There’s gold in those hills?

Captain Ben Ingalls of the United States cavalry strained to hear sound from other members of his scouting party as he rode his horse slowly up a brushy hill near Mt. Stuart. He had accidentally become separated from the scouting party several hours before and now he wasn’t quite sure where he was. Cascade country was a formidable wilderness in the year 1872.

Captain Ingalls reached the top of the hill and found himself on a long, narrow ridge. He noticed in the canyon below three small lakes. He pulled his horse up sharply, and the animal tossed his head and champed the bit. Never before had Captain Ingalls seen lakes quite like these. Two lakes were roughly round in shape with dark water. But the middle lake was shaped in a crescent and shimmering green in color. The lakes were all connected by a narrow stream. He found a steep trail leading to the floor of the canyon. The horse trotted impatiently down the trail, noisily crunching the rocks under its hoofs. As the captain approached the crescent shaped lake, his mouth dropped open and he gasped. Then he let out a low whistle, jumped off his horse, and ran to the edge of the lake. He stooped down, examining the beach. It was a beach of crumbling quartz rock studded thickly with glittering, virgin gold. Captain Ben Ingalls stayed in the canyon about two days, sketching a map of the area so he would be sure to find his way back. He estimated that there were about 10 tons of gold in his view and that probably much more lay hidden in the immediate vicinity. When Captain Ingalls left the canyon to find his troops, he carried with him several samples of the gold. He followed the creek which now bears his name. Hoping to recover it when he returned, he buried the map somewhere near the mouth of the creek.

Captain Ingalls bedded down the first night several miles from the canyon. Shrill screams from his horse awakened him abruptly in the night. Then he felt the ground shake terribly under him. The whole earth seemed to erupt with rumbling noises. He could hear the crashing of boulders and splintering trees all around him. But Captain Ingalls remained untouched. He didn’t realize at the time that he was experiencing the great earthquake of 1872.

After Captain Ingalls rejoined his troops, he wrote to John Hansel, telling him about his discovery and sending him samples of gold. Ingalls asked Hansel to join him at the mouth of Ingalls Creek, but, before he could return, Ingalls was killed in a shooting accident.

Hansel carried on the search of gold alone. Although he and his family homesteaded a ranch for many years at to mouth of Ingalls Creek, Hansel never found the map of the gold. Apparently, the earthquake had shaken the cliffs around the three lakes and buried them deep beneath the earth. Many prospectors combed the area during the 1890’s but no one ever found a canyon and lakes even remotely resembling those described by Captain Ben Ingalls.

His map was to have been hid near where Ingalls Creek joined with Peshastin Creek. It is rumored to have been found and half of it at one time owned by a local lady. We do know there was about $1,700,000 of gold produced from Blewett and surrounding areas from the finding of the gold to 1910.
If you can ever dig up the map or the marvelous lake near Mt. Stuart…the gold may be yours for the keeping.

~ by accordingtoleanne on October 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “There’s gold in those hills?”

  1. I have reasoned out where the ONLY spot the gold can be and why it has not been found. I intend to look for it after the snow melt. I will give you just one hint: it is in a wilderness area– and that brings up legal issues if found given the mining ban there. But what if it can just be picked up off the ground

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