It is common knowlege that Colonel Patrick E. Connor is considered
by many to be the "Father of Utah Mining". It is also common knowlege and proven fact that he and his soldiers discovered
a number of extremely valuable mines in the earliest days of Utah commercial mining. What is not so commonly known is the
story of a lucky and then not-so-lucky soldier who found what would come to be called the "Lost Soldier Ledge".(1)
serving at Camp Floyd as a member of Company A, Second Calvary, seven members of the troop were given leave to prospect the
nooks and crannies of the southern Oquirrh Mountains. As with East (Ophir) Canyon, Dry Canyon, Soldier Canyon, the men were
successful in locating a number of promising outcrops. The lone soldier who had trecked highest on the mountainside that day
had the best luck. He found a rich outcrop of brilliant white quartz streaked with thick bands of pure gold. Breaking the
fractured quartz, he filled his pack with as much of this high-grade material as he could carry.
Before leaving, he studied the view and the location so that he might be able to find it again. In addition to
the mental notes on the location, the soldier also carved a large letter B in the bark of an old tree near the ledge. Excited
to return and share his good luck with others at the camp, he was surprised to find that while absent, orders had come through
for the entire detachment to report at Camp Douglas on the foothills above Salt Lake City as soon as possible. Prospecting gave way to duty, and
the detachment marched without delay.
From Camp Douglas, the
soldiers would begin a winter campaign against the hostile indians in the northern part of the territory. This campaign would
culminate with The Battle of Bear River on January 1, 1863, where Connor and his command engaged and soundly defeated a band
of renegade Bannack indians. Though hailed as a victory for Connor, sadly it would be the end for this one time lucky soldier.
Killed in action in this engagement, he died without ever returning to the sight of his rich find, or sharing its exact location
with any of his fellow soldiers.
When the detachment
returned to Camp Floyd, men were once again given leave to prospect. They scoured the area where they had been previously,
but neither the tree with the letter B nor the gold ladened quartz outcropping were ever found.
There is no record of what happened to that first bag of gold taken off the mountain. Likewise, there is no record,
nor evidence, even with all of the subsequent prospecting and mining that took place in this region, that the Lost Soldier
Ledge was ever found.
(1) Verbal communication
- Scoutmaster Larry Hartly, Scout camp 1973, Settlement Canyon, Utah