(The young Jesse James as a Confederate partisan guerrilla, circa 1864.)
Interest in Jesse and the KGC is High
There's no doubt that interest in potential Jesse James treasure caches is high these days. Television shows about Jesse and the boys, the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), and searches for James Boys/KGC treasure caches have contributed to this frenzy as have a series of books by KGC expert Bob Brewer. A fundamental premise shared in much of this interest is the theory that Jesse and Frank James (as well as selected members of the James Gang) were KGC members.
If you're not familiar with the KGC let me provide you with a brief description. In essence, the KGC was a secret society founded by a number of prominent and/or die-hard Southerners to promote Southern (i.e., Confederate) interests in the Western and Southwestern U.S. as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. The KGC was extremely well funded and it's been postulated that the Knights (or their agents or "Sentinels") stashed thousands of small-to-medium sized treasure caches throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Some KGC Troves Worth Millions
Some expert treasure hunters and researchers believe KGC agents also buried extremely large and very elaborate treasure caches or troves in the areas mentioned above, with some of these "pointed out" via an elaborate grid system of signs and symbols covering broad expanses of territory. A few of the larger KGC troves or repositories are supposedly rich enough to run into the millions, tens of millions of dollars, or even higher.
(KGC design from a gravestone.)
Frank and Jesse James are said to have functioned as "Sentinels" for the KGC and I cannot discount this premise. One reason is that a number of small "payroll" type James Boys stashes have been recovered by following KGC treasure signs and symbols in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas (and other locations which I won't publish here).
KGC Treasure Signs and Symbols
Although by no means a comprehensive listing, here are a few KGC treasure signs and symbols. If, by chance, you come across any of these individually or in combination while in the field...take heed:
Pyramids (Carved or etched into trees or rocks, or constructed with loose rocks or stones.)
Small Metal Objects (Typically buried less than 12 inches down....some of these can include zinc or tin "Mason" jar lids and tops. If you hit one of these, search carefully in the hole you dug and for some feet around the site....this could be a KGC "payroll" site containing gold and/or silver coins or a pointer to other directional items.)
Names and Initials (These don't have to be initials like "JJ" or "FJ"...they can represent real names or fake ones....it's the initials themselves that are the key, not necessarily a person. However, "JJ" or "FJ" initials should be documented and followed up with a deliberate, careful search in the immediate area.)
(Probable KGC symbols. Image courtesy the KGC Forum.)
Stone Maps or Directions (The famous [or infamous...take your pick] "Peralta Stones" are good examples of stone maps. Typically, these consist of flat, sometimes specially shaped rocks or stones with a map or directions etched into them.)
Hearts (Usually these were carved into trees, terrain features, or large rocks or boulders. Pay particular attention to these if they are obviously quite old and not some modern, lovelorn couple's heart and arrow routine.)
Turtle (The turtle [tuerto] treasure sign was used extensively by the Spanish in the New World and was adopted by the KGC as well. The turtle's head usually points toward a cache or treasure trove. If you find a turtle carved into stone or a tree, treasure is probably nearby in the direction being pointed out.)
These are only a small fraction of the signs and symbols used by the KGC to identify and locate their treasure caches. Many, many more exist and there is often an overlap between KGC signs and symbols and those used by the Spanish, so bear that in mind.
Jesse James and the KGC: Treasure Signs and Symbols (Part 2)
The James Boys
Renewed Interest in KGC Treasure Caches
As I mentioned in previous posts on this topic, many treasure hunters and researchers believe that Jesse James, his brother Frank, and perhaps other members of the James gang may have been members of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC). The KGC is known to have used selected individuals or members as "Sentinels" who were responsible for burying treasure caches and for guarding or watching over those caches.
Needless to say, all of this hullabaloo about Jesse and the KGC (including a Discovery Channel TV program on the subject) has created renewed interest in possible KGC treasure caches. In truth, a number of smaller KGC caches (or James gang robbery caches...take your pick) have been recovered in recent years by astute treasure hunters who have done their research up front.
More Treasure Signs and Symbols
The main purpose of this series of posts is to provide you with familiarity of some basic KGC treasure signs and symbols. To that end, here are more of those for your examination and study:
Tree Blazes: Simply carvings cut into trees, blazes can cover a staggering array of symbol types, including names, initials, "Xs," hearts, arrows...you name it. However, remember that trees (just like us humans) have fixed lifetimes. So I suspect many tree blazes more than 150 years old are no longer around.
