Skip to main content

Search For The Peculiar Rock

 Every person throughout the years searching, researching or ever heard of the Swift silver mine legend has likely read one of the many versions of the journal supposedly left by Swift himself. Swift returned for the last time in the 1790's in search of his hidden treasure. Although little has been recorded, many theories and versions of Swift's last account of fruitless wanderings are in many variations of the famous document. During the moments alive he made a death bed confession to the people in his last company. He swore to all present that everything he has said and claims about his beloved silver workings were true. In his last testament to his mines he spoke of the area in which would guide him back to the mines and a cave in which 15 years before he stored up vast amounts of silver both coined and in ingots. Swift also mentioned of storing gold in these hidden cave sites and the hidden treasure was known only to himself and the few immediate crew. This cave haunted him so much that he searched for it even after going blind and up until his death around 1800. 
    John Swift described a creek as having three forks with a "remarkable" rock near the mouth of the three streams. He also told of this peculiar rock as having turkey tracks carved on it pointing to the area of his hidden mine. Just before his last breath Swift said, "don't ever stop looking for a peculiar rock that stands where a creek has three forks.  It's near the richest silver mine I ever saw."In the many years since Swift's death countless people have embarked on finding Swift's rich mine and cave. Much debate speculating on the the validity of the legend. Many hours, days and lives have been spent in this process. Some claim John Swift was seen in final years trying to retrace his steps to relocate his precious prize. Some researchers claim that Swift had been seen  in parts of eastern Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and a few places in Kentucky.One of the main areas in Kentucky mentioned is the Red River Gorge region. Word of Swift and his mines have floated in these parts since the early days of Daniel Boone and the first settlers in the area. One creek in particular in the Red River Gorge is named after Swift and on a certain bank of Swift Camp Creek was said to be his principal camping site. This same creek also holds a very famous landmark mentioned in most all the treasure journals. Rock Bridge is the only natural rock arch spanning a major creek west of the Big Sandy River region. Such a mention of a peculiar rock being found on this creek is a great starting point for any beginner treasure hunter interested in tracking Swift's trail into the wilderness. 
    From my years of researching the legend I have come to believe anyone wanting to find the famous hidden mines will not be able to do so by simply following the few clues left in the famous journal. John Swift was clever in describing the hidden mine area. Instead of giving directions straight to the mines, he left many clues including both landmarks and carvings near the mines.. He basically wrote down descriptions of the rocks and landscape as he saw them in the area. If he recognized a certain land mark he would then know he was close to his treasure. In order to retrace Swift's steps to the hidden mines one would need to find the clues he left behind. I'll mention some clues I have come across in my understanding of the Swift legend.
    John Swift told that in his first trip to work the area in 1761 of his company taking lots dividing into two groups at a certain fork of the Sandy River. He then tells of going due west a considerable distance. He mentions of crossing a creek by a natural rock bridge that water flowed under. This is undoubtedly Rock Bridge. From this location he and his party could have traveled in any direction. Many people have uses the Rock Bridge as  starting point on their search and I am sure some still do. Other clues included markings on trees which over time have long disappeared. So, we are left with a few visual landmarks and a few rock carvings. I believe on Swift's last trip he was out to relocate his store cave which contained vast amounts of silver.
    Clues describing the area his rich mine was located include being between the second and third ledge of a cliff of red sandstone. He says the mine is on a small drain near a larger one and at the head of the larger drain was a rock that resembled a haystack. Above the mine is a rock that to him resembled a chestnut bur.To the west of the mine just a few hundred feet was a rock that looked like a buffalo sitting down and he referred to that landmark as the buffalo rock. Further west a bit he states there is a creek that sinks underground and he and he referred to that particular creek as the drying ground. Then there is the rock near his mine locations that reminded him of a turtle. Naturally, he called it the turtle back rock. One of the most important clues, I believe, is a cliff that he cut turkey tracks into the rock pointing to his mines. This could well be the peculiar rock near the three forks he refers to. If he could find these three important land marks, the peculiar rock, the turkey tracks and the three creeks coming together then he knew the way back to his silver treasure. Now I believe I have a good idea of the location of these important clues or a least where they can be found. But, of course, there are many places across the region that have similar landmarks. If you are searching and can find these clues then I'd say keep searching. You just may be standing on top of the greatest discovery yet to be found. Thanks for reading!  Ki

    Thanks to Kiowa Scott Muncie for sharing and posting this article. Kiowa has been an avid Swift researcher and hunter for a number of years. He has found many of the so-called landmarks and some very interesting rock carvings as well. While Kiowa, like most treasure hunters, keeps his specific search area secret his reports are from the Red River country of Kentucky. These rock carvings were found in his search area. If you have questions for Kiowa, please leave them in the comments below and he will answer you directly. And please, please, share your thoughts and comments on this blog site. We welcome the discussion.


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…