Lost Treasures In Oklahoma

Lost Treasures In Oklahoma

Oklahoma probably has more caches of gold and silver (coins and bars) made by Indians than any other state in the Union, plus numerous outlaw, cattleman, and modern-day gangster burial sites of valuables. There are also several lost gold and silver mines in Oklahoma.

The following stories come from countless hours spent in libraries, historical societies, and museums. They are a mixture of legend, folklore, and truth. With this information, a metal detector, and some time, almost anyone can locate one or more of these long-forgotten caches.

The story goes that during the 1830s, a renegade Seminole and black half-breed named Blackface, sometimes called Scar-Face, and his gang plundered and robbed homesteader caravans, traders, Mexican pack trains, and anyone else that they thought might be carrying valuables.

The outlaw band had several hideouts in the heavy-timbered hills of eastern Oklahoma. On one occasion, a party of Mexican traders was traveling from Mexico to St. Louis with several mules’ worth of gold bullion to trade for goods and supplies. When Blackface learned of this pack train, he and his men set up an ambush near where Ft. Gibson National Cemetery is today.

The renegades killed all the traders and then rounded up the mules and led them to a well-hidden cave where the gold was hidden by Blackface and a few trusted members of the gang. A short time later, Blackface was killed in a fight with another outlaw band, and the few of his men who weren’t killed fled to other parts of the country and were afraid to return.

The story of the hidden cave was known among the Indians living in the area, but none knew its location.

A well-known story is that one old Cherokee almost certainly found the hidden cave and showed it to a white man. During the early 1920s, this Indian came to the home of a tavernkeeper in Tahlequah and told him that he was searching for a treasure that his people had talked about for years.

After spending money, the Indian told the innkeeper that he would give the innkeeper half of the treasure, if found, for one more month’s lodging. One evening, when only a few days remained of the agreed-upon month’s stay, the Indian found the concealed cave and agreed to take the innkeeper there.

They walked a short distance from town the next day and blindfolded the innkeeper. Soon after, they came to a cave entrance that was hidden. The Indian removed several stones and, with a torch, led the way deep into the cave.

The innkeeper saw several large clay jars filled with small gold bars. Taking one gold bar, the two left the cave. The Indian blindfolded the innkeeper again and then concealed the cave’s entrance.

The next morning, when the tavern owner checked on the Indian, he was gone. The innkeeper spent several years searching for the cave. It was later learned that the Cherokee had killed a man, and the Indian police were after him. In February 1936, the Tulsa Daily Word said that people were still trying to find the Cherokee but were unsuccessful.

A lost silver mine awaits rediscovery a few miles south of Heavener, somewhere in Round Mountain. It is believed that this mine was worked by the Spanish and that a hoard of silver is still hidden nearby.

Round Mountain, so named for the cap on its top, is about two miles long and runs from east to west. A shelf or bench circles part of the mountain approximately three-quarters of the way up the north side. Somewhere along the flat wall of this shelf is where an ancient silver mine is thought to be.

This mine has had very little searching done for it, making it a good place to check with a metal detector over the weekend or to spend a vacation.

There is a legend that a cave, which is located in a narrow valley in the Horseshoe Bend of the Illinois River, has several churns filled with gold bars. This cache was placed in the cave by Cherokee Indians during the middle 1800s.

Before the Civil War, four Cherokee Indians placed $50,000 in two nail kegs and buried them on Tahlequah Creek. There were gold coins received from the United States government as land payments. The four Indians who buried the gold were killed during the Civil War, and the gold was never found.

There is another treasure, believed to be Cherokee, hidden in the area of Wilburton. This consists of three separate locations, near each other and close to a creek bed. This treasure is supposedly from robberies committed by a gang of renegade Cherokee. No part of any of these caches is known to have been found.

In southern Oklahoma, a cache of gold coins well worth searching for waits for some lucky treasure hunters.

When the Civil War ended, Warren Mun lost almost everything he owned. Sherman’s march from Charleston to Goldsboro, North Carolina, had destroyed the farm that Mun had worked for years to build. Mun loaded up his wife and small daughter and headed west, salvaging a wagon, a team of mules, a few household goods, and his life savings—a quantity of $20.00 in gold pieces.

