The story of the Genoa Nail Keg cache is a story about
how treasure can be lost when it is valiantly trying to be protected. Many
stories of lost treasures are along these same lines but there is one thing that
makes this story unique – the lost treasure was in a nail keg.
The year was 1860 and the payrolls of the country
were given in coin. However, in Genoa, there was a severe shortage of coins and
so it had to be shipped in from California. The fact that so much money was
continuously being shipped interested thieves and robberies were very
commonplace. One of the men responsible for a payroll knew about the robberies
and trying to outsmart the thieves, placed the coin in a nail keg. With the coin
secure in the keg, the keg was shipped through regular freight. The shipment
made most of its journey with no events of robberies or otherwise taking place
however, just outside of Genoa, robbers did descend upon the stage carrying the
keg and took everything but the keg. Instead, the keg was rolled into the woods
by two masked robbers.
Shortly after, a huge search was organized to find
the keg, the robbers, or the gold but all searches came up with nothing. In the
days and weeks after, the woods were combed by many, all in search of the
treasure but no one ever found it. Eventually, people lost interest and ceased
all searches of the area. However, years later, a man was dying in the Montana
boom camp and on his deathbed confessed that he had once attacked a stage
carrying a nail keg and that he and his partner had taken everything but the
keg. He and his partner, after rolling the keg into the woods, opened it and
found $20,000 in gold coin. Each man took $1,000 before burying the keg beneath
a nearby pine. They went their separate ways and soon after left the woods and
the keg as they were.
After the dying man’s confession, the story
travelled from Montana to Carson Valley and everyone began to get gold fever.
Thousands of people scoured the area, searching for the keg and the treasure it
held. Nearly every tree within the Genoa forest had been dug around and even the
area of the highway where the stage had been hit was scoured in fine detail.
This carried on until 1882 when the area was hit by a huge avalanche, which
destroyed most of the trees within the forest and took them down the slopes that
surrounded the forest.
However, this did little to deter treasure hunters
from looking. The gold in its entirety has never been found however, a
blacksmith and his son searched the area in 1916 and found a chest that
contained $2,000. In 1948, a basement was being dug out and inside the basement
was an amount of gold, although no one knows just how much gold was found at
this time. In 1961, some other lucky treasure hunters found twenty gold pieces
in a nearby hillside. These stories are true but there are still treasure
hunters searching for the remaining $18,000.