Treasure hunting has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of metal detectors and Steve Wilson's book "Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales". I believe the book was first published in 1976 and remains my favorite treasure book to date. I have bought a dozen copies that always seem to get loaned out but never returned. My grandmother bought the first edition and drew on the pages the many treasure symbols she had found carved here in Oklahoma. Unfortunately her copy disappeared years ago.
Both sides of my family were a great influence in my youthful beginning of what has become a enjoyable hobby. My mother's side knew Frank James during the time he lived in Fletcher Oklahoma. Many stories about Frank were passed down to me. My grandpa told me of many bank robberies that occurred during the depression and one story of how the coins from such a robbery was hidden in a tree stump. He told me stories of outlaws, gangsters, and bootleggers, and of places trees were marked or others had searched.
On my dad's side of the family it was my grandmother and her Wilson book that really got my blood pumping. She still uses the same 1970's model detectors today. I was told of how Jesse really didn't die in 1882. This story was only natural to hear since it was J Frank Dalton who made his debut as Jesse James in Lawton Oklahoma, which is just a short drive from where I was raised.
In 1992 I bought my first metal detector. It was a Whites spectrum Eagle. I was enlisted in the Navy during this time and stationed on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington state. I truly believe I was the first one there with a detector. I paid for the machine from searching the school football field alone. It seemed as if you couldn't move the coil a foot without getting a signal. It was at the end of my enlistment that my dreams of becoming a "real" treasure hunter started. It was in 1993 that I moved to Cement Oklahoma after my enlistment was over. This is a place that has as many treasure legends as it has people. My wife's family has a long history there and from them I heard many tales as well.
The first lost treasure I searched for was a jar of coins my wife and her cousins had buried on their grandparents farm. Now for all of you who doubt outlaws would lose the location of their hidden loot, learn from this example. You would think that going back to a place you hid something just a dozen years before would be easy. It turns out that this wasn't the case. Our little group worked it's way to the tree where the jar of coins was supposedly hidden. Each person in the group was sure that we were in the correct spot. I fired up my trusty Spectrum and started swinging away. To say the least we didn't come away with so much as a pop tab or rusty nail. I guess the jar is still there somewhere waiting for that lucky hunter to come along and find it.
Since those early days I have progressed in my knowledge and understanding of what it really takes to become a "real" treasure hunter. I occasionally do a little coin shooting, but spend most of my days hunting for Spanish and outlaw loot. I have been fortunate to make a number of friends who unselfishly shared their wisdom and information. Countless hours of researching and working out in the field have added to that knowledge as well. I have learned that I will never know it all and each day something new comes my way. I do hope to have a book published soon that will share some of what I have learned over the years. You can bet the Copper Map will be in there. I'll have more than enough proof to show how it was correctly worked. Good luck out there and feel free to contact me with ideas or questions.