Several weeks later, he entered the Indian Territory at Ft. Smith. He then crossed the Texas Road north of Perryville and camped at the edge of a small canyon just north of the South Canadian River. While he was camped here, a party of friendly Indians visited the camp.

After they left (Mun was unfamiliar with Indians and thought they were all killers), the family decided, since they could not outrun the Indians if they came back, they would bury the gold until they were ready to move on.

Years later, the daughter described the hiding place of the coins in these words, “My father buried the gold in a cavern beside a dripping spring. I don’t know how much gold there was, but when my father took the strongbox from the wagon, I could not lift it.”

Later that night, Mun was joined by a group of strangers after burying the coins. Still fearing an Indian attack, Mun decided to travel west with this party, but because of the strangers, he was afraid to dig up his gold the following day.

Mun decided to go on to California and return for his gold after settling. But because of the time spent raising his daughter and building a farm, Mun never returned to Oklahoma.

After Mun and his wife died many years later, his daughter returned to Oklahoma to search for gold. After telling her story to residents and not finding the coins, there had been so many changes that the daughter returned to California.

So somewhere near a dripping spring in a small canyon, a few miles southwest of Holdenville in Hughes County, Oklahoma, near the Canadian River, is a cache of gold coins waiting.

The hills of southeastern Oklahoma have spawned many treasure searches. This dates back to when Spaniards and Frenchmen roamed the Kiamichi Mountains.

As old reports verify, the French were aware of silver mines in their country. U.S. Indian agent Dr. John Sibley left one such account of what he had heard concerning the mines on the Kiamichi River.

“The French called the river Kiomitchie,” he said in 1805, “but the French knew it as La Riviere La Mine, or Mine River. They reported that it contained clear water and was boatable for about sixty miles to the silver mine on the river’s bank. The ore appears in large quantities.”

Sibley further stated that “above the mine, the river’s current is too strong for boats to ascend it, the country being hilly.” His story seems to place the silver mine near the present town of Clayton in Pushmataha County.

It is strongly believed that the Spanish sought these mines. Almost one hundred years before Sibley’s report, the French explorer Bernard De la Harpe recorded during his travels through this country in 1718 that old chiefs had told him about other white men who had traded for metals with the Padouca Indians, fifteen days’ journey to the northwest, “where the mountains furnish rock salt.”

While in the mountains north of the Kiamichi River, La Harpe recorded in his journal that he had broken open black rocks that showed streaks of yellow, like gold. Some flint rocks had streaks that seemed to be silver, and La Harpe was convinced that mines of precious metals existed on both sides of the Kiamichi River.

La Harpe’s conjecture about those mines was not far-fetched. Just 55 years after his travels, a French trader named J. Gaignard journeyed up the Red River from Louisiana. In his diary of October 1773, he told of two silver mines known to the Caddo Indians.

Gaignard remained with the Indians for 84 days, and while in a Caddo camp on the Red River, some 55 leagues north of present-day Shreveport, he heard about the silver mines. One, the Indians told him, lay only 12 leagues to the northeast in Arkansas. The other was located on the Kiamichi River, 50 leagues northwest, probably not far from present-day Clayton.

The ruins of many of these ancient diggings have been discovered in recent years, but the mines have not been relocated.

“Go south and then a little way west,” the dying woman gasped. “I buried 500 silver dollars out there under a big oak tree.”

Buddy Bell, a nearly full-blood Choctaw, listened as his mother struggled with the words while she lay racked with pain on the old feather bed by the fireplace. Without saying more, the older woman died.
After the burial, Buddy did fruitless searches for the silver dollars. The trouble was that he did not know how far south or west he was supposed to go, and the woodland was covered with huge post oaks and red oaks.

Buddy dug at what he thought were likely places but eventually abandoned the search. The story of old Mrs. Bell’s silver treasure has long been familiar around Summerfield in LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
If you are in this neck of the woods, why not give it a go?

Most of the country around Summerfield is open to the public. Anyone in town can tell you the way to the old Bell homesite, where 500 silver dollars waits for the lucky treasure hunter.

In 1892, three bandits held up a stage in southern Oklahoma. Two outlaws were killed, and the other one, a man named Allen, was badly wounded. Despite his wounds, Allen managed to escape with the four bags of gold and silver coins and made his way to Fort Sill, where he threw the loot in the well at the Trader’s Post and gave himself up to secure medical attention.

