Monday, December 26, 2011

Joe Hunter and the Brass Bucket

                                               Photo courtesy of the Craig Fouts Collection.

      I've been asked to provide more information about the brass bucket that Joe Hunter found in 1934. There's just not much more that I can add to the story other than a photo or two. It is my belief that Joe didn't actually find the the bucket, but received it from an old miner who had found it years before. I can't reveal why I think this at the moment, but we have evidence to support this theory.

I have been researching stories for the videos that I will be posting soon, so between that and other obligations my time has been limited. I will be writing a few more stories about local treasure and maybe a few about a trip I will be taking in the near future.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Waynes Detector Sales

I had some business in Oklahoma City today so while up there I made a little side trip to Waynes Detectors. I enjoy going by there just to see if they have a book or magazine I don't have in my collection. They also have a good selection of detectors to choose from as well.

While talking to Allan he mentioned that there was a gentleman, who do to health reasons, has a month old Whites V3I he has to sell. The fellow bought about every imaginable thing to go with it as well. He has over $3100 invested but would take $2100 for all of it. You can call Allan at 405-685-3130 for more details.

I know with the internet and guys selling detectors that are drop shipped it's hard for guys with shops and overhead to compete. If you get the chance swing in and take a look at the shop. It's also one of the last places you can buy the book " Follow the Signs". Even though I've bought several copies of it over the years I picked up another today just to keep around.

Let's keep these mom and pop shops in business no matter what it is they are selling. You just don't get that kind of service from the internet or corporate stores. Maybe I just miss the old five and dime stores.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Please remember to say a little prayer for our service men and women who are away from their families this holiday season. Pray that this great nation will awaken and be truly thankful to God just as George Washington was.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coinroll hunting with a twist

With the weather outside cold and rainy I thought it would be a good time to buy a few rolls of pennies and sort through them. Stopping in at a local bank, I drop two rolls of half dollars on the counter and ask the teller for twenty dollars worth of pennies. As usual, I get that oh so common strange look. While she is sliding the box full of penny rolls toward me, she asks me if I'm sure I want them. With a straight face and no further explanation, I assure her I do.

Once home I joyfully start unwrapping the rolls in search of my beloved wheat cents and it doesn't take long to go through the forty rolls. Luck was on my side and I found five "Wheaties". Normally I start putting the coins back into rolls but today I decided to do a little test.

Pennies dated prior to 1982 are 95% copper and it takes 145 of them to make a pound. 1982 was a transitional year so some are copper and some are zinc. The easiest way to tell which is which is to weigh them. A copper penny will weigh 3.11 grams while a zinc is 2.5 grams. You can also do this test for the somewhat rare 1983 copper penny.

Out of the twenty dollars worth of pennies I purchased, 394 were copper. I had 68 1982 pennies that I didn't test. There were also five wheat cents, a Canadian penny, and a 1976 & 1960 that were in mint red condition. With spot prices at $3.34 that means I had $9.07 in scrap copper value.

Hoarding of copper pennies isn't an unknown thing and with the cost of producing a penny exceeding it's value, I think it's days are numbered. At this time it is illegal to melt pennies for scrap, but with the high prices of copper that may soon change.

I have mixed feelings on this. I'm all for making a profit, but I would hate to see large quantities of old pennies being permanently taken out of circulation. I think that future generations should have the chance to experience the same joy I get from roll hunting.

Good luck and good hunting!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brass Bucket

In March of 1934, Joe Hunter, an avid treasure hunter, was combing through the rugged granite boulders near Bear Springs in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma. On that day, he discovered a brass bucket. The find would make history, due to its unique inscription. On the bottom of the bucket was a patent date of Dec. 16th, 1851, extended in 1873, and manufactured by E. Miller and Company. The bucket was a treasure in itself.

Chiseled deep into its sides fifty-eight years prior to Joe’s discovery was an outlaw contract which formed a bounty bank for all who would sign below. These outlaws had made their mark on a contract which stated, “This the V March 1876 in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy six. We the undersigned do this day organize a banty bank. We will go to the west side of the Keechi Hills which is about fifty yards from a crossed set of rifles. Follow the trail line coming through the mountains just east of lone hill where we buried Jack, his grave is east of a rock. This contract made and entered into this V day of March 1876. This gold shall belong to who signs below.” Carved into the bucket were the names: Jesse James, Frank Miller, George Overton, Rub Busse, Charlie Jones, Cole Younger, Will Overton, Uncle George Payne, Frank James, Roy Baxter, Bud Dalton, and Zack Smith.

Though many clues had been found, Hunter and his partners searched for more than a decade for the elusive treasure without success. The Lawton Constitution dated Sunday, February 29th, 1948, featured the story of Hunter and his long quest for hidden treasure. The story spread like wildfire across the nation. It was Hunters’ hope that, by coming forward with news of his discoveries, he might be given the final clues to unearth the long-sought treasure.

What Joe Hunter failed to realize was that the bucket contract itself was the map needed to find the gold. The bounty bank was hidden in an area some thirty miles to the northeast of where the James Gang had camped and hidden the bucket. Just a mile east of Cement, Oklahoma, stands a lone hill that has made a unique landmark for travelers throughout the ages. Known locally as Buzzard Roost, this hill is where Hunter unearthed a cast-iron tea kettle containing gold, coins, a pocket watch, and a copper treasure map, but that is another story altogether.

Buzzard Roost happens to lie in a set of limestone hills known as the Keechi Hills. This same lone hill happens to be the one mentioned in the brass bucket contract. On the north side of the Roost was carved a set of crossed rifles. Time and the elements have long since erased this important clue, but an aged photo taken in the late 1940’s shows a clue never reported by Joe Hunter.

I discovered this clue while looking through some old photos that had belonged to Hunter. The picture taken from the top of Buzzard Roost and looking toward the northeast clearly shows the name JACK spelled out using rocks. A rock with a carving of a pistol had been found by Joe just to the west of where JACK lay and due north of the Roost. This rock was another clue that had been mentioned in the contract code.

Having gone public with his story of the James gang brass bucket contract, Joe hoped to profit from his sudden celebrity status. He soon sold the brass bucket to a group of Texans, but upon their departure with the bucket they cancelled the check used as payment. Joe was forced to travel to Texas to recover his beloved bucket. After Hunter’s death, the brass bucket disappeared into history. It wasn’t until I was given a lead informing me that it was in the collection of Craig Fouts, a noted western memorabilia collector, that the bucket’s location was revealed.

It is still unknown how much of the bounty bank remains to be found. What is known is that part of the loot was uncovered in the early 1900’s by workers digging a pipeline northeast of the Roost. The value of the fortune they discovered in the ditch they were digging is anyone’s guess, but it was reportedly enough that they walked off the job never to return.

