A valley leading into the Wichita Mountains on the northwest side known as Cutthroat Gap is one of those places you could set up camp in and just stay for months chasing down treasure stories. Cutthroat Gap gets its name from an Indian massacre that occurred in 1833. The Osage Indians attacked a Kiowa Indian village located in the valley while most of the Kiowa warriors were off attacking another tribe. All of the men in the Kiowa tribe that were in the village at the time were killed along with most of the 150 women and children. The Osage Indians cut the heads from the bodies and left them in a row of kettles throughout the village. I’m sure you can guess why the valley is now known as Cutthroat Gap.
Steve Wilson, in his book “Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales” covered some information about Cutthroat Gap but for those of you that don’t have his book here are a few of the stories about this intriguing place.
Besides the Indian massacre that took place you also have the story of the Missouri traders that were returning home from Santa Fe in 1833 with $10,000 in silver coins. The Kiowa Indians attacked the traders and most of the traders were killed but the ones that survived buried the majority of the coins in the sand in Cutthroat Gap. The Indians had found a few loose coins on the ground and once they discovered the value of the coins the Kiowas returned to the site of the attack where they searched for and apparently found some of these coins. It is said that during heavy rains a few silver coins occasionally get washed up where they can be seen on the ground.
You also have the story of the payroll of $96,000 in gold coins headed for Fort Sill that never made it. Seven outlaws committed this robbery several miles from the Charley Crossing stage station. The outlaws headed for the Wichita Mountains after the robbery. Soldiers from Fort Sill found the outlaws camped in Cutthroat Gap and as happened in those days, got into a gunfight with the group. Five of the outlaws were killed and two escaped with the gold. They rode west to a creek crossing thought to be about four miles south of Cold Springs, on the lower part of Otter Creek. The sacks of gold were buried on the west side of the creek and the two outlaws continued on with their escape. The old crossing was thought to be known as the Navajo Trail and the gold is supposed to be close to this location.
In 1925 four men from Texas came to the area of Cold Springs with a map. They were seeking an old crossing, which they found, but they never found any gold.
Not far from Cutthroat Gap you have a Jesse James treasure in the amount of $180,000. This was said to have been the proceeds from a robbery at Dodge City. This treasure is supposed to be hidden in a sealed cave with several clues leading to it. I believe if this treasure is still out there it will be located on the refuge now somewhere around Mount Pinchot and out of reach of most treasure hunters.
There is a story of another robbery that occurred in Lawton, Oklahoma in the early 1900s. The outlaws who committed this robbery also fled to the area of Cutthroat Gap where they stashed their ill-gotten gains. They continued to run from the law and apparently never got back to claim their treasure.
A “bandit queen” was supposed to have hidden out in Cutthroat Gap. The story doesn’t say who the bandit queen was but it may have been Belle Star, she was known to have been in the Wichita Mountains area. The bandit queen had a cabin north of Squaw Mountain and west of Mount Pinchot. It is thought she buried some of her plunder around where her cabin was.
There is supposed to be an abandoned and sealed gold mine just north of Cutthroat Gap. It could be that this mine, or even another spot is rich with gold ore. In 1976 a prospector find a piece of quartz north of Cutthroat Gap, just outside of the refuge line that assayed at 40% gold. This would be well worth finding at today’s gold prices.
This should wet your whistle a little as far as treasure stories go. I will endeavor to post some others, even some for different states other than Oklahoma in the future.