Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jackson County and the Lost Confederate Gold

by Dale Cox

Parramore -
One of the most interesting of Jackson County's legends involves a portion of the famed lost Confederate treasury. When Jefferson Davis and other Southern officials fled Richmond, Virginia at the end of the War Between the States, they took with them the Confederate treasury. According to legend, at least part of that massive haul of gold and silver wound up in Jackson County.

Composed of kegs and boxes filled with silver and gold, the Confederate treasury was valued at somewhere around $500,000 when it was removed from Richmond. In modern terms, it would have been worth millions.

Some of the money disappeared and was likely buried during the time that Davis and the Confederate Cabinet paused in Danville, Virginia. More of the money was used to pay soldiers in the Carolinas and when the fleeing officials reached Washington, Georgia. From there, however, the remaining gold and silver was dispersed in multiple directions. To this day, the final whereabouts of most of the money is a subject of controversy.

It is known that the remaining Confederate officials spread out to minimize the risk that they would be captured by Union cavalry that was desperately searching for them. All were heading for Florida, but they all went by different routes. The goal was to reach the coast where arrangements could be made to flee to Cuba or Texas.

Jefferson Davis was captured near Irwinville, Georgia, as he tried to make his way to Florida, but some officials made it through. Most of the treasure, however, did not. Around $35,000 was seized by the Union army near Gainesville in June of 1865, but otherwise the Confederate gold and silver vanished into history.

THe men involved in hiding it kept some for their own use and spirited some away to support fleeing Confederate officials, but otherwise they never talked about what happened to the money. In various places in Florida and Georgia, however, bits and pieces of the treasure have been found. One of those places, curiously, is Jackson County.

Local tradition has long held that some of the treasure was buried in the corner of a field near the Parramore community in eastern Jackson COunty. The site was then near Bellview Landing, the primary crossing of the Chattahoochee RIver between Chattahoochee and Neal's Landing in 1865 and a likely crossing point into Florida for Confederate authorities or soldiers fleeing Union troops.

During the 1980s, two $20 gold pieces were found at the site, coins that otherwise had no logical reason for being there as the location is not near any old home places. The coins were of the proper date and were consistent with the gold known to have been part of the lost Confederate treasurer.

Could there be more? Or were the two coins left behind when the hidden stash was dug up and removed? Only time and more searching will answer that question.

Note: If you would like to learn more about Jackson County history, please consider my books: The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years;The Battle of Marianna, Florida and Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts. They are available at Chipola River Book and Tea in Downtown Marianna or online at www.amazon.com.



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