This is but one of many treasure stories associated with Buzzard Roost and the Keechi Hills. Time will tell what remains to be discovered.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The number one question I'm asked is have I found anything, but the second most asked question is how do I find so many treasure stories. I often ignore the first question but a simple answer to the second is research.

My research methods vary but searching newspapers is always a good start. The older the story the better. I have a number of keywords I use to hit on articles that may lead to hidden loot. Remember that you're not just looking for the words buried treasure. I look for stories about old hermits, bank robberies, money being found, etc.

These simple stories may yield clues to hidden wealth. I have found dozens of stories about old hermits passing away and money being found hidden in various places around the home. Many of these newspaper articles were written before the time of metal detectors, so a search of the property these days could put a little jingle in someones pockets.

Old treasure magazines are good sources as well. While there are many bogus stories that have been written over the years you, can on occasion, find a kernel of truth. I also talk with other treasure hunters and old timers that may remember a story they heard from days gone by.

One treasure cache I'm working on now came from a ghost story I heard. Without giving too many details away, the part I was interested in was the ghostly glow coming from the orchard. If you've read anything about Louis Matacia and his theories on finding treasure you'll understand why I was interested in this story.

Treasure is where you find it and the same thing can be said about the treasure story. Turn cold or rainy days into research time and you will be surprised how many stories you can come up with

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Change will be coming to the blog

In a never ending effort to keep the blog interesting I'll be making some changes soon. I hope to start adding videos that we will shoot, edit, and produce ourselves that will show actual treasure sites and the signs and symbols we find on the them. Of course these won't be active sites that we are currently working on but they will be interesting all the same. I've already installed the video editing program on my computer and I'll have the professional video equipment soon.

As I gain experience I hope to shoot a few documentaries that will include finding a lost city here in Oklahoma, Frank James, J. Frank Dalton, artifact hunting, and whatever ideas our readers may come up with.

If any of our readers have experience with this sort of thing I'll gladly accept any helpful hints you may have.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Artifact Hunting

I love hunting for treasure of any kind and hunting for stone artifacts is just as much fun as hunting for gold and silver. The thrill of knowing that you are the first person to hold a point since it was lost hundreds or thousands of years ago. Stone artifacts add such a personal element to the search. These were tools necessary for survival. They give a look into the past and are works of art at the same time.

I have logged many hours walking river beds and plowed fields and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Just as with treasure hunting research plays a key role in artifact hunting. You can save yourself a lot of time and empty pockets by learning where and what to look for.

Searching a river bed is fairly straight forward. I have found points in the gravel bars, sides of the river bank, and deep in the channel. Along with stone artifacts many other items can be found as well. Bottles, buttons, fossils, bison teeth and skulls, have been recovered. I have a friend who found an old silver Morgan dollar in a river bed. Youtube has numerous riverbed hunting videos and I encourage you to check them out for little tips and hints for a more successful hunt.

Campsites can be a challenge to find, but with a basic idea of what you would need to survive you can locate a few likely areas. I hunt the hilltops near spings, above the flood line near natural river crossings, horseshoe bends in rivers, etc. I've even found points in urban areas as well. Many of our early cities were established on former native campsites.

Kill sites are another good area to search. The base of a high bluff, box canyons, or the narrow portion of a canyon have proven to produce points or tools. Once again Youtube will give you videos to watch and pick up a few more ideas of how and where to hunt.

With A.R.P.A. looming over your shoulder make sure you are searching in a legal manner. This means you need to check local, state, and federal regulations before beginning your search. To play it safe I only surface hunt on private land.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Joe Hunter finds 13 old silver dollars and a silver pitcher.

In July of 1949 Joe Hunter, Herb Penick, Lester Paden, and Richard Brock climbed to the summit Mount Sheridan and repelled down the steep slope using a 300 foot rope. Searching the numerous small caves they found the object of their desire. A silver pitcher with coded carvings upon it, blackened by time and the elements, that held 13 silver dollars dating from 1879 to 1881.

The silver pitcher with it's mysterious carvings has long since faded into history. Perhaps it now adorns someones mantle or is tucked away in an attic or basement. No matter the final resting place of the silver pitcher it holds clues to the location of $23,000 Joe Hunter thought was hidden nearby.

The life and adventures of Joe Hunter have long held my interest and I am slowly putting the puzzle pieces together. I have been blessed to find many of Joe's person papers, pictures, and maps, but the hunt continues for what still remains to be found. I'm always interested in buying any items or information related to Joe or other treasure hunters, so feel free to contact me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Joe Hunter and his washpot full of silver ore

In August of 1948 Joe Hunter and Herbert Penick unearthed a wash pot full of silver ore. It was 65 pounds worth of ore to be exact. The old wash pot was two feet in diameter, 16 inches tall and half filled with ore. After digging numerous other holes Hunter found the wash pot, buried six feet down, just twenty paces from an old oak tree that was encircled by eleven rocks. Not far from the site was the outline of an old dugout rumored to be used by the James Gang.

Joe claimed the ore was found just 98 yards from the place he dug up the brass bucket that had the outlaw contract chiseled into it's sides. Personally, I feel that Joe was misleading folks with that bit of information since the brass bucket was found on federal land and the silver ore was on private land.

I have held the outlaw map that Joe used to find this ore and I know that there are several more caches of gold coins waiting to be found. It's just one more of my many projects I need to get to. So many sites to hunt and so little time. You just have to love Oklahoma and it's rich history of hidden treasure.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Television and Treasure

While I have been disappointed in the History Channel and their shows about treasure, Jesse James, and etc. I still have hope that Hollywood will come up with a few more good shows that will be truthful and entertaining.

Take that bunch in Alaska searching for gold. I eagerly awaited each new episode just to see how bad things were going to go for them. It was like watching episodes of a disfunctional Brady Bunch. I've got my dvr ready to record the new season.

The "Decoded" show is another one that leaves me perplexed. Some episodes they ask really tough questions and do a good job of investigating and on others it seems as if they left their brains back at the office.

How about the new show "Buried Treasure"? While the name is a bit misleading I still find it to be a good show. The brothers seem to be sincere in their desire to help people find items of value setting around their homes.

My question to our readers would be,if you could create a tv show about treasure hunting, what topics would you want to see?

The reason I ask this question is that there is a production company looking to produce a new series that will include treasure hunting, battlefield archaeology, wreck diving, etc. Believe it or not, people who are into television production are reading this blog and this may be your chance to let them know what you as viewers would like to watch.

