The mystery of the missing Ben Lomond rock

Saturday , June 07, 2014 - 9:13 AM

Maree Wadman is looking for a rock.

But not just any rock, mind you. A very special rock.

When Wadman was a young girl, her father used to tell her a story about his father. It seems that Wadman’s grandfather, Alma L. Ellis, spent quite a bit of time hiking the slopes of Ben Lomond Peak. Born and raised in Pleasant View, the man used to haul dynamite and other equipment up to the miners who were working the area known as the “Sierra Madre West” — looking for gold, silver and other metals — high up on the west side of the mountains between Willard Peak and Ben Lomond Peak.

It was while Wadman’s grandfather was on one of these hikes below Ben Lomond Peak that he came across a large rock — perhaps 3 feet by 4 feet — covered with ancient Indian drawings. It was too large to move, so he’d planned to return for it later. But when Ellis finally got around to getting it, the rock was gone.

Wadman had filed the story of the discovery in her memory when, this past Memorial Day, she saw a photo of her grandfather, with the rock, on Facebook. It was posted by a cousin, Sherry Ellis Ferrin.

“The sad thing is, my dad told me this story on a number of occasions, but I’d never seen a picture of that rock with my grandpa until the day after Memorial Day,” Wadman said.

The Pleasant View woman figures somebody has the rock somewhere, and she’s hoping to solve the mystery.

“I just want to know who has the rock,” she says.

Wadman says she just always assumed that someone in Pleasant View or North Ogden had the artifact, and that it was sitting somewhere in someone’s yard in one of those two towns. However, another cousin of hers, Brent Ellis, says his father told him a sheepherder from Layton ended up with the rock. The cousin said he saw the rock years ago in Layton, at an older home on Gentile Street, on the way out to Antelope Island.

According to various history sites, humans have inhabited the Great Basin for up to 12,000 years.

The earliest known inhabitants have been termed the Desert Archaic Culture — nomadic hunter-gatherers who “developed basketry, flaked-stem stone tools, and implements of wood and bone,” according to the Utah History to Go website.

Then, from about 400 A.D. to 1350 A.D. the area was home to the Fremont Indians, and later the Northern Shoshone and Goshute tribes.

Wadman never doubted the existence of the rock; she’s seen plenty of arrowheads, grinding stones and other Indian artifacts on her family’s land in the Pleasant View area. Her own father was a collector of artifacts.

“If my dad knew where (the rock) was, he never said,” Wadman explained. “But knowing my dad, who collected Indian artifacts off of our property in Pleasant View, and collected antiques and things like that, I think he would have gone hunting for it.”

Hunting for it?

“If he knew who had taken it, he would have gone to that person’s house and taken a picture of himself with it,” Wadman said, then added with a laugh: “Or, in the middle of the night, he would have taken the rock. That would have been my dad. He’d have brought it back to Pleasant View.”

Maree Wadman says she’d just like to solve the mystery of the missing rock. The photograph of her grandfather with it is nice, but Wadman says she’d love to see the actual artifact.

“Somebody, somewhere, has this awesome rock,” she said. “I’d just like to know where it is, and to see this rock my grandfather found.”

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.

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