January 28, 2013
Just got off the phone with Marvin Brooks who has been fascinated by a treasure story for a long time but he can't verify the veracity of the story. Here it is in a nutshell. In 1880 the Colorado River steamer The Gila was returning from Eldorado with a load of gold and sliver when the crew saw a man dressed as a soldier and waving a Henry Rifle.
He was standing on Cottonwood Island in the middle of the river. He appeared to be in distress and wanted help. A couple of the crew took a skiff and paddled over to the island to see what he wanted. When they got there the soldier leveled the Henry on them and calmly told them to deliver him back to the boat, which they did.
The man dressed as a soldier proceeded to rob the passengers, then loaded some 300 oz. of gold and silver on the skiff and rowed back to the island where he had several horses. Calmly packing the gold on the horses, he disappeared in the brush.
The Gila quickly powered its way down stream to Hardyville where a posse was raised, riding off into the canyons to the north. The posse could find no trace of the soldier or the missing gold and silver.
Around 1900 a miner dug up a gold bar in the shape of a bar of soap. This was the distinctive shape of the gold that was milled at the Eldorado Canyon smelter.
In 1914 another bar of soap-shaped bar of gold was found by a prospector, but beyond that, nothing. An article in the Las Vegas Review Journal in 1959 supposedly reported on the above story, which is where Marvin saw most of the details of the event.
Like so many gold treasure stories, Marvin Brooks has been unable to find any mention of the Gila ever being robbed.
So here's the assignment: the year is 1880. The field of operations is the Colorado River from Yuma up to Eldorado Canyon (which is not far from Searchlight, Nevada). Is there any record of a robbery on a steamboat in that time frame?
Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, start your search engines. Historians and operators are standing by.
"It is enough if one tries to merely comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."