Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Mystery - The Lost Blue Bucket Mine

In 1845 a group of Oregon bound emigrants having suffered losses in people and oxen became disgruntled and dissatisfied with their leaders. The group split up with several factions(stories all differ) going separate directions.  One of the groups that eventually made it to The Dalles, Oregon had in their possession some yellow rocks that turned out to be gold.

There are as many tales of how and where these rocks were found as there were groups heading in different directions. Some believe the rocks were found in Southeast Oregon, others Northwest Nevada, and still others believe it could be in Southwest Idaho.  Growing up I heard the legend had the Blue Bucket Mine in the Baker City, Oregon area.

The Blue Bucket Mine has many different reasons for being called Blue Bucket as it has places it is located. The emigrants traveled with blue buckets on their wagons for collecting water and doing chores. One version is while some young men were out looking for stray cattle they collected the rocks and carried them back to the wagon train with a blue bucket. Another is that children playing in a dry creek bed found the rocks and the adults tossed them in a blue bucket, not knowing what they were until they reached civilization. The story I heard, was three men came across the dry stream bead, knew what they had found and left an upturned bucket in the bed so they could find it later. But they never did find it again and believed someone came along, saw the good bucket, and took it.

People have scoured the areas they believe the emigrants traveled and have yet to find the Lost Blue Bucket Mine.

The only constants in the stories told about the discovery are:

1) The discovery was made by Oregon bound emigrants in the summer of 1845.
2) It was coarse placer gold found in a dry stream bed or canyon.
3) The canyon was lava pocked with potholes and cavities.

The Lost Blue Bucket Mine remains a mystery today even though there are still people looking for it.


P.L. Parker said...

Interesting post!

Caroline Clemmons said...

That's one more lost mine to add to those in the Southwest. Lots of people still look for those lost mines.