Tag Archives: Orvis Houk

The Largest Knights of the Golden Circle Treasure Ever

BOOK REVIEW: Myers, Jack, Knight’s Gold: The Largest Documented KGC Treasure Ever Discovered (Jack O’Llantern Press, 2016) pp. iv +498, illustrations, endnotes, no bibliography or index, ISBN 9781539896562, soft cover $18.95

By Nancy B. Samuelson 

Like a lot of books about the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) and the tales about treasure that the KGC supposedly buried to finance a second Civil War, this work contains a lot of speculations, garbles a lot data, and contains a ton of misinformation. The book is tedious to read, everything the author says he repeats at least three times.

Knight’s Gold
Knight’s Gold: The Largest Documented KGC Treasure Ever Discovered by Jack Myers

A lot of the book deals with two treasure troves found in Baltimore, Maryland. Both of these troves are believed by the author to have been buried in basements by members of the KGC. Little factual data and a lot of questionable information is given to support this theory. We are asked to believe that two teenagers who found the first trove carried five thousand gold coins home in their pockets and shoes! A practice problem from the book, New Practical Arithmetic, published in Boston in 1875 is construed by the author to be a coded message by the agents of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Baltimore concerning the buried treasure.

Ray's New Practical Arithmatic
A coded treasure message published in 1875?

 

Another reported treasure trove is located within Victorio Peak in New Mexico. This area is now on the White Sands Test Range. A lot of various stories are related about this reported treasure trove. The odor of fraud permeates almost all of what is reported about this supposed treasure location.

The most bizarre “treasure” parts of the book deal with none other than America’s most famous bandit, Jesse Woodson James. 

The James boys did not spend their loot but socked it away to help fund the Knights of the Golden Circle and the second Civil War. No mention is made of all the race horses the James brothers bought, raced and bet on.

Almost all of the off the wall stuff published about Jesse James is trotted out in this book. Orvis Houk, Del Schrader, Ron Pastore, Henry J. Walker and a variety of other questionable James literature is quoted.(Somehow Betty Duke and her claim that her great-grandfather, James L. Courtney, was the real Jesse James got left out. This must have been an oversight.) This specious material is jumbled in with material from well written and well researched books. The author makes no effort to select the wheat from the chaff in any of this.

The James material is all a total tangle of out and out falsehoods, misinformation and speculation. One fiction novel even is cited to support some of this material.

Examples of some of this material are: (1) William Clark Quantrill was head of the KGC’s Knights of the Iron Hand; (2)John Newman Edwards wrote dime novels after the war; (3) After the war Jesse James worked as a bounty hunter and tried to go straight; (4) Gov. Crittenden appointed Sheriff James Timberlake as a deputy U. S. marshal (these are federal appointments); (5) Sheriff Timberlake went to New Mexico after he collected his reward and likely helped stash some of the Victorio Peak treasure;  (6) Albert Pike started the KKK:  etc. etc. etc. The nonsense boggles the imagination!

RELATED

Jesse James, Lost Treasure, & The Golden Circle – Where’s the Beef?

