Tuesday, January 17, 2012

$40,000 of Gold missing

In a dramatic story retold by Elsie Keeton, and later published in Larson's history of the Fountain valley and in a bicentennial newspaper in Fountain, a stage coach was robbed of $40,000 in gold payroll, which was never recovered.   Here is the story as it ran in the Fountain Valley Centennial Review Souvenir Edition, Advertiser and News, Sep 15, 1976.  
In the 1860s, the old stage road ran from Deming, NM, to Colorado City, then the state capital.  It crossed Little Fountain Creek just west of this old post [Lincoln Trading Post], and continued to the Charter Oaks Ranch, then a government feeding station and stage stop.  According to a story written by Elsie Keeton on Oct 13, 1941, the site for the ranch was selected because of its meadows.  There was a cook house, corral and shed, all surrounded by an 8-foot concrete wall.  It had a gate on the east side.  At the time, there were only 4 white families living on the east side of Fountain Creek between Pueblo and Colorado City.  The stage road ran along the west bank of the creek because the land to the east was considered neutral territory.  It was used as hunting grounds by the Utes and the Plains tribes.  The stage road came to a point east of the Charter Oaks station, and then proceeded down Fountain Creek to the trading post to deliver goods.  The stage then went back up the Fountain Creek to Charter Oaks, and on to Colorado City on the west bank of the creek. 

Somewhere southeast of Fountain near the site of a stagecoach robbery, $40,000 in gold is rumored to be buried under the hot sands and cholla. 

On top of the arid hills, east of the Mike Christian ranch on Rock Creek, are graves of Indians killed in a raging battle with angry white settlers.  Rumor has it that not all of the attackers were Indians, as the Utes didn’t care for gold, but were instead renegade whites and Mexicans dressed as Indians.  The rock-ringed graves remain as testimony.  Christian’s ranch was ½ mile from Little Fountain Creek and a few miles southeast of Fort Carson’s Golf Course.