Black Dog Crossing

The Miners Loot at Black Dog Trail Crossing

By Urbane Chaos

 [1]"Boys I believe I have found a gold mine!”

All it took was these simple words to set in motion a global cascade of events that forever changed the American West. It was in 1848 when an obscure New Jersey carpenter and mechanic named James W. Marshall uttered these words. By 1849, gold passion was an epidemic. Merchants closed their shops; farmers left their fields; soldiers left their posts - every part of society was influenced by the new found treasure trove of gold in California.

Among those 49’ers that made the trip west towards California were eight robust men from Virginia, intent on striking it rich in those golden hills. After just a few short months, Lady Luck smiled down on those fortune seekers. They hired an ox team to carry their baggage back to Virginia. Along with their personal belongings, they also carried several bags laden with gold nuggets of every size.

Having left behind the wicked and harsh life of California, they also left behind the stealing, lying, swearing, drinking, gambling & murdering that went on there. Instead, they were looking forward to a life of luxury and relaxation. Somewhere along the way, that fickle Lady Luck left them. In the three months it took them to travel from California to Oklahoma, they were faced with many great trials, but their greatest trial came while camped near the Black Dog Trail Crossing on the Arkansas River.

The area around the Black Dog Trail Crossing was known to be inhabited by the Osage Indians.  The Osage were a fierce tribe, and guarded their lands aggressively, often taking the scalps of defeated enemies and displaying them openly.

While the eight men camped near the trail crossing, one of them witnessed the advance of an oncoming Osage war party.  Having heard of the ferocity of the Osage, the men quickly buried the bags of gold near the river bank and wedged a broken rifle in the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. 

While the men knew that fighting the Osage was futile, they made a valiant attempt.  After a short but deadly attack, seven of the men lay dead.  The remaining man was severely wounded.

The area around the Black Dog Trail Crossing was known to be inhabited by the Osage Indians.  The Osage were a fierce tribe, and guarded their lands aggressively, often taking the scalps of defeated enemies and displaying them openly.

While the eight men camped near the trail crossing, one of them witnessed the advance of an oncoming Osage war party.  Having heard of the ferocity of the Osage, the men quickly buried the bags of gold near the river bank and wedged a broken rifle in the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. 

While the men knew that fighting the Osage was futile, they made a valiant attempt.  After a short but deadly attack, seven of the men lay dead.  The remaining man was severely wounded.

It took the wounded man several weeks to make the return trip to his home in Virginia.  The voyage further depleted the weak man’s strength, and he soon succumbed to his wounds.  Before taking his final breath, he told his family of the hidden gold.

It took the family several years to return to Oklahoma.  During that time, they assumed that the stash of gold would remain hidden, but once they arrived to search for the hidden cache, all signs of its existence were gone.  They spent several weeks searching the Black Dog Trail crossing, but they never could find either the marker or any signs of battle.  Disappointed, they slowly made their way back home to Virginia.

To this day, the gold has never been found.

Where to Find the Oklahoma Treasure

While this Oklahoma treasure tale is based on fact, one can only speculate about the treasures current existence.  Was this Oklahoma treasure found?  Is there still untold wealth scattered about on the old trail crossing?

Imagine if this Oklahoma treasure still existed - that would, indeed, be quite an amazing thing.

The Black Dog Trail is an Osage trail that runs from Kansas and Oklahoma. It extended from east of present Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Great Salt Plains in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma.

The location of the Black Dog Trail Crossing is at NewKirk, Oklahoma in Kay County.

It took the wounded man several weeks to make the return trip to his home in Virginia.  The voyage further depleted the weak man’s strength, and he soon succumbed to his wounds.  Before taking his final breath, he told his family of the hidden gold.

It took the family several years to return to Oklahoma.  During that time, they assumed that the stash of gold would remain hidden, but once they arrived to search for the hidden cache, all signs of its existence were gone.  They spent several weeks searching the Black Dog Trail crossing, but they never could find either the marker or any signs of battle.  Disappointed, they slowly made their way back home to Virginia.

