T-Bone's Big Nugget

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Here's a photo of the famous 2.5 lb. nugget found by Terry Bone back in the day...There's much mystery and speculation about this nugget and it's involvement with T-Bone's unusual death at a railroad crossing not too far from where the nugget was found...Tailgate Jim Straight knows much more about this ... The guy holding the nugget is Ross Hefner, an old time prospector, bull rider and rodeo clown who told me he was with T-Bone when he found this bad boy...He said T-Bone sold the nugget but never got paid for it, then ran across it in a store in Quartzsite...Shortly there after, T-Bone passed on in a puzzling way.... Ross died 4 or 5 years ago, but I got to spend a lot of time talking with him about his adventures with T-Bone and a few other nuggetshooting legends...Anyhow, figured you all would get a kick of seeing it ...Cheers, Yer Unc in the Dubyah

TBone's Nugget 001.jpg

Edited by Uncle Ron
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Hey Uncle Ron,

Terry Bone was a great guy. Met his several times in person at Arizona Al's prospecting store in Phoenix. Al and I were pretty good friends and he purchased a bunch of Terry's gold over the years. Terry spent a bunch of time prospecting the Bradshaw Mountains and we even got a bunch of old Topo's from Arizona Al before he sold the store and headed back East. I didn't realize that Terry has so many damn nugget patches in the Bradshaw's.

I remember one time when Terry was at Al's store and he had a old briefcase that was loaded with gold. He was pretty hush-hush about where it came from, but it sure looked like Northern Nevada (Eugene Mountains) gold! :o

His death was a weird one to say the least. I heard about 4 different version of the death at the Pronto, NV railroad crossing. The last time I was at that crossing I was told the old car bumper lying on the side of the road was from his car.

About the big nugget, well there was also many stories on where it came from. Anywhere from Eugene's, Blue Mountain ... well I better not say anymore. :unsure:

T-bone was an icon to say the least. Rest in Peace my friend.

Rob Allison

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Wow, there's a flash from the past. I lucked out and walked into Al's store when Terry was there with his new find, still covered in dirt; he carried it into the store in a brown paper bag. I was as green as green could be at the time so I didn't realize the significance of the find but I was definitely impressed. I heard bits and pieces about the theft of the nugget and his death but still have no idea what really happened. Sad, no matter how you look at it. Thanks for posting the photo Ron, I had forgotten how big it really was. Later...Jim

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Hey Uncle Ron,

Over the years I have been fortunate to hunt with many old pro's, but never in person with T-Bone. Richard Doherthy was the guys that really got me up and running. I owe him everything for spending the amount of time with me over the years showing me everything I needed to become successful. Without his help, I would probably be dredging rather then detecting. He told me about a week before he killed himself, that he never had such great friends like Floyd and I. I almost broke down on the phone when he told me this.

Richard Doherthy and Floyd Allen were best friends, so I spent a lot of time with Floyd also. Richard actually got Floyd involved in looking for nuggets back in the 80's. Floyd spent most of his time before that searching for Indian artifacts.

Richard and Floyd have both passed on, but my memories of them will never die.

Glen Anderson, Larry Sallee & Nugget "Bob" G. were a few others I spent time with. I actually still talk with Nugget Bob often. Nugget Bob was a true pioneer for nugget patches around the Rich Hill area back in the day.

I'm sure depending on what part of the country you are from, there are a handful of guys like these that have been icons in this hobby of looking for those ellusive gold nuggets.

Thank God for great people like these guys.

P.S. I know a handful of others guys that I didn't mention, that would rather stay out of the "spot light" and continue chasing nuggets with much success.

Rob Allison

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a picture of a picture of another monster nugget found in that same area. This was found by a fellow hunter that me and my partner made friends with on our many visits to the area back in the day. It was amazing to see what Terry could find in areas that we all worked. He was truly gifted in finding the yellow metal!



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Uncle Ron... Everyone: Terry is a Legend... One in 10% find 90% of the gold... Then there is a Super group who finds 90% of the the earlier group (This super group is now in the "one in a thousand %)...

personnaly only know about four in this group as they are quiet and humble. Terry would have escaped the "radar" had not the story of his big nugget not been known... I wrote one version in Lost Treasure magazine.

If Montana Bob Dansie will see this and post, he knows I moved a gulch to keep it from being overrun as it was mostly then just known by the full-timers in northern Nevada (Montana... if you see this post, please add you

thoughts... and thank you for hunting and sharing your patch with "Sandtrap" and me.)

