This news story from the Hattiesburg American on Monday, August 15, 1966, Page 14, provides a nice summary of what was really going on when Walter and his brother Revah were digging a “well” on the Mississippi property in 1932. It wasn’t a well. Revah believed there was buried treasure on the family farm, and he had enlisted Walter’s aid to help dig for it. I didn’t explain this when I posted those letters because I wanted to wait until we got to this newspaper article.
If you do an internet search for “Franklin County Gold Hole,” you’ll get lots of wild speculation about what’s buried on my family’s land. Of course this is absurd, but that hasn’t stopped all manner of delusional folks from digging there, with or without permission.
In case any erstwhile treasure-seekers have landed on this page, I’ll reiterate what we’ve been telling these people for the past forty years: there’s no treasure buried there, and there never was. Jean Lafitte never passed anywhere nearby, nor did outlaws choose a random spot deep in the woods with no major landmarks to build some kind of robber’s 401(k) plan. The current generation of landowners is also disinclined to let anyone make the artificial lake on the property any bigger, so keep out.
August 15, 1966
These receipts are part of Ina’s effort to sell off the cattle from the Dove family farm in Mississippi, which she and Walter had inherited. Ina later gave the land to her three sons, who finished switching the property from cattle ranching and mixed farming to tree farming for lumber and paper pulp. It remains a sustainable tree farm; proceeds from it have helped put three generations of Doves through college.
July 24, 1961
This is just to tell you I am leaving for Aunt Ethel’s Thurs. July 2. I will leave Roxie at 6:40 A.M. & arrive in Phila. about 8:00 P.M. I am planning to take the train from Meridian on Mon., July 13 to avoid the week-end crowds.
July 6, 1942
Phila. refers to Philadelphia, MS.
Walter White, the eldest son, is visiting Ina’s parents in Mississippi while his parents and brothers are settling into the new house in Washington, DC.
P.O. Box 64
June 17, 1942
Dear Mother & Daddy
I arrived safely & without much trouble. Had a little trouble transferring at Gulfport & Hattiesburg. I had to leave my suitcase at Williston because the buses were crowded & they used an old bus without a luggage compartment. My suitcase arrived yesterday & was I glad! (I had to wear my slack suit & could not play around much). I have to stop because Revah is going to Roxie.
June 17, 1942
Western Union Telegram
NATCHEZ MISS AUG 21 1932
MRS INA LEWIS DOVE
222 WEST MESQUITE CARE J N LEWIS UVALDE TEX
LEAVING FOR NEW ORLEANS MONDAY MORNING WILL BE READY TO LEAVE THERE TUESDAY MORNING AND WILL MEET YOU SP STATION IF YOU CANNOT MEET ME THAT TIME WIRE ME JUNG HOTEL AND ADVISE WHEN TO MEET YOU PROJECT HERE NOT COMPLETE LOVE
813 AUG 22
August 21, 1932
Natchez Friday PM.
We are having broken pump welded this PM. Mr. D & Revah are busy with the curbing. It is going down slowly. Last night it was 6-1/2 from the bottom. They went down about a foot this morning. We are hopeful but it takes a lot of patience. Claud Holley is with me and will help us as much as we need him. Don’t worry about me. We work cautiously.
August 19, 1932
My dear Sweetheart,
Nothing exciting to report. The new curb was lowered in place Sat PM and by rocking it, it settled to about six feet of its destination. Claud Holley Pritchard was with us Sat. Mrs. Darden came with her adopted daughter (Annie Grey) and they returned last night. Mr. Darden will be here again tomorrow AM & we hope that it goes in place OK. The water comes in from the bottom some. There is about 1 ft difference in the water levels. It won’t take long to bail out sand when the curb is in place. Revah plans to use a strong jack in forcing the culvert down. There has been more of a delay than I had thought, but there seems to be no way of rushing this thing.
August 14, 1932
I have no news for you, other than that I have a cold. Was caught on the road in a hole & the rain gave me a cold. I went to Natchez for a chain pulley & was on my way there when I got caught in the rain. The cold is not serious. I am using all of my handkerchiefs.
Uncle Bernie came and I visited with him last night. My cold is much better, thank you. It will be at least a couple of days and perhaps longer before we will know if you are going to get into the pot.
Hope you are enjoying your visit. Give my love to all the folks. Tell Walter White that Daddy says W W must be a good boy.
My dear Sweetheart,
I mailed a short note from Natchez last night. It was written on the steering wheel of your car. After the truck wheel was repaired we got the culvert loaded and we reached home at 12 last night. The road was dry and the truck came over OK. Mr. Darden and Revah are running true to form. Test today shows about one foot more sand but we think it came into little curb from the bottom. We like to think that Pharoh [sic] did not move. Mr. Darden and Mother wished that you and W W had come by here. They send regards. If we have good luck we should be able to try the door next Tuesday. It will take about a day to get the door open.
August 10, 1932
I have no news of importance at this time. With the exception of Revah’s elbow bumper the health is 100%.
Tell Walter White that I am expecting him to be a good boy and that I will be glad to see him when he comes back on the train. Also I hope that he and Ina are having a good time.
With lots of love,
Walter is at the family farm in Roxie, MS, helping his brother Revah install a new casing in the well. Ina has gone to visit her family in Uvalde, TX while he’s there.
My dear Sweetheart,
Arrived at home Monday PM and had a good trip. Was rested Monday AM and felt fine. Last night we got in touch with a truck man and at last we are at the foundry to load it on truck. It looks OK and seems to be large enough to work in. Revah has a – Was interrupted here and we had to drive out on road where truck had a worn out bearing. The truck will be OK and it will be ready tonight. We expect to get it home in a couple of hours.
August 9, 1932
Mr. Darden, Revah & Mother were at home when I got there last night. We ate dinner with them at Roxie this noon. They will be at Revah’s tonight. We don’t expect to use much labor at Revah’s this time. Mother will cook for us.
With love to all & a better letter next time
Hope you found all OK and that you had a good trip
Walter’s brother Revah is apparently repairing a well on the family property in Roxie, MS. Walter will be heading there to help him shortly.
Sat. May 8 2 P.M.
Your letter received yesterday.
Today at noon we stopped till Monday. One sec. of curbing was gotten out yesterday and we are ready to pull the last one Monday.
May 8, 1932
Pump and engine are working fine. It takes about 3 hrs to pump well dry.
Our chain block was fixed yesterday after breaking a link on last section.
It will take a few more days before well will be ready to put in curbing.
Keep me posted as to your whereabouts. I wire you just when to get here.
Let me know how long you be in N.O.