It is one of the largest
and most costly treasure hunts in U.S. history, baffling the finest mathematical minds in the country and
defeating their computers.
Colonel J.J. Holland digs
secret spot, convinced he
has broken one code at last.
Like the search for the
Lost Dutchman mine in Arizona,
or the stories of the $3 million in Confederate
gold buried along the James River just before the Union soldiers
entered Richmond in 1865, or wealthy
plantation owners' fortunes hidden from the
Union soldiers and never recovered, the
Beale treasure tantalizes
its seekers with fantasies of untold riches while
inducing frustration, despair and bankruptcy.
Numerous articles in
magazines and trade journals and several books have explored the Beale mystery.
Thomas Jefferson Beale,
the man responsible for trying
20th-century brains and technology, was a devious Virginia gentleman believed to
have been born around 1792.
That was the year
George Washington was elected
President for the second time; Thomas Jefferson
and Alexander Hamilton were feuding over policies
which would -culminate in a two-party political system; and General Anthony
Wayne was commissioned commander of the American army to fight Indians who were
making pioneer existence in the Northwest Territory impossible.
Beale came from a
distinguished family. In 1668 King Charles II of England recommended one of his
ancestors for appointment as commander of Point Comfort,
at the entrance of Norfolk Harbor.
Though one contemporary
described Beale as "a gentleman well educated, evidently of good family,
and with popular manners,"
recent research reveals him to have been a no-good, gun-slinging 'genius who was
constantly bailed out of scrapes by his more respectable brothers.
Still, women loved
him-he was a broad shouldered six-footer with swarthy complexion and jet black
hair worn slightly longer than was fashionable. He was said to be a "model
of manly beauty, favored by ladies and envied by men."
Indeed, the Beale
treasure hunt may have started with trouble over the opposite sex-. There are
several stories-some documented,
some not. One story holds that in the spring of 1817 Beale got into a pistol
fight with a Fincastle, Virginia, neighbor over a woman.
ComTech21 3.9¢ Per Minute! All state to state calls.
[ Back ] [ Home ] [ Next ]