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Lost Josephine on Hoyt

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Who first dug for precious metals in the shadow of Hoyt Peak will probably never be known, but the earli­est record is a waybill left by Jose Joaquin Garcia, penned in 1814, several decades before he sketched his now famous map. That document refers to work which was performed at mines on Hoyt Peak as far back as 1782. It was discovered in the Spanish Archives at Mexico City through the efforts of Russell R. Rich, Professor of Early History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. It is quite likely that Professor Rich also dis­covered the Garcia Map of 1821-1826, described earlier. Both the map and the document appeared at about the same time. Another document recently uncovered in the Archives at Seville states that the Garcia Mine was registered in 1722, and was worked until 1749, when it was abandoned due to Indian troubles, and wasn't reopened until 1782. The mine was owned by the Garcia family for nearly a century. The waybill discov­ered by Professor Rich has been authenticated by docu­ment experts who have examined it in great detail; their opinions stating that the language of that document is consistent with the period in which it was written, and that several now archaic words and phrases in it would be unknown to anyone not living at that time.

Documents written by the well educated class, such as the clergy, were actually written in a script known as "procesal," in which it isn't unusual to find words of Arabic, Greek and Latin origin. The procesal style of writing is a continuous flowing script of rounded Arabic-like letters and abbreviations, having little or no punc­tuation to indicate where sentences or phrases end. Bundles of documents called "legajos" may each con­tain thousands of pages, which for the most part do not relate to each other. A researcher must examine each legajo one page at a time, each one only part of an esti­mated fifty-million documents in the Spanish Archives at Seville. A document similar to the Garcia waybill reveals the many different forms which letters in proce­sal might take. For example: In that ancient script, the letter "A" is shown in fourteen different styles, "E" in twenty-one styles, "P" in sixteen and even the little used letter "Z" in thirteen styles! It would be virtually impos­sible for someone today to forge such a document.

The Garcia waybill when translated reads essentially as follows:

Continuing Document, Period 1782-1814: This claim pertains to the Mine Of The Yutahs, also called the Josephine de Martinique, for the Empress. The mine can be found 12 leagues west of the Rio Timpanogos headlands and 2 leagues from the mouth of the Rio de Santa Ana, to the southeast. Travel one league south through the Valley Of Grass to a canyon which enters the val­ley from the east. Follow that canyon to a peak, rounded and barren of growth, and from that peak measure 1,600 varas to the northeast. In the direction of the mine there is a peak, small and timbered. The portal of the mine is covered with rocks and bark, and is at the base of a small dark ledge. The mine has two tunnels and one shaft. One tunnel runs 400 varas to the west and one tunnel runs 350 varas to the southeast. The tun­nels and shaft are all one mine. The shaft runs 73 varas vertical and has four rooms, which served as workrooms for the transfer of metals silver and gold. The rooms are 29 varas apart to the sun at mid-day. By percentage, the metal contains half of silver and a fifth part of gold. In this mine we find slabs of virgin silver, from one pound to as much as five pounds. In this place is the treasure of our comrades. 46 varas from the entrance of the mine and in the center of the tunnel, 8 varas beyond a door of heavy timber, remains the treasure. There are many slabs of virgin silver, and 650 cargas of bar silver and 240 cargas of bar gold, which are six millions. The treasure was abandoned for fear of death by hostile natives. Of our 42 companions, only 8 survived. This mine was worked from the year 1782 and was covered in the year 1814, as is written in the journal workbook of the expedi­tion, by Jose Joaquin Garcia, Captain, Mexico City, November 1814.

Even before the Garcia waybill was found, it was known that there were old mines somewhere in the deep canyons which furrow the brow of Hoyt Peak. Historian Frank Silvey interviewed W.P. Mecham, an early settler who lived along the Weber River. Mecham related that his father told him that for several years after arrival of the first Mormons, Mexican miners would bring "conductas” or bullion-laden pack trains down from Hoyt Peak in the fall of the year. During the summers while the miners were at their mine in the mountains, dozens of pack animals would be left to graze on the valley floor. In the fall miners would take those animals to their mine, and as they came down from the mountains, so heavy were their loads that the animals would stumble under the weight. Often the miners would camp overnight near Mecham's cabin, and would pay him for the feed and other supplies they used, with pieces of gold ore. He remembered one party which rested sixteen pack animals at his pasture, all of them loaded with bars of bullion. Mecham was only a poor farmer who had neither the time or interest to search for mines, so when the Mexican miners no longer came north from Santa Fe, their mines on Hoyt Peak became the lost mines old-timers in the valley talked about.

