12 Lost Treasures of Arkansas

Arkansas was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836. Since then there have been many lost treasure stories that have been associated with this state. In the 12 lost treasures of Arkansas, you will hear stories from the James gang buried loot to lost gold and silver mines.

So sit back and enjoy the many lost treasures of Arkansas and maybe you can go out and find some of these lost treasures! Just make sure you follow all laws pertaining to metal detecting and digging in the ground. You will also want to get permission to metal detect on any private property the treasure may be located on. For more information on the legalities of metal detecting check out my article – Legal Metal Detecting: Do You Need a License?

12 Lost Treasures of Arkansas

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
James Gang Buried Loot$32,000 in cash and jewelryOld Malvern Stage route 25 miles west of Little Rock, Arkansas in the Brushy Mountains of Perry County.
Lost Indian Treasure Near Bee CreekTwo camp kettles full of gold and silver coins.Northern Boone County near Bee Creek.
Lost Spanish Silver Mine in Boone CountySilver MineBoone County near Batavia, Arkansas
John Bogs Lost Treasure$40,000 in gold and silver coins10 miles north of Searcy, Arkansas
Buried Gold Coins Near White River and Cypress Bayou$12,000 in gold coins400 feet from the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou
The Spanish Treasure of Mill Ford HollowWagon loads of silver barsIn the back entrance of a cave on the White River near Mill Ford Hollow in Arkansas
Old Spanish Treasure CaveGold and silver coins. Ancient armor and weaponsOld Spanish Treasure Cave in Gravette, Arkansas
St. Joes Lost Silver MineSilvermineSt. Joes, Arkansas
George Washington Sims Buried TreasureLifetime of WealthCrawford County in Arkansas
Brushy Creek Treasure CaveSilver and gold bars chests full of Spanish coinsGhost town of Brushy Creek in Carroll County Arkansas
Jesse James $34,000 Cache$34,000Cave near Springdale, Arkansas
Buried Spaniard GoldLoads of GoldNear twin springs located on the old Spanish Trail along the Cossatot River north of De Queen, Arkansas

James Gang Buried Loot

Photo of Jesse and Frank James 1872.

Jesse and Frank James circa 1872

Jesse and Frank James were well known in the Wild West for robbing many banks, stagecoaches, and trains. The exploits of these two wildmen have conjured up many lost treasure stories.

The James gang as they were called held up a stagecoach on January 15, 1874. The stagecoach was at the cross-section of the old Malvern Road and Gulpha creek south of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The gang ended up getting away with $32,000 in cash and jewelry from the passengers.

A posse that was in the area on a separate stakeout quickly heard about the robbery and went after the James gang. Knowing this Jesse and Frank decided to bury the loot and jewelry near a road that they were on. They buried the stolen goods and found a sandstone rock in which they carved their names and the amount of money that was to be buried. They also carved 3 figures of a cross, a bowie knife, and a 3 pronged fork.

Jesse and Frank then covered up the spot of the buried loot with the rock. Frank said later that they never did return to find the stolen loot.

A Farmer Finds the Rock

In 1928 a local farmer by the name of Gilpin was traveling the Old Malvern stagecoach road. At one point he got off of his wagon to relieve his bladder and noticed the sandstone rock that Jesse and Frank had placed there some 54 years earlier.

Thinking this was a unique find Gilpin placed the rock in his wagon and proceeded home. He kept the stone in his front yard leaning on a tree for years until finally, he decided to put it in his shed. A few of his friends would stop by and notice the stone in his shed. They would tell him about stones like that being used as markers to cover buried loot. One man brought up the story of stagecoach robbery that the James gang was connected to back in 1874.

The search for the spot he found the stone was on. It had been many years since he had found the stone and the landscape had changed because of floods, login in the area, and a fire that Gilpin couldn’t pinpoint the exact location that he found the stone.

Gilpin searched for years digging about a thousand holes in hopes that it would contain the treasure. He never did find the buried loot. It’s still buried somewhere on old Malvern stagecoach road which is located 25 miles west of Little Rock, Arkansas in the Brushy Mountains in Perry County.


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Lost Indian Treasure Near Bee Creek


The story of the Indian lost treasure starts in 1863. There was a renegade group of Indian guerrillas who had robbed some villages. They were coming from Western Missouri to their homes in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. They were hauling contraband and gold and silver coins in three wagons.

They were in Northern Boone County near Bee Creek when they noticed some white men following them. If the white men caught them it wouldn’t have mattered if they were confederate or Union soldiers the Indians would have been hanged.

The Indians decided to bury the gold and silver coins in two camp kettles. Once the loot was buried they then put the three wagons together and burned them. After that was done they got on their horses and took off for home. They planned on returning for the coin cache at a later date.

