The story that Jacob Bluebaugh had gold
told and retold throughout the neighborhood. Apparently he wouldn't
up the secret as to where he had hidden it even to his second wife
her threats of death. Where he had obtained so much gold that he had to
hide it? Probably Jacob brought considerable wealth with him when he
to southwest Virginia as he acquired several acres of land. Perhaps he
had gold left after making his land purchases and buried it somewhere
his farm. Or perhaps the money was from the sale of some of his land.
Some say he buried
gold in his first wife's grave. (1) Others say it was by a spring
east (2) but who could say which spring? Likely, Jacob owned many
emitting their waters toward the sunrise. People even had ideas as to
size and nature of the gold - some said it was a peck pot of gold
On his death bed,
supposedly attempted to tell those around him his secret, but he was
weak and feeble in his last few minutes and couldn't make them
where he had buried his gold. Some thought he mentioned something about
a poplar tree. He tried to tell them but he slipped into death still
his secret. (4)
Many have searched
the treasure. Probably "Old Granny Hettie" herself looked around for it
when Jacob was away visiting the neighbors or had slipped off to get
lead ore to make some bullets. Hettie must have searched frantically
Jacob died for then she had no fear he would come home and find her
Holes were dug all around on the old Bluebaugh farm by many different
There is a tradition (5) that one woman named Creech (from the nearby
farm - formerly known as the Bailey farm) searched and thought about
Bluebaugh gold so much that she went crazy and her family would have to
lock her in a closet under or behind the stairs when she got
Even within this
this writer (Jacob's great-great-great-great-grandson) and some of his
cousins searched for the legendary Bluebaugh treasure using an
metal detector. Near one stream was buried a pan lid, probably of
recent vintage. By a little dry ditch (like a spring in wet weather or
was in Jacob's time) and by a tree (one too young to have been there
Jacob lived), the electronic apparatus registered a signal of something
metallic. Excavation was immediately commenced but was somewhat
when solid rock was reached. Had a rock slide come down the steep bank
sometime in the intervening decades and buried still farther down
secreted pot of yellow metal? Not to be deterred, a little help from
got them down a little ways more. Probably too much has already been
Was something found? That's another secret!
for his pot of gold, Jacob Bluebaugh was well known for his art of
bullets out of lead. Known to him and to no other human being was his
of lead ore. Years later, some Indian in Oklahoma is aid to have
how he saw "Bluebaugh" get the lead ore. Even the story of the Indian's
telling this has gotten hazy with the passage of time and generations
he may have stated that Jacob got the ore at Pea Vine Knob on Wallen's
Some Lee County
of today recall that people have said in years past that Jacob himself
was part American Indian (7) and that the old cemetery located
of a mile straight northeast of the town of Dryden and situated on the
top of a knoll is an Indian cemetery. However, it seems that most refer
to it as the old Bluebaugh cemetery.
is (or was in 1962, at least) guarded by a lone old weathered
walnut tree. There are several native rock headstones and footstones
but no inscriptions can be found. Probably there never was anything
than hand-scrawled writing on them if even that. Probably Jacob and his
two wives are buried there and likely his daughter, Mary (nee
Flanary, and perhaps some of his and Esther's children.
One can conclude
the existing records and the traditions and legends still told in Lee
that Jacob Bluebaugh was a most interesting and remarkable man even if
he perhaps was domineered by "Old Granny Hettie." At least he knew how
to keep secrets!
(1) Interview with Mrs. Charles Blair,
(2) Interview in 1961 by D. L. Osborn
Mrs. Clyde H. Bishop (See Sada Gilbert), Dryden, Virginia
(3) Interview June 3, 1961 by D. L.
with Ballard Parsons (born 1880, son of John Morgan Parsons), Dryden,
(4) Interview with Ballard Parsons,
(5) Interview with Mrs. Charles Blair,
(6) Interview with Ballard Parsons,
(7) Interview with Mrs. Charles Blair,
Additional Bluebaugh Information
It is possible that
Jacob Bluebaugh having a land survey (150 acres on both sides of North
Fork of Holston River) in Washington County, Virginia in February, 1786
(1) was the Jacob we know of later in lee County. However, unless the
County Jacob was born several years before 1776 (and we know his second
wife was born circa 1786), he likely wasn't the Washington County Jacob
who likely would have been at least 20 years old when he was having
surveyed in 1786. But they may have been one and the same person.
