Lost Spanish Silver Mine in Upshur County
This is a condensed version of the story of a lost silver mine in West Virginia, giving the essential facts and directions.
“About Indian Camp on Indian Camp Run (in Upshur County) there is an interesting tradition of a lost silver mine and a fabulous buried treasure of silver bullion. The mine’s origin antedates the Revolution, with some apparent foundation of truth. The mine was worked by a party of Spanish and English adventurers who were nearly exterminated by their Indian allies. At the Indian Camp, in 1883, I was shown the ruins of the “silver mine” but I was never able to locate the vein of ore. I was also shown a small polished stone disc, pieces of basketry and a piece of drossy metal that had been taken from the waste of this mine, which upon examination proved to be silver. I also examined a figure, or symbol carved on a large sandstone boulder in a nearby rock shelter, known as the “Chimney Rocks”. It crudely represented the compass with four points of directions shown. On July 15, 1867 Dr. L.S. Farnsworth found some legendary rock inscriptions on the head of Stone Coal Creek. In company with Valentine Lorentz, Farnsworth visited the area and on an immense flat rock was found the inscription.”
“About three-quarters of a mile northwest of this carving was found an upright stone bearing this inscription ‘S’, the ‘S’ is thought to mean silver. Three-fourths of a mile further northwest a small rock shelter was found. Back from the entrance was a large stone slab several feet across that had fallen from overhead. Carved in the roof of the shelter was a circle with the four points of the compass. Across the surface of this circle was a well defined ‘pointer’ like the needle of a compass. In 1883 several ancient tools were found in a cave on Grass Run Creek, close to Indian Camp. They were described as ‘strange looking.’ It is believed by several historians and researchers, that straggling bands of early Spanish explorers from the Southern Tide Water penetrated the Virginia and Kentucky wilderness, where they found gold and silver. They were either killed or absorbed into the Indian tribes through marriage.”
he story of the lost mine was first written by Lucullus V. McWhorter of Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 1915. Indian Camp is located on Indian Camp Run Creek, about fifteen miles south of Buckhannon on Route Four.