That Spanish and Mexican miners packed gold and silver bullion south to Santa Fe and the gulf coast sea­ports beyond was proven not long ago by a discovery made in New Mexico. The Hatch, New Mexico, Courier, issue of March 11, 1993, told of the discovery of a large stone having a gun-sight notch cut into its top. When the finder sighted over that gun-sight towards the hills beyond, a peculiar rock formation could be seen. Investigation at that formation disclosed a small cave, the entrance to which had at one time been walled over with stones set in some sort of sand-mortar. A circle and cross had been found cut into the gun-sight rock, and above that cave entrance there was an identical circle and cross chiseled into a stone ledge. Several stones had been removed from that walled entry long before its recent discovery. The rancher on whose land the cave is located informed the finder that his father told him that many years ago a stranger camped near that walled cavern. The stranger had some ancient looking docu­ments written in archaic Spanish, which told of a pack train carrying bars of bullion from mines in what are now the mountains of northern Utah. Those bars were cached there when the party was attacked by Indians.

Only a very few of those Spanish miners escaped that massacre, and none of them ever returned to their cache. Using a rough sketch map drawn by one of those survivors, the stranger spent most of the summer align­ing its markings with the features of the land. Then one day the rancher noticed that the stranger had left his camp, but it wasn't until some time later that he chanced upon the place where he had dug into that walled over cave. What the stranger removed from that desert cavern is unknown, but the sighting rock with the circle and cross cut into it and the same circle and cross chiseled into stone above the cavern suggests that some­one went to a lot of effort to make sure that he could return to that place. And the pieces of leather pack sacks the rancher found in the cave indicates that some­thing of value was hidden there. That rancher thinks he knows what it was.

Probably the first Americans to stake their claims on Hoyt Peak was a party of prospectors led by Bill Bird, whose claim notices are on file at the county court­house. In September 1898, they located a group of claims near the top of the peak on its east side, which they called the Josephine claims. Their claims were not named for the Josephine Mine named in the Garcia waybill, for that document wouldn't be discovered or known for another half-century. A word of explanation is probably in order concerning those so-called Josephine mines. Spanish miners named their claims just as American miners would later do. Just as an American might name his claim in honor of some pop­ular political figure of the day, calling it for example, the Teddy Roosevelt or the Silver Queen, so Spanish miners did the same. Among Spanish mines in Utah there are probably dozens named the Josephine, in honor of the Empress. Only a year before Bird and his party staked their Josephine claims on Hoyt Peak, at least two different Josephine mines were reportedly found in the mountains east of Heber City, so their choice of a name was popular, if not original.

Gordon Taylor of Kamas remembers the first time he saw that Josephine Mine on Hoyt Peak. That was in 1937, the year he was married. He recalled that even then the old mine had a heavy wooden door over its portal, and that when the door was forced open, what looked like several stone steps led down into a caved tunnel which angled back under the ridge. The mine was not in a difficult place to find, and Taylor said that no doubt many deer hunters and other outdoorsmen had seen it long before he did. Jesse Nelson, who had worked with "Beaver Creek Charley" also recalls seeing that old mine, sometime back during the early 1930s. In September, 1939, a stock herder named John Young stumbled onto the old diggings and staked his claim to it. He knew that he had found a very old mine, but at least he was original in naming it. He called it the Mystery Mine. Over the next twenty-years or so, Young worked his Mystery Mine in an on-again, off-again hap­hazard fashion, without ever accomplishing much. An interesting description of Young's diggings was related to Wayne Handy by Jared Weller of Oakley:

John Young has found the Lost Rhoads Mine on the east side of Hoyt Peak. It is still secured by a heavy wooden door, bound with iron straps, which no doubt was put in place by Spanish miners. Stone steps lead down into the mine, which con­sists of two entries with a main shaft between them. That center shaft is where the ore was dug. I have personally descended into that shaft for fifty feet, but it is believed to be three-hundred feet deep. Mr. Young invited a team of geologists from Brigham Young University to examine the shaft, and they set off a dynamite charge which completely caved it.

