The treasure or relic hunter will have no problem finding a site in Kentucky. There are hundreds of stories of Indians and pioneers, the Civil War, and other battles, ambushes, and skirmishes that have taken place in Kentucky, where money and loot were hidden.
Dozens of prisoners were killed in their cabins or forts, at river fords, and along the early trails. Many mining and lumber camps, riverboat landings, farmhouses, and towns have been completely abandoned.
Kentucky has more rivers and streams than any other state except Alaska, plus several large lakes. The northern boundary line of the state is approximately 653 miles from the Ohio River. The state is a treasure hunter’s paradise.
In about 1775, a group of men was exploring what is now Lewis County, Kentucky. Indians attacked them, killing several and taking a man named McCormick prisoner. At the head of Kinney, or Kinnicinick, Creek, he was tied to a tree, and the Indians prepared to burn him alive. There were several French missionaries in the Indian camp, and they convinced the Indians not to kill McCormick.
Later, the Frenchmen learned that the Indians knew the location of a rich silver vein near their camp. With the help of the Indians, the Frenchmen built a smelter and opened a mine. They worked the silver mine for two or three years, but the Indians went on the warpath during the Revolutionary War, and the Frenchmen had to leave. The mine was closed, and the silver bars were hidden close to the shelter.
This is an abbreviated version of De Bruttes’ story, which he told in 1811. He was one of the original Frenchmen to discover silver and kept a record of their operations.
The mine, or mines, are believed to be on Quick’s Run Creek or Kinney Creek, and the richest ore is supposed to be on Laurel Fork.
Later, several men worked the mines at different times; Jonathan Waite from Adams County, Ohio; Shepard; Josiah Sprinkle; George Wright and Company. Most of these men were arrested for counterfeiting.
In a letter written to the Portsmouth Press Newspaper, Portsmouth, Ohio, about 1900, Andrew Beatty (grand-nephew of the Andrew Beatty who discovered the silver mine in 1812) tells of prospecting the area between main Kinney and Triplett Creeks.
He found rich specimens of gold-bearing quartz and said the area showed every indication of free gold. He also gave directions to find one of the silver mines. For some reason (I have been unable to learn why), neither the original Andrew Beatty nor his grand-nephew ever worked the mine.
I found what I believe to be the location of the smelter in 1966. Here is how to get to where the smelter stood: Go up main Kinney (Kinniconick) Creek until you come to where a small branch runs into Kinney on your right.
Stand here facing up, Kinney; the mine is on the left side, a few yards up the hill. The mine was never reopened. All that remains of the smelter are some of the stones I assumed were used to build it.
Geologists tested zinc deposits in Lewis County in about 1900.
Their report stated that it would be worthwhile to check the deposits further. I can obtain no evidence of this ever having been done. Silver is a by-product of zinc, lead, copper, and gold.
Large deposits of “fool’s gold,” or iron pyrite, have been found in Lewis County.
This is a definite sign of real gold. Ragan’s History of Lewis County, Kentucky, tells of silver mining in early Lewis County on Quick’s Run Creek.
I believe it would be worthwhile to test the minerals of Lewis County. Since the location of one of the mines is already given, the other silver deposits could be found with a metal detector.
About ten miles north of the Kentucky state line in Bell County is Clear Creek. It runs into the Cumberland River and is about fifteen miles long. There used to be two old furnaces about halfway between the head and mouth of Clear Creek.
The first hunters found them in the 1770s. The cinders and remains of charcoal around them indicated that metal had been smelted. It was believed to have been silver. The cinders had no color of iron or rust, as they would have if the ore had been iron.
Also, furnaces have been found on the South Fork of the Cumberland River in McCreary County. It is a known fact that the French mined silver in several places in Kentucky before the French and Indian War.
It is thought that the French and Indians hid these mines so the English could never find them. Every indication of silver or some precious metal has been mined along these two streams.
Mr. Thomas Troxe, in his very fine book Legion of the Lost Mine, accurately describes the Cherokee Indians’ part in these mining operations. The Cherokee were forced out of Kentucky in 1805, and their lands were deeded to the United States.
The directions for finding the silver mine on the South Fork of the Cumberland are as follows: starting place is Little Indian Rockhouse on Laurel Creek, about two miles east of Stearns, Kentucky. Travel in a westerly direction for one day. If on the right trail, you should find a rattlesnake carved on a large rock, a small pond with a rock and tree in the center, along a curved path or trail.
