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The Lost Rhoades Mines and Spanish Mines


Utah Legends of Spanish Mines & Mormon Gold

Documented by Timothy Draper

Categories & Site Details: Adventures & Treasures, Ancient History, Famous Treasure Stories, Field Research, Gold, Gold & Doubloons, Lost Forgotten History, Mining Legends, Mysteries, Spanish Treasure


Utah legends are very well known, and the Rhoades mines go right along with the Utah treasure culture and folklore. I suggest you sit back and relax because I’m about to tell you a great story. 

We all know about the story of the Spanish that conquered the mighty and powerful Aztecs, but do you know what happened after Cortez and his Spaniards defeated the Aztecs?  Many Spanish ships and conquistadors followed Cortez from Spain after news spread that Cortez had a victory. The king of Spain was ready to explore for land and riches and he spent a lot of money and manpower to do so. For many years, the Spanish explored the South and North of Mexico City. They reached as far south as the Incas in Peru and as far north as Idaho for generations. That’s right. I said Idaho. 

You must understand that the Spanish were not invested in anything but valuable things at that time. Plundering and taking what they wanted is what they were good at. Slavery and massacres were normal along with conquering a city and converting people into Catholics. 

A lot of their time was spent in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and more but Utah is where this story lives. We all were taught that Dominquez Escalante was the first Spanish explorer to travel the western states, but that history is wrong. It has been proven by many researchers, but the officials have discredited that due to the history that has been taught in our school systems. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I know what I have seen with my own two eyes. Some call me a treasure hunter. Some say a historical treasure hunter. I like the term Historical Researcher. I find evidence of history, which in return, points me to unknown treasures, mines, caches, old documents, maps, and much more. 

I would like to make a couple of things clear to the reader before I move on to this story. I am a religious man but I’m not faithful to one church or organization. I don’t let my research and discoveries become contaminated by religion. I only go where the evidence takes me. I’m driven by real history, not what I learned in school. I’m more of a treasure and history scientist that conducts real case studies based on evidence.  I use urban legends and folklore to help me start new research, but I do not let it lead the way. 






Spanish Conquistadors Exploration to Treasures & Mines



By the early 1600s, the Spanish had been plundering and mining in Arizona and they slowly made their way north. Spanish conquistadors ended up looking for more gold and riches to be found and landed in places like the Grand Canyon, Zions National Park, St. George Utah, and many other places. As their travel grew further and further north, they would find one place to explore and send other explorers traveling further. Although many disagree when the Spanish arrived in northern Utah, evidence and rock carvings suggest that it was in the 1600s, give or take a couple of decades. Southern Utah was where they found rich silver, but they stumbled on the Uinta Mountains in North Eastern Utah. The Uinta Mountains are a beautiful mountain range that stretches for many miles from East to West with elevations from 5900 feet to 13,000 feet in elevation. 

During the time of exploration, the Spanish started communicating with the local Indians and learned of the riches and history of ancient cultures that once ruled the area. Like many powerful civilizations, precious minerals were used for the trading and growth of a nation. The Spanish learned all they needed to hear, and they started a vast search for gold and silver. The Spanish did find several rich gold and silver veins and even ancient mines that were not played out. There are even accounts and old Spanish documents that tell of ancient structures and fortresses that they found along the way. 

In no time at all, the Spanish kidnapped local Indians to work as mining slaves and started doing what they have done to so many before these Utah Indians, conquer and build their empire. Spanish missions started to construct in the Uinta Mountains along with Spanish-rich gold and silver mines that were in production. More Spanish conquistadors arrived with mules, horses, weapons, and more. This went on for many years. Some think that the Spanish were in Utah until the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Many battles were fought between the Spanish and Indians. Essentially with the Ute Indians. The Ute Indian tribe was the powerful Indian tribe in the area at the time and the Spanish had a fight coming that they didn’t foresee. 

