May 19, 2005, 12:36 PM
I will give out as much information as I have on these two subjects and it may pay someone in that area to do a little historical digging and maybe some real digging to hopefully find more of what I will call the Mississippi Treasures.
I am 49 years old and when I was a teen ager I heard about a man digging a dam down in the Dixie Pines area south of Hattiesburg MS (somewhere between the old beverly drive inn and Carey College as best I can recall). While he was running the bulldozer he struck something solid and turned up an old iron pot that was covered. Acording to the story the man could not store all the coins that were in the wash pot and left some on the scene. The story has it that he left the area that day and natually no one telling the story remembered his name. The coins and gold were supposed to be a cache of loot hidden by the Copeland Gang that opperated in that area in the late 1800's. I was a bit leary to this story since no evidence was given or ever shown however later on in my life I had a conversation that tended to verify this cache with an old black man at a plant where I worked. He told me as a boy he lived in that area and remembered a large tree that had several names of the Copelands carved in the trunk. He gave me the general location of it as being south of Helveston Road between there and Edwards St but he was not sure if the tree still survived. A few years later I was talking with a man from Perry County that told me that in Old Augusta which is mostly ruins now someone found a pot of Copeland gold and silver in an Iron pot. I had not discussed the previous story with him but it made sense. He indicated that the pot was found empty but he said he saw where round coins had imprinted into the sides of the iron pot.
It is my understanding the Copelands operated in the south Missisissipp, Louisana and Texas areas along the coastline and with in a hundred miles north. I read several years ago where one of them was hanged in Old Augusta and another of the gang was either shot or hanged out in the Midway Community west of Hattiesburg near Hiway 98. There may still be a bridge standing where a creek crossed the highway. I used to hunt that area and remember a very old bridge crossing a creek and what was left of an old road bed there and it matched the information in the local paper about the death of the Copeland there. It is believed that there is still some treasure buried that was never recovered.
The next treasure I will talk about I did see actual gold from this one that a banker in Richton MS had in his office. He loved to tell the story of how a man came into his bank wanting to sell the coins. He claimed he and a friend were swimming in the Leaf River near where it comes into the Pascagoula River and he dove in the water and noticed a stump or a log sticking out with a hole cut perfectly in the end of it and plugged. On his next dive he bumped the rotten wood plug and it opened the rest of the way up and he found what appeared to be some sort of a badly decomposed bundle. As he reached through the goo he felt coins and when he pulled them out discovered it was Spanish gold. He claimed at that time in the early seventies that to the best of his thinking the gold must have been that of Desotos but it was never determined. The banker claimed the man had over 100 pieces but he could only afford a couple so he bought them. There were several expedidtions of the Spanish that met indian conflict when they were exploring. I read later in the rise and fall of the Choctaw Nation that the Choctaw fought the Spanish and severly beat them on the Pascagoula way back in the early days. (im not sure on the year). This gave some verification to the story It might pay to do some research on where the battles took place back then and im sure other things may be recovered. I no longer live down there or I might take it upon myself to have a look see as well..
May 19, 2005 12:36 PM