Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amarillo treasure hunter looking for gold

by Steve Myers

AMARILLO, TX -- We'd like to introduce you to John London of Amarillo, a treasure hunter recently featured on the new show, "Decoded" on the History channel.
He actually goes around the U.S. looking for gold and other precious items but it didn't begin with a successful hunt.
It all began for John back in 1966 when he lived in El Paso. A group of treasure hunters were in the area looking for the Lost Padre mine. He and a buddy went out looking for it...
All we got was blisters and a sunburn...but the bug bit me down and I"m still looking," admits John.
And while he says he's not at all like Indiana Jones, there are some similar comparisons to the the National Treasure movies with Nicholas Cage.
"Treasure has been found, this is very definitely for real, but the stuff like the DaVinci codes and the Nicholas Cage movies, they are all based on, loosely on the same things: Masonic and Knights Templar, or the Knights of the Golden Circle." (More on that in Thursday's installment about John).
Partnered with Bob Brewer for about 20 years, they've traveled all over the U-S, broken some codes, and sometimes...found what they were looking for.
He says there's still hidden treasures out there and he's actively looking for "x's" that mark the spot in more than a half dozen states.
"I'm actively looking in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, both north and south, Missouri and Kentucky."
And like most smart treasure hunters he plays his cards close to the vest about what he knows and what he's found. If he ever finds that big one...don't expect to hear about it.
"If I ever found a million dollars, I'd probably just up and disappear."
Until then...John loves to meet people and talk treasure.
I'll talk treasure as long as there's coffee in the pot."

Steve Myers began his broadcasting career in his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma at KTEN-TV, as News Director,Anchor, Reporter and Photographer.
He moved to Lawton in the mid-eighties as anchor and reporter for KSWO-TV.
In 1988, he started at KVII-TV as morning anchor. He moved up to weekend anchor and host of the single longest running local series in the Panhandle TV history, "The Waiting Child" weekly profiling a child from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Organization.
In 1993, Steve took over as the 6 & 10 anchor adding the 5:00 newscast in 2001:more than 5,000 newscasts in all.
In 2003, he moved back to Oklahoma to start up a new newscast at KJRH-TV in Tulsa. After a few months he returned to Amarillo as a Multimedia Director for AQHA and started up a local 9:00 newscast, but returned home to KVII-TV where he can be seen everyday at 5:00. Steve's also currently enrolled at WTAMU getting his Masters in Communication.

Knights of the Golden Circle. Possible names.

By Tommy Tabler
Fort Smith Military History Examiner

The Knights of the Golden Circle while being active in both the North and the South had some major names that are connected with the organization. The rumors and conspiracy that swarm around some of the men that will be named in this article are just that rumors fo.r the time being. Why is this important to the Fort Smith, Arkansas area? The answer to that question is very simple. Men like Albert Pike, Jesse James,Frank James, and General Ben McCulloch were known to be in the area during the Civil War.

Albert Pike was a Confederate officer and served at the Battle of Pea Ridge. In Bob Brewer's work Rebel Gold Pike is sighted as being the brains behind the Knights of the Golden Circle instead of George Bickley who is thought to have founded the group. An open mind is key to the study of Pike because the K.G.C. was heavy into the use of Masonic symbols. Pike was a Master Mason and the possiblity looms that he at least wrote some of the codes for the K.G.C. Pike may have been against slavery but the possiblity looms that he may have been more heavily involved in the K.G.C. than what most historians are willing to give him credit for.

With Jesse and Frank James it is no mystery why their names are linked with the K.G.C.. Jesse and Frank were both in favor of taking the fight to the Federal forces and both served in guerrila forces. Jesse and Frank are known to have robbed several stagecoaches here in Arkansas and the idea was to use and bury as much money as they could so the South could rise again. K.G.C. leadership knew that starting another war was simply not possible after the Civil War so most were going to take their time and wait to strike when the time was right. Their is simply not enough none right now as to what the James boys were up to but again Bob Brewer has cracked the code of the K.G.C. and has identified James symbols in the treasure sites he has discovered.

General Ben McCulloch was another K.G.C. leader and in Texas was in charge of the surrender General Twigg's U.S. forces. McCulloch. At the outbreak of the war the K.G.C. leadership clamied to have numbers near the 65,000 mark. McCulloch met his end at Pea Ridge but he was another member of the K.G.C. The number of members that were known and thought to be members are secondary when it is possible that the clear numbers of people in the organzation are simply not know. Anger was still deep in the South and anyone could have been a part the K.G.C..