There is a
that Jacob Bluebaugh of Washington County in 1786 was the father or an
uncle of Jacob of Lee County. One might further speculate that some
records in Frederick County, Maryland, pertain to this Jacob of
County, Virginia, but of course it would be pure speculation.
deed records show that on October 23, 1753, Conrad Hagmire conveyed
land by deed to Jacob Bromback (Deed book E, page 293). We might
this Jacob was aged 20 years or more when he obtained this land which
place his birth before 1734. On March 22, 1773, Jacob Blueback or
was petitioning for title to some land in Frederick County called
Choice" which he was "seized in fee of" (Deed Book P, page 680). Was
the same Jacob who was in Washington County, Virginia in 1786? Two deed
records in Frederick County, Maryland are for a Rudey, Rudy, or Rudolph
Bruback (possibly a corrupted spelling of Bluebaugh). On October 5,
Edward Diggs and Ralph Taney conveyed land to Rudey and on March 20,
Rudy or Rudolph conveyed land to Andrew Hull (Deed Book 5, page 836 and
Deed Book J, page 1076, respectively). The 1790 Maryland census shows
of the family still there. Benjamin Blueback was a family head in
County with himself aged 16 years and up (born prior to 1775), a free
male under 16 (born 1775- 1790), 2 free white females, and 1 slave.
Now let's look at
of the relatively few existing records concerning Jacob Bluebaugh and
family. Spellings of the family name varied somewhat but were usually
He was Jacob Blewbough, white and above 16 years of age and owner of 9
horses, in the 1795 Lee County Personal Property and Land book now in
Virginia State Library in Richmond. A similar book for 1796 showed him
as Jacob Blewbaugh. Other spellings in these tax books through 1829
Blubaugh, Blubock, Bluebeaugh, Bluebough, Bleubough, and Blubauh. These
books show Jacob owned 100 acres during the years 1802 through 1805;
acres and 100 acres (total of 485) from 1806 through 1823; 385, 100 and
75 acres in 1824; 385, 100, and 35 acres from 1825 through 1827; and
acres in 1828 and 1829. His 385 and 100 acres are described as being on
the south side of Poor Valley Ridge and the 222 acres were on the
of Powell River. A tract of 120 acres owned by James Benham and Peter
in 1814 is described as on the "Waters blueboughs spring."
The 100 acres
above is apparently the same as that found in the "Surveyors Records,
County, 1794-1814", at the Lee County Courthouse. On page 301 we find a
sketch drawn of a 100-acre irregularly- shaped piece of land and the
1798 for Jacob Bluebough one Hundred acres of land by Virtue of an
made November 20th 1783, by Thomas Campbell by him Transferred to James
Fugate and by him to sd. Bluebough on a Treasury land warrant W8703
in Lee County on the waters of Powells River and bounded as followeth.
Beginning a Chestnut and pine a corner to sd. Blueboughs land and the
of John Bennums S 85 W 140 po. To tree white Oaks on a spurr of the
Valley Ridge N 50 E 344 po. to pointers on sd. Ridge N 76 E 100 po. To
a stake S 53 E 30 po. to an sd. Blueboughs line and with the same S 76
W 148 po. to a black Oak and S 30 W 202 poles to the Beginning -
Hiram Craig of Benjamin Sharp, S. L.
the Lee County records at Jonesville show Jacob conveying and receiving
land. These records along with tax records indicate a slight
he may have owned at least 782 acres before he conveyed 297 acres to
Zion in 1812. This agrees with the statement of Mrs. Charles Blair of
County in 1961 that the Bluebough farm probably originally contained as
much as 700 or 800 acres. She said it covered an area from the Powell
including what is presently known as the Jack Flanary (Silas Jackson
son of David Crockett Flanary) farm (same as where Silas Flanary - born
1812, died 1898 - lived), the Crit and Elbert Flanary farm (previously
known as the Trav Flanary farm), the Hobbs farm, the Johnson (formerly
Bailey) farm, the Gilbert farm, and the Parsons (John Morgan Parsons,
of Paris Ballard Parsons) farm.
The land holdings
Bluebaugh can be at least partially reconstructed from these deed
(1) Possible acres owned before 1812
(however, 1806 through 1823 tax lists show 485 acres). Total known
782 acres. (2) September 22, 1812 - Jacob Blubaugh of Lee County to
Zion - 297 acres on S. side of the poor Valley Ridge on the waters of
Spring; after that he owned 485 acres. (3) Holdings according to 1814
record - 485 acres. (4) July 28, 1823 - Robert Craig of Washington
Virginia to Jacob Blubough of Lee County, Virginia - 75 acres, part of
a survey made on a treasury warrant No. 9068 for 222 acres - Total
holdings 560 acres. (5) October 4, 1823 - Jacob Blubough to John T.
- 40 acres lying northwardly to the place where the said Jacob now
520 acres. (6) October 4, 1823 - Jacob Blubough gave a Deed of Trust
223 acres to Daniel Razor and John Olinger. Jacob apparently retrained
possession but if we deduct these 223 acres, there are left unaccounted
for 297 acres.
