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Page 31 : Beale Ciphers Analyses

A treasure hunter's discoveries   

     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 changed.

    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.

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