Eventually, he recovered, stood trial, and was sentenced to prison, where he served 35 years before being paroled.

Upon his release, Allen returned to Fort Sill, only to find that the well had been filled in and that officials were in no mood to let him explore. Finally, in association with an old friend and under army supervision, he was allowed to do some minor searching. However, he became ill and gave up in disgust.

In 1964, army officials became interested enough in this supposed treasure to allow several holes to be dug in the vicinity of the old well, but their efforts produced nothing. So far as is known, Allen’s four bags of coins, estimated to total $100,000, are still there.

The Civil War in the Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma, was devastating and tragic. The Indians of the five civilized tribes were forced to fend for themselves, as the Federal Government had removed its troops, leaving the land overrun by outlaws and renegades. It is well known that a brutal breed of bandits infested the lawless region.

At the beginning of the war, Phillip Usray lived at Sallisaw in the timbered hills of present-day Sequoyah County. He was neutral in his feelings and wished to avoid involvement with either side in the conflict. But he had horses and mules that the Union forces badly needed, and since they could pay in gold, Usray sold them his stock.

Upon Usray’s return home after the sale, his young grandson, George, watched the older man place his gold, along with a fine gold watch and his wife’s jewelry, into a box. He wrapped the box in a sheepskin rug and went to the barn to get a shovel, telling his grandson that he was hiding the money where it would be safe.

Usrey and the boy walked to an old spring near the house, and there, the older man told his grandson to wait until he returned. The grandfather then disappeared into the hills and later returned empty-handed.
After the Usrays had finished their evening meal, a loud rapping was heard at the door. Knowing that this meant trouble, Usray hurriedly slipped his young grandson under the heavy truncheon floor of his house and waited.

The door crashed open, and three masked men stalked in, demanding the gold they knew that Usray had received. Usray told the bandits that he had worked hard for his money and would not give away the gold. He was told it was a matter of his life or money.

“Well, I have only one time to die,” said the old man.

The renegades threw a rope around Usray’s neck and dragged him from the house to the spring.
“Now, you’ll talk, or else,” he was told. But Usray remained silent, even after the rope had been thrown over a tree limb and he had been pulled off the ground and then lowered to his feet.

The older man was savagely beaten and finally stabbed when he maintained his silence.

Usray’s grandson had witnessed the brutal murder. After the murderers had ridden away, he ran to the home of his uncle, Tobe Usray. Nothing could be done for Phillip Usray; he was dead.

No one has found the gold that Phillip Usray buried somewhere in the hills near Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

A Confederate Civil War cannon has been lost since the Battle of Cabin Creek, which occurred on September 19, 1864. Cabin Creek runs through the battlefield, and the point where the cannon is believed to have been lost is two and one-tenth miles due north of Pensacola in Mayes County.

There are several versions of how the cannon was lost. Most widely believed that the gun was dumped into the creek by retreating Confederate soldiers to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Yankees.

Locals say that the cannon has been seen in the creek more than once, and there have been several unsuccessful attempts to get it back. The Cabin Creek battlefield should produce other interesting and possibly valuable Civil War relics.

Residents have unearthed two rifles and buckets of Minnie balls without the aid of metal detectors. The rifles were in excellent condition because they had been buried for over 100 years.

Dick Estes robbed a jewelry store in Denver in 1902. He got away with a big haul of $40,000 in jewelry and watches and $20,000 in gold coins. Estes didn’t waste any time getting to Oklahoma Territory, where he had gotten away from the law.

Estes had a mountain hideout up Panther Creek toward the north side of the Wichita Mountains, which seemed a regular lair for his unsavory kind. While holed up in his mountain lair, Estes cached his haul of jewels, watches, and gold, keeping only enough money to get by.

A certain cedar tree was ten paces west of his dugout on the earthen bank, to which only Dick Estes, momentarily, had the combination.

Estes made his first mistake when he rode into the boom town of Lawton, where he contacted Jim Wilkerson. He had known the Wilkerson family for years.

According to Jim, Estes had a knack for losing what little he had, and it wasn’t long before he discovered that his back trail was too warm for him to remain longer in Lawton. Finding himself broke and needing a fresh horse, he offered Wilkerson a trade Jim didn’t feel he could pass up.

