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The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 39, September 27, 2015, Article 14

THE LEGEND OF THE ELUSIVE YOCUM SILVER DOLLAR

Every so many years another story about the phantom Yocum Silver Dollar pops up. Here's an article from the News Hub (where anybody can post anything). -Editor

Yocum silver dollar Silver has been in the shadows of another precious metal, gold. Silver often does not get the credit it deserves. The legends of Silver, however, treasures are just as intriguing as those of Gold. The Ozark Mountains in Arkansas have whopping stories about silver dollar coins.

The Legend States that Europeans-The Spanish- were traveling up the Mississippi and its’ tributaries. They were search for precious stones. Close to the source of the White River in Stone County they found Indians working Silver Mines. They bargained with the Indians. Apparently the Indians had much more silver than they let on to the Spaniards. To hide the silver, they made ingots and stashed them. Ingots are made by pouring molten silver into musket barrels. The Ingots were placed in caves in the area, so one day they could return for them. Then never returned.

Another version claims that the Spanish had built a fort on the Junction of the White River and Stone County in the 17th century, where they had begun to mine silver. Many were attacked and killed. The survivors sealed the cave with stones and never returned. Then, in 1809, Chickasaw Indians discovered the cave while seeking Shelter from a storm. They found the walls to be pure silver. In classic story of greed, the Chickasaws were also attacked Mexican Gold Hunters. They sealed the cave again, hoping to return, but they were struck by Black Rot and never returned.

Ten years later, In the 1820s the Yoacham family settled in the Galena area of Stone County. When they found the silver they cut the ingots into slices and stamped them with the name ‘Yoacham’ and hence the name Yocum Silver Dollars. Yoacham silver dollars were said to have been worth more than the U.S. government silver dollars of the time.

Marvin E. Tong, the Director of the Ralph Foster Museum, doubts the truth to this legends. But he has ideas about how the legend began. Tong says the Yoacham family settle in Galena from Hungary. In Hungary there was a Bishop Yoacham who had become a saint and had a coin minted in his honor. The name of this coin was the Yoacham “Stald”. Mrs. Kathleen Van Buskir who claims to be related to the Yoachams, says their ancestry origin is Welsh.

Tong also gives evidence that the natural geological setting of the Ozarks is not naturally prone to produce a gainful amount of silver. The Missouri Geological Survey and Water Resources of Rolla, Missouri Minerals has concluded that Gravel is the only extractable stone. In the early days Galena Mineral was found on the surface of the ground, and this might have been mistaken for “fool’s silver”.

Mike Brittain, who has ancestors who were homesteaded in the Ozarks, showed copies of a diary excerpt with a map which he claimed a friend had made while doing research at the National Archive in Washington D.C. On the map is a carving, a cave and a small Spanish fort which Mike said he had found the foundation stones of but never found the carving. The end of the diary is dramatic. The man had found a mine or cave with silver and was chased by Indians.

This legend of the Yocum silver has grown bigger with each telling. Unfortunately the damning of the white river has placed most of the communities of the Ozark ancestors under water. Perhaps that is the reason why no one has yet to have discovered even one silver dollar. It might be time to call in the divers.

To read the complete article, see:
The Legend of the Elusive Yocum Silver Dollar (www.the-newshub.com/arts-and-culture/the-legend-of-the-elusive-yocum-silver-dollar)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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