The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Stories of mines lost or found in Utah

The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#1  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:58 am

For your enjoyment I post another story of a lost Spanish mine in Utah, this one thought to be the so called Josephine De Martinique of the Henry Mountains fame, sought by many, found by few. I have read that the ~Old Spanish Trail~ that entered Utah on the east near Blanding crossing Recapture Creek, thru the Blue Mountains, over the 'Bears Ears' trail, crossing the Colorado river at Spanish Bottoms then past the land of 'standing men' and over the Burr Desert and into the Henry Mountains had but one purpose, and that purpose was to service the Josephine De Martinique mine, allegedly the most fabulous Spanish mine ever discovered.

This manuscript was found by me in the archives of the Utah Historical Society while searching for other information. Unlike other posters on this forum who have stated unequivocally that they will never post their research information I post this freely in the hope that it may fill a lost piece of the puzzle for anyone that seeks this legendary mine. While this information is openly available to the public, you will need to know where to find it, there fore I post it here lest it be lost. My research indicates that it has never been copywrited in any form and no books were ever written by it's author. If anyone has information to the contrary please let me know and I will remove this story and provide an apology to those deserving such. Before starting this story you might wish to do a Google search for Wolverton, Edward T. to get a little background on this legendary individual and his place in Utah history.
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#2  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:59 am

LEGENDS, TRADITIONS and EARLY HISTORY of the HENRY MOUNTINS




For generations, legends have existed to the effect that the Spaniards obtained gold in the Henry Mountains, more than three hundred years ago. According to tradition, one mine in particular produced ore rich in gold and was worked for a number of years. The gold being taken Southward to Taos, New Mexico, over the ~OLD SPANISH~ or ~Bears Ears~ trail.

Some evidences are at hand, to show that the excavations were made at least one hundred and seventy five years ago. Old dumps overgrown with brush and grass, and in some cases the writer has found trees growing in the excavations which proved to be at least one hundred and fifty years old. A number of such excavations and crumbling arrastres are known in the Henry Mountains, and on the South end of Boulder Mountain there are some extensive workings. These latter might have been done by pre-Indian people except for the fact that all of the openings are confined to areas of igneous rocks. The ~OLD SPANISH TRAIL~ wound through mountains and across deserts between California and New Mexico, passing through the Henry and Blue Mountains. All old maps of the west show it. At many points in this section it is still distinct,
and especially is it still in evidence at their crossing of the Colorado river, five miles below the junction of the Green. Fremont followed this trail, at times, during his explorations of the West,
and between the Henry mountains and the Colorado river found the bones of a mule, and on either side of them small piles of rich ore. The containers had long since rotted leaving the rock on the ground.

~Lost Mine~ stories mean little to most of us. Out interests usually center around ~Found Mines~. The legend is mentioned for the sole reason that it had a direct bearing on recent events, which are of record. In case the legend referred to had foundation in fact it is safe to state at this time, that the old Spanish workings have not been opened for generations.

One of the early settlers in the farming districts of South West Utah, owned some cattle, part of which he grazed on the West side of the Henry Mountains. The white settlers were usually busy with their farm duties, hence he was some times obliged to hire Indians to accompany him on his rides. On one of his trips into this section he and an Indian helper camped at what is now known as ~Pipe Springs~ on the South West slope of Mount Pennell. One evening the Indian said, pointing to the slope of Pennell, ~Plenty gold up there." Asked how he knew, he replied that his people had told him so. Asked if he could find it, he replied that he could. ~All right~ said the cattleman, ~in the morning we will ride up that way and take a look at it." To this the Indian entered a savage and decided negative, stating that the white man might go and look for the gold, if he wished. But in case he did, then he (the Indian) would go back to his home in the valley. Pressed for the reason of his refusal to show the gold, after some hesitation, he stated in substance the following:
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#3  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:00 am

"Many, many years ago the Spaniards dug gold out of the side of the mountain. They employed Indians to do the hard labor and treated them shamefully. They were forced to labor from dawn to darkness, and often beaten and kicked like dogs. One morning, the surrounding hills were full of warriors. A terrible battle followed lasting all day. Many Indians were killed, but in the end all of the Spaniards were destroyed, their shelters burned, and their workings carefully filled and all sign obliterated. As the workings were being filled, the Indian Medicine Man placed a great curse on the place from which the gold had been taken. To him who reopened the workings would some great calamity. His blood would turn to water, and even in youth he would be as an old man, his squaws and papooses would die. And the earth would bring forth for him only poison weeds instead of corn. Various other punishments would attend, too numerous to mention in this statement."