To this day, the gold has never been found.

Where to Find the Oklahoma Treasure

While this Oklahoma treasure tale is based on fact, one can only speculate about the treasures current existence.  Was this Oklahoma treasure found?  Is there still untold wealth scattered about on the old trail crossing?

Imagine if this Oklahoma treasure still existed - that would, indeed, be quite an amazing thing.

The Black Dog Trail is an Osage trail that runs from Kansas and Oklahoma. It extended from east of present Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Great Salt Plains in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma.

The location of the Black Dog Trail Crossing is at NewKirk, Oklahoma in Kay County.

Black Dog Crossing Treasure

created by  potterpalooza   

[2]Description

Along the Black Dog Trail in north central Oklahoma, there is said to be hidden, several pouches of gold from the California Gold Rush. In 1850, after having struck it rich in California, eight men from Virginia were making the long trek home when they camped near the Black Dog Trail Crossing on the Arkansas River. They were chased by indians and seeing no chance of escape, the men quickly buried the bags of gold near the river bank, wedging a broken rifle in the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. After the attack, seven of the men lay dead, but one, though severely wounded, managed to survive.
After several weeks the weary and injured traveler made his way home to Virginia where he eventually died as a result of his wounds. However, before he took his last breath, he told his family of the hidden gold and where to find it.

The family was unable to travel to Oklahoma for several years to look for the hidden cache. When they did return, they spent several weeks searching the crossing. The rifle was long gone from its place within the fork of the tree and the terrain bore no trace of the battle that had been fought there. Disappointed, they returned home to Virginia, empty handed.
Old records support the story of the miner who had survived the Indian attack to return home to Virginia. To this day the gold has never been found. The Black Dog Trail Crossing is located northeast of Newkirk, Oklahoma in Kay County.

Some Research

There was a large Indian trail that followed up the Salt Fork on the north side of the river. This was called the Black Dog Trail. Many of the Osage mourning parties followed this trail in their quest of scalps, most of which were secured from among the tribes of Western Oklahoma. There was another trail, less used, which led up the north side of Red Rock Creek. This creek was called "Pawnee No-washiecow-haw Shing-gah," which, in English, would mean Poor Pawnee Creek. The Osages told me that, several years before, they had found a lost Pawnee on this creek and that he was almost starved to death when they found him. They killed and scalped him. I will say more about this Indian in the story called "The Lost Pawnee." We knew no other name for this creek until the coming of the Otoes, and then people got to calling it Red Rock Creek.[3]

These Indians then went on west, up the Salt Fork, and they killed a man near where the Black Dog Trail crossed Fond Creek. This man belonged to an outfit that was coming up the trail from Texas with a herd. Some of the cattle had strayed off and he was hunting for these strays when the Indians found him.[3]

Colonel Dean and I reached there just in time to see the Indians run. We could see an Indian on top of a large sand hill. He was their lookout and he gave the other Indians the signal that we were coming and then they all ran. We never got near enough to get in a shot. The Indians ran eastward and crossed the Arkansas River at the Black Dog Crossing. They had killed seventeen head of cattle and there was no doubt but that they would have killed the last one if we had not arrived in time to scare them away.[3]

We first camped on Pond Creek in the fall of 1874 There was something wild and weird about this creek and this something seemed to be lacking with the other numerous creeks upon which we had camped. It looked like a deserted village. There were numerous signs of its having been a great camping place for the Indians. There were old ash heaps and the remains of old tepee frames and many burying grounds. On the bank of the creek, near where the Black Dog Trail crossed it, was a lonely grave. A chiefs’ daughter had been buried there. The remains of these Indians laid it these graves for many moons undisturbed and unstartled by the yell of the fierce Pawnee, but it was not to be forever thus. With the opening of the Cherokee Strip, a stranger appeared in the garb of the white man and, today, this pale faced stranger tills the soil unmindful of the fact that his fields contain lands that, to the Indians, were hallowed grounds.[3]

In areas with trees, people sometimes "blazed" a tree by removing bark from a large spot.  The Black Dog Trail that ran across the southern edge of the state from Baxter Springs to Winfield was marked in this way.[4]

