by lyle e
There are millions, possibly billions, of dollars worth of
gold, silver, jewelry, and other valuables that make up treasure troves . . .
waiting to be rediscovered . . . perhaps by you.
We are going to tell you where that treasure is. Then you need to get up off your couch and go
Mind Your Own Beeswax
If they had
A group of Clatsop
Indians welcomed Lewis and Clark when they reached the end of their expedition
at the mouth of the Columbia River. The welcoming gift? A large chunk of beeswax.
Had Lewis and
Clark known the source of this beeswax they likely would have continued their
This beeswax was
found some thirty miles south of where the Columbia River pours into the Pacific Ocean in what is known today
as Nehalem Beach,
Oregon. Located south of
Mountain, the beach is
adjacent to the Nehalem
River on a wild spit of
land featuring lots of shifting sand dunes and sea grass.
Even today you can
scavange this beeswax. This beeswax is not manufactured locally, however, it was manufactured by bees in India, almost three
hundred years ago. So why do we care
about 300 year old beeswax? From India?
Because it will
likely point the way to the remains of a huge Manila galleon that vanished in 1705
with a cargo of millions of dollars worth of gold, silver bullion and precious
alone are impressive but let’s look at them a little more closely. According to Chuck Buckley, owner of Gold
Exchange and Loan, 726 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd., San Marcos, $1,000,000 worth of
gold bullion in 1790 would likely be worth somewhere between $27 and $30
million today. He emphasizes that’s only
a guess, based on weight and today’s prices on gold.
The knowledge that
there may be between $27 and $30 million resting under some sand dunes in
Oregon should stimulate
some adventurer’s quest for adventure and reward.
The ship was the San Francisco Xavier. She was built in 1691 in
Cavite, Phillipines. 175
feet long, 50 feet wide,
with 80 guns, and was capable of carrying 80 tons of cargo.
For almost 250
years these majestic galleons had plied their trade between
Acapulco. The westbound ships would sail from
Manila, the east bound
ships from Manila to the North
American continent, usually making port at either Monterey or
San Francisco for reprovisioning. Each
ship would normally make one trip a year.
Those ships going
to Manila would carry
cocoa, chocolate, and other products . . . but the eastbound ships . . .aha! They carried
silks, taffetas, rich vestments for the churches in New Spain, gauzes, napkins,
and, of course there was the treasure.
No galleon ever left Manila without large
shipments of gold and silver bullion
and precious stones. One manifest, from a 1767 arrival in
Acapulco lists diamond
earrings, necklaces, pieces of jewelrys in the hundreds . . and no galleon ever
left for Acapulco without a large
shipment of Ghedda beeswax, made in India, and much in
demand in New Spain (Mexico) for use as
votive candles and for lighting.
So now you begin
to see why the discovery of this beeswax on the wild Oregon coast becomes a
bit more exciting? If you follow this
beeswax to its source, you just may uncover a centuries old galleon, likely
under sea sand . . . but loaded to the gunnels with gold, silver bullion, and
There is a written
record of thirty Manila galleons lost on
the westbound trip . . .of these, only two vanished
without a trace. The
San Francisco Xavier and the
San Antonio. Evidence suggests
that it is likely the San Francisco
Xavier may be resting beneath the sand dunes in Oregon. Why?
An early fall storm is likely the culprit that brought the San Francisco Xavier to her doom. Nehalem is very close to the northernmost
point of a Manila galleon’s eastern route. A ship, seeking shelter from the storm, may
well have sought out Nehalem
Bay and been pushed
ashore by the ferocious winds.
The tons of
beeswax that have been picked up on Nehalem
Beach are the strongest
clue that the San Francisco Xavier
was wrecked there. Beeswax is virtually
indestructible, except by heat, and Oregon beaches don’t
suffer from a lot of heat. Beeswax from India is made by the
bee known as apis dorsata.
Chemical analysis, already done on the beeswax found at Nehalem Spit,
shows it to be Ghedda wax, from India.
Indians told Lewis and Clark that the beeswax came from a shipwreck but they
never pursued the matter.
Since that time,
relics from a ship have been found, including teak, the wood from which the
Spanish galleons were constructed.
Shifting sands over the years continue to hide the elusive shipwreck. If, indeed, this wreck is that of the San Francisco Xavier then a fortune in
gold bullion, silver, and precious gems rest beneath those shifting sand dunes.
There is even
greater treasure lying in the bowels of another shipwreck, that of the
San Antonio. That is the ship that is believed to have
foundered on the western side of San Miguel
Island, a few miles off
the northern California coast. One of the Channel Islands, it is a wild,
unpopulated island and a graveyard for many ships including the San Sebastian, which sank in 1754, the J. F. West, 1889, the Comet in 1923, and, most likely, the San Antonio.
