The lost treasure of The Story of the Beale Codes.


The story of the Beale codes.

For those that love to figure out numbers, here is a story of lost treasure that will keep you puzzled! It’s the story of a code that has been handed down for years and if broken, could leave the clever mind with enough money to last a lifetime! The story involves a man with his hunting buddies and an innkeeper and has just enough mystery and tales of fortune to have kept people intrigued for many years!

Thomas Jefferson Beale was a man who stood about six feet tall and had dark eyes with hair to match. He was very handsome with an even, dark complexion and was also an extremely honest and loyal man. In 1817 Beale and thirty of his hunting pals headed out to Santa Fe to hunt game. They were planning on staying in Santa Fe for two years and called Beale “Captain” because he acted as the group’s leader. Leaving on May 19, 1817, they arrived in Santa Fe on December 1 of that same year.

There is very little game wandering the countryside in the middle of winter and so the group had to wait until the following spring before any real hunting could be done. Some of the men grew restless waiting for the nicer weather and they set out on foot to explore the area some. They told the others that they would return in two or three days. Four weeks later the men still had not arrived back and Beale was preparing to send a group of men out to look for the other group. The scouts that Beale had asked to go in search of the missing men were just preparing to leave when two of the men from the missing group returned. They were very excited and began to share their story.

The group had travelled 250 or 300 miles north of Santa Fe as they were following a large herd of buffalo. They set up camp one evening and began to gather wood for a fire when one of the men found a lump of rock that was much different from ordinary rocks. He believed that he had found gold and after careful inspection, the other men believed so as well. The group went to investigate the area where the man had found the gold and found that there was as much gold there as one could hope to take! The group sent two men to get Beale and the rest stayed to start collecting gold.

Beale gathered up the rest of the group after hearing the story and they set out to join the others at the gold site. When they arrived, Beale hired Indians to help them collect the gold and the group stayed for eighteen months working in the mine. Once they had collected a significant amount of gold, they knew that their lives could be in danger if robbers happened upon them while they had so much gold. They decided to travel east with what they could, hide it, and come back later to collect more of it. Beale took ten of the men and went to Virginia to hide the gold. The rest of the men returned to their homes.

Before leaving, the men devised a map to the treasure so that at any time, any of the original thirty men could return to the mine to get more. But knowing that a regular map could lead to someone else making off with their treasure, they had all conjured up a code, known only by them, that would lead the way to the mine. Once Beale arrived in Virginia, he found an innkeeper by the name of Mr. Robert Morriss, who was known to also be an honest and trustworthy man. Beale decided to stay with Mr. Morriss for three months in 1820, from January to March. Over that time period, Beale and Mr. Morriss came to be very good friends.

When March arrived and it was time for Beale to return to the mine with the others, he again hired Indians to help them uncover the gold. They stayed for another eighteen months or so and in the fall of 1821, the group decided to split up and join again the following spring so that they could look for more. Beale headed back to Virginia, hid their findings, and stayed again at Mr. Morriss’ inn. He stayed again over the winter and in March of 1822 was about to set off for the gold mine once again. Before leaving this time, he gave Mr. Morriss an iron lock box and asked Mr. Morriss if he would keep it safe until he returned. Mr. Morriss agreed and took the box, without knowing its contents, from Beale.

It was May 9, 1822 when Mr. Morriss was sent a letter from Beale. In the letter, Beale explained that he was currently in St. Lousi but that he was going to be travelling west so that he could hunt for buffalo and grizzly bears. He made sure that Mr. Morriss knew how important the iron lockbox and its contents were and made the innkeeper promise again that he would guard the box carefully. Beale told Morriss that there were two letters and three separate pages of numbers. The letters told of the hunters’ story and how they happened upon the gold mine. The story went into such great detail as to tell of where Beale had hidden the treasure he had and great details about the mine. The letters also stated what the contents of the treasure were. The letters also said that the numbers on the following pages were codes. The codes told the location of the mines, the location of the buried treasure, and the names of the thirty-one beneficiaries. Each beneficiary was one of the men in Beale’s original group of hunters and Mr. Morriss, for his significant role in keeping the treasure safe. He told Beale to keep the box for ten years without opening it. If after ten years, Beale had not gotten into contact with Mr. Morriss, he was to open the box and go find the treasure to distribute to the beneficiaries.

That was the final contact Mr. Morriss had with anyone in relation to the iron lockbox. Beale was never heard from again and neither were the beneficiaries. Needless to say the man that was to bring the code key never appeared. Ten years passed and Mr. Morriss did not attempt to open the box. He was a very honest man and wanted to be sure that no one was going to come to reclaim it. After twenty-three years had gone by, he opened the box.

In 1862, Mr. Morriss knew that he was not going to be alive for much longer. He needed to find a way to decipher the codes and claim the treasure, as he had originally been asked to. He had tried for years but had come up with very little. He asked James B. Ward of Virginia to come look at the codes and try to decipher them. He told the man that if the codes could be deciphered, he would split his share of the fortune with him. Morriss never saw his share or any part of the treasure as he passed away the very next year.

After Morriss’ death, Ward continued to work feverishly trying to decipher the codes. The numbers went very high so he determined that the numbers must be based on a document. Upon further studying, he concluded that the code was based on the Declaration of Independence. He deciphered the code by taking each number and counting that many words into the document. He then took the word that the number led him to and used the first letter of that word. This is as much as he could decipher:

“I have deposited in the County of Bedford about four miles from Bufords in an excavation or vault six feet below the surface of the ground the following articles belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three herewith. The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold and thirty eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver deposited November 1819. The second was made December 1821 and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold and twelve hundred and eighty eight pounds of silver also jewels obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stones and the vessels rest on solid stone and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.”

After running out of money in 1885, Ward had the code transferred into pamphlets and freely handed them out to the public so others could try to decipher it and perhaps share the wealth with him. However, most of those pamphlets were lost in a fire

The lost treasure of The Story of the Beale Codes.

 The lost treasure of The Story of the Beale Codes.

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