Happy Birthday Ozzie…


June 12th, 2014
by clinger


Guess what day it is? Guessss what day it is? Everyone, everyone, everyone, guess what day it is? No, this isn’t a Geico commercial and it isn’t hump day. It’s actually a Thursday. More specifically, it’s June 12, 2014 & it’s someone’s birthday.


Of course every day is someone’s birthday, but in this case it’s someone’s 200th birthday & it’s someone close to the chase. Yes, 200 years ago today, George & Eleanor Russell of Bowdoinham, Maine welcomed into the world a bouncing baby trapper, Osborne.

Many of you of course will recognize the name as Forrest has mentioned his “Journal of a Trapper” more than once. If you haven’t picked up a copy, do so. It remains to be seen if there are any tangible clues in the book, but it’s greatly entertaining on it’s own, and one easily finds themselves transported back to 1840 & immersed in the mountains while following Osborne on his journeys. I can understand why Forrest touts this as one of his favorite books. Blazes and warm waters abound inside it’s covers, and there is a sprinkling of canyons and possibly a Brown or two to be discovered. I have a 1965 edition that I picked up on Ebay for I think $4 back early on in the chase. They may be up to a whopping $6 now with the high demand created by the chase. 🙂


You can find copies for sale on ebay here-

or you can read it on-line for free, here-


39 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Ozzie…

  1. When I read it about a year and a half ago, I found it an easy read. I couldn’t put it down for long, before I’d be back at it. Thanks for letting everyone know about it clinger.

    • German,

      I was the same way. I kept mine in the bathroom as reading material, and my wife took to calling it “Journal of a Crapper” 🙂

      I happened to see it yesterday morning and flipped it open when I noticed that his birthday was today, hence the post.

  2. I found it to be mostly about killing things and indians. Not much exploration, just survival. I get it though, I have a cabin in the Rockies and I feel the closest to life, living and the meaning of it when I’m there. Happy birthday Osborne.

  3. Happy birthday
    Yes I’m a girl. I bought the book and couldn’t even make it through the first few pages. I found it to be extremely Boring to me. Sorry.
    Now the Codex that was a great story I enjoyed reading Douglas Preston did a remarkable job . 🙂

    • Amy,

      You missed the best part. Near the end is a section on the 1840s mating habits of the beaver, which I believe are the same as today only more corsets might have been involved. 🙂

      Kidding aside, I’ll give you that the intro is a little slow. Once Osbourne begins traveling and documenting, it speeds up. One thing I found interesting was the amount of death that was written about. It drives home today just how hard it was to actually survive in the Rockies back then.


      • Lol tganks Clinger I’m sure it was tough in the Rockies back then. I wonder exactly what clues would be in that book. 🙂

        • There is a great description/example of the use of a blaze that Forrest might have used.

          Also, there is short narrative involving some buffalo that parallels a chapter in TTOTC quite closely.

          If you’re a New Mexico fan, the locations don’t match up very well. However, if you are searching more North, then locations that Osbourne traveled will be familiar and make you think “Hmmmm!”.

  4. I downloaded this about a year ago but still haven’t made it all the way through. guess I’ll give it another try. 🙂

    • CJinCA, didn’t you say somewhere that you are near Placerville? I don’t know if you know it already but Osborne lived the later part of his life and died in Placerville. I’ve tried to identify where he is buried but it appears that info has been lost. He died broke so I doubt he is in a marked grave. I live in Amador County and have done some research on him, reading old newspaper accounts where he is mentioned– it is a sad story about his later years. He was a fascinating man. I was surprised to find out he was a judge for awhile in Oregon before moving to Placerville where he came during the gold rush. I think he also presided over some legal matters in “hangtown”. I love living in this area it has a very rich history. In addition to the FF’s treasure, I have been trying to locate a cache thought to have been left by a black gold miner in 1854 that has never been recovered. The research and exploring has been great fun. There are a few hidden treasures up your way I hear.

      • Raven, I am from Auburn, only about 25 miles from Placerville where Russell is buried. From what info I can find on him, he was buried at the County Hospital Cemetery at Spring and Tunnel Streets in Placerville. I think he died at the hospital and since he had no relatives, he was buried there. Many changes have been made to the area over the years so I don’t even know if there is an actual cemetery there any more or, even if there was one, whether there would be any kind of a grave marker still there.

        Too bad we didn’t connect up earlier as we went for a drive to Amador County in May and had lunch in Sutter Creek shortly before we left for MN!

          • Oh. I used to live in Minnesota when I was young. My dad still lives there in a suburb of Minneapolis, Ramsey. I was just curious.

