Buried and Lost Treasures of the Ozarks; Lost caches of Gold and Silver

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by Catcaller, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Throughout history...in regards to folklore, culture, and geography the Ozark mountains have been a foreboding and inhospitable place.

    Described as remote, secluded, dark, forbidding, lawless, dangerous, and mysterious.

    Even today these descriptions are accurate...in spite of their location near major cities...some places in the the Ozark mountains remain dark, unexplored, and mysterious.

    These mountains comprise large portions of NW Arkansas, Southern Missouri, NE Oklahoma, and even a tiny sliver of southeast Kansas.

    Consisting of 60,000 square miles of uplifted and dissected plateau...the Ozarks are bordered at the north by the Missouri River...at the east by the Mississippi River...at the south by the Arkansas River, and to the west by the Neosho River.

    While the sculpting of the Ozark landscape was taking place on the surface 30 million years ago when the area was subject to uplifting from prehistoric seas...and intense climate changes along with accompanying incessant rains...a different type of sculpting was going on underground.

    The highly soluable limestone that makes up the Ozark range was being eaten away by chemically active ground waters...forming vast underground cavern systems.

    What little information that exists about Paleo Indian history in the Ozarks...points to the fact that the lush valleys of the Ozarks did not lure great numbers of Indians.

    Why remains a mystery...but it is suggested that the Ozarks were considered possessed by demons by early Indians...therefore held in fear and awe by these early settlers who settled on the fringes of the range.

    Settlements of Osage, Illinois, Caddo, and Quapaw tribes eventually occupied small areas of the interior of the range...but their numbers were always isolated and small.

    Spanish explorers...Desoto and his men...visited the Ozarks in and around 1555 in search of precious metals as they worked their way eastward towards the Mississippi River.

    Evidence of Spanish occupation and mining is plentiful...although their time there was short, and they established no permanent settlements....the tales of Spanish plunder of gold and silver are legion.

    While there the Spanish prospered with the help of Indian slaves doing the dirty work...in the end carrying away enough gold and silver to fill a treasury.

    But they didnt get it all.

    The French were next...and they did in fact set up permanent settlements. They were instrumental with setting up trading routes in the still untamed wilderness.

    Fast traveling news of silver, gold, and a rich fur trade...led to more white settlers...new settlements...and more conflict with indigenous indian tribes

    Enter the Lousiana Purchase...and in no time the area was bustling with eastern settlers looking for free land and the lures of striking it rich...as well as poor dirt farmers looking to carve a meager living out of the rocky hills and valleys.

    The indian problem was more about white settlers becoming disconcerted with ownership of the best farming areas being occupied by inidans.

    What to do? The solution was clear.

    Relocation programs (The Trail of Tears) soon ushered out the "indian problem."

    Regardless...indian escapees and renegades still roamed the Ozark countryside in hiding...angered by the theft of their land...and exacted revenge upon targets of opportunity.

    Adding to the list of already formidable perils and dangers of frontier life in the hills.

    During and after the Civil War...the area became even more inhospitable by the legions of outlaws and rebels who took to hiding in the hills...more willing to rob and pillage established settlers than they were to working for a living.

    Many homesteads and farms did not flourish...but the stories of riches from faded gold and silver mines, lost caches, and buried treasures of the Spanish explorers, French traders, numerous outlaws, and Indians did survive.

    Some of the poor possessionless few who survived this rugged landscape did in fact find riches...most aspired of wealth that eluded them.

    Many were unlucky, some fared better, others died trying.

    People come and go...but the tales live on.

    Stories of lost and buried fortunes of the ancient mines...ingots of pure silver and gold.

    They tell of the eternal quest for what lies just out of sight beyond the next bend...the next valley over...or buried under a few feet of Earth.

    Here are a few:

    1. Ol' Tobe Inmon was a dirt poor settler who was ran off from his homeland of Kentucky after being accused of stealing a neighbors cow.

    One day he ended up off the main trail in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains...and got lost.

    So far this trip had yielded little but swamps, mud, and misery.

    He found himself in a small valley that appealed to his family and himself, and he started building a pen for their hogs they had herded all the way from Kentucky...and built a crude cabin for them to live in.

    Time goes by...and one of his kids ended up being very ill...running a high fever.

    He made the rare journey into the nearest town...12 miles away...and fetched the town doctor.

    The doctor stayed with the family until the girls fever broke, and she looked to be recovering.

    He expected no payment...but ol' Tobe insisted that the doctor take a bag full of bullets he had in his possession.

    He had claimed to have mined the lead for the bullets from an old mine he had found somewheres near Old Moccasin Creek...which flowed through the remote valley in which he lived.

    They looked to be finely made bullets...and the doc being a deer hunter...gratefully accepted the sometimes hard to aquire ammunition as payment, for he did happen to have a gun that would fire them.

    The doc takes the bullets home and forgetfully puts them on a shelf without further examining them.

    The following deer season he goes to retrieve them...and upon further inspection...he is mesmorized by the color of the peculiar color of the "lead" beneath the black residue that he scratched off the bullets surface with his fingernail.

    Following a hunch...he cancels his deer hunt...and rides into Russelville to visit a precious metals appraiser there.

    He is shocked to find that the bullets are made of pure silver!! He sells the bag of shells for $72...and goes home with a brand new plan.