Sometimes the Indians won. Sometimes they didn’t. The Spanish were usually in small groups with many slaves. Even though they had swords, horses, and armor, the Indians had hate for the Spanish in their hearts. Their people were treated like garbage and the Indians could not sit back and watch. They had a war skill and were proven fighters in large numbers. Many Indians grew tired of the Spanish. 

At the same time, the Spanish were not done mining their gold and silver. At this point you can imagine what happened for possibly over 150 years, fighting back and forth. 




Now that you know a little more about the Spanish, you can see how the legends talk about lost mines and treasures. Throughout all these years, the Indians did win battles. Some battles took place at Spanish mine sites. The Spanish were so concerned about their gold and silver, they let their greed get to them. Even though stories of angry-killing Indians were spreading throughout the land, the Spanish kept on mining. Because the Spanish were so spread out in the Uinta Mountains, it was easier for the Indians to wipe out a whole group of Spanish. Lots of times, when the Indians had a victory, they would bury the Spanish bodies, their horses, and all their belongings in the ground. Including gold and silver. 

They would also cover up the mine entrances and toss away any signs of the Spanish ever being there. The Indians did not want gold and silver. They called it “White Man’s Disease.” Sometimes the battles would go on long enough that the Spanish had enough time to have a couple of them take their riches and stash it away in caves, bury it in a safe place, and/or try to carry it with mules as far as they could. Now, if I told you that some believe that the Spanish had several church missions and over 110 Spanish mines in the Uinta Mountains, you can see how there is a legend of so many lost Spanish mines and treasures.

This is also where some of the Spanish tree and rock carvings came from. The Spanish marked where their mines and treasures were so they could come back for them. Keep in mind as well that many died from travel, massacres, and health. The Uinta Mountains get several feet of snow every winter so the chances of the Spanish having to leave their mines and riches were high every year. In fact, a person only has about 4 months of no snow in the Uintas every year. 

Here’s another thing to consider. Gold and Silver bars and ore are very heavy. Even a mule can only carry so much gold and silver. Sometimes the Spanish would store their gold and silver in the mines for safekeeping. After years and fighting with the Indians, they learned that a mule train of many caused attention while traveling south for Mexico City. There are many legends of the Spanish finding extraordinarily rich minerals but had no way of escaping undetected by the Indians safely with their riches. So once again, buried treasures were created and marked by Spanish maps, rock monuments, tree symbols, and other treasure clues left behind in hopes of one day to return for their riches. Many never made it back. Mexico City is still holding on to old documents and treasure maps that point the way to millions of dollars, if not, billions of dollars worth of old Spanish riches, lost mines, and treasure clues pointing the way that is weathering with time.  

Many of the treasures and mine clues are gone today. Man and time have destroyed clues and evidence and that’s where I come in. My name is Timothy C. Draper and I search for clues and evidence to lost history, treasures, and mines. Please do not destroy tree symbols, rock monuments, and other man-made objects and structures in the wilderness. 


Brigham Young & the Lost Rhoades Mines



In the middle 1800s, the Mormons, also known as LDS and/or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints started to settle and build their new homes in the promised land. This area today is called the Great Salt Lake City in Utah. It was said that the Morons found their promised land from god and they wasted no time building their empire, just like the Spanish before them. Homes, buildings, and temples were built. The Mormon Church started to rise and there was one thing that the Mormons needed to succeed, money. 

While the followers and church members were building their new lives in Utah, the Mormon Church leader was smart and knew that they could not move forward without capital, like many religions. Many church members were tending church and living their lives while some were on the look for a source of money. The Mormon church leader named Brigham Young enlisted a man named Thomas Rhoades to mine for the church. Thomas Rhoades and many others headed for California due to the big gold rush that was so famous at the time. 