I would like to see someone dig up a real treasure and not just a few old coins in a fruit jar they buried in the ground a few weeks before filming began.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#23 in Treasure, but still the #1 Blog

Just to update our readers on how fast our blog is growing. According to Xmarks Beta we are ranked #23 among treasure websites. This is surprising since we are little more than a homegrown blog site. We are ranked behind such well known websites as Whites Electronics,, GPAA, and other big companies. Note that these are dot com websites who have webmasters and are in it for a profit. I'm proud to say this blog isn't too shabby for a couple of guys who are doing this for free.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I have added a Facebook gadget towards the top of the blog page for "Okie Treasure Hunter". I created this for all of those who would like to join as friends just to see how big our treasure hunting community is. I'm not a big facebook user but I'm trying to get with the times.

Sunken Treasure

While we mainly deal with land locked treasure I do have an interest in sunken treasure. A few weeks ago I was researching old newspaper articles and came across a story from 1907. It seems that in the 1800's a steamer named Golden Gate was sailing along the east coast of Mexico when a fire broke out in the engine room. The Golden Gate was carrying a cargo of $4,000,000 in gold. In an attempt to beach the ship the captain headed to shore where the ship burned at the waters edge about 17 miles north of Manzanillo, Several attempts where made at recovering the cargo. From what I can find about $1.4 million was recovered. A little more research should reveal more information about what became of this wreck. If nothing else this might be a fun area to go dive in hopes that something good was left for a lucky treasure hunter.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wild Fires

The blog will be idle for a few more days as I help with the fire fighting efforts here in Southwest Oklahoma. Please keeps all the firefighters and families who have lost their homes this year to fires and natural disasters in your prayers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pennsylvania Miser Cache

Samuel Jackson King lived an isolated life keeping a pack of fierce dogs and a loaded gun at his side. Signs leading to his home read "Keep Out", "Beware", and "This Means You". Samuel rarely ventured into town, choosing instead to remain on his farm. The 107 acre King Farm lay just ten miles away from Mt. Davis in Somerset County.

Samuel was found in a field with a loaded shotgun at his side and his favorite dog who had remained beside his masters body for three days. A search of the house by the sheriff revealed that King liked to hide his wealth. Nearly $18,000 in bonds, old currency, gold and silver coins were found stashed away in old jars, tin cans, ten gallon ice cream can, backs of pictures, etc. I have no record of anyone searching outside of the home, but local newspapers from the time might shed more light on the story. Mr. King passed away in August of 1952.

A records search at the Somerset County Court House should give you the exact location of the King Farm. Having hidden that much money inside the house, there's a good chance much more could be recovered outside of the farm house.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lost Gold of Oklahoma

September 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm central time the local (Oklahoma's OETA) PBS channel will have a program called "Back in Time" the episode is called "Lost Gold of Oklahoma". It will feature details of the little known Oklahoma gold rush and treasure hunting. If you happen to miss the program you can go to to find the next time it's scheduled to play.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are you ready to be a movie star?

Prospero Productions, a television production company out of Australia, has contacted me looking for a host for a new tv series they are developing. As with most of these tv shows you will need to be a charismatic and passionate character. If you're knowledgeable in the areas of battlefield archaeology, aviation archaeology, wreck diving, warbird restoration, or treasure hunting feel free to contact me at for more details. I will check into all of this and make sure it's all on the up and up, but you never know, you might just turn out to be the next big star. They are looking for  individuals in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA who viewers find easy to watch and trustworthy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

World Wide Web

I just want to say thanks to everyone who enjoys reading our blog! I was just looking at the many different countries that our readers come from. Though the majority are from the U.S.A. We have people from Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Russia, and the United Kingdom viewing the blog. I know there are a number of countries that I have probably left out, but I just wanted to let everyone know I appreciate you stopping in to take a look at our blog. It will always be a work in progress as we strive to bring you more stories and tools to aid you in your quest for treasure.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hawkins Hidden Cache

During the mid 1800's John Hawkins was a stockman, farmer, and trader in the Cherokee nation. It seems he was very good at what he did and managed to accumulate a bit of wealth. Since banks were a scarce commodity he did like most folks and just buried his money. Ol' John took $10,000 in gold coins, put them in a bean pot and secretly buried the cache near his house. As with many of these lost caches John didn't tell his family where he hid the money and it wasn't until he had become very ill that he tried to give directions. Unfortunately for the family John passed away before good instructions could be given. The homestead was called the "Old Woods Place" in 1907 and was located two miles southeast of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. With the price of gold nearing $2000 an ounce, gold coins are bringing big dollars!!!!!!!!

With the gold being buried in a bean pot this would be a good location to try out a schonstedt. If you get lucky remember where you got the story. Hint! Hint!

A records search at the Cherokee County Court House should give a legal description of the Old Woods Place and by using our links section found on this blog, http://www.glorecords.blm/gov/ an 1898 plat map will show you where the house once stood. To help you along in your search you might Look in Township 16 North and Range 22 East. I'd even give you the section number, but that would take all the fun out of it.

I created the blog to be used as a tool for other treasure hunters, so I add useful links as I find them. If you have one that you think would make a great addition to the blog feel free to e-mail me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Good luck and Good Hunting!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It can be found

Treasure is out there and it is still being found, but this story comes to you almost a century after it occurred. It was in the spring of 1918 that J. Epperly and his son were searching for treasure along Kickapoo Creek about eight miles southeast of Hinton, Oklahoma.

Like many stories I've heard before, they stumbled upon a two gallon kettle that had been recently dug up. The imprints of the coins were plainly visible on the insides of the kettle. A blazed tree had marked the spot of the hidden loot.

Treasure is out there waiting to be found. With hard work, research, and a little bit of luck you just might be the person who leaves the empty kettle for the next guy to find.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Miser Cache

Years before the Sac and Fox lands were opened for settlement, lived a miserly, old man who managed to save up a few thousand dollars. He suddenly took ill and wasn't found until he was on his death bed. He was so weak he could barely speak, but managed to point towards a dry creek bottom and whisper that it was buried under a rock by a stump. For many years afterward people searched for the money but never found it. The search area is south of Kendrick, Oklahoma on what in 1920 was the Sporleder Farm. A records search in that county should turn up who is the current land owner and with a bit of luck you might just be the one who turns over the right rock.