    He hustles out to ol' Tobes homestead deep in the hollers...and is dismayed to find that he had long since moved out. The nearest neighbor...miles away said they packed up months ago...and had left for whereabouts unknown in Texas to find better farming ground.

    The doc promptly sets up camp at the old homestead...and the following morning he went back into town and bought mining supplies and provisions for a few weeks.

    He climbed through the hills and crevices behind ol' Tobes homestead...exploring every rocky outcrop and holler he encountered for evidence of mining...but found nothing.

    He soon ran out of food...and was forced to return to town...where he made preparations to for a longer stay.

    As he bustled around town people remarked about his filthy and unshaven appearance...as well as his disregard for his medical practice, and peoples pleas for his service.

    He refused to tell people what he was doing...and for the next two and a half years was consumed with notions of striking it rich with the fortune in silver he believed existed in a hidden mineshaft near Tobes old Ozark Mountain homestead.

    More years passed...and the long and fruitless search for the silver mine had left the doc penniless and heartbroken.

    His health deteriorated rapidly...and the doc died a broke and broken man.

    Upon learning of docs secret...many others took up the search...and did manage to find ancient Spanish armor and mining tools...but no fortune in silver.

    Could it be that ol' Tobe had stumbled upon a lost Spanish silver mine? It probably was.

    But poor Tobe...who had lived in filth and squalor all his life as a dirt poor farmer...didnt realize that it wasnt lead he was mining for his hunting bullets...it was pure silver.

    He had his hands on a fortune...but couldnt see it for what it was.

    And poor old doc...he realized it...but couldn't locate it.

    2. Another story relates to a party of 19 Spanish explorers who had come up from Mexico..through Texas...and into the Ozarks....around the present day borders of Missouri and Arkansas.

    They had robbed and pillaged Indian villages their way to the Ozarks...and had amassed a large fortune in gold as a result.

    They had arrived in midwinter...and found shelter inside a limestone cave...one of many in the area....where they decided to ride out the winter.

    A large war party of Indians seeking revenge had trailed them...and eventually located them due to smoke coming from the entrance of the cave...and attacked them near the its entrance.

    Before they were killed however...the Spaniards managed to carry the gold they had obtained deep into the cave...all the way to the final cavern...where they cached it.

    There they all perished...and nothing more was heard of about it again...until an old Spanish gentleman arrived in Sulfur Springs in 1885....bearing an ancient Spanish treasure map detailing how to reach the hidden cache of gold.

    According to the old Spaniard...a second detachment of Spanish soldiers was sent to ascertain the fate of the first party.

    The second detachment learned of the many exploits and raids of the first group from indians they encountered along the way...and ended up at the cave where they were said to have died.

    Once inside...the skeltons of their dead Spanish comrades killed in the indian massacre were found. The soldiers searched the cave...and found the huge cache of gold in the back of the cave.

    Since they lacked enough horses and mules to carry all the extra booty...they backfilled the cave with dirt...disguised the entrance with a large rock...and made a map to enable a future party to find the buried loot.

    They never returned to the area.

    The old Spaniard employed two local men to help with finding the mine...which was marked with a deer hoove carved into the rock by the entrance.

    Eventually...with a great deal of effort...they found the spot...which was camoflauged by many years of undergrowth on the side of the hill.

    Once the rock blocking the entrance was removed...they saw that the cavern had indeed been backfilled with dirt that had apprently been carried in.

    As the excavation began...and the dirt was removed...old Spanish armor and weapons were indeed found...confirming to them that this was the right spot.

    Days turned into weeks...and then months...the old man finally took ill...and left the area.

    The old man left money for the excavation to continue...and he promised to come back later when he was well.

    The two men continued to dig for a few days...but eventually gave up...split the money...and vowed to restart the dig upon the old mans return.

    The old man never came back.

    As it turned out...the old man ended up at a homestead in Oklahoma...where he was nursed up until his death from fever.

    The map in his possession remained in an old trunk tucked away and forgotten about until in 1922 when the grandson of the people who had nursed the old Spaniard...was told about the cave and the map...but couldnt locate the wherabouts of the old map...he then took up the search himself with the help of a man whom he had befriended who also had knowledge of the same old cave...along with another ancient map that pinpointed the same cave as the holder of a fortune in Spanish gold.

    They hired a crew to excavate the ton upon ton of fill dirt from the cave...but got nowhere....they would uncover a new passageway...sure that this one would be the right one...only to be disappointed time and time again.

    Eventually one of the men died...the other continued the dig...but evntually gave up.

    A few others have tried unsuccessfully to find the fortune in gold rumored to be deep inside the mountain.

    Many say an 1812 eartquake has forever buried the cavern with the gold in it...and the "fill dirt" was dirt that had filtered through the fractures of the caves ceiling over the years.

    Today the old mine is located along the highway between Gravette and Sulfur Springs...advertised on a roadside bill board as the "The Spanish Treasure Cave."

    3. The turtle rock is another famous legend of lost fortune in NW Arkansas.

    Scientists and geologists have long noted that the Spanish marked their mining activities in both North and South America with symbols carved into rock.

    In Pope county around Big Piney Creek in 1910...an old farmer went out to tend to his crop. As he did...he noted two strangers camped in the wooded area next to his field.