San Antonio left
Manila it carried more
riches than any other galleon in the entire two hundred and fifty years of the
Manila-Acapulco run. Like the San Francisco Xavier, the
San Antonio also carried a
large amount of Ghedda beeswax. Not surprisingly, Ghedda
beeswax has been repeatedly found by beachcombers on the western side of the
small search area, but underwater, and with heavy breakers. Simple scuba diving would be difficult, but
possible. Given the high danger element,
it would likely be best to have a sophisticated search team with the proper
equipment explore the area.
Hitting The Nail
weren’t for a deathbed confession no one would ever have known about a murder
committed by an abused wife against her drunkard of a husband that took place
at Stinking Hollows, nor would there be the legend of
the lost Blue Bucket gold.
Background: Wagon trains would gather at
Idaho to both reprovision and rest up before following the remaining
portion of the Oregon Trail into western
midsummer of 1845 the place was packed.
More wagons than usual. Six full wagon trains which translated to 300 wagons, about 1000
adults, 2300 cattle, 800 oxen and 1000 goats. The permanent residents of
Boise were anxious to
see their visitors leave.
would cross over the Blue Mountains and down its
banks to the Columbia River. Some would pay a fee of $5 per wagon to a fella named Stephen Meek who had offered a ‘short cut’ on
the 200 mile trek to Oregon’s
Valley. Two hundred wagons would follow Meek on his
‘short cut,’ the remaining 100 wagons went the traditional way, via the well
days journey east of the Deschutes
River, a wagon train had
made camp, desperate for water. All that
was available was alkaline water. Dire
straits prevailed as on September 23, four persons died. The following day six
more died. Another six died over the
next six days. On the last day of the
month a small girl died. The mother of
the small girl had no time to mourn.
They had to prepare a shallow grave and move on. Legend has it that the father of the little
girl had beaten her so severely that she fell into a coma and died about three
days later. She was buried on a hillside
with an ox yoke and a toy cup to mark her grave.
of the grieving mother was a drunkard.
He would consume a bottle of whiskey each day since they had left
Boise. Not only had his physical abuse likely
killed their daughter, he would abuse the rest of the family as well.
One day, their ten
year old son picked up a blue bucket and ran over to the edge of a creek bed
and began to collect small pebbles, tossing those that appealed to him into the
continued to drink, ordered his wife to get out of his sight and get in the
back of the wagon, which she did.
Later, she would
prepare another meager meal for herself and her son, after her drunken husband
had passed out.
while the rest of the wagon train slept, she climbed down from her wagon,
hammer and a long nail in her hands. She
knelt down beside her drunkard husband, put the point of the nail against his
skull and with one powerful blow drove it into his head. She then covered the head of the nail with
his thick, matted hair, and crawled back into the wagon.
was held. People were dying all the time
on the wagon train. They buried him and
moved on. His grave was marked by a
wagon tailgate. And that was it.
years later, when his widow made her deathbed confession.
after his death the wagon train arrived safely in The Dalles. The widow and her son settled in an area that
today is known as Oregon
City. She became a domestic and one day her
employer happened to notice her son playing with some yellow stones in a blue
bucket. Upon closer examination he saw
that these ‘yellow stones’ were pure gold, one of the stones being almost a
full pound in weight.
these pebbles had been picked up by the creek near where they had camped that
night, the night his mother had murdered his father.
not reveal the location until her deathbed confession to her son, and then only
revealed the location to him. Still, 30
years had dimmed her memory, the son was now an
attorney and more interested in practicing law than gold prospecting so there
the story appeared to end.
location appears to be fixed somewhere between what is known today as Coyote
Hills (near present day Plush, Oregon)
and Rabbit Hills (about 25 miles north of Plush) near the Hart Mountain
Antelope Range., 65 miles northeast of Lakeview, Oregon. It was somewhere in this areas that the blue
bucket was filled with gold nuggets and the drunken husband was killed with a
years the search for the Blue Bucket gold has continued. In 1861 an expedition was mounted. While they didn’t find the Blue Bucket gold
site, they did find another productive site which became the rich John Day mines. They also found gold near Elk Creek.
Erle Stanley Gardner,
the famous author, also financed a hunt, shortly before his death in 1970. It was unsuccessful.
And so, the
legend goes, if you go hunting for gold in Oregon, and if you find
the correct skeleton, you will have hit the nail in the head.
500 Pounds of Silver
drive north of Los Angeles for about an hour
you’ll soon arrive at the Vasquez Rocks Recreation Area. There’s a 500 lb. ingot of silver there, just
waiting to be found. You’ll find a bunch
of pockmarked rocks there, big boulders, many of which have holes in them. Somewhere, in one of those holes, is that 500
lb. ingot of silver, placed there by a once famous bandit.
the site. Many times. Countless movies and television shows have
used the huge rocks as backdrops for western shows.
behind the story:
of a mine in the area actually cast two 500 lbs ingots of silver as a security
measure against a planned attack on the transport of his silver mine, located
near the town of Panamint.
