There is no doubt that Tennessee has its share of precious metals, including placer gold in various locations within the state. In my gold mining blog, "Bedrock Dreams," I've even written a post for small-scale or recreational gold miners titled, "Gold in the Southeast: Tennessee".
The Volunteer State also has an extensive lost treasure legend history, and that is the real subject of this particular post. Here are 2 lost gold and treasure legends in Tennessee that may prove interesting if you're looking to score:
1. Lost Gold Nuggets of Big Clear Creek: By mid-1849 word of the tremendously rich California goldfields had reached Tennessee inspiring many young Tennesseans to leave their homes and hearths for the chance at striking it rich in the Motherlode Region. Prominent among these was a young man I will call "Albert Johnson" (not his real name).
Albert spent at least 5 years amassing a large fortune of gold nuggets in the California placer mines before returning to his hometown of Wartburg (now Wartburg City in Morgan County). Albert never kept the bulk of his gold at his home but instead buried it in a number of separate caches on the bluffs above Big Clear Creek. Although Albert verbally revealed the locations of his treasure caches to relatives while on his deathbed, searches for those troves proved fruitless at the time and in subsequent years.
Perhaps what Albert's relatives could have put to good use at the time was a state-of-the-art metal detector, something that wouldn't come down the pike for nearly another 100 years. Either way, if caches of placer gold nuggets are buried on the bluffs above Big Clear Creek, an adept treasure hunter with a 2-box or other type of deep-seeking detector should be able to verify or discount this treasure legend.
(Note: Obviously, more research is needed on this legend. It sounds somewhat similar to other treasure legends concerning buried placer gold belonging to a returning '49er. Additionally, was there a real "Albert Johnson" or is this treasure tale just another "will-o'-the-wisp?")
2. Jackson Gold Coin Caches: A number of small-to-moderate sized treasure caches containing gold U.S. type coins have been recovered in the past 30 years in and around Jackson in Madison County. One of the best-known recoveries occurred in the mid-1980s when over $4,500 (face value) in gold coins was accidentally unearthed by a construction crew. Many of these coins were $10 gold pieces in excellent condition and a few were numismatically rare to boot.
Additionally, smaller finds of gold coin caches have been reported by a number of coin hunters and treasure hunters searching around old buildings and home sites in and around Jackson. General theory has it that theses caches were either buried loot from robberies or the accumulated wealth of various citizens who once inhabited Jackson. Chief among these latter were bankers, business owners, and wealthy landowners.
(Note: Since there has been some publicity over a few of these finds in the past, basic research should yield additional details and potential leads to develop. As always, stay circumspect in your pursuit of information on Jackson area treasure troves and try to gain salient info from some of the locals, if you can.)
So there you have it. Lost gold in Tennessee, some of it recovered and some of it awaiting discovery by a well-informed and well-equipped treasure hunter. Perhaps that's you.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Treasure Hunting Questions and Answers: Part 1"
(c) J.R. 2009
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org