Good Luck and Good Hunting

Monday, August 8, 2011

Aerial Photos

If you're going to treasure hunt at some point you will need aerial photos. While Google Earth is a handy tool it doesn't give you infrared or vintage aerial photographs. This is where the Aerial Photography Field Office comes in handy.  You can order infrared and aerial photographs on cd or dvd. This just might help you find that lost trail or old river crossing that will lead you to treasure.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Link

I have been given a link for those who would like to make apples to apples comparison on metal detectors. Try it out and let me know what you think of it. If our readers find it useful I'll add it to the links list. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spanish Gold in the Panhandle

In the spring of 1886 a cowboy was hunting horses twelve miles east of present day Kenton, Oklahoma on the south side of the Cimarron River. 5N 3E-CM section 4. Following a cow-trail, that lead to the bottom land below, he noticed that the rain had gouged out shallow holes in the bottom of the trail. Turning and following the trail to the rim of the river valley he happened to see two gold coins lying in the trail. Having dismounted he picked up the coins and noticed that they were Spanish in origin and from the early sixteenth century. Searching the area he found another coin about a hundred yards away. Looking for the next few days he was unable to locate any other coins. Eventually he told some friends about his find and a search party was formed, but though they looked for miles in every direction from his original site, they too were unsuccessful. If burrowing animals had brought the coins to the surface there may be a long lost cache yet to be found. Modern metal detectors may just find what the cowboy missed.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kansas Treasure

This one is for our Kansas treasure hunters! Of course I have in-laws that live near the search area, so it might be one I'll look for myself the next time we are up that way visiting. For those lucky enough to live near Seneca Kansas, in the northeastern part of the state, there are two buckskin bags full of gold nuggets buried.

According to legend two miners returning to Boston from the California gold fields had split from the wagon train they were traveling with because of the rowdy behavior of their fellow travelers. Reaching a ford in the Nemaha River, about two miles north of the present town of Seneca, the miners made camp. Old survey plats or county maps should show this ford as it was a junction point where the Saint Joseph Trail met the Oregon Trail. Many other relics and treasure could be located at this spot as well.

Needing supplies the miners decided to head into nearby Richmond, which I believe is a ghost town, before leaving for town they buried the two buckskin bags in an empty powder can. While in town one of the miners was shot and killed and the other barely escaped. Racing back to the wagon the surviving miner headed out towards St.  Joseph. In his haste to get away he failed to dig up the gold nuggets. At St. Joseph he sold his team and wagons and boarded a boat heading back east.

The young miner eventually married but joined the Union forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. Before leaving he gave his wife a rough map to where the gold was hidden, promising to to travel back and recover the gold after the war ended. The man died early in the war and it wasn't until 1889 that his two sons traveled to Seneca in an attempt to recover their fathers gold. Time had changed the landmarks around the old camping grounds and the sons returned to Boston empty handed.

With a little research and a good metal detector you might be the one to get lucky and find a small fortune. With gold, at the time of this writing, hitting the $1600 dollar an ounce mark it's definitely worth looking into.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

J. Frank Dalton aka Jesse James

Once again I'm looking to harness the power of the internet and this blog. I am working on a project about J. Frank Dalton and would like input and information that our readers may have. The previous request I made here on the blog provided a few interesting leads that I am following up, but as always I know there is more information that has yet to come to light. Feel free to write me at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Hidden Cache of Mihe-Coby

Hidden in the gyp hills near Cyril Oklahoma are the life-savings of Mihe-Coby. Born somewhere between 1840 and 1850 in Mexico he was captured by Comanche raiders as a young boy and taken north. Adopted into the tribe he grew up roaming the plains. Mihe-Coby was among the last of his people to surrender and come into Fort Sill in 1875.

He quickly adapted to the white mans world and by 1880 he was working as a freighter for the Army at Ft. Sill and the Indian Agency. He worked at this for fifteen years and all the while saving his wages and at the end of his employment he was paid in gold coin and ended up with a big sack of money.

These wages were secretly placed in a hiding in the gyp hills. He would go to his secret bank as he needed money. Lying on his death bed he tried to tell his family the directions they needed to find the hiding spot but they never could find it. His family sold one of his race horses to buy a monument which was placed on his grave in the Little Washita River Indian Cemetery. A quick search of old plat maps might show trails going by these gyp hills near Cyril and with modern metal detectors someone might just lucky and find this one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oklahoman Searches for the Treasure of the Copper Scrolls

It was a huge surprise that greeted me while I was thumbing through the August 2011 issue of Lost Treasure magazine. There was an article titled "Finding the Treasures of King Solomon" written by Jim Barfield. This is a very interesting article and Jim's theories should be proved or disproved within a very short time as he is currently overseas working on the project.

I had met Jim a few months ago and had no idea he was working on this project as our business at the time had nothing to do with treasure. On the next occasion that I went in to talk to Jim I was informed that he was in Egypt looking for a kings treasure. This of course proved to be incorrect as he is actually in Israel at the ancient city of Qumran.

You can bet that as soon as Jim gets back to Oklahoma that I will be there talking with him. I may even show him the copper scroll found here in Oklahoma. You can read Jim's E-Book, The Copper Scroll Project, Finding the Treasures of the Tabernacle, at

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Confederate Treasure

Brigadier General Stoughton and the Union Forces under his command had been enjoying several weeks of looting in Virginia when they were captured in a surprise attack by Confederate Captain John Mosby at Fairfax Court House, Virginia. Stoughton had accumulated a large amount of family treasures as he had looted Southern homes. This loot was captured along with Stoughton and a number of his men in a night raid Mosby perfectly executed.

Gathering the loot and prisoners, Mosby and his men made tracks back for the Confederate lines some 40 plus miles to the south. Enroute to Culpepper, Va. Union forces were detected and the raiders swung to the southwest of Haymarket, Va. along what is now Highway 211. Having traveled several miles and worried that the loot would fall back into Union hands Mosby decided to stop and bury the recently captured goods. Choosing two large pine trees Mosby marked the trees with his knife and buried the sack of treasure between them.
Several months went by and Mosby decided to send a sergeant, that was with him at the time the treasure was buried, back for the hidden loot. The sergeant chose six of his best men and made tracks for the sack of  southern treasures. Unfortunately the sergeant and his men were captured, declared guerillas, and promptly hanged. This left Mosby as the only person to know the exact location of the buried loot and to his dying day regretted never having returned to find the sack of heirlooms he had so long ago buried.

There's a good chance that somewhere a few miles from Haymarket along what is now Hwy 211 is a small fortune in Southern family heirlooms. Research into old roads and trails heading to Culpepper might help narrow the location down a bit more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

We're Back!!

After a lengthy time away I'll be posting new stories. With the killer heat we have been having I won't be back out into the field until fall.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A little humor

Thanks go out to Homer for sending this to me. I thought some of you might enjoy it also.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Treasure Hunting 101, Part III

The general impression everyone gets about treasure hunting is that it’s all about the treasure, holding that gold or silver in your hand and being independently wealthy. For the most part that’s why 95% of us got into this hobby but if you stick with the hobby, you learn that it’s more about the search for the treasure and anything you find at the end of the search is a bonus. Yea, OK, I’ll agree that digging up an iron kettle full of gold coins will put a smile on your face but getting to the point of digging that hole takes A LOT longer than digging the hole.

If you are doing it right, treasure hunting requires a lot of research and with that comes knowledge. You learn about the history of the area you are looking in and history in general, the REAL history and not what you see on that TV channel of the same name.