That blast also destroyed a curious Spanish treasure sign, which those who saw remember well. On a ledge of stone above the shaft were several inscribed figures, showing what appeared to be pack animals similar to South American llamas. Their packs appeared to be empty as they approached the mine, but were heavily loaded when leaving it!

The effort of John Young to reopen the old Spanish diggings which he called the Mystery Mine is a real hard-luck story. More than fifty years of age when he first saw the mine, and often plagued with poor health and even poorer partners, none of whom ever had money enough to purchase needed supplies or equip­ment, Young tried for forty years to unravel the secret of his find. Of course he never had the benefit of the Garcia waybill to tell him where a fortune in gold and silver was cached. Much of his time was spent caring for his livestock and nearly as much fighting the Forest Service who slowed his work and even burned a cabin he built. There were years when he got little or no work done. Several times he let his claims lapse, only to relo­cate them later when some new partner was found. Young died in 1980 at age 92, no richer for the Spanish gold which was always just beyond his reach.--Faded Footprints, pg. 56

In 1939 a man named John Wesley Young jr., a great grandson of Brigham Young, was herding cattle on Hoyt Peak with his 12 year old son Keith. While watching over their herd they were overcome by a sudden and violent thunderstorm which forced them to seek shelter. The two found themselves under a small tree against a ledge of rock.

Some time had passed when John turned to say something to his son and was surprised to find that he was gone! John called for the boy several times. Keith soon stuck his head out of a nearby hole at the base of the ledge. "Dad! There's a house down here!" Being somewhat of a prospector, and also being thoroughly wet and cold, John joined his son in the chamber.

When the storm had lifted a little and some light came into the shaft, they found themselves in a chamber approximately 25 by 40 feet and about 9 feet tall. The pair then rode back to their camp to obtain a good light. When they returned and were able to inspect the shaft more thoroughly, they discovered ancient tools and an old forge and anvil. The debris on the floor indicated that many animals had been sheltered there in the long ago and it was obvious that the room was used as some kind of a work area.

At the south-west corner of the room was a steep inclined shaft which descended about 35 feet to a lower tunnel. This tunnel was blocked by a slab of rock that was caving in over a large wooden door. He did not dare pry the door open for fear of caving in the roof! John and his son packed up their camp and returned home to share his find with his wife Irene and eldest son Marion. In his excitement he told them "I believe I have found one of the old Rhoades mines!"

John returned with Irene and Marion to inspect the mine. Marion was soon fighting in World War II and in his absence John was unable to do much work on his old mine. He did however, spend much time with his wife in the surrounding area on Hoyt Peak prospecting for other deposits. They discovered some very rich ore on the south slope of Hoyt Peak. Several independent assayers examined the ore and all came back with high values.

The urge to explore his mystery mine beyond the door eventually became to great for him to resist. He purchased some blasting powder and drove to Kamas. From here he transferred the supplies to Hoyt Peak by wagon and team with the help of his younger son. While he was planting charges in the lower tunnel near the door he noticed that the foot wall of the shaft was completely lined with small, black slabs of rock. He casually put a couple of these in his pocket and continued to set his charges.

After the blast went off, John entered the shaft and was making his way toward the lower tunnel when his son yelled to him that the roof was shifting. He barely made it out before a large portion of the ceiling fell in, completely burying the lower shaft. It was about this time that John broke one of the strange slabs with a hammer. He could hardly believe his own eyes. They were nearly pure virgin silver!

It was now apparent that if the mine were to be re-opened they would need to enlist the help of professional engineers. The cache of silver that lined the wall would offset the costs, but to excavate the rubble even that far seemed out of reach. John would end up working on Hoyt Peak on and off for the next 30 years. He became victim to failing health and bad partnerships. His dream would never be realized.

During the 1980's further attempts to open the old shaft were made by the late Gale Rhoades and Stephen Shaffer. It was during this time that an exciting discovery was made. While researching old documents in the special collections of BYU University, Rhoades came across an interesting document in the collection of a professor Russell Roger Rich. It was titled "Old Spanish Waybill" and pertained to an old mine west of the headwaters of the Provo River. Rhoades made a copy of the document and had it translated. It reads as follows:

"Waybill - Year 1782 - 1814. This waybill pertains to the Mine of the Ute's. Called later the Josephine de Martinique, for the Empress. This mine can be found, west twelve leagues from the river Timpanogos headland and two leagues from the mouth of the river Santa Anna to the southeast. To travel one league to the south through native land of valley grass to a canyon which enters the valley from the east. Follow this canyon east to a peak round and bare of growth, and from the peak measure 1600 varas to the northeast. At the mouth of the mine there are some small rocks and brush coverage at the base of a small dark ledge.