There are many versions of Terry, his nugget, and his untimely ending at Pronto Crossing... They will be a subject of converations when ever the "full-timers" and others are gathering around a campfire. Ol' "Tailgate" Jim Straight (aka Dutch John... a lonely mountain north

of Pioche, Nevada)

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Wow, this is really wierd because that crossing is on my map of the railroad, and i always thought that it had some kind of meaning! I mean, if its the same pronto crossing that is at about milepost 519? winnemucca is 530. What year did this happen? I bet i know who the crew was, i'll have to ask around. Its just wierd that i cross that thing like ten times a month! Most people wouldn't know, but they used to fill the steam engine's hopper there, and thats what the old concrete footings are from, the tower. Put it this way, between winnemucca and gerlach there is only about nine crossings and thats 100 miles! geez

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  • 11 months later...

Uncle Ron... your update sends a chill down my spine. Smokey introduced me to Terry and

we hunted around the keystone mine in what was then called "Tungsten" before this new district

now known as "Lunker Hill" was organized. The watering trough for the fulltimers was then

the one of the Burns Brothers truck stop at the Mill City off ramp. There were then many fullltimers

out detecting around the area above the lonely cottonwood tree that (at that time) an eagle was

making it a home. It was at this time I met Frugle Floyd Allen. He was at this time using a Minelab

2000. Terry was using a White's Goldmaster ll and in the alkali he could really make it sing.

Later, Oakie Jim Malone with Smokey and Mark organized what was known as "Malone City" and

I'm sure there will be many posts by those who spent quality time on the patio of Jim's logcabin

swapping stories. Tim Dale was really a great story teller. Sweet memories of times, good and bad,

and now memories of what was "was" or "could'a been" and maybe best forgotten.

Hey Bob Gutowski are you out there? What'cha doing Lunk? .... "tailgate" jim straight

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Hey Jim

This is what I remember about the whole T-bone story.

I knew Terry pretty well. we ran into each other every now and then on different patches both in Arizona and Nevada.

One day I ran into him hunting out at the Eugenes, as I sat there in my truck we discussed the monster nugget.

Terry told me about getting ripped off in a deal that had gone bad .

he told me that he had intrusted it to a friend in Quartzite that claimed he knew of a possible buyer.

Terry said that friend then claimed that he got ripped off.

He claimed he fronted the nugget with a promise of payment to another guy and that guy disappeared with the nugget?.

Anyway Terry turned around and said this is were I found it and pointed to a old backfilled hole. It was no more than 8' feet off the road.

The patch was well known to several locals but everyone hunted way down the ridge at a confluence of two washes.

apparently know one ever bothered to hunt way up by the road. Terry laughed and said it was only about 4" deep you could not miss it. and that he was back to see if it had a brother. I left and I never saw Terry again.

Around that time I lived in Lovelock and Winnemucca, I was working with Jim Malone out at his mine in the Eugene mountains.

As a matter of fact a couple years later just a few miles from were Terry found his..

we found some nuggets that was almost as big and looked idenical to Terry's up at jims property. If I recall It weighed about 23 oz.'s and was butt ugly.

I heard Jim yelling but he already had it out of the hole by the time I got up there. after digging a hole about 2' deep x 3' wide Jim was so focused on the big nugget he got up and walked away. he went up to the cabin and left his detector too. I went to get his detector and just for grins check and found the 10oz. still in the hole.

It may have broken off the big nugget,

they were so course it was hard to tell for sure.

They were on display at the Star point trading post for awhile.

Im sure Dusti still has some photo's of them and maybe Terry's nugget too..

Anyway I knew the area pretty well.Those trains barreled through there and they were very long and many of us hated to wait so we used to play chicken with them all the time at the Imlay/Mill city, Pronto or Jungo crossings on our way out to the Eugenes or Rye.

I'll bet Terry's hammerin that nugget patch in the sky.


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Man the memories are flowing.I sure miss Richard and floyd. Floyd told some me some good stories and one that really sticks is when he first started hunting gold he would set up in the middle of cavecreek wash and sit his detector on a bucket and scoop sand across the coil.I asked him how that worked out for him and he said not so well.Floyd gave me some very good advice on how to and where to hunt gold and that advice still works for me today and on the other hand Richard taught me the fundamentals of the machine his technique of how to work the coil.That was a long time ago and Richard was the first person I ever heard say "LOW and SLOW" but of course being a pup it took a few years for that to sink in and slow down.Rob I also miss those two and always will and I'm so thankful for getting to share their company, Long last the memories.



