As far back as 1540, when the first Spaniards set foot on Georgia soil,  DeSoto heard  of the gold and silver of the Indians in the mountains to the north. At that time in all north Georgia streams, gold was abundant. DeSoto and his men were familiar with placer mining and smelting gold into brick. DeSoto planned to return to Georgia, and hid his abundance of gold and silver in the caves of N. Ga. Leaving signs and symbols to mark the locations.

The Cherokee Indian records show that gold was first discovered in 1815. In 1825, as a result of many rich gold and silver mines being discovered by members of the Cherokee Nation, it was decreed that all gold, silver, lead, copper, or zinc mines discovered within the limits of the Cherokee Nation would become the public property of the Cherokee Nation, but that the finder of such minerals would be entitled to 1/4 of the net proceeds from such mines worked.

  During this time the Cherokee leaders had patterned their government after the U.S.. They were well educated, and most having attained great wealth. Having learned of this wealth, the white men of the State of Georgia, put considerable pressure on the Cherokee leaders to have the Indians driven from their lands in order that the rich gold and silver mines would be theirs.

As a result, the State of Georgia in 1830, passed a law insultingly forbidding the Cherokee from operating their mines. To enforce this law Georgia Guards were dispatched,  and brutally forced the Indians away from the mines. Word was sent by the wise Cherokee leaders, to close and hide the mines, and  to bury all accumulated gold and silver. They did this very thoroughly, that to this day many mines have still not been found. The precise location, signs and symbols used to mark these locations were very carefully recorded on a waybill. These waybills have been passed down from generation to generation, and many have returned to collect the wealth of their ancestors.

Georgia's Fabulous Treasure Hoards
by Ernest M. Andrews
first published in 1966

The Carter's Quarters Treasure

To the late J. E. Pelfrey, of Bolton, Ga., with whom I have spent many hours prospecting in the North Georgia mountains, I am indebted for the following story which was handed down to him from his great Uncle who was the principal character in the story.

During the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from north Georgia, a military detachment was assigned to Coosawattee Old Town, a prominent Indian Village which was turned into a temporary compound for the purpose of rounding up the rebellious Indians in the mountainous areas. It is known as Fort Coosawattee, and was in the immediate vicinity of Carter's Quarters, Ga.,  just off US-411 highway on the north bank of the Coosawattee River to the east of the bridge.

Shortly before the forced " March of Tears"  began, a young Indian woman approached the commanding officer and pleaded with him to allow her to return to a cave behind a waterfall which was close by where her infant child was concealed. The officer felt compassion for this girl and gave her a military escort of one volunteer soldier who chaperoned her to the waterfall behind which was the cave partially submerged in the river. The Indian girl waded into the river up to her waist and disappeared around the back of the waterfall returning a short time later with her baby. Pointing to the waterfall and the partially submerged cave opening, she told the soldier that in that cave was a high ledge to the back of the cave above the waterline which was stacked to the roof with gold bars. Enough gold to make him fabulously wealthy. The soldier, fearing an ambush and being deadly afraid of caves, especially the submerged type, promptly forgot the incident and returned to the compound with the Indian girl and her baby. He spent the rest of his life cultivating a farm and raising a family. In later years he told the story to his children and grandchildren. As far as is known, none of the Pelfrey heirs have ever searched for this fabulous hoard except the late J. E. Pelfrey and myself. The treasure is still there but will soon be under 180 feet of water when the newly constructed Carter's Dam backwaters flood the area in the next two years.

The Gold and Silver from the Banks of Atlanta

What happened to all of the gold and silver that was on deposit in the Banks of Atlanta when Sherman sacked the town? According to Barnwell's Atlanta Directory for 1867 the following Banks were established prior and up to the siege of Atlanta.

                     1852 Georgia Railroad Bank
                     1852 The Bank of Atlanta
                     1854 The Georgia Railroad and Banking Company
                     1855 Bank of Fulton
                     1859 The Atlanta Insurance and Banking Company
                     1860 John H. James Bank
                     1862 The Bank of Ringgold

Mr. Stanley Hudgins, an old time resident of 2045 Marietta Road, northwest Atlanta, Ga., told me that he had reliable information that a Western & Atlantic Railroad Train carrying the gold and silver from the Banks of Atlanta in 1864 heading northwest toward Canton, Ga., collided head-on with an Atlanta bound train directly in front of his place which would place the collision at the corner of Adams Drive and Marietta Road, northwest Atlanta, in Bolton Ga. It was his belief that the treasure train was enroute to the Cherokee County residence of Governor Joseph E. Brown for safe keeping.

The gold and silver was taken from the wrecked train and concealed nearby, probably close to the Chattahoochee River in the Bolton Ga area.

I located some signs on the late J. E. Pelfrey's property pointing to what might have been the Confederate treasure removed from the wrecked train. The first sign was a large "S" carved on an old oak tree, the sign being carved at it's base. Above the sign was a snake carved in a striking position pointing east. About three hundred feet east of this sign I located another old oak tree with an ancient railroad spike driven in all the way on the west side of the tree. Between the two trees was a creek which crossed about 75 feet east of the oak tree with a snake symbol and "S".

