The Scottie Creek Cache - 020103
There is more to this tucked-away back road than the lure of some excellent rock hounding, wildlife viewing and scenery. It holds an elusive piece of British Columbia’s Gold Rush history and may hide all or part of a more elusive treasure. The loot, stolen from a stagecoach in 1890, is reputed to be worth in excess of $500,000 in today’s market!
The story goes that a B.X. (B.C. Express Company) stagecoach left 100 Mile House one hot July day in 1890, with a strongbox containing $15,000 in gold nuggets and bars. The treasure was on its way south to Yale for shipment down the Fraser River to New Westminster. Unfortunately, a stagecoach robber, armed with a Winchester rifle, intercepted the coach and driver at gunpoint. Stealing the strong-box, the bandit ordered the stagecoach to continue south. The stagecoach driver reported the theft upon his arrival in Ashcroft but could not clearly identify the bandit. A posse searched the rolling hills and wetlands south of 100 Mile House but could not find the robber and did not retrieve the strongbox.
Shortly after the theft, news of gold on Scottie Creek spread throughout the area. A man by the name of Sam Rowland had struck it rich on the creek! This news explained the large deposits Mr. Rowland was making at the Ashcroft Store and Bank. Prospectors flocked to the area; however, the flurry of excitement died down after only traces of gold were found on the creek.
When approached, Sam Rowland was secretive and evasive about his claim. This aroused suspicion and Rowland was eventually arrested in Ashcroft and thrown in jail. When interrogated, Rowland revealed that he knew absolutely nothing about gold mining! The gold on deposit was examined by experts and it was confirmed that the gold did not come from Scottie Creek at all. It had come from several Cariboo Creeks, likely in the Barkerville area. Sam Rowland was tried, found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to several years in the penitentiary in New Westminster. After two years, Rowland escaped, and was never seen again. The strong-box was found several years later, north of Clinton and pried open, by railway workers and is kept on display at the Clinton Museum.
Is the cache of gold still hidden at Scottie Creek? This is one of several versions of this event and it is probably not a good idea to spend a lot of time searching for the treasure. Many report a similar version of this story in accounting for the name of the community to the south, Cache Creek. Only our elusive bandit knows the truth of the missing gold.
However, other treasures abound in the Scottie Creek area. A few kilometers along this logging road is an outcropping of amethyst crystals with banded agate. Visible signs of historical mines can be found throughout the Crown grazing lease and gold was successfully mined from Scottie Creek in the early 1900s. Keep your camera handy as the area is home to a large population of deer, moose, cougar, grouse and other wildlife. An abundance of trails, meadows, and even Scottie Creek Falls, provide ample opportunities for exploration or relaxation.