State Treasure - Kentucky

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 52 of the March, 2012 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2012 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

The Columbus–First
Myth…Is It Important?
POWELL – JEFFERSON – CHRISTIAN COUNTIES – All of us were taught about Christopher Columbus, who discovered America in 1492. Columbus’ arrival marked the beginning of the end for indigenous Americans, but for the Anglo European settlers who came later, Columbus was a hero. But did he actually discover America? Yes and no.
Yes, Columbus “discovered” America for Spain, which resulted in a common awareness among Europeans that the American continents existed in the west.
No, because the indigenous Americans who’d occupied these continents for millennia already knew about America and well knew where they lived.
Compelling evidence found over the past couple centuries has raised speculation that perhaps Columbus was in fact a latecomer to North America, and African seafarers, the Vikings, or the Chinese in 1421 were the actual “discoverers” of America. Regardless, Columbus himself was neither a hero nor discoverer, he was an interloper. For us, as treasure hunters, is who discovered America all that important?
Absolutely. By the time you start your field work you should not only be well versed in the accepted history as taught for your target area, but in any reasonable challenges to that accepted history.
Treasure hunters and archaeologist both turn to history for research and to explain artifacts found in the field.
But as treasure hunters we’re not held to the same standard of interpretation. Keep an open mind - you could be the one who finds that missing piece of evidence that will re-write history.
Scholars who have to justify every penny spent will always dismiss any theory or evidence when it challenges the accepted “norm,” even when faced with artifacts whose origin and age have been authenticated.
The artifact isn’t the problem; where it was found in North America is. Most of these artifacts are documented and stored, but officially they’re regarded as strange curiosities, anomalies, and will likely remain unexplained until something else is found that causes science to reexamine the evidence.
Before academia will break from the old standard, either irrefutable evidence must be found or the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence has to be compelling enough to justify a new understanding of history.
Case in point - in 1823, Judge John Haywood wrote his book, “Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee,” and tells of a number of Roman coins dating to the first and second centuries having been plowed up by different farmers, all near Jackson, Tennessee.
Other first and second century Roman and Hebrew coins were later found in Kentucky and Illinois.
Around 1940, Joseph Bray of Pleasure Ridge Park, Kentucky (Jefferson County), unearthed a Hebrew coin while gardening that was dated 133 A.D.
In 1950, at Hopkinsville, Kentucky (Christian County), another Hebrew coin of the same vintage was found.
Two years later, in 1952, Robert Cox of Clay City (Powell County) found a Hebrew coin also dated 133 A.D. on his walk to church in a freshly plowed field.
More recently another one turned up near Chicago in the late 1970’s.
After authenticating these recoveries, Dr. Cyrus Gordon of the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, and Dr. Barry Fell, of the Epigraphic Society, Arlington, Massachusetts, both theorized that a Pre-Columbian Jewish colony may have existed in Kentucky more than 2,000 years ago. It is believed to have possibly been along a pre-historic trade route extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
Following that line of thought, I wanted to see if there was any merit to this trade route theory.
I mapped the site where the first ancient coins were found in 1823 at Jackson, Tennessee.
Then I mapped the three Kentucky locations where similar coins were recovered at different times.
The map work produced some surprising results.
What I discovered is that, by starting at Galveston Bay, Texas, and following a northeast heading of 37˚ - 38˚ degrees for 1,099 miles, you’ll arrive at Cleveland, Ohio, at Lake Erie.
The first coins found in Jackson, Tennessee, were 540 miles northeast of Galveston Bay with a heading of 37˚.
From Jackson, the second coin was found at Hopkinsville, 114 miles northeast of Jackson, and the third coin was found at Pleasure Ridge Park, another 126 miles further northeast, all three sites being on the 37° - 38° degree heading.
The forth coin unearthed at Clay City is the only one discovered not holding true to this heading, having been found 107 miles east of Pleasure Ridge Park.
