Blue Mt. Eagle
May 24, 1919
Newt Leslie of Monument got the story of the Blue Bucket Mine from two members of the immigrant train that
found it and they were then in search of the diggings they had lost. Mr. Leslie tells the following story for the
readers of the Eagle:
"I was born in Clackamas County, Oregon on June 18th, 1854 and I will be 65 years old this coming June. As a boy I've heard
my father speak many times of the Blue Bucket diggings. The first version of the story that ever I heard was of the immigrant
ox teams crossing the plains being lost somewhere in the Malheur country. One day they came to a small creek or washout. Going
down into this canyon there was an old blue bucket fell off one wagon and was run over and smashed. When they got to the bottom
of this washout, some of the party lay down at the pool to drink. They saw some pretty rocks in the pool and one of them picked up
a piece and put it in his pocket. He went to the wagons and showed it to the others, and they commented on what a pretty rock it was.
This man was a blacksmith and threw this rock in an old scrapbox on his wagon. The train of immigrants finally settled in Oregon City,
where the man set up a shop. After gold was discovered in California, in 1849, a California miner happened to be in Oregon City and
being around the shop one day saw this piece of metal lying in a scrap box. He asked the blacksmith where he got it, and the blacksmith
told him that it was gold. They took it and had it assayed and it was solid gold and worth something over $200. From that time on there
were people going from the Willamette Valley nearly every season looking for the Blue Bucket mine.
Several years ago in Pryor William's time, I was riding for him - in Crook County - and gathering his mother's estate
comprised of horses and cattle. We were camped on Trout Creek in Crook County 90 miles this side of Prineville. Two old
men came by and camped with us for one night. They claimed they were in the train that found the Blue Bucket mine and were on their way
to look for it then. They left us the next morning and went on. We rode there for about three months and before we were through riding,
they came on their way back. They had some oak kegs of a piece of a wagon tongue which the immigrant train had left in a cave in Thorim rocks,
close to where the woman took sick and died; they also had found the woman's grave. At the time she wasburied, they marked the grave by two
pine trees which forked from the root and at the height of about four feet they were spread apart three feet. They cut a notch in each
tree about four feet from the ground on the inside and cut off a piece of another tree and drove it into these two notches between the two
trees. It was somewhere not very far from this grave that they struck the Blue Bucket diggins and I don't remember how far they said it
was. If anyone can find it from this description, I hope they will."
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