Monday, January 25, 2010

Spooking Happenings on Treasure Mountain

Are you wanting to find something out of the ordinary? Something really big that will give you the satisfaction of a job well done and a very nice retirement too? Are you not bothered by strange coincidences that could be spirit related?

If so, then maybe you should head to Colorado this summer and do some poking around Treasure Mountain. Once there, you just might find gold left behind by the French worth more than 50 million dollars at today’s prices!

Before you go, make sure you are in shape and well prepared. There are three Treasure Mountains in Colorado so you will want to be on the right one. I don’t think you will have to worry about scaling the mountain to find the gold but be prepared for it to be rugged in spots. And if you didn’t already know, this would be a spring and summer time hunt.

The Treasure Mountain you will be looking for is in the southern part of Colorado near Summitville. According to the stories, in the late 1700’s a group of 300 frogs (Frenchmen) headed west to the mountains from an outpost that was located near present day Leavenworth, KS. The men, along with 450 horses, made the trek to the Colorado mountains in search of the ever illusive shiny yellow stuff, GOLD. Once they arrived at the mountains they didn’t have much luck in finding gold until they happened upon Treasure Mountain in Mineral County, CO.
Once there they began making discovery after discovery of gold in the creeks and streams on Treasure Mountain. As the frogs began to collect their gold and the amounts of gold became substantial, they chose to store it in three separate spots with the commanding officer keeping a map to those locations.

As you can imagine, they were fairly ecstatic about their finds and in the process ignored the large Indian presence in the area. The Indians took offense at the frogs being on their land and began making forays into their camp at night stealing a few horses and other supplies each time. The Indians apparently got bored with this technique of annoying the French and chose to mount an all out assault on the frenchies. This lead to the gold being consolidated into one large cache and buried. The “historian” of the group, a man named LeBlanc, made a map and one copy of the map so that the gold could be retrieved at a later date if necessary.

As you can imagine, there was some pretty fierce fighting and when it was over only about 30 of the frenchies were still alive. This small group of men made a hasty retreat from the area but were attacked again, leaving the number of surviving frogs at five. The final five started to make the long journey back to the outpost in Kansas with very little supplies. Unfortunately for the five, this was during the winter and as they traveled, three more succumbed to the elements and starvation.

The last two men arrived at the outpost in Kansas but, as luck would have it, one of these two died after arriving. This left just one sole survivor of the expedition, the historian LeBlanc. LeBlanc had the two maps with him and once he had recuperated he returned to France and gave one of the maps to the French government and kept the other for himself.

After LeBlanc returned to France a second expedition made a trip to the area to retrieve the gold. History is unclear if this expedition was mounted by LeBlanc and his family or the French government. Whoever it was traveled through Taos, New Mexico and stopped to hire a guide to lead them back to the area of Summitville, CO.

Several months later the guide returned to Taos alone claiming that the entire expedition had been wiped out by Indians. People in Taos didn’t believe this story and even went so far as to put the guide on trial for murder. He was acquitted and then rumors began to surface that the latest expedition of frenchies actually found the gold and returned to France, paying the guide to tell everyone they were killed and never found the gold.

Jump ahead to 1878 and you find a story of two not so bright cowboys who found themselves lost in a snow storm in the San Juan Mountains. During their search for some shelter they found a cave to crawl into. Once in the cave they found a large stack of gold bars and helped themselves to one each. These bars were taken to an assay office in Redcliff where they sold the gold. The two cowboys planned to return to the cave and bring back the rest of the gold but as hard as they tried, the could never relocate the cave.

Now this story gets a little strange in that these two cowboys were said to have found the gold left behind by the frenchies but according to the story the gold supposedly had Spanish markings on it. Call me cynical, but I don’t think the frogs would mark their gold with a Spanish stamp. This would mean there appears to be two large stockpiles of gold on Treasure Mountain, one left by the French and the other left by the Spanish.

I didn’t do any follow up on this but according to the cowboy story, one of the gold bars is in a museum in Colorado somewhere.

Over the years there have been a few other people pop up claiming to have a copy of the LeBlanc map. One was a man named William Yule who searched the entire western side of the valley and found nothing. Either his map wasn’t very good or he wasn’t very good at reading the map. Yule eventually sold a copy of the map to Asa Poor and his two partners and they began their own search. This group didn’t find anything either and that copy of the map finally ended up with one of Mr. Poor’s partners, a man named Montroy. From there, the trail of the map ends. No one knows what happened to the copy of the map as Mr. Montroy was never able to find the treasure with it either.

I know, you’re wondering when the spooky part comes in. Relax, take a deep breath, I’m getting to it.

We will jump ahead again; this time to the 1990’s where a family said to be direct descendants of LeBlanc claim to have the actual LeBlanc map, written in French, that they used to find the treasure. For three generations this family has been quietly searching for the gold left behind by their ancestor and his group. Three generations, that’s a long damn time to stare at a map!!

According to the family, the map shows eight landmarks that you need to find and they supposedly had already found seven of those. In 1993 one of the family members was elk hunting in the mountains south of Del Norte. The weather turned bad and it began to rain so the hunter took refuge in a small hole in the side of the mountain. Upon closer examination the hunter realized he was in a man made tunnel that was about five feet tall and four feet wide. He followed the tunnel back about twenty feet until he ran into a spot where it had collapsed and he could go no farther. He began to look around with his flashlight when low and behold, he found a carving on the side of the tunnel wall and this carving was supposedly the eighth land mark on the map.

OK, I have a few problems with this part of the story but I will leave it up to our readers to decide for themselves what they want to believe or follow up on with more research.

As the story goes, the hunter returned to the tunnel the next day with “20 members of his family” and they began to clear the tunnel out. The family was able to clear an additional twelve feet of tunnel before it started getting towards the end of the day. According to the family, they began to line the inside of the tunnel with candles so they could light them to see their way but before they could light any of them “a rattlesnake lunged out of the darkness at the end of the tunnel” trying to bite one of the family members.

This scared the you know what out of the guy and he made a mad scramble for the opening of the tunnel. Once he reached the opening a swarm of bats came flying out of the hillside “squeaking and aggressively diving” at the group. Once they recovered their senses from being attacked by a snake and bats they decided to go back to their task of lightning the candles in the tunnel. Again, according to the family, when they went inside the tunnel to light the first candle near the opening, the last candle at the end of the dark end of the tunnel lit all by itself!

If that wasn’t enough, as they sat at the opening of the tunnel staring at the lit candle at the end they were attacked by a huge owl that continually “dive bombed” the group for several minutes.
The family, apparently more than slightly superstitious, took these as an omen and the left the tunnel.

Yea, I know, I find it hard to believe an owl, a rattle snake, some bats and an apparent self igniting candle kept them from looking for a gi-normous treasure, but that’s what the story says. I would think that most of those problems could be solved with a shotgun, but that’s just me!

There are several things in this story that I find a little more than odd. As I said before, I will leave it up to our readers to decide what they want to believe and what they may want to research more. I’m simply repeating the story.

As an update, the last thing I had heard, and this was from the late 1990’s, the family had apparently filed for and obtained a treasure trove permit from the state of Colorado so that they could legally retrieve any treasure that might be in the tunnel. Since we haven’t heard anything in the news I would think that there is a good possibility they never made a recovery.

Is the gold from the French expedition still hidden in Treasure Mountain? Could there be another treasure, this one left by the Spanish on the mountain too? Well, it is called Treasure Mountain for a reason!


Anonymous said...

I've researched this story for six years now and have yet to find anything that cannot be substantiated. All the stories are true and can be proven with documentation except for the owls and rattlesnakes and such. Possibl a ploy by the family with the "map" to throw off people by claiming the treasure is near Del Norte.It seems that the most elusive part is the map.Can anyone get a copy from the French government? Someday we might find out but untill then we must continue the search.

Anonymous said...

I Am Currently Living In Aurora,Co RighT Now And Plan On Makin A Trip To The Mountain For A WeeK This Summer OR Spring.

Jd Peith said...

Your article was harder to take seriously for me by your use and overuse of the derogatory term "frogs" for Frenchmen. Was there a reason for your use of this means of description?