    The men approached him and asked him if he knew of any carvings of snakes or turtles in exposed rock.

    He thought this an odd question...but he obliged...and replied no.

    A few days later the men hurriedly loaded up...and left the area...angrily gesturing a rifle or shotgun at the passerby who got too close to their wagon.

    The farmer went to their deserted camp...and found several holes dug around a nearby old beech tree....which had the old and weathered image of a snake carved into the trunk.

    Just a few paces to the north...there was a large rock that appeared to have been dug up.

    With the help of his son...the farmer flipped the large rock over...revealing the carving of a turtle on the exposed stone.

    Underneath the rock was a freshly excavated hole about 2 feet deep.

    Whatever the two strangers had unearthed will probably never be known...as they were never seen again.

    In 1976 a college professor led a team of students into the same Big Piney area to do geological and fossil studies...and later it turns out after the photos were developed...one of the students had taken a picture of a flat limestone rock with the image of a turtle carved upon it.

    The professor...familiar with carvings of turtles, deer hooves, turkeys feet, and arrowheads in exposed rock being consistent with hidden Spanish mines or caches in the Ozarks and elsewhere...contaced the student to see if they remembered where they had taken that picture.

    She did not...the professor has returned many times attempting to find the turtle carving...but never did find it.

    Was it the same rock the farmer and his son had flipped over years earlier...or was it a brand new yet un-discovered rock hiding a lost cache?

    The search continues.

    4. The Lost Tabor Mine. Old man Tabor was a hermit who lived in Searcy county, Arkansas along Tomahawk Creek around 1865.

    He rarely came to town...but when he did...he paid for his provisions in pure silver ore.

    When asked about the origin of the silver...he would cackle a toothless laugh...and promptly evade those who would try to follow him home by leading them in circles for miles through the brushy hills and hollers.

    Eventually Tabor was never seen again...everybody assumed since he was elderly anyhow...he probably met his end in the hostile Ozark mountains.

    People searched for his lost silver mine...but after 15 years or so of failed efforts...it eventually was forgotten.

    Years later...in 1924...a farmer and his daughter were searching for two lost cows on the land that they owned along Tomahawk Creek.

    They ended up half a day later on a remote trail leading down by the creek...when they crawled through some twisted downed trees...he spied the entrance to a mine on the side of a rocky hill....right beside a recent landslide that had opened it up into plain sight.

    He explored the mine...and discovered a rich and thick vein of silver ore so pure it could be pried out easily with a pocket knife.

    He resorted to secrecy when people began asking too many questions about the mine and the silver... it was suspected that he mined the silver out of the hill side over many years.

    Even when other farms nearby faultered during very hard times, and made no money...his farm prospered year after year.

    From the geographic location and description of the mine shaft the farmer accidentally found...it appears that the lost Tabor mine had been re-discovered...only to be lost again.

    In spite of numerous organized attempts to re-locate it...it remains lost.

    5. The Yoachum Silver Dollar....One of the most enduring legends of lost Ozarks treasure is the Yoachum Dollar.

    In 1541...DeSoto and his men in search of mineral wealth in SW Missouri constructed a log fortress near the mouth of the James river confluence with the White River.

    While inspecting an ancient Indian cave near their fort...they discovered a large and thick vein of pure silver ore inside the numerous passageways.

    They promptly enslaved some local indians...and extracted and smelted the ore into ingots 18 inches long...stacking hundreds and hundreds of them along the cave walls as they awaited transport to the Mississippi River...and then to the gulf of Mexico where waiting Spanish Gallions would sail them back home to Spain.

    The Spaniards treated the laborers very cruelly...and eventually there was an uprising that resulted in most of the Spainiards being killed.

    After the indians regained control of the area...mining stopped for 2 1/2 centuries.

    Along about 1815 or so...a family named Yoachum moved into the area...and homesteaded the land surrounding the old indian cave...and started a very properous farm along the river.

    One of the Yoachums married a Delaware indian girl...which put him in the good graces of the local tribe.

    During the indian relocation...tribe elders passed along to Yoachum the secret of the silver cave to him.

    Within days of the departure of the indians...the Yoachum brothers 3 had located the cave...and made a pact to NEVER disclose the location of the cave.

    When they needed money...they would go to the cave and fetch a few of the hundreds of bars of pure silver...and cash it in.

    As time went by...more and more people moved into the area....and the french traders...usually content with silver as payment...started demanding FEDERALLY issued coin money.

    This was dismaying to the Yoachums...who were VERY rich in silver...but poor in money...but they then did the obvious...they made their own money...using simple blacksmith tools...they constructed die stamps...and began stamping the date 1822 and Yoachum on one side...and then the United States Government...and one dollar on the other side.

    They effectively minted their coins...and several months later saw their stamped coins become more used and more readily available to the residents of the remote Ozarks region than federally issued coin was.

    They were the preferred mode of currency for many years...as the James Fork Trading company decided to accept them as good for any and all purchases.

    No one outside of this remote part of the Ozarks had heard of them...but the residents were quite pleased with the situation...and this economy worked quite well.

    By 1845 however...the federal govt. became aware of the Yoachum dollar...because when the former indian lands became available for homesteading...they required a title...and the mode of payment was federally issued monies.