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You mentioned the memories, Here's a funny story On that 10oz. nugget.

I was in the old trading post in Congress, Az. a few years ago adimiring a nugget they had in their glass case.

The lady behind the counter said its for sale, I replied no thanks, I prospect for gold I dont buy it. she had a bit of a puzzeled look on her face.

she says really? how much do you think it weighs? I grinned and I promply replyed 10oz. another puzzeled look on her face.

she said Ok were do you think its from?, I said Nevada. the look on her face was priceless. at that point I couldn't take it anymore I finally said I found and sold that nugget in Nevada 20 years ago and we both busted out laughing.

how many times it had changed hands or how it ended up there I have no idea or but there it was, all these years later.

Take care all AzNuggetBob

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Hah-haw... This will be quite a long thread. I used to live and work in Lovelock. Been in and out

of the greater are since the late 1940's and have drank a coke at "grandmas" Mill City Bar when

it was alive and full of roudy workers who just got to of shift from "tungsten."

In 1962 Bob Arnold and I surveyed the "just pumped out" Keystone mine. We used a

brunton/tape as our "high-tek" equipment and for etelevations I shot them by aiming at Bobs hard

hat mounted carbide lamp. Bob took the samples later reported loud and clear "There ain't no ore."

Ths fell upon deaf ears and George Curry and his partner shipped a carload to the refinery and it

didn't even make shipping fee.

Back then by just walking around (as an example section 17 SPRR property), at Majuba

Placers during a rain, "sunbakers" could them be sighted by their sheen when wet.

As far as T-Bones nugget, bigger ones have been found it the greater district... It may have

been found at the confluence of two "Y" shaped gulches on the S-E of Blue Mountain... or?

Chevron nuggets are ot limited to Majuba... If'n ya find a nice nugget and need to sell it,

remember: "Silence is GOLDen. Do not clean it. Sell it for cash to some high-roller who

'wants the bragging rights' and Smile :)

Now with this said... let the old times roll and keep posting. "tailgate" jim

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That is a classic memory my friend. She knew where it came from but somewhere down the line your name was lost as original owner/finder. I remember seeing my first big nugget.I was hunting the east side of Mexican Gulch one morning and my friend was hunting the bottom rough. Ocasionaly I would watch him a little and then go back to my hunt I looked down and he was on top of a bedrock mound in the center of the wash. The mound was about 12ft. high and 15ft. in diameter and there he was picking and prying at the bedrock. I remember thinking what in the world is he doing up there I thought he was cracking up or getting awful desperate.Suddenly he stood up and waved me down.WoW what a chunk!!! A 650 grainer, that was about my 3rd day of detecting.The friend I was hunting with that day was Richard Doherty. I'd like to relive that memory.Those were the days my friend!


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The problem with selling nuggets is it usaly includes bragging rights. I wasn't trying to claim fame to it just having some fun with her. :) Its no big deal I got more out of the nugget as a learning experience than the gold value or the fame..


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Hello Shadow,

I'm still holding several Arizona topos that I got from Arizona Al, when Terry said he was done with Arizona. I found nuggets in all of his old patches, most were only worked with the Goldmaster VLF's that Terry loved so much.

AZNuggetBob - I agree, normally when someone buys a nice nugget, I tell them they can tell whatever story they want about the nugget. Funny, I have a story just like yours I might start in a new post.

GreenBox - I still think about Richard and all the times we hunted together. Without his help back in the early to mid 90's, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. He was truely my mentor when it comes to electronic prospecting. I have a million stories I could share about this very missed friend. Some of my first ventures with Floyd and Richard were up around Soap Creek in the early 90's. Several years later Floyd Allen trusted me enough to allow me to tag along on a handful of Rich Hill adventures. I couldn't count how many nuggets I seen popping out by all of us back then. Richard loved the smaller coils, Floyd loved that damn 18-inch trash can lid ....

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Hey Guys,

Since we are talking about the now passed "Terry T-Bone," I would like to share the first time I met him. It was in Arizona Al's prospecting store here in Phoenix, Arizona (43rd ave & Northern). Terry walked in with a small briefcase, which I thought at first was a bit strange. I seen him crack it open on the counter and then I seen Arizona Al make a "Holy Shit" type gester. Al asked Terry if I could take a peek and he said it was fine. I must say I never seen that much gold at that time. He had baggie after baggie and large vials full of gold nuggets.

Al would purchase a good amount of his gold nuggets after Terry would find them. I believe most of this gold was from Northern Nevada at that time.

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