A close writer friend had come into possession of a handwritten record of this gold mine written by a man who had lived during its heyday. Twenty pages of penciled words giving information about who was involved, when, why it happened and how. All we needed to find was where, and it didn't take long for my friend to use his connections to get the answer to that question as well.
By Saturday, all arrangements had been made with the current owner of the land where the mine is located, as well as a descendant of a man involved in the early mining and a fellow who had once owned the land and was descended from the writer of the short piece.
We followed the Pig Trail south from Elkins, one of the most scenic drives in the Boston Mountains. Recent rains produced heavy foliage and in many places the trees canopied the narrow highway to blot out the bright sunlight. It took us about 40 minutes to drive the final 20 miles into the Arkansas River Valley. The narrow road is crooked and steep and calls for rapt attention while driving. It was a breathtaking drive. Yellow sunflowers and white daisies blanketed the ditches on both sides of the road. The temperature had reached 96 by the time we arrived at the small town located on the Arkansas River where we were to meet and take our caravan up into the remote hills to the mine.
We met at a railroad depot that is today a museum because the fast moving freights no longer stop there. I was able to get a book about the history of the county for later research and listened to some romantic stories from a retired school teacher in charge of the museum. We found her and her friends set up in the center of the room putting together a jigsaw puzzle. They were eager to share some tales with us.
Soon everyone had gathered and we took off in three vehicles. Following the winding road up out of the valley into the Boston Mountains, we climbed and coiled for perhaps 20 minutes before turning off and heading into the woods and to the pleasant farm home of our host, who turned out to be related to our son-in-law. Thus are the ways of these Ozarks.
He shared his abstract with us, the first land settlement dated 1842. There, in what appeared to be his back yard, a solid rock face soared perhaps 200 feet high. Several tunnels were cut into the stone. We were told that originally this bluff was hidden by a heavy growth of timber, but he had cleared it all out so that the entrance to the mine was literally in his mowed yard. One could only enter by crawling, so needless to say we remained at the entrance.
I'll share a bit of the story here, but the rest will be in my upcoming book, The Boston Mountains: Lost In the Ozarks. It seems a long ago farmer was plowing his fields and began to find small stone tablets with strange writings on them. A search for their origin eventually led to the belief that the writings were telling a tale of buried treasure. Gold. Probably buried centuries earlier. The men finally surmised that it was of Spanish or Mexican origin.
Rather than see the place overrun with prospectors, several of them got together and formed the Mountain Creek Gold Mine Company, sold shares and began to blast and dig for the treasure. For the rest of the story, as they say, and the amazing secret unearthed about some of the writings found on the stones, you'll have to read my book. If you want to have some fun, become a writer of history.
Later that afternoon we drove north in search of a town that is on the map, but has disappeared. We saw an old, hand-painted sign alongside a side road that led us to the community building and cemetery. As we turned, I spotted on the other side of the highway, an old building so overgrown it was only barely visible. When we came back out we parked nearby and as I was taking pictures and my husband investigating, a car stopped and a lady hollered out her window at us.
I went to talk to her and she told me that it was the old general store for the small town which we'd been searching for. A town by the name of Boston. This is where three rivers, the King, War Eagle and White, have their head and flow north into the mountains. They become important rivers that feed lakes and drive mills, and that was originally why I went in search of the lost town.
By the time we started home, we were weary but happy. We'd found everything we searched for that day, including the wonderful Ozark Restaurant in Ozark, Arkansas, that served some of the best homemade mountain cooking we'd laid a tooth to outside Grandma's kitchen. All in all, it was a satisfying day.