The mine is in a triangle of three points:
1. “Father of Rocks” (near (Jamestown, Tennessee)
2. “Mound on top of a Mound.”
3. Ridge Cliff
These points are five miles apart. I believe there were at least two silver mines, but I can find no information on where the silver mines are located on Clear Creek. The furnaces are in what is now Furnace Branch near Chenoa, Kentucky. The furnaces were found by hunters during the first settlements, probably in the 1770s.
There is also supposed to be an Indian gold mine on the South Fork of the Cumberland River. Gold ore was discovered on the property of George Patton, near Mt. Pisgah, several years ago, but I can find no mention of the gold’s having been mined. This was in McCreary County, Kentucky.
Since the directions to one of the silver mines are given, also the location of the gold ore, I believe that with a topographical map of the area, and a metal detector, other silver mines can be located.
In 1962, John Dobbs of Coopersville, Kentucky, in McCreary County, showed me a mine opening and an old furnace, or smelter, on a small creek that flows into the South Fork of the Cumberland River. He believes that this is the location of one of the silver mines worked by the Cherokee Indians and later by the French.
In about 1900, two raccoon hunters took shelter in a cave during a severe rainstorm somewhere on a tributary of the Little Sandy River. While looking around the cave, they found gold and silver ore pieces and several Indian artifacts.
After several hours, they decided to leave when the storm had ended. Since it was still raining and dark, they became lost, reaching home a few hours later. Neither man could ever locate the cave again.
The specimens were tested and found to be high-grade gold and silver ores.
Because of the Indian artifacts found with gold and silver, it is believed that this treasure was stolen and hidden by the Indians. The stream is now considered Raccoon Creek, south of Greenup, KY.
In 1864, the Confederate Army sent out patrols all over Kentucky to find people who supported the North.
Pete Akeman was at his home near Barwick, KY. He had been, or was at that time, in the Union Army. The rebel soldiers learned where he was and went to capture him. Akeman, while trying to escape, ran up a long hill behind where he was living and made it to the top of the mountain, temporarily escaping from the soldiers.
Under, or near, a large flat rock on top of the ridge, he buried $800 in silver that his family knew he was carrying during his flight. Pete was captured the next day. He was taken to the head of Millers Branch, about three miles from where he lived, tied to a tree, and burned alive. It was learned after the war was over that he did not have any money on him when he was captured.
It is believed that Akeman did not tell his captors where the money was buried because some of his relatives found $9.50 in silver and $2.50 in gold (a quarter eagle) a few years later. The money was found near the only large flat rock on the ridge.
All of the coins are dated before 1864. It is believed that Akeman dropped the silver change and the gold coin in haste to escape or while burying the rest of the money. The remainder of the eight hundred dollars is believed to be there still.
On Quicksand Creek, near Noctor, Kentucky, in Breathitt County, is a large area of flat land called the “Round Bottom” (about 80 acres), almost completely encircled by the creek.
During the 1800s, a man named Back owned the land. One of his sons (about 70 years old in the late 1970s) told me his father had buried $5000 in gold on his farm. Just before he died, Back suffered a stroke and could not speak or walk.
When asked where he had buried the money, he pointed to a line of cedar trees behind the house. The trees are still there. The family has never found the money.
Several years later, while rebuilding a walkway in the back of the house, almost $500 in silver that had belonged to Mr. Back’s wife was found under the old stones of the original walkway, but the gold is still buried where Mr. Back put it.
A member of the Rice family of Richmond, Kentucky, said that near Richmond, on a farm, during the Civil War, a man (I have been unable to learn his name, but only that he was in the Confederate Army) converted all his property except his home into gold coins.
He told his family that he had buried the money in the front yard and would show them the location later. He went into Richmond the same day he buried the money, and during a short battle between Union and Confederate soldiers, he was killed. The family was never able to find the money.
During the early 1780s, settlers were coming into what is now Bullitt and Jefferson Counties, Kentucky. Before this, an Indian had managed to acquire a large amount of gold (probably English and Spanish coins) through fur trading, or maybe the gold was stolen during an Indian raid further North.
Somehow, it was learned that the Indian had this gold and some white men captured him. He was tortured and later killed, but he never revealed where he had hidden the gold.