He gave Jim directions to the $60,000 cache for a horse and saddle and invited him to help himself to a fair share. Estes was convinced that he’d be back to retrieve the remainder in due time.

But that time never came for Estes. The outlaw was soon apprehended and lodged in the Lawton jail. He escaped and remained large for two years or more in New Mexico. Then he was recaptured and returned to Lawton, where he was incarcerated again.

What happened to the $60,000 cache?

It was some time before Jim Wilkerson attempted to find the outlaw hideaway and the treasure that Dick Estes had buried at the foot of a nearby cedar tree. When he finally did find the old outlaw haunt, the key to finding the cache had disappeared.

Many of the cedars in the area had been cut down for firewood, no doubt by the miners. Jim found what he believed was the stump of a cedar tree, but he found nothing at its base.

The $60,000 cache remains where Dick Estes buried it, near the old outlaw dugout.

Six or seven miles east of U.S. 271 on the Holsum Valley Road in LeFlore County, Oklahoma, a half-bushel basket full of silver coins may be buried. It is believed to be loot from Hartford, Arkansas, and Heavener, Oklahoma, bank holdups by the Henry Starr gang around 1920, when Starr was active in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

One of the gang members lived for a while in Holsum Valley under the pretense of farming a small tract of rocky land near what is now the Lee Elwood ranch. This gang member, whom I shall call “Smith” to avoid offending any of the family now living, was holding the rather bulky loot for the rest of the gang until the heat was off.

What gold coins there had been in the money sacks were picked out by the gang, but not many of the hundreds of other coins were taken, as the outlaws had to scatter fast and wide in order not to arouse suspicion.

In time, Smith was sent word to meet the rest of the gang and bring the coins to a certain point near the base of Winding Stair Mountain, which borders Holsum Valley on the south; however, Smith never showed up. He wanted the silver for himself.

The remaining holdup men, of course, went in search of the treacherous Smith. But Smith always had plenty of warning if riders approached his farm, the rugged Blue Mountain north at his back, an open field to the south and west in front of his cabin, and Holsum Creek immediately to the east.

Furthermore, his children served as innocent lookouts during the daylight hours. The outlaw quietly slipped away into the underbrush whenever unidentified riders drew near.

Smith was dogged incessantly by the gang, and he knew they would eventually try to kill him regardless of what he did with the money. Newt Lloyd’s brother, recalling incidents narrated by Smith’s wife, told Newt that the outlaw realized his time was limited and decided to run for it.

Before leaving, Smith showed his wife where the coins were buried, instructing her to use them after the gang had left the county on his trail.

According to Newt’s brother, Smith never returned from his flight from the gang, and for nearly two years (during which time Mrs. Smith said she was watched by a horseman looking for imaginary cattle, a deer hunter straying too close to the cabin, etc.), she waited.

Finally, for fear of her family’s safety, she loaded up her wagon and moved to Arkansas, leaving the silver coins behind.

A Creek Indian chief named Hopoithle Yoholo is said to have buried $100,000 in gold in or near Brush Hill, Oklahoma. In records of the Indian Territory, the name of the chieftain Oscan referred to is more commonly spelled Opothle Yahola.

His people lived in and near the Indian community of Brush Hill, in what is now McIntosh County. Shortly after the start of the Civil War, Yahola is said to have received an annuity payment from the United States government. According to the treaty that moved the Creeks from the southeast to the Indian Territory, this payment of $20 in gold pieces was supposed to be shared among Yahola’s people.

But by the time Yahola got the gold, many of his people had left because they feared the war would spread to their area. Yahola decided to hold the gold until his people were once more united. With the help of a friend, the money was placed in a large trunk.

Pressing four blacks into service, the trunk was lowered into a pit near Brush Hill and covered. Then, to preserve their secret, the men were slain.

In late 1861, Yahola collected his people and started for Kansas, where they expected protection from the Union forces if the war spread to the west. On the way, however, they were attacked by Confederate guerrillas. Several of the Indians were killed, and the remainder scattered in flight.

Among those killed was Yahola’s friend, who had helped him bury the treasure. Shortly after reaching Kansas, Yahola himself died.

He supposedly told a fellow Creek, Joe Grayson of Okmulgee, that the trunk was buried near the fork of a road a short distance north of Brush Hill. Grayson searched but never found the coins, which are supposedly still buried there.

