Monday, June 29, 2009

A Spanish Galleon in Arkansas?

Yes, you read correctly. A Spanish galleon in Arkansas. At least that’s what the rumors say.

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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Windows and Peep Holes

This article may seem like a duh to most people but since this blog is for amateurs as well as the seasoned treasure hunter I thought I would mention something that should be obvious but sometimes isn’t.

In this case I am referring to windows leading you to other markers. Some windows can be fairly big and obvious and others are just peepholes meant to convey a very specific piece of information.

I have posted two photos with this article. The first one is that of a small peephole in a bluff at the top of a valley. The second is what you see if you climb up to the bluff and look through the peephole. We were following a trail of clues that took us to the top edge of the valley and to this bluff. By looking through the peephole we could see the rock “balancing” on the pedestal and pointing down and across the valley. This balancing rock looks rather small in the photo but in reality it was about two feet long and very heavy. The pedestal was part of a large rock and the pointer or balancing rock was set very solidly on top. It had been sitting there for many, many years and was perfectly placed.

This is a simple clue that some people can miss because they are looking for something different. In the case of this peephole we didn’t have anything telling us what we were looking for just where it would be. Since we could follow the pointer or balancing rock across the valley and find another clue we knew we had found the clue we were looking for. I should point out that the balancing rock is also pointing down slightly, which in this case was important because the next clue was at the base of the valley and not up high like where we were to find the peephole.

What you have to understand about windows is that there is only one way to look through them correctly. Sometimes it is obvious because the maker of the window has provided a step or even a seat to put you in the exact location you need to be in. With other windows its usually about seeing the whole picture. This is kind of hard to explain in writing but if we have anyone out there that is used to looking through a scope on a rifle you will understand. Looking through a man made window works on the same principal. If you are lined up correctly with the scope or the window you will see the whole frame or opening. If you are not then parts of the frame or picture will be cut off or out of line. If you have never looked through a rifle scope before take a trip to your local Wal-Mart and got to the sporting goods section. Ask to see one of their display scopes and look through it. What I am talking about will become obvious very quickly. Your eye has to be a precise distance from the scope and you have to be directly in front of the eye piece to see the entire picture through the scope.

Looking through a man made window for treasure clues works the same way. You have to be centered with the design of the window and be at the right distance to see what you are meant to see. You also need to remember to take into account the possible height of the individual who made the window. You may need to kneel or squat to look through the window at the proper angle if you are a tall person. This is where having some idea of who left the clues behind will help.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Update on Geronimo

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a descendant of Geronimo. If you remember in 1918 members of the Skull and Bones Society supposedly stole Geronimo's skull from his grave at Fort Sill and took it back to Yale University.
President Bush #1 & #2, and Senator John Kerry are members of this secret society. There are many in the government who are associated with this group. With this new administrations promise of transparency, it is surprising that the justice department would try and intervene in this lawsuit. I guess there's one thing in life you can count on, and that is, you can't count on the promises of a politician!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summertime Hunting

I know a lot of you out there do the majority of your treasure hunting during the summertime because during the winter it is cold and you are, well, a bunch of wussies. Just kidding! I’m one of the biggest wussies around, I just like the cold better than the heat.

That brings us to this article. You can consider this the annual “don’t be a dumb ass” article. Hunting during the summer months brings its own challenges, none of which will help you find treasure if you overcome them but they can make your life miserable if not extinct if you don’t pay attention to them.

The first and foremost of these is hydration. Make sure you are carrying and consuming plenty of fluids. You need to make sure that besides water, you have something along the lines of Gatorade or other electrolyte replacing drink with you.

Why not just drink water? Well for one it won’t replace everything in your body that you are sweating out. If you do this for too long you can be overcome by the heat anyway. Another reason to have the electrolyte replacement is because it will keep you from drinking too much. That’s right; you can drink too much water. This is called hyper-hydration or water intoxication which can be fatal if you are not careful.

This is rare but occurs during intensive exercise (read heavy sweating) when electrolytes aren’t replenished and large amounts of water are consumed at the same time. This lack of electrolytes will affect your brain functions and we all know there are a lot of us out there that don’t need our brains messed with any more than necessary!