The Indian had carved two symbols into a rock showing where the gold was hidden, but no one has ever learned what the two symbols mean. The carvings are in a large rock on top of a ridge known as “Button Hole Knob” in Bullitt County, named that because of the large number of fossils found nearby.
I am told the fossils are a type of ancient seaworm or snake and that the Indians used the vertebrae of these creatures for beads. The vertebra is circular.
The directions to this location are as follows: Go southwest from Louisville, KY., on Preston Highway to South Park Road, turn right and go to Blue Lick Road, turn left and go to Hutcherson Lane, turn right, go about 100 yards to Barricks Road, turn left until you come to a barricade across the road, and park here.
Walk about 300 yards straight ahead, and you will find a path that leads up the hill to your right, directly to the rocks on top of the ridge. This is Button Hole Knob.
Before 1892, Mr. James Langstaff lived in Paducah, Kentucky. He was a wealthy landowner. When he died, he left his wife a note indicating that he had buried $20,000 in gold on land he owned, either on Broadway or South Third Street. He owned extensive property on both streets.
Langstaff died in 1892.
The principal marker mentioned in the note was a cottonwood tree which his immediate survivors failed to locate, and the gold was never found. Mrs. James Langstaff kept the note until her death in the 1940s.
Mrs. Samuel Langstaff said recently that her husband was the only living relative of James Langstaff and that, to her knowledge, the money had never been found. The Library in Paducah has information on this location. This would be a perfect place to use a metal detector.
Colonel John Campbell, a Revolutionary War officer, was given, or bought, a tract of land on the site where Alleghan Hall now stands. He built a log cabin and lived in it until his death.
William Pettit later obtained the land, tore down the log cabin, and built the present house near where the cabin had stood during the late 1830s or early 1840s. With the coming of the Civil War, Pettit converted all of his cash (he was a wealthy man for the time) into gold coins.
For safekeeping, Pettit buried the coins on the farm and died before having the chance to recover them. Although many have searched for this treasure, it has never been found. Alleghan Hall is located on Nicholasville Road, just north of Stone Road, in Lexington, KY.
Most Kentuckians do not know that one of the decisive battles of the Civil War was fought near the town of Perryville, Kentucky. The battle was the turning point in the Confederates’ effort to gain control of Kentucky and its major cities.
Several historians agree that if there had been a Southern victory at Perryville, the war would have lasted longer than it did, with the possibility of a different outcome. Neither side could claim a victory in this particular battle.
The battle was fought over a large ground area, with the worst fighting taking place along Doctor’s Creek, on the hill where the Confederate Monument now stands, and at the H. P. Bottom House, a short distance away. The area is mostly farmland and is little changed from its wartime appearance.
The ground is primarily small rolling hills with little undergrowth. Most of the fields have been plowed.
There are hiking trails to the most strategic spots, where artillery was placed, where the heaviest fighting was done, and the different charges made by either Union or Confederate forces. At least two famous farmhouses used as headquarters and hospitals during the battle are still standing.
There were 22,000 Union troops and 16,000 Confederates involved in the battle. Considering the number of men on both sides-3396 Confederate and 4241 Union soldiers were either killed, wounded, or missing-there must have been a tremendous amount of equipment lost.
The possibilities of buried treasure in the form of discarded guns, knives, bayonets, bullets, cannon balls, articles of horse gear, etc., are unlimited for the treasure hunter with a metal detector. The value of authentic belt buckles, bullet boxes, and personal articles from both sides of the war is unknown and would fetch a high price today because of their age.
Minie balls, bullets, and cannon balls sell for $.75 to $5.00 each. Many of the coins found would date before 1862. Almost anything would be of value as an antique.
The area has also been a favorite spot for church and family picnics for many years.
Perryville Battlefield is now a State Park with a Civil War Museum. Permission to search will have to be obtained from State authorities. It is located just off Highway U. S. 68 and U. S. 150, north of Perryville, Kentucky.
No serious searching for this family treasure, consisting of several hundred dollars in gold and silver coins, has ever been done. The daughter (aged 60 in 1950) of the man who hid the money gave me the information. Several residents who could remember her father confirmed the story.
From 1890 to 1910, several different feuds occurred in Breathitt County. This was where one complete family would fight against another.
