Sunday, August 30, 2009

First a pirate, then an outlaw. Treasure in Mississippi

Are you looking for a large iron cooking kettle? Maybe something to whip up a big batch of stew in? Would you prefer one that is filled with expensive jewelry, gold coins and other priceless items? I thought you would!

If you find yourself in Franklin County, Mississippi with nothing to do you might take a stab at recovering such a kettle. About four miles northwest of Roxie, MS is/was a farm owned by the Doves. According to legend there is a HUGE kettle buried on this farm that is filled with precious metals and jewelry. And when I say huge, I mean huge! This is described as being several feet wide. Where did it come from?

Pirates!! Arrrrrgg!! You knew I was going to do that didn’t you? This kettle is supposed to be one of six that were hidden by a crewman off of Jean Lafitte’s ship. Unfortunately for the crewman he was captured and hanged for his piracy activities before he could recover and spend any of his booty. The crewman had buried his six containers on a small island and these containers were supposedly found by an outlaw named Samuel Mason.

It is said that Samuel Mason added to this hoard with items he had stolen and then chose to bury it in a spot of his own for safe keeping. Mason took his family and three helpers to a spot on the Reber Dove farm and there the helpers dug a hole near an “artesian well”. The treasure was placed in the hole and covered over. Samuel Mason promptly shot the three helpers. The very next day Samuel Mason was killed by two of his own men trying to get a reward that had been placed on his head. It seems the two conspirators took this phrase literally because after they had killed Mason they cut off his head and took it with them to the courthouse as proof that the “notorious outlaw Samuel Mason” was dead.

As a side note, this didn’t turn out to well for the conspirators because when they got to the courthouse they were recognized by some people they had recently robbed so the two were immediately arrested. I’m telling you people, Karma, it will get you every time!

I should also point out that the other family members that were at the burial of the treasure apparently left the area rather quickly for fear that they might be killed or even arrested by the authorities.

Back to our lost treasure, in the late 1920’s a search was made for this treasure by Reber Dove, the owner of the property it was supposedly located on. Mr. Dove claimed that he had a map that was given to him by a dying neighbor who supposedly helped “an unnamed outlaw” bury the treasure. The neighbor had apparently been shot while trying to rob a train. Was the neighbor related to Samuel Mason? How else would he have a map?

According to Reber Dove’s mother, in 1927 Reber Dove had located the site that contained the large kettle but when he had dug down to it he ran into ground water and the kettle apparently “sank deeper into the muck” before he could get any of the treasure out. Mr. Dove made several more attempts to recover this kettle but couldn’t get to it because of the water problems.

Sometime later another man by the name of Elom Dodds attempted a recovery and it is said he was able to get to the top of the kettle where he used “tongs” to try and grab it and remove it from the ground. This attempt also failed as the kettle slipped from the grip of the tongs due to its massive weight and “disappeared in the water filled mire”. There were other attempts in later years to make a recovery but they all ended in failure.

So there you have it, a pirate treasure, arrrrrrg! that was found by an outlaw who moved it to a new spot where it was found by a man then lost, then found by another man and lost again. I would think there would be some pretty good newspaper stories on this one, maybe even some local history from the “old timers” in the area. All you have to do is figure out just how far it has sunk over the years and how you are going to get it out of a water and muck filled hole. Can anybody say backhoe?

Good luck!

No comments: