TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH
LEGENDS OF OLD: LOST HISTORY AND RICHES TO BE FOUND
Documented by Timothy Draper
I have never studied a state in North America with more folklore and legends that have been passed down for generations. In Utah, one could find evidence of Ancient civilizations, Spanish treasures and mines, Aztec treasures, strange phenomena, and so much more. If you have the passion and heart to explore for riches and lost history, this is the article for you.
UTAH STATE – BEAUTIFUL AND MYSTERIOUS
Utah is a very beautiful place to visit with so much to offer for tourists. This state has millions of visitors per year and there’s a reason why. National parks, state parks, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities have played a rich role in Utah’s history. Not to mention the winter sports like skiing and more. For Utah locals, there’s more to the state of Utah than it’s beauty, it is full of interesting history linked to the Mormon church, ancient native cultures, and even curses and deaths.
The Spanish first traveled to Utah in the 1600s and it was no coincidence. It’s because of what they were told that they could find. It was the whispers of ancient civilizations, gold, and treasures hiding in the Uinta Mountains. This was not the beginning of Utah’s history of riches but it’s definitely the first recorded history to prove that Utah had many riches waiting to be found.
SPANISH EXPLORATIONS AND MINING OPERATIONS
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 1
The Spanish entered the Utah territory in the 1600s searching for riches. From my research, there’s a good chance that the Spanish heard stories of rich gold veins and silver in Utah territory. Some of my colleagues and I believe that Utah has played a big role in Ancient civilizations that have not been placed in history books due to the lack of data. But evidence of many years out in the field suggests that Utah may have been home to several powerful and thriving cultures thousands of years ago.
The Spanish did indeed find rich silver and gold veins and started mining production all over Utah but the strange thing is, they found out that they were not the first ones to do so. Old Spanish documents and waybills tell of ancient gold and silver mines that were extremely rich and were found in the Uinta Mountains while exploring for new promising mining ventures. Who dug these ancient mines before the Spanish? Utah has many theories on the matter. We’ll get into that a little later in this article. One of these mines is believed to be one of the richest mines that the Spanish have ever worked in their history, the Lost Josephine Mine. The Spanish went on to what they would claim at that time, a massive successful mining process when it came to unearthing precious metals out of the ground.
Some reports say that the Spanish at one time had over 3 thousand conquistadors in the high mountains of Kamas Utah, along with over 5 thousand Indian slaves working their string of mines in the Western Uinta Mountains. There are other claims that in the canyons and high Mountains of Vernal Utah, the Spanish had several thousand conquistadors and several thousand of Indian slaves in the Eastern Uinta Mountains. Those are only two locations that I have mentioned. The Uinta Mountains stretch from East to West for over 70 miles. That’s a lot of area to cover and unlock and the canyons, rivers, mountain peaks, and everything in between.
MORMONS SETTLED INTO THE SALT LAKE CITY OF UTAH
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 2
In the 1800s, the Mormon (aka LDS) pioneers settled in the Great Salt Lake City area. Their church organization was poor and did not have a lot of means to start their new homes at first, but soon things changed very quickly. Within the first couple of years, the LDS church built a city, temple, and started minting their own gold coins known as the Mormon coin. Some of you may ask, where did the money come from but archives and records tell an interesting story.
Shortly after arriving, the LDS leaders made friends with the local Indian tribes. The same Indians that were enslaved to work the Spanish mines not long before the Mormons arrived. In fact, some journals that I have accessed in the last few years suggest the Spanish were still mining secretly high in the Uinta mountains while the LDS church was building their city 40 miles away as the crow flies.
These documents and legends also suggest and explain that some of the local Indians became Mormons and the Indians then shared the stories and locations to a few rich mines to the LDS church. That’s where the Lost Rhoades Mines come into play with Utah. A man named Thomas Rhoades was shown the secret locations of a few rich mines by the Indians so the LDS could start to build their empire.
As the LDS church grew more powerful and wealthy, the idea of recovering more riches and lost history was born in Utah. The LDS church has a vault today in Little Cottonwood Canyon that is full of documents, old maps, treasures, artifacts, and much more. Some of these items have come from collection and buying but some, possibly many, came from Utah itself and now those lost historical items are locked away for the eyes of only a few LDS members today.
WHY ARE THERE LEGENDS OF TREASURE AND MINES IN UTAH?
