Beartooth Mountains

"Stake your claim in Crandall"

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While you are in Crandall try your hand at gold panning. Zig and his friends spent three days panning gold in front of our cabins and found over a dollars worth of gold!  (That wasn't even enough to pay for the beans they ate!)

This is Leon from Netherlands, he found this old gold mine close by our property. We believe it was one of the mines dug by the Chinese miners. Leon found this while he was searching for Crandall's hidden gold!



In the early days there were a lot of prospectors that came to this area to find their fortune.  Crandall Creek was named after Jack Crandall (a  prospector who was found murdered in his camp). Jack spent time prospecting in the Crevice Gulch area in 1867-69 (present-day Yellowstone) with a party of about 12 miners. The area proved not to be very lucrative so Jack and Findley decided to head out on their own and explore the present day Crandall Creek area east of the Park. Before they left the other Miners decided it was time to move on also and they all decided they would meet up in a couple weeks at the head waters of the Clarks Fork River (Cooke Pass, Montana area).

     There are two different scenarios on what happened to Jack, the first one is what is recorded but the locals tell a different story.

Scenario one:
On July 1, 1870,  Jack Crandall and his partner, T. Dougherty (aka Findley), were on their way to rendezvous with some miner friends on the headwaters of the Clarks Fork River. The two men made camp on Crandall Creek and, as they prepared their evening meal, were killed by a marauding band of Indians. A week later when Jack and Findley didn't show at the rendezvous point with the other miners they concluded that something had happened to them. One of the miners concerned named Bottler decided to set out to look for them and what he found was truly horrible. Killed by Crow Indians (the Crows did not like white men that disturbed their ground!), the two men's heads had been cut off  and stuck on the points of their picks with the other point stuck into the ground. Their tin cups had been placed in front of their heads, apparently to tell others that the two had been surprised while eating, their headless bodies lay nearby. Animals had eaten the flesh from their bones but Crandall was recognizable by his teeth-he wore a plate-and by his long black beard. Bottler's party buried the two, but the coyotes kept digging up their bones, so in the fall of 1871, Jim Gourley and Bill Cameron buried them again this time piling rocks onto the graves and marking them with pine headboards.
     Adam Miller stated that later he was riding across the Crow Reservation when he saw an Indian wearing a "plug hat" that he knew to be Dougherty's. The sight gave Miller "an itchy trigger finger", but he did not dare to shoot the Indian on the reservation.

Scenario Two:
After leaving the Crevice Gulch area Jack and Findley headed to a trading post to stock up on supplies. They paid for their supplies with gold. Jack was well known by the local miners and they all assumed he had a pretty good stash hidden away up there in the hills. The belief is that a couple of the not so fortunate miners followed them back to where they where camped along the present day Crandall Creek. When Jack and Findley would not give up their gold  the miners killed them and left the scene to look like Indians had killed them.

     The grave of these men is marked by a huge boulder on which is a large bronze plate giving a brief history of the incident. It is located on the north side of Crandall Creek, about three-fourths of a mile upstream from the Crandall Creek bridge, on the Sunlight-Crandall Road.

It is said that at one time there was a mining camp at the confluent of the Clarks Fork River and Crandall Creek with over 300 Chinese miners.

 John F. Curl, Adam Horn Miller and Joe Brown




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