Thomas Beale Treasure...The year was 1817. James Monroe had just been elected as the 5th president of the United States.
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...ushering in the "Era of Good Feeling" among Democrats and Republicans: Everyone was happy with the new leader, and the US experienced a long period of mass building, expansion, and peace.

Young frontiersmen began to head west, pushing out of the rapidly expanding towns and cities. They were drawn by the thrill of adventure, of the hunt, and -- of course, the much-repeated rumors of gold and riches in the hills and mountains. A popular destination for many was the Southwest; as early as 1598 Spanish explorers had moved into the area of New Mexico looking for riches -- some even believed they would find the mythic "Seven Cities of Gold" there.

While most of these early explorers left New Mexico broken-hearted, they had the right idea: New Mexico would become the site of the first gold rush west of the Mississippi, when in 1828 a deposit was discovered in the Ortiz mountains that attracted more than 4,000 people to the area. 

Among them was even a young Thomas Alva Edison, who arrived in 1898 with a machine of his own invention that he believed would help separate gold from silt. 

While the invention was a good idea, the machine could not survive the New Mexico winters, and Edison shut the operation down by 1903.

The Beale legend (or story, depending if you believe it or not), however, suggests gold -- and a lot of it to boot -- was discovered in New Mexico at least 10 years before the official start of the New Mexico gold rush. 

And not only was this gold discovered, but a large cache of this same gold may still exist today, buried in pots 6 feet below ground in the Virginia woods, anyone's for the taking who can solve the riddle of exactly where they are.