The afternoon sun beamed on three men on a hot summer day in July 1900. They were camped at Pine Crossing on the Little River, north of Old Ringold, Oklahoma, and here the Old Military Road crossed the river. The trail was used in the 1800s, both during and after the Civil War.

One of the men noted that thunderheads were beginning to build up in the nearby mountains and told his two companions that they would probably be in for a storm. Those black clouds to the north also threatened to make the river a dangerous enemy. After a rain in the mountains, walls of water had been known to roar down the usually quiet river with disastrous results.

The man shouldered his double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun, called to his dog, and walked across the river in a southeasterly direction from camp. The woods were hot and low rumbling thunder from the storm could be heard in the distance.

After an hour’s hunt, he had bagged two squirrels. Suddenly, his old dog took off through the woods after a rabbit. He heard the dog barking off in the distance. The underbrush cleared away enough for him to see that he was walking into a small valley with high walls on either side, but he soon stopped as a solid wall of rock blocked the path.

He could hear the dog barking now but couldn’t see him anywhere. He walked up to the wall, and an excellent air draft caressed his face. Immediately, he knew that he had discovered a cave.

He called to the dog, and lightning struck a large tree simultaneously. Without further thought, he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled into the narrow opening. He crawled into the darkness after picking up a few small branches from the entrance and lighting a match to help him find his way.

A few feet further in, he reached an area where he could stand. He built a small fire and turned to survey the cave.

He could see stack after stack of long, narrow wooden boxes along one wall. He took his hunting knife out of its sheath and worked for a while to pry one board off. When he did, he saw that the box held six very old rifles still covered in a thick layer of oil.

Further examination showed them Winchester, repeating rifles, calibers 45–70. The other boxes were also filled with rifles and revolvers. Some boxes bore the name Winchester Repeating Arms Company, New Haven, Connecticut, and some contained Sharps 50 caliber single-shot buffalo guns.

Saddles and other trappings were strewn about the floor, and cooking utensils were seen, as were kegs, large wooden barrels, and boxes of all sizes. He was elated by this time and knew he had made a tremendous find.

Several times, he gathered more wood for the fire. He noticed three large trunks sitting far back in a dark recess of the room. Two of the trunks resisted his efforts to open them, but the third opened with ease. There were dozens of watches of various sizes on the top tray of the old trunk. They were solid gold hunting watches and some smaller gold railroad watches.

The bottom part of the trunk was piled several inches deep with gold and silver coins of all denominations. On one side was a small stack of big paper money, also in several denominations. He also found more watches, rings, hunting knives, small, heavy leather bags that might have contained gold dust, and several revolvers.

He gathered a handful of gold and silver coins from the bottom of the box and stuck them in his pockets. He places four of the beautiful hunting watches in his shirt, and reaching into the box one more time, he removes one of the beautiful old handguns and moves close to the fire to read its markings. It was a brand-new single-action Colt 45 caliber, with a patent date of July 12, 1872. He stuck the pistol into his belt, called to his dog, and left the cave.

The man and dog wandered for the rest of the night. Early the following morning, his two companions found him, wet and near exhaustion, about half a mile south of Pine Knott Crossing on the east side of Little River.

They never again located the cave. For three days, he and his companions searched the hills. He had walked for less than an hour; that day, he was hunting, so the cave had to be in an area covering less than one square mile, southeast of the low-water crossing and on the east side of the river. The man returned to the area every year until he passed away in 1950 at 75.

Others knew of the man and his search, and another man also searched for the last days of his life there. Most of the old settlers in and around Valiant, Oklahoma, know of the legend of Pine Knott Crossing and its lost treasure trove. Many of these same people can verify that the story is true.

Any older residents there can and will give you directions to the Old Ringold town site and Pine Knott Crossing on the Little River.

In 1866, five young men, big and tough and led by Jim Barnett, formed a gang after repeated failures at prospecting in Colorado. They started to rob trains and special vehicles that were known to carry a lot of raw gold.

Never bothering with silver, they also lay in wait for miners who had struck it rich and were heading for Denver to have a good time. Toward the end of their robbing career, they began taking the big companies that bought gold, and when they did, they also got a lot of coined gold and some assayer’s slugs.

