Friday, May 29, 2009

A Confederate Map 11

I spent part of the fall and winter trying to figure out what we had missed in the old rock carvings. I tried to remove from my drawing everything that I knew was recent. John loves Mary, lots of dates like June 1955, names and anything else that did not seem as old as the 1800's. I left all the old code we had found and finally realized that it kind of ended with these symbols. I thought the middle one was a deer since there are several carved in the rock. That spring it occured to me that it might be some other animal and the answer struck me that it was a mule.
Then the three symbols made sense, box, mule, barn. The barn had the main beam through it strangely marked.
The next week, without anyone knowing, I took the wooden key and a flashlight and went into the old mulebarn to look. I had to fight wasps and be careful of snakes but I managed to study the rafters and main beams carefully.
The main beam across the structure was 6 inches by at least 10 inches hand hewn white oak and seemed in great condition after all these years. It was in two sections that met in the middle of the building and had a 3 foot gap between the two end pieces secured by two braces of equal size than ran down the 12 feet to the floor. I worked a ladder into this space, tried not to get bitten by a brown recluse and shined my light in the space. I ended up using a hammer to clear away the dirt dobber nest and finally found what I was looking for.
A small keyhole in the end of one of the beams. All of this took the whole day, plus I could not get the key to turn and ended up getting a can of oil to squirt in the hole. I tapped on the end, eased the key and it finally turned. More banging and the plug in the end of the beam came out. I shined the light in and saw something wrapped in canvas. I started pulling it out, got down to the floor and opened the long bundle. Inside was the rusted old rifle that Julian Christmas had used as a crutch all those years ago.
I rubbed the old rifle clean, rewrapped it and headed back to the camp. I knew what was hidden in the stock.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Confederate Map 10

It took awhile after I had found the strange looking wrench to figure what in the world to do next. I took the three items I had and placed them on the kitchen table one night and tried to decide exactly what to do or was my little quest over with.

The journal of Julian Christmas had been incredible but I had read and re-read it from cover to cover many times. I had even examined it for invisible ink like in that movie.
Nothing else was there.

I laid the strange wrench out and studied it. I picked it up and looked through the little square hole, used a magnifying glass to see if there was any writing on it besides the obvious Masonic symbols on it.
There was no clue on it.

The third thing I had was a little box that I had discovered in the cornerstone of the old house. I opened the box and took out a little handmade wooden key. I was pretty sure it was made out of one of the plentiful Bodock trees on the place. That wood lasts forever.
I knew the key opened something, like a treasure chest, but I still had no idea where to use it and the little box had no writing or clues inside.
Another dead end.

Cookie had figured out that the rock carvings on the property had a clever code hidden inside the drawings. Confederate Navy Semaphore signals that had helped me get this far.
I talked to him but that was all he could figure out. Maybe we both had missed something is all I could imagine.
On a Saturday, I took a pad and made an effort to draw the strange symbols exactly as they were on the rocks. You could tell some were older than others, but I wrote them all down anyway. I figured I had better start acting like Sherlock Holmes if I ever wanted to get to the end of the mystery. It was right in front of me but darned if it did not take me 'till spring to figure it out; and only then completely by accident.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

$1 For The OBS

Dad sold his first book yesterday to my friend
Elizabeth Peterson at Deer Passion. It is fitting that she should be the first to buy a book. She's a Kansas Trophy Hunter, very good looking, and would have a perfect life if it wasn't for those damn oil wells of theirs pumping day and night in her backyard. Oh yes, she is a hell of a lot better shot than Matt or Phillip. In honor of her buying the first book we have decided to send her a gold plated copy and a personal autograph from Thunderhoof.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where's My Copy?

