An Aspiring Miner Named "Frank"
When news of the Klondike gold discoveries reached the continental United States, tens of thousands of would-be miners set out from villages, towns, and cities across the country. While some of these greenhorns or "cheechakos" were after the great adventure of their lives, most were seeking their fortunes in placer gold nuggets, flakes, and dust.
Gold Panning Kits
One of these aspiring miners was from the small community of Welsh Hill, Pennsylvania. Although his real name is not known, he is most commonly referred to as "Frank," and he is at the center of this tale of treasure found and then lost again.
One of the Lucky Ones
"Frank" was one of the lucky ones. Not only did he make it to the goldfields without succumbing to disease, the elements, or the hardships of the journey, but he managed to claim up a section of rich ground to work.
By the time "Frank" was ready to return home to Pennsylvania 4 years later for a visit he had amassed a staggering amount of placer gold, most of which he had buried for safekeeping in large fruit jars (Mason-type jars) around his claim. When he arrived home, "Frank" produced 12 jars filled to the brim with gold nuggets, flakes, and dust before the astonished eyes of friends and family.
After resting up and sharing some his new-found wealth with those close to him, "Frank" once again departed for his claim. Before he left "Frank" told friends and family them that he wanted to recover the rest of the gold buried around his claim and then return home for good. He said he'd had enough of the hardships of the goldfields.
No Further Word From "Frank"
Many months went by with no further word from "Frank." Worried about his welfare, members debated long and hard on a course of action to take. Pooling their resources, family members paid passage to Dawson City for one of the errant miner's brothers, hoping he would be able to determine what had happened to "Frank."
With the help of local miners the brother was able to locate "Frank's" claim and his crude cabin. Inside, the searchers found "Frank's" corpse. Apparently he had died of disease or natural causes since no marks of violence were found on his body. But, the cabin and its immediate environs had been ransacked by those seeking to find some of "Frank's" golden stash.
Either way, ponder this. The placer gold in the 12 twelve fruit jars that "Frank" brought home to Pennsylvania would be worth somewhere in the vicinity of $225,00-$250,00 at today's spot gold prices.
Good hunting out there!
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Developing New Treasure Hunting Leads, Part 2"
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