So how do you find a spot to treasure hunt in? Many years ago a famous treasure hunter once said that there is a treasure hunting spot within twenty minutes of everyone. With the way society has spread out over the years I would partially agree with that statement.

If you are a coin shooter then the treasure spots for you are endless and you should be able to find one within twenty minutes of your home. Remember, treasure hunting is more about research than anything else. A coin shooter has the option of hunting old homesteads, parks, beaches, fairgrounds, ghost towns and just about any place else people have gathered. One of my favorite spots to coin shoot is on the beach in Hawaii. I don’t find any old items but lets face it, if you’re on a beach in Hawaii you’re already having a very good day!

If you want to work a beach where you might find gold and silver coins then you need to be along the coast of Florida where the Spanish ship wrecks occurred centuries ago. These beaches are well documented and I will say, worked on an almost daily basis. This doesn’t keep people from finding things though. The best time to work one of these beaches is during hurricane season. The hard core hunters are on the beach just after a hurricane has come through and it’s still raining. The hurricane churns up the things sitting on the bottom of the ocean and brings them up to the beach for the lucky hunters to find. Keep this in mind the next time you are planning a vacation. Just don’t blame me if you spouse is more than just a little upset that you have taken them to Florida during a hurricane.

Ghost towns can be a bonanza for almost any treasure hunter. Keep in mind that a ghost town doesn’t have to be like you see on TV, one that died in the 1800’s and looks like a ghost town. “Modern” ghost towns, those that died out in the early 1900’s, are very abundant and are great places for coin shooters, cache hunters, bottle hunters and relic hunters. This all comes back to research, do your homework and find the places that nobody else has thought of. Old plat maps of these towns are available at the county appraisers office and will show you where the businesses and homes use to be. Check the old papers to see if the town used to have a city fair or some type of annual gathering and figure out where that was. Don’t forget to try to talk to any of the old residents that still live in or near the town. They can be a wealth of information and it’s free.

Cache hunters have a harder time finding locations especially if you are looking for the ever illusive outlaw, Spanish or pirate, Arrrggggg! treasure. Normally, you have to go farther out of town for these types of places. I say normally because I have done some hunting in places such as Arizona where just four miles from my hotel in the big city where I was staying was more treasure sites than you could ever wish for.

No matter what type of treasure hunting you do, it all comes back to research. Spend some time in your local library reading through the old newspapers to see what actually went on in your neck of the woods and when. You’ll be amazed at the type of information they put in the paper back then.

There are many types of treasure hunting and I can’t mention them all. I am trying to give information about the most popular types of hunting and I am just skimming the top of those. If you have any questions about what I am writing you can always e-mail me if you would like at

Please remember, you need to get permission to hunt on private land. Not having permission could cause you several problems including legal and financial woes and it makes the rest of us look bad.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Treasure Hunting 101, Part II

In my last article I briefly touched on the different types of detectors available to today’s treasure hunters. And yes, even though I’m sure some of you thought the article was a little long winded, I really only scratched the surface of what is out there.

So you’ve read the previous article, done a lot of your own research and then shelled out your hard earned cash for a detector, what do you do now? No matter if this is your very first detector or number twelve, you should practice, practice, practice! I can’t say that enough. Every detector is a little different even if it is from the same manufacturer. You need to learn the specific nuances of each detector you use. Not knowing how to use the detector to it’s full potential EVERY time you turn it on could literally cost you the find of a lifetime.

I have found the best way to practice is with your own “test garden”. It’s easy to do and will make a lot of difference when you practice. You simply need to find a place in your yard where you can bury different objects at different depths. Your biggest problem here is what your wife will think about you digging holes and burying things in the yard. I know ladies, there are women treasure hunters but let’s face it, we’re men, we don’t usually care if you are digging holes in the yard as long as we don’t have to dig them.

I keep several different coins buried at several different depths along with mason jar lids, a mason jar full of coins, a couple of different iron pots, one copper pot and some other iron objects like railroad spikes, horseshoes and an old knife. I also have a separate “trash” section for things like barbed wire, pull tabs, aluminum cans, etc.

Knowing what is buried at a certain depth allows me to know how each detector will react with each target and under different circumstances. A detector will work better, meaning finding deeper targets, if there is a little moisture in the soil, not soaking wet, just a little moisture. It will also react differently in topsoil, sand, clay and rock, etc. Having a little bit of each type of soil and a few rocks to detect over is a good thing.

What you bury and how deep you bury it falls into the same circumstance as which detector you choose. It will all depend on how you intend to use your detector. If you’re a coin shooter then you don’t need iron or copper pots or railroad spikes, etc. If you are a relic hunter you may not care about how deep the detector gets on coins because you know that what you are looking for could be deeper than the average coin anyway.

This treasure hunting stuff is starting to sound like a lot of work, huh?

It is work but if you get bitten by the bug then there’s nothing else like it and it won’t seem like work. If you are just a one day a month coin shooter then having a test garden could be a little bit of overkill. As a cache hunter I like to know how my detectors will react to different objects at different depths and in different types of moisture content.

OK, you have practiced, practiced and practiced so more and are ready to work a site. The first thing you need to do once you are at your site is to be logical about where you look. If you are coin shooting you need to be looking in the areas where there will probably be coins. If it’s an old homestead you work along the pathways where they walked, you look under the big old trees where people use to sit in the shade, you check under where the clothes line used to be (this is a great spot and has yielded me several silver coins, much to the dismay of my hunting partners) and you look anywhere else that would have had foot traffic where people could have dropped coins from their pockets.

If you are looking for the possible money stash of the home owner then you need to be looking where the gardens used to be or near or under a fence post. These types of caches usually were put within site of the home so the owner could keep an eye on the spot.

If you are cache hunting, like those left behind by outlaws or the Spanish then you will need more to go on and that’s where research comes in.

Once you start detecting and finding things the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS check the hole again. Once you pull that coin or jar of coins out of the hole run your detector over it again to make sure there isn’t anything else below what you just took out. A lot of people forget this thinking, well, I found a coin, I will fill in the hole and move on. This can be a very big mistake! I think my record for coins in one hole is 13. You couldn’t see any of them but I just kept hitting the hole with the detector and kept getting readings. This is not a rare occurence. OK, maybe 13 coins in one hole is but finding a second or third coin happens all of the time and I can tell you that finding a jar of coins or an iron pot can definitely lead to finding a second one 6-12 inches deeper in the same hole.

Always check the hole before you fill it in!

Two more quick things. Headphones, do you or don’t you wear them? The idea behind wearing headphones is that you can hear the really faint signals and you won’t miss that one object you might really need to find. Personally, I like to hear what’s going on around me so if I do wear headphones (which is a rare occasion) then I only wear them on one ear. The only other reason to wear headphones is to keep anyone else from hearing your detector and maybe to keep your ears warm during the winter!