For more information read:
Keehn, David Strong Arm of Secession The Knights of the Golden Circle in tthe Crisis of 1861 North and South Vol 10 Num6
Brewer, Bob Rebel Gold  2003 Simon & Schuster New York, New York

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

General Albert Pike

By Tommy Tabler
Fort Smith Military History Examiner

To a large number of people that live in the Fort Smith area, the name Albert Pike is simply a road that is one of the main roads in Fort Smith. Albert Pike lived what can be described mildly as an interesting life. Pike recently has been connected through movies such as National Treasure: Book of Secrets as being one of the major ringleaders of the Knights of the Golden Circle. The purpose of this article is not to look at the Freemason ties or the possible Knights of the Golden Circle ties that Pike may have had. Pikes military career is the central focus of what will be examined in this article.

Pike before the Mexican-American War started was a fairly successful lawyer up until war broke out with Mexico. Pike was not thrilled about going to war with Mexico mainly because he did not want to give up his law practice but also because he did not agree with President James K. Polk's decision to go to war with Mexico. Pike after finding out how enthusiastic his men were about going to war converted his unit to cavalry. Pike was elected a captain by his men serving under him. Pike and his cavalry was present at the Battle of Buena Vista. Problems developed after the battle with Pike and then Colonel John S. Roane. Roane had labeled the Arkansas men as having performed cowardly during the Battle of Buena Vista. Pike and Roane would later fight a duel over he remarks Roane had said but neither wounded the other and both changed their minds about the duel. Pike after the duel would return to Little Rock and from there would move to practice law in Louisiana

Pike in the years leading up to the Civil War started his practice back up in Arkansas and became the chief legal counsel to Choctaw Indians. Pike being an allies of the Indians that were in the Indian Territory would have an impact albeit a small one at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Pike was made Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and at the Battle of Pea Ridge would have a chance to prove himself as a soldier. When Generals Benjamin McCulloch and James McIntosh fell early in the battle Pike was never able to reorganize the troops and it gave the Union the advantage that was needed to defeat the Confederates. Pike's Indian troops also was reported to have committed atrocities on the battlefield. Now whether those were Union propaganda or actual events is still an open debate for historians. Pike after the events at Pea Ridge was depressed and chose to resign his commission on July 12, 1862. Pike for the remainder of his life would not be trusted by either former Confederates or the newly reformed government of the United States. Pike then chose to expand his Freemason knowledge and continue to practice law but even to this day his name comes up in conspiracy theories. Historian and history buffs can be the judge of Pike but remember to look at all sides of the argument.

For more information on Albert Pike please look at this website and this book:
Brown, Walter Lee. A Life of Albert Pike The Univeristy of Arkansas Press Fayetteville, Arkansas 1997
By Tommy Tabler
Fort Smith Military History Examiner
Thomas Tabler is a regular guy that has received a BA in History from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. Thomas is also working on a Master's Degree from the American Military University with an emphasis in Military History. Thomas' Master's Thesis is over the Fort Smith Civil War Campaign. Thomas' family lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas and he is not working on finishing his Master's Thomas is enjoying a college basketball game or watching the remainder of the NFL season.

The Knights of the Golden Circle and their importance to Arkansas History

By Tommy Tabler
Fort Smith Military History Examiner

The Knights of the Golden Circle over the past few years have become an explored topic of military history that people are curious about. For most people when the KGC is brought up the idea of treasure is not far behind. The K.G.C 's definition is not as cut and dry as what encyclopedia's have made them sound. refers to the K.G.C as being a "secret order of Southern sympathizers in the North during the Civil War." No doubt exist that their were men that were operating in the North to do to harm to the Union.

The next few articles this week will examine the K.G.C. The articles this week will also attempt to answer the question as to whether or not the K.G.C. were using the Fort Smith, Arkansas and surrounding areas to the South as places to leave money for what was the eventual plan of starting another Civil War. Recently, the History Channel performed a look over the K.G.C. that studied the question as to whether or not their is buried treasure throughout the former Confederacy. Names that have been linked to the K.G.C. will also have their own articles and it will be examined whether those men had key roles in attempting to store money so that the South could rise again. The names such as Albert Pike, Jesse James, and Frank James are worthy of study because their is simply too much smoke for their not to be a fire and evidence of those men having taken part in some K.G.C. activity.

