I always wanted to find treasure, especially some pirate treasure.
I remember that one morning, when I was in third grade, I created a treasure adventure for myself. Without telling anyone, I went to our backyard with a shovel and dug many holes around our big oak tree. I was looking for a pirates' treasure chest, and I was sure they had buried one under our tree.
Of course, I never stopped to think that we lived 700 miles from the ocean--hardly a distance that pirates would travel overland. So I never found the treasure. But I had fun looking (and filling in the holes later when my parents found out)!
Here are some treasure stories I have written.
Many treasure hunters think alike, and spots that once held treasure have been picked apart by greedy enthusiasts. To find such attractive treasure, you must think creatively and try to put yourself in the past. You must begin to think as if you were at the scene when the treasure was lost or hidden. By doing this, you can analyze the situation with a freshness that may lead you right to the valuables.
Take the case of the treasure still located on the south side of the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border. In 1892, Lewis Franklin Palmore was appointed the first federal marshal in Indian Territory, the area that is now Oklahoma. One of his first encounters with criminals occurred two years later. Four men robbed the First National Bank in Bowie, Texas, and headed north, stopping for the night on the south bank of the flooded Red River.
That night Palmore received a telegram from the city marshal of Bowie informing him that the robbers were headed for Indian Territory. Palmore realized that the robbers would have to ford the flooded river at Rock Crossing. The next morning, when the robbers saw that a posse was approaching from the south, they plunged into the river at Rock Crossing and swam beside their horses. Palmore and two deputies waited on the other side and arrested them. In their saddlebags, Palmore found $18,000 in paper money, which had been divided evenly among them. Surprisingly, $10,000 in twenty dollar gold pieces was nowhere to be found.
The robbers were taken to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Judge Roy Parker conducted a trial and sentenced them to hang. With nooses around their necks, the robbers were seated on their horses, waiting for their execution. One of them leaned toward Palmore and told him that the gold coins had been hidden near the robbers' final campsite, on the south bank of the Red River. Although Palmore searched the area many times for the cache of coins, he never found it. He passed the story on to his son, Frank, who searched the site before metal detectors became popular.
Frank Palmore believes that to find the coins the treasure tracker must visualize the way the flooded river was in 1894. How high was the water? Where would the riverbanks have been? And where would the robbers have camped? Palmore says that a tracker might get help from local people who remember where Rock Crossing was. The coins will be found, Palmore writes, "somewhere between the bridge on Highway 81 and the mouth of the Little Wichita."
Copyright © James M. Deem. Taken from How to Hunt Buried Treasure (Houghton Mifflin, 1994). All rights reserved.