(Michigan's Huron Mountain region.)
I thought I'd give you my perspective on this tale of lost gold and silver nuggets in Michigan's Huron Mountain region because there may be cause to consider this one as valid while, at the same time, it contains a glaring inconsistency in my eyes. Bear with me though, because in the end you'll be the judge of whether the Huron Mountains still hold a king's ransom in natural precious metals.
"Touched in the Head"
In the late1880s a well-respected and hard-working lumberjack named Jack Driscoll suddenly quit his job cutting trees in the Huron Mountains and headed further into the boonies with an outfit more reminiscent of an old-time prospector than a tree feller. Some of his friends thought Jack had become a bit "touched in the head" until he started tossing around nuggets of gold and silver in L'Anse, Michigan to pay for his supplies.
Of course, this display of new-found wealth did not go unnoticed by the locals. They cajoled, pressured, and even tried following Jack to the source of his gold and silver but all their efforts failed. Things would then die down a bit until the next time Jack rolled into L'Anse laden with more precious metals. This cycle repeated itself over and over until most of the local citizenry gave up trying to find the source of Driscoll's riches.
Parts of Michigan are Highly Mineralized
Jack Driscoll continued his forays deep into the Huron Mountains for quite a few years. Early one spring, Jack's harsh lifestyle got the best of him and he came down with pneumonia. He died alone in a boarding house in L'Anse without ever revealing where his gold and silver "mine" was located.
(Michigan placer gold.)
Many people believe that the source of Driscoll's gold and silver was near the headwaters of the Yellowdog River some 25-30 miles east of L'Anse. Whether this area contains gold and silver mineralization is open to debate but there is no doubt at all that parts of Michigan are highly mineralized with copper, iron, and some gold and silver.
Did Jack Hit the "Big One?"
That said, here's the fly in the ointment in this treasure tale. Silver is rarely found in the form of alluvial or placer nuggets, like gold is. Although both forms of precious metal can (and do) erode out of vein matrices, I can't think of one instance where silver was mined in the United States in placer form...and I've been a small-scale gold miner for over 30 years now.
So did Jack Driscoll hit the "big one" somewhere in the Hurons? It's quite possible...but any silver he may have found was not in nugget form. If you're in Michigan and have a prospector's or miner's eye, then you may want to satisfy your own curiosity about this one...
Good hunting out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Nevada's Lost Ross Mine (Part 1)"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org