    Several dozen residents tried to pay with Yoachum dollars at the govt. office in Springfield. The clerk refused...but was persuaded...by gun point...to issue the titles...or else.

    He wisely obliged...and promptly forwarded the Yoachum dollars and a description of what happened to Washington D.C.

    The feds tested the Yoachum dollars...and found them to be pure silver...much more so than the fed dollar was.

    They were not considered counterfeit...because no imitation had been attempted....however they had a strong desire to get a handle on proliferation of non-fed money.

    The result was the clerk showing up at the Yoachum home to confiscate the remaining coins and the loaction of the silver mine...and promptly being ordered off the property by gun point...only to return later with 8 heavily armed and menacing looking federal marshalls.

    Normally a law abiding citizen...Yoachum agreed to stop minting the coins...but would not divulge the location of the silver mine.

    At the end of the resulting conversations with the federal agents...they finally agreed that he had to stop minting the coins.

    Yoachum promised to stop...and the location of the old Spanish silver mine remained a secret.

    3 years later the elder yoachum died during what some say was a cave in at the silver mine along with his indian wife.

    After their brothers death...the two remaining brothers decided to abandon the ozarks...and headed for California.

    Before leaving...the brothers were said to have given the coin stamping equipment to family friends who owned a grist mill who buried it...and then camoflauged the entrance to the mine so that it was hidden from view before they left.

    With that...the brothers left in wagons for the Cali gold fields. It is said that the families died crossing the Rocky Mountains.

    With their deaths...the location of the silver mine was lost too.

    There are many variations of this story...but one thing is indisputable...and that is that thousands of the Yoachum dollars did in fact exist...and many still do today in the hands of collectors.

    An old man in Missouri relates the story that when he was a boy...he had a boyhood friend who was a Yoachum...and inside his friends grandfathers barn...they spied a barrel filled to the top and heaping over with Yoachum dollars.

    In 1974...near Branson, Missouri...a cache of 236 Yoachum dollars was found as a man was metal detecting in the Ozark hills. The practice of distrusting banks was common...MANY lost caches are still said to exist throughout the Ozarks because of this practice.

    In 1983...a property owner was digging along the james river bank...and found what appeared to be a ball of wax.

    Inside the wax...upon breaking it open...were what appeared to be coin stamps.

    The man obtained a Yoachum dollar from a coin collecting friend of his...only to find that it matched exactly both sides of the stamp he had in his possession.

    It undoubtedly was pressed back in the day when Yoachum made his own money...presumably from a lost Spanish silver mine that he had one day stumbled upon after acting on a tip from an inidan friend.

    How many of the legendary Yoachum dollars are in some musty old trunk in some attic or basement somewhere in the Ozarks??

    A guy might be suprised.

    If these few stories peak your interest...you really should buy the book titled..."Buried Treasure of the Ozarks"...by W.C. Jameson.

    There's 38 more legends and stories similar to the ones I cited inside the covers...and the ones I did cite are much more detailed in the book.

    He also has other books about the Ozarks and its fascinating stories of its people. I intend on buying those as well.

    These stories have a local flavor for me...perhaps that's why I've read the book 3 times now...Lol.

    I..along with several BOC members live in or near the Ozarks areas of Se Kansas, SW Missouri, NW Arkansas, and NE Oklahoma...and there are ample stories available to capture ones imagination of our land before accurate or consistent records were kept.

    Do you have any stories of hidden or lost confedrate, Indian, ancient, or other treasure that you have heard about in your area?
  2. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Great stories. Your making me want to come out of retirement and become a prospector.:smile2:

  3. River_monster91

    River_monster91 New Member

    central kansas
    hey man great post. tooke me while to read it but i enjoyed it very much.
  4. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I've been thinking about buying a metal detector since we have so many Civil War battle sites and old encampments in this 4 state area.

    I've found arrowheads and fossils for many years...but CW artifacts are much harder to find.

    Probably not gonna find the lost Meda Verde gold mine...but hey...it sounds like a good time to me!

    We go to Branson, Missouri in the heart of the Ozarks on vacation a couple times a year. Perhaps metal detecting would be a cheap form of entertainment while we're there. (God knows that nothing else there is cheap!!)

    Who knows what you'll find...a guy might unearth a few Yoachum dollars, a gold dubloon, or a Confederate or union button, or a belt buckle or something cool like that.
  5. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    great post love reading stuff like that !!!!
    i lived in the ozarks on the outskirts of bullshoals for a couple years . we were supposed to have a hidden cave used for food storage on the side of a hill we thought we located it and went in about 50 feet it was supposed to open up into a small room well only a snake could have went into the 2 little holes that was at the end on the tunnel LOL it might have been made from an underground spring . so we never did find the little cave room . oh well what would we have done if we would have found hidden treasure????:crazy::crazy::wink::smile2::cool2:
  6. Bill in SC

    Bill in SC New Member

    South Caro
    Read every word! Love that kinda stuff. Me and Mickey will be there directly! :wink:

    Bill in SC
  7. Mike81

    Mike81 Well-Known Member

    Interesting, Thanks for the post. I been wanting to get a good metal detector too and do some treasure hunting. Always has interested me.
  8. porboy

    porboy New Member

    TX Panhand
    A really good post and a great read. Thanks.
  9. biga

    biga Well-Known Member

    that is a great bit of history there!! thanks for posting it!!
  10. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Bull shoals..Tablerock...Taneycomo...all impoundments of the White River...an area right in the thick of the legends of lost treasure.

