vindication.

Jimmy Dorsey Gold Miner

Jimmy Dorsey nows works in hardrock mines.

Jimmy Dorsey claimed he would get “more gold” in the coming summer, when he was interviewed in the now famous interview with OregonGold.net claiming the show is scripted. It was Greg who broke his ribs in his final episode.

Deschutes County Oregon Gold

All the counties that surround Deschutes County contain gold. The question here is how much gold and is it easy to get to? The county has a very volcanic history and much of the landscape is covered in hundreds of feet of basaltic lava flows. The lava flows in geologic time are relatively young rock. Because of the geologic features it usually make this county a strike out instead of a gold strike. With that said, there are a few gold claims in the county. If they are producers or not, that is unknown and maybe they were claimed for recreational purposes. I really have no idea to be honest. I post the information. What you do is up to you. This is where real prospecting comes into play.

The only recorded gold claims that I could find is found in Buckhorn Canyon between Sisters, Oregon and Terrebonne, Oregon at approximately Lat. 44.33233 Lon -121.33835 Please don’t go claim jumping. I only mention the coordinates to give you a place to start if you plan on doing some prospecting in this county. Please respect the claim owners rights.

Gold-field bandits’ stolen loot still hasn’t been found

The Triskett Gang underestimated the citizens of Sailors’ Diggins, which became a fatal error when they went on a shooting spree downtown. But the $75,000 they stole has never been recovered.

By Finn J.D. John — Posted with permission from the Author. The Author has a very interesting website at www.offbeatoregon.com

Colt

The amount of shooting done in Sailors’ Diggins by the Triskett Gang
suggests they likely were using the then-new cap-and-ball Colt revolvers
such as this 1848 Dragoon model. Remember, this incident happened
well before brass cartridges were invented; each shot had to be loaded
by hand with a ramrod. (Image: Hmaag/Wikimedia)

After a former Oregon farmer found gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, people from Oregon raced southward to start grubbing it out of the ground. The next year, people from the East Coast raced westward with the same idea.

By the year after that, it was getting to be hard to find a good patch of “pay dirt” that didn’t already have a miner or two working it. New prospectors might spend years poking around little mountain creeks before finding one worth working, and prospecting was hard work.

Increasingly, people started to realize there were actually several different ways a fellow could work the diggin’s:

One could look for gold the old-fashioned way, of course. But one could also go into business selling stuff, at inflated prices, to prospectors; many Oregon farmers got very rich this way.

There was another way, too. One could simply make a five-dollar investment in one of those new-fangled .44-caliber Colt Dragoon revolvers, then go find a successful miner and rob him.

Meet the Triskett Gang

There was one particular group of frontier rowdies who opted to follow this path. They were known as the Triskett Gang. This name sounds a bit like a Disney movie from the late 1960s — maybe as a sequel to The Apple Dumpling Gang? — but in reality, these guys were anything but lovable. They were named not after a yet-to-be-invented Nabisco snack cracker, but rather after brothers Jack and Henry Triskett. In their little band were three other thugs: Fred Cooper, Miles Hearn and Chris Slover.

The story of the Triskett Gang’s last day is a bit fuzzy. I haven’t been able to track down a solid source for the details. A visit to the Josephine County Historical Society in Grants Pass would probably be very helpful in firming up the details. But here’s the gist of the story:

Desperados on the run

Waldo, Oregon

The town of Waldo, f.k.a. Sailors’ Diggins, in the 1890s. This image was
made well after the town’s Gold Rush heyday, when the Triskett Gang
came through town and shot it up . (Image: www.oregongold.net)

In early August of 1852, the Trisketteros were on the run. They’d robbed a few people in California, as guys like them are wont to do, and were heading north with some armed, angry citizens on their tails, trying to lose themselves in the wilderness for a while.

They arrived one afternoon in a little town called Sailors’ Diggins, which today is a ghost town known as Waldo. About five miles north of the border with California near the present-day town of Cave Junction, Sailors’ Diggins was essentially an overgrown mining camp, but it was booming; at a time when the entire state of Oregon had fewer than 10,000 occupants, Sailors’ Diggins was home to several thousand. The mountains nearby were especially rich, and on that particular day, almost every able-bodied man was out working them.