The Mine of Josephine de Martinique has three tunnels and one shaft - two tunnels of 400 varas run to the west and one tunnel of 350 varas runs to the southeast. Tunnels and shaft be one mine. The shaft runs 73 varas vertical and has four room and six tunnels. These rooms to be used as workshops for the transfer of the mineral silver and gold. Twenty nine varas apart to the sun at mid-day are these rooms. To the percent of metal - is yellow metal which is half silver and one fifth part of gold at one hundred varas. In this mine we encountered slabs of virgin silver from one pound to five pounds.

At this place in the mine there is the treasure of our comrades. Forty six varas from the porthole of the mine in the center of the tunnel, and eight varas beyond one door of thick wood there is the treasure: there are many slabs of virgin silver, 650 cargoes of bar silver and 240 cargoes of bar gold that are six millions. Their treasure abandoned for fear of death by hostile natives - of forty two comrades eight survived.

This mine we worked from the year 1782 and covered in 1814, as so written in the journal of work of the expedition by me - Jose Joaquin Garcia, Captain - Mexico City, November 1814."

Needless to say, Gale was very excited and he knew he had to get the document authenticated as soon as possible. He located a Mr. Jonathon Stowers in the Department of Language at the University of Utah and made an appointment to have the document examined. When Rhoades arrived at Mr. Stower's office he was met by Stowers and two of his assistants. They were joined later by a professor Handcock who was from Mexico City and knew a great deal on this subject matter. The document was examined by each person then it was openly discussed as a group. Their finding was as follows:

The document appears to be genuine and authentic. It could only have been written by a Spanish speaking person of that era who was aquainted with the phraseology and use of the language. It's author was of normal education and not a scholar, as were most clergymen or priests of that time, but he was well schooled in the language, typical of men of his position with the military who most probably worked his way up through the ranks to become that of an officer. The use of singulars in conjunction with plurals, as in this document, was very typical of many documents obtained from that period. Several words used in the document are also no longer used but were commonly used at that time.

Mr. Stowers later signed a statement concerning the authenticity of this document. Rhoades and Shaffer it seemed had a bonanza on their hands. They lost no time in getting to work. Following the exciting discovery of this document, the two men spent a lot of time on Hoyt Peak trying to clean out the old shaft and prospecting other areas of Hoyt Peak.

The mountain was not yet ready to reveal her secrets however, Gale Rhoades died on that mountain working on the Josephine. The claims have been maintained by Mr. Shaffer and work will continue on the mine. Opening this old shaft has proved to be slow and dangerous work but I am certain that with perseverance Mr. Shaffer will be rewarded for his efforts.

I have been up on Hoyt Peak many times and have even been in the Josephine a time or two. There are many other old mine shafts on and around Hoyt Peak and I have seen some fabulous ore from that mountain. I found a piece of roasted ore at a smelter site up there that contained a large wire of gold in it. On one of our trips up to the area, we stumbled onto about a half dozen graves perched atop a cliff. I wondered to myself if they perhaps belonged to the slain members of Garcia's expedition. Another mystery in the mountains!--Lost Treasures Of Utah website

John young did find the josephine mine above Kamas. There was a spanish grave on top of the outcrop above the mine that contained bones and a spanish cross.

I have been to the mine 40 years ago when John was alive.

His story was that he and his grandsons dug the mine open down to a door which was covered with a small stalagtite. Before removing the rock and opening the door, John claimed to have a spiritual experience asking him not to open mine. The next morning he blew the mine up.

I saw the mine after the explosion when his grandsons were trying to reopen the mine.

There is a vertical cave just a few hundred feet west of the mine outcrop. I explored the cavern down about 200 feet. Just west and north of the mine in this cavern was a large white marble dike pushed up in the limestone but did not break the surface.