Everyone wants to know where is my copy of Jeff's God? Especially all the cheap people like me. GuyK, Goon, Kristine and even Steve and Dazed are clamoring for my used copy. Well, it's gone. I lent my copy to that stupid Thunderhoof who is letting every deer on the place read it. He won't give it back and laughs when I ask him. Uohhhhh, that deer is going to get a bullet in his hide this deer season!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jeff's God- An Unbiased Review

I have read Hershel Howell's new book called "Jeff's God" and feel that a completely unbiased review is in order. There are rumors circulating that Mr. Howell may be some distant relation, but it has no bearing on the important matter of evaluating this book. My conclusion on the subject is that
"This book is Great!"
Even Thunderhoof gave it 2 antlers up!
The book starts as a boy is reaching manhood in a small river town in Mississippi just as the Civil War breaks out. He is forced to mature quickly as the war engulfs everything he knows; and he finds himself at the Battle Of Shiloh.
He is wounded and returned to the University of Mississippi which has been turned into a hospital. Jeff heads home to see his ailing Mother and is captured, tried as a spy and sentenced to hang. A miraculous escape, a journey to a new territory, the love he feels for two women, a stolen Yankee payroll and a bitter sweet ending are all woven into a great tale of sacrifice, prayer and a personal belief in God.
A heartwarming tale that would make a fine movie in the tradition of "Dances With wolves", "Jeremiah Johnson" or "The Outlaw Josey Wales"
Cost here is $22.00 USD with $1.00 donated to the OBS for every book ordered off this blog. As hunters, trappers and outdoorsmen, I think the information contained and the descriptions he gives for surviving in the wild are worth it, plus the story is fantastic. Thanks and hope you enjoy it too.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Taking the Dayne Shuda approach to blogging with Robin Hood, I want to share with you what I consider the most important aspect of Archery. Not just Archery but Bow-Hunting for Deer Archery. There is a big difference.
I can not tell you how many guys I have hunted with that have told me about their prowess with a bow. They can shoot the wings off a butterfly at 30 yards, split an arrow like our hero Robin Hood or shoot a grouping of 5 arrows that can cover a quarter.
Impressive, but shooting targets is a hell of a lot different than shooting a deer. Most of the deer I see do not have a big target stapled to their side. I have seen these expert shots return time after time after missing their deer at 10,15,20,25 yards. They can’t believe they missed. God knows I have missed them at 5 yards.
Then I see the guys that limber up their bow, shoot a dozen shots at a target before the season, and bring in a deer or two every year. How? The answer is concentration. It is very important in shooting a rifle, but is doubly important for shooting a bow. My brother will usually not even shoot his bow before opening day, but half the time he will bring in a deer that weekend. It is ability to focus his concentration totally on one spot for about 3 seconds that helps him.
Deer always do the unexpected. They will appear at odd angles to your chosen shooting lane. You will have to stand taller, lean over or crouch down to get a decent shot. You almost never get that easy shot that you practice in your backyard. Most of the time you are up in a tree and have to shoot downward at a rough guess of a distance. Plus, drawing your bow back can take from a second to 3 or 4 minutes if the deer is alert to any strange sounds. How many of you have had a deer jump the string? Or held your bow halfway back until your arm gave out. These are secondary problems but concentration is what you have to understand when everything comes together for you to release the arrow.
Do not concentrate on the deer or on his side. You have to forget everything but a quarter size spot you pick out on the side of the deer. Learn to block everything else but that. Block out other deer, the rotten stand you are sitting in, most importantly if it is a buck, the size of his rack. It is hard to do and hold that one spot in your mind as you prepare to shoot. Good bow hunters know this and are able to make the shot no matter how much or little they have practiced. Hit close to the target spot one time and the deer is yours. Forget everything else except that spot for three seconds. Practice this concentration as part of your summer practice and you will be able to take more deer no matter what the circumstances of your hunt.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Confederate Treasure Synopsis