One such family was the McQuinns. The father, “Bad John,” was known all over the county as a no-back-talk, hard-headed, gun-totin’ Republican. John had saved several hundred dollars through the sale of bootleg whiskey and for favors he did for local politicians. The farm he owned near Williams Hill, between Noctor and Rousseau, on State Route #30, provided his family’s needs for the most part.
John reportedly hid about $700 in gold and silver coins on the farm in 1905, a lot of money for that time. He always obtained “hard money” (coins) because, as he put it, “It won’t rot and will be there when Hell freezes over.” This hidden money caused ill-feeling among John’s sons.
“Bad John” picked the wrong politician to back in a local election in late 1906. Several men were shot during the fight between the opposing factions because of a miscount in the number of votes. John McQuinn was among those who were seriously wounded.
John died without revealing the location of his $700. All the family could do was search the obvious places: barn, fireplace, corn crib, and well. No money was ever found because the family always watched one another. After several years, it became a local topic of conversation in the neighborhood.
This lost Confederate payroll near Cumberland Gap has never been reported found, although several people have searched for it.
The year is not known for sure since several different epidemics of measles happened to both armies during the Civil War, but it is believed that this incident occurred at Cumberland Gap in 1863.
A complete regiment of Confederate soldiers was quarantined for several weeks. A payroll was due in for the men. Four Rebels decided to steal the payroll and blame it on Union soldiers far away.
The four men slipped away from camp, waylaid the pay wagon, killed the paymaster and guards, and then ran the horses and wagon over a cliff, hiding the money and returning to camp. They planned to return and get the payroll later.
Shortly after the Civil War, a man came to Middlesboro, Kentucky, near Cumberland Gap, and gave his name as Jones. After about a month of searching, he found what he believed to be the location of the payroll.
Becoming afraid that because he was an ex-soldier of the Confederate Army, he might be shot, go to jail, or that the Government would take the money away from him if he removed it, he left it alone.
The man returned to the hotel and told the owner his story.
He had been in the service in Virginia with the four Rebels who had robbed the paymaster. Three of them were killed in action, and the fourth was wounded. Before dying, however, he had told his story to Jones, a good friend.
After killing the paymaster and the guards and then disposing of the wagon and horses, the four had hidden the money in a trunk in a small cave near the top of a ridge on the left-hand side of a road on the Kentucky side of Cumberland Gap. They had later been transferred to the heavier fighting in Virginia, leaving before they had had the chance to reclaim the payroll.
After telling his story, Jones left the country and, to anyone’s knowledge, never returned. The hotel owner looked for the payroll but could never find it.
Michael Paul Henson has a copy of a manuscript written in the 1770s by an Indian named Joseph, telling of four silver mines on the Little Sandy River. The starting point to the mines is an Indian carving of a crane on a large cliff at the mouth of Caney Creek, a tributary of Little Sandy River, near Newfoundland, Elliott County, KY.
In the Draper manuscripts, written in the 1830s and 1840s, the location of one of Jonathan Swift’s lost silver mines is given as being on Swift’s Camp Creek in Wolfe County, KY. Directions are: “Seven miles above the mouth of the creek (Swift’s Creek) is a natural rock bridge.
A branch is on the northwest side of the creek, a short distance below the bridge. Follow the branch to its head, then ascend the ridge, leaving the highest part of the ridge on your right. Go along the ridge to a higher point than the others, where a large rock seems to have fallen from above.
Go in between them. This is where we obtained our best ore.” Charcoal pits and the remains of a furnace have been found in this area.
In February 1871, three Cherokee Indians came to the farm of Jacob Crabtree, fifteen miles east of Irvine, KY. The Indians said they were within half a day’s journey of one of John Swift’s silver mines (lost mines in Kentucky that have been searched for many years).
The Indians went up Little Sinking Creek, then went a few miles further due east. Three or four white men followed them, but the Indians managed to slip away from them. Late the same evening, the Indians returned, bringing two buckskin bags of rich silver ore. The white men searched but could never find the location of the mine.
One of the first settlers in Carter County was named Lewis. He found, near his cabin, a large pile of cinders of unusual weight and color and had them tested by a silversmith. The result was a considerable amount of pure silver, which he had the silversmith convert into spoons for his family.
In 1960, a silver spoon with the date 1774 carved on the handle was found on a farm about one mile from Grayson.
