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Books by Karl Von Mueller

It appears that Karl wrote numerous books. He had many aliases. Some included Deek Gladson, Dean Miller, Barry Fell, and even Gladys Deekson. Some of his books included, American BC., Treasure Hunters Manual 6 & 7. Others included Sudden Wealth, The Encyclopedia of Buried Treasure Hunting, Waybills to El Dorado, Owl Hooters Manual 1 & 2.

I have enclosed a copy of Lue Map.

Uploaded files:
  • luemap.jpg

This thread is very interesting. I just ordered, "The Treasure Hunters Year Book 1970-1971."

I know that I have read that one of the stairs in the Lue map was suppose to represent Mt. Blanca in the San Luis Mountains. -- This might make some since. Why would KVM live outside Segundo, Colorado? Is it because he believed that the gold was somewhere in the Sangre de Cristos?

I guess I was wondering how these posts are related to Treasure Mountain?

Hey, I re-posted Platoro's post.

Obviously, Xanthus Carson is Karl Von Mueller...

Platoro said:

In 2014 I lived in Alamosa Colorado. I met a Spanish man who’s name was Laurence (Lorenzo).  He had heard about a different version of the legend from his former relatives and had documents to boot. We both had searched in the Cat Creek area several times that year. He showed me different signs and markers. One time, over a cup of coffee, he told me Xanthus Carson had an article about this legend. He had written several books and articles during the 1960s-1970’s. This article was interesting to me…

Hidden Hoard on Treasure Mountain

Treasure World, September 1971 By: Xanthus Carson

"Gold - millions upon millions of it.”

"Gold, hidden in a secret place in the side of a Colorado mountain, to await the day of its removal to France."

Thus began a 25,000-word article, published in serial form in the Denver Post in 1921 , which related a story of one of the most fabulous lost treasures of all time.

It is the story of a 300-man party of French officers and soldiers who established an extensive - and richly productive-gold mining operation in the San Juan mountain range of what is now Archuleta County, Colorado, in or about the year 1770. It tells how the soldier-miners established an elaborate headquarters "on a mesa on Treasure Mountain" and mined placer deposits over a wide area in the San Juans, amassing a hoard of $33,000,000 in five prosperous years before Indian attacks reduced their numbers so drastically that the gold was cached and the remaining handful tried desperately to escape.

Only one man lived to return to France with the story...

The vast Louisiana Territory was within the sovereign domain of France in 1770, and word had drifted back to New Orleans of rich minerals being mined in what is now southern Colorado by the Spaniards after Juan de Onate had followed the 1540 expedition of Coronado. In 1598, Onate established a settlement at a wilderness point about 70 miles northwest of present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico. The settlement was named San Gabriel.

Onate explored the new land for gold, as well as for the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola which had lured Coronado into the disastrous expedition. Onate made some discoveries, although these strikes were not as productive as those made in the same region years later.

News of the Spaniards' discoveries fired the French into action. By the spring of 1770, the French party, consisting of 300 soldiers, officers and supernumeraries struck out from New Orleans for the land of gold. Their route led them over uncharted territory.

The daring trek led the Frenchmen northwesterly to the Arkansas River. Following the river's banks, they blazed a trail toward the Rocky Mountains, buoyed on by reports of earlier Spaniards that gold and precious stones existed in abundance in the land that lay ahead.

At San Luis Park, general site of the future Fort Garland, the French party believed the mining country of Onate had been found. San Gabriel lay to the south. Not finding what they had anticipated, however, the Frenchmen pushed on through Cochetops Pass into the Gunnison country. In this region the party found no trace of the reputed Onate workings. The men then turned southward, entering Spanish territory, which later spelled doom for them.

Passing Del Norte, the party skirted the San Juan Mountains, striking the South Fork of the Rio Grande about where Summitville came into existence with the discovery of gold a century later. Details of this passage later came to light from a report made by the sole survivor of the 300-man party. The report was delivered to officials in France after one of the most terrible journeys ever recorded in the annals of the American West.

