Arkansas Galleon

A Spanish Galleon in Arkansas?

Yes, according to a blog I ran across on the internet, supposedly the Spanish came up through Arkansas and heard of a mine that the indians were using, so the Spanish forced them to work the mine and was going to take the silver with them back to the Old World, but as it seems the indians revolted and the Spanish had to hightail it and get out of the area quickly, thus leaving their treasure behind.

According to the legend, the cave or mine that the Spaniards were working is near Pension Mountain in Arkansas, within a half mile of the Brushy School. The article did not give the good doctor's name who lived near Brushy Creek and who took care of the indian boy and who supposedly saw the hoard of loot with his own eyes. Here is part of the exerpt from the tale:

"According to a couple of different sources there was a Spanish Galleon that sailed up the Mississippi River with a load of treasure. Why would a Spanish galleon sail up the Mississippi? One story says that the treasure laden galleon was coming from Peru via Mexico and was trying to escape several French warships in the Gulf of Mexico. Another story says the galleon was trying to take refuge from a large storm in the gulf, presumably a hurricane, so they headed up the mighty Mississippi.

Either way, you have a Spanish galleon loaded with gold and silver from Peru and possibly even Mexico floating around in the Mississippi river somewhere in Arkansas. As the stories go, while the Spaniards were hiding on their galleon they heard stories of fabulous silver mines being worked by the Indians to the northwest. Being the greedy bastards that they were the Spanish off loaded their treasure from the galleon onto “river boats” and headed up the Arkansas River. They followed the Arkansas to the point that it joined up with the Mulberry River. In this area the found rich silver and gold mines being worked by the Indians.

Being the ever sensitive individuals that they were, the Spaniards overtook the Indians at their mines and turned them into slaves to continue the mining for the Spaniards. After a time the Spanish got the idea that they had overstayed their welcome and felt it prudent to exit the area rather quickly. In the process they left behind the treasure they had brought with them from the galleon along with all of the new silver and gold that the Indians had mined for them.

Keep in mind that these may be two different stories based on two different locations however they both ended the same, with the Spanish high tailing it out   of the area with the Indians hot on their trail. One story says the treasure was placed into one of the mine tunnels and then the opening was sealed. The other story says the treasure was placed into a mine tunnel along with the bodies of several of the Indian slaves and then sealed shut. Both stories get you the same result, a massive treasure of gold and silver sealed in a tunnel somewhere in Arkansas.

According to this story, a doctor who lived along Brushy Creek on the south side of Pension Mountain was essentially kidnapped by a group of renegade Indians. The Indians blindfolded the good doctor and took him to a cave where he was shown an Indian boy with a broken leg. After mending the leg on the Indian boy the doctor was taken by the Indians into another room in the cavern system where he was given a handful of gold coins from a large chest filled with gold coins. The doctor reported that “all around him” in this second cavern were chests filled with gold coins, stacks of gold bars, Spanish armor and weapons. The doctor said that there were “several” other rooms in the cave system and the ones he could see all were filled with the same things. After getting his gold coins the doctor was blindfolded by the Indians and taken back to his house. The doctor spent the rest of his life trying to relocate the cave system and the treasure. Based on how he thought the Indians had taken him to the cave and the time involved the doctor reckoned the caves filled with treasure were probably within a half mile of the Brushy Creek School."

So you see, the tale relates to the treasure, so I decided to do a little research to see if I could find out where it possibly could be located. First off, Pension mountain is located south of Berryville Arkansas and CR-507 passes directly over the top of the mountain, and shortly down the road is CR-523 where Pension Mountain Cemetary is located. Now, between CR507 and CR-523 is an intermittent stream, and that may be what is being referred to as 'Brushy Creek', but the stream is unnamed on the maps I have.

So, the Spaniards, if they came to Pension Mountain, would have had to come up the Arkansas, or that is what I thought at first, and so if the Spaniards came up in small row boats, they would have had to row up Mulberry Creek and then portage the row boats maybe 10 miles so that they could traverse (of all names to name a mountain) Reeves Mountain, and then sail down the King's River to get to the southwest side of Pension Mountain. Now, they could have done this, but I sort of doubt it, for trying to traverse the woods in Arkansas would be tough, especially the virgin woods of what I am guessing is the 1600's. You see, King's River flows to the north, so it doesn't connect to the Arkansas River, although Mulberry Creek does, but to hear about a silver mine from the miles that the Spaniards would have to travel would be pretty unlikely in my eyes.

So, I dug through the archives that are on line, and found that there was long ago, about 1850 or so, a school called Brushy School, and it happens to be north of Oden Arkansas on CR-81. Now, the school is no longer there, but where CR-81 intersects with a National Park Road-19 there is a Brushy School Cemetary, so I am quite sure that is the location of the real Brushy School. There is also Brushy Creek that goes right by the school, so I am thinking that this is probably the creek that the Spaniards came up. However, the mountains to the north of the school are Turkey Pen Mountain and next to that to the east just a little ways is Salmon Mountain, which are both in the Ouacita Forest Area (public lands) and there seems to be a small ridge at about 1000 feet elevation that runs on the south side of those mountains, that would probably be where to look for a cave, even if it had been filled in at one time or other.

Now, the Spaniards would not have came up the Arkansas River, since they were fleeing from the French, so the first river they would have came to is the Ouachita River which dumps into the Mississippi River about halfway up Louisiana, so I am thinking that if the Spaniards were running, and for whatever reason, could not make it up the Mississippi River, they probably would have taken the first river to come off the Mississippi, which as I stated is the Ouachita, and it would be a navigatable river, and then Brushy Creek where it dumps into the Ouachita River is also shown as being able to paddle a boat up, so I would figure the Spaniards probably were in this area and not in the area south of Berryville. Also, the area near Oden Arkansas is known to have minerals, while not any records of silver, but that doesn't mean there isn't any there. The area around Berryville is not noted for minerals, so that is more evidence to me that the area near Oden is probably where the tale is talking about.

Now, one other problem with the treasure arises, and that is that before the Civil War, there was a group of Confederates called the "Knights of the Golden Circle" or KGC were in that area, and you can read more about a man's hunt for that treasure here. So I have to wonder if the good doctor in the above story was talking about that gold and silver that the group of KGC had hidden. The man in that story has been looking for the treasure since 1977, and he says there are markings on trees and other places that identify the area as having treasure, but if it were Spanish markings on the trees they would surely be long lost by now. But I still have to wonder if the treasure is there still, if it ever was, and if someone has found it and never did the reporting. Maybe some day I will make it to the area and see what I can find, although I know if I were to find it I would probably die from a heart attack, but we all have to go sometime.

© Lord Gazmuth 2012