The other thing is batteries. The manufactures say you should remove the batteries from your detector if it is going to sit for any extended period unused. This is a very good suggestion and well worth heeding. The first time you have some batteries leak inside a compartment you will wish you paid attention.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Treasure Hunting 101, Part 1, Detectors

The blog has grown tremendously over the last year to the point that we have people from several different nations reading it. I know we have a lot of seasoned treasure hunters that visit this site but we are also starting to get a lot of “newbies” to the hobby looking for information.

Because of that we will be posting some different articles to try to help the new and the old with navigating their way through this great hobby of ours.

Part I of this article is about metal detectors. There are just about as many different metal detectors as there are treasures and sometimes it hard to choose what detector is the right one for you.

To decide what kind of detector you need (and there is a difference between what you need and what you want) you need to decide what type of treasure hunting you will be doing.

If the majority of your treasure hunting is going to consist of coin shooting then you have a myriad of detectors to choose from and several companies that make them. The most prominent brand names for these detectors would be Whites, Garrett, Tesoro, Fisher, Minelab and Bounty Hunter. There are others out there but these are the main names that come to mind to most treasure hunters.

The majority of these detectors all work on the same principal and it’s not until you get into the higher end detectors or ones with manual tuning that you will see any real difference in the amount of depth they get.

For coin shooting you can buy some pretty complicated machines with lots of bells and whistles or you can get pretty “plain Jane”. I personally tend to lean towards Tesoro and Garrett for my coin shooters although Whites makes some very nice machines. If I’m feeling particularly lazy I will opt for one of my Garretts just because I can set it on auto and go. I don’t have to worry about messing with the ground balance because their auto setting does a pretty good job. With that said, any of the companies I mentioned produce some really nice machines. I’m not real big on the Bounty Hunter detectors but that’s just me.

If you like to do your coin shooting underwater then you options get more limited and you will switch from a VLF machine to a pulse induction machine. You will also pay a LOT more for an underwater machine but if you have to have it, you have to have it. Again, there are several companies that make the underwater machines and for the most part, it will boil down to your personal preference and budget on which you choose.

If you are a relic or cache hunter then you will be wanting a machine that has all of the manual settings on it so that you can get the best depth possible in any condition. I am partial to the Tesoros for this type of hunting. They get great depth, are very light and easy to use.

If you cache hunt more than relic hunt then you will be looking at purchasing more than one detector and getting a more specialized version for your needs. One of these versions is called a two-box. This term refers to a “box” being at each end of the detector and you will hole it so it is horizontal to the ground. These days there really isn’t a box at each end on most models. They have switched those to metal loops. The one glaring exception would be the two box detector by Fisher. It actually has a box at each end.

Now here’s a warning for all prospective buyers of metal detectors. If you are wanting something that looks deep into the ground, say more than 3-4 feet then buyer beware. In my opinion, the ads that most companies use are really generous with the amount of depth their detectors will get. Most of the “tests” used to measure this depth are open air tests. This means they stand on a ladder and go up until they no longer get a reading from a car battery sized metal object. This works great if what you are looking for isn’t buried but then you wouldn’t need a metal detector now would you?

A lot of the two-box detectors are said to get 15-20 feet. Good luck with that! You can figure that in any given soil you are going to get four, maybe five feet and even six feet if the conditions are absolutely perfect.

Another type of cache hunting machine is the pulse induction detector. These work on the exact same principal as the underwater PI machines but you can get them with loops as large as four feet. These types of PI detectors can be pricey but they will get you a lot more depth. Something with a four foot loop can easily detect a car battery sized metal object at ten feet or better. I have mentioned this before on this blog but Whites has come out with a new PI machine that works with a smaller loop and has shown very good results for cache and relic hunters.

One of the lesser known detectors for cache hunting isn’t really a detector. The company that makes it refers to it as a metal locator and that’s exactly what it does. The Schondstedt is used by surveyors and pipe companies. It will only locate iron and steel but it’s the best machine out there for finding ferrous metals. It’s small, light and simple to use and it will find a ¾ inch round pipe at a depth of nine feet every day, all day.

Besides the two-box, pulse induction and the Schondstedt you also can choose from several more extremely pricey machines such as ground penetrating radar, cesium magnetometers and electro-magnetic induction tools. You’ll probably have to rob a bank or find a treasure before you can afford one of these so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about them. I will say that all of these are very specialized machines and require a lot of time using them to accurately interpret the data they present you with.

This is by no means a complete catalog of the different types of detectors out there but it will get you started. It also ends Part I of this article.

Please remember that although we aren’t “experts” (between all of the contributors on this blog we have over 90 years of experience in treasure hunting) we will gladly try to help you with any questions that you may have so please feel free to e-mail us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Learning a lesson (or two)

I would like to thank Rob for sending me the information for this article. Not only is it an article about finding treasure but there are at least two very imporant lessons to be learned from reading it.

The first lesson is that you have to be persistent in treasure hunting. It is the very, very rare occasion that a treasure hunter finds a cache of anything in the first few tries. It usually takes a continued effort and there usually seems to be a massive learning curve to finding any cache you are hunting.

The second lesson is to never turn off your detector until you get ready to get into your car. One of the very first things I was taught by another treasure hunter, many, many years ago, is that you should be running your detector while walking to and from your vehicle. You never know what you'll run across.

I'll admit that if you do this it usually makes your trip to and from the vehicle take a lot longer but you just never know. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard (and a couple that I have told) about the things people find while just walking to or from the car with their detector on. A couple of really big finds have been uncovered this way. This should be S.O.P. for every treasure hunter if you are hunting a cache or just coin shooting. Luck is always a welcome thing in treasure hunting!

Now for the article, straight from the web.

Treasure hunter finds Bronze Age founders hoard
A treasure hunter has found 18 Bronze Age items in a field near Newark in Nottinghamshire.

Maurice Richardson stumbled across the collection, which includes four socket axes, a spear head, a chisel and a fragmented sword, by mistake.

"I was on my way back to the car after being out all afternoon and wandered off the track," he said. "If I hadn't I wouldn't have found it."

This is the third major discovery Mr Richardson has made. In 2005 he dug up an ancient necklace valued at £350,000 while in 2010 he found a hoard of Roman coins.

The tools were found just a foot below the surface of a farmer's field.

The first things to be dug out were three of the four axes; Mr Richardson said he immediately knew what they were.

The items have been confirmed by Dr Chris Robinson, an archaeological officer from Nottinghamshire County Council, as a founders hoard.

"Bronze Age metal workers tended to be itinerant. They would travel around the land plying their trade," said Dr Robinson.

"Often they would bury their produce and come back for it later."

The finds will now be submitted to the Portable Antiques Scheme (PAS) so that they can be recorded.

All prehistoric base-metal artefacts found after 1 January 2003 qualify as treasure and the PAS will forward the items to the British Museum for further assessment, dating and valuation.