The French struck gold in the San Juan Mountains. The excited men fell to work, diligently mining and prospecting all over the country. A headquarters station was established on a mesa of Treasure Mountain, overlooking the San Juan River. This point was north of today's Pagosa Spring, later mapped as being due east of Summitville, according to the Denver Post story.

The great extent of the Frenchmen's operations was discovered many years later by an American explorer named Mathew Arnold, who made a thorough search of the area when he first encountered old mining signs. Arnold told the Post writer that he dug up "plenty" of evidence that a big operation had been carried on at one time along the South Fork. Several feet below the surface he had unearthed many old spruce sluice boxes that had been used along the stream, he said.

Not stopping at what had been found on the South Fork, the party spread out and prospected the whole country. The efforts paid off so well that the original headquarters was enlarged, acquiring an aspect of permanence. The spot was charted as being about twenty-five miles from the South Fork of the Rio Grande, slightly north of the locality where Summitville was founded, on a park-like mesa of the southern slope of Treasure Mountain.

All of the gold accumulated in this fantastic operation was (or would have been) net profit to the French crown, since private soldiers were not paid for working in the mines. It is thought, however, that the men were promised shares in the bullion in order to keep down strife and mutiny in the party.

The group used 500 horses to transport gold from outlying mine fields to the headquarters station, to haul firewood and building timbers to the camps, and to make long journeys into the mountains on various missions connected with the placer workings. The hours of labor were long and strenuous.

Mining flourished, and gold in various forms accumulated in the stockpile at headquarters, with a value beyond the wildest dreams of any of them.

Mining continued for five prosperous years. The Spaniards were mining regions to the west, around Hesperus Mountains, and to the south. And from this came trouble for the far-ranging Frenchmen.

The French soldiers began to frequent Taos, to the south, on the outskirts of an Indian pueblo. Here the lonely men met lovely senoritas, whom they courted and married. Life was thus much pleasanter for the lonely men during the long winter months when snow banked high in the upper altitudes, blocking the mine work.

When spring thaws came, the miners flocked back to the San Juan Mountains, leaving their women behind. This greatly displeased the Spanish girls, who felt that they had been jilted. They investigated and learned the vast scope of the Frenchmen's operations. When this news was relayed to Spanish authorities, the Frenchmen's fate was sealed.

The Spaniards recruited regional Indians, who loved nothing better than a chance to harvest white scalps. Attacks began on the scattered French miners. Silent arrows from an unseen foe, a sudden rush from ambush with thudding tomahawks - singly and by small groups the Frenchmen began to disappear without a trace. There were no forays in force, no massacres of large parties. But inexorably the French party began to dwindle.

The frightened officers realized that the whole party was doomed. Time would find the Frenchmen hopelessly outnumbered and at the mercy of the Indians and Spaniards.

A decision was made to store the accumulated $33,000,000 in gold in an underground cache and leave it to be recovered by a strongly armed force later. The cache was carefully and thoroughly prepared, according to the Post story:

"The nuggets were melted into bars for convenience and every bit of foreign matter was broken away, for economy of space. The loose gold was placed in strong deerskin pouches, and the pouches were hard packed in doubly reinforced spruce boxes.

"A shaft was sunk to bedrock, which was reached at a depth of thirty-two feet. From bedrock a tunnel was run off in a northwestern direction for a considerable distance. The report to the French government stated that in this tunnel a well was sunk in solid rock and that in this well would be found a bottle containing a deerskin manuscript giving further directions as to the exact location of the gold.

"The shaft was a marvel of construction. It went straight down. It was walled from top to bottom with irregularly sized flat rocks perfectly laid and joined without mortar or cement, as perfectly as any mechanic of today could do with mortar or cement. These rocks were picked up on the mesa.

