A Woman's Place
Back in the early 1800s wealthy land owner Hippolyte Chretien II and his beautiful, vivacious wife Felicity lived on their large plantation in south-central Louisiana near modern-day Sunset in St. Landry Parish. Although Hippolyte supervised most of the necessary work around the plantation, Felicity refused to play the role of a typical Southern Belle and often took an active part in these activities. This behavior on his wife's part was not only out of the norm for the times, but it also stuck in Hippolyte's chauvinistic "craw." In his mind, a woman's place was in the home and not out in the fields.
$625,000 in Silver and Gold
One item that Hippolyte did exercise total control over, however, was the plantation's finances. In this he confided to no one except his manservant, Pajo. Only Hippolyte and Pajo knew that nearly $625,000 (face value) in gold and silver bullion as well as French, United States, and Spanish silver and gold coins lay buried about the plantation grounds.
(Old gold and silver coins form part of Hippolyte's lost trove.)
Whether this immensely rich treasure trove (worth millions of dollars in today's money) was buried en masse or spread out in smaller, separate caches is not known. What is known, however, is that Hippolyte contracted yellow fever and went to his grave without revealing to Felicity the nature, nor the location(s), of the treasure buried on the property.
Pajo Speaks of Buried Treasure
When Pajo himself was elderly and on his deathbed, Felicity and the rest of the Chretien family learned for the first time of the vast treasure trove that Hippolyte had hidden. But Pajo's memory was shaky and unclear as he approached his final hour, and he could not remember the exact location(s) of the gold and silver.
However, he was able to recall that at least one large trove was buried some distance from the rear of the plantation manor house, perhaps near Bayou Teche. Soon afterward, Pajo died. Felicity and other Chretien family members (including Hippolyte and Felicity's son) spent countless hours attempting to locate the gold and silver cache that Pajo described, but to no avail.
Millions Near Bayou Teche?
Felicity died in the 1850s without ever finding one bit of the immense wealth buried on her property. Since she herself amassed a vast fortune after Hippolyte's death, perhaps the drive to locate the silver and gold just wasn't that strong. Whatever the reason or reasons, Hippolyte's treasure trove remains buried and awaiting recovery.
There are definitely enough details in this treasure legend to fuel basic research and perhaps open new leads. Are you up to task? If so, millions in gold and silver may await you somewhere near Bayou Teche.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "3 Lost Treasures in Washington State"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2012
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org