American History & Genealogy Project
Legend of the Gold Hole
ROXIE -- The legend of train robbers and buried treasure still lives in the hearts of many of Roxie's older residents.
Legend has it that in the late 1800s, train robbers were big in and around the area of the train line that ran between Hamburg and Natchez.
The best remembered group of bandits was lead by Jean Lafitte of Louisiana. Lafitte and his men were on the run from the law, so they decided to bury the loot they had stolen from train passengers.
At least that how the story goes, anyway.
Supposedly, the thieves buried their gold and jewels in a sugar cane cauldron in a wooded region somewhere between present day Roxie and Natchez.
Most of the robbers were caught and tried, but one free man stumbled onto the Earhart family farm. In return for the family's kindness, the thief gave them a map to the buried treasure. The robber died five days later.
The Earhart family, as the story goes, never tried to find the hidden loot because it was actually on the property of the Dromgoole family.
In later years, Tom Dove bought the land from the Dromgoole family. At his death, his son, Revah Dove, came into possession of the land.
Revah lived there and had the youngest Earhart as a neighbor.
When Earhart became ill, Revah cared for him. It was on his deathbed that Earhart gave Revah the map as payment for his good will and caring soul.
In 1927, Revah used a special instrument to detect the exact location of the cauldron and tried to retrieve it.
He managed to raise the treasure from its watery grave. But when the winch he was using broke, the chest fell back into the hole and slipped even lower into the ground.
Two other men, M. H. Bullock and W. R. Strickland of Laurel, started their own explorations to find the hidden loot. Once again rains came, and the chest slipped farther into the murky waters of the pond.
In 1957, diggers were five feet from the chest when a flash flood sent the cauldron deeper into the pit of quicksand. At this point, the hole was 100-feet deep.
The last attempt to find the items was made in 1966 by Bullock. Draglines, two diesel pumps and 65 well points were used to drain off water and to stabilize the sand. Just like the previous explorations, this attempt also failed.
Many residents believe there is something of a pirates' curse on the treasure.
"I believe that there was more gold put into the hole than what is actually in it," said Joe Ross of Franklin County. "I don't think that it is still there. I believe that it is long gone."
Ross backed up the story about all the explorations and the train robbers. Just like legends go, new information has been added over the years.
"From what I was told, Revah Dove had his hands on the chest, and he even opened it," Ross said. "He saw everything in the chest."
However, Ross said Dove left the treasure there and went to town to get help. Ross questioned the decision to leave the treasure.
"I'm sorry, but if I had my hands on it I would have taken some samples of it," Ross said. "I probably would have left the chest there and just taken as much of the gold bricks, coins and jewels out of there and put it in my pocket."
Ross said Revah Dove "made his living off the 'Gold Hole.'"
"He had stockholders giving him money to dig for the treasure," Ross said.
Ross recalled one night when everyone involved in the exploration "just left."
"They even had an escort leading them out of the location," Ross said. "Operations shut down for days. They came back, but all they did was play around. They didn't do any more serious work."
Ross still questions the gold's existence.
"I never have believed that the treasure was there, because there has not been any evidence to back it up," Ross said. "I think that it is all a hoax."
The treasure may be gone, but the Gold Hole legend lives on.
For the Brookhaven Daily Leader
June 26, 2000
Reprinted with permission from the Brookhaven Daily Leader, Brookhaven, MS
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