Wednesday, November 16, 2011
A Family Memory of KGC Gold? (Part 1)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2011
PHOTO:(An "insider" pamphlet on the KGC; old treatises like this contain valuable clues for those hunting KGC caches.)
Casting an Interesting Light
As is often the case here at "Treasure Trove Dreams," I receive messages from all sorts of folks interested in learning more about possible James Boys' (Frank and Jesse) and Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) caches and troves. Sometimes these exchanges between myself and those of you out there can cast an interesting light on the topic of the James' and the KGC, and the exchange laid out below is no exception.
I promised to maintain this writer's anonymity and location. Suffice it to say she is a high-spirited, extremely perceptive, and highly literate lady of the Deep South whom I shall call Miss G. These are her words (and mine) with only slight editing and formatting changes for readability:
"My name is Miss G. I'm a born Southerner currently living and teaching in (XYZ), my dad's home state, but my Mom hails from (for the most part) Arkansas."
"Confederate Money Under A Black Walnut"
"I won't bore you with family lineages, but here's the 'why' of this email: My mother has spent lots of time and energy and made much progress with her family genealogy. Recently, a letter turned up (hand written in long-hand cursive) that references 'Confederate money' buried in a 'Prince Albert' tobacco can at my great-grandmother's house in Arkansas."
"Supposedly, Jesse and Frank James buried the 'Confederate money' after the Civil War underneath a black walnut tree. One family member did (again, allegedly) dig around the stump of the tree (thought to be the correct one) but did not find 'Confederate money' or a 'Prince Albert' can.'"
"I do remember tales from my grandfather that Frank and Jesse James came through this region of Arkansas several times and even 'hid out' once or twice in the area. My question to you is this: Does it make any sense to you that anyone would bury 'Confederate money' after the Civil War under a black walnut tree in a 'Prince Albert' tobacco can?"
"To what purpose? The whole idea seems ludicrous...until one considers the code and symbols of the KGC, right? Am I reaching here, or have we stumbled upon a family memory of some KGC gold?"
"Thank you for the message. Let me try and answer your query."
Confederate Money Was Virtually Worthless
"Your questioning of why anyone would bury a Prince Albert can full of Confederate States of America (CSA) notes after the Civil War is valid. I do not know of one instance of Frank or Jesse James (or the James Gang as a whole) ever burying caches of CSA money. Even during the height of the Civil War in the South proper, people preferred gold or silver coinage or even the hated Yankee paper money."
"Why? Because they knew that Confederate money was virtually worthless, despite the nobility of the Southern cause. In fact, CSA paper money was commonly known as 'shin plasters,' a demeaning reference during those times."
(Note: Shin plasters were an old medical remedy made of cheap paper and sometimes containing mustard or other natural plants or minerals. They were slapped over the ailing area and left to 'remove noxious vapors' and the like. They were said to be pretty much worthless in relieving pain. Thus the paper money connotation. J.R.)
The Safest Means of Funding KGC Enterprises
"So back to Jesse James...Jesse, Frank, and the Boys nearly always dealt in hard currency (silver and gold...bullion or coins). There are some instances of robbery caches containing U.S. paper money, but not many. No instances of burying CSA notes, for reasons already stated."
"As far as KGC caches and troves are concerned, the same could be said. KGC operatives knew (just as we know today) that precious metals and coinage or bullion would be the safest means of funding any enterprise in times of turmoil or instability or in the future proper."
A Post-Hole Bank?
"I think what you have stumbled on here is more along the lines of what we treasure hunters call a 'post-hole' type bank or cache. These small caches are usually composed of a tobacco tin (or some other small tin container of the period), small ceramic or metal-ware container, or Mason type jar filled with anything from gold and silver coins to jewelry, documents, mementos, paper currency, etc."
"What may lay on your family property is still an exciting thing though...it's a piece of history..your family history that still awaits recovery. It would be great if you could recover it."
(Update Note: I wondered how long it would take for a savvy reader to realize that Prince Albert tobacco tins were not introduced until 1907. So David, good job! However, Miss G. had also mentioned this in a later e-mail to me...this will be published Part 2 of this series. J.R.)
There's more to come so stay tuned. In the meantime be safe out there.
(c) J.R. 2011
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org