In 1890, a bar of silver eight inches long, two inches wide, and one inch thick was found on the property of Dennis Burchett at the head of the Smokey Creek on the southwestern edge of Carter County. The source of the ore in all these instances has never been discovered.
Alan Disney, Corbin, wrote a letter to the Courier-Journal newspaper, Louisville, KY., in the 1960s, stating:
“An old Indian Chief made trips into this country from North Carolina. He once stopped to rest at the old community of Woodbine.
He told the settlers that they could shoe their horses with silver cheaper than iron if they knew what he knew. He would come with braves and horses and leave with the horses loaded with some ore. The Indians also had silver “cached” in Dry Hollow, in the southwest corner of Wayne County, KY., four miles straight north of the Tennessee line.” It is not known if the Indians ever obtained this cache.
This location of approximately $5000 in gold coins is little-known outside the area where it was hidden. If it weren’t a recorded fact, the circumstances surrounding the loss of the gold would sound like fiction.
In 1888, Joshua Tucker and Samuel Henderson owned farms in the northeast part of Christian County that were next to each other. Both men were prosperous farmers and considered well-to-do for those times.
South of where these two farms stood during the 1880s is a huge sandstone rock about 200 feet in diameter known as Pilot Rock.
The only way to the top of this stone landmark is through a narrow aperture on one side. It is in or on this formation that the gold was hidden in 1889.
Two young brothers, Coy and Clyde Fields, worked for the two farmers, Coy for Tucker and Clyde for Henderson.
A few days after the tobacco crops had been sold at a premium price that fell in 1889, Coy heard Tucker tell his wife that he thought the safest place to keep the $3000 in gold he had received would be in a flour barrel, two or three of which all the farm families held in the kitchen pantry. While visiting each other, the brothers made plans to steal the gold from both farmers and leave for Chicago.
Clyde had already convinced Mrs. Flora Henderson (she was about half her husband’s age) to leave with him after he had helped him get her husband’s money, approximately $2000.
Several days later, the plans were completed to steal the gold from both farmers on the same night, and the three would immediately leave the area. Clyde was to meet Mrs. Henderson at the barn with saddled horses after she had obtained her husband’s money, and then they would rendezvous with Coy at Pilot Rock.
At the appointed time, Mrs. Henderson showed up at the barn with her husband’s money. Unknown to her, Clyde had never really planned to take her along, and he found and gagged the surprised Flora and left on horseback to meet Coy. However, Flora managed to untie herself in a few minutes and screamed for her husband. Thinking that Clyde had raped his wife, Samuel Henderson started pursuing the helper.
At the same time this was taking place on the Henderson farm, Coy had sneaked into the kitchen of the Tucker farmhouse and emptied a flour barrel onto the floor.
Not finding the gold in the first barrel, he poured out the contents of the second into the pantry. Just as he found the leather bag of coins and was ready to leave, the kitchen door opened, and Joshua Tucker started through it with a lighted lamp.
Scared almost witless, Coy fell into the scattered flour. Gaining his footing, he bolted for the back door with the gold. Tucker grabbed his gun and managed to shoot at him but missed in the darkness.
Unknowingly, Coy left a trail of flour as he ran to meet Clyde at Pilot Rock.
Coy found Clyde waiting with only one horse, and they knew they could never get away. By this time, Samuel was riding toward Pilot Rock, chasing Clyde, and Tucker was riding a horse bareback, trailing Coy’s flour-covered tracks in the moonlight.
Tucker and Henderson, one with a shotgun and the other with a rifle, reached Pilot Rock at about the same time. Seeing the flour on the rocks around the crevice, the two men knew that the brothers had turned the horse Clyde had brought loose and had climbed the large rock, hoping the two farmers would think they were gone.
Just before dawn, thinking it was safe, Clyde and Coy started down the crevice. A shotgun and rifle blasted, and the two brothers tumbled dead. Samuel and Joshua searched around Pilot Rock thoroughly, top and base, then backtracked the brothers to both farmhouses. There was no trace of the gold.
On at least three occasions, single gold coins have been found in the area, believed by many to have been dropped by one of the Field brothers in their haste to get away from the farmers and meet at Pilot Rock so that they could leave the country.
This known cache of gold coins, buried on the old Anglin Farm, near Pactolus, KY., in Carter County, has not been reported found.