The next thing you should worry about is those nasty poisonous plants. Not the ones you might eat but the ones you might brush up against and regret for several weeks. (I’m assuming at this point that you know not to be sticking unknown plants in your mouth) I’m talking about poison ivy and poison oak. There’s not much you can do about these poisonous plants except know what they look like and avoid them. Leaves of three, leave them be. How’s that for simple?

Another thing to worry about while you are tromping around in
the woods is Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This one will really kick your butt if you get it and it’s like the poison plants, avoid the ticks. There are several varieties of ticks and more than one of them carry the disease and can transmit it through a bite. There are several ways to remove a tick and
you should take care to get the whole bug when removing one. The simplest way to remove one is with liquid soap. Put a little liquid soap on a cotton ball and hold in on the tick for about 15-20 seconds and it should come right off.

As far as avoiding these little pests go, I’m not much for spraying chemicals all over my body, that just seems like a slow way to poison yourself, but if that’s your choice of debugging yourself, then have at it. Another choice, my personal favorite, is the tick suit. I have talked about this before and I am really sold on these things. They are expensive, about sixty bucks for the shirt and another sixty bucks for the pants but they last a long time and there are no chemicals. You can find these on-line or at some of the higher-end sporting goods stores. I can tell you from experience these things are well worth the money. I’ve been wearing one every summer for about nine years now. I wouldn’t go into the woods without it!

Another bug you might keep you eyes open for is the Brown Recluse or fiddleback spider. Again, the only deterrence is to pay attention to what you are doing. The bite of this spider is a rather nasty piece of work and can literally scar you for life.

Once you get past the bugs then you have the other creepy crawlies like the rattlesnake, the copperhead and the water moccasin or cottonmouth. You really want to avoid these at all costs! I find that a 44 magnum loaded with snake shot makes me feel better around these critters! Copperhead snakes can grow up to 40 inches long, the water moccasin can make it to six feet long and the rattle snake can get longer than six feet. Some people don’t mind snakes, personally they scare the crap out of me! Yea, I know, I’m a big wussy!

This is by no means a complete list of the dangers you will face while treasure hunting during the summer months. You can always fall off the side of a mountain or meet up with a big and unfriendly cat in a cave or any number of other things. Just think about the Darwin awards and not wanting to win one before you do anything. The dangers are different in different parts of the country so know the area you are hunting in. And whatever you do, don’t get lost!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Third Annual Get Together

All I can say is; if you weren’t there, you really missed out!

The meeting took place in a historic building in Marlow, OK. The turn out was fantastic, doubling what we had last year. A total of 43 people showed up for this year's get together and I think everyone had a good time and maybe even learned a few things.

As usual, Jamie (a.k.a. James) and his lovely wife Amy did a wonderful job as hosts. We were in an air conditioned building with plenty of room, arrangements were made for the Marlow museum to be opened just for our group and there were plenty of things to see at the meeting.

Ray Pack was gracious enough to bring the watch recovered from a Jesse James treasure back in the 1930’s and he donated some Civil War relics and books as door prizes. Jamie made sure that everyone walked away with something, even me! The door prizes this year ranged from books autographed by the author to silver coins including an 1889 Morgan silver dollar and an authentic Spanish silver coin. The latter was donated by a very generous and anonymous donor.

As a side note, seeing the watch that was recovered from the James treasure is a real treat. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, this is a real piece of history, something you won’t see everyday and having that opportunity is rare. Thank you Ray!

Some special awards were given out this year to a few people in the group. We were lucky enough to have on hand a few seasoned treasure hunters that have spent most, if not all of their lives, looking for treasure and on occasion, helping some of us with the things we don’t understand. In my case that would be a lot! Jamie had special plaques made up to honor their work and dedication to our hobby. I guess it would be the equivalent to the treasure hunters Academy Awards.

Being the wise man that he is, a very special award was given to Amy this year. For putting up with all of Jamie’s treasure hunting activities Jamie gave her a bouquet of flowers. I know how Jamie treasure hunts and Amy probably deserves an entire botanical garden!
As it was last year, the award for the treasure hunter who traveled the farthest to get to the meeting goes to “Mr. Hawaii”, coming all of the way from Oahu, Hawaii. He actually didn’t get an award but he does get the admiration of myself and other treasure hunters for his dedication and determination!