    There's a ton of fascinating history in that whole region.

    There's just something inherently special about an area that despite todays modern progress...that is just plain inaccessable other than by boat or mainly by foot.

    These places truly are few and far between...much less such a large area like the Ozark mountains.

    Although the bulk of the most well established Spanish treasure tales center mainly around southern Missouri and northwest Arkansas...there certainly are other areas to consider.

    The Ozarks stretch into Oklahoma...as well as a very small portion of extreme Se Kansas. (Where I live)

    A friend of mine at work lives on the place where he was raised...a chunk of over 80 acres of farmland outside of a little podunk town named Quapaw, Oklahoma.

    On his land is an old Spanish test hole...where they looked for...but found no minerals.

    The Spanish mines entrances tend to be round in their shape rather than square...and the earthen mines tend to be vertical shafts that level out horizontally after a considerable drop...sometimes over 300 feet.

    Another friend...a full blooded Cherokee indian...was told a story by his 70 yr old father about a swimming hole on the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Oklahoma he frequented when he was a kid.

    There was a snake carved on a rocky outcrop along a bluff overlooking the river...with its head pointing downwards. (Where the head points down is where you look for whatever is supposedly hidden there)

    Supposedly...according to more adventurous souls...you dove into the water...and there underneath the ledge uner the water level...is an underwater cave you enter...and swim into...which reveals an air pocket...and an extensive network of underground limestone caverns.

    Rumor had it that there was Spanish treasure hidden inside somewhere...whether it be a cache or an ancient mine.

    Se Kansas has a piece of the Ozarks only 15 minutes from my house.

    We wade Shoal creek and Turkey Creek over by Galena, Kansas (Right on the Missouri border)for Smallmouth bass...and to get creek chubs for flathead bait.

    They are both classic Ozark streams...complete with rocky bottoms...unique and protected wildlife...limestone bluffs...and a few small underground caves and caverns that accompany them as well.

    The one local large cave was used as part of the underground railroad at one point... klu klux klan meetings at another time...and indian camps during another period.

    I have found MANY indian artifacts and awesome fossil specimins while fishing in this area...but no signs of Spanish influence to my knowledge...although I must admit...that's not an area with which I am totally aware of its complete lay.

    I'd like very much to do some exploring...but not all landowners are receptive of people poking around their property. Some for obvious and unlawful reasons...Lol. :wink:

    Anybody familiar with Se Kansas, Ne Oklahoma, and Sw Missouri...knows that the whole area was at the turn of the 20 th century a mining mecca for lead and zinc.

    What is little known is that this all came to be after a teen ager in the 1870's walked from Tennessee to Ne Oklahoma with only the clothes on his back, and no money in his pockets....and promptly discovered an ancient Spanish silver mine there in Ne Oklahoma. (Near Peoria, Ok)

    He attempted to find silver...but instead discovered huge veins of lead and zinc.

    He never did realize the wealth that he initally imagined...but he did make some money on it...as he had over 300 men working for him at one point as an agent for P and M mining company.

    It wasn't until later...when billions of dollars of lead and zinc...and then coal were taken from the earth in the tri state area over the years.
  11. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    great read,Brian. That stuff is interesting to me also. I heard a story about the goodnite/loving trail I will have to get my buddy to re tell to me and post it ,it was very interesting ,but I have forgotten some of it.

    CNTRYBOY New Member

    Benton, Ar
    Great post guys! I love reading every bite of it. I live just northeast of Sheridan. The Civil war era is rich in this part of the country. There was several civil war battles fought here , one of which is the Battle of Jenkins Ferry. The Highway I live on use to be nothing more than a wagon trail back in those days. The Confederate Troops marched down this stretch going to and from war. There has been numerouse arrowheads found on my family's property along the creek where the indians use to make there camps. Also not far from me is the Crash site of a World War 2 Bomber.

    I have always loved history and have thought of investing in a metal detecter numerous times. This post makes me wanna go on a treasure hunt myself.

    Keep the stories coming! As our history and heritage can not continue without folks like you. The younger generation of today seems to not take a interest as they should!!
  13. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I swear...these stories are as fun to tell as they are to read...lol. I can't get enough of this stuff!

    As soon as I get caught up on a couple of bills I am behind on, I'm going shopping @ Books A Million for some more Ozarks treasure tales.

    I've located a few more reads off the internet. Just type it in...and you won't believe what Google will retrieve! :wink:

    Here are a few more tales:

    1. The Madre Vena Ore Cache is estimated to be approximately 10 miles north of Bentonville, Arkansas.

    It is said to be not a mine at all...but rather a natural cavern in which gold and silver was concealed over 130 years ago. (One of the more recent ones)

    With all the ancient Spanish mining tools, weapons, armour, and other artifacts of their culture and such littering the landscape of the Ozarks...it's hard to dispell the notion that the Spanish were here at one point.

    During the peak of Spanish excavation...most of the smelted ore ingots (Up to 2 feet long) were shipped overland by mule or burro to Florida under heavy guard, or simply to the Mississippi River...and ferried downstream to the Gulf...to be loaded upon awaiting Spanish ships for the long journey back home to fill the motherland's coffers with the pure silver and gold bars.

