Lost Lemon Mine
Hi All, I hope you had a great holiday. As promised in the finale episode, I'm bringing to you the exclusive story of the Lost Lemon Mine and it's deadly curse. I am already working hard on Season 2 and I just can't wait for you all to hear it. Again if you didn't listen to the very end of the finale, please make sure to go back and give it a listen. If you want a sneak peak of what I have in the works so far!
Now let's get into this story....
In the winter of the late 1870s there was a prospecting team that ventured north from the mountains in Montana, into Alberta. They were following the North Saskatchewan River in search of...what most people were looking for at that time... GOLD!
Coming up with nothing, two men decided to break off from the group. These men would be Frank Lemon (in some articles he is referred to as Jo) and his partner 'Blackjack'. The two prospectors decided to head further north. They followed an old indian trail along Highwood river and into the mountains. It's believed that somewhere near Crowsnest pass, they found a river that was connected to three mountain streams. They decided that this might be a good location to pan and they were quick to discover that the riverbed was rich with Gold. Frank and Blackjack left to fetch their horses and it was at this point that they discovered a towering ledge above them...and streaked in the rock was solid gold...this was the jackpot that every prospector dreamt of.
So what now? Well, Frank and Blackjack got into a heated argument about that very question. Would they set up camp? Would they begin to mine immediately? Would they come back later, in the spring perhaps, when the weather was better? Should they gather more supplies? They eventually agreed to call it a night but when Blackjack fell right to sleep, Frank was still in a rage about their argument. Frank let his rage consume him and he hacked his sleeping partner in the head with an axe.
Once Frank was faced with what he had done, he lit a raging bonfire and paced until dawn with his pistol in hand, completely panicked by what he had done. Legend has it that there was a nearby hunting party of Stoney Indians, they had been headed south and many accounts say that two of the members of the group had seen the two prospectors heading toward the golden ridge. They supposedly began to track the two and witnessed Blackjack's murder. The men went back to the Chief, telling him of the murder and the gold. The Chief swore the men to secrecy, many people believe that the Stoney Indian Chief laid a curse upon the site, to guarantee that it would never be found again.
Frank made his way back to Montana and blamed his partners death on the Blackfoot Indians, who at that time were known for killing prospectors. He did however, confess later to a local priest who kept his secret and sent a man named John McDougall to the site, to give Blackjack a proper burial. John found the ledge, buried Blackjack and came back home. A wealthy prospector named Lafayette French, who led that initial discovery team, commissioned McDougall to take his team back to the ledge. But the curse of Lose Lemon mine was about to strike.... Before John was to meet the expedition group, he stopped in at Fort Kipp for a drink and dropped dead of alcohol poisoning.
Strange fates began to befall anyone who tried to reach the mine. Frank had later attempted to lead some men to the site, However, it's said that his mental state had deteriorated so substantially and he became aggressive and deranged the closer they seemed to get. Frank was never able to find the mine again.
In 1883, the priest that Frank had confessed to, set out in search of the Lemon Mine riches. The team however was halted when a forest fire broke out and rendered the route impassible.
Lafayette French was not about to give up and set out with an acquaintance of Frank's, only to become severely ill and had to return home. He was not thrown by this and spent the next 30 years of his life searching for it. A friend later received a letter claiming that French had found the ridge but mysteriously, shortly after sending the letter, French died in a strange fire that burnt his cabin to the ground.
There aren't many articles I was able to find about this mine but these two are pretty interesting and full of information! The one below is really neat, from 1949 talking about how Road construction was maybe going to unearth the famed gold mine (it didn't). Click photos for full articles.
The mine to this day has never been found, there are theories of where it could be...there are theories from a myriad of sources (geologists among them) who theorize whether or not a mine like this could even exist. Some believe it could have been fools gold, some believe that it never existed at all and some are just flat out scared of the curse that guards the Lost Lemon Mine. It has been over 100 years and to this day, it remains a mystery.
Have you heard this story before? What do you think of this?