This year Jamie arranged for a couple of authors to be present to discuss their books and autograph copies if you had them. Steve Wilson, the author of Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales and a book on the Spider Rock treasures was on hand and was constantly busy talking to everyone there. I think we probably wore him out. Kristin Porter, the author of Outlaw Land was there and autographing her books also. She seemed to be a very big hit among the treasure hunters. Both authors are working on new books that we will hopefully see very soon.
Lunch this year was at a restaurant just across the street called Giuseppe’s. This was some really good Italian food! It was even better than some of the fancy Italian restaurants I have been to. If you are ever in Marlow, OK and are hungry, I would definitely recommend this place.
Information was flowing freely at this meeting. Jamie had several handouts for anyone who wanted them. There were copies of old newspaper articles about Jesse James, J. Frank Dalton and other treasure related stuff, the kinds of things that take a long time to research and find if you did it yourself. There were copies of maps showing the locations of ghost towns, old trails, Civil War battles, camps, missions and forts in Oklahoma. And if that wasn’t enough for you, there was also an authentic Jesse James map for everyone to see.

Although you couldn’t take these with you, there were also color photographs of the copper bucket found in the Wichita Mountains with the inscription carved into it by Frank and Jesse James. These photos were fantastic and a real treat to see. You won’t see them anywhere else. There were also many rare books to look at, several autographed, including one by Orvus Lee Howk. That’s Jesse Lee James III to you KGC guys.

All in all it was a very good meeting and it was good to see everyone there.

I would personally like to thank Jamie and Amy for the time and expense they put into hosting this meeting. To put this on every year and absorb the brunt of the expense and take time away from your family and jobs isn't an easy thing to do.

I think we are all looking forward to next year's meeting! For those of you interested, "Homer" has a friendly little poker game the night before. He was proud to remind me that he left with more than he came with this year. Of course he plays some very strange kinds of poker games. I need to buy a book of poker games just to know what the heck he is talking about half the time!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

$40,000 in Gold Coins

It seems that gold is just hidden everywhere when you start looking for the stories. This one takes us back to Oklahoma (again) and very near the Wichita Mountains.

Back in the early 1900’s three outlaws decided to rob a bank in “Wichita“. The story was unclear about the location of Wichita and what state it was in. Based on what I can tell from the story this may have been a bank in Wichita, KS.

So the three outlaws robbed this bank and made there way to the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma carrying with them $40,000 in gold coins. Once they were in the mountains they felt they were safe and could relax a little. This turned out to be a very big mistake. The three outlaws ran into a small band of Indians who were none too pleased to see the outlaws. A gunfight ensued and the outlaws took the worst of it.

One of the outlaws was killed during the fight and the Indians were able to make off with all three of the bandit’s horses, leaving them high and dry with $40,000 in gold coins. The two outlaws that survived the attack decided to bury the gold and make their way on foot to the nearest town. Well, that was one of the outlaw’s plan anyway. The other outlaw decided he didn’t need a partner anymore and once the gold was buried he shot and killed the other bandit.
Now there was one. The lone, greedy outlaw made his way to Marlow, OK only to be identified as one of the bank robbers and captured. He later tried to escape from his captors but was shot in the process. It would seem Karma was alive and well and came back to bite the outlaw big time!

As he lay dying from his wounds the outlaw confessed that he and his now deceased partner had buried the gold coins “in the rocks southwest of Mount Scott”.

As far as anyone knows, this gold is still where it was buried, waiting for some lucky sole to find. Keep in mind that it is illegal to treasure hunt in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge so make sure of where you are.

Marlow, Oklahoma, why does that name sound familiar? Oh yea, that’s where the get together on June 13th is going to be. :-)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update on the Seven Springs Treasure

For those of you interested in looking for this Spanish treasure you should know that you might not find Dad's bones. I know your disappointed but that's just a part of life!

Okie had a little piece of info I was unaware of when I wrote the story. It seems he was holding out on me. LOL

Many years after Dad disappeared and was thought to have left with the treasure a new road was being cut at the end of the mile section that the seven springs are/were located in. While cutting the road a skeleton was unearthed. To my knowledge no identification was made but in my opinion, there is a better than average chance that "dem bones" belonged to Dad.

The good news is; it would appear that nobody dug up any treasure and disappeared with it which means there still may be nine cart loads of gold and silver just sitting there waiting to be found. How much gold and silver can you put in a cart??

Monday, June 8, 2009

A stranger from Kansas

Yea, yea, yea, I’m a little strange but this story isn’t about me.