Daggers, Knives, Swords: These symbols often have multiple meanings. If the blade symbol is pointing downward it can mean treasure is here or nearby; if the blade points upward it may mean that you must press farther on; and if crossed blades are used it may mean "X" marks the spot or beware, danger is close.
Window Rock: Window rocks are fairly common here in the Southwestern U.S. where I live. Typically these are geologic formations where erosion has, over time, etched or "eaten" away the center portion of the rock formation leaving an open area or "window." In a treasure context window rocks are directional signs or views to treasure caches when one stands at a certain position and looks through them. The problem here is that many window rocks are simply natural elements without any real treasure significance. That said, if you are on a proven or researched treasure "trail" and come across a window rock formation, take heed. It may provide a critical clue to the location of a treasure trove.
All-Seeing Eye: A very ancient symbol, the omniscient or all-seeing eye is a very common Masonic symbol that was adapted and used by the KGC as well. A good example can be found on the reverse of any U.S. one-dollar bill. The eye's meaning can be different things to different people, including an "inside" message or direction to a KGC member or "Sentinel." For the rest of us mere mortals, the eye is open to interpretation from a treasure hunting standpoint. "You are being watched," "Look here," "Look beyond," "Search inside," etc.)
The "all-seeing" eye as part of this Masonic crest.)
Strangely Shaped Trees or Tree Limbs: These sorts of natural signs are immediately noticeable to the practiced eye and often appear out of place or unnatural. Oftentimes these sorts of trees or tree limbs were deliberately disfigured to act as treasure pointers or locators. Pay particular attention to older trees that have limbs forming a prominent "U" shape with the base of the "U" pointing to the ground. Sometimes that means "Treasure is buried here" while in other instances the "U" acts as a "sight" much like a window rock.
Jesse James and the KGC: Treasure Signs and Symbols (Part 3)
Treasure Caches Recovered
The debate whether Jesse and Frank James (and members of the James Gang) were active members of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) and perhaps even KGC "Sentinels" rages on. However, as more evidence is uncovered it certainly appears that this premise may be correct about the James Boys.
What's not debated, however,is the Jesse, Frank, and the Gang as a whole buried numerous small-to-medium sized treasure caches throughout Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas (and perhaps elsewhere as well). A decent number of these caches have been identified, researched, tracked down, and recovered in recent years.
More KGC Treasure Signs and Symbols
Surprisingly enough, many of these caches were found by following treasure signs and symbols that belong to the KGC library of symbols. With that in mind, here are more KGC treasure signs and symbols:
Sun(s): Carved or etched images of the sun should be noted, especially if they have "rays" radiating out from the sun circle itself. This may mean that the center of the sun is the treasure location or one or more of the rays point to one or more treasure caches.
Carved or Oddly Shaped Rocks: These often appear out of place or not natural in their current surroundings and are immediately recognizable as such. They have this effect for a reason. If you come across this type of treasure sign, stop and take note of your surroundings. A search of the immediate area with a metal detector might be a good move on your part.
Snakes: The snake symbol invariably points the way to a treasure trove or cache, with the head of the snake the arrow or pointer. If you run across two or three snakes etched or drawn in parallel with one another, they may indicate multiple caches.
Note the sun symbol [among others] in this Masonic/KGC array.)
Bird Tracks: Usually these are three-toed tracks drawn or carved as simple connected lines leading a certain direction that typically points or leads to a treasure cache.
Donkey or Burro: In the days of Spanish exploration and early mining activities, the donkey or burro was the primary beast of burden used for carrying gold or silver ore, or sacks or chests of coins or treasure. Like the Spanish meaning of this symbol, a carved or etched donkey or burro indicates that treasure trove was transported here and may be cached nearby.
Hand With a Pointing Finger: Commonly seen in Masonic arrays and some KGC ones as well, this is a very easy symbol to interpret in most instances. "Treasure lies in this direction." "Go forward this way." "You are on the right path."
Remember that some of these symbols (like the sun symbol) are universal and not just directly related to Jesse James or the KGC. However, any time you come across these symbols out in the field go to a heightened awareness level and begin searching for more symbols or signs nearby or along the path you are following.