Here we reach the end of legends and can take up, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, the records of following events in the Henry Mountain district.

About 60 years ago (186 :~8 , Ben Bowen, a typical Western soldier of Fortune, was running a stage station at Desert Springs in the Southwestern part of this state. One day a human wreck appeared at his place and asked for aid, which was readily granted. This man gave his name as Burke, and said he had been prospecting in the mountains about one hundred miles North and East. He had found good gold ore but the Indians had run his stock off, taken his camp equipment, and ordered him out of the country. Assisted by the few white settlers along his route, he had made his way across mountains and deserts, but the ordeal had broken his health and courage, and he was now on his way to Southern Nevada where he had friends, whom he might depend upon for help. He showed Bowen some of the ore he had carried out with him and stated that he was sure that he had re-discovered the ~Old Spanish Mine." The ore was new to Bowen, and interested him to the extent that he urged Burke to stay at his place until he had fully recovered from his recent punishment; promising him when that time arrived they would get together a good outfit; go back into the mountains, and after investigating fully ~take a fall out of the Indians." To this Burke agreed, and after several months, Bowen disposed of his interests in Desert Springs. They both came up to Minersville where some others were interested in the venture, and after securing a good pack outfit headed for the locality where Burke had made his find. On their way into the mountains, they hired a man by the name of Blackburn to help look after the stock, cook, and as far as he knew the country, act as a guide.

Arriving at the mountains, they camped at what is known as Corral Creek. Burke took Bowen directly to his find which proved to be the out cropping of a rich gold bearing ledge. They broke off about 400 lbs. of the quartz. Having no drills or blasting powder they could only recover the surface quartz.

(a strange happening here, that smiley face in the date is covering up the last number which should be an 8, eight, I can't edit it out either)
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#4  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:01 am

Upon deciding to return for mining tools, powder and other supplies, they very carefully covered their workings, and cached their tools under the feet of a nearby tree. They had come into the country around the North and East sides of Mount Ellen, but in going back they went through the pass between Mount Pennell and Mount Ellen, headed West and North across the desert for Pleasant Creek on the East slope of Boulder Mountain. From Penn-Ellen pass the desert had appeared to be comparatively smooth, but on it they found many deep canyons, bordered by steep escarpments. They became bewildered among the canyons and cliffs and suffered intensely from thirst. Somewhere in the middle of the desert they found a small pool of water, and unheeding the protests of Blackburn, both Bowen and Burke drank heartedly, and within an hour were deadly ill. By dawn the next morning they had reached Pleasant Creek, where they rested for several days, Bowen and Burke being in a critical condition. By easy stage they made the upper end of Rabbit Valley, where Blackburn lived, and here they rested for several days again. By this time Burke was much improved, but Bowen suffered intensely.

During their days rest in Rabbit Valley, they were told the story of the Medicine Man's curse placed upon the workings of the ~Old Spanish Mine~, and Bowen, at least, appears to have been profoundly impressed.

Leaving Blackburn at his home, Bowen and Burke made their way to Minersville. Their partners at that point were well pleased. The small amount of ore which the party had succeeded in bringing out was sent to Salt Lake City for sale, and Bowen went there for medical attention. The ore sold at the rate of $6,000 per ton. Bowen's doctor gave him little encouragement and less help. After a few days he returned to Minersville and announced his intention of dropping out of the venture. He made many objections to the enterprise but the two chief ones will suffice for the purpose of this statement.

First: the find was so isolated that their party could not build a decent wagon road to it. He outlined the only possible route and mentioned some of the difficulties to be overcome.
Second: he was sure that they had found the ~Old Spanish Mine~ and while he did not take the old Medicine man seriously, yet considering the fact that he had been poisoned by bad water and was in a critical condition, he did not deem it wise to tempt fate too far.

