Sep 18, 2009, 12:00 PM
Confederate Gold Stories
Confederate Gold Stories
(Could there be any clues of recovery in these stories?)
Mystery of Lost Confederate Gold
By Wesley Millett and Gerald White
Wesley Millett and Gerald White are the authors of The Rebel and the Rose. http://hnn.us/articles/49088.html
In April 1865, the Civil War ended for most Americans. The war, and its various aspects, continues to capture the interest and imagination of many Americans who are fascinated by the battles, leaders, and strategy displayed during that conflict. Mysteries endure, too, including the ultimate disposition of the Confederate treasury.
Much of the mystery was engendered by Union officials, who greatly inflated the value of the Confederacy's treasury to several million dollars. This was probably done to increase the incentive to Union soldiers combing the villages and roads of the Carolinas and Georgia for the treasury, and for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had fled Richmond. The actual value of the treasury was probably not much more than $500,000.
The trek south of the Confederate government has been well documented in a number of first hand accounts written several years after the war. The authors were primarily participants in the evacuation of Richmond and they included Confederate cabinet officials, army officers, and treasury employees. Many of the accounts were published in the papers of the Southern Historical Society, in an effort to dispel rumors that Davis took the money for himself and his family. One treasury clerk &#8213; in particular, Micajah Clark &#8213; provided a detailed accounting of the disposition of the funds.
An aspect of the treasure that Clark omitted concerned the fate of 39 kegs of Mexican silver dollars. These were coins that the Confederacy received through the sale of cotton to Mexico. The Mexican coins had been transported to Danville, Virginia, and when the Davis party was forced to move further south, primarily by wagon, the more than 9,000 pounds of silver would have considerably slowed down the procession. For this reason, the coins were almost certainly buried in Danville, and evidence suggests, they remain there today.
The various narratives of the disbursement of the treasury end in Washington, Georgia on May 4, 1865, when two Confederate Navy officials, James A. Semple and Edward Tidball, were entrusted with $86,000 in gold. Jefferson Davis stated in his 1881 book, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, that the "transfer of the treasure was made to Mr. Semple, a bonded officer of the Navy, and his assistant, Mr. Tidball." Davis added only that the instructions to Semple were for him to attempt to deliver the gold abroad to the financial agent of the government. He was referring to the commercial house of Fraser, Trenholm & Company in Liverpool, England. Postmaster General John Reagan, who was with Davis in Danville, added more detail, recalling that the gold was to be hidden in the false bottom of a carriage. The mystery thus began when Semple and Tidball disappeared.
Tidball, for his part, decided that the war was over for him, as he was seen a few days later heading north from Georgia, accompanied by a Confederate judge and a paroled army officer. The former assistant to Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory returned to Winchester, Virginia, where he built an elaborate house, Linden Farm, and became a prominent citizen. He received a pardon in August 1865, and in 1872, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Given these events, and his extensive property, Tidball very likely profited from a disbursement of the treasury in Georgia. In fact, during a recent renovation of Linden Farm by its owner, a document found hidden in a wall confirms Tidball's possession of a portion of the gold.
For Semple, as with Tidball, history is mute on the activities of both men. In the 1938 book, Flight Into Oblivion, by A.J. Hanna, The Long Surrender by Burke Davis in 1985, and in 2001, An Honorable Defeat: the Last Days of the Confederate Government by Williams C. Davis, the mystery of the disappearing gold was unresolved. The lack of discussion in these books is not surprising. Semple did seem to disappear into the night, for he had to avoid the attention of both the enemy and paroled Confederate soldiers looking to confiscate horses and wagons in returning to their homes. Semple was also given vague instructions, which left a great deal of latitude in where he went and how he got there.
One of the clues to the former Navy paymaster and his survival after the events of May 4 were documented by Robert Seeger in his 1962 book, And Tyler, Too, which provided an in-depth look at the presidency of John Tyler and his family. The travels of James Semple and his infatuation with the widow of the president, Julia Gardiner Tyler, were mentioned in the book and provided evidence of Semple's activities on behalf of Davis and the South, even after the surrender of Confederate forces.
Corroborating evidence found in Semple's letters to Julia Gardiner Tyler, depicted a man on the run, carrying on underground activities for Davis. Instead of Liverpool, Semple eventually got as far as Nassau, after hiding out in the Okefenokee Swamp along the Georgia-Florida border for months. Ultimately, he took refuge in the North at the home of Julia Gardiner Tyler. Once called the "Rose of Long Island" for an advertisement that used her image, Julia was strikingly attractive, even at 45. She had long black hair, gray eyes, and a figure that drew dozens of suitors before she had agreed to marry the president, then 30 years her senior.