"All the spaces back of the lining wall were filled with river worn pebbles ranging from the size of a thumb to the size of a man's foot. These pebbles must have been hauled from a distance of miles as none like them can be found on the mesa. They were taken, without doubt, from the South Fork of the Rio Grande or the West Fork of the San Juan.

"The markings of trees and chiseling of rocks were spread over a distance of five miles around the shaft. The markings were of two characters. The outermost was in form of the letter V inverted, with the ends wider than in the letter. They extended all around the shaft. Those east of the shaft pointed west, those west of it pointed east, and so on around the compass. These marks were so plentiful that later explorers have considered that they were made to mislead any person not armed with the chart to use as a check.

"The other marks were chiseled in rocks and do not cover a wide space. They represent the impression that a bear's foot would make in soft earth, only the heel, and the pads of the toes, and sometimes, the claws showing. This imitation of a bear's trail always pointed to the shaft, just as the inverted V did."

By the time the painstaking work of hiding the treasure was finished, the original French party of 300, through the constant war of attrition carried on by the Indians, had shrunk to the pitiful total of thirty-five men!

This beleagured, starving handful of very wealthy Frenchmen struck out eastward. But death pursued them, and only two hollow-eyed survivors staggered into a French fur post on the Missouri River, not far from the present site of Kansas City. One of them died there and the other, a man named Labreau, somehow made his way to France bearing the chart to the treasure.

Labreau turned the chart over to French authorities, and made a complete report of the expedition's fate from the beginning to his arrival in France. The deerskin chart, of course, gave explicit directions to the hidden hoard on Treasure Mountain. But Labreau, took the pains to keep copies of the original for himself.

It remained for these fantastic documents to come to light in the Western Hemisphere in 1844, when a second party of Frenchmen came in search of the hoard. The group arrived in Taos, New Mexico, traveling on horses, thus leaving the impression that their landing had been made on the coast of California. The men made no effort to conceal the object of their mission - they were looking for Treasure Mountain.

The treasure hunters sought a man who was familiar with the San Juan Mountains to act as guide. So Bernardo Sanchez joined the party in this capacity.

With pack mules and plenty of provisions, the party pulled out of Taos, headed up the Red River Valley. At a point that later became the rip-roaring mining camp of Elizabethtown, the men halted by a stream to prepare a meal. One of them took a pan and went to the water's edge to pan for gold – and found it.

In a short time, a swarm of Indians came over the mountain and chased the men out of the country. They never returned to this strike, which later produced millions in placer gold, plus a town that was at one time the largest in New Mexico Territory.

As Sanchez later told it, the party made the shortest possible journey to Treasure Mountain, occasionally stopping to study an old chart and a strange-looking manuscript. A full halt was not made until the future site of Summitville was reached, where camp was made on the spot of the old rendezvous of the party's predecessors.
About seventy years had elapsed since the first French mining party had cached the $33,000,000 in gold, and as soon as camp was pitched the men busied themselves by studying the old deerskin chart and exploring the area.

"They looked at that map all the time," Sanchez said. "They made a dot on the map every time they found a tree with a cut on it like a V, or the chiseling of a grizzly bear's paw on a stone."

At one time while these feverish exploration were in progress, Sanchez was sent back to Taos with one of the Frenchmen and several pack mules to procure more supplies - mostly wine. Sanchez' trail companion spoke Spanish fluently, and after they had become close friends, the Frenchmen told the Spanish all about the treasure hoard.
The Frenchman said the key to the hidden treasure was as follows:

At a certain hour and minute of a certain night and month, in the shadow cast by one of the trees, at a point a certain number of feet from the base of the tree, was the exact location of the buried treasure.

A mock grave around which grew three spruce trees, equidistant from the grave, was the starting point of calculation.

Sanchez was then sixty years old, and his memory failed to recall later the time, the minute, hour and distance named by the Frenchman.

