Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cursed Treasure of Columbia City

A Spanish bark, one day in 1841, put in for water off the spot where Columbia City, Oregon , now stands. She had a rough crew on board, and it had been necessary for her officers to watch the men closely from the time the latter discovered that she was carrying a costly cargo. Hardly had the anchor chains run out before the sailors fell upon the captain, killed him, seized all of value that they could gather, and took it to the shore. What happened after is not clear, but it is probable that in a quarrel, arising over the demands of each man to have most of the plunder, several of the claimants were slain. Indians were troublesome, likewise, so that it was thought best to put most of the goods into the ground, and this was done on the tract known as Hez Copier's farm.

Hardly was the task completed before the Indians appeared in large numbers and set up their tepees, showing that they meant to remain. The mutineers rowed back to the ship, and, after vainly waiting for several days for a chance to go on shore again, they sailed away. Two years of wandering, fighting, and carousal ensued before the remnant of the crew returned toOregon . The Indians were gone, and an earnest search was made for the money--but in vain. It was as if the ground had never been disturbed. The man who had supervised its burial was present until the mutineers went back to their boats, when it was discovered that he was mysteriously missing.

More than forty years after these events a meeting of Spiritualists was held in Columbia City, and a "medium" announced that she had received a revelation of the exact spot where the goods had been concealed. A company went to the place, and, after a search of several days, found, under a foot of soil, a quantity of broken stone.

Columbia City, Oregon
Columbia City courtesy Lewis and Clark's Columbia River

While throwing out these fragments one of the party fell dead. The spirit of the defrauded and murdered captain had claimed him, the medium explained. So great was the fright caused by this accident that the search was again abandoned until March, 1890, when another party resumed the digging, and after taking out the remainder of the stone they came on a number of human skeletons. During the examination of these relics--possibly the bones of mutineers who had been killed in the fight on shore--a man fell into a fit of raving madness, and again the search was abandoned, for it is now said that an immutable curse rests on the treasure.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated March, 2010.

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