An ardent Confederate, Julia had made a difficult decision late in the war to leave Virginia for her mother's home on Staten Island, New York. Union soldiers were invading the countryside around Sherwood Forest, the Tyler plantation, and the safety of her young children was paramount. With both her husband and her mother deceased, Julia was alone on Staten Island with the children, surrounded by "Yankees" unhappy with a Southern sympathizer in their midst, even though she had been a First Lady.
Semple was drawn to Julia, and she to him, by circumstances of war and the aftermath. Unable to accept the end of the Confederacy and Northern domination over the South, he collaborated with other disenfranchised leaders exiled in Canada. Over the course of the next two years, he traveled between the U. S. and Canada in clandestine activities, often using the alias Allen S. James, his travels financed with the Confederate gold.
In Semple's mind, if the U.S. could be drawn into a war with Great Britain, the North would need the South and would ease up on letting the former Confederate States back into the Union. The Fenian Brotherhood, which was preparing to attack Canada with a growing army, seemed to be an opportunity; and with the apparent blessing of Jefferson Davis, with whom he was somehow able to exchange messages, though Davis was securely locked up in prison at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, Semple became a courier for the Fenian movement. Between the financial help he provided to Julia, payments to support his estranged wife, Leticia, and the expenses of his clandestine activities, the gold in his possession became depleted during his two years on the run.
Around that time (and probably because he could no longer finance his travels), he finally began to realize there was nothing to be gained for the South, that the Fenian army was more rhetoric than substance and was ill prepared to precipitate war between the U.S. and Great Britain.
Like most Southerners, who strongly believed their cause was right, Semple was ultimately forced to admit that the Confederacy no longer existed and could not be resurrected, that nothing more could be done. He returned to relative obscurity in his native Virginia, near where he was born in New Kent County, and turned his attention to earning a living.
Semple apparently never attempted to recover the Mexican silver dollars in Danville, for various reasons. During the months he was trying to stay ahead of his would-be captors, Danville became an encampment for the Union army. With enemy soldiers occupying the town, any effort to dig up the some 160,000 8-reale coins would have certainly been seen. Besides, Semple was done with any sort of an adventure. He was worn out, saddened by the devastation that existed in his part of the state, and the difficulty he and his neighbors were having in restoring their lives and properties. Simply putting food on the table became an essential concern.
The evidence is strong that no one else managed to dig up the silver either, quite possibly because of where it was buried… in a cemetery area. Then too, given the volume and weight of the silver, the digging would have certainly been noticed by soldiers and townspeople, whether during the day or at night under the glow of kerosene lamps. Possibly, the fact that almost 1,400 Union soldiers, former prisoners warehoused in the town, had died of smallpox, dysentery, and other diseases and were buried nearby, could also have discouraged random digging.
In any case, caches of the silver coins have reportedly been detected at several locations in the Danville search area. A Colorado company, hired by a private individual, performed a geophysical survey and employed pulse induction instruments to identify the locations of the silver (and a small amount of gold). With the technology of today, why does the specie remain buried? For one reason only. The coins are buried on city-owned land, and Danville officials, concerned about disturbing graves, continue to refuse all requests to dig, even test holes.
Perhaps the city will ultimately change its mind and enrich its coffers with the largest portion of the estimated $16 million in value.
For those who love history, dream of adventure, riches, and fame; for those really believe they'll hit the jackpot on the lottery scratch-off, for those still look up at night to see the stars and passing clouds. and for those who love to touch the past, here's a challenge to give meaning to your visions and put money in your pocket.: Whatever happened to the Confederate gold?
If you worry about the fiscal state of the country or the money in your own pocket, the gold spoils of the civil war offer hundreds of chances to expand your net worth.
Thought the Confederacy was poor and in a state of penury by the war's end? The central government still had great wealth even as the war put the administration on the run. The last Confederate Cabinet meeting presided over by Jefferson Davis was held on May 2, 1865, in Abbeville, SC, at the Burt-Stark House.
By the time Lee surrendered, five wagons of gold and silver—coins, bricks, and bars, the remains of the Confederate treasury's reserve--were loaded May 24, 1865 in Richmond, at the train depot. Captain Parker of the Navy and an escort of armed troops, guarded the gold on the ride from Richmond, Virginia, to Anderson, South Carolina. There the gold was reloaded to wagons for shipment to Savannah or Charleston.
Confederate president Jefferson Davis met the caravan at Washington, GA. Later, scouts observed Union troops near Augusta, and the caravan returned to Washington (which is now in Lincoln County).
Unknown raiders attacked the wagon train near the Dionysius Chennault Plantation (the home of an elderly Methodist minister)--only a 100 yards from the house. During the attack, the gold disappeared. Most researchers and contemporary observers believe it was hidden, but the location of this cache of riches remains a mystery.