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 3
Utah is not short on written records since the 1850s. Many people have heard handed down stories and sometimes documents still make their way around Utah. Some of these documents are from the LDS collections. Other documents have been brought from Mexico City from the Spanish. Often it’s from treasure hunters researching and exploring Utah to try their luck on striking it rich.
I was introduced to the Utah legends back in 1997. Since that time, I have heard so many treasure and legend stories about Utah, I could write a book. Luckily for me, I’ve made many friends and these friends have friends and you can see where this is going. I have held many old artifacts in my hands including Spanish swords, coins, armor, and more. I have also held ancient artifacts from Utah as well. Like I mentioned earlier, Utah has much to offer to an explorer and treasure hunter.
Many old Spanish artifacts and maps have been seen by my friends and I. Old Spanish maps that point to the way to the Uinta Mountains. Many of these old maps show Spanish missions, mines, vaults, and buried caches. Many of them were researched and digital copies of these maps and documents were made and shared between teams and friends. There are many treasure hunters that did extensive research from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Many books have been written about the legends of Utah and its lost treasures and mines.
Authors like Gale R. Rhoades and Stephen B. Shaffer not only wrote about their research, they also spent decades in the Uinta Mountains, looking for clues. Many clues can still be found today if you know where to look. That being said, since I started treasure hunting in Utah in 1997, many clues have been lost due to age, time, weathering, and people. I have seen many clues destroyed by man. Sometimes it’s an outdoorsman who had no idea what he was destroying and sometimes it’s poor practice by selfish treasure hunters.
Petroglyphs | Strange Rock Art
These types of clues are what were left behind so the person that hid the valuables, could one day come back and find his riches, mines, and/or buried caches. Sadly, if these clues are moved, relocated, and/or destroyed, the hidden object may be lost forever. Luckily I have seen many of these clues with my own two eyes. I’m a believer that the legends could be true because of that. Yet, I feel that there’s still plenty of room for someone to come in and use the methods of science and research to prove or disprove these legends.
There’s still time. Most of the famous and well known authors and treasure hunters of the 1970s through the1990s are now in their twilight years or have now passed away. The younger generation is more focused on tech and other things, rather than exploring the great unknown. This has left a huge hole in Utah legends for almost 20 years now. I believe there is more of a chance of finding lost treasures, mines, and artifacts with modern day technology. Drones, metal detectors, underwater detection and equipment, GPR’s, and LiDar systems could be a huge advantage to someone. New discoveries are made every day with modern technology and treasure hunting gear.
I would say that if someone had the money, time, and people he or she trusted, there’s a very good chance that new discoveries could be made. Who knows, maybe you are the right person for the job.
OTHER MYSTERIOUS STORIES AND LEGENDS OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 4
Utah has its fair share of folklore and mysterious phenomena. This is why I love Utah and its legends. There are so many, who’s to say that they are not true. The culture of Utah is very interesting too. Why are there so many legends and stories to hear?
Several TV shows are making their way into the networks about Utah legends. Shows like:
If it’s good enough for Discovery Channel and the History Channel, it must be entertaining, right? I have learned that there’s a little truth to every story and I never dismiss the chance to investigate to see if the Treasures in America team can prove or disprove a legend. In fact, my team of treasure hunters, researchers, and explorers have traveled a lot in the last few years, chasing these legends down. We have found enough evidence to keep us hunting and researching.
It’s not up to me to tell you as a reader to believe something. I like to put information out there so you can look into it yourself. More things that have stuck around Utah legends are curses, paranormal activity, Bigfoot encounters, and UFO sightings. Is Utah a strange place? I would say so and I would like to leave this chapter at this point and let you go do your own research. Let’s see what you come up with.
IS UTAH HISTORY AND LEGENDS SUPPRESSED?
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 5
It sure is! As I was going to college, I decided to study 3 fields, anthropology, history, and business. Anthropology was my major and I really enjoy the study and research. That being said, I have many theories about the possibility of wrong information and hidden agendas from Utah.
- Religion is a tricky subject but I want to mention that followers of a specific religion are prone to ignoring information outside of their accepted dogma. The LDS church having Utah to themselves for many years was not the best thing for legends and research. Like I mentioned in chapter 2, the LDS church has their own vault that stores many unknown and untold documents, artifacts, and much more. These types of records are only studied by the LDS church alone and they control what information is released. Not to mention, the LDS church does not focus on this part of its history. I’m assuming only a few highly placed leaders know much about the discoveries the LDS church made and stored once they arrived in Utah.