This is about one of the many Spanish treasures left behind in this country. This one, “nine cartloads of Spanish silver and gold” is hidden in Oklahoma and only about twenty miles from Marlow, Oklahoma where we will be meeting this year.

According to the stories, back in 1905 “a stranger from Kansas” arrived in the Lawton, Oklahoma area with a map to this fabulous treasure. He said that the treasure was supposed to be located at a group of seven springs that are (were?) located between Big Beaver Creek and Cache Creek.

This un-named man had decided the spot he was looking for was located on what was then the Charlie Thomas farm. This farm was located approximately seven miles east and two miles south of Lawton, OK. The Kansan spent months searching this area for the treasure but went away empty handed. I can tell you from experience, he wasn’t the last person from Kansas to leave Oklahoma empty handed!

According to Steve Wilson, in his book Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales, a man known only as “Dad” arrived several years later and rented some land from Charlie Thomas to “raise a truck garden”. Sorry Steve, but I guess I’m not old enough to know what a truck garden is. Maybe that’s a good thing!

Anyway, Dad spent three or four years on the land and occasionally Charlie Thomas or one of his sons would catch him poking a steel probe into the ground in different areas. Was he searching for the lost Spanish treasure? According to Dad’s own tales he had already found one treasure near Perry, Oklahoma that was supposed to have been worth $100,000. It would appear that Dad was trying to add to his success.

It would also appear that Dad may have been successful in his hunt because one year Dad just up and disappeared, leaving behind his horses, crop, wagon and everything in the home. It was thought Dad had come across an old cottonwood tree at the area of the springs that had a cross carved into it. Did this tell him exactly where to dig? Dig he make a recovery and just ride off into the sunset?

Dad disappeared never to be seen or heard from again. The logical side of me says Dad couldn’t have gotten the biggest part of the treasure or very much at all for that matter. How would you move nine cart loads of gold and silver if you left behind your horses and wagon? I would say Dad may have been a little premature in leaving but maybe he found enough to satisfy his needs and packed up anyway. Maybe he was murdered and buried somewhere near the springs by someone trying to learn his secret or get what was left of the first treasure he found. Dad never seemed to run out of money while he was there so maybe he did dig up that treasure near Perry. The cynical side of me says something nefarious happened to Dad and the Spanish treasure is probably still there, hidden near the seven springs (and Dad's bones).

If you go looking for this treasure you just might solve the mystery of the missing gold and the disappearance of Dad.

Did I mention this was close to where the get together on June 13th will be? See you there!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jackson County, MO treasure

In 1864 the residents of Kansas City, MO became worried that their money and valuables would not be safe because of the approaching armies and inevitable battles. It is said that about half of the families pulled their money out of the local banks and took it and other valuables to the most trustworthy man in the town, Father Bernard Donnelly. Father Donnelly was the pastor of the Church of Immaculate Conception.

Father Donnelly accepted the responsibility of this treasure and placed it all in a large wooden box and then enlisted the help of the church’s grave digger. They loaded the box into a wheelbarrow and took it to the cemetery that was two blocks west of the church. There they dug a fake grave and buried the treasure so no one could find it.

I know what you’re thinking, how can we search for a treasure in a cemetery and not look like grave robbers? Come on, admit it, that’s what you were thinking.

Well you don’t have to worry about that. It seems the church’s grave digger liked to have a drink or six on occasion. When ever he had a few too many he started talking about the treasure and where it was buried . Because of this, Father Donnelly enlisted the help of a few of the parishioners to dig up the treasure and move it to another location. Father Donnelly measured off a spot north of the church under a large tree and reburied the treasure.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that when the pastor returned to dig up the treasure, apparently more than a year or two later, he had forgotten how far he had measured from the church and apparently in which direction and couldn’t relocate the treasure. OK, so for him it was bad news but for us it is good news!

It is said that the pastor spent the remainder of his life searching for the treasure so he could return it to his parishioners but he never found it.

I will admit this story seems a little strange because how many places could there be around the church that you could dig a hole? Granted, in 1864 there was probably a lot of open land around the church but just how far would they have taken the large wooden box? You would think they would dig up the whole countryside looking for this stuff but apparently that didn’t happen. People died during the war and others moved on and just gave up on getting their money and valuables back. The pastor was left to look for the treasure on his own.

