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It was a desperate, running battle for their lives.
Only a few men had survived to this point, and they were now racing to get out of the Rocky Mountains and past its Front Range.
They hoped that they would live to bring the story to the rest of the world of millions of dollars’ worth of gold hidden in Colorado.
In the end, only one did.
The last Western U.S. mountain with a treasure I wrote about was Kokoweef and the legend of Earl Dorr discovering a river of gold beneath it.
Treasure Mountain, however, doesn’t have a gold-filled cavern under it. Instead, it’s where a group of Frenchmen stashed gold meant for Napoleon.Treasure Mountain Gold
In the late 1700s, Napoleon, like leaders usually do, was looking for ways to get more funding.
Stories of gold had been floating over the seas to Europe along with ships filled with the stuff. So, he ordered an expedition that left New Orleans, traveled through what would become the state of Kansas, and ended up in a place now known as Colorado.
350 men and 450 horses, what seems to me to be a small army, left New Orleans and headed west. They kept going until striking gold and mining it in the Elk Mountains.
They probably extracted about $5,000,000 in ore though one estimate puts it at $33,000,000.
Things seemed to be going well with the Native Americans in the area, but something happened.
There was a battle. The expedition chose to bury their treasure to keep it safe and high-tailed it out of there. One version of the story says that the treasure was divided and hidden in three places with one officer keeping the map.
Apparently, only 17 to 35 men got out of there and made a dash for the Front Range and the plains. But they were hunted down. They were attacked again on the Front Range. All but one were killed.
He made it back to Kansas and is said to have made two treasure maps.
Later, a fellow named William Yule claimed he had one of the maps. He headed up an expedition that looked around the south and west sides of Treasure Mountain but found nothing.
Mr. Yule did receive the consolation prize of having Yule Lakes and Yule Creek named after him. He also had a type of marble there named after him that was used in the construction of the Lincoln Memorial.
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