It has been so long since I have written about the treasure that was buried by General Forrest at the famous Christmas Place that I figured I had better give a quick rundown of what happened.
1. I discovered the hidden journal of Julian Christmas one day while cleaning out the old house at camp; thanks to a bowling ball and a bad hook shot.
2. I read how he had been wounded near Atlanta and made his way home at the end of the war. I also read that he had a map and two $10 gold pieces hidden in the stock of the worthless rifle he used as a crutch.
3. The journal then described the heartache of the Reconstruction Era. How the many people of that area both black and white had to band together just to survive in a lawless time. He told how they managed to learn to sharecrop the land, protect each other and provide for the people when there was no place left to go. A sad time in our history.
4. Mr. Christmas was ill with yellow fever or pneumonia that would not go away and began to tell the story of how fate had thrown him together with a soldier that had been with General Forrest at the Christmas Plantation. He described what happened and why they had to bury the treasure and how a cannon barrel was used to pour the coin into and sealed shut.
5. He wrote in the journal the fantastic story of how a group of soldiers were blindfolded in the night and led to a small Indian Mound in the middle of nowhere and buried the cannon full of gold.
6. Lt. Christmas wrote about how the strange encounter with this soldier occurred in a foxhole near Atlanta. the long night he spent tending the injured man and the tale that unfolded. The Private and the Lieutenant shook hands on splitting the treasure and starting over (if it was still there) after the war. Unfortunately, the soldier died in the night and Lt. Christmas took the map case in hopes of surviving and going home.
7. Julian Christmas wrote about his stay in several hospitals as the war raged around him. He wrote how he converted his twisted rifle into a crutch, carved a hidden space in the stock to carry the map and two gold pieces that were with it and the start of his long trip home as the war ended. He also wrote how his strength was failing and he was unable to search for the treasure. He ended that part of the journal with a strange entry that I knew was a clue to the map.
8. The journal continued in his wife’s handwriting and mentioned that the strange rock carvings on our property were the key to the mystery.
9. I finally told Dad about the journal. He laughed and said the treasure was long gone but was sure I would have a good time looking for it. I also realized an old lawman in New York named Cookie could help me figure it out.
10. Cookie, by accident discovered that hidden in the rock carvings was a message in the Confederate Naval semaphore code and after much trying was able to decode it enough for me to follow the message and finally dig up a strange looking wrench buried in the woods.
This is where I ended the story but now it is time to tell you how Me, Marian, GuyK and a few others managed to figure it all out over a 4th of July holiday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hershels's Gulch

In an era of almost crazy economic hard times, many people are starting to take the words and ideas of John Galt seriously for the first time. The catch words up and down the internet are Gulching and Economic Secession. A whole lot of people are suddenly looking for a safe, secure place to ride out the storm without interference.
When we bought the famous Christmas Place, one of the things we laughed about was "Well, if the electricity ever stops we will at least have a safe place to go" or "If the Mongols swarm over everything we have a place to go" Now the saying is "If the motors of the world stop, we have a place to live."
We have over 2000 acres of rich delta land for crops and cattle, gigantic hardwood forest, plentiful game, free running springs and a big lake. We have a nice house and we are very isolated. (don't want no revenoors around bothering folks)
I suggest anyone serious about Gulching look to the South. Good climate, fertile soil, natural resources, low land cost and a whole lot of people that basically already live in a Galt's Gulch type environment.
Good Luck to everyone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Golf With Lawyers

The annual Golf Camp is this weekend and I am looking forward to it. The one thing you want to do is beat the hell out of a lawyer playing golf. Nothing like putting their money in your pocket. I have two brothers that are lawyers (Trent and Paul) and they will both be playing. The one thing to remember is to never be on their team if possible. It is so much better if you beat them.
Lawyers (my brothers) will lie, cheat, use gamesmanship and kick your ball into the rough. They stiff their caddies and all think they are the reincarnation of Tiger Woods and Perry Mason rolled together.
The most fun is when they are playing badly and get to arguing with each other. Now that's funny.
We are leaving Friday and will play Sandstone that afternoon, a cookout that night, then two more courses on Saturday and one on Sunday. I am expecting to come back with all my pockets full of cash. I have to remember not to ask them any questions, they will send me a bill.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Toby Tubby's Gold (3)