Search For The Lost Coin Cache

The group of Indians all died during the Civil war except for one. The Indian who was still alive returned to the Bee Creek area to try and find the coin cache. But when he returned to the area it had changed so much because many homes and farms had been built that he couldn’t even locate the road on which they were on when they buried the coins.

In 1900 the Indian decided he would never find the lost coin cache so he told a man by the name of Mathew Booth who lived on Bee Creek about the coin cache. The Indian finally left the area and there is no record of Mathew Booth even looking for the lost treasure.

So if you are ever in Northern Boone County Arkansas near Bee Creek you might want to take a metal detector and do some treasure hunting for the lost Indian cache.

Lost Spanish Silver Mine in Boone County

Map of Arkansas Batavia Arkansas

By Alexrk2, CC BY 3.0, Link

In the early 1700s, the Spanish had a silver mine near the present-day town of Batavia, Arkansas in Boone County. After working the mine for several years the Spanish prospectors started to get worried about the Indians in the area attacking them. So they decided to close the mine and hide the entrance. They planned on returning someday but after wars and the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 non of them or their descendants ever came back to look for the mine.

One day in 1880 at a general store near Batavia an old man of Indian and Spanish descent stopped by. He told the owner John Rea about the lost silver mine and showed him an old map that he had obtained. I’m guessing that this old man was a descendent of the Spanish miners that had the silver mine in the early 1700s.

The old man told Rea about where he thought the mine was located. He talked about a landmark named Pilot Knob. He said there should be a stream one hundred yards southwest of a large rock that’s on top of the mountain. John Rea confirmed what the old man was describing.

Search For The Mine

John Rea, his son and the old man went to Pilot Knob the next day. They walked 200 yards north of the spring and Rea and his son started digging. After they got six feet down they came upon an opening with a skeleton in it.

John and his son decided to stake mining claims all over Pilot Knob. They mined and dug tunnels for weeks but they never did find the silver mine. They finally gave up and went back to their work at the general store. The old man left the area and never returned.

That lost Spanish silver mine could still be out in Boone County near Batavia, Arkansas just waiting to be discovered!

John Bogs Lost Treasure

Photo of Historical Downtown Searcy, Arkansas

Historic Downtown Searcy, Arkansas By Photolitherland  CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

In 1852 a man by the name of John Bogs was a rich Mississippi cotton planter. He had a change of heart about owning slaves and decided to sell his cotton plantation. Bogs took the profits of the sale of his plantation and headed to the Ozark Mountains.

Bogs ended up purchasing some land about 10 miles north of Searcy, Arkansas. He started a farm on the land and would only accept gold or silver coins for the produce he sold. After years of selling farm produce and saving he had stored up about $40,000 in gold and silver coins.

During the Civil War in 1862 Bogs decided to bury his wealth because soldiers from the Union and Confederate sides were trespassing on his farm causing damage. Bogs put his savings in two fruit jars. He then buried the jars in one of his gardens. Bogs left the jars in the ground until the end of the war.

Once the war was over he decided it was safe to dig up the jars but he couldn’t find the fruit jars filled with gold and silver coins. The jars might have gone deeper into the ground over the years than Bogs had anticipated. To this day there is no account of anyone finding the fruit jars of silver and gold coins. They could still be waiting for discovery 10 miles North of Searcy, Arkansas.

Buried Gold Coins Near White River and Cypress Bayou

White River in Arkansas

White River in Arkansas By Linda Tanner (flickr user: goingslo) –  CC BY 2.0, Link

On October 17, 1899, three masked men set out to rob a train that had a strong box of $12,000 in gold coins aboard. The three men were Walter Drake, Max Perry, and Roy Hutton. They placed dynamite in a section of track that was ahead of where the train was on. Just before the train got to a bridge that ran over the Crow Creek near Forest City the dynamite went off.

As the train stopped the three masked bandits boarded the engine cab. The men held the crew at gunpoint and then placed dynamite under the train car that carried the gold. The dynamite went off and blew the car containing the strong box of gold apart killing the two guards.

The bandits quickly broke open the strongbox and filled their saddlebags with the gold coins. They then made their getaway into the woods.

A Posse is Hot on Their Trail

Perry, Hutton, and Drake ran for three days with a posse from Forest City and West Helena hot on their trail. So they decided to keep some of the gold coins and bury the rest. They rode off in different directions planning on meeting back up on Christmas Day to retrieve the buried loot.

Perry and Hutton ended up being killed in separate incidents but Drake who rode West was arrested by a Sheriff out of White County in Search, Arkansas.

Drake was put on trial and conflicted in Forest City and ended up in prison. Lawmen asked him many times where they buried the stolen loot but he wouldn’t tell them. But Drake did confide in one of his cellmates named Billy Joe Gordon of the location of the buried loot.