Black Dog Trail in Oklahoma. Lying across the Arkansas River, a lot of hunters camp near the Black Dog Trail Crossing in search of the hidden pouches of gold, which are believed to have come from the historical California Rush. The location of the Black Dog Trail Crossing is at NewKirk, Oklahoma in Kay County.[5]

Located on the grounds of the Historical Museum, the marker commemorates the   Black Dog Trail opened in 1803 by Chief Black Dog ( Manka - Chonka) and his band of Osage Indians who had a village nearby where springs once flowed freely. 

Hours: April - November Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Nov. - March Saturday and Sunday Only 
Address: 8th and East Avenue (1 block south at 8th & Route 66) 

Come visit us in Baxter Springs, Kansas[6]

The Ponca trail, Mr. Moore says, went south on the one half mile section line through sections 1, 12 and 13 to the Indian territory. It "was not named until placing of the Ponca Indians on their reservation in the years 1877 or 1878; was the trail from Arkansas City to Ponca agency on the Salt Fork river, being about forty miles long. Many trails branched from it leading to Indian agencies, cow camps and soldiers' camps. This trail also became a stage line until the building of the Santa Fe in 1886. This trail crossed at right angles the old Black Dog Osage trail near the village of Kildare, Okla. It was over this Ponca trail the homeseekers traveled in April, 1889, to reach the first land opened for settlement in Oklahoma, For several days after they were permitted to cross the Kansas-Indian territory line this trail was one broken line of covered wagons, all going south." -- Letter of Bert Moore, January 26, 1936, to author.[7]

Before we leave Kansas and go to the Osage trails in Oklahoma, we must trace the Black Dog Trail. Like the Continental Trail (fifth entry), this trail led from SPring River.  It started east of Baxter Springs, Kansas, and roughly followed the 37th parallel (Kansas-Oklahoma state line) to the extreme southeast corner of Chautauqua County, Kansas. Here it dipped southward to the Caney River and followed it to Elgin, Kansas, where it followed Buck Creek.  It continued west by following the west fork of the Buck Creek and then crossed over the the divide to the headwaters of Elm Creek.  At the Junction of Elm Creek and Salt Creek, the trail turned due west tot eh Arknasas River, which it corssed at Ferdinandina.  Here teh trail branched, with the north fork going up the Arkansas to Nennescah.  THe other fork continued west to the Salt Fork, which it followed to the Salt Plains.[8]

An alternate route was to follow the Caney River to Ozrow Falls near Cedar Vale, Kansas, and then to follow the alternate Continental Trail either to Ninnescah or Ferdinandina crossings of the Arkansas River.  To the Osages, the Black Dog Trail was also known as the Second Buffalo Trail.[8]

The Black Dog Trail was a 200-mile, road-like passage that was cleared by the Black Dog Band of the Osage Indians under the direction of the "older"  Black Dog.    (there were two). Although the route was traveled in the 1600s,  the road-like artery was built in the early 1800s along the ancient, often used 1600s Osage Indian hunting and mourning route.  Passing through Dexter, it measured at least 30 running horses wide—even through the waterways.  The entire Trail was cleared of rocks, obstacles and grasses.  It ran from Baxter Springs, Kansas  to near Oxford, Kansas.  The five routes of the Other Osage Bands joined the route of the Black Dog Band at various points along the Trail in route to the hunting and   vegetable-gathering camps in South Central Kansas and North Central Oklahoma.    Those who could not hunt or work were generally left behind at their Band’s base camp.  Thousands passed this way at least twice yearly bringing with them many horses and dogs. They would often return with necessities and trade goods. Through time and wise decisions, the Osage tribe evolved to be the richest tribe in the United States.[9]

The Black Dog Trail was not only significant to the Osage Indians, but it was important in the change it brought about. It brought together the ancient nomadic people and the European-like system of today's culture with the settlement of one of the last frontiers of America. The Black Dog Trail was an exciting focus as the early United States evolved through the Civil War into the society of today.[9]

