Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Journal


The Swift Journal


The legend of the lost silver mines of John Swift has been passed along from generation to generation.   There are many versions of the supposed journal left by Swift. Swift died in 1800 and wrote down the directions to the mines just before he died. Here are excerpts from the journal that is thought to be dated to 1859 and likely the oldest version.


“I was delayed in my search for the silver mines by the French and Indian War. I had known the Frenchman Munday, *several years by then. In 1760 we searched and found the mines but were unable to work them until the following year.   The first company in search of these mines were: Staley, Ireland, McClintock, Blackburn, myself and some friendly Shawnee Indians, with Munday as our guide into the wilderness.”

“The creek the furnace is in heads southwest and then runs northeast.  It is in a far and remote place in the west.  It abounds with laurel.  It is so rough and rocky that it is nearly impossible to get horses to the furnace.  We built and enclosure of vines and brush on another creek six or seven miles away to keep our horses in.”

“On our first trip, Munday got lost but after following the creek in a southwest course he recognized the hills on the opposite side. He said if we were ever over there he knew how to reach the Indian Trace, which was some miles below, the he would know ho to get to the mines.”

“He (Munday) said we had to go through a myrtle thicket and then down a flight of Indian Stair Steps, then across the creek to the cliffs where the mine was. We crossed the creek by a natural bridge and Munday led us to a place the Indians used as a camping ground. One mile northwest from the rock bridge and just below where the creek forks we also smelted ore.”

“Munday finally found the myrtle thicket.  He led us to the Indian Stair Steps. You can stand on the top of the stair steps and look across the creek at the mine and the cliffs are in the shape of a half-moon. We went down the steps and crossed the creek and climbed up to between the second and third ledge then went about 200 yards west and found the opening to one of the mines.”

“Where the ore is, the cliff is in the shape of a half-moon, and we called it the Half-Moon Cliff. The vein of ore runs northeast and southwest. There are two veins, one thick and one thin. The richest ore is to be found in the latitude of 3 degrees and 57 minutes north.”  **


 *There are variations in spelling from journal to journal, Munday also Mundy.

**Henson, Paul. Lost Silver Mines and Buried Treasures of Kentucky. 1st ed. 1. Louisville: United Christian Printing Services, 1972. 6-12. Print.

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