The Knights of the Golden Circle are a group that did their best to not be found and remain hidden but over time evidence of their existence has come out. A large number of people think that their code has been cracked in how and where they hid their money for starting a new military and government to go against the Federal system that was put into place. The question as to whether or not John Wilkes Booth was a member will also be studied and examined this week. The articles that are written over the next few days are not just going to apply on a local Fort Smith front but will also expand a bit to both theaters of the Civil War in the West and the East. The people that love conspiracy and military history should enjoy the next week or so greatly. To the folks that are skeptical of the K.G.C we will both go on an interesting ride.

For more information on the Knights of the Golden Circle:
By Tommy Tabler
Fort Smith Military History Examiner
Thomas Tabler is a regular guy that has received a BA in History from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. Thomas is also working on a Master's Degree from the American Military University with an emphasis in Military History. Thomas' Master's Thesis is over the Fort Smith Civil War Campaign. Thomas' family lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas and he is not working on finishing his Master's Thomas is enjoying a college basketball game or watching the remainder of the NFL season.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How real was the so-called "Baltimore Plot'?

How real was the so-called "Baltimore Plot' to kill President-elect Lincoln when he passed through Baltimore en route to Washington?
By Frank Williams
Chairman of The Lincoln Forum

While the President-elect was in Harrisburg for his speech to the Pennsylvania legislature, he heard from Allan Pinkerton, who ran a Chicago detective agency, that there was a conspiracy to kill Lincoln while his train switched from the Culvert Street Station to the Camden Street Station in Baltimore the morning of February 23, 1861. At first, Lincoln did not believe the threat but when Fred Seward, son of Senator William Seward, confirmed the plan, with independent evidence, the President-elect was convinced and agreed to disguise himself and take an earlier train through Baltimore to Washington. He would rue this decision as he was criticized for entering the nation’s capital surreptitiously.

The evidence does reveal that a genuine plot existed to assassinate him, thanks to Pinkerton agents and New York City detectives. The plot came from the National Volunteers, a secret group aligned with the anti-Lincoln Knights of the Golden Circle. It was they, in concert, that planned to prevent Abraham Lincoln from taking the oath on March 4th. Two of the principals were a Corsican immigrant, Cipriano Ferrandini and George Sanders – advocates of violence to achieve political gains. Agents infiltrated the group when they met at Baltimore’s City Hotel and learned of the planned attack on Lincoln. While some have discounted this conspiracy, in part because the alleged conspirators were never prosecuted, the evidence does point to the plot to murder Lincoln.

Lawyer Michell J. Kline in his "The Baltimore Plot," while believing the evidence circumstantial, believes the alleged conspirators were not prosecuted because there were over 5,000 members of the National Volunteers in the city and there would be no convictions in this pro-Southern environment.

Thomas Craughwell has a work in progress for Harvard University Press in which he is convinced of the plot to kill Lincoln. I am too. The Baltimore attack on the 6th Massachusetts Regiment as it transferred stations a few weeks later is additional evidence of the mood of the city and it’s “rowdies.”

The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives

Friday, February 11, 2011

Miss. license plate to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest

OK, So news on the Knights of the Golden Circle calmed down a lot in the weeks since the OK, So news on the Knights of the Golden Circle calmed down a lot in the weeks since the Decoded programs on Booth, Lincoln, Secret Societies and Confederate Gold. I did however notice this in the news and it is only because of Nathan Bedford Forrest's alleged involvement with the KGC that I post it here. + CCC

Mississippi. license plate to honor KKK leader

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press -
Thu Feb 10, 12:38 pm ET

JACKSON, Miss. - A fight is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to sponsor a series of state-issued license plates to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which it calls the "War Between the States." The group proposes a different design each year between now and 2015, with Forrest slated for 2014.

"Seriously?" state NAACP president Derrick Johnson said when he was told about the Forrest plate. "Wow."

Forrest, a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a military genius and reviled by others for leading an 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn. Forrest was a Klan grand wizard in Tennessee after the war.

Sons of Confederate Veterans member Greg Stewart said he believes Forrest distanced himself from the Klan later in life. It's a point many historians agree upon, though some believe it was too little, too late, because the Klan had already turned violent before Forrest left.

"If Christian redemption means anything - and we all want redemption, I think - he redeemed himself in his own time, in his own actions, in his own words," Stewart said. "We should respect that."

