Thursday, August 6, 2009

Taxes, Death and Treasure in Alabama

Here’s some good news and even better news, for us anyway. It’s not so good news for the tax collector which at this point is still good news as far as I am concerned.

In Marengo County, Alabama, just south of Myrtlewood was a low-water crossing to the Tombigbee River. In 1860 a tax collector was transporting what I would consider ill-gotten gains from point A to Point B. Can you sense a little animosity here? You don’t want to get me started on the tax man!

Back to the story, when the dreaded taxman neared the location of the crossing he had the unfortunate luck of running into a group of outlaws. OK, maybe it wasn’t luck; maybe the outlaws planned ahead just a little. The outlaws of course wanted to relieve the taxman of his strongbox full of gold coins, $30,000 worth to be exact.

In what would be considered a less than genius move, the taxman tried to outrun the outlaws and in the process chose to throw the strongbox full of gold coins into the river to keep it from being stolen. The not so bright taxman was killed during the chase and although the outlaws saw him toss the strongbox into the river they were unable to find it after they had killed the man.
The strongbox was supposed to have been tossed into the river at or very near the ford that was located south of Myrtlewood on the Tombigbee River. The story didn’t mention which side of the river this happened on so some research will be in order if you choose to search for this one.

As always, when you are dealing with rivers you will want to check old maps against new maps to see how much the river has moved. This treasure could very well be on dry land now. The old maps may also show the exact location of the low-water crossing too. If not, check the local courthouse and library for records about the area.

Hopefully this gold hasn’t sunk too deep into the ground by now. If there is anything left of the strongbox it may make finding this one easier. If the box had heavy steel straps on it those will be easier to detect than individual gold coins. This would be a good treasure to try a Schonstedt Metal Locator on.

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