Skip to main content

All Clues Lead To Swift

Note: This issue of the Swift blog features Kiowa Scott Muncie, a modern day Swift researcher. Kiowa has long been interested in the Swift Legend and has amassed an extensive knowledge of the legend and Kentucky history.

    My name is Kiowa Muncie, better known as "Ki" to some. I like to think of myself as a treasure hunter of the Red River region in Eastern Kentucky. I was born and raised here exploring and hiking the Gorge for the past twenty years. Ten of those I've spent learning and searching for Swift's lost mines. During that time I've come across some amazing things. Perhaps the most amazing thing I found merely by accident will have a profound effect on the rest of my life.
    I'll start with what I've come to call Swift's West Mine. I was out on a mushroom hunt one spring walking cliff lines, new country to me at that time, a very remote wilderness with no road or trail for miles. I found myself turned around with the feeling of being lost. I did not panic and eventually I began to find my way back. From out of nowhere I come upon a place in the cliff with a small route up to the second ledge, so I climbed up and continued searching the cliff line crossing over to the other side of the ridge. From there I noticed what appeared to be a old worn trail that went along the second ledge. So, out of curiosity I followed the trail to the end only to find a hole that went strait back through the cliff. I made a mental note, snapped a few pictures and pushed on to find my way back home.
    It wasn't until a few years later that I made the connection of the place being a possible Swift site. My curiosity took me back to the site where my exploration began. In searching other possibilities of what this place could be I was left with this conclusion. The place was an actual man made hand cut shaft. I could now consider it a mine and through exploration of the mine there appears to be areas of suet. Experts have informed me this could be from the early use of cane torches as a light source. There are noticeable chisel marks along the walls leading back to an area that widens. At this point a sizable dirt pile blocks the rest of the passage. A carving of a bell can be found at this location. Outside the shaft is a rock of the same type possibly used to seal the entrance. Here there is a carving of an anchor, the initials "JO.S" and other curious markings can just within yards of the mine as well.  Swift mentions in his journal that he "concealed all traces of his workings by filling them in with dirt, and placing a rock in the entrance." 
    My curiosity still wasn't satisfied; I needed to know more, To find my answers I explored the surrounding area. To my amazement I discovered an area where you can actually stand and look across over to the mine. Swift also tells of a place where he stood and looked across over to his mine. I believe this could be the Lookout Rock he spoke of. My reason for believing this is a set of carvings I found next.
    On a rock very near the lookout rock are a set of very interesting carvings. They are a "JS," a pair of turkey tracks, some other curious marks and a date that appears to be 1761. Now this really got me excited since the carvings appear to be very old and cut deep in the rock. After study of the carvings the turkey tracks do appear to point back to the mine but they also point back to another place I found on the way into the area of the mine. Could the carvings on the "JS" rock be pointing out key places? 
    Located near a big saddle gap on an adjoining ridge is a peculiar rock with a small natural arch or window, the only one of its kind in this immediate area. On this rock is the large carving of a triangle cut deep in the sandstone. This is a carving that really catches your eye when you walk up on it. The place is also easy to find. Most Swift legend researchers know that Swift told of being attacked and having to bury some of his silver. I was in awe to be asking myself this question, could this actually be a Swift cache site?
     Swift does tell us that in 1761 he was attacked by Indians as he started for home. The Indians shot a hole in his pack causing him to lose part of the silver. He tells of concealing part of the years work near a symbol of a triangle cut on a large slanted rock.
    Swift also mentions in 1762 after a summer of mining he'd set out for home only to be attacked by Indians near the mine. Here he again tells of leaving a valuable prize and two horse loads of silver near a large gap marked with curious signs and symbols. In 1769 Swift tells of traveling back through the area going by the place and seeing all things as he had left them. This was his last time in the area. So now we are left with this question. Is Swift's silver still hidden somewhere here? To answer that question will take recovering some of Swift's silver to ever really be sure. In my quest for the truth while seeking new clues Swift left behind has only ended one chapter in my search and begins a new one. Now it's finding the truth of the clues, the clues I feel that have led me to Swift's West Mine.

Kiowa has promised to submit at least another article in the months ahead. One will have to admit that he has identified some pretty interesting markers and places. If you have comments for Kiowa or any blog post please leave them in the space provided at the end of the post. We welcome any discussion and ideas you may have. Also, visit and check out my new book "Swift."


  1. Good job, Ki!

    I hope you find a trove of silver!


