State Treasures - Mississippi

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 39 of the August, 2012 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2012 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


$200,000 Cache
Lost in Vicksburg
WARREN COUNTY - During the Civil War, the Pickett family was forced to flee from their plantation located on the northern boundary of Vicksburg as Union troops moved in. There are two accounts of what occurred.
The story states Mr. Pickett and his son buried a hoard somewhere on their plantation worth an estimated $200,000 at that time.
Both were killed during the siege and, since no one else knew where the cache was buried, it became lost.
The second version claims father and son did survive, but the family’s home was put to the torch and, when they returned later, they were unable to locate where they’d buried the cache.
Clyde Pickett, a descendant in 1929, attempted to locate the lost treasure and did find a small cache of gold and silver coins in an old oak tree. The cache, however, is not believed to be connected to the Pickett family and the family’s fortune was never recovered.

Legend of the Gold Hole
FRANKLIN COUNTY – Mississippi’s Gold Hole is a well-known site that has been in the news several times since 1927 when the first recovery effort took place.
According to legend, an enormous treasure estimated to be worth $200,000,000 was buried here in a sugar cane cauldron in a heavily wooded area somewhere between Roxie and Natchez.
Stories have survived claiming that the site has been an outlaw hideout dating to post-Revolutionary days, and later for train robbers who targeted the railroad that ran from Hamburg and Natchez.
Some believe the hideout was used by murdering road agents Micajah and Wiley Harpe, Sam Mason and others.
Later, this site is reputed to be the hideout used by train robbers who operated along the same railroad line during the Civil War and after.
But the most widely accepted belief is that train robbers operating during the first quarter of the 19th century, under the command of Jean Lafitte, maintained their hideout and cache site here.
The story states that Lafitte buried the sugar cane cauldron here that not only served as his depository for the loot taken from train hold-ups, but also the plunder Lafitte obtained during his pirating ventures.
According to RootsWeb.ancestry.com, most of the outlaws were arrested and tried, but one man managed to elude authorities.
He is said to have stumbled onto the Earhart family farm one day in pretty bad shape from his escape.
The family took him in and cared for him, but five days later he died. Before his death, he admitted to being one of the gang of train robbers working the area.
He gave the Earhart’s a map to the buried fortune to thank them for their care before he expired.
Mr. Earhart knew from the map that the treasure was buried on the neighboring Dromgoole farm. So he kept the map and made no attempt to recover the hoard.
Years later, Tom Dove bought up the Dromgoole’s land, which was handed down to his son, Revah Dove, after his father had passed away.
Revah lived on the property and was neighbors with the youngest Earhart who was now running the family’s farm.
Earhart became ill and required convalescent care, which Revah provided.
With Earhart on his deathbed, Earhart gave the treasure map to Revah as payment for his care.
In 1927, Revah used an unknown instrument to detect the exact location of the cauldron and made the first known recovery attempt. Located near an artisan well, Revah managed to locate and raise the cauldron from its watery grave.
Using a winch to raise the hoard allowed Revah to actually see the cauldron come up from below ground.
But the cable broke and the caldron fell back into the muck, sinking even deeper than it had been when Revah discovered it.
Elom Dodds, a sharecropper on the Dove farm, assembled three other treasure hunters and, with Revah, the five men would make a second attempt to recover the treasure cauldron.
Dobbs and the others again struck the cauldron and, using a special pair of tongs designed just for this purpose, began to raise the cauldron, but again the weight proved to be much greater than the tongs could handle and back into the muddy slop it went.
To make matters worse, spring rains only added to the frustration of the treasure hunters.
Over the years many new ideas were implemented in order to raise the cauldron; all failed. M.H. Bullock made three attempts at recovery.
Using pumps to minimize the mud and water at the bottom of this ever growing hole might have worked, but heavy rains were soon upon them and the pit became deluged, making the pumps worthless.
Bullock, being a determined man, wanted to know what was at the bottom of the pit.
In July 1966, Bullock and G.R. Pate filed an agreement in the office of the chancery clerk’s office of Franklin County that would grant Bullock “an undivided three-fourths interest” in any treasure recovered.
The agreement was signed by Walter White Dove, Lewis Dunbar Dove, and Thomas Leland Dove.
The document places the gold hole at T7N, R1E, S40-41 in Franklin County. But, like all prior attempts, Bullock failed.
In 1957, the gold hole was completely drained in preparation for the next effort to unearth the treasure.
A large caisson was brought to the pit so that once the cauldron was located it would enclose around the large pot to be raised.
For the next nine years this recovery effort continued and, like before, the crew was frequently hampered by rain.
In 1966 the operation ended in failure.
Bullock returned for another try three years later in 1969 and found the Gold Hole had been enlarged into a huge pit.
Erosion and subsequent excavations over the years turned the hole into a sizeable pond that threatened the old Dove home.
Today the Gold Hole has expanded into a lake covering over seven acres.
The treasure, as far as I know, remains sunken deep in the quicksand at the bottom of this lake.  