- Utah state officials, archeologists, and historians are taught the same things in school. Most of these officials I have tried to work with in the past are sometimes narrow minded. I have been told several times by these officials that the Spanish did not travel as far North as Utah. I was told that everything that I have found and researched is most likely from trappers and hunters in the past. I suspect that our government, the Smithsonian, and other organizations suppress history from the public. I do not know why and I am not going to go into conspiracies, but what I have researched, found in the field, and observed with my own two eyes are not objects, structures, and treasures of trappers and hunters.
- Today, the LDS population is about 62% in the state of Utah. Just 10 years ago it was in the 74% range. From what I mentioned above about religion and officials that will not recognize anything outside of their religious dogma, there is a great deal of room for a lot of misstudied or misinterpreted information. I am 90% sure that many case studies and research conducted in Utah are contaminated by faith, beliefs, and culture. Where does that leave a person who wants to find the truth? Stay unbiased and only look to proving or disproving Utah legends. Think of yourself as a person of science, not going from what you were told. Conduct your own research and see where it takes you.
- Modern-day treasure hunters are very secretive people. Due to the fear that the government will confiscate or wilfully mis-identify a discovery, Utah treasure hunters slide under the radar and play it quietly. Because of this, many discoveries are unknown and never studied. Of course, the treasure hunter makes his or her new find and possibly becomes wealthy from it, but look at what may have been lost.
What was found?
Who placed it there?
When was it placed there?
Where did they go from there?
These are questions that I wonder about. Do you see where this cycle is going? This subject is why there are so many unanswered questions. It also leaves more questions that need to be resolved.
WHERE TO START YOUR RESEARCH AND JOURNEY IN THE UNITAS
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – Chapter 6
Luckily, there is a lot of information to find and again, technology is our friend. You can browse the internet all week about Utah legends and treasures. Many books have been written and simple Google searches can land you on some books to buy and read.
I am going to list some famous treasure stories below so you can get a head start on your research
Montezuma’s Treasure (Kanab and the Uinta Mountains)
The Gold of Carre-Shinob
The Dream Mine
Dry Fork Canyon
Utah Spanish Tree Symbols and Rock Monuments
Mirror Lake Mines
The Mine of Lost Souls
Spanish Mines of Moon Lake
Spanish Mines of The Henry Mountains
Antonio de Reinaldo
Utah Spanish Maps
This will get you started. If you want to seek after these legends, take it from me, it takes time. I have spent over 20 years researching and studying what I can. I have read over 40 books, searched for digital archives, visited the secret places in the libraries, and spent 23 years in the field. I have had many great adventures and I would like to mention that the excitement is in hard work and the hunt.
Everything else is a bonus. Please do your research and stay off of Utah Indian reservations. The local Indian Tribes need to be respected. Understand that this is their land and was long before whites arrived in Utah. Utah Indian tribes still remember the stories passed down from their fathers-fathers. The Utah Indian tribes near the Uinta Mountains do not like explorers on the land. They are still hiding mines and treasure locations. The Indians lived through the harsh treatment of the Spanish. They think outsiders have what they call “Whitemans Disease”.
The Indian tribes had no use for gold, silver, and treasures. All they know is that it brings hate towards others and suffering to their people. In the years of the twentieth century, I have heard of stories where treasure hunters entered the reservation lands and the Indians chased them down with guns and trucks. If you are not a Utah resident, respect the urban legends and Utah treasure hunters, be mindful of your demeanor. The Indians claimed to have cursed the Uinta Mountains from anyone who tried to look for gold and riches.
I can tell you from personal experience, that in some places of the Uinta Mountains, I have had very strange circumstances where I have had to leave the mountains and try another day because of my mental state. One minute I was fine, and the next, I was not. I do not necessarily believe in curses but I do believe in negative energy surrounding all the terrible things that occurred in the Uinta Mountains.
Whenever I sense these strange feelings, I am always close to a site that I know slavery, murder, or greed occurred in the area. ~ Treasures of the Uinta Mountains Utah Series
Good Luck. Stay Safe. Find Your Adventure.
Written by Timothy C Draper
Edited by Craig Draper
TREASURES OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS UTAH – 2021
Copywrite Properties of Treasures in America LLC | Treasures in America Productions | Uncharted Expeditions LLC
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