A few years before the Civil War, the three bachelor brothers, John, Bill, and Adrian Anglin, shared a large log house. It was well known to the Anglin brothers’ relatives that the three had money. They were known for being thrifty and saving, living mostly off their farm.
When most families killed three or four hogs in the fall, the Anglin brothers killed 18 to 20. They would sell most of the meat in addition to live cattle and corn crops. In this manner, they each amassed a small fortune for the times.
Bill, the eldest, always took the money he received from various sales to a country store in Oldtown, KY, where he had it converted into gold coins. He always did this on Sunday, partly to keep from taking time off from work during the week and partly because he figured that most people would be at church and wouldn’t learn or see how much money he had.
He did this for several years before the Civil War.
When news that the Civil War had started reached the Little Sandy Valley that summer of 1861, Bill, knowing that soldiers would probably be coming through the area, plundering and stealing anything they could, took his gold from its hiding place in the old log house and buried it outside.
He went on foot alone, and his brothers said he was gone about an hour. Bill told no one where he had buried the money, and he was never known to visit the location because he was afraid someone would follow him.
When the Civil War ended, Bill was, because of paralysis, unable to go to get the money. And, as he did not trust his brothers and never told them the location, they could not find it.
After his death, the house and surrounding area were searched, but according to local tradition, no money has ever been found.
In about 1900, an old black man who had worked for the Parrish family for several years asked them what he should do with $1000 he had saved in $20 gold pieces. They advised putting it in the banks in Glasgow. “Uncle Lige,” as he was known, didn’t trust banks, and since he didn’t own any property, he asked the Parrish family if he could bury the money on their farm.
A few days later, Uncle Lige brought a small iron pot, gold coins, and a broken-handled shovel to the big house on the farm. Telling the owner he would bury his money, Lige walked down Beaver Creek, around a bend, and out of sight.
He returned about thirty minutes later with only the shovel. He told the owner that the money would be buried a few steps away from the grave, on the right-hand side, if he died.
Lige died a few days later, and the landowner’s son says the money was never found. The old Parrish farm is located about four miles southwest of Glasgow.
During World War II, several moonshiners made illegal whiskey near the Hensley Settlement outside Pineville. One man is believed to have made several thousand dollars selling moonshine. He is known to have collected a large amount of gold and silver.
This money was buried on his farm. He became sick and died while being taken to the hospital by his daughter. The family searched several times for this cache, but no report of its being found can be discovered.
Check with the Police Department in Pineville on this one, as they will know the complete story.
There is believed to be a fabulous treasure of gold and jewelry left by the Cherokee before their removal west in the 1830s, buried near Frakes, KY.
About 1932, a man named Blakely came to Frakes, searching for symbols carved in rocks that were directions to this cache. He finally located the chief symbol at Bolin’s Gap near State Road #1595. He told the men with him that enough treasure was there to make the whole country rich. During his excitement, Blakely suffered a heart attack and died.
Since no treasure was found, and no one else could decipher the symbols, the incident was forgotten until recently. This treasure has never been reported as found.
On March 12, 1865, Jerome Clark (alias Sue Munday), Billy McGruder, and Henry Metcalfe, “three notorious guerrillas,” were captured in a surprise raid on a barn near Webster, Kentucky. Clark raided with Quantrill’s guerrillas for over a month throughout Kentucky.
They had robbed citizens in Nelson and Woodford Counties and burned railroad depots and stock barns. The locals around Webster still say that these three men had buried a large amount of money near the barn. There could be some truth to the story since the guerrillas had no money on them when captured. Clark was hanged on March 15 in Louisville, KY.
Frank (Screw) Andrews began his crime career in the 1920s in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a troubleshooter for the Cleveland Syndicate. At or near his home in the Tug Fork section of Newport, KY., Andrews is believed to have buried several caches of money. It was known that he was a racketeer and never paid income tax.
His activities lasted until government officials closed the racket in the 1930s. Andrews was sent to the penitentiary. He was released in 1973 and went back to the Newport-Cincinnati area. Shortly after that, he was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati, where he jumped out of a window to kill himself. None of his caches have been found.
In 1745, a branch of the Cherokee Indians lived in Carter Caves. A young brave named Huraken knew of a vein of silver. The Indians had learned the value of and how to smelt the silver ore from Frenchmen. Huraken had fashioned a one-piece peace pipe and tomahawk from silver as a gift to the chief.