The financial agent for the Confederacy was the English financial firm of Fraser, Trenholm & Company in Liverpool. One account has Jefferson Davis, at the meeting before the attack, authorizing two Confederate Navy officials, James A. Semple and Edward Tidball, to deliver $86,000 in gold to the firm in England.
After taking possession of the gold, the two immediately split up. Tidball headed north, returned to Virginia, and his subsequent activities offer compelling evidence that kept his share of the gold.
Semple's record is less clear. He managed to reach Nassau, returned to the States, struck a relationship with the Julia Gardiner Tyler, the widow of President James Tyler, but seemed to deplete his share after two years on the run.
Other scenarios for stash sites include wrecked ships—the gold was to be shipped out of either Savannah or Charleston--family farms, tombs and grave sites, and submerged islands, and river beds.
The most reliable account of any of the Confederate fortunate involves 39 kegs of silver coins (Mexican silver dollars, receipts for cotton sales) buried in a Danville, VA cemetery. Even with strong evidence of its presence, the city, which owns the cemetery land, steadfastly refuses to permit any survey, digging, or test drilling. The estimated current value for the silver is a million dollars.
Many gold stories settle on Georgia.
In the autumn of 1862, the mint shipped $40,000 worth of gold and silver bars bars from New Orleans to Augusta. Around the same time, after the New Orleans fell to the Union, Confederate officials seized $2.3 million in gold and $216,000 in silver specie from a New Orleans bank that stored the gold and silver in Columbus, GA
By the war's end, Union general E. L. Molineux had gained possession of $275,000 in gold and silver in Macon alone. Molineux had seized $188,000 in gold assets from a single Savannah Bank.
Yet an another $200,000 in gold coins hidden in Macon were never found.
Towns in GA, SC, and NC are frequently mentioned in folklore and first person accounts, by researchers and treasure hunters as hiding place for gold and silver caches from local banks. Much of this gold has not been found.
When the Confederate reserve was lost, Charleston's George Trenholm, the model for the movie's Rhett Butler, was the Confederate Treasurer at the time.
(Walter Rhett writes Southern Perlo from Kudu Coffee, in Charleston, S.C.)
Legend of the Lost Gold of the Confederacy
One of Washington County, Georgia's most lingering and possibly lucrative mysteries is that of the lost Confederate gold. Worth roughly $100,000 in 1865, when it disappeared, it would be a small fortune in today's dollars--around one million dollars.
On the night of May 24, 1865, two wagon trains filled with gold, one containing the last of the Confederate treasury and the other money from Virginia banks, were robbed at Chennault Crossroads in Lincoln County.
Chennault Plantation, owned by Dionysius Chennault who was an elderly planter and Methodist minister, played a significant role in the story. The gold was to be returned to France who had loaned the money to support the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis had given his word that the gold would be returned regardless of the outcome of the war. Towards the end of the war, Captain Parker of the Navy and a group of other volunteers brought the gold from Richmond, Virginia, to Anderson, South Carolina, by train and from there by wagon hoping to get to Savannah to load it on a waiting ship.
Parker was to camp outside Washington, Georgia, where he was to meet with Jefferson Davis and receive further instructions. Parker's group camped on the Chennault place and then received word to proceed on to Augusta and then Savannah, while avoiding contact with the large number of Union troops present in Georgia.
Accordingly the group set out on their assigned mission, but unfortunately their scouts met Union troops before they got to Augusta. The group returned to the Chennault Plantation. Parker was unable to receive further instructions from Davis because he had already left Washington. It was on this night that the gold disappeared in a hijacking about 100 yards from the porch of the house. One theory says that the treasure was buried at the confluence of the Apalachee and Oconee rivers. Some say that the gold was divided among the locals.
Union troops later came to the Chennault Plantation to find the gold. They tortured the occupants of the house trying to force them to reveal where the gold was hidden but to no avail. The entire Chennault family was taken to Washington, DC to undergo intensive interrogation. They were questioned thoroughly as to the whereabouts of the gold, but the Chennaults could not tell anything that was not already known. They were released a few weeks later and returned to their home in Georgia.
As time went by, the Chennault plantation became known as the "golden farm," and for many years after that people came there to search for the missing gold. Down through the years, many gold coins have been found along the dirt roads near the plantation following a heavy rain storm.
Legend persists that the treasure was hastily buried on the original grounds of Chennault Plantation and remains there today.
