2010-03-31 / Local News

There’s gold in that creek!

By Jayne Abbott
Contributing writer

Sluice box at work Darrin Batman of Sullivan, Ill., demonstrates how a sluice box “washes” gravel away so that gold can be caught in the bottom of the box. He heard about the present of gold in Deer Creek on a television show called “Gold Fever” and came Saturday to try his had at mining. Photo by Jayne Abbott Sluice box at work Darrin Batman of Sullivan, Ill., demonstrates how a sluice box “washes” gravel away so that gold can be caught in the bottom of the box. He heard about the present of gold in Deer Creek on a television show called “Gold Fever” and came Saturday to try his had at mining. Photo by Jayne Abbott Those who have lived in the Delphi community for 40 or 50 years might find it surprising to know their hometown has a hidden secret. However, there are others outside the local community and Indiana who know the secret. Those individuals firmly suspect that there is gold to be found in Deer Creek and on a recent Saturday they were in town looking for it.

Roughly 20 members of the Northern Indiana Gold Prospectors of America Association (GPAA) gathered at Riley Park to hunt for glacier gold in the creek. Group founder, Charles Lassiter said “glacier gold” washes down from Canada and it is five times heavier than pure gold. It is malleable or “soft” and can be bent but not crushed. Pure gold is 24 karat and the glacier gold found in Indiana is 22 karat. He said glacier gold is heavier than creek bed gravel and sinks several feet below the surface.

Modern day prospecting Darrin and Becky Batman from Sullivan, Ill., pan for glacier gold in the Deer Creek in Delphi. He is seen here using a “hand dredge” to suck up the gravel of the creek bank and putting it in a bucket to be washed through his Billie Sluice Box. Sluice boxes “wash” the gravel and any gold that is left falls to the bottom of the box. He heard about the presence of gold in Deer Creek on a television show called “Gold Fever” and came Saturday to try his had at mining. Photo by Jayne Abbott Modern day prospecting Darrin and Becky Batman from Sullivan, Ill., pan for glacier gold in the Deer Creek in Delphi. He is seen here using a “hand dredge” to suck up the gravel of the creek bank and putting it in a bucket to be washed through his Billie Sluice Box. Sluice boxes “wash” the gravel and any gold that is left falls to the bottom of the box. He heard about the presence of gold in Deer Creek on a television show called “Gold Fever” and came Saturday to try his had at mining. Photo by Jayne Abbott Lassiter, who was born and raised in Indiana and currently resides in Logansport, is the author of a book about modern-day gold hunting called “Midwest Gold Prospecting.” According to the book, an 1862 report indicated gold was found along the Blue River in Henry County near New Castle. It also mentioned “considerable samples of gold” were found in Deer Creek near Delphi.

“When I was 18 or 19 years old I read a geological survey publication called “Gold and Diamonds In Indiana” about glacier gold found in this state, mostly in Morgan and Brown counties,” Lassiter said to explain how he became interested in prospecting. “I have been fascinated by it every since.”

The group contacted Delphi Parks Director, Anita Force for permission to mine in the creek Saturday.

“The group contacted me last week and since it was short notice the park board agreed to allow them to use pans and hand equipment only, no electrical machines in the actual creek bed,” Force said.

She further explained that it is her understanding the group must obtain permission from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to use electric dredges in the creek bed.

GPAA member, Harold Fromer of Sheridan, explained that electric dredges make mining easier and disturbs the creek bed that benefits the fish and fauna. It also removes lead from the creeks. Lassiter removed over 100 pounds of lead from the Wabash River last year. The group plans to return and use electric dredges to mine the creek.

Lassiter said laws were adopted to govern prospecting because of the interest in the recreational activity. For a copy of these laws, visi midwestprospector.com/dnrupdates. html.

Fromer is one of several group members who offer panning demonstrations to schools or local organizations. He can be reached at (317) 758-1020.

For information about prospecting, go to midwestprospector. com.

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