So Gordon and Fell’s ancient trade route theory could hold water.
Local research at these sites could produce additional coins from this era or other artifact evidence of this ancient trade route.Cherokee Underground:
Dead Treasure
Hunter Tells No Tales
BELL COUNTY – The man’s name is only remembered as “Lakely.” Mr. Lakely is described as having a dark complexion, husky in build, about 50 years of age and having Native American features.
He was reported to be very well educated, accustomed to outdoor life, and in good physical shape. Little else is known.
Author and treasure hunter Michael Paul Henson investigated this story in 1973-74 and wrote… “I believe this is one of the most authentic treasure sites in Kentucky, and the treasure hunter who breaks the mysterious code will be rich.”
Lakely carried a map with him that he closely guarded. The story Henson documented states in 1932, Lakely arrived in the tiny hamlet of Frakes, Kentucky, claiming he was an herb doctor from North Carolina.
Lakely made no secret of the fact that he was searching for a petroglyph site with specific symbols carved into rock; if located he could determine the site where a large buried treasure was cached by Cherokee Indians shortly before their removal to Oklahoma in 1838.
Lakely rented a cabin in Frakes, which became his home for the next year.
During this time he’d spend his days walking through the mountainous area in the immediate vicinity, sometimes alone, sometimes he hired a local guide, such as Patrick Partin, since he was unfamiliar with the terrain.
Lakely developed a close friendship with Patrick and the Partin family and, though he never showed anyone his treasure map, Partin knew Lakely had identified a number of key landmarks on his map to local geological features. After about a year in Frakes, Henson stated Lakely finally found what he was looking for.
Henson wrote, “He finally located the carvings on one of the ridges. It was part of the Pine Mountain Range about two miles west of Frakes on County Road 1595.”
(My map research shows State Highway 1595 west of Frakes; this is likely what Henson refers to as a “County Road.”)
If Henson’s estimate is accurate, the petroglyph site would be on Highway 1595 in the vicinity of the Bell / Whitley County Line.
Lakely checked the symbols on his map to determine if they were a match to those at the petroglyph site. They were.
Ecstatic, Lakely was overheard by his guide to utter something to the effect that there was enough treasure to make everyone in the county rich.
Before the men could ponder their next move, Lakely was stricken by a heart attack and expired at the scene.
Bell County Sheriff George Gibson investigated; Lakely’s death was ruled to be of natural causes.
The sheriff took custody of Lakely’s possessions and tracked down his only known relative, his daughter living in Greenville, North Carolina.
She said she knew her father had been looking for a large buried treasure for years, but she hadn’t heard from him in over two years.
She never claimed Lakely’s body or property; he was buried at Frakes.
His treasure map made its way into the hands of the Partin family who still had it in 1973-74 when Henson interviewed Patrick Partin.
Henson also spoke with Douglass Hammontree, a grandnephew of Sheriff Gibson, and they interviewed a number of local residents who remembered Lakely.
It was clear Lakely believed the treasure existed, which he reported consisted of mostly gold and some jewelry.
Henson visited the petroglyph site and wrote, "They had been cut into rock with a sharp metal tool and were very old.
"Some of them are almost obliterated by erosion, but the symbol with the arrows, which caused Lakely’s death, is still plain."
In March 1974, Henson received a copy of Lakely’s original map. He said the map measured 3 x 7 inches and was hand-drawn in pencil on old-fashioned, blue-lined yellow tablet paper.
Lakely was the sole interpreter of this Cherokee treasure map and its cryptic symbols; when he died so did the key to finding this lost Cherokee treasure.
Random searches have occurred, but as no one knows where to start looking, nothing was ever found.Sources:
Henson, Michael Paul, “Found – Ancient Hebrew Coins,” January 1980, Lost Treasure, p. 31
Wikipedia Research: Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact,
Henson, Michael Paul, “Mysterious Treasure of Kentucky,” March 1976, Lost Treasure, p. 28.