Now for the bad news, Kansas City has grown just a little since 1864 so it’s very unlikely that the land around where the church was is still bare land. This might be worth a little extra research just to see what’s in the area of where the church used to be. You never know, you may just get lucky and find that there is a park there!

Don’t forget about the get together on June 13th. Okie always makes sure it is interesting and fun.

Get Together Changes

The get together is just a short week away. Due to recent heavy rains the City of Marlow will be unable to open the Marlow Brothers Cave. They will open the museum which is located just above our meeting place, so we can still see a good bit of local history. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pedro Navarez and the Caballo Mountains

Mexico City
Convent of St. Augustine
February 5, 1650

“Ask in Paso Del Norte where the Caballo Range is. You will find it four days by horse at a good pace up the river and not very far therefrom. Most of these mountains are of equal height and they have two large passes and a small amount of juniper trees. Coming along the King’s Highway (El Camino Real) from the pass, one will see on the left a range of mountains [this is after crossing the river at the pass and entering upon the first leg of the journey], to the right a flat plain (Jornada del Muerto) where the naked eye cannot circumscribe. There is a small hill a great distance from the road. [This is the point of the rocks] These marks you will find to your right where the point of the compass points to the sunrise. This range has two wide gaps which end in two arroyos, one running in the direction of the sunrise and the other toward sunset. The two have many ash trees, one having more than the other. In the gap where the sun rises, look for a small spring. The gap is not very big, a city could be built in the plain. The spring is not far from this gap, and it is well covered with juniper trees, stones, earth and large and small rocks on top. Look carefully at this spring, for it contains great riches. You can take out much gold beneath its surface. And from this spring count 250 varas toward the brow of the mountain, keeping to the level ground. Here you will find a stone with a very large cross chiseled upon its face. The stone is not of this region, having been brought in by mule train. From this point, count 100 varas and examine a small piece of ground closely. It has a few rocks so look carefully at its condition. Here you will find silver bars, there should be 18 atajas. Remove the boards under the bars and take 11 more atajas in finished silver. These marks are to the right before entering the gap, at the point of the compass where the sun rises. When you have finished this work, return to the spring in order that you may climb the mountain to your left. You will look for a very deep cave. There are 90 atajas of silver buried in this cave. I warn you to be careful and not to make a mistake for there are two other caves, but this one is the deepest of the three. The three are where the sun sets and I must tell you that there are some smaller caches and little springs, but all of them have been covered. And if any of these markings should be destroyed, then proceed with the utmost care in carrying out of the task. Return to the spring and climb the mountains to the right in the direction of the rising sun. Not very high up you will find a high rolling mesa, a placer, Here you can cut the copper with an axe and I believe that the spring comes from here. Other signs you will also find. In some places, painted figures with many writings engraved in copper. Therefore I urge you to search well for these marks. Thousands of families would be helped thereby.”

This is a letter in it’s entirety that was written to a padre in Mexico City by Pedro Navarez, also know as El Chato. El Chato was a Spanish deserter who spent his time robbing the Spanish mule trains of their own plunders. It is estimated that over the ten years of plundering the treasure trains of the Spanish, Pedro Navarez stole and hid treasure that today would be worth one hundred million dollars or more. This guy new how to steal!

Pedro began his illustrious career around 1639 and lasted until 1649 when he and his band of thieves were either caught or killed. His band of merry men were considered to be ruthless predators and extremely dangerous and very costly to the Spanish government. After being captured by the Spanish Pedro confessed to burying more than 20 caches of treasure during his ten year career. He apparently told the Spanish where a few of these were however, while waiting in jail for his death sentence to be carried out Pedro wrote the above letter to a padre so that some his spoils might be used for good. I guess maybe he was trying to atone for his past indiscretions?

In case you are wondering, an “ataja” is said to be a string of approximately eight mules. If a mule can carry a minimum of 135 pounds and you have eight mules per ataja then that would mean you are talking about over 1000 pounds of silver per ataja. In his letter Pedro said he hid a total of 119 atajas of “finished silver” bars. This would be more than 119,000 pounds of silver!! How much is silver going for today?

(Just out of curiosity, I checked and the price of silver is $15.81 per ounce. So 119,000 pounds would have 1,904,000 ounces. At $15.81 per ounce you are talking about $30,102,240.00. I’d say that’s worth a hike or two into the New Mexico mountains!)