Monday, November 24, 2008

Spanish Silver and Gold in Cass County, Missouri?

(Cass County, Missouri.)

There may be a large hoard of Spanish silver and gold buried near Harrisonville in Cass County, Missouri. The County and Harrisonville, which can be found in the west-central part of the state, have long been the focus of a persistent treasure legend dating back to the 1800s.

Gold Pans

Nearly 11 Tons of Precious Metal

According to legend, sometime in 1772 a Spanish column was transiting the area carrying a large amount of gold and silver bullion. Here's a breakdown of the treasure being transported:

15 cargas (or loads) of gold with each carga weighing approximately 125 pounds

1,000 bars of pura plata or pure silver, each bar weighing about 20 pounds

Unless my math is a bit rusty, this would bring the total weight of the Spanish treasure to nearly 11 tons of precious metal, a substantial haul for any would-be treasure hunter. At today's metals prices the finder would be a very wealthy man or woman (if greedy landowners, the state, Feds, or lawyers didn't take it away first).

Metal Detectors

Fear, Buried Loot, and a Fly in the Ointment

While making their way a few miles north of Harrisonville, the Spaniards noticed Indians shadowing the column. Fearing the worst, the comandante halted his men and ordered the treasure buried nearby until the potential Indian threat had passed. This is where story grows cold because nothing much more is mentioned of the Spaniards in the treasure legend. What became of them is unknown at this point. Some say they were all subsequently killed while others suggest they abandoned the trove fearing for their lives. This poses a real "fly in the ointment" to me as far as the veracity of this tale is concerned.

Why? Here's why. The Spanish in the New World were, for the most part, very brave adventurers and soldiers. Just take a look at Cortez and Pizarro and their ability to take on the Aztecs and the Incas with abysmally small forces by comparison. Add this to the well-known fact that the Spanish were quite jealous of their gold and silver, and were extremely reluctant to give it up easily, let alone walk away from it. Hostile Indian threat or no Indian threat, it's unlikely they'd abandon such a rich amount of gold and silver.

3 Potential Leads

Despite the weakness of the story reagrding the Spaniards here are 3 potential leads that may bring new light to the entire issue:

1. The October 24, 1879 issue of the Cass County Courier-Times contains an article describing the treasure legend and its associated parameters. By researching this article and any others the Courier-Times (or other earlier or contemporary newspapers) published, additional information of value may be brought to the forefront.

2. During the 1930s a construction crew building a nearby bridge unearthed what appeared to be evidence of a battle long ago. Artifacts discovered ostensibly included parts of old weapons, armor, arrowheads, and even human remains (bones). A bit of research in local records or in the Cass County Times-Courier may shed additional light on the subject.

3. The Spanish were meticulous record keepers when it came their possessions in the New World. This includes not only land, but mines, and silver and gold coins and bullion. A bit of organized research into Spanish records of the day would undoubtedly tell you whether this column actually ever existed. A treasure trove and shipment as large as this one would not have been taken lightly by Spanish authorities and would have been carefully recorded and documented.

It's a judgment call of sorts, but there may be a vast treasure trove buried in Cass County, Missouri. Only good research will reveal the truth. Are you up to the task?

Good hunting.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "3 Key Tips for Successful Treasure Hunters"

(c) J.R. 2008

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