It was during the 1850s when several Mormons were in a
group travelling to the small town of Horsetown. As they crossed Redding,
California, they knew that they would need to cross Clear Creek along the way.
Because it was fairly shallow water and the creek generally lived up to its
name, none of the settlers were concerned. However upon arriving at Clear Creek,
they found that the waters were extremely rough and that it was going to be
impossible to cross. Deciding to rest for a few days while they waited for the
waters to calm, they set up a small shelter. Unfortunately, the group became
restless quite quickly and determining that the creek was safe enough to cross,
they began leading their horses and wagons through the water and across to the
Most of the wagons made it through to the other
side without event but the wagon of a certain Mr. Bishop wasn’t so fortunate.
Circumstance led him to crossing the creek just a bit further down than the rest
of the group. What he didn’t know was that the water was much deeper here than
in the area that surrounded the rest of the group. While Bishop and the horses
made it to shore safely, the wagonload was quickly carried away by the waters
that were still to rough. With his wagon washed away the $40,000 he had been
carrying inside a small chest in the wagon. The group remained at the site the
entire week, combing the banks time and time again, looking for the chest filled
with gold. Not seeing any sign of it, they grew weary of the search and
continued to Horsetown. They would all make the journey back from time to time,
still in search of the missing gold but it was never found.
The story was almost dead and forgotten until 1910
when a treasure hunter by the name of William Dreestelhorst found a gold coin
worth ten dollars along the same banks one day. The coin dated back to 1841 and
clearly showed initials of “SMV.” The words “California Gold” also showed
clearly around the rim of the coin. This concluded that the coin had been made
by an assayer and that it was exactly the same coin that the Mormons would have
been carrying so many years ago.
This sparked the story going around time and time
again and sent many treasure hunters to the creek in search of the gold coin.
Although it has never been found, it’s thought to be in the area of southwest
Clear Creek in Redding, California.