The north wall of the Cayoosh canyon was the location of the Golden Cache Mine, which started a small regional gold rush in 1897-1901. The former mill buildings were in the depths of the canyon below the highway. The workings were reached by ramparts beneath overhangs on the highest part of the canyon wall. This stretch of the canyon was the site of the hunt for the First World War hero-turned-outlaw Frank Gott who is commemorated by Gott Peak which is on the southern rim of the Cayoosh basin.
The story of Frank Gott is quite interesting. Frank left Canada via Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 20, 1916, by ship, arriving in Liverpool, England on June 28, 1916. He proceeded his service overseas on August 11, 1916, and arrived in Le Havre, France on August 12, 1916. According to World War 1 records, Frank fought as part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders. However, Frank did not finish out the remainder of the war. He was discharged due to his age (documents of 1917, indicate he was 62/63 years – they discovered he was much older than the 44 years he had reported in 1916). Serving as a sniper in France, his “Certificate of Service” dated January 22, 1931, indicates his official discharge was on November 30, 1917, and that he received the British War Medal as well as the Victory Medal.
In 1919, Frank Gott is mentioned in the annual report of the Ministry of Mines for the province. It appears a valley and creek rich in gold, minerals and iron, were named in his honour in celebration of his war effort and service. In 1932, Frank, now at the age of 76, was in camp near Moha, B.C. with two ranch employees. Game Warden, Albert E. Farey, came upon him, inspecting a doe Frank had killed out of season, and while bending down to take a closer look, was shot in the back. It is reported that Frank fled on foot, and was now labelled an “Outlaw”, and was on the run. The Chief Game Warden and his posse found the aging trapper in the mountains by Bridge River. The Warden shot Frank in the leg once or twice as he tried to flee. Here is where it becomes a little fuzzy. Apparently, Frank perished from exposure and advanced tuberculosis, not from the leg wound. Information tells us he passed away October 5, 1932. No record tells us where he was laid to rest.
Photo Of Gott Peak
The Golden Cache hard-rock mine became a “bust”, more money being lost by Vancouver investors than the actual gold found at this particular location. However, placer mining by Chinese miners from 1884 onwards was estimated to have pulled out seven million dollars in gold nuggets in the several miles downstream from where the Golden Cache hard-rock mine was located. The Chinese claims spanned the banks of Cayoosh Creek from the Fraser River up to a point six miles above Cayoosh Falls (now the private hydroelectric development at Walden North).
As news of the then quiet Chinese goldrush got out by the late 1880’s, more and more non-Chinese showed up. Finding the main areas were all staked up, they began to explore the region more carefully than ever before. This prompted the discovery of further mines along the Lakes and up in the Bridge River Country as well as closer to town on the lower Bridge River, nearer the Fraser, and on the bars around Lillooet. The Chief of the Bridge River Band of the Lillooet began selling extensive licenses for hydraulic mining up as far as Antoine Creek.
The claims along the Lakes played out, but the wider exploration of the Bridge River Country wound up finding a deep vein beneath the Bendor Range, which became Bralorne-Pioneer mines. Nearer Lillooet, except for the rich Chinese-owned claims, little was found by comparison to the Bridge River goldfields. Between Walden North and about seven miles upstream, the Chinese staked out more than 200 claims, with around 700 Chinese estimated to have been working their diggings for the next ten years.
The original estimates of 7 million dollars for this creek is just that, an estimate. It was probably far in excess of that because unknown amounts of gold nuggets were believed to have been smuggled away from the digs. There still exists fantastic opportunities to find coarse gold and nuggets in this area. The upper benches have received little attention. The gold does not travel far, and appears not to be continually replenishing. Bedrock is at approximately 14 feet, but there are several clay and hard-pack zones to bedrock. While this area offers some beautiful scenery, it is very rugged. During spring runoff and after heavy rains, the creek runs very fast and should be treated with extreme caution