There are a lot of people who go treasure hunting. My husband, Bud Budinger, and I meet many of them when we were on a five-state Western book tour with my novel, Cries in the Desert.
Fact is, we learned that 2/3’s of all the treasure that’s been buried, stolen or yet to be found is still out there waiting patiently to be discovered.
One of the many true stories we told at Elderhostels,
State Campgrounds (in the dark of night when treasure stories make exciting listening), or to treasure clubs was the one about the immigrant’s little Blue Bucket.
It happened to a little l3-year-old girl who was coming across eatern Oregon in a wagon train in l845. She picked up some yellow rocks from a stream bed and put them into her little blue bucket. One was so large that she had to carry it back to her wagon and then come back for her bucket that had a lot of smaller rocks.
Oh, they were so pretty as they sparkled in the clear water
stream in which she was washing up. She grew up and became Mrs. Chaptman in the Willamette Valley when the wagon train made it all the way to Oregon. One day in an old trunk, she came upon the yellow rocks and divided them up between her children. The large one she used as a door stop.
Her brother came visiting, took one look and said, “Gal, you found gold.” He quickly organized a search party but they had to abandon the quest because they were being harrassed by Indians. Mrs. Chapman had the gold made into jewelry, a breast pin (and, you remember how large these could be in this time of fashion), earrings and a little finger ring.
The Oregonian newspaper wrote an article about her. The story of a child picking up nuggets evoked such a striking picture that it’s been the cause of heartaches, hallucinations, excitement, dreams and despair. It’s bound to continue, too, because the legendary bucket still beckons, so tantalizingly near but yet so far out of reach.
Trya Allen wrote these stanzas taken from “The Blue Bucket Mine” in l919:
The elusive gold diggins
That the emigrant found
Lie just over the moutains
On top of the ground.
Yet, no one has found them,
Though they’ve hunted for years,
For the gold they’ve discovered–
Those Oregon pioneers.
Keep hunting, old miners,
Though time has erased,
And, you’ll find the lost diggings,
If you strike the right place.
To find treasure, seek out local stories by researching libraries, the Internet or treasure books. Be wary.
All found treasures appear to be conflicted by disaster.