His Buried Gold Could Still Be Hidden Around the Bay Area
Thank the 'scatter-brained' Granville P. Swift
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2018 2:09 PM CST
Granville Swift.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – On the heels of a renewed hunt for treasure in a tiny French village comes the tale of buried treasure in California. The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look back at one of the state's colorful historical figures: Granville P. Swift, the great-nephew of Daniel Boone who came to the state in the mid-1800s with a plan to be a fur trapper. Gold called his name instead. He found it at Bidwell's Bar, with the paper quoting a fellow prospector as saying Swift was an exceptional miner who "must have made $100,000" in one prospecting season. Indeed, reports at the time indicate he arrived in San Francisco with more than $500,000 in gold, which he had minted into octagonal slugs—and began to bury around the Bay Area.

The Vacaville Reporter previously reported that Swift reburied roughly $100,000 in gold after building his mansion in 1858, but the Chronicle reports a "scatter-brained" Swift failed to recall where he had put much of it. He died in 1875 with much of his haul secreted away in forgotten locations. Some was found in the early 20th century, including $30,000 found in 1904 while repairing a chimney on his property. But the last big find was in 1914, suggesting, in the Chronicle's view, there's more out there to be found ... and not much more than unhelpful-seeming clues to go on. The Reporter notes a "list in his handwriting miraculously survived," but the clues are of this sort: "1 tin box & 1 Little Bottle Boath in the saim hoal."

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