(WAYNESVILLE, Brantley County, Georgia. Named after Revolutionary War Hero, General "Mad" Anthony B. Wayne, Waynesville is located near the old Post Road which is the dividing line between the counties of Brantley and Glynn. In early pioneer days Waynesville was a refuge for many weary stage coach traveler. It was also an in-land sanctuary for the coastal island plantation families. There is no wonder that it was selected as the first county site for Wayne County in 1829.)
THE LORE OF REBEL GOLD
Published in The Brunswick News on Tuesday, October 28, 2003
By Ms. Amy Horton
An obscure local legend suggests that the lost Confederate treasury may have lived on nearby - or maybe not
On April 2, 1865, Confederate president Jefferson Davis fled Richmond, Va., and headed south, supposedly in possession of anywhere from $100,000 to $600,000 in coins, silver brick and gold ingots - all that remained of the Confederate Treasury.
When Davis and his entourage were captured by Union troops at Irwinville, a small town in south Georgia, on May 10, 1865 , the loot was nowhere to be found.
Various well-documented accounts alternately hold that the lost treasure was either hijacked or buried somewhere along Davis's final route - perhaps in Danville, Va., or High Point, N.C., or even Washington , Ga. , where Davis held his final cabinet meeting.
The city of Washington proudly perpetuates the tale that heavy rains in the past have left deposits of gold coins along the dirt road\s surrounding the Chennault Plantation outside of town.
(Note Received from Tom Cox, CEO, Cox Advertising & Public Relations, Inc, Oct 31, 2005) (TP 912-898-5656, 912-8985657). I own the 'Chennault Plantation in Lincoln County, Ga where the gold raid took place to take the gold and silver and coins from the Yankees on the night of May 24, 1865. We know that one wagon was re-hitched by the Confederate Raiders and driven off back toward Washington, never to be found again. We also know that several member of the cabinet traveling with President Davis were given money to spirit away until they could meet again. We know some of their names. Mumford is familiar, but I cannot place him with the cabinet at that time, though he may have been. President Davis spent two nights in my home. Varina and the children spent another prior to his arrival in early May 1865. Amazing and tragic, but proud time in our state's history.)
A more obscure legend, however, places at least part of the Confederate treasury in Waynesville, a small town situated just west of the Glynn County line in Brantley County .
What's more, according to various local sources, 138 years of wise investing has created a large fortune devoted exclusively to the betterment of young women and men born and reared in Brantley and surrounding counties.
The money at the heart of the legend is a legacy left by Mrs. Goertner "Gertrude" Mumford Parkhurst, who was born on her father Sylvester Mumford's Waynesville plantation in 1846.
According to research by the Brantley County Historical Society, the Mumford fortune was thought to have grown from all or a portion of the Confederate gold that went missing between Richmond and Irwinville.
Thomas Earl Cleland, a Brantley County native and amateur historian who organized the Brantley County Historical Society in 1994, investigated the rumors exhaustively in the mid-1990s, but could never verify them.
"I never found anyone in Brantley County willing to share with me any information pertaining to the Confederate gold, nor could I find any official record or published documents pertaining to this subject in Brantley County ," Cleland wrote in an e-mail interview with The News Oct. 20.
His account of the legend of the Confederate gold - which is contained on the historical society's Web site and in its 1999 book, "The Story of Brantley County " - is based on the writings of two coastal residents.
One, Robert Latimer Hurst of Waycross, is a retired school teacher who wrote about the legend of the Confederate gold in a 1982 book about South Georgia titled, "This Magic Wilderness. "
The other was the late Martha Mizell Puckett, a former school teacher and Brantley County native who recounted the legend of the Confederate gold in her book, "Snow White Sands."
"Mrs. Puckett suggests that the 'Confederate gold' was the monetary backing for the Mumford Scholarship program, which is still available to high school students going to college," Cleland wrote in his e-mail. "I wasn't able to confirm this."
In her book, Mrs. Puckett maintains that Mumford, a Confederate sympathizer despite being a New York native, was present at the Confederacy's final cabinet meeting in Washington . At the end of that meeting, Mrs. Puckett alleges, Jefferson Davis divided the Confederate gold among the various men present and instructed each to "use the money as he felt it should be used."
Mumford, who established a Sea Island cotton plantation near Waynesville and prospered before the war, supposedly used his portion to rebuild his fortune and to fund a great deal of charitable giving, including the support of children orphaned by the Civil War.
Some of the gold also found its way to Mumford's daughter, and according to Mrs. Puckett, Mrs. Parkhurst wanted it "back in the hands of the people to whom it belonged." Hence, when Mrs. Parkhurst died in Washington , D.C. , in 1946 at the age of 99, she bequeathed nearly $600,000 to the children of Brantley County through two scholarship funds and one endowment.