    Other expeditions were originated out of the seat of the government of Mexico...where a Spanish viceroy would receive the silver and gold riches from a 100 + mule pack train fresh from Arkansas...and then immediately dispatch another expedition to retrieve more of the same.

    These forays would entail hundreds of Mexican workers...and was amply outfitted...and typically accompanied by elite Spanish soldiers to serve as protection from the marauding indians and outlaws...as well as from the workers themselves.

    As years go by...the mines are eventually deserted...and most of the Mexican workers returned home...others stayed...and mined untold tons of the leftover gold and silver for themselves out of the Spaniards mines.

    As late as the mid-ninteenth century...there were believed to be numerous small groups of Mexicans still working the mines in remote sections of the Ozarks.

    One such group...a foursome led by a man named Alarcon...had small, but continual successes excavating silver and gold from various locations in the Ozarks mountains.

    After several years of mining, and carrying their fortune along with them from mine to mine on a pack train of mules...they decided that this wasnt a wise practice due to bandits that were working the area, and after a few close calls...began looking for a secure spot to cache their now considerable fortune, while they mined for more.

    Finally they located a cave along the Missouri-Arkansas border that fit the bill. While the cave entrance was in Arkansas...the caverns extended far north underground and into Missouri.

    The men explored the cave and its intricate weblike passageways for days...finally deciding on a large cavern deep within.

    Legend claims that the 4 men had to belly crawl through a long and narrow passageway to reach this cavern...and somehow managed to wedge a huge oval shaped limestone boulder over the entrance to the chamber.

    In front of the limestone slab...they piled broken rocks and dirt from the cave floor to disguise the out of place looking barrier from prying eyes.

    Following this monumental task...they camped outside the entrance of the cave for several days, as they discussed plans to mine a distant site.

    They collectively named their cache...Madre Verde...or the "motherlode".

    The men then carved a map onto a flat piece of limestone they had found nearby...but couldnt decide where to hide it...so they decided to go to sleep, and then deal with it before they left in the morning.

    Just before dawn...Alarcon arose from his bedroll...and slew his 3 comrades.

    He then dug three graves by the Arkansas moonlight...and carefully lowered the limestone map into one of the graves. (Problem solved)

    Why he killed his 3 friends is not certain. Some say he didnt want to split the fortune with them, or that he didnt trust them. Others say he was simply crazy.

    Alarcon was not seen again in the Ozarks until 30 years later...in Pierce City, Missouri.

    He was on his deathbed with a terrible fever, and could breathe only with great difficulty.

    Knowing his death was imminent...to his doctor he related the story about hiding the gold and silver...and how he had killed his 3 friends, and lowered the map into one of the graves.

    He provided directions the best he could to the graves, and to the cave.

    The next morning Alarcon was dead.

    News of the hidden treasure spread like wildfire...and people from several states came to Benton County, Arkansas to look for the cache.

    Treasure hunters were crawling across the countryside...but nothing was ever found.

    A few years later...a man familiar with the Madre Vena cave undertook a search in a more remote part of the county...where the previous searchers had neglected to look.

    After two days...the man found the graves in a small glade near the edge of a thick oak and hickory forest.

    He scoured the area looking for the cave...but could not locate it.

    He went back to the graves...and proceeded to dig them up.

    He found the map inside the second grave...and with great difficulty...he raised the limestone slab out of the crypt.

    Realizing the slab was too big and heavy to transport...he copied the map onto paper...and smashed the limestone so others could not use it...and threw it back into the grave, and covered it back up.

    Even with the map...the man couldnt find the cave. After two weeks of searching...he finally gave up.

    Years later the man gave the map to a friend from Afton, Oklahoma...named Vanwormer...who made a couple of halfhearted attempts to find the cave...but failed, and he too gave up.

    Several years later...he gave the map to his son...who was much more enthusiastic about it.

    He teamed up with a man named Koch...and together with a third man...they set out in search of the Madre Vena...first finding the 3 graves.

    They too dug up the stone map...and determined it to be as useless as the one that was drawn on paper.

    Being familiar with Alarcon's story...the men concentrated their search a small distance from the graves.

    Eventually...near a rocky outcropping...or overhang...they located the entrance to the cave, which had been disguised...and was overgrown with trees, foilage, and rocks....probably from one of the common landslides that occur regularly in the area.

    THAT must be why it wasnt discovered earlier!!

    After some effort...they cleared the rocks, dirt, and trees from the entrance...and soon found themselves staring into a dark passageway that went deep inside the hill they stood before.

    After a little exploration...they discovered finding the cache was no easy task...as the cavern had numerous passageways...some dead ends...others appearing to extend forever into the side of the hill.

    They searched for weeks...and were no closer to finding the cache than before they had found the stinking cave entrance!!

    They decided to quit the search...and return later.

    When that time came...the third man elected not to come along.

    Vanwormer and Koch went it alone...and one day as they were exploring a new passageway...they spied a large slab of limestone that could not possibly have occured naturally...and must have been put there by a man or men.

    They tried crowbars and levers to move the huge slab...to no avail.