Research by Mr Richardson suggests that his latest hoard may be worth a few thousand pounds.

But the tree surgeon said his hobby, which he has been doing every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for 40 years, is nothing to do with the money.

"It's the interest in the local history and the buzz from handling something that is thousands of years old," he said.

Mr Richardson confessed that there was no secret to his success.

"It's embarrassing really. There's no recipe. It just seems to happen," he said.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Need a vacation?

We all need some time away when we can get it. Now a days it seems harder and harder and more expensive but here's something the whole family might enjoy and as treasure hunters, we could learn a few things while we are there. It's all about pirates you see. Arrrrrrrggggg!!!

Pirate Museum Moves to New Florida Digs

Avast Ye Mateys! Fans of all things pirate will want to visit a newly opened museum in the historic Florida city of St. Augustine.

The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum is the brainchild of former Philadelphia 76ers president Pat Croce, who has a passion for both basketball and pirates.

"It just happened when I was a kid. I fell in love with Errol Flynn and "Captain Blood" movies," Croce tells AOL Travel News. "I would write a skull and cross bones in notebooks, and the nuns would smack me. And I was a pirate for Halloween as a kid."

As his wealth grew from businesses, Croce, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, started collecting pirate artifacts including one of only two original Jolly Roger flags known to exist (the other is in Finland), the only authentic pirate chest in America, a journal from Captain Kidd's last journey, and real weapons and pieces of eight.

About six years ago, Croce opened Pirate Soul in Key West to display his collection, with exhibits featuring not only memorabilia but Disney Imagineer-designed animatronics, interactive displays and technologies such as creepy 3-D sound, all used in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Piracy (1690-1730).

The museum was popular, but given Key West's somewhat remote location, hours from Miami, it didn't attract the family and school group tourist crowd that Croce was hoping for, he says. He decided to close up shop and move the museum to St. Augustine in northern Florida, the oldest city and port in the U.S.

"I love Key West. I have a home in Key West. But you go there to party. In St. Augustine, heritage is number one. And families go there."

The former museum's exhibits are back in the St. Augustine venue. But there are also new displays outlining local routes where famous pirates walked the streets, plundered and pillaged – Sir Francis Drake and Robert Searles even burnt St. Augustine to the ground in 1586 and 1688, respectively.

Added attractions at the new museum, which is located across from a 17th century fort, also include a participatory treasure hunt, 17th century cannons that fire (in electronically simulated fashion) and pirate movie memorabilia.

"We now have Hollywood pirates, props from "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Hook," and "The Goonies," Croce says. "I took it up a notch."

Movie items on display include Captain Jack Sparrow's sword and cursed Aztec coin and Captain Hook's hook.

Among nearly 800 museum-quality artifacts are borrowed historical items from the State of Florida collection including gold, rings, jewels and sword handles.

Croce is still collecting too.

"I just got some really cool coins from the 1715 fleet off the east coast of Florida," he says.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fact or fiction?

I received a story from one of our readers who, for reasons that will become obvious, requested to remain anonymous. This is his story.

If you have the time, I have a tale I can give you that actually happened. This is not a “made up” story manufactured out of thin air. This happened in my past. Actually this one happened about thirty five years ago, when I was younger and much more active in treasure hunting.

Our local newspaper used to have a section called “News From the Past” which was tidbits taken from the historical archives of the paper. Items were dated 25 years ago, 50 years ago and 100 years ago. One of the stories from the 50 years ago part told about the death of a local gentleman by the hand of someone unknown. Our hero was found lying in his living room apparently several days after someone blew a very large hole in his chest area. The home had obviously been looted because everything was strewn out onto the floor. The story went on to tell that the deceased seemed to have no relatives and was famous for lending money to people who needed it. Until three years before his demise, he had lived on a farm about five miles from town, had no apparent income but always had cash to loan to his acquaintances. The recipients of this favor always came to his house after dark and told him of their needs. The man would tell them to sit down for a while and he would leave out of the back door. After about fifteen minutes or so, he would return with greenbacks or gold coins. These always smelled “musty” and it was assumed that our hero had to dig the cash up somewhere in the back of the house. When a debt was repaid, the borrower was told to take a seat and wait. After about fifteen minutes, the loaner would return through the back door and brew up a pot of coffee for the two of them. (Believe it or not, this was really in the newspaper.)

While I didn’t think that there would still be any cash left at the farm site, I thought it may be a good idea to check it out. The property was now owned by a large agricultural aggregate so I sought permission to go onto the site with a detector and “Look for coins where the house used to be”. They didn’t know that a “two-box” detector wasn’t exactly a coin hunting machine. No problem gaining access but as I had imagined, no luck at all.

Next came the problem of hunting the house in town. He had lived there for three years and I figured that even though the murderer had thoroughly searched the house, if he buried it while on the farm he would also bury it in town. Naturally, there was a family living in the home but they didn’t know of the story. It didn’t take long to learn that no one was going on the property “To look for lost pennies and old toys”, even if a 50/50 split was offered. How to get onto the property proved to be a perplexing problem. Would posing as a water department worker for the city work???? That would gain someone access to all of the back yard.

I’ll leave it to you to decide the answer to this perplexing question. If I told you that it didn’t, you would think that I’m just an old windbag, spouting stories. If I told you that it did, the IRS might think that I needed to be audited. It’s your call.

Oh yeah, as far as I know the murderer was never caught.

I will add that I have known this treasure hunter for a few years now so I have no problem believing the story. I am also leaning towards the fact that the water department employee ruse was a good one and worked well but as he said, "it's your call".

This should serve as a reminder about how to find clues to lost treasure. They are everywhere, you just have to be paying attention.

I would especially like to thank this reader for sharing this with our readers. We all need that little extra incentive sometimes to keep us going.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Will part of a treasure do?

Do you ever find yourself in New Castle County Delaware? Will having just part of a treasure make you happy or do you need the whole thing?

Well if you need the whole thing then you are just S.O.L. If you can be happy with just part of a treasure, the good part I might add, then this just may be the ticket for you.

During the revolutionary war the Brits were headed towards a spot known as Cooch’s Bridge. Thomas Cooch operated a mill at the bridge and when he heard the British were coming he gathered up all of his family’s valuables including silver and jewelry, placed them in an iron chest and took them to an area called Purgatory Woods located between White Clay Creek and St. George’s Creek. Purgatory Woods was adjacent to Cooch’s Bridge so Thomas Cooch didn’t have to go far to get to where he was going.

Once in the woods Thomas Cooch buried the iron chest in one spot and then buried an iron pot in another spot in the woods. The iron pot contained a “peck” of gold coins.

How much is a “peck” of gold coins? According to the imperial standard a peck is the equivalent of TWO GALLONS of “dry volume”. Two gallons of gold coins is going to be a pretty good size pot of gold!

