Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bread Tray Mountain in Missouri, A Silver Hunter's Dream?

If you happen to get out to the southeast part of Missouri you might want to do some poking around Bread Tray Mountain near Potosi, MO.

It is known that the Spanish were in this area as late as the 1830’s and mined silver from this mountain. Several Spanish artifacts have been recovered from a cave on this mountain known as “Old Spanish Cave”. Pretty original name, huh? As the story goes and it’s about the same as every place else, the Spaniards came into the area, enslaved the Indians and made them do the mining of the silver for them.

The Spaniards were said to have built a fort on top of Bread Tray Mountain, elevation above sea level about 1400 feet, and that they stored the mined silver in a vault that was located under the fort. They were planning on taking the silver by land to a ship and have it sent back to Spain but the Indians had other plans. As you can imagine, the Indians killed or ran off the Spaniards and the massive amount of silver was supposedly left sealed in the vault under the fort never to be seen again.

There is another story of a silver mine on Bread Tray Mountain, this one about a group of “renegade” Indians that were mining silver on their own. Sometime around 1832 this small group of Indians, who were supposedly seeking shelter from a bad storm at the time, found a cave. This cave had a really nice vain of silver in it which this group of Indians began to mine. It is said that the Indians made jewelry out of the silver that they traded or sold as far away as St. Louis.

The vein of silver in this cave was so big that the Indians began having a surplus of silver so it was melted down into ingots and stored inside the cave. Now here is a twist you don’t normally hear, the band of Indians saw a group of “Mexican gold hunters” approaching the mountain, coming up the White River and they thought if they were discovered the Mexicans might attack in order to take control of the silver mine.

The Indians are said to have carefully concealed the entrance to the cave and then headed west from the mountain to avoid the Mexicans. As with most treasure legends, the Indians were besieged by bad luck in their travels and they supposedly never returned to the site of the silver mine.

So the Spanish came first and were eventually run off or killed by Indians and then the Indians ran off because of the Mexicans. No wonder this is such a mystery!

Did the renegade Indians in 1832 stumble across the old Spanish silver mine from a few years earlier? Could there be two separate silver mines on Bread Tray Mountain that produced a large amount of silver?

Either way it appears that there are two separate stashes of silver bars on this mountain just waiting to be found. One where the old Spanish fort was supposed to be and one in the cave where the Indians mined their silver from.

Silver isn't as expensive as gold but I would think if you had a truck load of it you could still be a very happy camper, er..... hunter!


billco said...

Nice blog you have going. I found it from your T-Net link. I'll come back and read it closer when I get time.

Anonymous said...

I think your location for Breadtray Mountain is off, I think you mean the one near Lampe, MO in Stone county. In his book "Ozark Magic and Folklore", folklorist Vance Randolph tells this same story, except he is referring to Breadtray Mountain in Stone county.