Making (Up) History Every Day

The Latest Fake History from Ron Pastore

James-Younger Gang Journal Pans Jesse James Hidden Treasure

Knights of the Golden Circle Exposed

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Tuesday June 30th, 2020

Stray Leaves

Here's some colorful video history on George Morgan Chinn, a grandson of Frank James' cohort John Pendleton "Black Jack" Chinn. Whenever I drive from Danville to Midway or Lexington, Ky, I pass the ruins of Chinn's Cave House.
Here also are a couple of testimonials about George, also colorful, from the files of the James Preservation Trust.
#1- "I remember George very well. He was my late father's cousin and we do have his linage through the Morgan's, dating back to John Morgan in 1778. He was a really smart fellow and funny. His [Ed.: grand] father was Jack Chinn. I have a picture of him with William Jennings Bryan, Dicky Brant, and Frank James (Brother of Jesse) seated in a buggy hitched to the only grey horse that won the Kentucky Derby. Jack was fined five dollars for speeding in a horse-drawn vehicle. He paid ten dollars and told them to keep the change because he was going out of town (Harrodsburg, Ky) the same speed he came in. My dad had a lot of these old family tales."
And #2 - "hi I knew him personally. He has a lot of historical books at the Fort Harrod Museum. He also published one about Brooklyn or the Palisades area of Jessamine and Mercer Counties. His wife's nickname was Cotton because of her white hair. They were both feisty. I lived and grew up on five acres that attached to the Chinn land. It was at 5555 Lexington Rd in Mercer county. The Chinn mansion was in a hairpin curve...'Chinn curve.'
"We had hunters and trespassers that would go on the property and we would have to call the Chinns to have them removed.
"My grandfather grew up and ran with Jack Chinn. Jack had a moonshine still in a cave across the ky river from the mansion. He would take a boat across to the cave.
Mr. George Chinn was a historian and you can look for his books on google. Or contact the Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg or the local library. Sorry, that is all I have except I know George had a daughter."
George Morgan Chinn also was a director of the Kentucky Historical Society and editor of their publication "The Register." He authored several books, including "Kentucky: Settlement and Statehood, 1750-1800," still in print, "The Encyclopedia of Hand Arms," and the five-volume work "The Machine Gun."
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Thursday June 25th, 2020

Stray Leaves

This 1879 map from the US War Dept. shows the extent of the 10,000 acres rancho of Drury Woodson James. The rancho reached from Paso de Robles to Chalome. The map also identifies the probable route DWJ took through the Palonio Pass and past the Salt Springs during the drought of 1863-64 when he drove 5,000 head of cattle from Paso to Lake Tulare to save and preserve the bulk of his wealth. ... See MoreSee Less

This 1879 map from the US War Dept. shows the extent of the 10,000 acres rancho of Drury Woodson James. The rancho reached from Paso de Robles to Chalome. The map also identifies the probable route DWJ took through the Palonio Pass and past the Salt Springs during the drought of 1863-64 when he drove 5,000 head of cattle from Paso to Lake Tulare to save and preserve the bulk of his wealth.

Comment on Facebook This 1879 map from ...

...and we're speaking the same language! Really awesome!

Wednesday June 17th, 2020

Stray Leaves

When this image of Drury Woodson James and wife Louisa Dunn, an uncle & aunt of Frank & Jesse James, went into auction of the Wilbur Zink Collection in 2013, I was skeptical about its authenticity. Previously, the only known images of DWJ were of him in his later years. Recently, I was contacted by a 3rd great-grandniece of DWJ's business partner Daniel Drew "D.D." Blackburn. She provides us with family history that connects the James-Blackburn families to Bradley & Rulofson, the photographer of the image. William Herman Rulofson was the spouse of Mary Jane Morgan. Morgan is a niece of D.D. Blackburn and a 2nd great-grandaunt of our informant. Rulofson also photographed DWJ's political mentor Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University. In San Francisco, Bradley & Rulofson was the premier photographer of actors, writers, musicians, socialites, politicos, and Indians of early California. ... See MoreSee Less

When this image of Drury Woodson James and wife Louisa Dunn, an uncle & aunt of Frank & Jesse James, went into auction of the Wilbur Zink Collection in 2013, I was skeptical about its authenticity. Previously, the only known images of DWJ were of him in his later years. Recently, I was contacted by a 3rd great-grandniece of  DWJs business partner Daniel Drew D.D. Blackburn. She provides us with family history that connects the James-Blackburn families to Bradley & Rulofson, the photographer of the image. William Herman Rulofson was the spouse of Mary Jane Morgan. Morgan is a niece of D.D. Blackburn and a 2nd great-grandaunt of our informant. Rulofson also photographed DWJs political mentor Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University. In San Francisco, Bradley & Rulofson was the premier photographer of actors, writers, musicians, socialites, politicos, and Indians of early California.Image attachmentImage attachment

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