COBWEB CORNERS: Funny money

By Mel McFarland

       When I saw this story I knew somewhere, sometime someone would wonder about what they found. It seems that in 1909 three Manitou children playing in a yard dug up a small, old box that caused a bit of excitement. It held some fifty coins, mainly English, dating from 1853 to 1870. The coins were traded for current money, a bit at a time, until some sharp-eyed individual asked a few questions.
       One story, reported in a Colorado Springs daily newspaper, was that the coins were part of a stolen treasure from the 1870s. A group of English prospectors had camped along Fountain Creek near Colorado City and prospected up Ute Pass, the story went. A band of Indians raided their camp and several of the Indians were killed. After three or four raids, the English party was wiped out. In the camp, the raiders discovered a money box containing the group's "bank." The loot was divided and buried in various spots in the vicinity. There were other raiders in the area, plus the group was already being sought by the law. In fact, a few days later this group was attacked by another group and wiped out.
       The news that children had found part of an English treasure made the rounds, and here and there someone dug a hole looking for the rest of the money. However, no one stepped up to announce any more finds. I have read in treasure magazines over the years of lost caches of stolen loot around Pike's Peak, but this was the first time I had heard of this one.
       Now, are you ready for the REAL story? It never happened. It was true about the box of coins, but it had been stolen and hidden there by a later thief! The coins had belonged to a neighbor up the street. After the newspaper story came out, so did the REAL story! The tale of the raids and the other stashes came from a reporter's imagination!