Monday, March 9, 2009

Outlaw Loot in Arkansas

Cache hunting can be frustrating at times but it can also be very rewarding if you have a little luck on your side. These days, with gold prices hovering in the $900 an ounce range, a cache of any size containing gold is worth finding.

With that in mind, here is a story of a “small” cache that would bring a smile to just about anybody that happened to find it. Back in 1899 three intrepid men took on the daring task of robbing a train just east of Forest City, Arkansas. The three outlaws liberated $12,000 in gold coins from the express car and then headed west from the bridge at Cow Creek. It didn’t take long before a posse was formed and set out after the bandits.

Knowing that they were being pursued the three bandits stopped at the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou to hide their loot and separate to confuse the posse. Each bandit took a handful of gold coins from the $12,000 and then they buried the rest. Once the loot was safely hidden they headed off in different directions.

Two of the bandits were found and subsequently killed within six days of the robbery and the third was captured and sent to prison. Ten years later the third bandit was released from prison and made a beeline for the treasure. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for us) the terrain of the area had changed during his ten years in prison and he couldn’t relocate the gold coins. The old outlaw died in 1931, never recovering this cache.

How did he know where to look? The gold coins are supposed to be buried 45 paces due south of “an old oak tree”. The old oak tree was “about 400 feet” due south of the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou.

There is a chance the oak tree is still there but I am sure the forks of the river have changed over time. Looking at some old topographical maps and a satellite photo of the area might help you determine where the fork was in 1899 and from there you should be able to come up with a good idea of where the general area is for this cache.

The story didn’t say anything about any marks being left behind but a lot of outlaws like to mark trees like the old oak in some manner. Maybe a railroad spike in the tree, or a few bullets shot into the tree or maybe just a large blaze on one side. Just because the story didn’t mention any marks, don’t think that there might not be any.

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