Drake told Gordon that the buried gold could be found at the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou. He said they stepped off paces due south from an oak tree that was 400 feet from the forks of the river. Drake said that is where they dug a hole about 4 feet down and buried the loot.

Gordon ended up getting out of prison and searched for the buried loot but he was never able to locate it.  As far as anyone knows the loot is stilled buried there waiting for discovery.

The Spanish Treasure of Mill Ford Hollow

Image of 3 silver bars

Back in the 1700s, there was a group of Spaniards that came through Mill Ford Hollow which’s located at the upper end of Beaver Lake in Arkansas. They were possibly trying to hook up to the old Spanish trail that’s located in Mississippi. That would take them to the Gulf Coast where they could get on a ship and sail back to Spain.

The Spaniards were hauling several wagon loads of silver bars that they were going to bring back to Spain with them. Indians attacked them and stole three wagons of silver. It is said that the Indians put the silver bars in the back of a cave and then sealed and hid the back entrance to the cave.

Around 1835 many white settlers had come to the area. They made a treaty with the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Osage Indian tribes that they would move west of the Arkansas boundary.

While they were being taken west across the White River at Mill Ford Hollow one of the Indians told one of the white men about the cave of silver bars that was about a quarter of a mile downriver. He told of his ancestors piling up millions of dollars worth of silver bars in the cave’s back entrance.

Silver Bars Found

Two large silver bars were found by two men in the 1890s. They were walking on a wooden road that is believed went across behind the back of the cave where the silver vars were concealed. The silver bars were just sticking out of the ground probably revealed themselves because of the years of soil erosion.

The two men went back to Fayetteville, Arkansas to get the bars assayed. The silver bars’ content came back as high. After hearing the word of this discovery many people searched in vain for the rest of the silver bars. To this day no more silver bars have been found but you can still see the entrance to the cave on a bluff overlooking Beaver Lake.

Old Spanish Treasure Cave

Old Spanish Treasure Cave

Old Spanish Treasure Cave

There is a cave that’s located on Hwy 59 that runs between Sulphur Springs and Gravette, Arkansas. It’s called the Old Spanish Treasure Cave. It’s believed that some Spanish Conquistadors that were with the Coronado party hide treasure in this cave system over 350 years ago. It is said that they sealed up the entrance to the cave but then were attacked by Indians and killed.

One day in 1885 an old Spaniard from Madrid rediscovered the cave. The story states that the Spaniard found two treasure maps. One was on a tree and the other was carved in a rock. The two maps and the treasure worth an estimated 40 million dollars in today’s money have never been found.

Evidence

But there is evidence that Spaniards had been in the area. A few items have been found over the years including gold coins, a helmet, armor, and weapons that date to the time Coronado and his men were in the area.

In the early 1900s, a man by the name of George Dunbar searched for the treasure with no luck. The Old Spanish Treasure cave was finally opened to the public and remains so to this day. They offer guided tours and you can pan for gemstones, crystals, and fossils.

It is said that the case has never been fully explored so that Spanish treasure may still be hidden somewhere deep in the cave!

St. Joes Lost Silver Mine


In the late 1800s there was an Indian named Woodward. He worked a silver mine that was near the town of St. Joe, Arkansas. The people of the town knew about this silver mine but they didn’t know where it was located because every time they followed Woodward when he went out to the mine Woodward would lose them. Whenever they asked him about the mine he would not say a word.

As time went by Woodward decided he wanted to sell his elusive silver mine. He asked some of the men in town that he wanted to sell and would take a few thousand dollars for it. The men agreed but they wanted to see the mine before they would pay. Woodward being a shrewd miner said he would take them there only if they would agree to be blindfolded and he would only take them at night.

The men agreed and Woodward took them to the silver mine with blindfolds on. When they got to the mine they took their blindfolds off and saw that the mine was rich in silver ore. The men agreed that the mine was well worth what Woodward was asking. They agreed to pay the asking price. They quickly raised the money and paid Woodward.

Woodward soon after took off for the Oklahoma Territory. When the men that bought the mine went to look for the mine they couldn’t find it. They searched for weeks but never could find Woodward’s silver mine. Many treasure seekers through the years have searched for the mine with no luck. So there could be a rich silver mien somewhere near St. Joe, Arkansas just waiting to be found!

George Washington Sims Buried Treasure

A man by the name of George Washington Sims was a soldier and fought in the war of 1812. After the war, George built a homestead in the long-gone town of Shepherd Springs in Crawford County Arkansas.

