A Brown for the Times…

October, 2018

By Stephan


William Harvey Brown, b.1862, d.1913

A stout-hearted man if ever there was one!  I imagine that all three of his names will certainly ring a bell with searchers.  Born in South Africa to American parents and later educated at Cornell, he worked for the Smithsonian, and spent more than a few years roaming the Rockies and the American West.  A naturalist, he collected specimens of mammals for display in the museums of his day, rubbing shoulders with some of the 19th Century’s most accomplished taxidermists.  He ended his life in South Africa.

It could well be that museums such as the Denver Museum display to this day some of his specimens in their taxidermy collections.

On one of his expeditions, he helped establish a scientific camp high in the Rockies, which was dubbed “Camp Brown Bear Trail”, so named for the many grizzly trails which then criss-crossed that area.  He resided there for several weeks and hunted for grizzly.

The following is an actual account  from recollections of those days:

“I went up the side of a steep mountain following a small stream to its head.  I chose a large flat rock at the edge of a ledge for my camping place.  The view was marvelous.  On the rock I soon had a fine fire going.  Water was heated and venison toasted.  Though tired, I was much refreshed and cut a great stock of fir spruce boughs which were to serve for a bed that night.  A goodly quantity of wood was gathered for the fire,(which) was now removed nearer the edge of the rock and the spruce boughs spread down.  I stretched my weary bones out on that bed of Mexican feathers and really almost went to sleep and would have had not the fire burned low and a horrible dream about a grizzly roused me.”

Well, I figured this small stream he followed was the creek to paddle up and I figured that this ledge just had to be the blaze in Forrest Fenn’s poem, what with campfires blazing and bones and all..  And wouldn’t you know it, after some considerable effort (difficult but not impossible) and some years, I finally found the Ledge and stood upon it.  The view was truly marvelous.  And yes, I had already considered where warm waters halt: and it led me right to it.

But before I ever went to the Ledge, I figured I had better give the poem a once-over just in case I missed anything.  Good thing I did:

Scant (from Wiktionary)- a block of stone, sawn on two sides down to the bed level.

Marvel (from the Shorter Oxford)- see also marvil.  A child’s marble.

Tarry- of, like, or covered in tar; splattered with tar.

Clear as day, then:  I knew I needed to find a block of stone with black flecks and a marble-like marking of some kind on its face, probably white.

Since I knew Forrest Fenn was a marble champion in 7th grade, I knew I was onto something:

So I climbed to the Ledge at last. It was at an altitude of just barely under 10,200 feet.   I took my best friend with me.  Together we stood on that Ledge, and we keenly felt that we had found Forrest’s special spot.  To stand on the actual rock where a brave and wise naturalist had once camped in the late 19th Cenury, when the wilds were still wild.  He had  even carried a Sharps rifle, as if he wasn’t already wise enough.  And below us, a rare fisherman’s paradise, but virtually unknown, with two perfectly symmetrical horseshoe bends.

Then we turned and gasped as we saw the block of stone beneath us on the Ledge, so scant-like, with a marble on it.  We gazed on it in awe.  But evening drew nigh and so we resolved to return the next day.  And then that night it snowed and snowed.

-by Stephan



60 thoughts on “A Brown for the Times…

    • He doesn’t say there is for a fact, just says “could well be” only another person making assumptions to justify a “solve”

  1. Can an 80 year old man get to it with 20 pound on his back and back to his car twice? It is a good solution though!

  2. Hello Stephan. Thank you for sharing your adventure and history lesson. I really enjoyed it.

  3. Stephan….living history….I could taste the mountain air…fond memories.
    Traveling back in time. Other fond memories…licking on a BROWN COW through double features at the Grand Theater.

  4. William Harvey Brown was born August 22, 1862. Interesting coincidence. Nice story and pictures – I’m looking forward to the second installment. Your story also reminded me of the subject of the first book by Forrest Fenn – The African Animals of William R. Leigh. Not sure why but there it is.

    • Hi Sandy,

      So Forrest Fenn shares the same birthday as William Harvey Brown! Wow, that is the most amazing coincidence yet ! There are many others I have uncovered, but this is the most jaw-dropping for me. Thank you for your research.

      • Stephan,

        Maybe I didn’t get the connect of WWH in your story… how did that clue bring you where you’re at? It seems most of your solve revolves around a person named Brown. I might go along with the idea if you think “I” in stanza 1 refers to another, other than fenn, and to be William Brown. But still confused how WWH is connected to the location as a place.

        In reading Sandy’s post and your reaction, it still seems to me you’re looking for connection to Brown and fenn in some way. Only it was not known at the time the book was released of fenn’s B/D… I don’t recall it being mentioned in the book.

        But we do have fenn’s comment about not dwelling enough on WWH but instead look for later clues, which would be a folly to do so. It seems you place an extreme amount of effort on Brown or the name of Brown to get to the point you are at.