College Hill is located along what was the Chickasaw Road and lies about 3 miles northwest of downtown Oxford. This is almost exactly halfway between Oxford and Sardis Lake, which was built in the 1930’s.
Over time the Chickasaw Road had become the Sardis Road for the stagecoach. The road split at the Church here and one branch that went across the river at Wyatt was called the Memphis road, while the main road crossed the swamp and was known as the Sardis road. The third road was the Panola Road that led to the little town of Panola, later relocated to become Batesville.
Where Sardis Lake is now was once an immense swamp of towering cypress breaks with the Tallahatchie river running down the middle of it. Several small towns like Wyatt and Eaton had ferries to cross the river and to allow boats to unload supplies. These little port towns were about the only place that the remaining Indians could trade and the wild land here was so dangerous that the Indians could be mostly left undisturbed and protected by Chief Toby Tubby.
College Hill is at the split of this road in the hills before it drops off into the river bottom and was so named because a Normal School called North Mississippi College was founded here in 1830. For those of you that do not know; a normal school is basically a teachers college. The new town quickly thrived and great hopes were given to this new town and undertaking.
The roads changed, the University was established at Oxford, and the town quickly sank into obscurity. All that is left now is a large scattering of suburban homes, a closed store, and the beautiful College Hill Presbyterian Church.
Going up the shaded brick walk, I studied the large antebellum southern planter style columns and the basic square design. At one time you could tell that a large balcony had hung over the entrance in front, and as I stepped on the brick porch, I studied the two sets of old doors entering and ran my hand over the old slave brick. Touching the brick brought back a trip years ago with my grandmother who had told me that William Faulkner had married in the church. It was a good feeling that the Church was almost exactly how it was the day that the Chief’s funeral procession passed in front of it. I cracked the door and peeped in.
A voice said “Come on in.”
I replied “ Just wanted to peep in” and the preacher appeared and stepped out with me. He introduced himself as Rev. Samuel Goodwin and we shook hands. I told him who I was and asked if he knew my Aunt Marilyn. He did, which by now, did not even faze me. We talked about what an amazing woman she was, I told him that I was writing a story about Chief Toby Tubby and that I just wanted to get a feel for the area.
Rev. Goodwin smilingly asked me “Are you a treasure hunter?” I laughed and said “No, just a wanna-be writer.” He asked if there was anything he could do for me and I asked if I could walk through the cemetery behind the church. He agreed and I walked around the church and entered the graveyard.
The old graves I studied were the movers and shakers of the time. Andersons, Coles, Bufords and Bensons mixed with many other old well known families; Camps, McCalls, Millers, Snopes, Lammeys and many others, including the well-known Isom family. I took a few pics of the different style headstones and markers. There were quite a few headstones marked with the sign of the Masons. It was a really big honor to be a Mason at that time and they took it very seriously. Many graves just had a large rock for the headstone with no name or date which seemed a little strange.
I spent thirty minutes walking around the little cemetery before I headed toward the tuck; and luckily found the preacher watering his azaleas near the front door. I asked him a question that I already knew the answer to.
“Are there any Indians buried here?”
He said that he doubted it, and none of the records showed any Indian names. He said that they had their own beliefs and religion and as far as he knew, their dead were buried in mounds scattered across the county. He went into detail of how the cemetery was really divided into three parts with the old black or slave cemetery in the rear and mentioning how several Union soldiers were buried there when General Grant camped on the property during the Civil War. Making my goodbye, I started down the walk and he laughingly called after me, “If you find the gold, don’t forget to make a donation to the Church!” I waved, got in the truck and headed back to work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Unusual Art

In all small town fairs and festivals, you run across some
unusual art that gets your attention. This one grabbed
mine. Yes Goon, we have crappie and all kinds of other fish
down here. In fact, the world record white crappie was caught
by Mr. Fred Bright right here around little old Water Valley.

