From the recording Songs From Burke County
I’m Going Down to Brindletown
Even as a youngster, Connecticut native Sam Martin was enamored with gold. By the time he arrived in the Burke County community of Brindletown in 1828, Sam had traveled many miles in search of this shiny metal, including stints in Central and South America. None of his ventures had been fruitful and he was now penniless.
Despite his destitute demeanor, he was taken in by Bob Anderson, the village cobbler. During his stay with the Anderson family, Sam spotted specks of gold shimmering in the mud chinking of their cabin. When he consulted with his host, he learned that the mud came from nearby Silver Creek. After years of failure, Sam Martin somehow knew that he had finally hit the jackpot.
Agreeing to split their finds fifty-fifty, the pair quickly confirmed Sam’s hunch, bringing up gold seemingly every time they submerged a pan in the water. Trying their best to keep their discovery a secret, they resorted to panning in the creek in the middle of the night. But as with any small town, the neighbors became suspicious, and soon everyone knew about the gold. Prospectors came out of the woodwork, and investors flooded the Foothills region with heavy equipment and laborers.
After spending six months in Brindletown, Sam Martin had accumulated a sizable fortune. Legend tells that he left for Connecticut in a custom-tailored suit with $20,000 of gold in tow. As for Bob Anderson and his portion of the fortune, he eventually lost his land to businessman Joseph McDowell Carson.
In the years since Sam Martin’s big strike, millions of dollars in gold dust has been found in Burke County, and hobbyist miners continue to remove thousands of dollars worth each year.