The Gold Bars of Camp McKinney



Camp McKinney was a major British Columbia gold-producing locale in the late 1890’s. On August 18, 1896, gold bars produced at the Cariboo Amelia mine were scheduled for the regular delivery to the town of Midway. George McAuley, part owner of the mine, traveling alone, carried the bars.

McAuley was accosted on the trail by a masked bandit, forced to give up the gold and continue on his way. He summoned the police, who performed a thorough search of the area and the Camp. They determined that one of the miners, Matt Roderick, was missing, having booked off sick and returned to his home in Seattle. The mine owners hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to investigate Roderick and track his activities. The determined that Roderick had left Seattle in October and was traveling north. They notified the local police, who under Superintendent Keane, set up an evening ambush on October 26th.

It was a dark night. As a rider approached, Keane called out to identify the rider. Keane’s companion heard a shot and, thinking Roderick had shot Keane, rushed to the scene. In fact, it was Roderick that was shot by Keane, who claimed he had fired in self-defense. However, it was discovered that Roderick’s gun was unloaded and covered with rust.

Keane was tried for Roderick’s death. He pleaded justifiable homicide and was cleared.

There was no sign of the gold bars in Roderick’s possession, when he was killed. The bars have never been recovered. The belief has persisted over the years that the gold is buried somewhere near the Camp.

For the full story go to


The Ballad of Camp McKinney


Matt Roderick was a miner

Not a good one, so I’m told

To earn his pay

He dug each day

For someone else’s gold

No one could say

He wouldn’t stay

Until the job was done

But Matt was only waiting for the chance he knew would come


Twas August of ninety-six

When McAuley made his ride

He went alone

Though it was known

He’d gold bars by his side

He made his run

In the noonday sun

Not fearing any man

To reach the bank in Midway with his shipment was the plan.


The road was rough and rocky

And travelers, they were few

McAuley’s hope

That he could cope

With dangers that he knew

But on that route

A man stepped out

And blocked the dusty road

And motioned to McAuley to give up his precious load


McAuley’s nerve was steady

And fear was not his mate

A leveled gun

He could not shun

To tempt a risky fate

He tossed it down

Then rode for town

Without a backward glance

To get some help to save his gold. That was his only chance.


Policemen two he summoned

To help him catch the thief

They searched the space

To find a trace

Neath every stone and leaf

But not a clue

Had pointed to

The man that did the deed

And so they searched the miners and their town to find a lead


The miners all were present

But one that booked off sick

And it was that

His name was Matt

His last name Roderick

They searched his home

But he was gone

Where was not revealed

Ad so without a trial, Matt’s destiny was sealed


They traced him to Seattle

And the town of Concully

For months on end

He didn’t spend

All that gold money

But in the fall

There came a call

That Matt had bought a horse

And later in October their man was headed north


He crossed the U. S. border

And the Kettle River gap

Those at the mine

Now had the time

To set their fatal trap

Thy sent a pair

To watch with care

The road that lead to town

With hopes that Matt would tell them where the gold bars could be found


With the evening sunset

The waited word came forth

There was no doubt

Matt’s on the route

And he was headed north

And so two men

Set out again

To meet him on the scene

And one of these was later to be suspect, Joseph Keane


The plan was to stop him

By shooting down his steed

Then bring him back

To face the pack

And answer for his deed

But on that night

The fading light

Made it too hard to see

So what was next to happen will remain a mystery


Told by Keane’s partner

The story went this way

He heard a shot

From near the spot

That Keane had chose to stay

He’d fired at

The man called Matt

And when Matt’s life was done

Keane claimed it was to save his own when Matt had drawn his gun


Matt lay in the roadway

His body growing cold

And with their search

They found his purse

With very little gold

They held their court

But it was short

And Keane was let off free

And no one ever found again the gold of Camp McKinney



Speak up from the grave Matt

Tell us where the gold’s at

Everyone wants a bar

So tell us where they are


Did you hide them in a tree

Where only you could see

Or are they in the ground

Matt, where can they be found

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