The Osage chief Black Dog was born circa 1780 near St. Louis, Missouri. His village, Pasuga (or Big Cedar), was located at present Claremore, Oklahoma. His original name, Zhin-gawa-ca (or Shinka-Wah-Sa), meant Dark Eagle or Sacred Little One. He possibly earned the designation Manka-Chonka or Black Dog against the Comanche. At a Fort Gibson meeting during March 1833, he was called   Shonkah-Sabe or Black Horse.[10]

An Osage trail in Kansas and Oklahoma was known as the Black Dog Trail. Engineered by Black Dog, it extended from east of present Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the Great Salt Plains in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. Under his leadership a substantial proportion of the Osage hunted west to the Salt Plains and the upper Arkansas River. It was not uncommon for members of his band to raid, hunt, and trade as far away as Mexico and Santa Fe.[10]

Portraits of Black Dog were painted by artists George Catlin in 1834 and John Mix Stanley in 1843. Blind in his left eye, he stood around seven feet tall and weighed an estimated three hundred pounds. His only son, also called Black Dog, was born in 1827 and died in 1910. Black Dog was a contemporary of and shared power with chiefs Claremore and Pawhuska. His political control perhaps extended over a third of the tribe. He was on generally friendly terms with U.S. authorities and occasionally ordered his braves to hunt and scout for American troops. Black Dog died at the present site of Claremore, Oklahoma, on March 24, 1848.[10]

Along the Black Dog Trail in north central Oklahoma, there is said to be hidden, several pouches of gold from the California Gold Rush.  In 1850, after having struck it rich in California, eight men from Virginia were making the long trek home when they camped near the Black Dog Trail Crossing on the Arkansas River. This area was widely known to be inhabited by the Osage Indians who guarded their land with war-like ferocity.[11]

For those unwary Virginians, that night was no different as they witnessed the advance of an oncoming Osage War party. Seeing no chance of escape, the men quickly buried the bags of gold near the river bank, wedging a broken rifle in the fork of a nearby tree to mark the spot. After the attack, seven of the men lay dead, but one, though severely wounded, managed to survive.[11]

After several weeks the weary and injured traveler made his way home to Virginia where he eventually died as a result of his wounds. However, before he took his last breath, he told his family of the hidden gold and where to find it.[11]

The family was unable to travel to Oklahoma for several years to look for the hidden cache. When they did return, they spent several weeks searching the crossing. The rifle was long gone from its place within the fork of the tree and the terrain bore no trace of the battle that had been fought there. Disappointed, they returned home to Virginia, empty handed.[11]

My Own Thoughts

So, it makes sense to me that the crossing would be near the archeological spot "Ferdinandina" since what was thought to have been a French Fort is in reality one of the Osage Indian sights for meat processing and they traded with the French. You need to read my web page on that sight if you are not understanding.

If the trail was wide enough for '30 horses' then that gives a lot of room to have to look, and even if the old broken rifle was still in the dirt, which it well could be, the river has probably changed course some since the banks in the area are pretty soft, not hard rock.  The hard rock is under the river. If you look at the creek you cross over when going to Trader's Bend (where 'Ferdinandina fort site is) then you can tell the geography of the land.

The other part is that the Osage Indians were not stupid, so chances are that they dug up the gold, for they would have probably seen that the ground was disturbed.  If they didn't, then yes the gold could still be there. But also, the man put the rifle in the tree for a good reason, so you are talking about having to look in about a 2 mile area, and on which side of the river? As with all treasure tales, the information is so very sketchy.

Then, if you do find it, keep in mind that the river is owned by the Cherokee Indians, and the land surrounding the river bank there is owned by the COrps of Engineers, (spelled US Government) so you are not allowed to dig on their land without express written permission, which I am sure they will not give to you.  And if you tell anyone about finding the gold, then since it is either on Cherokee or Government land, then it belongs to them.  All of this makes it a real mess.

But at least I did the research to where the crossing is located, which is time consuming, and not real easy, but hey, it is what I do....



© Lord Gazmuth 2012