In the ravene below the mine and east, flat milky quartz pieces were found with visible gold in them. you can still find some today. --mcchrist1 from an Internet forum

On the western flank of the Rhoades Plateau and nestled upon the eastern slope of Hoyt Peak six miles out of Kamas, Utah, is the rustic remains of the infamous Lost Josephine Mine, which was once worked by the Spaniards from 1782 until 1814.

This famous old mine consisted of three tunnels and one shaft. What is significant here is the fact that 89 years ago one of the three tunnels was reported to have been discovered, and mining circles in nearby Salt Lake City were stirred from center to circumference over the find. Ore was brought into Salt Lake City from the old mine which carried sensational values in gold. It was reported that the old workings were quite extensive, and that on the banks of a small lake, in the near vicinity, the remains of an old arrastra had been found. Reportedly, the old mine workings had been found by several Provo, Utah families while following the instructions contained in an old and musty chart secretly obtained from the achieves of a crumbling and dilapidated convent in Mexico.

Immediately following the discovery, a series of lode mining claims, appropriately called the "Lost Mine Josephine," had been filed upon the old mine tunnel in September of 1898 by its locators, William Bird, Sr., William Bird, Jr., Albert Bird, A.L. Aveny, Isaac Hunter and Orin Bates. Shortly thereafter, the Lost Josephine Mining Company was formed in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Connected with the enterprise were such men as Senator Thomas Kearns, the company's manager, Captain Timothy Egan, C.E. Hudson and Sam T. Godbe. The company was popular from the start and, as such, no difficulty was experienced in the disposal of treasury stock. Frequent examinations were made of the mine by experienced mining men, and it was believed that the company had a bonanza in the discovery, and that it also "had the world by the tail on a down-hill pull.

After all, the Lost Josephine Mine had finally been found and, according to advisers from Provo, it had been so "recognized." Not only had the location been determined from the instructions of the old Spanish document, but within the workings themselves had been found very, old and rotting timbers, the remains of shovels and picks of Spanish origin and ore which was sensationally rich -- not to mention the remains of the ancient arrastra found but a short distance from the mine itself.

Unfortunately, after the expenditure of considerable sums of money in the excavation and development of the old and collapsed mine tunnel, one of the officers of the company - not being fully satisfied in his own mine regarding the sensational assay values of the property made an examination of his own of the old mine while no one else was around. He placed several powder shots for himself; went through some fine-looking ore showing in the face and sides of the ore body, and the samples he took from the main body showed hardly a trace. From doubt to suspicion was but a small step, and a secret conference was held by the officials of the company. Immediately thereafter, another quiet and somewhat exhaustive examination was made, and the final verdict was, the mine had been salted.

It was of no matter that the old mine was generally accepted, by all concerned, to be that of the old Spanish document, or that it would possibly be proven to be a very rich producer of gold and silver with the removal of the rubble from its collapsed tunnel. The fact remained: it had been salted by its original locators for the purpose of procuring a guaranteed investment capitol for its development, and had therefore become too much of a "hot potato" for the Senator and his constituents to handle.

Naturally, subsequent operations on the part of the original locators to reopen the ancient mine on their own, were met by financial disaster. They soon found that financial aid could no longer be obtained, not even from the most interested of parties, in view of their blemished record of having salted the mine. Within just three months of their second year, the Lost Josephine Mine was dead as a mackerel and their claims were abandoned.

It was summer, 1939, and the cattle were grazing the mountain range. John Wesley Young, a 51-year-old cattleman and the grandson of Mormon leader Brigham Young, was riding the range with his 12-year-old son, Keith. They had been riding leisurely through the timber and up a small shallow canyon toward Hoyt Peak when, just before they reached the crest of a low pass on the eastern slope of the peak, a sudden thunderstorm let loose, sending John and Keith Young scurrying for shelter under a protruding bush-like tree nestled against a small gray ledge. After the two had sat huddled up against the ledge and in the shelter of the small bush-like tree for a considerable amount of time, John turned to find that his son was no where to be seen, and he called out for him several times. The boy, hearing his father's call, soon stuck his head out of a small nearby hole at the base of the ledge, and said, "Dad! There's a house down in here!" John slid over and, with some hesitation, crawled with his son into the small hole, if for no better reason than to escape the cold wet of the rain.

When the storm had subsided and the light from the outside was greater, they found themselves just inside the entrance to a large room approximately 25 by 40 feet in diameter with a ceiling height of about 9 or 10 feet, cut from solid rock.