Robert L. Stewart, with two partners, found a very rich silver mine. They became successful miners, smelting not
only their own silver but those of neighboring mines as well. In 1872, Robert’s brother, Senator Willim M. Stewart of Nevada came to visit
Robert at Panamint.
Following a series of card games he wound up winning control of yet
another mine from a couple of surly scoundrels.
While it appeared the card game was honest the two who lost their mine
began to seethe about their loss. And
they made plans to recover their lost riches.
Stewart continued to staff and manage his mining
problems efficiently, hauling out lots of silver ore. Soon, a trusted Mexican colleague told
Stewart that he had learned that the two men from whom he had won the mine were
planning on attacking Stewart’s mule train as it transported the silver ore to
Los Angeles. Stewart had stored almost 1000 lbs. of silver
at his mine. He immediately built a
furnace and mold and poured two 500 lb. ingots of silver. This would make it difficult for two men to
transport, due to the weight.
enough, the two roustabouts showed up at the camp, scared off the Chinese
laborers and foreman. Stewart and his
Mexican colleague took refuge in the hills where they could witness the
attempted robbery. They probably had
more than a few good laughs as the two bandits learned that it wasn’t very easy
to heist two 500 lb. ingots of silver.
First the A-frame pulley they rigged collapsed under the weight . . .
then when, after hours of trying, they manged to get
one of the 500 lb ingots loaded on to the back of a mule the mule collapsed and
couldn’t get up.
Frustrated, the two bandits
left and were never seen again in Panamint. Meantime, the Mexican asked Senator Stewart
how he was going to get the silver to Los Angeles.
I’ll have to use Remi Nadeau,” he said. Nadeau was the top teamster in the area, with
many freighters. He had distinctive,
large, blue freighter wagons led by 20 mule teams. He also had a pact with one of the major
local bandidos named Tiburcio
Vasquez (which is where the Vasquez Hills got their name. You’ll see why shortly).
spotted a badly wounded Vasquez on the road one day, left to die after having
been well ventilated by folks resisting an attempted stage holdup. Vasquez was assumed dead but was still alive
when Nadeau found him, transported him to the next way-station, and nursed him
back to health. In gratitude, Vasquez
assured Nadeau he would never try to rob Nadeau’s freight line.
day he heard about Nadeau transporting two 500 lb. silver ingots. He decided all bets were off for this great
of a treasure and attacked the freight train, taking his own buckboard along on
the raid. They hit the freight train,
took only one 500 lb. silver ingot, leaving the other on the freight train . .
. loaded it, with some difficulty, on to the buckboard, and then fled. The freight train continued on to
Los Angeles with the
remaining 500 lb. silver ingot.
day a posse found the abandoned buckboard and there was no sign of the
ingot. Three weeks later, the sheriff
heard Vasquez was holed up at the house of a friend near what is known today as
Pass, near present day
Hollywood. The sheriff and his posse wounded and
captured Vasquez. He was sentenced to
hang for the murder of two people during a stagecoach robbery.
before he was hanged he was visited in jail by Senator Stewart who asked
Vasquez what had become of his 500 lb. silver ingot.
“It’s in a
hole in the rocks,” he said . . . and would tell Senator Stewart no more. Vasquez went to his grave without disclosing
the exact location of which hole, in which rock, the
500 lb. silver ingot was hidden. There
are hundreds of large rocks in the area . . . each of which has many
holes. Thus the name .
. . “Vasquez Rocks Recreation Area.”
it is still there today as no one has reported finding it.
many holes in Vasqez Rocks . . . and the area is easy
to get to. There’s even a paved road
into the area . . . and facilities for overnight camping.
be persuaded to buy a metal detector and go prospecting! Value of a 500 lb. silver
ingot on today’s market?
According to Chuck Buckley, of Gold Exchange and Loan in
San Marcos, about
$67,932.50, based on today’s prices.
Hill Beachy and the Murder of Levi
all, you might ask, what is a fella named Hill Beachy doing in the wild, wild
West? And, what’s more, is this Hill Beachy fella something of a
sissy-boy? He has this funny, girlish
type name, and always dressed just so, absolute fine sartorial splendor, dines
only on gourmet food. What’s more, he
built a hotel in Lewiston,
Idaho, in 1860. He served only the best food, kept an
immaculate hotel, and even wore a freshly starched shirt every day. Even in the morning. Surely, this guy was one for the books. Probably a big sissy-boy.
was dispelled rather quickly one day.