This piece was created by Ms. Leslie Love. Go visit her site, email here or call
and she will be glad to show you more of her unusual collection of paintings on tin.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Faulkner's Point Of View

This research into Lafayette county and Oxford has been very interesting and at times disturbing. The history of the area winds together and many different stories are emerging that play a part in the story of Chief Toby Tubby that I am researching.
I decided to visit William Faulkner to get some information. He is usually on the square, sitting on a bench in front of the old Post Office smoking a pipe in the afternoons. We had a long talk, (he talks a lot in one sentence), and he gave me some pointers and information that got me going on the right track again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finally Fishing

Bobby used to be a great fisherman, but in the last couple of years he has mostly just talked about it. Last weekend he got back into the action.
Here are two cousins, Austin and Dean, beating the water to a froth after those crappie. Like all young (adventurous) teenagers, you have to look cool while fishing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Bright Review

I have waited nervously for a promised blog post from Matt at Bright Idea Outdoors involving writing his review of my father's new book called "LIM". He did an excellent job with the review on laying out the story line and capturing the eye and mind of the reader. Plus, He really liked it! Please go over to his site and read it for yourself. Then come back over here and order a copy. Thanks Matt!

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Surprisingly Fun Festival

Water Valley, MS> The annual Founders Day/ Market Fest started off early with rain but it managed to quit in time for everything to get started. The streets were busy with shoppers and venders; and kids were everywhere. The most important thing that happened that morning was that Camo was named the town mascot and given the key to the City.
Afterwards Camo played checkers and beat Charmie 3 times but she finally beat that stupid dog at dominos later. Camo has a little trouble counting.
Music played, there were lots of games such as sack races, popcorn eating, hula-hoop and the checkers and dominos for everyone to enjoy. The weather stayed nice most of the afternoon.

I was surprised at the amount of artists that had come to show and sell their paintings. My friend and blog link Susan Richards was there. Another new friend was Bill Warren, who I have written about before, and his very interesting and creative wife Pati. These are just a few of the artists, there are many more I will write about later. A special thanks to the Main Street members that did a tremendous amount of work. Some of these are Kim, Ramona, Rhonda, Denise, Micky, Bill Taylor, Cliff and many, many more. Thank you for working your butt off to have a successful festival. Thank you to the vendors that supplied food that you could not believe.
Pork ribs, crawfish, homemade ice cream, etc that everyone enjoyed. thank you to the musicians that played all afternoon. Denise and I spent a lot of that time sitting with Kim Jones under her tent in the little City Park taking it all in. Almost everyone we knew stopped by to talk and visit. It was a lot of fun to be with people you really like to enjoy a day like that.
As the day drew to an end, the word went out that huge thunderstorms were approaching and the venders hurriedly took down their tents and packed up. The fireworks display was cancelled and the music was stopped until they could be moved indoors. During this time more and people started lining the streets for what they considered the big event of the evening. They crowded the length of the street with men holding their children on their shoulders, laughing and waiting with great excitement. The storm moved closer and lightning flashes became scary and the thunder sounded almost on top of us. Everyone craned their necks southward waiting and finally we heard it. At first it sounded like thunder but the noise stayed steady and grew until we could see the streak of fire and lightning running up the middle of the deserted street. Sparks of lightning flew from his gigantic hooves and reflected off of his massive antlers and the surrounding buildings as Thunderhoof stole the show with his majestic entrance. He stopped in front of the bandstand where Camo was sitting on a velvet throne holding the key to the city in her paws; Thunderhoof reared on his hindlegs, pawed at the sky and headed North into the darkness. People cheered, they threw their hats in the air, ladies cried and children screamed with joy! Then the clouds broke and the rain poured down, sending everyone scurrying for cover. A great end to a wonderful day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Founders Day/ Market Festival

This weekend is the annual Founders Day/ Market Festival. This is downtown along Main Street and is filled with games, shows, music and of course the farmers market.
The North Mississippi Herald has several great articles about the festival.
Please come enjoy the fun.

