Where is the lost treasure of the Ruggles Brothers?
As the story goes, a respected and influential family
in Tulare County in California had two sons, one with a dream of college and the
other the bad sheep of the family that wanted things the easy way, by the way of
taking what others had.
Charles Ruggles was the good son. He attended
college and of course was much respected, however, his brother John went the
other way. While Charles was away at college, John spent his time in prison for
robbery. When Charles graduated college, John was released from prison. John had
the desire to show his younger brother the easy path in life.
Finally, John convinced Charles into robbing a
stagecoach with him on May 14, 1892. Right outside of Redding, California they
waited for the Redding and Weaverville stage with the hopes of commandeering a
strong box with around $5,000 in gold coins.
The stage with John Boyce as the driver, George
Suhr riding up front with the driver and Amos Buck Montgomery, the stage guard
in the back came to a sharp turn in the road between Shasta and Redding on what
is known as Middle Creek Road today. Just as the stage is headed around the
turn, Charlie Ruggles steps out the bushes with a shotgun. He was dressed in a
long coat with a bandanna cover his face. He pointed the shotgun at Boyce and
ordered the strong box be tossed down. The driver complied, but at the same
exact time as the strong box was being tossed over, a gunshot rang out.
Montgomery, in the back of the stage using his shotgun shot Charlie in the face
and upper body with buckshot. As he was falling to the ground, he fired a shot
hitting both Suhr and Boyce in the legs.
John, still hidden in the brush began firing away.
He hit Montgomery who would later die. The horses spooked by the noises of the
guns took off down the road toward their destination pulling the stagecoach and
injured men along.
John believing his brother, Charles was dead or
dying, pulled the strong box off the trail and hid is somewhere close by. He
knew the law would soon be back so he fled.
As soon as the stagecoach reached the next town, the sheriff and posse headed
out to find the brothers and to retrieve the strong box. Charles was found lying
in the same place where he fell when he was shot, still alive but badly wounded.
John was long gone. John headed to his auntís home,
however, as soon as she learned that he had robbed the stagecoach and killed a
man she would not let him stay. She told the local sheriff that her nephew had
been in her home and that she had kicked him out. On June 19, six weeks after
the robbery, John was arrested in a restaurant in Woodland. He was taken to the
Redding jail, where he learned that his brother was alive and recovering from
the gunshot wounds.
As the legend goes, both Ruggles brother were
handsome and several of the local ladies began to pamper these two with gifts of
food and even marriage proposals. The local men already had it in for the two
with the murder of Montgomery and they sure were not going to tolerate pampering
of murderers, planned on a lynching.
July 24, 1892, around 40 men formed a mob, took
over the jail, grabbed the Ruggles brother and dragged them both to a tree near
the Redding Blacksmith shop where Shasta Street met the railroad tracks. Here
they hung John and Charles Ruggles. No one ever found the strongbox of gold that
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