Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Lost Gold of Benton Lake, Michigan

(Michigan is the location of many lost treasure caches.)

Every state in the Union has its share of treasure myths, legends, and leads. Michigan too can boast of quite a few treasure troves and caches, including the one I'm about to relate to you:

Lost Gold of Benton Lake

In the 2-3 decades immediately after the end of the U.S. Civil War, logging became Michigan's main industry. Many lumberjacks lived in lumber camps scattered throughout the Wolverine State and in the 1870s one of the largest of these was located in the west-central part of the state near Benton Lake in Newaygo County.

Treasure Hunting
Metal Detectors

A small gang of robbers staked out the mining camp and determined when the camp payroll was about to be dispensed. The hit the camp late one night just before the lumberjacks were due their wages. The thieves did well and scored an estimated $74,000 in gold in the robbery.

How Does 5.5 Million Sound?

Not only was this illicit haul a large amount of money for the day but with current gold prices, this trove could be worth over 5.5 million dollars to the lucky finder. You heard right, five and half million U.S. greenbacks! However, if the Benton Lake trove consists of gold coins (most likely), this value may go up considerably due to numismatics.

(If the Benton Lake trove is in gold coins, numismatic value might push up the overall value considerably.)

I don't believe his tale of lost gold is a "will-o-the-wisp" either. There is documentation (albeit slim) to support the robbery and the fact that the robbers hurriedly buried their ill-gotten gains as a mob of angry lumberjacks chased after them.

Beware the Cast-Iron Stove

One account of this treasure tale even has the thieves stashing the gold inside a cast-iron stove and then burying the same inside a very deep hole. Here's where the treasure hunting red flags should start popping up and waving around inside your brain:

1)You and the boys just robbed the payroll from a lumber camp;

2) A horde of angry lumberjacks are trying their best to run you all down and stretch your necks with rope slung over a tree limb; and

3) You're gonna take your sweet time to "find" a cast-iron stove, stash the gold inside, and then dig a whopper of a hole in the ground with shovels to bury it all in.

Not in this lifetime, brothers and sisters.

What is True...

What is true, however, is that all this gold WAS buried near the shoreline of Benton Lake. But lakes can grow in size and perhaps the stash point is now under water. Oh, and how many miles of shoreline does Benton Lake have, by the way?

Assuming no one ever recovered this trove, I see 2 very clear methods of trying to locate this one. What are they? I'm not talking...

Good hunting out there!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Treasure Hunting Questions and Answers: Part 5"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2011

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