    1. Chris...
      Thank you! I hope to have further updates on this site as time allows, as well as more posts of other leads i'm currently following up on. Thanks for all your support:)

  2. why isnt anyone searching for clues for his lost silver mine or lost caches in west virginia

  3. That's a good question! I am sure some people are following up and searching the West Virgina area. Swift did record in his journal about traveling through that area in his early trips to the Kentucky wilderness. This was before the Indian trouble increased, and he had to change routes to the area. Could be a good chance that Swift could have hidden silver in that area on his way out returning to Virgina.

  4. Im a amature ,just started but very interested in helping.. and learning more. would you be interested in some help Mr. Muncie. I come thru KY alot.

    Ive been interested in searching the Pound area right across KY line. especially since they uncovered 3 entrances to caves on one side, and read this mountain was Known as Hollow Mountain to the Indians... Very interesting...

  5. Something i'd found interesting researching Swift related things was the old Indian paths through Ky. There is an old path that enters Ky from Va via pound gap and follows 460 closly to Mt. Sterling. Swift's company did divide up into 2 groups at a fork on the Sandy. One group going southwest and the other due east from there. Pound is a great place to search because chances are swift and crew was prob through that area.

  6. Ki, I sure do hope you solve this mystery,and find at least one of his caches.I've spent some time exploring and camping in the Red River Gorge.It is truly Gods country and some of the most beautiful trees and rock formations I have ever seen.I'm too old and crippled up to get out and explore much anymore,got some shrapnel in me from VietNam that acts up on me,so can't do a lot.Love reading your accounts of the search though,keep them coming.As I said this is one of the most beautiful areas I've ever been to,so even if you never find any silver.With the adventures you've had and the places you have seen,I consider you a very wealthy man.Wishing you all the best in your searches,your friend, ky.rebel

  7. Hello Ky.rebel, I couldn't agree with you more about the beauty of this area. Im very blessed to get to live in the Red River region. With this legend I like to keep an open mind, I cant 100% say I've found Swifts mine, but The clues are very hard to dismiss. They have got me one step closer in believing the ledgend is true and based on factual accounts. It's also a bit confusing with as much as the story seems twisted, but one thing all the storys and versions agree on are certain clues that stay the same. Thank you for your kind words. Ive created a facebook page called: The lost treasure cave of John Swift, you as well as others can follow my searches more in depth there. Again thank you. Ki


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Flint Types of Eastern Kentucky

For those folks interested in archaeology and/or geology you no doubt have considered the flint (called chert by geologists) that all those arrowheads you've seen or in your collection are made from.  The colors, textures and behavior of the amazing substance various greatly and for many years, in fact up until the early 70's only the major identified primitive quarries type of flint were recognized in archaeological research. Little effort or attention was paid toward the raw material of those beautiful and finely crafted tools. Geologist performed little better simply noting in their field work that some beds of lime stones contained chert though sometimes the chert was described in detail.
    That all changed in the early 70's as the result of pioneering work on flint classification for sources found in the eastern part of Kentucky. This undertaking was done by Larry Meadows, Garland Dever and Ed Henson. Yes, yours truly was fortunate enough to know these two very …

The High Rock Petroglyph

What do you think the strange symbols carved on this sandstone boulder represent? The High Rock Carving is certainly one of the most mysterious antiquity found in the Red River Gorge country.  We did a previous post  about this strange rock in August, 2012. Discovered underneath a small rock shelter near the High Rock fire tower, the carvings were discovered on one loose boulder in the shelter. In the late 70's the boulder was removed from the rock shelter by the Red River Museum and Historical Society placed at the museum in Clay City, Kentucky. It was felt that vandals and artifact collectors would soon end up destroying the unusual carved stone. In fact some of the surface appears to have been chipped away, perhaps portions already removed by vandals.    The carvings have many varied, curved shapes including concentric circles and shapes that may represent animals. Additionally, there are numerous holes and other features. Some of the rock has been lost likely by the weathering …

Broke Leg Falls

For sure one old landmark in eastern Menifee County Kentucky is Broke Leg Falls. The Falls has been a tourist stop along US Hwy 460 since the 1940's and before. It was a place for picnics and adventures into the rough rocky terrain the likes of the Red River Gorge. It's location on once a major highway along with the pristine beauty of the box canyon that the stream formed no doubt contributed to the popularity of the Falls.
    The Falls is about 80 feet in height but much of the year has a small water flow. But over eons of time the Falls and stream have carved out a magnificent canyon retreating nearly to the crest of the ridge.
    Located in Menifee County Kentucky, Broke Leg Falls has been a popular tourist spot for travelers of the US Highway which is located only a few yards from the falls. A popular landmark since the 1940's, the Falls was privately owned. Visitors could pay a dime and get to hike the short distance down into the box canyon to view the Falls…