During the War Between the States, several confederate
soldiers banded together for the Southern Independence in Colorado. This group,
which included the Fairplay Unit, Leadville Unit, and the Denver Unit, were
driven out of Fort Garland by Union forces.
However, this is not the end of the story. Other
Southern sympathizers did not want the Union to win the war. During this time,
The Reynolds gang was formed which consisted of Jim Reynolds and eight
confederate soldiers. They began an invasion in the South Park area. This
invasion was geared toward robbing all the gold mines to help finance the
Their first attack was at the ranch of Adolph
Guirand on July 24, 1864. During this raid, the Reynolds gang stole all the
horses and cash.
From here, the gang headed north and raided the Dan
McLaughlin’s stage station. They left the station with a gold watch, around
$3,000 in cash, and horses. Next stop was the Michigan House stage stop where
they took only horses.
A local resident heard of the Reynold’s gang and
began warning everyone in their path. This local resident, Mr. Berry, followed
the gang as far as he could so he could keep track and warn others. He even
tried in vain to round up posse.
Finally, by July 30, 1864, a posse was created. The
gang was found somewhere in a small clearing in the forest along a path from
Omaha House stage to Shaffer’s Crossing. One of the confederate “outlaws” was
killed during a gunfight. At this time, the Reynold’s gang decided to hide their
loot and escape. Each one headed off in different directions. It has been
estimated the hidden loot is between $5,000 and $100,000.
Before long, a larger posse was created and within four days, four more of the
Reynolds gang was captured. One other outlaw was captured in another 4 or 5
days. The only members left to capture were Jim Reynolds, John Reynolds, and one
other gang member. They made it all the way to New Mexico.
Many years later, John Reynolds was shot during a
raid close by Taos, New Mexico. As he was dying, he drew a map and told the
story of the gunfight and the hidden loot in Colorado to an outlaw by the name
of Albert Brown.
Before Albert Brown passed away, he tried several
times in vain to find the hidden loot. Before his death, he passed on the map to
a Detective David J. Cook. In his autobiography is this passage concerning the
"Jim and me buried the treasure the morning before
the posse attack on Geneva Gulch. You go up above there a little ways and find
where one of our horses mired down in a swamp. On up at the head of the gulch we
turned to the right and followed the mountain around a little farther, and just
above the head of Deer Creek, we found an old prospect hole at about timberline.
There, we placed $40,000 in greenbacks, wrapped in silk oil cloth, and three
cans of gold dust. We filled the mouth of the hole up with stones, and ten steps
below, struck a butcher knife into a tree about four feet from the ground and
broke the handle off, and left it pointing toward the mouth of the hole."