Thomas Beale Treasure...Since Thomas Beale left no children, his unclaimed fortune is up for grabs
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Now that metal detectors and the inflationary price of gold have made treasure hunting one of America's fastest growing pastimes, Bedford County locals fear an invasion.

That's why they sometimes take potshots at strangers.

Blazed Oak on Dooley brothers'  land may be a clue to the treasure.

Some farmers, like Lee and Otis Dooley, on whose land many believe the treasure lies, draw up legal contracts with the hundreds of treasure hunters who want to explore their property.

A 25-percent cut of the treasure, they insist, is theirs.

One summer with gracious Southern courtesy the two brothers agreed to show landmarks to a hunting party from the Beale Cypher Association.

They pointed out the large oak tree with the blaze down the gnarled trunk, the rock ledge overhanging Goose Creek, the 20-foot cave in the woods and the large hole near the farmhouse excavated by a New York couple who spent seven summers camped in the meadow in order to dig.

Asked what he would do with his share of the treasure, Lee squinted toward the blue-hazed mountains in the distance and shrugged philosophically. "I don't rightly know," he replied. "I was born in poverty. Getting all that money would just mess me up."..

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