As luck would have it the British did arrive at Cooch’s mill and made themselves at home. Once they decided to leave they set fire to the mill and burned it to the ground. The fire from the mill also burned down the majority of Purgatory Woods.

Once Thomas Cooch returned to the area to retrieve his valuables he ran into the problem of not having the trees to use as landmarks. This made it difficult for him to find what he had buried. Luck was with Thomas Cooch, at least partially, because he was able to find and retrieve the iron chest with his silver and jewels and other valuables. His luck didn’t hold for finding the iron pot of gold coins and although he searched for a long time, it was never found.

So that leaves you looking for an iron pot somewhere along the old road running between Newark and Cooch’s Bridge. Keep in mind that it was in the woods at one time so I wouldn’t think it would be too close to the road. The good news is an iron pot should be really easy to find with a detector.

The bad news is, Purgatory Woods was described as a “wooded, marshy area”. There is a chance that the iron pot has settled or sank deeper into the “marshy” ground over the years so it could be a lot deeper than it started out as.

Good luck!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Digging For Jesse James

Deep in the haze filled woods of the Arkansas hills lives a grizzled old friend of mine named Lefty. I am pretty sure any give afternoon you might find him with a shovel in his hand, clothes soiled and digging a hole that his detector sounded of at. In his old grizzled gruff ways he sent me this one by carrier pigeon. He said he thought some you old conspiracy theoriest out there may enjoy it. So while ya'll are trying to disprove history he says he'll be out digging it up. Either way I hope you all enjoy this little article. It is from a Arkansas news paper dated December 10, 1953

Digging For Jesse James Gold
Recalls story here 13 years ago

Recent news accounts from Arkansas tell of a hunt for buried gold reportedly concealed many years ago by Jesse James. The present hunt, near Paragould in northeastern Arkansas has been abandoned temporarily when a 22-foot wooden shaft collapsed and the armed diggers ran out of money.

The object of the digging, on the sandy banks of the Black river, is a chest believed to be filled with gold and flung into the river by James as he fled from a posse. The chest is presumed to be at a depth of 30 feet.

Thirteen years ago-Feb. 28, 1940, to be exact – The Constitution-Tribune told a story of buried gold in Arkansas, treasure which bandit Jesse James was said to have buried. The story, preceding the present interview with a business school student who felt sure his grand-father was Frank James. The interview, by Carl McIntire, now news editor of the Sedalia Democrat (near the scene of the first daylight train robbery), is reprinted below:

Thoroughly convinced that he is the grandson of Frank James, brother and :business” associate of the more notorious Jesse James of the pioneer days in Missouri, Coumbus Vaughn, student at the Jackson School of Business from Newton county, Arkansas, tell his story as he learned it and says he can produce evidence and affidavits of proof. However, he adds that he can expect no one to believe him for the tale is fantastic in the light of what has been told in years gone by.

Columbus says that Jesse James was not killed by Bob Ford and that Frank James never surrendered as Missouri history relates. He adds that Robert T. James who lives on the old James farm near Kearney, Mo., is no real relative of the James boys, though he is known as the son of Frank.

The Vaughn family lived quietly and with notoriety near Jasper in Newton County, Arkansas, until 1926 when Columbus’s grandfather, known as Joe Vaughn, died. Joe Vaughn had come to Newton County a long time before and had settled there and had lived a quit life. He raised a family of two children, Wm. Nelson Vaughn, father of Columbus, and a daughter.

When Joe died he left a member of papers and one included a history of his life in which stated that he was Frank James, brother of Jesse. He told the complete story of the James’ boys life in this tale and added what the members of the family are now the final chapters to the biographis of Frank and Jesse James.

The story written by Joe Vaughn, according to the local student, included the statements that Robert Bigelow was the man who was shot by Bob Ford and believed to be Jesse James and that another man who looked somewhat like Frank James, was paid $35,000 by the brothers to “take the rap” for Frank by surrendering to Governor Crittenden. That man has heired the James homested near Kearney, according to Vaughn, and it is his son who lives there now in the belief that his father was the real Frank James.

“It seemed unreal that we were the blood relatives of the James boys,” Columbus said, “so my father and aunt started immediately after reading the history to determine whether or not it was true.” The family tried as hard to prove Joe Vaughn was really Joe Vaughn as it did to prove he was Frank James. There was no connection ever made t substantiate the fact that Vaughn was the man’s real name but many facts led to the belief among members of Columbus’ family that their father and grandfather was really one of America’s most notorious outlaws.

Some of the facts are startling, some rather “happen so” yet when they are all placed together even the skeptics must say that Columbus Vaughn and his family have certain right to claim relationship to the James boys. They are all convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joe Vaughn was Frank James. A book is to be published in the near future, according to the business college student in which all of the information left by Joe Vaughn will be included. Moving picture right, too, have been sold on the story, he says.

Some of the facts that have made the Vaughn family believe Joe’s history are:

(1) Joe’s brother, William Nelson, has the same first names that Jesse James had.

(2) The man who for years has claimed he was Jesse James, appearing on the stage of a New York theater in 1936 and relating some of the tales of the past, was contacted and asked what he though of Joe Vaughn’s story. He wrote back he most interesting of all the facts that have been found, He said, however, these are not his own words:

“Many years ago (about 1920, according to the Vaughn family) I visited your home in Newton County. At that time Joe Vaughn was living. My name then, to you people, was “Santa Mire” and I was taken to your house by William Nelson Vaughn because he thought I looked like his father. I was with a carnival playing at a small town near your home. I stayed all night in your home on that occasion but I saw Joe Vaughn only once, that man was my brother, Frank James.”

(It has been learned by the Vaughn family since that Frank and Jesse were at odds toward the end of their lives. Once the story is told, they rode all day trying to get the draw on the other to shoot to kill. This possibly explains the reason what the two saw each other only for a minute when they were under the same roof in 1920.)

(3) In the story written by Joe Vaughn was the statement that on a 7-acre strip of land in Sebastian County, Arkansas, there were buried two trunks, one containing clothing worn by him in the early days and another containing his guns and some loot money. Columbus says that he himself found a rock with dates cut on it on this 7-acre strip of land. The family dug down 15 feet and found two hinges, a lock and other hardware off a trunk. They thought this was the trunk that had contained clothing. The other trunk was never found.

(4) Joe Vaughn’s story conforms so nearly perfectly with information that has been brought to light on the James boys and the Vaughn family has be unable to disprove any part of this tale.

Truly, Columbus Vaughn has an interesting story of his family live. Whether he can ever convince the public that all of it is true and the disproof of the better known stories of the James boys, is a matter to decided in time. For the present it leaves a question in the minds of many persons as to which story is really true.

This original clipping may be found at