Speaking of precious metal possession, if you have some, try not to lose it. The following article written by SPPN member Jim Vallier was originally printed in the Gold Nugget Museum Newsletter (Spring 2008) and reprinted in the latest issue of SPPN's Brasher Bulletin. With permission I'm reprinting it here, too. -EditorHow could anyone lose a gold nugget weighing over fifty pounds? As incredible as it may seem, in April 1859 the biggest gold nugget ever found in North America was lost by one of its owners.
When Willard & Smith returned from buying supplies in Oroville, and after their initial surprise wore off, the three partners decided to sell the nugget. Weatherbee and Wright hitched up an old buckboard in the early hours of the morning on April 18th, and headed for Oroville, twenty-five miles away.
The rickety old buckboard jogged and bounced over rocks along the rutted road. When they finally arrived in Oroville, to their horror they discovered the gold nugget was gone.
In a panic Willard and Wright jumped back into the wagon and retraced their route. More and an hour later they came around a curve and in the road was the burlap sack with the giant nugget in it. Breathing a sigh of relief, they grabbed up the nugget and returned to Oroville.
The immense nugget was shipped from Oroville to the mint in San Francisco and melted down.
This article first appeared in the August 1990 issue of .True West. magazine. Since it appeared, I have talked to many history buffs, and no one had ever heard of this particular happening. I have tried to contact the author, Richard Bauman, but as yet have been unsuccessful. If anyone can supply us with additional information concerning this event, we would be most grateful.
It's a great story, but is it true? Do any of our readers have a clue - can it be verified? -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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