Some years later, Asa Poor, an American explorer, found the mock grave. But he could not locate the tree. Scholars have said that had the spot where the tree grew been located, the treasure could have been found through astronomical calculations on any day of the year.

The Frenchmen remained in the area until 1847, but apparently found nothing. Sanchez, who was with them all of the time, said that he packed in lots of supplies, but he packed nothing out.

"To carry that much gold bullion across this country would require 600 stout mules, and this didn't happen," he said.

In the end, the Apaches swept down on the party and killed every man except Sanchez, who managed to escape by the skin of his teeth. Back in Taos, he was even accused of murdering the Frenchmen, but was cleared when garments, saddles and guns known to have belonged to the unfortunate men were seen in the possession of Indians.

Up to recent years, articles believed to have belonged to either the first or second French party were picked up around Treasure Peak. These articles included broken packsaddles, horseshoes, spurs and other items.

The writer of the Denver Post story believed that the second French party may actually have found the treasure, only to change it to another hiding place when attacked by Indians.

Later searchers found a small park, about a mile from the shaft and mock grave, in which there was a series of ridges. These ridges were so uniform in distance apart and in height and straightness as to undoubtedly be the work Of man. Digging here unearthed ten or twelve skulls which crumbled when exposed to the air. Full skeletons were not found, nor was any vestige of clothing - not even a button – which proved that the bodies had been stripped before burial.

Quite a number of rifle shells were found with the skeletal remains, like those used in old-fashioned guns. Shells were not known, of course, at the time the original French party came to Treasure Mountain. The shells found were of the type used at the time of the arrival of the second party.

Thus the second French party passed into oblivion. And there is little question that the $33,000,000 cache remained after their passage, possibly somewhere near the original hiding place but in a different one.

The Post story listed several persons, in addition to the French party of 1841, who had copies of the original chart and manuscript which had been prepared as guides to the treasure. The writer of the 1921 story stated that a son of a man named Leon Montroy said that his father had a "set of copies," but that these had become lost. The writer added:

"Asa Poor and John Gaylord had a copy of Montroy's copy."

The ink was scarcely dry on the Post series before the gold of Treasure Mountain began making headlines. Two Colorado ranchers claimed to have reached the threshold of the treasure with the discovery of a second shaft, about 200 feet from the original one.

The pair claimed to have found a "stone tablet" at the bottom of the second shaft which gave a complete description of the treasure's location. Etched in Spanish, the tablet stated that three tunnels and two walls would have to be pierced before the treasure could be found, the men said.

The tablet also included the information that, because of a rock slide, the treasure would be found 202 feet below the original location, which was given as many feet under the ground. According to the two men, the tablet further warned of "death traps" to be encountered.

Location of the second shaft which the men claimed to have found was given as 200 feet northwest of the original shaft.

A search of the Denver Post files failed to turn up a follow-up story after the front-page account of the ranchers' reputed discoveries. However, the 1959 edition of the Colorado Guide Book states, "the gold presumably remains hidden somewhere on the mountain· slope."

And we suspect that it does – Xanthus Carson

Moving XC article to "Other Versions of the Story" - not part of this grouping. Will add topic for 2015 - 2017 trips to Trinidad and Segundo.



Hello. We are signing up with as a "Research Group" dedicated in obtaining information pertaining to this effort. Our group will be primarily working from our base area of Ft. Garland CO. We have been tasked to research Karl Von Mueller, and his references to this legend. We will be attempting to provide information about him, however, we are focused on any literature or research that he might have had or created about the lost French gold. We will explore some of his writings into the LUE but our main objective is the French legend that is presented in this website.

On 06-12-20 we were able to make the trip to Segundo Colorado. The goal was to get more information from locals that might help our efforts. On a tip from a local in Weston, we ended up in Stonewall. We were able to vet out two locals but one in particular. Our vetting process in crude, but it does include that we only use information from individuals who have lived in an area for longer than 20 years and that they have some information not easily accessed by Google. We also ask other locals about the character of the individual that we interested in. Basically, we are looking for references. Then we have to use some "Good old" common sense.

