Did Jesse James Hide Treasure in Gads Hill?

In early September 1948, nearly 75 years after the notorious Jesse James prepare raid at Gads Hill, Missouri, a person reducing timber close to the theft website stumbled onto a small cavelike opening within the facet of a hill. He thought little of it on the time and after ending his work returned residence. A few weeks later, he talked about the incident to a neighbor, who recalled a neighborhood legend.

For many years, his buddy mentioned, it had been instructed that in their retreat from Gads Hill in 1874, Jesse and his gang had hidden all or a part of the prepare loot someplace within the Ozark hills of Wayne County. Maybe this cave was the place.

Excited in regards to the prospect of on the spot wealth, the woodcutter headed again to the woods. This time he introduced alongside a flashlight as an alternative of an ax. After crawling a couple of yards into the cave, he stumbled on a large room. There he found what was later reported to have been a big bundle of paper cash, a ‘hatful’ of outdated cash and a muzzleloading rifle.

When he returned residence and instructed the neighbor of his uncommon discover, rumor mills started to grind. The story unfold, and massive metropolis information reporters, desirous to get the story of Jesse James’ misplaced treasure, quickly flocked to the scene.


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A so-called dependable supply claimed that the cash and forex taken from the cave amounted to greater than $100,000 and that he had personally seen $10,000 in outdated gold cash within the woodcutter’s possession. A newspaper instructed of an armored automobile parked in entrance of the person’s home, and including much more curiosity to the unfolding drama was the reported arrival of two brokers from the U.S. Treasury Division who had come to analyze the matter. All this created fairly a stir, and the sleepy little village of Gads Hill, which had loved so a few years of peace and tranquility for the reason that prepare theft, discovered itself as soon as once more within the nationwide highlight.

The hubbub went on for a number of days; then, as shortly because the story had damaged, it started to unravel. The woodcutter, it turned out, had not found Jesse James’ misplaced treasure in spite of everything, however solely a crumbling e book, a rusty outdated rifle with a rotten, worm-eaten inventory and a few 2-cent items (the oldest dated 1886, 4 years after Jesse’s dying). He was shocked himself to be taught he had discovered $100,000.

‘Solely factor I ever instructed about,’ he mentioned, ‘was discovering the gun and some cash.’

The poor fellow was apparently to not blame for the wild exaggeration. It was, as one newspaper put it, ‘merely the workings of regular yard gossip.’

And so the story, like so many different debunked myths surrounding Jesse James, was laid to relaxation. On October 8, 1948, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat printed a remaining article that poked enjoyable on the entire affair. Its headline appropriately learn: ‘Jesse Fizzles Once more.’

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