Frank A. Crampton first published his book Deep Enough, A Working Stiff in the Western Mine Camps (Sage Books, Denver 1956). Quite the adventurer, Crampton was a hardrock miner, an engineer, traveler and writer. Although all of his writings are of interest, the story on page 184 (originally written by Crampton in 1910) called "Skeletons in a Cabin" and the first couple of pages of "Grizzles Can Fly" starting on page 198, seeded a passional (perhaps more like an obsessive) quest that has intensified every passing year because there seems to be very little information accessible today to verify the authenticity of the story.
The narrative states that Crampton was approached in 1909 about a missing family that had not been heard from since 1878 (185). He was told that this family was "somewhere" in Nevada (185). He was asked to find the family and their silver mine. According to his book, Crampton did research the location of the family. Traveling with his brother Ted in a new Ford, they ended up near Cherry Creek, Nevada the first night. They then traveled quite a few miles the next day looking for an old wagon road to lead them to the general area of the cabin (189). Late in the day, they came upon the long abondoned cabin. An old wagon still full of silver ore was sitting near the long abandoned cabin. Skeletons of the four Joshua Ward family members were found inside the barricaded cabin and had been dead--in the cabin--for approximately 30 long years. Apparently, they had been killed by Indians. Joshua's wife Abigail and their little girls Sarah and Phoebe had crushed skulls, and Joshua had broken shafts of arrows protruding from the back of his body (190). The Wards had not been burglarized, the oxen had been killed and left, ore was piled in the wagon, and valuables were still in the house. The attackers obvioulsy had no interest in plundering.
The remaining story goes that due to weather, the bodies were collected six months later and sent back east to Boston for burial in 1910 (199).
Did this really happen? Was this cabin so remote that no one knew about the skeletons in the cabin for 30 years? Did Crampton change the name of the family to protect the relatives? Why were they murdered, yet nothing was stolen? There are so many unanswered questions to this fastinating story. So few clues. So many dead ends. Do you know where this cabin is? We have been trying to find it for several years just to prove the story is true. Please contact us if you know the location of this homestead.
Thank you so much!
775-729-2501 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the book: Deep Enough by Frank Crampton,
Skeletons in a Cabin, page 184 (Originally Published in 1956 by Sage Books, Denver)
Copyright 1956 by Esther L. Crampton
Pictures from American Heritage Center
University of Wyoming
Frank Crampton Collection, Box 7
Pictures circa 1910
Do you know where this cabin is? It may be located between Cherry Creek and Eureka, possibly near Ruby Lake. This picture was taken in 1910.
Welcome to our site and our quest for the elusive homestead known as the Joshua Ward Cabin.