          • I have relatives near Ramsey in the towns of Andover, Ham Lake and Blaine! I get down there only about once a year to see them though. 🙁

          • Oh that’s cool. I lived in New Brighton when I was a little un and then after I moved to NM every summer I stayed with my dad, he lived in Brooklyn Park for awhile, then Anoka and now Ramsey for about 20 years. We always rented a cabin on the North Shore every summer up by Grand Marais. I always came home at the end of the summer looking like I had the chicken pox. Those Minnesota mosquitos like out of staters.

        • That’s funny that you are in Auburn, I was just up in Grass Valley and Nevada City for a wedding. I live on Sutter Creek west of town a few miles. Small world. It would be fun to lunch with a fellow searcher so let me know if headed this way again. I’ll let you know if I can find more info on Russell. Sometime soon I plan on going to Placerville to look at some archive documents they have there to see if I can find any of his papers. I found some legal documents and probate papers in the Amador archive for the fellow I am researching here. There were copies of documents from suppliers where he signed his “X” and transcript of legal proceedings he was involved in. Seeing papers he handled made them come alive for me. As my grandma use to say when she took me to the cemetery to meet my ancestors, “your not truly dead until your forgotten”. Russell owned a store in Vacaville and I want to see if any papers survived that he may have handled too. He reportedly presided over legal matters there so I may be able to find some copies of some of the orders he made. I’ll check out the cemetery too at the hospital.

        • CJinCA-
          Been wondering for over two years where you reside. I lived in Sac’to for three years in the eighty’s (born and raised in the Bay Area).
          Used to make runs to Auburn often to file court docs for the law firm I worked at while in college.
          Is the Jolly Burrito still in business? Biggest, freshest, tastiest green chili burrito I have ever come across. Been to the mother load area once as a child. Always wanted to go back and look for gold. Still do. Maybe one day.
          Are you heading out this summer for a last trip, or did you do that already? – Mac

          • Mac, the Jolly Burrito is gone – too bad as they were great. Lots of gold panning still going on in the area. There’s a good place to get gold mining equipment in town if you’re REALLY interested in trying your hand at it.

            I’m sort of stuck on a search area but have only been able to do a quick search – with no luck of course. 🙂 I still like this area in Montana but am trying to keep an open mind as I look at maps and reread the book and poem. I’m not sure I’ll go out on any more searches though unless I have a real strong feeling about a specific place. Forrest said the poem needs to be followed precisely to find the treasure so I want my solution to be down to a 10x10x6 area. jk 😀

  5. Definitely a good read and interestingly has a quote by Sir Thomas BROWNE, an English doctor and author in the 1600’s who wrote Hydriotaphia, Urne-Buriall, or, A Discourse of the Sepulchrall Urnes that speaks in the fifth chapter man’s struggles with mortality, and the uncertainty of his fate and fame in this world. Much like Mr. Fenn. If there was any treasure found in my search, it was this magnificent prose.

      • U R Welcome. I mention it also as Hydriotaphia translates to “water jar” or a burial urn. Where warm waters halt. The work is some of the best writing ever penned and the existential issues are brilliant causing ponder and melancholy. It puts you in a state that Mr. Fenn must have been when he planned his chase for us. I think to solve the riddle you need to stand in his shoes, understand his purpose and intent and translate his poem with that meaning. You have to listen “well” or as he says good. Then again I wonder if it’s even there. Chest found, story over. Never found, it lives forever. The very point of burial rituals throughout history and different cultures. Why pyramids were built, and the like. But I have a theory and none like any others I’ve read. It is very simple, takes you step by step to places; the poem a mix of metaphors and literal….the trick is to know which is which but when you start at the correct place it becomes very easy. Unfortunately a couple of things are loose near the end but I may have to go there to tie those up. But life, work and natural disasters have kept me home in Massachusetts researching and reading some outstanding stuff and that has been rewarding in itself. Good luck enjoy the heavy read.

    • I’m reminded by Sepulchrall Urnes that EXCELLENCE ENDURES!

      Paul, thanks for an excellent recommendation. Already downloaded and looking forward to digesting truths therein during a quiet moment.

    • Of course slrbs a day to remember, or perhaps you mean to find said treasure tomorrow. either way best wishes on your journey. Someone please find that thing so we can all enjoy sanity again.

  6. bought it last year. read it rather closely. clue(s) not apparent…will try again 🙂
    have been taking a “treasure” break as when I get into it it’s pretty intense 🙂

    • Breaks are good medicine Whatrockysees. Taking a break myself to see old friends today instead of trying to solve clues

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