The Jolly Jack Gold Mine

Jolly Jack's Lost Gold Mine

Prospector, miner Jack Thornton was also known as "Jolly Jack" had been prospecting many creeks around the city of Greenwood, British Columbia. Greenwood of course was the hub of some pretty big gold and copper mines back in the day. I spent some time hanging out around Greenwood myself. Steeped in history and be careful of the open shafts hiding in the under brush if you go tramping around doing some some prospecting. Anyhow, Thornton who lived in a small cabin located near Boundary Creek discovered a source of placer gold somewhere near Greenwood around 1900. The gold he discovered was coarse and heavy with nuggets. Some nuggets weighed over an ounce.

Jack Thornton never told anyone about where the source of his placer gold came from. In 1967, May Jones, one of Thornton's daughters left an account at the Greenwood Museum. She stated "My mother told me that my father had really found something very rich, but where it was he took to the great beyond with him." It was in the springtime of the year. He left his small cabin in the morning and returned that night and had a baking powder can full of nuggets when he came home. He was old and so was his horse so he could not have gone far. She said he told her that they had struck it rich at last, but he never told mother where it was, or anyone else.

Now Jack Thornton lived along Boundary Creek but was known to mine many of the creeks surrounding this area. Bill Barlee a local hsitory buff speculates the lost mine could not have been Rock Creek or any of the tributaries such because the round trip would require two days travel from Jack's Cabin. The Kettle River and Boundary Creek could not be the location because the gold in these streams is way too fine and sparse when compared to the gold Jack Thornton had. Bill Barlee thinks that the area was Fourth of July Creek with its tributaries. A local prospector in Greenwood named Peter den Hartog claimed he found Jolly Jack's lost mine. The gold Hartog found in Skeff Creek matched the characteristics of Jack's gold. Skeff Creek is a tributary of Fourth of July Creek and is the reputed location of Jolly Jack's lost mine.

Lots of people at the time claimed Thornton did not have a lost source of gold. E. Jacobs wrote about Thornton following his death. The account was written in the May, 1903 issue of the Mining Record. The article does not indicate that Jack ever had any secret placer location or "lost mine". javck Thornton lived on a pension from the US government as he was once in the navy. Mrs. Thornton took in daywork and washing to support the family. This account does not indicate someone who had an unlimited amount of gold at their disposal. Others believe Jolly Jack had gold stashed from older claims he once worked. In 1865 Jack wing-dammed a location where Salmon Creek emptied into the Pen d’Oreille near junction with Columbia at Fort Shephard. Jack recovered a lot of gold from this location and may have cached some it. Jack Thornton died on April 3, 1903. He took with him the secret location of the Jolly Jack Gold Mine.

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