Silver Ore in Indiana
Prior to the last Indian War in Indiana, 1810-1812, an uneasy peace existed between the white man and the red man. About 1807 Absolom Fields lived in the vicinity of McBride’s Bluff in what is now Martin County. He was friendly with a band of Indians living near Indian Creek, a tributary of the White River. One night he was awakened by two Indians who wanted to show him something.
The Indians blindfolded him, turned him around several times, led him some distance, then took him aboard a boat. Since the stream was low and the boat could be paddled either direction, Fields never knew whether they went up or down stream. The Indians landed the boat and conducted him a short distance along a trail and into a large cavern where they removed his blindfold. There were several Indians present, including squaws and children.
Some kind of metal and the ore from which it came from was shown to him, and the Indians said it was silver. Several small bars were in a pile. They were about six inches long, two inches wide, half an inch thick and had been formed with a crude flaring mold. Fields was given three of the bars then blindfolded again and taken back to his cabin. After that incident, he spent countless hours trying to retrace the route to the hidden cave.
Years later on a trip down river to New Orleans by flatboat he met one of the Indians who had lived near McBride’s Bluff. The Indian remarked “If white man only knew it, he could shoe horses as cheaply with silver as with iron.”
Field asked the Indian where the silver might be found. All the Indian would say was, “You stand on Big Bluffs, look away to south over big bottom. May it that way. Maybe not. Don’t forget to look down under you. Maybe down there. Maybe not. White man never finds. He heap too big fool-digs till he most finds it and quits. Paleface never find.”
Symbols were chiseled on a large rock directly below the highest point in the Bluffs to indicate where the silver was hidden. There was a half moon, a star, and a crawling snake with its head pointed toward the treasure cave. Fields kept the silver bars. One of them was in the possession of a descendant until a few years ago. The cave of precious metal still awaits.