Rood Rock, Death Valley
William B. Rood was a member of the Jayhawkers, one of several parties that found themselves in Death Valley in December of 1849. These groups were on their way to the gold fields of the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains. They may have been the first white people to stumble into Death Valley.
More information can be found about these parties in various books and on the internet.
There are two locations in Death Valley where William Rood left inscriptions, Rood Rock, and another rock where he inscribed "1849 W.B.R." Other inscriptions were left at this 2nd location in 1860 by Dr. French's party when they were looking for the famed Lost Gunsight Mine. (The Lost Gunsight was the site where in 1849 a piece of pure silver was found and fashioned into a gun site).
claim that Rood left these inscriptions in 1869 when he came back to
look for the Lost Gunsight Mine. To me that doesn't make much sense, why
write an earlier date when you are there?
The Jayhawkers eventually made it out of Death Valley and on to the California gold fields. But it looks like William Rood wasn't too lucky at mining, for he left the gold country to raise cattle in Arizona in 1853. It was reported that Rood was found starved and wondering the streets of Hermosillo Mexico in 1858.
Rood made it back to Arizona and in 1862 was rasiing cattle on his ranch named "Rancho de Los Yumas" about 40 miles north of Yuma. He did quite well selling beef in La Paz and to the Army posts.
Dispite the fact that Rood was doing well as a rancher, he left in 1869 with a small party of prospectors and went back to Death Valley to look for the famed Lost Gunsight Mine.
Some believe the Lost Gunsight Mine may have actually been the rich silver mines over in the Argus Range that were worked on Lookout Mountain in the 1870's.
William Rood died in 1870 after returning from Death Valley. Rood died in a drowning which some believe was murder. He was traveling across the Colorado River on April 29 with his ranch foreman Alex Poindexter. The foreman returned to the ranch later that day and stated that the boat had struck a rock and turned over, that he, Poindexter survived by holding on to the boat and Rood was sucked under the water.
Rumors circulated that Poindexter may have killed Rood. One of Rood's grandchildren claimed that he was murdered, he claimed that when Poindexter was on his death bed, he told Rood's daughter Adaline that he killed Rood with an oar as they were crossing the river.
After Rood's death, stories spread about his wealth, and that it was buried some where on the ranch, even his daughters came to the ranch on several occasions to hunt for the buried gold and silver to no avail.
Did Rood actually find the Lost Gunsite Mine in 1869 and bury his treasure somewhere on his ranch?
Enquiry minds want to know..........
Back to Death Valley Page