State Department of Revenue spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said legislators would have to approve a series of Civil War license plates. She said if every group that has a specialty license plate wanted a redesign every year, it would take an inordinate amount of time from Department of Revenue employees who have other duties.

SCV has not decided what the Forrest license plate would look like, Stewart said. Opponents are using their imagination.

A Facebook group called "Mississippians Against The Commemoration Of Grand Wizard Nathan Forrest" features a drawing of a hooded klansman in the center of a regular Mississippi car tag.

Robert McElvaine, director of the history department at the private Millsaps College in Jackson, joined the Facebook group. McElvaine said Forrest's role at Fort Pillow and involvement in the Klan make him unworthy of being honored.

"The idea of celebrating such a person, whatever his accomplishments in other areas may have been, seems like a very poor idea," McElvaine told The Associated Press.

Mississippi lawmakers have shown a decidedly laissez-faire attitude toward allowing a wide variety of groups to have speciality license plates, which usually sell for an extra $30 to $50 a year. The state sells more than 100 specialty plates for everything from wildlife conservation to breast cancer awareness. One design says "God Bless America," another depicts Elvis Presley. Among the biggest sellers are NASCAR designs and one with the slogan "Choose Life."

The Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has had a state-issued specialty license plate since 2003 to raise money for restoration of Civil War-era flags. From 2003 through 2010, the design featured a small Confederate battle flag.

The Department of Revenue allowed the group to revise the license plate this year for the first of the Civil War sesquicentennial designs. The 2011 plate, now on sale, depicts the Beauvoir mansion in Biloxi, Miss., the final home of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president.

SCV wants license plates to feature Civil War battles that took place in Mississippi. It proposes a Battle of Corinth design for 2012 and Siege of Vicksburg design for 2013. Stewart said the 2015 plate would be a tribute to Confederate veterans.

Johnson, with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he's not bothered by Civil War commemorative license plates generally. But he said Mississippi shouldn't honor Forrest, who was an early leader of what he calls "a terrorist group."

"He should be viewed in the same light that we view Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden," Johnson said of Forrest. "The state of Mississippi should deny any vanity tags which would highlight racial hatred in this state."

Democratic Rep. Willie Bailey, who handles license plate requests in the House, said he has no problem with SCV seeking any design it wants.

"If they want a tag commemorating veterans of the Confederacy, I don't have a problem with it," said Bailey, who is black. "They have that right. We'll look at it. As long as it's not offensive to anybody, then they have the same rights as anybody else has."

Cherokee Brasher
Hartsook Guard Camp #2163
Bankston, AL

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Knights of the Golden Circle

The Knights of the Golden Circle. Ask any adult if they have ever heard of the name and most will say “No”. You might have one or two remember a reference to them in the movie “National Treasure” but don’t expect them to have any other frame of reference for them.  On the other hand you might ask a young boy at the local arcade or someone spending hours online engaged in some mock war where they wear their role-playing persona as a suit of amour and you might have some answer in the affirmative.  For them the K.G.C. may have been a cryptic organization that started in the past just prior to the War Between the States but has continued on underground even into the far future and even into the realms of space.  Forgotten about in history books they have survived in comic books, novels, video games and cyberspace.  For these young neo-Templar warriors the Knights of the Golden Circle are free to fight whomever and wherever their imagination can take them. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sam Houston, We Have a Problem

(This article is on the Texas Secession Convention of Feb. 1, 1861.)
"Texas became embroiled in the national politics of slavery from the beginning of its statehood process. John C. Calhoun once planned to divide Texas into six states to magnify the power of slave states in the Senate; his plan failed. The Democratic Party, which controlled most of the state’s political scene, pushed Texas further into the Deep South camp, and skepticism against the Republicans and Washington grew intense. The Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society established by Kentucky plantation owners to promote slavery in the West, spread quickly through the state, establishing “castles,” or chapters, that encouraged talk of secession as the 1850s drew to a close and fear of a Republican win in 1860 rose."

"It finally came on Feb. 1, 1861; as Houston sat in his office, upstairs the Secession Convention, led by Supreme Court Justice O.M. Roberts, demonstrated the full power of cotton and slavery interests. Each delegate had moved to Texas from a slaveholding state. Most were older and wealthier. Many were lawyers, and 70 percent were slave owners. A large number were members of the Knights of the Golden Circle. "