The late Mr. J. E. Pelfrey lived at 2246 Forrest Place, Bolton Ga. If this is the treasure taken from the train wreck, then it is a very rich hoard, probably worth millions, and well worth searching for.

The Spink Treasure

The late J. E. Pelfrey, owned several acres in the Bolton, Ga. area near the Chattahoochee River. He knew of two treasure hoards on his property, one being handed down to him in 1952 by an ex-slave who was then one hundred years old.

The old Negro told him that he was a slave in the household of Mr. Spink, a wealthy plantation and slave owner who owned most of the land in the Bolton area prior to the Civil War.

Mr. Spink had accumulated a vast fortune in gold which he kept around his house. For some unknown reason he decided to bury it. Taking no one with him it took him three nights to bury all of his gold. According to the old Negro, Mr. Spink did not disclose the place of concealment to any member of his family and when he died suddenly, no member of his family knew where to look for it.

After his demise, many people searched for this hoard of gold including the Spink heirs. The old Negro accompanied most of the search parties and dug their holes for them. To his knowledge the gold has never been found.

The old Spink house stood on the corner of Spink Street and Hollywood Drive on the northeast corner in Bolton, Ga., Fulton County. This is not too far from the Chattahoochee River and the gold could easily have been buried on the bank of the Chattahoochee River which is approximately three blocks from the old home site.

The Cobb County Railroad Treasure

The late Mr. H. L. Denman, Sr., a retired engineer on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad, told this true story regarding a Civil War treasure prior to the siege of Atlanta by General Sherman.

In 1907, when Mr. Denman first started working for the NC&StL Railroad, it was a well established fact that a leather mail pouch full of gold coins had been buried about three hundred yards northeast and one hundred yards north of the NC&StL railroad tracks just across the Chattahoochee River on the Cobb County side a short distance from the old Marietta Road and that many railroad men were then searching for it.

During the early part of 1864 prior to the siege of Atlanta by Sherman's Army, a man whose identity is unknown boarded the then Western & Atlantic Railroad at the Terminal Station with his slave and a mail pouch containing $100,000.00 in gold coins. The conductor of this train had orders to let this man off just as soon as the Chattahoochee River was crossed, which he did. At this point, the man and his slave carrying the pouch got off the train, walked three hundred yards northeast and then 100 yards north, marked "M" and a "X" on a large tree in a hollow near a spring not too far from the Chattahoochee River, cut an arm off another tree as a marker, and buried his mail pouch full of gold coins in a large tree stump hole which he covered up with leaves and dirt. He carefully drew a map showing the location of the stump hole in relation to the railroad track, and the tree markings,  then which he returned to Atlanta with his slave. To prevent his slave from disclosing the location of his hoard he killed him shortly thereafter. It was his intention to return to his hoard with the aid of his waybill at the end of the Civil War. Unfortunately for him he suffered a stroke partly brought about by the brutal slaying of his slave, and a short time later died.

After the Civil War, his wife, now having possession of the waybill and knowing about the $100,000.00 in gold that her husband buried, tried in vain to locate the treasure with the aid of the waybill. She finally gave up the search and moved to Texas.

The conductor of the train who let the man and his slave off the train across the Chattahoochee River, after getting all of the facts from the lady with the waybill, now took up the search and spent most of his life searching for it. When he got too old and feeble to continue the search he told all he knew about it to his engineer who was a close friend and a much younger man. His name was John Maynard.

When John Maynard heard the story he made up his mind that he was going to find the treasure. His first step was to obtain a railroad pass and travel to Texas where he persuaded the aged widow to let him have the waybill on a fifty-fifty share basis if he found the treasure. As the old widow had nothing to lose she readily consented. Armed with the waybill he returned to Atlanta and devoted the rest of his life to searching for the treasure without success.

In 1907 John Maynard was an old man when Mr. H. L. Denman first started working for the NC&S Railroad. Maynard liked young Denman, who was his fireman, and told him all about the treasure, offering to show him the original waybill that was still in his possession if Denman would come over to his house. At first Denman was not interested in the story but when he saw so many railroad men searching for it he decided that he would accept old Maynard's invitation and look at the waybill. But, alas, old Maynard who had long since retired, had died just a few days before from natural causes and his family could not locate the old waybill. It apparently had been burned up with a lot of worthless papers Maynard had in his possession.

Mr. Denman did search for this treasure but without the waybill to guide him, he had no luck in finding it. When he told me the story I did a little research and found that the story was true in every respect. An old retired NC&StL Railroad Conductor who lives in Cobb County told me that he himself had spent many years searching for it without success. To his knowledge the treasure had never been found. $100,000.00 in gold coins would be worth at least a half million today. A hoard well worth looking for. Treasure