Where is the lost treasure of Parson Keithley?
Many tales have been told about the gold rush days in
California, some true, some concocted out of pure imagination. Whether to
believe these tales is always left up to the person that hears the story. Then
as the story is passed down through the years, many times, more is added to the
actual facts making it even harder to believe. Just like the story about Parson
Parson Keithley was a bizarre and odd character
even for the gold rush era. Prior to the gold rush, Parson Keithley was known to
be strange fellow. He would wander the countryside of the Ozarks in Stone
County, preaching on Sundays and just roaming the rest of the week. He always
carried his gun on his shoulder and had his trusty dog along side. His family
never knew where he was or when he was coming home. He would leave for days on
end and then appear just as quickly as he had left. No one knew exactly what he
did while he was out roaming and he never even spoke a word of his adventures.
When the news of the California gold rush made it
to Missouri, Parson Keithley was an elderly man, still roaming the countryside
and preaching on Sundays. One day, he left home like any other day but was not
heard from for many months. This was out of character. He might disappear for a
few days, but never for a month or more. Finally, after quite a few months, his
family received a letter from Parsons Keithley stating he was in California. One
day, two years and eight months later, he reappeared at home and began his old
rituals, preaching on Sundays, roaming the rest of the time.
The family finally found out what Parson had found
while in California and that its value was at the time around $6,000. He never
mentioned where he hid the gold. However, he would pull a $10 gold coin from his
pocket now and then to hand to his daughter. All he would say was “See here what
Parson Keithley had a favorite cave in which he
used for mediating as the story goes and the town folk even fondly called the
cave “Keithley’s Cave”. After the end of the Civil War, the parson prepared the
cave for his burial. He walling off a room and had a five-foot entrance leading
to the room. He built a double stone door inclined at an angle at the entrance
of the cave. He lived to be over 90 years of age. The story does not state
whether he was buried in the cave or not. However, even at his death, he never
admitted have found gold in California, but many believe he did find gold and
that he buried in either his garden or the cave.
The cave can be found close to Galena, Missouri.
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