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Buried Treasure
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Stories of Early Oklahoma - A collection of interesting facts, biographical sketches and stories relating to the history of Oklahoma, Assembled by Hazel Ruby McMahan (Mrs. James W.), State Historian for Oklahoma Society Daughters of American Revolution, 1945. (Copy at Oklahoma Historical Society Library, call number F/699/S7)


Almost every where on the Indian Territory side of Oklahoma from the Kansas border to Red River one can hear tales of Spanish treasure being buried, usually several "jack" loads. Practically every county on the east side of the state has a buried treasure location. In the book "Coronado's Children" written by a professor of Texas State University, two locations are mentioned in Oklahoma. Invariably the story is that the treasure was buried by Spaniards because of hostile Indian bands, who sought to take it away from them. The following story varies from the usual form, in that the gold was buried by white men and it was California gold.

In 1899 Bud Andrews rented a farm from an Indian by the name of Cornelius about ten miles southwest of Okemah, Oklahoma. This farm is now known as the Dave Maloy farm. Andrew's place was something of a half way stopping point between Wetumka and the Arbeka Trading Post, then being run by Mrs. Alice B. Davis, who later became Chieftainess of the Seminole Indian Nation.

Mr. William Marks, father of Mrs. Hardy Cochran, then lived in the "pot" country, and one November evening drove up to the Andrews place and asked for lodging for the night. It was nearly dark, he said and had been drizzling and sleeting all afternoon. While he was unhitching his team, an Indian by the name of Bob Deere, who was a neighbor of Marks, and an old man by the name of Timpkins also drove up, and asked to stay all night. Timpkins went into the house, while Deere took care of his team. Marks knew Deere very wel1, but Timpkins only by reputation.

According to Marks, Deere was a large man, six feet three inches tall, and weighed over 200 pounds, and had a 23 inch neck.

"Beside him" said Marks, who was an average sized ,man, "I looked like a boy. I asked Deere what he was doing over here, for Timpkins was never known to do a lick of work, and had the reputation of being a successful money hunter. This is the story that he told me:

"In 1852" said Deere, "I was scouting for the government, working out from Fort Gibson. A white man rode up to my house one night. He asked to stay all night. I lived between Ft. Gibson and what is now Muskogee. This man he bad wounded. I took, him in. My wife she nursed white man till he died two weeks. He and two white men started from California to go home to Tennessee. They had lots gold dust and nuggets. Took it two horses to haul it. Band of white men chased them for week. Going to take it gold. After they crossed Cayenne mountains they got away. Crossed Dog Ford on Canadanian. hid in brush, dug hole, put gold in ground. Four sacks in buffalo hide. Climbed big red oak tree, cut it picture of man with one arm, chopping knife in hand pointing down and to southwest. Started for Ft. Gibson. Fight with white men near mountain called Bald Hill. Two men killed, white man get away in dark, come to my house. See light in window. Shot all to pieces. Hurt bad. He die. Long time ago. Old man Timpkins come to my house, Shawnee town. Want me to take him to Dog Ford. He say he find that gold. Give me some when I show him Dog Ford."

The next morning according to Mr. Marks, it was still drizzling and Indian like, without saying anything to any one, Deere hitched up and drove away without his breakfast and without saying anything to Timpkins. It was about two weeks before Mr. Marks returned to his home below Shawnee-town, and then it was he fould that Deere had died with lung fever within a few days after returning home from Andrews in the Creek country.

Two years later in 1900 Mr. Marks moved from the Pot country to to the Creek Nation and rented 200 acres of land from Mrs. Alice Davis near the Arbeka trading Post. One morning in January while hunting squirrels down near Dog Ford he meet up with a Mr. Harve Malot who was at that time an employee in the Bank at Okemah run by W. H. Dill. While talking to Mr. Malot amd discussing the luck they had had that morning hunting Mr. Marks noticed a large hole near by, which had the appearance of having been recently dug and he called Mr. Malots attention to it.

"I dug that hole" said Mr. Malot.

"You did! What were you digging for?" asked Marks.

"I was digging for California gold that is supposed to be buried around here somewhere. My mineral rod located there, but I think it must have been working to gas, or something else."

Then Malot went to tell a story very similar to the story Bob Deere had told Marks, and added that about ten years before two skeletons were found on the west side of Bald Hill. They had been there a long long time by their appearance, and one of them had a bullet hole thru the skull. No solution according to Malot had been offered for them.

Marks did not tell Malot that he was acquainted with the story but he decided then and there to do a little prospecting for him self. Some two weeks after his conversation with Malot, Marks found a man's head and shoulders, and one arm, with the arem pointing downward and to the southeast, but it was carved on a big Post Oak tree, instead of a Red Oak as Deere had described it. There was not a red oak tree according to Marks ten inches through within a mile of Dog Ford.

The figure was about thirty inches long, and about six feet up from the ground. The end of arm which was supposed to have a chopping knife in the place of a hand had more the appearance of an anchor, and this was not discernable until the bark was cut' off which had grown over the carving. It all had the appearance of having been carved at least fifty years, and the fact that it was so high up on the trunk of the tree, there being a branch or two below it it had escaped the attention of hunters. Marks without further search decided he had discovered the one landmark which would disclose the place of the buried treasure.

He obtained a mineral rod, and over a peroid of 12 years dug number of holes, but he was not successful in locating the treasure. Mr. Marks thru the years did not take any one into his confidence, and it was not until 1931, over Twenty-five years later, when he took the writer to the locality and gave him the story as stated, and said:

"I am geeting old, I have never told this to a living soul before, but if you can find it you are welcome to it."

Mr. Marks died several years ago, and the story can now be released.

When we visited the place, the tree had been cut down which had the carving on it, either cut up for fuel or fence posts. However Mr. Marks went right to the spot, and pointed out the stump, which was still standing. In order to reach it one must travel the old road from Schoolton to Boley Bridge. It is approximately a quarter of a mile from the old Negro Church. Dog Ford was an old crossing on the North Canadaian river above Boley Bridge not far from the Dill ranch. Cayenne Mts. mentioned by Deere is a low range of hills in Pottawattomie county, and the Pot country was the name given to the section where Shawnee now stands. There were a number of holds but none dug in the vincity of the stump, and Mr. Marks said he could account for every one. No one has apparently prospected within a quarter of a mile of the tree which had the carving on it. Apparently mineral rod did not near it. No one has ever found the gold and again the buried money story runs true to form.

/s/ ? Maxwell

This page was last updated on 10/12/11



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