Dorothy Cox Smith
Memories of Caddo County
Dead Woman's Mound
by Lura Belle Cox Brand, oldest daughter of the T. E. Cox,
Mike Brand on Dead Woman"s Mound
When driving west on I-40 between Hinton and Hydro,
Oklahoma, off to the south on the almost treeless flatland
for several miles lie mysterious mounds dotted about. They
are by no means mountains, nor even hills, just mounds.
When I lived at Lookeba, Oklahoma in 1920-33 there was a
story, a mystery, about one of these mounds just outside
Hinton going west. Legend had it that in early days a
wagon train was passing through and was being pursued by
Indians. The wagon train was being overtaken so the wagons
were circled and a woman of the train gathered up in her
apron all the peoples valuables, rings, watches, brooches,
lockets, silverware and all the money and ran to a nearby
mound and hid the treasures, probably in a crevice of a
rock before she was killed. The story was that the
treasure was never found but the place was always referred
to as Dead Woman's Mound.
One summer day in about 1933 Aunt Ruby (Mama's sister) and
her husband Uncle Evert Phillips walked across the north
pasture to our house where we lived in the McSparin rent
house. It was a week day. Since Dad and the boys were day
laborers they didn't have work that day. Dad and Uncle
Evert were interested in a money finder they had probably
acquired in a trade somewhere. The money finder was housed
in a blue glass jar with a string by which it was held. If
it was near treasure it was supposed to swing out toward
the treasure. When it was held over the treasure it was to
whirl round and round. The blue jar looked like a Vicks
Vapor Rub jar with the label scraped off but it couldn't
have been that, I thought since it was a magic money
Talk got around to the story of the treasure at Dead
Woman's Mound and Daddy said, "Let's crank up the old car
and go see if we can find it."
Soon we were all packed into the car, Daddy, Uncle Evert,
Aunt Ruby, Mama, Roy, Henry, Howard, T. E. Jr. and me. We
rattled down the lane to the section line, went west
across Sugar Creek, by the McSparin place and turned out
on Highway 8 toward Hinton.
We all talked big dreams of how we were going to use the
"I am going to get ten silk dresses at Beeche's store," I
said, then go downstairs where they have the big cookie
jars along the east wall. I'm going to get a sack of
cookies so big until we can all have more than one."
Howard said, "I'm going to get an air rifle, a new pair of
striped overalls, a pair of waist pants and a new cap."
Somebody said, "We can get one of them new Ford V-type 8
cars. A shiny black one with yellow wheels."
We dreamed all the way and were soon beside the barbed
wire fence near Dead Woman's Mound. In those early western
days people didn't care for you roaming and playing on
their grazing land as long as you stuck to the code of the
west-leave every thing as you found it; no gates unlocked,
no guns that might hurt someone or the cattle.
We all crossed the fence and climbed the mound. Right on
the very top was a scraggly tree about 3 feet tall growing
out of a split in a rock.
Daddy and Uncle Evert got busy with the money finder. Yet,
in spite of hours spent trying, the money finder never did
any of its mysterious swinging or turning. We scrambled
around and had a wonderful time. No one seemed to be very
disappointed that the money finder didn't find anything,
but Dad and Uncle Evert sure tried.
Over in the afternoon we started home. Dad was driving,
Uncle Evert sat beside him. They decided to take the money
finder apart. Inside among other things were 2 quarters
covered with mercury which we called quick silver. The
quarters were as bright as a new moon from the mercury.
We stopped at a filling station in Hinton to get gas for
the car and the station man wouldn't take the quarters
because he said they were counterfeit. Dad said, "Well,
let's just walk over to the bank and see." When they got
back Dad said the banker said the quarters were "genuine
new-nighted States American money." So we got the gas and
a big package of steak. Quarters bought a lot in those
Once home, Mama cooked up a big platter of chicken fried
steak, a big bowl of thicken gravy and 3 big pans of
We all ate our fill then sat around the yard, kids on the
sand, adults in rope bottom chairs, talking and laughing
about our day. Lightening bugs winked and blinked around
We didn't find the treasure of Dead Woman's Mound, I don't
think any of us thought we would. But who is to say the
family memories we created over 70 years ago at Dead
Woman's Mound are not priceless treasures of the heart.
Things we hold in our hands don't last.