Lost & Forgotten
Mississippi Sites:
Fort St. Pierre des Yazous (WARREN COUNTY) This was a French palisaded, four-bastioned fort that existed from 1719 – 1729.
Located just north of Redwood on Snyder’s Bluff on the west side of the Yazoo River, it was also known as Fort St. Claude.
Attacked by Yazoo Indians in 1729, the fort was destroyed. The Civil War era Confederate Fort Snyder was built on top of the site of Fort St. Pierre des Yazous.
During the siege of Vicksburg this was a 20-gun Confederate stronghold.

GT: Antioch (ALCORN - PRENTISS COUNTIES) This ghost town may have been located due north of Jumpertown just over the Prentiss – Alcorn County line.
Another source claims Antioch was located just southeast of Booneville. The actual site has not been determined.
The town, looted and burned by Union troops during the Civil War, was never rebuilt and was deserted by 1868.
Old stories tell of people in Antioch, and another nearby town whose name is lost to time, burying their family wealth and valuables upon receiving the news that Union forces were advancing in 1862.
Attempts to locate the actual sites of these towns and the treasure they hold have failed. Local research may better determine the location.

The Lost Dogwood Silver Mine (NOXUBEE COUNTY) The Lost Dogwood Mine was a Choctaw silver mine worked successfully until about 1800 when the Indians abandoned it when whites started to settle in the area.
The mine is said to be located in the vicinity of Macon and maybe a natural cave.
Before abandoning the mine, the Choctaw planted six dogwood trees in front of the cave / mine’s entrance to mark it for later.
But it was never re-opened and remains lost today.
Alibamu Indian Fort (OKTIBBEHA – CLAY COUNTIES?) An Alibamu Indian village visited in April 1541 by Hernando DeSoto is said to be located on or near Line Creek, according to DeSoto’s expedition documents.
Line Creek runs through southern Clay County near the Oktibbeha County line about 9.5 miles north/northeast of Starkville.
The Spanish attacked the fort, losing seven men and moved on finding nothing of value.
The Indian fort existed from around 1400 – 1600. Actual location unknown. 

Sources:
Pallante, Anthony, “Mississippi,” March 2000, Lost Treasure p.50
Bishop, Edward Allen, “Riddle of Mississippi’s Mysterious Gold Hole,” September 1970, Treasure World, p. 36
Chapman, Beth, “Legend of the Gold Hole,” June 26, 2000, Brookhaven, MS, Brookhaven Daily Leader and the American History & Genealogy Project, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~msfrank2/goldhole.htm
North American Forts: Mississippi, http://www.northamericanforts.com/East/ms.html
Terry, Thomas P., “US Treasure Atlas – Volume 5,” 1985, La Crosse, WI, Specialty Publishing Company, p. 528, 537.