They rode back to their camp, obtained a couple of good flashlights and returned to the cave-like hole to inspect, in more detail, its interior depths. With adequate lights, they soon discovered an array of ancient tools, all of which appeared to have been handmade; there was an old forge, an anvil resting upon a large block of wood, an old shovel with rotted handle, a hammer and several chisels, a pair of what appeared to be prop-size logging tongs, a pair of blacksmith tongs and an old wood handle from a hand-operated windlass.

In addition to the old tools, scattered upon the floor of the old room was found evidence of donkey, mule or horse manure suggesting that such animals had been sheltered many years before. The walls and the ceiling of the room were caked with smoke and soot, suggesting that the room had once been used as a workroom or as a living quarters by someone long ago.

Further examination of the room revealed, at the southwest corner of the room, an opening to a steep incline or shaft-like drift which had also been cut by hand from solid rock and which extended on down into the mountain for a distance of about 35 feet, at which place there was a tunnel, large enough to stand up in, and about 50 feet back inside the tunnel was a large door blocking the passageway. The door was made of large logs strapped together by thick rawhide and secured by a chain and a large ancient-looking padlock. As John Young walked over to the door he found it blocked partially open by large slabs of rock which had slipped down from the ceiling of the old tunnel. He could not or dared not pry the door open to where he could crawl through to the other side, for fear of collapsing the entire ceiling, so he left the old mine and returned home.

At home, John Young exclaimed to his wife, Irene, and his oldest son, Marion, "I believe I've found the Lost Rhoades Mine!" When questioned as to why he thought it might be that of the old Rhoades Mine, John simply replied, "Why, it must be -- why else would they have put a large door in there?"

The discovery of the old mine was held in strict secrecy among the members of the Young family. On September 15, 1939, John and Irene Young filed a claim on it, calling it the "Mystery Mine," telling no one exactly what they had found or exactly where it was located. Little did they know that they had actually discovered the second of three tunnels belonging to the Lost Josephine Mine, the first tunnel being located by the Bird family and others in 1898.

A series of events prolonged whatever work may have been scheduled for the re-opening of the old mine. First, an early snowfall in September of 1939 forced them from the mountain to wait out the winter. Then, with the beginning of World War II, Marion Young left home to serve a four-year hitch in the U.S. Army, and John Young -- on Christmas Day, 1942 -- had moved his family from the old homestead on the Weber River to a newer home in Orem, Utah. Travel to and from the mine was now less frequent, due to war rationing and the greater distance of travel.

During the years of 1940 to 1944, while John's oldest son Marion was still in the Army, John returned several times to the old Mystery Mine, where he had explored every aspect of the mine from its entrance down to the old wood door. And, finally, the urge to explore the old Spanish mine tunnel to its depths and beyond the old log door became too great for John to resist. He eventually purchased some blasting powder during the summer of 1944, packed his vehicle with supplies and drove out to the old mine.

Carefully he made his way down through the corridors of the old mine and to the blockage surrounding the old door. At that point, while carefully selecting the precise location to set his charge, his light fell upon a strange rock formation which had gone unnoticed during his earlier expeditions. This three foot high formation, which rested against the western wall of the tunnel, appeared to be small black-colored slabs of rock stacked like brickwork. He pulled one of the slabs from the formation and was astonished by its great weight. He pulled another from the stack and he placed both slabs into the side pockets of his jacket, then lit the fuse of his dynamite charge and scurried as quickly as possible from the old mine.

Outside the small entrance of the mine, while waiting for his charge to go off, he pulled the two slabs of heavy black rock from his pockets and broke them into several pieces with his hammer and could hardly believe his eyes. They were almost pure, solid silver of a native variety.

Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned. When the charge exploded it caused the entire tunnel to collapse, as well as most of the 35-foot drift which led to the tunnel from the large room, and the old mine was sealed as tight as a drum. Disappointed beyond description John left the old mine and returned home.

From 1944 until 19(7 nothing much was ever accomplished toward attempts at excavating the rubble from the old collapsed tunnel of Young's Mystery Mine. He'd spent much of his time prospecting the area and locating secondary ore deposits of the old mine which were outcropping here and there in various locations adjacent to the old mine.

