Most of the payrolls were made in coin, but coinage is what the area was short of. This forced the payrolls to be shipped in from California by stage. Now with a large amount of gold being shipped out and payrolls coming in routinely, robberies became more and more frequent.
Well one paymaster, trying to outwit the robbers, came up with the idea to put his payroll, in Coin, into a nail keg and ship it simple freight. Now in those days, surrounded by the best of honest men Nothing was ever kept secret. Why most men of those days would snitch on their mother, when it came to gold. Now given the best of plans, the stage was stopped out side of Genoa, and nothing but the nail keg was taken, rolled off into the woods by two masked highwaymen.
A massive search was organized, but nothing of the gold, the keg, or the highwaymen were Ever found. The excitement lingered for a while, but the story never the less soon died off and was soon forgotten by all. That is until an old dying miner up in a Montana boom camp, before dying, confessed to robbing the stage of its nail keg in 1860. His statement was that he and another man took the keg and opened it. Inside they found $20,000 in twenty dollar gold pieces for which they took $1000 each and buried the keg Beneath a tall pine close by. Then soon after both men left the country to never return.
After the story worked its way down from Montana, a rash of gold fever broke out all over the Carson Valley. Just about every tree near Genoa had been dug around. They even search the road near The stage station, but had no success. Then in 1882 a huge avalanche hit, destroying a part of Genoa, Carrying away countless trees on the surrounding slopes.
Now this may or may not have disturbed the gold, but discoveries of coins through the years
Have kept the story very alive. In 1916 a Genoa Blacksmith with his son were digging around the trees in search of the gold and found a chest with $2000 inside. Then in 1948 while digging out for a basement an undetermined value of gold was found. Finally in 1961, about a hundred $20 gold pieces were found in
a nearby hillside. All of this has pushed the search even harder, but the $18,000 in gold pieces may still await some lucky treasure hunter, if it will ever be found.
Sources: Nevada, Lost Mines and Buried Treasures