State Treasure - Georgia

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the November, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

Tales of Cherokee Gold
(GWINNETT – FULTON COUNTY LINE) – During the Georgia gold rush, the “29ers” covered much of the north state in search of gold.
They opened up old Spanish and Cherokee mines, some of which had been closed for over a century.
After the death of former President Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the state of Georgia began an anti-Indian movement that resulted in the Cherokee removal of 1838, also known as the Trail of Tears.
Forced to leave without any personal belongings, the Cherokees are reputed to have buried gold at several sites throughout north Georgia.
For the Duluth area there is a legend about a Cherokee village that was located at the confluence of the Chattahoochee River and Craig’s Creek. Ruins of the village have been found “along two old Indian trails,” though research failed to identify Craig’s Creek.
This may be an old place name no longer in use. Local research will be necessary.
The story claims the Cherokee buried five pots of treasure in this vicinity and left markings behind to help re-locate the hoard later. It has been reported that one of these pots was unintentionally unearthed decades ago by a farmer plowing his field.
Two caches are said to have been recovered by descendants of those who buried the treasure in 1909.
The other two, to date, remain unaccounted for.Unraveling the
Waterhouse Mystery
WHITFIELD COUNTY – What happened to William Waterhouse? Perhaps genealogy research of the Waterhouse family from Whitfield and Catoosa County, Georgia, could answer this question.
William Waterhouse, a farmer from Keith, Georgia (Catoosa County) was last heard from on August 7th or 8th, 1890, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
There, it is alleged that he told his story to a Chattanooga newspaper, of a “cave in the fastness of the mountains,” that he and some friends found which contained 1,000 gold bars.
The Cherokee are believed to have hidden the gold here before their forced march on the Trail of Tears.
Waterhouse stated he intended to recover the hoard, but needed to raise funds for an expedition to return to the cave and remove the treasure. It was the last time Waterhouse was seen alive.
Known today as the Waterhouse Treasure, this story has been well researched and remains highly disputed in treasure hunting circles.
I attempted to find the original newspaper account on Google or at Newspaper, but neither had the story.
It makes sense that Waterhouse would’ve gone to Chattanooga to publish the story and to raise funds, since it was the largest population center in the region and less then 20 miles from Waterhouse’s Farm.
Research complied by Ernest Andrews, author of the book, Georgia’s Fabulous Treasure Hoards (1965), states Andrews located the Waterhouse family who then owned a hotel in Cohutta, Georgia, six miles northeast of Keith.
Since Waterhouse’s disappearance could not be explained by his descendants, or if they had ever heard the story before Andrews contacted them is unclear.
Based on the quoted newspaper account, alleged to have originated with the still unknown Chattanooga Newspaper, a “cave in the fastness of the mountains,” the only description provided by Waterhouse himself, fails to give any clue as to the cave’s actual location.
Andrews claims his research led him to Rocky Face Mountain, where legend today pretty much fixes the location of this treasure.
By the by, Rocky Face Mountain is located 2.8 miles northwest of Dalton, which, if correct, would place the cave near the center of the old Dalton-Cherokee gold fields.
Rocky Face runs north to south roughly 35 miles long and is 15 miles wide.
Why Andrews believed the treasure was on Rocky Face is unknown. But others have questioned Andrews’ claim, suggesting it is highly unlikely that Waterhouse would have been on Rocky Face.
It is claimed the original newspaper account reported that Waterhouse and friends were hunting at the time when their hunting dog chased game into the cave leading to the gold’s discovery.
The question raised is, why would Waterhouse have been hunting that far from home when he could’ve hunted closer?
According to a number of sources, the Chattanooga newspaper claims the gold bars found were six feet long, nine inches wide, and nine inches thick, and said bars were covered by 1/4 inch of copper to disguise them.
At this size each bar would weigh close to 4,000 pounds.
It has been suggested that the newspaper simply got the size incorrect, leading some to believe the size of the cache more likely was made up of smaller bars stacked perhaps to a height of six feet.
Pouring molten gold into copper sheaths was a method used by the Spanish into the 1600’s to protect and disguise the gold before transporting it.
Rocky Face was also part of the Dalton defenses during the Civil War and relic hunters claim to have found much here.
Use caution if searching this area; limestone caves are well known and many are snake dens for Rattlesnakes and Copperheads.
There may be some truth to this story, however, the original newspaper source must be identified and a copy of the original story obtained.
Likewise it would be beneficial to find Andrews’ book to see how he came to the conclusion that Waterhouse was hunting on Rocky Face when the treasure was discovered.
Genealogy research to determine the true fate of Waterhouse would also shed more light on this story.Strange Vicissitudes
SCREVEN COUNTY – Hunting ghost towns for relics is a favorite pastime of mine.
But if you plan to check out the ghost town of Jacksonborough, the former county seat of Screven County, you do so at your own risk!
Today, the county seat is in Sylvania, a small, quaint southern village that came into existence as a result of the Jacksonborough Curse.
Founded in 1797 by Solomon and Mary Gross, who donated 50 acres to the Screven County Commissioners, Jacksonborough grew and became the hub of business and commerce for the county.
With prosperity and growth, Jacksonborough later incorporated as the City of Jacksonborough.
Then, in 1820, the city was called upon by eccentric and popular circuit preacher Lorenzo Dow, aka: “Crazy Dow” (October 16, 1777 – February 2, 1834).
Dow always attracted large crowds in America and Britain, and liked to appear unexpectedly at public events, announcing that one year from today he’d return and preach on this very spot.
Exactly 365 days later Dow would return and deliver his hell-fire and brimstone sermon to huge crowds.
Dow held his audiences of 10,000 or more spellbound in these open-air assemblies.
His influence was felt strongly in the U.S., where many American children were named after him, making Lorenzo one of the most popular names according to the U.S. Census of 1850.
But, being a fierce abolitionist, Dow’s sermons weren’t always well received in the South.
While delivering his sermon at the Jacksonborough Methodist Church, some drunken local boys threw bricks through the windows in protest.
Dow caught up with the hooligans later that evening in a local tavern, where he busted open a keg of whiskey and was immediately pummeled by the thugs.
Dow then proceeded on horseback throughout Jacksonborough yelling, “Repent, brethren, repent!”
The townsfolk, offended at the implication they were in need of redemption, responded by hurling rotten eggs, tomatoes, stones and anything at hand at Dow.
Climbing down from his horse undaunted, Dow again grabbed an iron tool and broke open a second barrel of whiskey before the stunned onlookers.
An angry mob surrounded Dow just as Seaborn Goodall, a fellow Methodist and Mason, entered the fray thus rescuing the Sheppard from his wrathful flock.
Goodall took Dow in for the night, likely saving his life.
The next day, as Dow rode out of town, he was taunted as people hurled objects at him in disdain.
As he was leaving, the vexed preacher is said to have placed a curse on the town.
After Dow was gone every house, public building and business, except Goodall’s home, suffered mysterious fires or were destroyed by strong winds.
Today the only thing marking the site of this cursed town is the Goodall home, known today as the Dell-Goodall House on highway 301 a few miles north of Sylvania.Sources:
About North Georgia, Lost Treasures and Ghost Towns of the North Georgia Mountains,
Terry, Thomas P., U.S. Treasure Atlas – Volume 3, 1985, La Crosse, WI, Specialty Publishing Company, p. 276, 288
Wiki Treasure:
TreasureNet Forum: North Georgia Treasures,,100583.0/topicseen.html
Professor Jeff Wells, The Jacksonborough Curse, April 27, 2008,