The Reading Room

Gold in the Blue Ridge

The true story of the Beale Treasure..

In 1822 Thomas Jefferson Beale  handed his friend Robert Morriss an iron box before setting off on what would prove to be his final hunting and trading expedition in the American West. His instructions to his friend were clear, were he not to return within ten years then the chest could be opened.

Twenty three years later Morriss opened the chest and discovered inside two letters and three papers containing a series of numbers. The letters detailed a hidden treasure of gold and silver valued at a staggering two million dollars  which had been mined by Beale and his partners on the Western Plains before being buried in Bedford County, Virginia sometime and somewhere between 1819 and 1821.

Three codes accompanied the letters which would reveal the location along with other information about the treasure. Morriss, despite his best efforts could not decipher the code and as old age set in he gave the information to his friend, James Ward. 

Age was on Ward’s side and he immersed himself into the hunt to the detriment of his personal and professional life. Eventually Ward managed to crack one of the three codes but the remaining two thwarted him and he died failing to discover the buried treasure. In the decades that followed the treasure was hunted by cryptologists, gold diggers and thrill seekers but still the bounty remains undiscovered.

In this book written by P.B Innis and Walter Dean Innis and published in 1973, the authors take an in-depth look at the life of Beale, his friends and associates as well as those who tried and failed to find the treasure since Beale’s death. The book contains reproductions of the original letters and codes including maps should the reader wish to make an attempt themselves! The wonderful cover was painted by Dick Drew along with a map of the area around Buford’s Tavern  where the treasure is buried.  It is a fascinating book, a real-life adventure story shrouded in mystery and this is a highly collectable title in the genre.

A very good, signed copy of this book is available for purchase from our online bookstore. For more details please click here.

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