While Huraken was gone on the warpath, the daughter of the chief, Huraken’s bride-to-be, committed suicide, thinking that Huraken was dead. When he returned, Huraken took her body to one of the caves and buried it inside. He never came out of the cave, and what happened to him or the location of the silver mine is still a mystery.
This may sound like a romantic legend, but there are several things to confirm it. White men found the cave in the 1700s, with the Indian girl’s grave inside. A few years ago, Benjamin Henderson, a resident of Carter, KY., found a solid silver, one-piece peace pipe and tomahawk in Smokey Valley, not far from the cave.
In 1812, Jonathan Waite, William Johnson, and a man named Swindell counterfeited silver dollars from native silver in this area. Josiah Sprinkle was tried for counterfeiting silver coins in the 1830s.
He obtained his silver ore somewhere in Smokey Valley. None of these silver locations has ever been found.
A man named Moore lived near Dycesburg about 1880. He was a bachelor and a well-to-do farmer who did not trust banks. All his money from cattle and farm produce sales were kept at home, which was believed to total over $10,000.
In 1881, he hired a man and his wife to work for him. Learning of the money Moore kept, the couple decided to rob him. During the robbery, Moore was killed without revealing where his money was hidden.
The couple was caught, the man was hanged, and his wife was one of the first women in Kentucky to receive a life sentence in prison. The money has never been reported as found.
This Kentucky outlaw cache of approximately $50,000 in gold rivals any western United States treasure story.
In 1840, John Hooper killed a man in Tennessee and fled to Kentucky, where he became known as John Brown. He bought several hundred acres of land around Pine Knob, North of Caneyville, in Grayson County, KY. Two of his sons, Pickney and Culliam, later joined him, while the rest of the family remained in Tennessee.
After joining their father, the two sons changed their names to P. H. and Dock Brown. All three were outlaws, but Dock was to gain the worst reputation. Dock’s first known robbery and murder was of a man named Frank Pugh. He obtained $150 in gold and $900 in bank bills.
On several occasions, travelers would stop at Dock’s house but would never be seen again. Reliable sources have estimated that through robbery, murder, and the sale of stolen cattle and horses, Dock Brown accumulated over $50,000. It is believed that he operated for several years with other outlaws in Mississippi and Tennessee.
Dock’s favorite hideout was Big Mouth Cave, on the north side of Pine Knob, in an area filled with caves. Somewhere in one of these caves, there is almost certainly a hidden part of Dock’s money because he didn’t put any into banks, and since he killed almost all of his own family and had no friends, he left no one anything.
It is a recorded fact that Dock Brown was probably Kentucky’s worst outlaw, and he did accumulate a small fortune during his depredations. Very little searching has been done for this hidden outlaw money, and there is no record of its being found.
Anthony Caccorna was a gambler in the 1920s. He followed the big races and was a consistent winner. Caccorna died in 1940. His personal effects were sent to a sister in Louisville.
Her son went through his uncle’s papers and found a diary of two money caches buried near Horse Cave in Hart County.
He found one cache of $3200 in a house foundation five miles east of Horse Cave. The location of the other cache could not be found. The unlocated cache is supposed to contain $12,000.
The son went into the army and was killed just before the war ended. Very few people know of this location. I can learn of no one’s having searched for it.
On the South Fork of Beargrass Creek, which runs through Louisville, is a cavern known as Eleven Jones Cave. A legend over 125 years old tells the story of this treasure site.
The Jones brothers were scoundrels who specialized as highwaymen, bank robbers, counterfeiters, and cutthroat killers during the 1830s. There were eleven gang members in all. The Eleven Jones gang used a cave on Beargrass Creek as their hideout.
In this cave, they carved out eleven manmade rooms in which they stored their ill-gotten gains, consisting of silver plates, gold, and jewelry. Some of the rooms served as their living quarters.
Finally, the Joneses died or just disappeared, leaving their treasure to the first adventuresome cave explorer who might find it. Since the big rooms in the cave have never been found, it is presumed that a cave roof collapse sealed them.
An army saber, dating to the 1830s, was found in the cave in 1949. Old pistols, coins, and brass buttons from Confederate uniforms have been found as recently as 1956. No report of the treasures being found can be learned, although several stories of the cave and its fabulous hoard have been written.