Southwest Louisiana has long had a reputation for being a popular hangout spot for outlaws, pirates, buccaneers, bootleggers and other gangsters of their time.
Rumors have swirled for years about lost or buried loot along the gulf coast from Galveston Island to well past New Orleans – this includes inland creeks, bayous, swamps and rivers.
It’s interesting to note that pirates were not the only ones burying treasure here in Louisiana. During the Civil War, Federal troops began advancing further and faster into the state as the local battles raged. Yankees were known to steal and loot everything in sight, and then promptly burned everything down before departing.
The people of Louisiana would frequently hide or bury their gold, silver and jewels to prevent the encroaching Northern Army from stealing their life savings.
For whatever reason, some of this treasure was never claimed and still lies waiting for discovery.
It’s hard to imagine there are potentially gold and silver doubloons and jewels scattered around this state… and the area, present-day Beauregard Parish, is no exception to such rumors and passed-down stories.
Allegedly, a lost mine of pirate gold is still buried near Windham Creek in Beauregard Parish. Windham Creek is near Hyatt, Louisiana (30 minutes from Cannon Cemetery).
Then there is the story of a bandit in the 19th century named John Murrell and his group of thieves.
It is said that Murrell buried his vast loot of treasure in present-day Vernon Parish.
It is documented that a man named Dr. Joseph Bazee was murdered near the Junction Community in June of 1878. His body was buried at Cannon Cemetery.
So the old tale goes, the doctor was merely passing through the area. It is said that to prevent thieves from making off with his savings, Bazee buried his money somewhere out in these piney woods.
Dr. Bazee’s murderer was captured and hanged in Lake Charles; however, the money was never located.
According to a book called “Where the Gold is— Maybe” by Norman Richardson, golden doubloons we’re found near Lake Charles in 1929.
Also, a “pirate cache” was discovered in present-day Beauregard Parish.
He states that Spanish gold pieces were found near Opelousas, $200,000 in gold was allegedly discovered over a thirty-year period near Abbeyville along with a silver cache discovered in that area in 1923 and mentions that silver was found buried on Jefferson Island along the Gulf.
A gentleman named George O. Maher, invented a “ground radio machine” which was sort of the first type of metal-detecting device of its kind in these parts.
“An old jug containing $350 in gold and in silver and a letter written in 1862, was Maher’s first discovery, back in 1920,” stated a newspaper article from the Lake Charles American Press dated February 22, 1927.
The article went on to say, “…then one day in 1924, he came back from one of his expeditions with a chest of gold, silver and jewelry, worth $10,000, believed to have been buried during the Civil War.”
So whether the treasures will ever be discovered or not, it just illustrates the romanticism and colorful history of our area, it’s people and its history.
“ I’ve been researching for years, and I came across some old documents from genealogist Curtis Jacobs and his wife Gladys Meadows Jacobs that mentions Dr. Bazee’s murder and burial at Cannon. After getting the word out about it, locals started to tell me about the alleged gold that was buried and has never been discovered,” said Williamson.