One-third was given in trust to the Presbyterian Church ( U.S.A. ) and named The Theresa Mumford Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of Mrs. Parkhurst's mother. The will specified that the money be earmarked "for the maintenance and education of white orphan girls of Brantley (formerly Wayne) County."
By 1960, the church had more income off of its principal investment than it did recipients to pay it to, so the church petitioned the courts to expand the scope of the scholarship by defining an orphan as a child who had lost at least one parent, and including residents of counties immediately surrounding Brantley.
In the late 1990s, concerned about the moral and legal ramifications of restricting the fund to "white orphan girls," the church again petitioned the courts to open it to all ethnic groups.
Over the past year alone, the church has awarded $32,000 to qualified women in Southeast Georgia , according to Kathy Smith, manager of The Theresa Mumford Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the Presbyterian Church ( U.S.A. ), which is headquartered in Louisville , Ky.
Currently, 15 young women are attending colleges or technical schools under the auspices of the fund.
Although the church has not taken steps to verify the legend of the fund's roots, Ms. Smith said she has heard whispers about its origins before.
"The dad of three girls receiving the scholarship called me one day and told me all this story about the Confederacy," she said.
Suzanne Buttram, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, had never heard the tales about lost Confederate gold, but she did report a high level of interest in the second of Mrs. Parkhurst's three bequests, the Sylvester Mumford Memorial Fund.
"The scholarship is given to students that come to Georgia College -from Brantley County ," Ms. Buttram said.
Although the number of recipients of tuition assistance from the fund fluctuates each year, the number of awards has fluctuated between 10 and 12 for the past several years, Ms. Buttram said.
Mrs. Parkhurst's will established the Sylvester Mumford Memorial Fund when the school was known as the Georgia State College for Women.
The will also established the Sylvester Mumford Endowment at the Thornwell Orphanage, now The Thornwell Home and School for Children in Clinton, S.C.
Several years ago, Mrs. Buttram was contacted by a former resident of the orphanage who was researching the history of the Parkhurst bequest to Thornwell.
"He never mentioned the Confederate aspect of it, and I never heard from him again," Ms. Buttram said.
While no one can or will confirm the veracity of the legend about the Mumford fortune, few are willing to dismiss it without further investigation.
"I have heard just vague references to it. It sounds fascinating," said Buddy Sullivan, a noted coastal historian who has written various volumes on Georgia history.
Like other tales of mysterious fortunes, including that supposedly deposited on a nearby barrier island by the infamous 18th Century pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackboard, Sullivan said the legend of Confederate gold in Brantley County may have its origins in truth.
"I look at it kind of like that Blackboard thing - where there's smoke there's fire," Sullivan said. "It's certainly something worth investigating."
NOTE: Shortly after the above article was published the following e-mail was received: My name is Terry Harrison. My father, Hubert Harrison was born at Wayn3esville in 1917. I've often heard him tell the story of two of his older brothers, sometime around 1910-1915 going to the old home site of Nell Harrison (corner of Bladen Rd, and Post Rd.) and digging for reported buried money. After a lot of digging the brothers soon lost interest. Days later another person (my father knows the name) went to the same hold and after more digging found gold bars. Thought I would pass this on to you after reading the story in tonight's Bwk News. My phone number is 912-778-4533 and my father's phone number is 912-265-2483.
Whatever Happened to the Confederate Gold? Brantley Co. Historical and Preservation Soc.
Post Office Box 1096, Nahunta, Georgia 31553
Using research from creditable sources, such as Rev. A. M. McCool, and area writer, Carr McLemore, Mr. Robert L. Hurst of Waycross brought to life the "Story of Miss Goertner Mumford," in "This Magic Wilderness." The Brantley County Historical and Preservation Society, Inc. gives thanks to Mr. Hurst for approval to re-publish this story of historical significance. We also acknowledge the writings of Rev. A. M. McCool that wrote of friendships and personal relationships with the Mumford family, Mr. Carr McLemore, "The Snow White Sands," by Mrs. Martha Mizell Puckett..
THE QUESTION OF "CONFEDERATE GOLD"
Of course, the reader tends to wonder, if a southerner lost his wealth during the Civil War, then, during reconstruction when conditions were chaotic to say the least, how could he possible re-make the type fortune Mr. Sylvester Mumford reportedly had? What about the time element and conditions? When Mr. Mumford first initiated his merchandise operations in the early 1800s, the need for such a business was there; it matched the pioneer spirit for growth. That growth continued through the plantation period of opulence, only to fall completely after the Civil War. How could this man, then, re-gain such a vast, quick wealth --unless some truth may be found in the following?