    They then decided to blast it with dynamite. :crazy:

    The first charge did nothing...the subsequent charges kept getting bigger...and Koch was struck by flying debris...and had to be carried out to seek medical treatment.

    Vanwormer went back while Koch was recovering to see if the slab had budged...but it had not.

    The dynamite had done nothing but fracture and crumble part of the ceiling.

    With the disappointing news about the slab still being in place...and due to his injuries...Koch abandoned the search as well.

    Vanwormer...disappointed that his partner had given up...made a few more half hearted attempts to move the slab with the same luck as before...NONE.

    As Vanwormer himself gave up the fight...he set off several more charges of dynamite...and effectively sealed off the passageway...intending to dissuade others from reaching the treasure.

    Since the 1920's others have attempted to get through the impassable pile of rubble in the cave...but to no avail.

    Today...according to researchers...a landslide in the mid 1960's covered up the entrance to the Madre Vena once again.

    And once again...trees and brush have grown over the entrance to the cave.

    Beyond the covered entrance...and beyond the collapsed rubble in the main passageway of the cavern...a fortune in gold and silver lies in wait collecting dust in a dark chamber.

    2. The lost Alonzus Hall Treasure.

    Alonzus Hall was one of several notroious outlaws who roamed, robbed, and murdered throughout the Ozark Mountains during the Civil War.

    Hall was clever, charismatic, and crafty...amd possessed a strong sense of adventurism.

    All this combined created a cocktail of high spiritedness and mercenary that inspired him and his gang to attempt many daring holdups.

    One spate of criminal activity led his band of cut throats to Centralia, Missouri...where they robbed the bank of some $60,000 in gold coin.

    The ill equipped townfolk were reluctant to follow such desperadoes into the wild isolated regions where the outlaws knew every trail and hiding place.

    A temporary encampment of Union soldiers caught wind of the bank robbery...and gave chase under the command of Captain WF McCullough...whose orders were to apprehend him dead or alive at any cost.

    The soldiers rode 12 hours without a break...and caught up with the gang in Greene County...and after a long chase...eventually ending up in Stone County, alongside the White River.

    The outlaws had temporarily slipped the ensuing possee...and made a camp in a remote area just off the main trail...and had hoped the Union soldiers would ride on past...which would allow them to reverse their direction, and escape.

    Army indian scouts spotted the men camped under a ledge near the White River...and shortly...here come the calvary soldiers...closing in fast.

    A lookout for the gang hollers..."HERE THEY COME BOYS!!!"

    And with that...Hall and an accomplice grabbed the stolen gold...and ran it down a deer trail just off the Wilderness trail...and spirited it away in a small cave...burying $60,000 in gold in the dirt floor...and covering up the shallow hole with rocks and debris in order to camoflauge it from any traces of digging.

    By now Hall and his comrade could hear the shooting...and hustled doubletime back to the camp to join in the fight.

    The outlaws were heavily outgunned...and the fricus was over in a short matter of minutes.

    Hall had been gut shot...and the rest of his crew had been killed.

    He was loaded onto a wagon...and taken to the US Army hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

    The attending surgeon examined Halls wound...and informed him that since there was so much intestinal damage...he would be a dead man soon.

    Dejected...but resigned to his fate...Hall summoned the surgeon to his bedside...and began to relate to him the story of his hidden gold.

    The doctor took copious notes as the outlaw leader spilled the story of the most recent robbery.

    The doc was confused about what he should do with the information. His military training told him to turn over the notes to his commanding officer...but his human nature got the best of him.

    Instead...he tucked away the information...intending to retrieve the riches that surely awaited him...lying buried in a shallow hole in a small cave less than a days ride from the hospital.

    All too soon...and before he had the opportunity to retrieve the gold...he was transferred to a more active post in the East.

    He hid the journal among some medical records before he left...intending to retrieve it at a more convenient time.

    There is no record that the surgeon ever returned to the Army hospital...nor that he ever collected his fortune...and the journal was discovered many years later by hospital personnell.

    Even today...it is an oh so easy task to locate the intersection of the old wilderness road where it intersects with the White River....as it is quite apparent on the many old maps of the region.

    One would assume that it would be equally just as easy to locate the overhang where the outlaws camped just off the trail...as well as the numerous small caves in that particular area.

    However...the over-riding problem recovering the hidden treasure is that things just simply aren't quite like they used to be in those parts.

    Near where the Kimberling City bridge was built...spirited away and buried in the floor of a small cave...lies a fortune in gold coin...somewhere beneath the deep waters of Table Rock Lake.

    3. The Lost Pot of Gold

    The Civil War was responsible for so MANY tragic events. Well over half a million men were killed in battle...and many more thousands returned home shattered and confused as a result of their violent experiences.

    One such man was a veteran of Wilsons Creek...one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

    The atrocities he witnessed left him so crazed that he was released from his duties...and retruned home to Greene county, Missouri.

    He returned home babbling incohrently and continously about a kettle of buried gold near a church.

    People paid him little mind...and dismissed him as a mad raving lunatic.

    Several years pass...and the soldier gets better...and regains his faculties, and his memories of the gold became clearer...enough to relate that upon joining the war...himself and his two closest friends pooled their life savings into a large iron kettle.

    There were no banks in the area back then...and it was common for folks to bury their wealth.