George then went to California in 1849 and struck it rich gold mining. He then came back to Crawford County and lived out his long life of 112 years. In 1890 he died but it is said that he didn’t trust the banking system and buried his wealth on his property. He lived alone and never told anyone where he buried all his money. As far as is known his treasure still lies buried somewhere on his old homestead in Crawford County Arkansas.

Brushy Creek Treasure Cave

Photo of treasure and treasure chests.

This story took place in Brushy Creek which was a small town close to the Pension Mountains in Carroll County Arkansas. Legend has it that a doctor who traveled to his patients was taken one day by some Indians. It is said that they blindfolded him and took him to a cave where an Indian boy had broken his leg and was in need of care.

When they got to the cave the doctor was allowed to take his blindfold off so that he could mend the boy’s broken leg. When they removed his blindfold he was taken aback because right there in the cave were many rooms filled with untold amounts of treasure. He saw rooms filled with ancient armor suits and weapons. There were also silver and gold bars and chests full of Spanish coins. The doctor couldn’t believe his eyes.

The doctor quickly set the boy’s broken leg. He was given some gold coins as payment for helping the boy. The Indians then blindfolded him again and brought him back to the spot that they picked him up. The Indians were never heard of again.

The doctor searched for the cave full of treasure for years but he never could find it. He believed that the cave was close to the Brushy Creek schoolhouse. That cave full of treasure could still be waiting for discovery somewhere near the old town of Brushy Creek in Carroll County Arkansas.

Jesse James $34,000 Cache

Photos of Jesse and Frank James and Belle Starr

Jesse and Frank James and Belle Star

A bank in Missouri was robbed by Jesse and Frank James, Belle Starr, and her husband a Cherokee man named Sam Star. They got away with $34,000. This group of bushwhackers took off along the old Butterfield stage route in Northwestern Arkansas. After a long ride, they decided to set up camp at Shiloh which is now called Springfield, Arkansas.

As the story goes along, a woman showed up at the samp spot in Shiloh. She said she was picking berries but she really was looking for a cave in the area that had reddish-colored rocks speckled into a bluff. She said there would be a large rock with an image of an Indian carved into it that covered the entrance to a cave. She also stated that there would be another rock below it that had the image of a ladder carved into it. She said the $34,000 from the Missouri Bank heist was hidden in that cave.

The unnamed woman searched for the cave for days but never did find it. The woman left the area never to return. So if you happen upon a couple of rocks with depictions on them in the area of Springdale, Arkansas you might want to move those rocks aside because there might be $34,000 hidden in a cave behind them!

Buried Spaniard Gold

Twin Springs Spanish Gold Map

A man by the name of John Avants built a homestead along the Cossatot River that’s located north of De Queen, Arkansas. The mountain range in the area was named the Avants Mountains after John Avants.

The legend has it that a group of Spaniards were once in the area and made camp close to a couple of twin springs that is now John Avants land. The Spaniards had 7 burros with them loaded with gold. They were ambushed by Indians who killed one of the Spaniards and stole the gold that they were hauling. The rest of the Spaniard’s fleed. It is said that the Indians buried the gold and the dead Spaniard there.

The Indians went after the Spaniards and killed most of them but a few Spaniards made it back to Mexico where they told their story.

One day a man showed up on the property of John Avants and asked John and his sons if they knew of a landmark in the area of two springs that were close to one another. John and his sons said they didn’t know of any landmarks like that in the area. The man then proceeded to tell the story of the Spaniards and that Indians attacked them and buried their gold.

Twin Springs Found

The man eventually left because he couldn’t find the landmark that he was looking for. Years later a couple of John’s sons were walking on the property when they stumbled upon two springs that were close together just like the man described years earlier.

There were some beech trees nearby that had carvings of a snake, a crescent moon, a turtle, a horseshoe, and other carvings. The boys didn’t understand what all that meant so they just carried on not thinking it was a sort of treasure map.

A couple of years later one of the Avants boys told the story to his nephew of the Indians attacking a group of Spaniards and killing one of them and burning their gold. The nephew told him how he had plowed up a skeleton close to the two springs. They then decided that there might be buried gold in that area so they started to search for it but they never did find it.

For years many treasure hunters have searched for the buried gold near the twin springs but as of yet, no one had found it. These twin springs are located on the old Spanish Trail along the Cossatot River north of De Queen, Arkansas.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the many lost treasure stories that are told about Arkansas. Like with most lost treasure stories you have to take them with a grain of salt. Many of these stories have been passed down generations and tall tales are often told after many years of storytelling.

But it’s always fun hearing these lost treasure stories and maybe doing a little treasure-seeking yourself for them. I hope you have found this article interesting and enjoyable. If you’re interested I have other lost treasure stories that you can check out like the  16 Lost Treasures of Arizona.

If you have any questions, comments, or have updates to any of these lost treasures of Arkansas please leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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