According to Ernest M. Andrews' "Georgia's Fabulous Treasure Hoards," Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet, fleeing Richmond on April 2, 1865, carried with them approximately $500,000 in specie, silver brick and gold ingots. The bulk of this treasure was in gold sovereigns obtained as a loan from England. In addition, there was another $200,000.00 in gold from the banks of Richmond...
This balance plus the $200,000 was "escorted by train or wagon train to Washington, Georgia, twice, the final resting place being somewhat of a mystery but believed buried around Washington, Georgia, or between Abbeville, South Carolina, and Washington, Georgia, possibly in the Savannah River."
Suppose here lies the fallacy. Suppose that amount, maybe placed in a false carriage bottom as some have conjectured, traveled further south, almost on the same, if not the same, route as president Davis and his entourage. Suppose prior to his Capture, Davis or one of his men (which is more likely) made a side trip to Waynesville to the Mumford home and transferred this money into Mr. Sylvester's Mumford's care. Could this money be the "nearly million dollars in trust to be used for the benefit of boys and girls of Brantley County?...
Another former area researcher, Lem Johnson, suggests the following: Between Lincolnton, Georgia, and Davis' capture at Irwinville (near Fitzgerald and Ocilla) the Confederate Gold disappeared. It is rumored around Brantley County that a side trip was made by one of Davis' soldiers to the Mumford estate. He supposedly left the gold with Mr. Mumford. Mr. Johnson cites that the possibility of this transaction holds truth because Mr. Mumford was sympathetic toward the Southern cause and because shortly after Davis' capture, it is noted, he journeyed to England for "business reasons." It is further believed that if he had the gold it was deposited because money, perhaps from the interest, from England began arriving to help area citizens "get on their feet again" during the reconstruction years following the Civil War.
Goertner Mumford Parkhurst inherited her father's wealth, and, at her death, the three scholarship funds, totaling a vast amount, were set up.
Since the "Lost Confederate Gold" story has been investigated, another tale has also slipped into the picture; this story is being whispered about the Brantley County-Wayne County area and will be the subject of another feature.
JEFF DAVIS' GOLD
Martha Mizell Puckett wrote a fascinating book entitled "Snow White Sands". Not in print at this time, according to Chris Trowell, a member of the editorial board, this 243 page volume is packed with insights and human interest stories about Southeast Georgia. Celestine Sibley, Atlanta Journal and Constitution writer, wrote that one almost becomes apologetic when that person admits he is reading reminiscences of an old country schoolteacher. However, "for a picture of South Georgia life in the era following the Civil War and up to World War I, "Snow White Sands" is unbeatable.. rich in detail which should be valuable to future novelists and historians."
One of those "unbeatable" stories told by Mrs. Puckett adds more information about the "Lost Confederate Gold." She relates that a "loving" William (Sylvester) Mumford of Waynesville, Georgia, was with President Jefferson Davis at his last cabinet meeting held in the home of Robert Tooms in Washington, Wilkes county, Georgia. "All the gold of the Confederacy was divided equally among the members of the meeting, and each one was told when they (sic) would leave there, in a few minutes, each member would fend for himself and would use the money as he felt it should be used," tells the former teacher.
Ending their last meeting and the hope of the Confederacy, though they were not sure of this knowledge until Irwinville on down the road, they left Mumford, who better than any of the others, knew this territory. After all, his estate in Waynesville had allowed him access to the entire Southeast section of the state and North Florida. He would now make his way to the coast, connect with a British steamer anchored off shore of Florida and sail for England. His family must have known of his plans, though no mention is made of them at this point.
When Mumford reached England, his first task, according to Mrs. Puckett, was to purchase and send back to Georgia three yards of fine white muslin to every orphan child in Georgia. For those who might question this state, the original writer tells that she knows of one of the foster families who went to Screven (Number 7) to collect their cloth from the train. "Mother said it was used mostly to make shrouds for the loved ones who passed away in all this desolation, devastation and destruction," informs Mrs. Puckett.
Waste was lying everywhere during this tragic time in America history. Even though this section of the country appears not to have been directly touched according to history books, this premise is not accurate. Many of the beautiful homes in Waynesville were plundered and burned, and the Presbyterian Church was stripped of its furnishings. The Brunswick and Western Railroad rails, ripped from the ground, were heated white hot in the crosstie fire heaps and bent around the giant oaks to cool. The destruction of the rails, it is said, "was done by our men trying to keep the roustabout Union soldiers from coming up from Brunswick, Georgia, to ravish, plunder, burn and destroy the rich South basin of the Great Satilla River, but it did not stop them," continues the author.
