According to a couple of different sources there was a Spanish Galleon that sailed up the Mississippi River with a load of treasure. Why would a Spanish galleon sail up the Mississippi? One story says that the treasure laden galleon was coming from Peru via Mexico and was trying to escape several French warships in the Gulf of Mexico. Another story says the galleon was trying to take refuge from a large storm in the gulf, presumably a hurricane, so they headed up the mighty Mississip.
Either way, you have a Spanish galleon loaded with gold and silver from Peru and possibly even Mexico floating around in the Mississippi river somewhere in Arkansas. As the stories go, while the Spaniards were hiding on their galleon they heard stories of fabulous silver mines being worked by the Indians to the northwest. Being the greedy bastards that they were the Spanish off loaded their treasure from the galleon onto “river boats” and headed up the Arkansas River. They followed the Arkansas to the point that it joined up with the Mulberry River. In this area the found rich silver and gold mines being worked by the Indians.
Being the ever sensitive individuals that they were, the Spaniards overtook the Indians at their mines and turned them into slaves to continue the mining for the Spaniards. After a time the Spanish got the idea that they had overstayed their welcome and felt it prudent to exit the area rather quickly. In the process they left behind the treasure they had brought with them from the galleon along with all of the new silver and gold that the Indians had mined for them.
Keep in mind that these may be two different stories based on two different locations however they both ended the same, with the Spanish high tailing it out of the area with the Indians hot on their trail. One story says the treasure was placed into one of the mine tunnels and then the opening was sealed. The other story says the treasure was placed into a mine tunnel along with the bodies of several of the Indian slaves and then sealed shut. Both stories get you the same result, a massive treasure of gold and silver sealed in a tunnel somewhere in Arkansas.
Normally I would take these kinds of stories with a grain of salt however, another story surfaced later about a doctor in 1850 who was paid for his services with some of this gold. According to this story, a doctor who lived along Brushy Creek on the south side of Pension Mountain was essentially kidnapped by a group of renegade Indians. The Indians blindfolded the good doctor and took him to a cave where he was shown an Indian boy with a broken leg.
After mending the leg on the Indian boy the doctor was taken by the Indians into another room in the cavern system where he was given a handful of gold coins from a large chest filled with gold coins. The doctor reported that “all around him” in this second cavern were chests filled with gold coins, stacks of gold bars, Spanish armor and weapons. The doctor said that there were “several” other rooms in the cave system and the ones he could see all were filled with the same things.
After getting his gold coins the doctor was blindfolded by the Indians and taken back to his house. The doctor spent the rest of his life trying to relocate the cave system and the treasure. Based on how he thought the Indians had taken him to the cave and the time involved the doctor reckoned the caves filled with treasure were probably within a half mile of the Brushy Creek School.
If that isn’t enough treasure for you then you can always look for the gold coins that the doctor was given by the Indians. The story says that the doctor chose not to spend his gold coins but bury them somewhere behind his cabin near a stand of “young trees”. The doctor died never finding the huge Spanish treasure or digging up his own gold coins.