In this the
297 acre piece of land conveyed to John Zion in 1812? If so, the tax
of 1814 still showed Jacob owning a total acreage which would have
the 297 acres disposed of in 1812. Perhaps this is a clue that John
was of some relation to Jacob and it really didn't matter who paid the
taxes. Perhaps John was Jacob's first wife's brother or father which
make Mary (nee Bluebaugh) Flanary's mother a Zion which could account
Mary's naming her youngest son Zion, usually not a given name.
Let us look further
the 1823 Deed of Trust from Jacob Bluebaugh to Daniel Razor and John
The record states this 223 acres cornered on John Zion's land. Listed
the names of Jacob's wife, Esther M. Blubaugh, and Jacob and Esther's
under-age daughters: Esther Ann, Catharine, and Margaret. This
made Razor and Olinger trustees of the land - letting Jacob's wife have
the use of the land and personal property until her death or remarriage
(should she survive Jacob). At such time, the land was to be divided
the three daughters or the survivors if one or more should die before
the age of 18 or marriage.
Perhaps one who is
at studying deed records would interpret these instruments differently,
but it appears that, for some reason, Jacob asked Daniel Razor and John
Olinger to convey the 223 acres back to him for that was done on
15, 1830. Perhaps Jacob was ill and decided to make arrangements for
disposition of his estate. One might wonder if his wife Esther
him - either directly to make things more favorable to her or
with her dominant personality to the extent he decided to make them
favourable to her. Census records infer another daughter was born
1820 and 1825 - perhaps after the 1823 Deed of Trust.
One can reasonably
that Jacob lived only a short time - not more than a few months - after
the 1823 Deed of Trust was revoked by the February 15, 1830 document
we find not Jacob, but Esther Blubaugh as early as November 19, 1832
land "adjoining land of the heirs or devisees of Jacob Blubough."
What more do the Lee
census records reveal about the Bluebaugh family? IN 1820, Jacob
was head of the family and aged 45 up (born before 1776) and his wife
aged 26 and under 45 (born 1775-1794). The 3 children were 1 male 10
under 16 (born 1804-1810) and 2 females under 10 (born 1810- 1820).
was the third daughter? Apparently she was overlooked or was living
someone else at census time for she does appear in the 1830 census. The
1830 census with Esther Bluebaugh as the family head shows her aged 40
and under 50 (born 1780-1790) and 5 children living in the household.
5 were 1 male 20 and under 30 (born 1800-1810), 1 female 15 and under
(born 1810-1815), 2 females 10 and under 15 (born 1815-1820), and 1
5 and under 10 (born 1820-1825). Incidentally, what happened to the
born between 1800 and 1810, who apparently was Jacob's son? Probably he
died as a young man or he emigrated to another part of the country as
later records of Bluebaugh men have been located in Lee County,
To stay in somewhat
order, let us look at the Lee County marriage records for 3 daughters
Jacob and Esther:
Hester Ann Boubaugh and Thomas
on July 17, 1832.
Catharine Boubough and Washington
October 3, 1833.
Margaret Blubaugh and Shelby Hobbs
husbands of these 3 Bluebaugh girls has been done for this writing.
Thomas and Esther A. Collinsworth were living 2 houses from Esther M.
according to the 1860 census. Also, Shelby Hobbs was living only 1
from Esther M. Blabough, but with a wife Lucinda (2). It would seem
this Shelby Hobbs was the one who married Margaret Bluebaugh and that
had died and Shelby had remarried. This probability is strengthened by
the recollections (3) in 1967 of Ballard Parsons (born 1880) of family
traditions (he is not certain of their authenticity) that Shelby Hobbs'
first wife got drowned in the river and that he married, secondly,
whose maiden name was probably France or Zion. Shelby and Lucinda had
children. Shelby had a third wife, Sue Rivers.
According to the
taken on August 22, 1860, Esther M. Blabough was 74 years old (born
1786) with the occupation of "House Keeper" and birthplace of Augusta
Virginia. Her assets shown are $50 personal estate and no real estate.
Her neighbor Shelby Hobbs had $10,000 real estate and $1,500 personal
These figures would indicate that all of Jacob Bluebaugh's land had
disposed of and that his widow still had only the personal property.
The only other
in the Blabough household in 1860 was John Colton, age 24, a "Farm
born in Lee County, Virginia. Probably Esther, Jacob's second wife,
prior to 1870 as she was not noticed in the Lee County, Virginia census
for that year.
(1) "Annals of Southwest Virginia,
by Lewis Preston Summers, Abingdon, VA, 1929, page 1786.
(2) Federal Census 1860 for Lee County,
shows the Collinsworths on pages 243 and 244 (House No. 1569, Family
1608) and the Blabough and Hobbs households on page 244 (House No.
Family No. 1610 and House No. 1572, Family No. 1611,
(3) As told by Ballard Parsons to his
Mrs. Axley Greene (nee Zora Parsons) and written by her in a letter to
D. L. Osborn, November 25, 1967, Mr. Parsons (now deceased) resided
Pages 55 to 61