Gold Prospecting in Uintah Basin Area

Discussion of mines found or located in the Uinta's ...

Gold Prospecting in Uintah Basin Area

Post Number:#1  Postby Argenta » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:08 pm

This is from the Vernal Express, Dec. 28, 1933.

"During the past summer an old prospector and geologist, William Schaefermeyer of Maeser, has been checking on an interesting story of gold in the Uintahs."
..."So when the story of a find of a gold mine of fabulous wealth in the Uintah mountains came to his attention not so long ago, he checked on his source of the story." ...The one responcible for the story had learned it while traveling a number of years ago in New Mexico. That mine was supposed to be in the headwater section of Dry Creek. He told Mr. Schaefermeyer the following story.
" While myself and companion were traveling in New Mexico with pack outfit we decided one day to stop at the first residence we came to and seek lodging and care for ourselfs and animal." ..."An old Mexican woman who lived in the the very neat hogan gave us welcome and provided for our stay." ..." During the conversations of the evening we spoke of going back to the Uintah Basin." ..."After learning our story the old woman confidentially and in a very convincing manner told us of a visit she had made when young to the Uintah Basin coming over the Escalante trail which then was the only known way of getting into the Uintah Basin."

..."When I was a young girl many years ago, myself and husband and other people, twenty in number followed the Escalante trail into the Uintah mountains. The country was wild and there were many Indians. We were anxious to keep out of their way. However they gave us but little trouble at the time. Following the Escalante trail we came to a large river which we had to ford. At this place there were many Indians, for it seemed this was their only crossing in that section. After crossing this river, we came to a black canyon. The Indians were watching our movements. After getting into the canyon, we followed it to higher parts where we discovered a large cave and decided to camp here for a time.
"While living there we found and worked a very rich gold mine. We secured much gold. There was an abundance of game. We packed the gold out to a settlement where there was a large lake." '(Spanish Fork only outside settlement at that time)'.
"The Indians watched us while the men were mining so we moved down to the mine. One day my husband and myself went out hunting. When we came back to our camp at the mine, the Indian in a battle had killed all our companions. We were the only two left. There were also a number of dead Indians showing there had been a fierce battle."
"We pulled and piled the bodies of our dead companions, also the Indians into the sloping tunnel of the mine and covered them with brush and rocks. We hurriedly left the country and brought sufficient gold with us to last until this day."
"After finishing her story the old woman gave us a map of the country which located the mine in the Lake Fork mountain and indicating the trail from the Indian ford across the Green River."

"In looking over the territory, Mr. Schaefermeyer found a cave which has been inhabited. The front part is about 90 feet long and 12 feet wide. At another opening in the same cave which he followed for more than a quarter of a mile, with many branches leading from both sides, he is confident it fit the description of the woman's story. This is strewn with river boulders and has been the natural course of water."
"He found natural bridges and many other evidences of having been connected with the story. In telling of the finds which he has thus far discovered, Mr. Schaefermeyer is led to believe the story is no myth and to his mind there someday will be found a place where gold has been taken from the hills. He does not expect the find will be in any degree as has been stated-fabulous gold- but that there is gold there somewhere to find."

There are several articles from the 1890's in the Vernal Express which tell of gold finds in the Uintah's, both on and off the Reservation. One from March 12, 1896, of the Park Record, reads as follows:
" A gentleman just in from Ashley says that the officers at Ft. Duchesne, under pretence of hunting bear, got out on snowshoes, and instead of looking for bruin, thoroughly prospected the gold ledges embraced in the Uintah reservation, bringing back with them samples of quartz that is fairly lousy with gold. It is intiminted that they stand in with the commision, and that as soon as the reservation is opened, the minions of the government, rather than citizens, will secure the most valuable mineral lands therein."
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Re: Gold Prospecting in Uintah Basin Area

Post Number:#2  Postby Whyte Eagle » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:21 pm

Interesting article Argenta ...
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Re: Gold Prospecting in Uintah Basin Area

Post Number:#3  Postby mrjimsfc » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:07 pm

It stands to reason then that one should be able to find placer gold in the steam bed. I've never heard of any being found though.
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Re: Gold Prospecting in Uintah Basin Area

Post Number:#4  Postby Argenta » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:40 pm

Sometimes the gold doesn't make it to the stream bed. Some times the gold gets trapped in groves in the rock. Sometimes it sinks into the soil below the outcropping. Never can tell about gold. When you think you've got a deposit figured out, it goes and fools you! It's where you find it, that's for sure! The trick is to recognize it when you do find it, 'cause only the really pure stuff is the golden-yellow color. The more silver in it, the whiter the metal becomes. The more copper, the greener it becomes, and the more iron, the more orange to brown it can become. Sometimes it can be black, due to manganese stains on it.
But the color you should be looking for in the Uinta Basin, is red ochre deposits which was found to be rich in the yellow metal in the form of gold dust. :o It's no secret, it was found in the 1890's and reported in the local papers. But don't believe that the old timers got it all! Over the years new crops of gold dust have likely been erroded from the rocks which have hidden it. This holds true for played out mines. I know this for a fact in some old mines. But I'm not telling where!
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