State Treasures - Alabama

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 28 of the May, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


The Tax Man’s Lost Gold
MARENGO COUNTY – There is an old tale told of lost treasure that was lost in the Tambigbee River, southwest of the tiny hamlet of Myrtlewood.
The story goes that, in 1860, a tax collector was transporting $30,000 in gold when highwaymen approached.
Realizing he was in danger, the taxman threw the strongbox carrying the treasure into the river not far from the ford that was operating there at the time.
According to research by Michael Paul Henson, the tax collector was murdered but the highwaymen could not find the strongbox.
No recovery was ever made and it is believed the gold still lies somewhere on the bottom of the river.The Henry Nunez Treasure
BALDWIN COUNTY – About 16 miles northwest of Pensacola, Florida, where US Highway 90 crosses the Perdido River at the Alabama State line, is a buried treasure worth $110,000 reputed to be cached here.
Henry Nunez operated a ferry here during the Civil War. He is said to have buried three caches of treasure at or near his home, which sat on the Alabama side.
Two caches have been recovered but the third, buried during the war, has yet to be found.Missing Treasury of Newton
DALE COUNTY – Newton, Alabama (Lat. 31.335N, Lon. 85.605W), today is a small farming town of roughly 1,700 in population.
During the Civil War, Newton had a population of about 500 and was the county seat of Dale County.
In March of 1865, renegade federal cavalry from Florida attacked the town with the intent to burn down the Dale County Courthouse.
The townspeople got advanced word of the attack and, together with the Confederate home guard, made plans to protect the town and courthouse.
Newton had no banks and there was concern among the town fathers about protecting the town’s treasury.
Legend states they decided to entrust three local men to bury the small fortune of specie in a metal box.
Under the command of ex-Confederate colonel, Joseph Sanders, an hour before dawn on Tuesday, March 14, 1865, the renegade force attacked. In the skirmish that followed, the home guard defeated the invaders and ran them out of town.
When the Battle of Newton, as the event has become known, was over, four Newton men were dead, three of being the men who buried the treasury.
Since they had not had the opportunity to tell anyone where the town’s treasury was buried, its location is a secret they took to their grave.
Some historians dispute these figures, however, such as Mr. Alan Pitts, who claims that three of the individuals killed in the fight… “belonged to the attacking party; only one was ‘lost’ among defenders.”
Others point out that nowhere in the story of the Battle of Newton is mention of the town’s treasury being buried or lost.
This is true, but Mr. Clifton Savoy, who has researched this story and written about it, offers some explanation.
Savoy claims the story is “little-known outside Newton,” so it’s very likely that city fathers opted to keep this information quiet so it never became part of the battle story.
According to Savoy, he was given the details of this story from well-known treasure researcher, Roman Malachi, who obtained the information in 1972 from local Newton resident and historian William Ayres.
Savoy claims, “There is enough evidence (a large plaque near the courthouse telling of the defense of Newton in 1864 and court records) to prove that this incident occurred to warrant a treasure hunter’s investigation.”
To date there is no report of the treasury having been found.Lost Cannons of Fort Toulouse
ELMORE COUNTY – Fort Toulouse is located roughly 3.75 miles southeast of Wetumpka at 2521 W. Fort Toulouse Road. In 1717, the French-Louisiana government established the fort in an effort to curb expanding British colonies from Georgia and Carolina.
Anywhere from 20 to 50 French Colonial Marines garrisoned the fort and traded heavily with the local Creek Indians with whom they maintained good relations.
For years the fort struggled, largely neglected by the French Royal Government, who failed to supply it, resulting in very poor living conditions.
The fort was the scene of a mutiny in 1722 where insurgent troops murdered commanding officer Captain Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand, and seized other officers.
Leaving the officers tied up inside the fort, the rebels escaped with provisions into the surrounding countryside. Once freed, the officers enlisted the aid of the Creeks, who helped track down and capture the deserters.
Conditions at the fort slowly improved as many French soldiers married white women from Mobile, or intermarried with local Creek women.
The married men settled and developed farms about the fort and, by 1740, this domestication of the fort resulted in much better living conditions and a year-round food supply. New construction of the fort began in the late 1740’s and was completed in 1751.
But the end came in 1763 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, ending the French and Indian War.
With the French defeat, Fort Toulouse was officially closed.
That same year, the fort was excavated under the command of Director General d’Abbudie, who decided to leave behind the ordinance and military stores, citing it would be impossible to move the artillery.
Excess powder was dumped into the Coosa River, and the fort’s eight cannons were spiked and dumped from their mounts onto the fort yard.
Just two of the cannons have been found. Today, one sits in the State Department of Archives & History in Montgomery; the second is exhibited in the Wetumpka Courthouse.
The second cannon was discovered in the waters of the Coosa River near the fort and recovered sometime after September of 1931.
It is believed the remaining six lost cannons lie buried under earth and debris somewhere on the grounds of the fort, or nearby in the Coosa River.Lost and Forgotten
Forts of Alabama
Fort Mabila - (DALLAS COUNTY) Mabila was a heavily palisaded Native American village that was visited in October 1540 by Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto.
DeSoto’s expedition was ambushed here by the Indians who killed 22 of his men and seven horses.
DeSoto’s response, known as the Battle of Mabila, resulted in a loss of approximately 2,500 Native American lives before the fort and village were put to the torch by DeSoto’s men.
The exact site is lost today, but is believed to have been on the lower Cahawba River near the ghost town of Old Cahawba.
The site, dating to the Late Mississippian Period, is believed to have existed from around 1400 through 1540.Curry’s Fort – (WASHINGTON-CLARKE COUNTY LINE) This was an American settler’s fort built in 1813 and located along the Tombigbee River about 4 miles south of Jackson.
Depending on which side of the river the site is located on will determine which county it sits in.Rankin’s Fort – (WASHINGTON COUNTY) Also built in 1813, Rankin’s Fort was an American settler’s stockaded fort located somewhere on the west side of the Tombigbee River.Fort Louis de la Louisiane – (MOBILE COUNTY) The site of the first French capitol of Louisiana, active from 1702-1711.
The site regularly flooded and was relocated downriver to Mobile.
The site is lost, but is reported to have been on the Mobile River at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff near Creola.
An unknown cemetery between the town and the river may be connected to the site.Fort Bluff – (MORGAN CO
UNTY) Fort Bluff, built in 1861, was an earthworks defense built by the residents of the town of Hulaco for their own protection from Union troops.Camp Hardaway – (CRENSHAW COUNTY) Built in the 1860’s, this served as a Confederate States Army training camp.
Location unknown, but thought to have been in the vicinity of Glenwood.

Sources:
Henson, Michael Paul, America’s Lost Treasures, 1984, South Bend, Indiana, Jayco Publishing Co., p. 1, 3
Savoy, Clifton, The Enlisted Man’s Good Day, January 1993, Treasure Cache magazine, p. 19
Devine, Gen, Civil War groups to bring history to life in Newton, October 16, 2008, The Southeast Sun, Online Edition, http://www.zwire.com/news/newsstory.cfm?newsid=20167799&title=Civil+War+...
Pitts, Alan, Re: Battle of Newton, Ala., November 29, 2004, The Alabama Civil War Message Board, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/alcwmb/arch_config.pl?noframes;r...
Worthington, Gene, Lost Cannons Of Fort Toulouse, January 1970, Treasure World, p. 53
Wikipedia research: Fort Toulouse
The Anniston Star, Fort Toulouse State’s Most Historic Spot, September 30, 1931, p.4, c.1
North American Forts, American Forts East-Alabama, http://www.northamericanforts.com/East/al.html