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Treasure Hunting in the Show Me State

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Hidden Missouri Treasures


Alf Bolin's Outlaw Loot

Legend of Bone Hill in Levasy, Missouri

Lost Copper Mine in the Ozark Hills

More Missouri Treasures

Parson Keithly's Hidden Gold

Tin Whistle Loot North of Milford



Lost Copper Mine in the Ozark Hills


A few miles northwest of Jacks Fork, Missouri, near the Current River, is said to the remains of a hidden mine that is rich in copper ore. In the mid nineteenth century, a man by the name of Joseph Slater regularly appeared in New Orleans with huge raft-loads of high-grade copper ore. During these regular visits, he sold more than $50,000 worth of the rich mineral over a three or four year period.


 Your ALT-Text here Wanting to keep the location of his mine secret, Slater filed a mining claim on a tract of land that was actually about two miles from the shaft.


Living in a cabin near the Current River with his daughter, Slater continued to mine until he learned through a government survey that the mining claim he had filed was on another man’s property.

Though he would have liked to have bought the land, he knew that an offer might reveal the location of the mine. Instead, he and his daughter sealed up the mine, careful to hide any signs of digging, and made plans to go "Back East.” His plan was to stay away for two or three years and then approach the owner about buying the land, under the pretense of farming the acreage.

Where the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers meetHowever, Slater never made it further east than St. Louis, where he could keep up on the progress of Missouri mineral exploration and development. But before he was able to return to the Jacks Fork area, he died and his daughter eventually married, moving west without ever returning to Missouri. Though the folks in Shannon County never saw the miner nor his daughter again, the legend of the lost copper mine continued to be told.

On June 4, 1926, the Kansas City Star ran a story about the Slater diggings, stating in part, "There were those who believe that at some time the lost mine will be found and that it will reveal a deposit of copper and perhaps other metals that may revolutionize the Ozark region of Missouri."

The mine is said to be in the vicinity of the junction of the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers, and though many have searched for the mine for more than a century, it has never been found. Shannon County is located in the Ozark Hills of southern Missouri.




Stone County, MissouriParson Keithly's Hidden Gold


In the mid nineteenth century, there was a strange character by the name of Parson Keithly who roamed the Ozark countryside. On Sundays he preached, but on the other days he walked aimlessly throughout the area with his gun on his shoulder and his dog at his heels. Sometimes disappearing for days, his family would hear nothing from him until suddenly he would return as quickly as he had gone.


Treasure Hunter T-ShirtsBy the time the news of the California gold rush hit Missouri, Parson Keithly was already an old man. But, one day he walked out of the house and wasn’t heard from for months, until his family finally received a letter telling them that he had gone to California. For two years and eight months they heard nothing further until the Parson suddenly reappeared and returned to his old habits.


Over time, the family learned that Keithly had found gold in California, estimating its value at the time at about $6,000. Never knowing where the Parson had hid the gold, the family speculated that it might have been in a garden with an apple tree some distance from the house. They also wondered if it might be kept in a cave near there property. Both the garden and the cave were places that the Parson often liked to visit.


Over the years, Keithly would often pull from his pocket a $10 gold piece, and as he handed it to his daughter he would say, "See here what I’ve found.”


The Parson’s visits to the cave became more frequent. Entering the cave to meditate, he was there so often that the cave became known as Keithley’s Cave. Shortly after the Civil War ended, the eccentric Parson was sure that his death was immanent and he made it known that he wanted to make the cave his final resting place. The preacher began to make plans for his tomb by walling off a room built of rocks and an entrance of five feet leading to it. At the entrance he built a double stone door inclined at an angle. When the Parson entered the room he was able to pull the door shut, with the weight and angle of the door securing him snugly. When the Parson finally passed away, he was more than 90 years old.


The cave is located near Galena, Missouri in Stone County.



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