PUBLICATION 9 - 1975
LEGENDS OF JACOB
The story that Jacob Bluebaugh had gold was told and retold throughout the neighborhood. Apparently he wouldn't give up the secret as to where he had hidden it even to his second wife under 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 came to southwest Virginia as he acquired several acres of land. Perhaps he had gold left after making his land purchases and buried it somewhere on his farm. Or perhaps the money was from the sale of some of his land.
Some say he buried his gold in his first wife's grave. (1) Others say it was by a spring flowing east (2) but who could say which spring? Likely, Jacob owned many springs emitting their waters toward the sunrise. People even had ideas as to the size and nature of the gold - some said it was a peck pot of gold coins. (3)
On his death bed, Jacob supposedly attempted to tell those around him his secret, but he was too weak and feeble in his last few minutes and couldn't make them understand 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 holding his secret. (4)
Many have searched for the treasure. Probably "Old Granny Hettie" herself looked around for it when Jacob was away visiting the neighbors or had slipped off to get some lead ore to make some bullets. Hettie must have searched frantically after Jacob died for then she had no fear he would come home and find her digging. Holes were dug all around on the old Bluebaugh farm by many different people. There is a tradition (5) that one woman named Creech (from the nearby Johnson farm - formerly known as the Bailey farm) searched and thought about the 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 uncontrollably violent.
Even within this quarter-century, this writer (Jacob's great-great-great-great-grandson) and some of his cousins searched for the legendary Bluebaugh treasure using an electronic metal detector. Near one stream was buried a pan lid, probably of relatively 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 when Jacob lived), the electronic apparatus registered a signal of something metallic. Excavation was immediately commenced but was somewhat hampered when solid rock was reached. Had a rock slide come down the steep bank sometime in the intervening decades and buried still farther down Jacob's secreted pot of yellow metal? Not to be deterred, a little help from explosives got them down a little ways more. Probably too much has already been revealed. Was something found? That's another secret!
Besides being remembered for his pot of gold, Jacob Bluebaugh was well known for his art of molding bullets out of lead. Known to him and to no other human being was his source of lead ore. Years later, some Indian in Oklahoma is aid to have related 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 but he may have stated that Jacob got the ore at Pea Vine Knob on Wallen's Ridge. (6)
Some Lee County residents of today recall that people have said in years past that Jacob himself was part American Indian (7) and that the old cemetery located six-tenths 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.
The Bluebaugh cemetery is (or was in 1962, at least) guarded by a lone old weathered lightning-splintered walnut tree. There are several native rock headstones and footstones there but no inscriptions can be found. Probably there never was anything more than hand-scrawled writing on them if even that. Probably Jacob and his two wives are buried there and likely his daughter, Mary (nee Bluebaugh) Flanary, and perhaps some of his and Esther's children.
One can conclude from the existing records and the traditions and legends still told in Lee County 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!
Surveyed October 25th, 1798 for Jacob Bluebough one Hundred acres of land by Virtue of an Entry 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 lying 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 land of John Bennums S 85 W 140 po. To tree white Oaks on a spurr of the Poor 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.
Several other deeds in the Lee County records at Jonesville show Jacob conveying and receiving land. These records along with tax records indicate a slight possibility he may have owned at least 782 acres before he conveyed 297 acres to John Zion in 1812. This agrees with the statement of Mrs. Charles Blair of Lee 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 River including what is presently known as the Jack Flanary (Silas Jackson Flanary, 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, father of Paris Ballard Parsons) farm.
The land holdings
Bluebaugh can be at least partially reconstructed from
Hester Ann Boubaugh and Thomas Collingsworth on July 17, 1832.
Catharine Boubough and Washington Hobbs on October 3, 1833.
Margaret Blubaugh and Shelby Hobbs on October 21, 18.35
husbands of these 3 Bluebaugh girls has been done for
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
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
whose maiden name was probably France or Zion. Shelby
and Lucinda had
children. Shelby had a third wife, Sue Rivers.
Pages 55 to 61
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