Buried in Bessville: Tales of an Indian Chief, a Haunted House & the Lost Treasure of a Mexican Prospector

16 Jul 1909, Fri The Democrat-News (Fredericktown, Missouri) Newspapers.com

The July 16, 1909 issue of The Democrat- News (Fredericktown, Missouri) carried a fascinating, yet outlandish tale of buried treasure in the Bessville, (Bollinger County) Missouri area.

According to the paper, it received several reports of area residents meeting the ghost of an Indian chief, near a haunted house, where a murder had taken place years before.

From the Democrat-News:

“The general quarry around Marquand at this time is “anything about the haunted house.” It seems that this house is located one half mile north of Bessville and was owned by Andrew Whitener some 5 years ago.

Strange and weird tales are now being told of happenings in the vicinity of the house, one of which is that about 19 months ago a lady living in the house started to Marquand on foot, when about a mile and one half from Bessville she was accosted by an Indian chief who informed her that near Union church on Crooked creek a large amount of money is buried, the “chief” described the spot very minutely; after imparting this information the “chief” vanished into air.

It is said that Will Collins met this spirit chief and had a talk with him and he also told Will about the money and where it was buried and went with him to the spot and told him to dig; two more living in the vicinity of Bessville have run across the “chief” and money has always been his theme.

It is said that the “Chief” held quite a lengthy conversation with one of the people living in that community and imparted to him the following story as to how the money came to be buried in that particular location.

“Many years ago the Mexicans would travel from their home country to Mine La Motte , the trip being made to get lead, which was hauled to the river and sold , one old Mexican prospector named Juan Jesus de Gareero had been particularly fortunate and had accumulated a large amount of money, he had a handsome daughter who had shared with him in the privations and hardships endured while working at Mine La Motte, he started for his old home in Mexico with his daughter, intending to live in comfort for the balance of his days.

When he left Mine La Motte, he was followed and when near the spot where this house stands he was set upon, killed and robbed and his daughter outraged and killed by the men who had followed them. It is said that he carried his money, which was in gold coin, in three old pots which were sealed up and slung across a mule which carried their other luggage.

The robbers after securing the treasure had a falling out had a falling out amongst themselves as to a division of the coin and one night before a division has been made and while the money was still in the pots, one of the Mexicans stealthily arose and killed his three companions, throwing their bodies in the waters of Crooked creek. He then fearing to take the money with him buried it in the sands of Crooked creek.

On his way back to Mine La Motte he stole a horse, was captured by a posse and hung and his ill gotten money, never did him any good and it is said to be the spirit of the murdered Mexican who hovers around the country in the guise of an Indian Chief.”

Be that as it may, several parties have prospected in the vicinity of Union church, three holes have been dug, one of which is about 14 feet deep; it is also said that the spirit of the girl is often seen around the place: one party states that she saw the girl at the house and that she was dressed entirely in black with a bible in her hand, the vision was also seen by other parties.”

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