None of the partners would listen to the suggestion that Bowen should drop out of the venture. They pointed out that the ore was of such value that now wagon road was needed. It could be packed out at a profit. The prattle of the Old Medicine Man was nonsense. As for his being poisoned by bad water, that occurred frequently in pioneering the deserts, and with good water in the mountains, he would speedily recover. They promised to furnish him with as good a pack train as could be found, and also with money enough to employ other men for the hard labor, until he had fully recovered.
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#5  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:04 am

Finally Bowen was persuaded to stay with the enterprise, and he and Burke left Minersville with a splendid outfit, and enough funds to meet incidental expenses. While waiting in Rabbit Valley for Blackburn to arrange his affairs, in order that he might accompany the expedition, Bowen was taken very ill and died. When he knew death to be near he tried to arrange his affairs and charged Burke to carry on in his stead.

Four days later Burke died.

The pack train was returned to Minersville and the affair was closed. Although Bowen's partners had made light of his desire to drop out of the venture, yet there remains the significant fact that none of them ever made the slightest attempt to revive the affair.

Later Blackburn came into the mountains with the intent of locating and working the find.
He had barely gotten into the mountains when he was recalled by accident to one of his family. After that, to use his own expression, -~sickness in my family and bad luck followed me for thirty years." During the thirty years he was compelled to move his family to another part of the state. Finally he made his way back and came in to the mountains again.

He had been at the prospect only once, that being the morning when they had gathered the ore up and packed it out. Bowen and Burke had already covered the workings when he arrived with the stock. He insists that both Bowen and Burke pointed out the covered workings. Blackburn helped cache the tools. On this trip he succeeded in finding the tools but was unable to locate the prospect.

In 1921 he was brought into this section by parties who were trying to locate the find, but now old and broken in health, the altitude had such and effect that he collapsed before reaching the point where the tools were found. He was carried to the upper cabin on the Rico property and revived with difficulty, and has made no attempt to come into the district since.

We must now go back about forty years to what is still spoken of by pioneers in this district and the ~San Juan Gold Rush." Gold was found along the San Juan river in Southeastern Utah, and a great stampede followed from adjacent mining states. Some of the overflow from the rush reached the Henry Mountains.. And for the first time the district came under the scrutiny of experienced mining men.

All the upper portion of Straight Creek was located, many prospects opened, and a camp built, -Ruth. Two Californians located and worked a claim on what is now known as Rico No.1.
For the purpose of reducing the ore taken out, they built a crude arrastre at the foot of the steep hills, using the waters of Straight Creek as power. Their works show that they knew little of applied mechanics, and probably less of practical mining methods. However they made a limited success for a number of years, operating only during the summer months.

At the same time that the camp was being built on the head of Straight Creek, Sumner and Butler were opening the ~Bromide~ on the head of Crescent Creek, Mount Ellen. This proved to be a real mine, and a stamp mill was installed. A camp (Eagle City) built, good placers opened five miles below the town, and a real boom developed.
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#6  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:06 am

Kimball and Turner of Colorado, were largely instrumental in opening many of the prospects on the head of Straight Creek, but considering they would have a much better opportunity of handling property in a boom camp, acquired some claims at Eagle City, built a small mill and operated their prospects for a number of years.

At Turners suggestion, the Bromide Mining and Milling Company bought the Californian's claims and mill on the head of Straight Creek, hiring the former owners to operate for them.
In the hands of inexperienced men, the Bromide Company came upon evil days. Petty quarrels and confusion were allowed to form until a complete shutdown was brought about. The placers on Crescent Creek had given up their best values, the boom burst, and the whole Henry Mountain district appeared to feel the effects. Kimball and Turner still worked their claims on both Straight and Crescent Creeks; the Starr Brothers and Ward and Woodruff were working claims on Mount Hillers.

The writer first visited the district during 1900; found dead camps and old timers hanging on, making lots of locations, but doing little or no work. Careful investigation showed that the Bowen mine (so called) had ample foundation in fact, but the ground indicated was plastered with notices. Again in 1912 the section was investigated, but again ~locations~ were in the way. Finally, late in 1915 the ground wanted was found to be free from claims, and early the next year, our locations were made. The first three locations made, viz,_ Rico, Rico No, 1 and Rico No,2 cover the ground from which Bowen and Burke took their ore.

During 1916 and 1917 location work had to be done, camps built, and trails and roads opened. World War I with its resultant financial and other confusions made any work excepting the most necessary, very difficult. Curing 1921, work was started in earnest and has been vigorously prosecuted since. Trails and road opened, a mill built and in operation.