    They filled the kettle with $20 gold pieces...and with great difficulty...the 3 of them carried the extremely heavy kettle to a church in the small settlement of Church Hollow...and buried it in a cemetary next to the church....and carved a map on a nearby flat rock.

    The three intended to retrieve it after the war.

    The army veteran later learned his two close friends had perished in the Civil War...and left no surviving relatives. (Another common occurence)

    He returned to the old church...shovel in hand...but could not remember exactly where he buried it.

    He searched for the flat rock with the map on it...and upon finding it... discovered it had been moved...thus making the directional annotations carved upon the rock USELESS.

    Somewhere in an old graveyard...next to a church that has long since fallen down...rests an old iron kettle chock full of gold coin.

    Well...boys and girls...that's it for story time today...I gotta get ready to hit the hay...work tonite is imminent...lol. (I'm out of vacation days!)

    When I have the time...I'll update with a new story or two from the good book now and again...until we run out of stories.

    Before long you wont have to buy the damn thing...I'll have told all the stories and ruined it for ya! :wink:

    I don't mind tho...this stuff is fascinating to me!

    I need to find some new material...lol.

    Nite all!!
  14. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Happy Bend was a small community between Blackwell and Atkins, Arkansas until the depression; only two or three families left there now. And it was on the Butterfield stage route. But before all that, a man built an inn there. He wasn't a particularly nice man, his main enjoyment was to go down to the roughest part of the river towns and pick a fight with several men at once. It wasn't too long before the inn began to get a bad name; not from fighting, but from people disappearing! The sheriff searched the inn several times, looking for any evidence that something had happened to the missing travelers at the inn, but could never find any. Then a man came through on his way home to Galla Rock, a community (also gone) on the bank of the Arkansas River. His family knew he was supposed to be home on a certain day, but he didn't arrive. It was quickly determined that he had disappeared on the day when his travels home would have brought him to Happy Bend for the night. The sheriff and numerous citizens descended on the inn and searched it, but again, could find no evidence. But they wouldn't give up this time, and kept searching the area. Finally, they found the traveler's horse tied, but dead, in a heavy thicket nearby. The sheriff arrested the innkeeper, but he tried to escape that night, and was fatally shot in the process. Upon learning of his death, his female slave began to talk. She also showed everyone the innkeeper's secret basement room. She told of the innkeeper killing lone travelers that spent the night at the inn, and taking their bodies down into the secret room where the slave was forced to dismember the bodies, put the parts into a tow sack, and carry the sack down to nearby Point Remove Creek for disposal. Meanwhile, the innkeeper would hide the traveler's valuables. The citizens were so upset that they burned the inn to the ground. The hidden valuables were never found. While treasure hunters still search for them occasionally, it's pretty well a lost cause. Even the actual location of the inn has been lost, Point Remove Creek has changed it's channel several times, and there could be as much as ten feet of soil on top of them now from floods.

    I've also heard a little bit about an early Spanish explorer named Bazzare (sp?) who led an expedition into the mountains of west central Arkansas. Supposedly, there are records of something like 8 mule train loads of silver being shipped out of the area before the Indians killed everyone. But there's not supposed to be any silver in that area. I've done a little research and haven't been able to find any real record of such an explorer, so I have to question the story. If anybody else has any info about him, I'd really like to hear it.
  15. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

  16. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Winfield, MO
    Thanks for the thread!
  17. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I went to Detroit, Michigan last week on a business trip, and bought 3 books for myself to read while holed up in the Hilton after work.

    One book is titled "Ozark Tales of Ghosts, Spirits, Hauntings, and Monsters"...by WC Jameson. (Same guy that wrote the "Buried Treasures of the Ozarks" that I based this thread on.)

    In the new book I got...in the "Haunted Countrysides" chapter...on page 121...is the story of Happy Bend.

    As soon as it registered in the first few sentences...it dawned on me that you had written a post about buried treasure at Happy Bend...and I thought of this thread where I first read it.

    It describes that near the banks of Point Remove Creek, and along the wide farmed floodplain that seprates the creek from the long gone settlement of Happy Bend...strange spirits are occasionally reported to be seen darting amongst the trees and the bottomland on moonlit nights.

    The apparitions are said by locals to be the victims of Wilson...who were brutally murdered, robbed, and dismembered by him, and then thrown into the creek by his maid.

    Most of the ghosts are reported to be men...although a woman has been sighted amongst them...and most are said to be headless.

    The ghosts of Happy Bend are still seen today according to the book.

    Some people say that the spirits are looking for Wilson to exact revenge...others say they search for their valuables..which are believed to be buried nearby.

    A few believe they search for their heads.

    Others maintain that they are simply there to remind us of the evil that man is capable of.

    Being a local...have you ever heard of any of the ghost stories of Happy Bend Jerry?
  18. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    I'm not done yet.

    Just trying to regroup and recover from flying to a distant city...and switching from graveyard shift...to day shift...and back to nights...all in less than one week...lol.

    I'll post more treasure tales in the coming few days.


  19. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Winfield, MO
    Can't wait, thanks a million for this interesting thread! Reps to you.

    EDIT: Oops! Says I am out of love at the moment. Will catch you with reps later.
  20. kennylee

    kennylee New Member

    Missouri -
    When the price of clay goes up i'm going to be a very rich man.:wink: