Farmers Dig for Jesse James Gold in Arkansas

Dixon Evening Telegraph

October 26, 1953

Transcribed by : Tina Easley


PARAGOULD, Ark. Seven farmers turned treasure hunters believe

they  are only five feet from a gold-laden suitcase supposedly flung

in the Black river near Paragould by Jesse James.

George Emerson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., said his divining rod  a forked

stick believed to have power to locate water and gold  indicated

the treasure lay 30 feet under the sandy river bank, some three miles

east cf Corning,Ark.

The diggers, who reached 25 feet Sunday, are charging $1 a person

to sightseers who want to watch the operation.

Floyd Sells, whose 68-year-old father, L. C. Sells, earlier attempted

to remove the fabled treasure, believes the suitcase will be uncovered


River water keeps filling the 25- foot square hole, but a pump has

been set up to carry off the overflow. Sells and Pleas Beckham, leaders

of the seekers, said they have invested $1,000 in the project and

have leased 80 acres of the river bottom for a year.

According to Sells, James and his gang tossed the loot from a

Missouri bank robbery into the river while fleeing from

a posse sometime before the turn of the century. The weighted bag disappeared

into quicksand.  Then, 27 years ago, the elder Sells and 12 other farmers  after

consulting St. Joseph and Newport, Ark., fortune tellers began digging

at a spot 30 feet from the river bank. They explained that the

river had changed course. The father, Mose Crawford,70.

Tom Crawford ,81, both of Rector, and Jim Dobbins , about 70, of Me-

Dougal, claim that  after two months of digging they found the

suitcase, but when they attempted to recover it, the bag fell into

quicksand at the bottom of the pit. Sells said they decided to postpone.

further search and a "fortune teller told us that two of the 13

men had planned to kill the remaining 11.