(signed) E,T,Wolverton
Camp Rico, Utah
February 6, 1928.

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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#7  Postby Herb » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:28 am

Could this account of the Old Spanish Mine have an element of truth to it? I submit the following for your consideration:

  • Minersville does exist and is located in Beaver County
  • Blackburn is a common name in 'Rabbit Valley' now Bicknell, I personally know three Blackburns, all of which live in Bicknell, one is a Josephine mine hunter
  • Corrall Creek does exist
  • Pipe springs does exist
  • Mount Ellen and Pennel are part of the Henry Mountains
  • Penn-Ellen Pass does exist
  • Pleasant Creek does exist on the Eastern slope of Boulder Mt.
  • Crescent and Straight creeks do exist
  • Eagle City does exist, now a deserted ghost town with no buildings left standing.
  • The Bromide Mine does exist, it was recently sold to a mining company
  • Camps Rico, Rico#1 and Rico#2 did exist, now abandoned
  • The Starr brothers did exist, the Starr Ranch, now abandoned, is on the South end of the Henry Mountains, a modern campground, Starr Springs exists there now
  • Wolverton was a real person and did construct a processing mill on the Eastern slope of the Henry Mountains, this mill has been relocated to Hanksville where it is on public display.

Is it possible that the fabulous Josephine was actually found and lost again? Every day I look out of my Eastern facing living room window at the Western slope of the Henry Mountains toward Pipe springs where the mine is supposed to exist, and wonder.
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Problems with this story?

Post Number:#8  Postby mrjimsfc » Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:10 am

Lots of things check out but questions still abound. Corral Canyon does indeed exist (Straight Creek is in that same canyon). You can view the old mine workings in ~Google Earth~ at 30 57' 00~ No., 110 47' 20~ W. and you can view the old Bromide Basin works (8 miles north) at 30 04' 00~ No., 110 47' 38~ W. I have actually panned gold from the ~Narrows~ of Crescent Creek (Drains the Bromide Basin). The problems are that the values reported and the values obtained form the ores are dramatically different (by about a couple of orders of magnitude). Hand picked select samples of the richest part of the vein probably did assay at $6,000 per ton. In actual practice however, material removed to obtain the ore caused a yield of about $6.00 per ton. Uncounted numbers of enterprizes hoping to get rich developing these ~rich~ ores have gone belly-up when they discovered their opperating costs exceeded their earnings.

Sorry! :~o







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Re: Problems with this story?

Post Number:#9  Postby Blke36bimmer » Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:06 pm

Ah, but the Josephine De Martinique mining company that has been working the area for the past 5-6 years, just leased their placer claims on the flats of mt. ellen for well over 5 million dollars, they are also very profitable, posting profits of 22 million in 06. The guy that owns JDMartinique mining is now working the older holes up in Bromide and has a few interesting stories of the slot canyon just west of Eagle City. He has quite a few nice pieces of white/clear quartz that is run through with heavy gold stringers. Enough of it that he sells the small stuff on Ebay.
and Herb, thanks for the story, but youre going to give it all away... :") Corey T. Shuman
www.goldrushexpeditions.com
cshuman@goldrushexpeditions.com
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Utah Ghost Town and Mine Preservation Group
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Rabbit Valley

Post Number:#10  Postby sanpete » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:28 am

Herb=========My great grandfather John Ray Young settled Rabbit Valley.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#11  Postby TWolverton » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:40 am

Herb……E. T. Wolverton was my Great Grandfather; Norville E. my Grandfather. Thank you for the post. Ted Wolverton
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#12  Postby sanpete » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:32 pm

Welcome aboard
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#13  Postby Herb » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:44 pm

TWolverton, glad you enjoyed it. Every day I look out of my living room window at the Henry's and wonder, is it there?
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#14  Postby Whyte Eagle » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:54 pm

Welcome to the Ancient Lost Treasures forum TWolverton!
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#15  Postby KsTHer » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:24 pm

Welcome to the forum, TWolverton!

(I hope this is not off topic... ;=) :rofl: :"" :thud: )

By the way, Herb, long time no see.
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#16  Postby Whyte Eagle » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:20 pm

:thud:
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#17  Postby KsTHer » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:06 am

:rofl:
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Re: The Lost Spanish Mine of the Henry Mountains, a Story

Post Number:#18  Postby Terry L Carter » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:14 am

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