Word got to
him that there were two rough and tumble fellas in
the bar, ready to have a shootout. The
regular patrons and the bartender had skedaddled for safety. Hill Beachy just
got up from his desk, walked firmly into the bar and told the two ruffians that
he didn’t allow this type of nonsense in his hotel and they would have to
Almost in a
state of glee the two fellas looked at this Beachy fella, and challenged this
“dandy” as to “what he was going to do about it.”.
later one of the rough, tough guys was on the floor with a broken arm and Hill Beachy was holding the fella’s gun
in his hand. He turned to the other thug
and said, “leave.”
The guy hesitated one second too long and suddenly a bullet went through
his arm and his gun went flying out of his hand.
Hill Beachy suggested the two thugs leave. By this time they had time to rethink their
position and decided leaving was probably a pretty prudent idea so they left,
rather promptly it is said, never to be heard from again.
that point on the townsfolk had a whole new impression of Hill Beachy.
Now it happened
that Hill Beachy had one particularly good friend in
town, Levi MacGruder, a wealthy young trader who
would travel and trade with miners throughout the mining community, taking his
payment for his goods and supplies in gold.
occasion, in August of 1863, MacGruder had written Beachy that he had a particularly profitable trip and was
loaded with gold. His mule train was
moving slowly but then he met a group of eight horsemen, four of whom agreed to
sign on as muleskinners and help MacGruder get his
precious cargo back to Lewiston. Their names were Bill Page, a trapper and
scout who MacGruder knew, and three new fellas, Jim Romaine, Dan Lowry, and Dave Howard, all of
whom claimed to be from Lewiston but none of whom
were known by Beachy.
MacGruder had written that
he had $30,000 in gold dust and an additional $20,000 in gold coins. He was not far away and should return to
of October came and went. Three months and still no sign of MacGruder. Worried, Beachy saddled
up and went looking for him.
MacGruder was well known at
many of the stage stops. None of the
operators at each of the depots had seen MacGruder
recently . . . until he got to the stage stop high up in the
Mountains. Here, the stage operator said he had seen MacGruder in early October.
Beachy returned to
Lewiston, worried. One hundred mules, nine
men, nine horses . . . three months to travel 100 miles? Something was wrong.
later Beachy met a circuit rider (a traveling minister)
who, he said, had bought MacGruder’s very familiar
paint horse, Italy, from another
gent in Walla Walla,
Washington, and had a bill
of sale to prove it. On the bill of sale
were the names of Page, Lowry, Howard and Romaine.
arriving in Walla Walla and making
inquiries, he learned the men had departed for
Oregon. He told a few white lies, told the Governors
California he was a deputy
sheriff and would they please ‘detain’ the men for trial in
Idaho. Beachy traveled to
Portland, then learned his quarry had left for San Francisco. He followed them to California.
later he finally found William Page.
Page, when confronted, readily admitted that the men, overcome at the
huge amount of gold that could be theirs, agreed to rob MacGruder. The first night, as MacGruder
slept, Lowry hit him in the head with an ax, killing him instantly, then proceeded to kill the remaining four muleskinners in
similar fashion. The four men then
dumped the dead bodies and the other mules and horses were killed and all were
thrown off a high cliff.
been given only $5000 of the loot.
$20,000 had been buried at the base of a bluff beside the stagecoach
road about a day’s ride out of Walla Walla.
accompanied Beachy to police headquarters where he
repeated his story. The police became
interested and involved and shortly thereafter located and arrested Howard,
Lowry and Romaine.
men returned to Lewiston,
Idaho, arriving there
on Christmas Eve, 1863. They were tried
the following month and all except Page were hanged on March
4, 1864. Page, having turned
state’s evidence, was released after he testified for the prosecution.
In May, a
little more than two months after the triple execution, the snows had melted
and the bodies of the massacred victims were easily located, just where Page
said they’d be.
that was recovered from the highwaymen was given to MacGruder’s
widow. In June, Hill Beachy
took Page to the areas where the gold coins were buried but Page couldn’t
remember which bluff was the landmark bluff.
There were simply too many bluffs and he was confused. Later, in August, Page died.
Hill Beachy applied for reimbursement from the law agencies for his pursuit of the
highwaymen. It was approved and he was
paid $6,244 to reimburse his expenses.
you’re interested in looking, the $20,000 in gold coin remains buried at the
base of a bluff on the old stage trail between
Walla Walla, Washington, and
Idaho, about a day’s
ride by horse outside the old city limits of Walla Walla.
we have to convert the $20,000 gold coin from the 1864 value and convert it to
today’s market value. How does $550,000 sound
to you? Worth the
effort of going out and hunting for buried treasure?
there are many, many books and Internet resources from which to draw in
that provides fascinating reading, and is available at the Escondido Public
Library, is “Lost Treasures of the West,”
by Brad Williams & Choral Pepper.
easily spend an entire weekend just browsing through old west stories, mining
stories, and buried and hidden treasure stories, all on the Internet.
think this world is interesting, we encourage you to study it . . . and then
head out for adventure.
might find a few million dollars worth of treasure. Good hunting!