Waldo, Oregon 1950's Ghost town

When photographer Ben Maxwell visited Waldo (Sailors’ Diggins) in
1954, he found not much remaining of the ghost town that once was one
of Oregon’s largest towns . (Image: Salem Public Library, Ben Maxwell
collection)

The five bandits quickly found the saloon, went inside and started drinking their stolen gold. After a time, nicely sozzled, they wandered out onto the street. Probably they were contemplating the need to get out of Sailors’ Diggins immediately; a town that size would be the first place the posse would check when trying to get a fix on them.

Maybe it was this thought that made Fred Cooper snap. Bandits aren’t known for self-discipline. Maybe he wanted, more than anything, to hang around that saloon all afternoon, leisurely drinking and flirting and maybe hiring some female companionship for the evening — all those things that bad guys dream about doing with their ill-gotten gains. Maybe he was standing there outside that nice little saloon just getting madder and madder at having to leave, plunge into the woods and start poking around for a tree to sleep under.

Maybe. Nobody knows, really. What is known is that instead of heaving a heavy sigh and heading for the city limits, he pulled his pistol and, without a word, gunned down a random citizen who was walking down the street minding his own business.

Gunning down innocent bystanders

Barn in Waldo, Oregon 1950's Ghost Town

One of the few buildings still standing in 1954 when Ben Maxwell visited
the ghost town of Waldo. (Image: Salem Public Library, Ben Maxwell
collection )

The rest of the gang leaped into action, if that’s the right word. The five of them stormed down the street simply killing everyone they saw. At least two women were raped as well.

Then, as they were leaving town, they paused, hustled down to the assaying depot and cleaned it out — roughly $75,000 worth of freshly mined gold. This they loaded onto two stolen horses and left town.

A mob of angry citizens takes up the chase

Now, Sailors Diggins was right in the middle of the mining action. Many of the miners could hear the gunfire and knew something was very wrong. By the time the Triskett Gang was leaving town, they were starting to arrive, probably with loaded weapons in hand. The 17 dead bodies still bleeding in the streets were their wives, children and aged relatives. You can imagine how they reacted.

All it took was one well-hidden survivor to yell, “They went that-a-way!” and the posse was off.

Weighed down with almost 250 pounds of gold, the bandits weren’t moving very fast, and the posse soon caught them up. The gang members must have been surprised by how quickly the angry citizens got on their trail. After a short pursuit, the bad guys turned at bay on the top of a little hill just outside O’Brien.

Gunfight to the death; but where was the gold?

I haven’t been able to learn much about the ensuing firefight. Presumably at least a few of the miners were killed; after all, the Triskett Gang were professional gunmen, and were able to pick the place where they made their final stand. I also don’t know if the bad guys tried to surrender. It’s certainly possible they didn’t; all they had to look forward to was humiliation and hanging.

In any case, when the shooting stopped, four gang members were dead, one was dying — and there was no sign anywhere of the 250 pounds of gold dust they’d hijacked from the depot.

To this day, that gold has never been recovered — or, rather, if it has, whoever found it was remarkably discreet about it. Treasure hunters still come to the O’Brien area to look for it. Most of them assume the gang hid it somewhere on the hill where they made their stand.

But it’s far more likely they squirreled it away earlier, when they first realized they were being pursued. It’s a lot harder to run from an angry posse when you’re leading a pack horse.

If that’s the case, it could be almost anywhere in the woods between Waldo and O’Brien, probably within a few dozen yards of the road. The stash would be worth about $5.5 million today.

(Sources: http://www.gwizit.com/treasures/oregon.php; http://www.josephinehistorical.org; Marsh, Carole. Oregon’s Unsolved Mysteries (and their “Solutions”). Peachtree City, GA: Carole Marsh Books, 1994; Friedman, Ralph. In Search of Western Oregon. Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1990)

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