The gang accumulated almost half a million dollars worth of gold at the prices of those days. The gang had worked so carefully and quietly that no one suspected them. Possessive law enforcement officers and miners were riding the country, chasing down other road agents but failing to catch the elusive Barnett gang.

The men posed as prospectors when they did sell a little dust for expenses. This alone probably helped keep them from attracting attention from law enforcement officers. But their outlaw spree was about over.

The public outcry to get the gang that took only large amounts of gold and then disappeared completely forced law enforcement officers to take desperate measures. The gang decided to break and run to safety.

In Denver, the gang leader made a near-fatal decision. He decided that each gang member should take a small buckskin poke of dust and have a high old time in the rapidly expanding city of Cherry Creek. The leader didn’t suspect that one member couldn’t handle his liquor.

This one talked too much, dropping enough information to be reported as probably a robber to law enforcement officers who came around asking questions. Finally realizing that he had talked unwisely, the robber turned belligerent and was killed in a fast shootout.

The news spread quickly, bringing the four survivors together in a hurry. They were scared they might not get away, not knowing what their deceased companion had spilled.

The four ran for the corral, where their livestock and pack equipment had been left. They threw the heavy loot and grub into the panniers, packed up, and drove the string of mules from Denver at about three o’clock in the morning.

Before they reached the Kansas border, a posse overhauled them in mid-afternoon. Two of the gang dropped back to hold the posse off while the remaining pair kept the mules heading east. Making their stand, the two outlaws killed and wounded several of the posses, but they were eventually slain. One of the fleeing men discovered this and rode back to check.

Continuing to flee as fast as possible, they did not let their tension relax until they were sure they were safe from Colorado’s pursuit. Halting at Dodge City, one hid with the mules. The other man entered the town to buy grub and survey the risks of going via train.

He had purchased a few supplies when a town marshal accosted him and began questioning him. Barnett said the officer was a new deputy marshal. The outlaw promptly knocked him down with his pistol barrel.
The outlaw mounted up and left Dodge on the run.

On the creek, he told his partner what had happened. The outlaws promptly headed south, sure that a posse would soon be after them.

After crossing into the Indian Nations, they slowed down again and ran head-on into a unit of the Cherokee Light Cavalry (Indian Police). Fortunately, the packs were not searched. The outlaws told a story of “going home to Texas” and said they were nearly out of grub and needed to find a place to buy some.

It was easy to see that they were unfamiliar with the country, so the Light Cavalry escorted them to a trading post on the Salt Fork of the Wescatunga River. It was now decided they might make it to Texas. Cutting east to the Chisholm Trail, they started down that frontier thoroughfare.

At Shawneetown, they turned due south, crossing the Big Canadian into the Chickasaw Nation, somewhere in what is now Coal County, Oklahoma.

They decided to bury the loot ($200,000 at today’s prices) and drive the mules well out of the area before abandoning them. Then they could flee to safety without being hampered. The gold was cached on a small creek from east to west. They planned to return when the heat had evaporated and dug up the loot. Each had taken a sack of coins for living expenses.

The two first rested at Belton on the Blue River, a known outlaw rendezvous, before going to Denison, Texas. One of them was halted on the street to be questioned. He imagined arrest was imminent and resisted. He shot the officer down but was killed by another officer.

The sole surviving outlaw, about 1880 or 1881, went to the Indian Nations and exercised an Indian headright by taking up land on the creek where the loot was buried. So many changes had occurred that the old outlaw could not locate any caches.

In 1933, two men went to storeman John Grigsby with a story; they believed the buried loot was on a farm Grigsby owned near Clarita. They wanted to excavate with teams and would give him a percentage. Grigsby agreed to the proposition.

The two men worked that summer, scooping out a massive hole in the ground, but they found nothing. The site of the old place can easily be located one and one-half miles north of Clarita Creek.

An army payroll of $96,000 is believed to be still waiting for some lucky searchers near the old Navajo Trail crossing on Otter Creek, about four miles south of the Lower Narrows near Cold Springs, Oklahoma.

When a regular stagecoach route was established between Henrietta, Texas, and Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, it made travel much easier for soldiers and politicians to visit Indian Territory and for the army payrolls to be delivered. It was sometime in the late 1880s that the stage company agreed to transport a $96,000 army payroll to Ft. Sill from Henrietta. No soldiers accompanied the stage to avoid arousing suspicion of what was being carried.

