Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Joe's Bucket Code

According to legend, Joe Hunter found the old bucket with the outlaw contract near Tarbone Mountain in the Wichita Mountain Range. He was one of the first treasure hunters to get legal permission to hunt on the Refuge. Today, though, treasure hunting on the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is illegal. It has also been said that Hunter got the bucket from an old prospector who had found it years before. I have some proof that this may be the case, but that will be covered in the book I'm writing.
What we do know is that this contract was actually a treasure map in itself. After organizing a bounty bank, the James gang went to the west side of the Keechi Hills. These hills run from the northeast of Cyril to the west of Cement, Oklahoma. To the west side of the Keechi's is a lone hill known locally as Buzzards' Roost. This is also the hill where Joe Hunter found the cast iron kettle with the copper map inside and the area where Frank James recovered at least $6000 he had hidden during his outlaw years.
The contract says Jack was buried just east of the lone hill. Those who made it to my treasure hunter get-together saw the picture Joe Hunter had taken showing JACK as he was laid out. Sadly, oilfield construction has long since destroyed this site.
Jack's grave was east of a rock. Joe found this rock with its carvings. My partner has the original picture Joe had taken of this rock, and, as far as I know, it has never been published. Maybe this will be something included in the book with his permission. Here comes the sad part, though. This bounty bank was uncovered many years ago by a work crew digging a pipeline. It was enough that they never came back to work digging ditches. As a side note Jack's grave was about 50 yards from a set of carved crossed rifles. These were on the north side of the roost.

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