Skip to main content

Oklahoma Treasure: The Miners Loot at Black Dog Trail Crossing

"Boys I believe I have found a gold mine!”

All it took was these simple words to set in motion a global cascade of events that forever changed the American West. It was in 1848 when an obscure New Jersey carpenter and mechanic named James W. Marshall uttered these words. By 1849, gold passion was an epidemic. Merchants closed their shops; farmers left their fields; soldiers left their posts - every part of society was influenced by the new found treasure trove of gold in California.

Among those 49’ers that made the trip west towards California were eight robust men from Virginia, intent on striking it rich in those golden hills. After just a few short months, Lady Luck smiled down on those fortune seekers. They hired an ox team to carry their baggage back to Virginia. Along with their personal belongings, they also carried several bags laden with gold nuggets of every size.

Having left behind the wicked and harsh life of California, they also left behind the stealing, lying, swearing, drinking, gambling & murdering that went on there. Instead, they were looking forward to a life of luxury and relaxation. Somewhere along the way, that fickle Lady Luck left them. In the three months it took them to travel from California to Oklahoma, they were faced with many great trials, but their greatest trial came while camped near the Black Dog Trail Crossing on the Arkansas River.

Oklahoma Treasure: Searching for Gold in California

Oklahoma Treasure: Searching for Gold in California

The area around the Black Dog Trail Crossing was known to be inhabited by the Osage Indians.  The Osage were a fierce tribe, and guarded their lands aggressively, often taking the scalps of defeated enemies and displaying them openly.

While the eight men camped near the trail crossing, one of them witnessed the advance of an oncoming Osage war party.  Having heard of the ferocity of the Osage, the men quickly buried the bags of gold near the river bank and wedged a broken rifle in the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. 

While the men knew that fighting the Osage was futile, they made a valiant attempt.  After a short but deadly attack, seven of the men lay dead.  The remaining man was severely wounded. 

Oklahoma Treasure: An Osage Warrior

Oklahoma Treasure: An Osage Warrior

It took the wounded man several weeks to make the return trip to his home in Virginia.  The voyage further depleted the weak man’s strength, and he soon succumbed to his wounds.  Before taking his final breath, he told his family of the hidden gold.

Scroll to Continue

It took the family several years to return to Oklahoma.  During that time, they assumed that the stash of gold would remain hidden, but once they arrived to search for the hidden cache, all signs of its existence were gone.  They spent several weeks searching the Black Dog Trail crossing, but they never could find either the marker or any signs of battle.  Disappointed, they slowly made their way back home to Virginia.

To this day, the gold has never been found.

Where to Find the Oklahoma Treasure

While this Oklahoma treasure tale is based on fact, one can only speculate about the treasures current existence.  Was this Oklahoma treasure found?  Is there still untold wealth scattered about on the old trail crossing?

Imagine if this Oklahoma treasure still existed - that would, indeed, be quite an amazing thing.

The Black Dog Trail is an Osage trail that runs from Kansas and Oklahoma. It extended from east of present Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Great Salt Plains in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma.

The location of the Black Dog Trail Crossing is at NewKirk, Oklahoma in Kay County.


Eric Standridge (author) from Oklahoma on April 25, 2010:

::grins:: Gotta have Oklahoma - there's no other state like it!

Ohma on April 25, 2010:

How can I take over the world if I do not have Oklahoma?

Related Articles