For many years, Thomas Rhoades mined in California and learned a lot and when he returned to Salt Lake City, Brigham Young had a secret task for Thomas. A task that was right up his alley to utilize his skills and minerals knowledge. Thomas was said to be a fair man and was good at communicating with the local Indians. The Indian tribe trusted Thomas Rhoads with many secrets. In fact, the chef of one Indian Tribe became a Mormon by baptism and that’s where the Mormon religion changed forever. 

Thomas started to learn about the stories of the men of armor that enslaved the Indian people and the riches that were mined. After some time, the chef told Thomas that he would take him to a few old rich gold mines. The terms were that Thomas Rhoades could never show anyone else. The chef knew that Thomas would give the gold to the Mormon church and that’s why the chef agreed to it. For many years Thomas Rhoades removed gold and silver ore from the lost mines and the church was growing in strength and numbers. This went on for so long that Thomas was on his deathbed and entrusted the mine locations to his son Caleb Rhoades. Caleb was also known as a good man and continued to recover gold and silver for the Mormon church. 

This is where the Mormon gold coins came from, Spanish Gold lost in the Uinta Mountains. The Indians, Thomas, and Caleb were said to be the only ones that knew of the locations. In the modern-day, the Indian Tribes keep the secrets and after hundreds of years, lost mines, gold, silver, and treasures still are hidden and lost. This is how the legends are still alive today and why so many people in Utah have taken the hobby of modern-day treasure hunting. Some riches and mines have been found but according to Indians today, the White people will never find it all. 




Stories and legends have been passed down from generation to generation. The chance of finding a rich mine and/or treasure in Utah is now a cultural norm. Many people have bought supplies, metal detectors, and headed out in the Uinta Mountains for a chance to find something rich. To my surprise in the last 24 years of treasure hunting in Utah, there are many people that have taken the stories and turned it into evidence. There have been some good tales of people finding, buying, and trading old Spanish maps and documents in Utah. 

Maps and documents that show the way to billions in value. Some do it as a hobby and some do it as a way of life. I have heard of many accounts of Spanish swords, armor, coins, and more that have been found in Utah. There have even been reports of Spanish cannons found in the Uinta Mountains. Gold bars and silver bars have been found. Some have helped with keeping the stories and evidence alive while others have destroyed it. 

Some places in the Uintas still have real Spanish tree symbols. These are clues that literally point to a way for hunters that know how to read them. Some say that these carvings end up in business and homes after being sprayed with lacquer to preserve it. Some have destroyed structures like Spanish smelters, Spanish arrastras, rock monuments and more thinking that the treasure is buried below it. This is awfully bad for a researcher like me. Every time something is destroyed, the chances of finding the lost history, mines, and treasures become harder and harder. 

I feel that if Utah officials would work more closely with the people hunting for these old riches, more evidence would be present to prove these great legends and stories. At this point, I don’t think things will change and the hunting and denial of both sides will most likely continue. I have been shown old mines that fit the description of old Spanish techniques and methods of digging mines.

I have seen incredibly old symbols carved in rock and some old symbols carved in trees. I have found old smelters and arrastras in the wildness. Most of them are so old that they are concealed by vegetation growing around them, weathering away. Many authors have written books on the lost treasures and mines in Utah. And still today, I know that many people head for the hills in the summertime to see if they can try their luck. Still, many state officials deny the evidence of the Spanish ever coming to Utah but, they watch modern-day treasure hunters very closely. 

The treasure hunting and metal detecting world is growing amazingly fast, and many enjoy the past time of telling stories and wandering in the beautiful mountains. It is actually a great way to spend your weekends and the adventure is very worth it. 

I will write more about the Lost Rhoades Mines and old Spanish legends in more detail, broken down into different stories. Now that you know more about the Lost Rhoades Mines and Spanish history in Utah, do yourself a favor and buy some books. Read during your off time and start your adventure in not only learning new history and chasing after treasures but finding a great adventure. 



Copyright properties of Treasures in America LLC | Treasures in America Productions | Uncharted Expeditions LLC





Please follow along with Timothy and the Treasures in America Team to see more. 


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