After leaving Henrietta, everything went well until the stage reached Red River. A few miles before reaching a relay station, seven masked men rode out from cover and forced the stage to stop. After removing the bags of gold, the outlaws told the driver and guard to drive on. The bandits then headed for the Wichita Mountains.

The stage reached the relay station, where a rider was sent back to Henrietta to telegraph Fort Sill of the robbery. It was never learned how the outlaws knew that the stagecoach was carrying the payroll. A group of soldiers was sent to try and trail the outlaws. After several hours of searching, the tracks of seven horses were found that led to Cut-Throat Gap.

The outlaws and soldiers met in this gap, where a pitched battle was fought between them. The outlaws realized they would have to break out, but five were killed before this could be done. The remaining two (one of whom was badly wounded) tied the bags of gold onto horses and, keeping under cover, managed to escape the soldiers.

After a short while, when no gunfire was returned, the soldiers moved in and found the five dead bandits. They were amazed that the two outlaws had somehow gotten away with the gold.

After burying the five dead men, the soldiers started after the other pair. The two outlaws had ridden west to a creek crossing. A severe loss of blood caused the wounded man to dismount and wait while the other buried the gold on the west side of the stream. When he returned, the wounded outlaw was dead.

Knowing that the soldiers would not be far behind, the remaining bandit covered his partner’s body with rocks, turned the horses loose, hoping they would follow their tracks, and then left to return to Texas. The soldiers found the sixth outlaw’s grave and followed the horses’ tracks, but when they found them, the horses carried nothing.

It wasn’t until 1925 that anything new was learned of this robbery. Four men came from Texas to Cold Springs looking for an old creek crossing. They claimed to have a map telling where the gold was hidden. The remaining outlaw that escaped, before dying, had left directions but had been afraid to return for the gold.

The four men learned where the crossing had been, but as far as anyone ever knew, the payroll was not found. This would be a good location for further research.

There are said to be two treasures buried near Taloga in Dewey County. On the banks of the Canadian River, south of Taloga is supposedly a buried cannon stuffed with gold. Some stories aren’t clear about who hid this treasure, but one says it was a group of Confederate soldiers on the run.

Between Taloga and the town of Lenore to the west is said to be a cave used as a hideout by the Dalton gang. Some Dewey County residents claim that money is buried in this cave and that several unsuccessful searches have been conducted.

This location of a hidden cache of $50,000 in gold near Rattan, taken from a stagecoach during a robbery in the 1890s, is unusual in that directions for its recovery were given by the outlaw who committed the holdup.

After he was caught, the thief tried to bribe a deputy sheriff. They made a deal that if the deputy found the stash, he told him about, the thief would be freed when he returned with the money. The deputy searched but did not follow the directions correctly, for the bandit was hanged soon after his return.

An old resident of Hugh, who in 1958 recalled the proceedings, did not believe the deputy found the money, as he did not show any increased prosperity afterward and never left town. The cache consisted of $50,000 in gold taken from a stagecoach. The bandit claimed that he had removed the coins from the safe.

He gave the directions to the deputy sheriff: “Go to Rattan, just north of Hugh, then to Seven Devil Mountain. From the waterhole or spring to be found, walk up the road (trail) to an old dry creek. Turn left at this creek until you come to an old grown-over cow trail. You will be going down this creek.

At the cow trail, cross the creek and follow this cow trail, with the mountain at your right, until it plays out near a dogwood tree that has been cut down and left hanging about three or four feet high from the ground.

Take the left end of this trail, cross the creek with water in it, and go up the creek until you see another trail. Leave the creek to your right. You will come to a dry creek bed or small canyon (arroyo), and in this canyon, you will find a large rock with an arrow cut on it.

Climb over this rock and keep up the canyon for about 400 yards with the mountain on your left. There, look for a big rock on which is cut a turkey foot with a nail, and here look east for three small red oak trees (probably grown by now) in which you will find three bullet holes in one of them.

One of the trees also has a black knothole in it. Just back of these trees is a big cliff or a bridge-like ledge with three cracks running across it. The money is jammed into one of the cracks with a small rock hammered in on top of it, wrapped in a red saddle blanket and a yellow slicker.”

This cache has never been reported as found, and all indications indicate that it is still there, somewhere near Rattan, Oklahoma.

Scroll to Top