One day, while John Young was in Salt Lake City purchasing a couple maps of the Hoyt Peak region, he was approached by several University of Utah students who had overheard his request for the maps. "Are you acquainted with that area?" one had asked of him. "Yeah -- I've prospected the area," Young replied. They asked, "While you were in that area, have you ever seen an old mine?" Young, of course, not wishing to divulge his secrets, replied, "No -- but why do you ask?" One of the students then remarked, "There's supposed to be an old Spanish mine up there somewhere. We've been going up there -- the University of Utah -- for the last three years looking for the mine in that area."

John Young was by this time quite excited over the remarks of the students, but he tried not to show it in front of them. "And what mine is that?" he asked. "The Lost Josephine," the student continued. "We've got this journal which was written by the only survivor of a contingent of men who came out here from Spain to work the mine. They would go there every year and work all summer, using the Indians as slaves, and then load up their shipment in pigskin bags and transport it by donkey-train to the Gulf of Mexico where they would ship it to Spain. But one time the Indians got up in arms and massacred them all, except one who escaped death by hiding in the mine until the Indians were gone. He wrote the story in his journal, which was found in the achieves of Spain, and he told of a $6,000,000 cache of gold and silver which was hidden in the old mine behind a wooden door."

"What makes you think that the old mine is in the Hoyt Peak area?" John asked. "We have his story and the maps -- it's all recorded," explained the student. °'We've followed the trails all the way from the Gulf of Mexico in Texas and right through, and the map led us to Hoyt Peak. The mine has to be somewhere on that peak."

John Young, being the sly character that he was, politely jotted down the names and addresses of the students and then bid them farewell, promising to contact them if he ever found such a mine in that area.

Beginning in 1967, John Young, with the help of a cousin named LaVar Shurtz, brought in a rubber-tired backhoe and with it began excavating many of his earlier discoveries of the secondary ore veins. This work continued through the next few years, while very little, if any, development work was accomplished upon the old Mystery Mine.

Later, after he had actually obtained a copy of the old Spanish Waybill and Shipping Records from the University people, he became convinced enough to attempt the excavation of the old mine tunnel. By late fall of 1974, John Young, LaVar Shurtz and their associates had completed the task of excavating the rubble from the entire length of the 35-foot incline.

Only the rubble which remained within the tunnel itself separated them from the old wood door and from whatever else may have been stored there.

During the winter of 1974-75, LaVar Shurtz suffered serious leg and back injuries in an industrial accident, which forced upon him an early retirement from any form of manual labor and therefore also ended his prospecting and mining career as well.

The accident suffered by LaVar Shurtz was but one of a long combination of set-backs which finally reached their peak during the late 1970's with regard to the mining career of John Young himself. For John Young -- the old man that he was -could do little more on his own. It was a time when everything just simply began to fall apart: old age, poor health, lack of experienced help and financial aid, and a constant distrust in others who perhaps could have done the job, had simply spelled disaster for John Young and any further development of his old Mystery Mine. His mining claims fell delinquent and the old mine was abandoned. Irene Young, after a long series of strokes, died on January 2,1979, and John Young died of old age, at the age of 92 in 1980.

In September of 1981 the old Josephine Mine - with its three tunnels and one shaft - was located, staked and claimed by Stephen B. Shaffer and myself and called the "Bear Hole" and John Young's secondary ore deposits were also located, staked and claimed as the "Rainbow".

The tunnels and the shaft were completely charted, surveyed, and sampled. Expert geologists examined the interior of much of the mine and found satisfactory values which warrant operations of a commercial nature. But much of the ancient mine has long since collapsed since the time of the Spaniard and re-opening the old mine will certainly be no easy task and will be very expensive as well. Some of our earlier excavations of the rubble from the tunnel were conducted by H.A.S. Petroleum of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but the project was abandoned by that group after clearing only 20 feet of rubble, due to the lack of proper mining equipment, necessary mining experience and lack of interest. Since that time several small-scale operations have been attempted and negotiations are being made with others in an effort to complete the task.

What we will find inside the old mine is, at this point in time, questionable, but it has all the earmarks of having been at one time a good producer of gold and silver ore.--Lost Gold of the Uintah, pg. 96

This story is covered in much detail in Steve Shaffer’s latest book “Out of the Dust”. Space doesn’t permit me to include it here as it comprises a whole chapter in his book. You’ll have to get a copy

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