The Yankees walked up the road bed of the B and W, swimming all the deep salt-water creeks where the men had ripped up the tracks and burned the bridges. "They were met at Waynesville by Wayne citizens of over 70 and our boys under 14 (All between were with Lee in Virginia.)." narrates the storyteller, "and a terrible battle was fought, as the beautiful monument placed on the site by our beloved 'Daughters of the Confederacy' will attest."
Inscribed on the obelisk, which is a stark white in the midst of a heavily wooded area, is "Erected 1906 To Our Confederate Dead. U.D.C. 1861-1865."
Mumford also sent to South America to get enough seed corn, by way of Great Britain, to replant the whole State of Georgia," Mrs. Puckett claims. "He also built an industrial home at Macon for the orphans of Georgia. He gave a great deal of help to Thornwell, a Presbyterian home for orphans at Clinton, South Carolina."
The area educator/historian states that she does not know whether or not Mr. Mumford ever returned to his Georgia plantation "as there was a price on his head, and complete amnesty was not given until 1898 when General Joseph Wheeler was needed so badly to lead the cavalry in Cuba in the war with Spain."
Mr. Mumford's daughter, Gertrude, went to New York City where some of the gold found its way to her hands, says Mrs. Puckett, adding, "She invested and reaped well." Judge J. P. Highsmith, who was her personal lawyer, was asked by her about what she should do with the remainder of the "Confederate Gold." She wanted it back in the hands of the people to whom it belonged. Judge Highsmith suggested the educational fund for the descendants of the Confederate soldiers in Wayne (now Brantley) County; "Miss Gertrude" set up this trust for the students in Brantley, but it has expanded because more interest was derived than could be used. A 1971 report points out that the so-called "Confederate Gold" is still rolling up more interest than the program can consume.
See Article Published in The Brunswick News, Tuesday, October 28, 2003, by Ms. Amy Horton (THE LURE OF REBEL GOLD)
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Prov. 22:28
Sep 21, 2009, 01:52 PM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
I know in my area I am searching, when I was researching Swift, I ran into some "Confederate Gold" stories in the area, which I believe were allegories pertaining to a KGC gold depository in the area.
REV 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Nov 21, 2009, 07:00 AM
Knights of the Golden Circle
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
coast to coast knights of the golden circle part 1 of 3
November 14, 2009
First hour guest, author Warren Getler spoke about the Knights of the Golden
Circle (KGC) and the conspiracy to kill Lincoln. The new film, National
Treasure: Book of Secrets (for which Getler served as historical consultant)
deals with this grand conspiracy. The secretive KGC, composed of Confederates
and Masons, were said to bury gold and financially support Lincoln's
assassination. Getler shared an 1865 political engraving from the magazine
Harper's Weekly with us.
Category: Education 27th december 2007
Knights of the Golden Circle Archive and Research
Sons of Liberty and the Order of American Knights
Nov 21, 2009, 10:42 PM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
The Union did think the KGC was behind Booth and the assination, according to their internal memo's. Booth was a very wealthy man, and the most popular actor of his time, he needed no financing.
Originally Posted by SWR
And SWR is right, the KGC were pre confederacy.
Who buried what gold is the question.
Jun 16, 2010, 02:41 PM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
Confederate Gold in Grayson County, Texas ?
A history of Grayson County, Texas / Mattie Davis Lucas (Mrs. W. H. Lucas) and Mita Holsapple Hall (Mrs. H. E. Hall)
Pages 117 and 118 tell a story about $65,000 in gold that may be buried near Quantrell's campsite near Sherman, Texas. Remember this $65,000 was what it was worth in 1863. Now you can multiply that by 50 and come nearer to its value today plus, of course, numismatic value of it if it was in coin form.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bloodybillandersonmystery - our group's moderator Gayla McDowell gets credit for finding this treasure story.
Jun 16, 2010, 02:54 PM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
DOESN'T susprise me... think Texas is LOADED with GOLD; RAW, TREASURES, CACHES, ALL of it. MOST has already been found by now, and used to "build up" the GREAT state, FORMER Republic of Texas. Y'all PROBABLY got "pirates" GOLD, Spanish GOLD, Mexican GOLD, Republic of Texas GOLD, KGC GOLD, REBEL (CSA) GOLD, "Outlaw"
GOLD, "Robber Barons" GOLD, TX RANCHERS GOLD, etc. etc. Treasures, Caches, MINES, etc.
LOTS is PROBABLY "still in the ground"! ALL of which... are PROBABLY "covers" for CONFEDERATE GOLD STORIES; Look BEYOND the "BOX"! HH! GOOD LUCK!