This individual has lived in the Weston - Stonewall area most of his life. We were impressed by several accolades given to us from some local merchants about his character. We will call him Mr. B. He was also very familiar with the Bar and I Ranch and the road that leads on the backside of the wall to the south. He was very familiar with several items on our research list pertaining to KVM. Mr. B. had originally met him in 1971 while living in the area. We were very surprised at his assessment of KVM and his business dealing with an individual named Mr. McClaron. As Mr. B. went on, "KVM and Mr. McClaron were business partners in a prospecting & publishing business in the Segundo area in the 1970's. As it was told to us, Mr. McClaron apparently lost a lot of money  in this venture. KVM wasn't popular with the McClaron family because of it. We were not able to get specific details as to what actually happened in the business dealings. Mr. B. made it abundantly clear KVM was known for his "Vivid Imagination." Mr. B.'s interview was the 1st time we had ever heard anything negative about Von Mueller.

When we asked Mr. B. about information he might have on Whiskey Pass or the lost French gold, the tone of the interview changed. He did disclose that he heard that the goal from the mining company early 1900's was to build a tunnel in the area of Whisky Pass. It was clear that information was not going to be readily available concerning lost French gold.

I think that Mr. B. must have known more than he was willing to reveal. It's a tough pill to swallow when I have heard so many good things about KVM over the years. But, I think that finding out more about the McClaron family would highlight any wrong doings. 40-50 years old memories won't pass away so fast. And as for the "Vivid Imagination", there has to be some truth to that! Read his book Treasure of the Valley of Secrets. Basically this one book sums up his imagination. This is a story about 3 700' blimps being built south of Stonewall by an Italian socialist in 1907!. Some huge explosion (No one knows what caused it) occurs and now the ancient Montezuma mine entrance is exposed. In a nutshell, he is reporting stories and letters from locals (at the time) about info that would prove the validity of the book Scarlet Shadow by Walter Hurt. On top of that - then you throw in the LUE!!!!

The trip to Segundo is exactly what I am talking about! More boots on the ground is what this legend takes. Amazing tips like this could really help.

So here I go:

  1. I don't think KVM has anything to do the LFG (Lost French Gold). But, Whisky Pass  Highway 12, and the Spanish Peaks. What is the connection?
  2. Geologically speaking, is there any proof that the Sangre de Cristo mountain range (Whisky Pass area) technically has the geological attributes for a mining company to justify mining commercially?  If Aztecs were REALLY there, is there current proof to substantiate this?
  3. We must carefully consider all information about KVM differently. We automatically assume he was the real deal and a great man. This is a major problem with so many treasure legends and their icons. We make too many assumptions. We should call this process the - Mr. B.sss.  Make it Mr. "Believable" - IF it is.
  4. The vetting process used above is crude. But it certainly is effective. Example, in one more phone call, you could literally blow a hole out of the credibility of KVM no matter how unpopular that might be. If someone from the  McClaron clan could collaborate this claim, then Mr. B. knows his stuff. On my 2017 research trip, I could not find 1 (NOT ONE) single person in Segundo, Aguilar, Trinidad (This includes the newspaper, the college, all books stores) that has EVER heard of KVM. I am not kidding. Surely there are some out there, but how could a great legend die that fast? He clearly isn't famous in this area. In 2020, we catch a break. An individual gives us relative info and has even personally met him! However, he does not hold a candle of credibility to his character. This is important.

Thanks for put up the link to Valley of Secrets. I know this is just for research but can anyone find a copy of the book - hard copy? We understand why the file is password protected but we cannot copy certain pages. We assumed this is a copyright issue? No worries at all. I would like a copy of the book. Seriously hard to find a hard copy! Also, we were going to add a few items to the comparison chart. Is this OK?

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