Yes, gold was found in Iowa back in the 1851 by John
Ellsworth in Dorado which is now known as El Dora in Hardin County. On John
Ellsworth farm he found a vein of gold that gave him all of his wealth. However,
he never disclosed the whereabouts of his find and it is still unknown to this
Another vein of gold was discovered in 1857 by O.M.
Holcombe. This gold was found in the Iowa River close by El Dora. Once again in
1877 gold was found along the Iowa River about seven miles north of El Dora.
Would you believe there are fresh water pearls to
be found in Iowa? Several people have found them in the tributaries of the
Mississippi River at Clinton, Davenport, McGregor, and Muscatine.
The search for other precious gems in Iowa has
brought some riches. Along the shore of the Lake Okojobi in Dickenson County,
sapphires have been found.
During 1840, Fort Atkinson was built to protect
Winnebago Indians, which were being taken from Wisconsin and Illinois to Iowa
from Indians such as the Sak, Fox, and the Sioux. The Sioux Indians were a
problem in this area until the late 1860’s.
Two payrolls for the soldiers at Fort Atkinson
never arrived because of Indian attacks. During the first attack in 1842, the
paymaster buried $7,000 worth of gold coins before he was killed by the Indians.
The exact whereabouts of this treasure is still unknown to this day. The second
payroll lost to Indian attacks occurred en route from Fort Crawford, Wisconsin
to Fort Atkinson. In both cases, the paymaster buried the gold coins. An Indian
that told the story said he was a member of the war party that attacked the
first paymaster. He explained the attack occurred near by Gullenburg close to