        How exactly does WWH work here?

          • So W. Brown and where WWH are connected?

            I’m trying to understand what brought you to W. Brown [ from WWH ] or any thing brown related…

            The story above [ like I said I enjoyed reading ] revolves around W. brown even for later clues… how much influence was WWH in the process to get to hoB as W. Brown and the little summary of the spot you’re at? I just trying to get the feel of the process that brought this all together.

        • My WWWH leads to Brown, but doesn’t imply that you will find it. The journey reveals it. And later lines such as “But tarry scant with marvel gaze” must be solved in and of themselves IMO. I do think there is a strong chance that the “tarry scant” line is the riddle that Forrest refers to as being in his poem, whether I am correct or not about the location.

          The block of stone in my picture is either granite or feldspar and the white spot is quartz. Gold is always associated with a quartz intrusion, even if only in extremely minute quantities, and there have been significant gold finds in rocks with this geology. How appropriate then to have a block of stone with favorable gold geology as a possible marker for a chest of gold?

    • This.

      Though I’ll reserve a bit of judgement given that all the info isn’t being shared in this post and that maybe there are connections between the poem and the path to this spot that haven’t been explained.

  5. I, too, think the location looks too dangerous to be the right location. However …

    Over the years it has occurred to me that what Forrest says verbally may not be agreed upon by searchers if searchers knew what he was really talking about. Maybe HE thinks this location is safe and appropriate for a family outing.

    There are dozens and dozens of verbal statements Forrest has made that if searchers knew what the clues and location actually referred to, searchers would strenuously disagree with Forrest’s assessment, via his verbal comments.

    Which is why it is folly, in my opinion, to take everything FF says at face value. Yet, searchers are forever quoting some verbal comment he has made to rule out some area, or to swear that their solution just has to be correct since it matches some comment FF has made.

    The poem alone, sans verbal comments, needs to be the focus of a searcher’s efforts, not FF’s verbal comments, in my opinion.

    So this location, as described by Stephan, “could” be the correct location, however dangerous it seems to some of the rest of us. Ditto every other location that searchers have proposed through the years, despite that location’s apparent improbability arising from a perceived conflict in what FF has said verbally.

    Ken (in Texas)

    • Hi Ken,

      Aside from a short but steep hike to the ledge, the ledge is not dangerous to access or to stand upon, provided of course that one doesn’t allow the small children in their retinue to wander close to the edge. 🙂

      • Stephan, your research is very compelling. I know a lot of folks will shoot down anything that comes along, but I haven’t heard of anyone finding the loot yet. So, good on you. I look forward to the next report.

        • Having hiked in shorts while BOTG I can attest to how many scratches I ended up with but no pants at all would be a lot worse!

          Thank you Stephan, I have enjoyed all your posts including this one.

      • Thank you Stephan,
        Keep on using your imagination, sharing and BOTG.
        No BOTG, no getting the treasure.
        I’m looking forward to the Quadseekle.

  6. heres another one volcano BROWN WAS SAID TO HAVE FOUND THE LEGENDARY LOST sloughmack gold mine in what or near today’s vancouver canada the lost mine by pitt lake or near there no its not in canada just a man that dissapeared looking for or finding the lost mine they found his camp with 11 ounces of gold but Brown was never found 15 men have lost their lives looking for this los mine youtube will tell you all about it so be wise stay alive no matter your hunt good day all

  7. Guess i should of read up a little more before i posted this trinket but as i said our treasure is not in canada but this lost mine is so have fun with it treasure hunters my BROWN IS a might bit different maybe some day ill hint that direction but i do think warm waters halt is most important

    • I read years ago about the Slumach lost gold mine in BC somewhere around Pitt lake BC. Interesting story, every year people go looking for it, many never return. Some things in the story about it with this chase sounds familiar . But so much everywhere does , that’s why this is simply difficult.

      • Noteworthy comment from one of the members of the Lost Pitt Lake Mine Society.

        That forum has always been full of beauty… man oh man… it never ends on that forum… just a bunch of internet weirdos sitting in a basement obsessing over childish stories trying to live out their “great outdoorsmen” dreams… Entertaining to say the least, but sad also as it represents a large amount of our population…may they rest in peace if their ever set forth outside of their home….”

    • Jeff, way back when in a land far, far away….my wwwh was on page 82 of TTOTC. Still is.

      I believe everything changed for Forrest on that page and in that plane on that day. He went from sheep-warrior full of tears and fears to human-spirit warrior full of hope and gentleness…willing to live and die by his own rules. I’ve often wondered if his plane hitting that karst and exploding was the blaze for Forrest – when he realized he was the blaze. I think it was.

      I wish every human could have a similar experience. I dream of it.

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