May 9
Market Fest Event Schedule

8 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Farmers Market Kick Off: at Magnolia Tree on Main & Blackmur (includes fresh produce, breads, honey, eggs, etc….
Fiddlin' Rooster Kids Train Ride
10 a.m. to noon – Children's Stage at Farmer Market Jim McGaw Kelli and Kelly
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Official selling time for Arts & Crafts and Food vendors
12:30 Festival Announcements: Bandstand
1:30/2:30 p.m. – Games at Marchbank Park, corner of Panola and Main including: Sack races, hula hoops, three-legged race, horseshoes, spoon and egg race
11 to 5 p.m. – Historic Quilt Show Mechanics Bank Community Room
2 to 4 p.m. – Student Art Show at Imagination Station
12:45 to 8 p.m. – Music at the Bandstand Water Valley Middle School Girl's Band -
Jake Fussell - Rosie and Jamie Posey - Swinging Prevaricators - Brad Van Winkle Wiley and the Checkmates
8 p.m. – Fireworks Display: Downtown

T-shirts are available in sizes from 3x to youth small. They cost $15 and are available at the Main Street Office, located at 207 Main St.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Toby Tubby Preview

While researching Chief Toby Tubby I have discovered a great story and
possibly a great number of things that I should have left alone. These are a few of the things that have happened that you will read about later.
1. A beautiful Indian girl passing as white that takes charge when her father, Toby Tubby, is killed in a knife fight.
2. A very strange church service, unfathomable in that time.
3. A slave that escapes being buried alive, becomes the patriarch of one of the finest black families in Lafayette Co.
4. A beautiful curator that is threatened and her car burned.
5. A journal that gives an eyewitness account of the funeral.
6. A link to a strange and significant Indian symbol.
7. Someone does not want me to continue my research and is looking for the treasure.
8. A night out that turns to tradgedy.
9. The secrets of Thacker Mountain and the group that lives there.
10. An old Indian that actually went to the burial site as a child.
11. A terrible meeting in the woods
12. What happened at the end of my research.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Getting Carbonated

Mr. Jones took a pic of me with County Agent Steve Cummings (left) and Dr. Randy Rousseau (right). It was a most interesting and productive meeting and we are hoping that it will turn into a serious study in the new field of Carbon Sequestration.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Carbon Mapping 101

Today at 1:30PM, Old Scratch and I are meeting with the big Carbon guy out of Mississippi State University (Dr. Randy Russo and our local county agent (Steve Cummings). It is to be a small formal discussion of our ideas against what he knows about carbon credits and the future of this market. Will give a report later as we get deeper into this new field.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Rex Shrugged

I am in the process of reading the famous book by Ayn Rand called "Atlas Shrugged". I have heard about it all my life and now wish that I had read it 30 years ago.
I am in the middle of it and don't know whether to laugh, cry, or hide under my bed until all the motors in the world cease.
I recommend that everyone out there take the time to read this fascinating novel.
"Who is John Galt?"

Friday, May 01, 2009

What Spare time?

Unlike Jody that spends part of each day relaxing in bubble baths, having a manicure, and planning her next vacation. I am completely overwhelmed with work.
Blogging wise, these are the things I am working on or need to finish.
I have an appointment next week to go into the archives at the library at Ole Miss and pull the records on Chief Toby Tubby, I'm going to find that rascal.
I have got to finish the story on the Confederate Treasure.
I have a nibble on the 247 acres that I really need to sell.
I have let the planning for the OBS Regional Meeting lapse, I have to get that going.
These are just a few things, plus I have got to get some more ideas on quick blog posts. Posting every day is usually easy, but my cup is about empty right now.
At work, I am snowed under with foreclosures, BPO's, appraisals and the damn phone ringing off the hook. sounds like a good problem? Ah, No.
Plus I have a meeting with the Carbon guy from Mississippi State and I have got to do some research so I will not look like a complete dumbass when I talk to him.
It is going to be a very interesting couple of weeks.