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.