Albert Atwell is the global moderator of
the popular Rockhound's NEW Treasure
Hunter's Forum. He has researched the Beale story for many decades and his
expertise on this subject is widely recognized. He provides us with the
following insights, written in the first person.
TJB did not bury the treasure;
it was a man by the name of Thomas Read. Part of the Job Print Pamphlet is true
but the rest is made up and there is a reason for this as we found out over
ten years ago.
When Thomas Read and his partners buried the first treasure in 1819,
they borrowed a wagon with a hoist from the Sheriff of Bedford County, an
Otey. I have his name in my research but can not recall it at the present.
While lifting the heavy pots of gold and silver and placing them in their
resting place, Thomas Read and party busted the wagon's side boards and
broke the hoist. This is on record at the Bedford County Courthouse. When
Thomas Read left and went back west, the Sheriff filed for damages to his
wagon somewhere around $22. Thomas Read was nowhere around for two years to
answer these charges as he was back out west. In the Fall of 1821, word was
passed along by a mail courier to Sheriff Otey that Thomas Read and his
men were coming across through Fincastle and Buchannon towards Bedford County.
Sheriff Otey put together a posse of his relatives mostly the Oteys,
Lucks and Bufords. They took several of their slaves along and armed
them. When Thomas Read was approached by the posse near Apple Orchard
Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Overstreet Tavern as it was called
back then, Sheriff Otey stopped the wagon train and told Thomas Read,
he was under arrest for damages to his property. Thomas Read and his men
along with several Indians did not want to be arrested or to have their
wagons searched, so they put up a fight. Of course it was a
massacre. Read, his men, and the Indians were killed. The Indians were buried at
the ambush site. When the gold, silver and jewels were found, they loaded
Read and his men onto the wagons and pack horses and buried them in a clump
of trees in an open field which the Rev. George P. Luck purchased
or inherited from his father who was in on the massacre.
Ten years ago, we arranged a meeting with descendants of the
Oteys, Lucks and Bufords on top of Porter's Mountain near Montvale,
Virginia. That night several family members were present as well as news
reporters and television crews. A descendant of the Otey family, Frank Otey
Smith and a descendant of the Luck Family, James (Jimmy Luck) were present. We
confronted them about the massacre and the name of the man that buried the
treasure Thomas Read. They both reported that the story was true. They
said all of their kin had kept this secret for over 175 years and only
their family members knew that Thomas Read had buried the treasure but
only a few knew of the massacre of Read and his men, and the finding of the
treasure in the wagons.
James Beverly Ward and
William Buford went together and purchased Wilkerson's Mill on Goose Creek at
the advice of Paschal Buford. This tale was told to James Beverly Ward about the
treasure of 1819 still missing. The Job Print Pamphlet was printed to flush out
anyone that may have the "KEY" to Thomas Read's Cipher Papers that were found
among his belongings before he was buried. Code paper number two was made up to
let everyone know that there was a lot of treasure out there yet to be found.
The original codes were only partially revealed in the Job Print Pamphlet so
that anyone finding some words from a "key" would have to come to James Beverly
Ward or his kin with the "key". Once they got the "Key" they could then pull out
the original code papers and solve the location of the treasure. Pauline Innis
in her new book Gold in the Blue Ridge, with the
gold cover, tells of finding the
iron box with the sheets of cipher and the two small pieces of paper at
the home a descendant of the Otey Family. Pauline Innis' ciphers therefore
are authentic and the Job Print Pamphlet ciphers have been
There is a book about this by Joseph
Duran, perhaps unpublished, at the library of congress.
I find this story
quite amazing. If true, it is a good prequel to Sherman as author, having heard
the story from his cousin Ward. Further, it provides a clear explanation
for many of the problems with The Beale Papers, as listed in Page 7.
I would like to hear from anyone who can
corroborate or expand on this.