Mar 23, 2011, 10:40 PM
Pannin' Fer Gold!! WolfPack="WP"
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
I know that this is an old topic, but a friend and I were talking about this "lost Confederate Gold" today and I pulled it up on the internet and found this thread. Pretty interesting reading. I live on the Greenwood, McCormick, Abbeville County corner. From reading this thread there is a huge chance that if the gold was hidden between Abbeville SC and Washington Ga that the gold is now under water,,,under Clarks Hill Lake!! I can see some of the gold being hidden...Put yourself in those men's boots,,,they were scared!! Scared of dieing? Not really!! No, scared of LOSING,,,not their lives,,but the losing of a dream!!,,,a dream of a Nation in which they were the head!!! These were powerful men,,,powerful men running with a lot of money...,,so yeah,,I believe that they would hide it,,hoping to come back for it to recapture their dream!!! One more thing that we need to realize, these men were not of the same mind set as we are today...I have heard General Robert E. Lee being described as "simplistic" in other words they were men of religion, men who truely FEARED GOD, men who excepted life as God gave it, men of Honor!! TRUE HONOR! They would have buried the gold with one thing in mind,,,,to use it to overcome the Northern invaders. at another time...that was their mind set! I'm not saying they were right or wrong,,,but they believed in what they were doing,,,so I guess that there could be some gold or silver buried around here....I sure would like to come across it one day while out there prospecting around...I find a little gold here in Abbeville County,,,but all I find has never been seen by humans before!!LOL!
GODS, GUNS & GUTS made this COUNTRY FREE...I'll KEEP all THREE you can have the CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 24, 2011, 10:45 AM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
Your Clark's Hill Lake idea is interesting...it might be worth a bit of effort to find some maps of the old roads from that time period and see where they were in comparison to the lake coverage area now. When was the lake made anyways?
Live each day as if it were your last. Soak in and seek love and light and shine it upon everyone who will accept it. Value your true friends like gold as they are more rare and valuable than you may ever know. Live in integrity with all men.
Mar 24, 2011, 09:22 PM
Pannin' Fer Gold!! WolfPack="WP"
Mar 27, 2011, 07:35 AM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
Pay attention to man-made lakes; here is how it is done in the mountains of WESTERN part of VIRGINIA; you have TWO mountain ridges, with a "Hollow" (aka valley... "flatland"), etc. with a creek coming down from one of the ridges... clear area in "flatland", and bury your treasure of GOLD, SILVER, JEWELRY, there. "Dam up" two ends of "flatland" with creek in the middle or something... let it "fill up" over time. Eventually, you will have a man-made lake with rumors of Buried Treasure "near-by". "Clues" are... a creek running down (MAY have been "diverted"...), man-made lake between two mountain ridges, and rumors/legends of BURIED treasure. Lived in such a place on Tobacco Row Mountain, Amherst County, Va. back in 2000 - 2001; DID find a "burial cairn", small burial mound, and a HUGE "rock shelter" called the SACRED ROCK (Native American name known but ... ). coffee?
Mar 28, 2011, 02:22 AM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
Amherst, VA huh you might know someone I know who grew up in that town....
Originally Posted by Rebel - KGC
Famous Last Words:
HOLD MY BEER!
Oct 27, 2011, 04:53 AM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
The lost gold bars haven't been lost in years. It was found but not in the area where most think. Person that has it will not come out with the fact for safety reasons and probably tax reasons. There are 26 bars. About 32M in today's prices.
Nov 06, 2011, 11:47 AM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
A fair amount of gold dust was recovered from the paddock area of Chennault Plantation. It was mixed in the red dirt. The well was searched with no finds other than small relics. There are no dirt roads left to search that we could find. The payroll that Davis had with him as he fled South from Washington through Greensboro and across the Occonne River was buried at Parks Ferry 1/2 mile from the river and recovered years ago. We did find the remnants of the 3 kegs next to the hole.
Nov 22, 2011, 08:01 PM
Re: Confederate Gold Stories
Cool stories--interesting reads!
All the best,
Mar 24, 2012, 03:03 PM
I just saw this thread so I registered to be able to input what little I know.
I live in Greenwood County SC in a subdivision on Lake Greenwood. The subdivision is named Puckett's Ferry because before the lake was built there was a man named Puckett who ran a ferry here across the Saluda River. Puckett's Ferry is where Pres. Jeff Davis and his contingent cross the river on their way to Abbeville 14 miles away. Between here and Abbeville is a community known as Cokesbury, a friend of mine owns an old antebellum home in Cokesbury and Jeff Davis stayed there as a guest. He signed one of the bedroom walls with his signature which is still there.
The story around here is that all of the Confederate Gold was in their possession when they crossed the Saluda River, yet not all of it was in their possession when they arrived in Abbeville. It's always been my theory that part of the gold was buried somewhere around Cokesbury. As far as I know no one has looked for it there.
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