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Local History

Table Rock Treasure

Table Rock Covers Outlaw Loot

“He tried to tell them, but at first the doctor believed the words to be only the feverish ravings of a dying man. Just at first, that is. Finally, Dr. Frank A. Busha, Union Army surgeon stationed in Springfield came to realize that Alonzus Hall was telling the truth.

“With a bullet festering his intestines, the outlaw leader kept insisting that he had hidden $62,000 in gold coins near the present Kimberling Bridge that spans new Table Rock Lake. Only it wasn’t Kimberling Bridge then. Just a backwoods ferry boat that crossed White River on the Wilderness Road, a wagon trail that traversed the wild country between Springfield and Harrison, Arkansas.

“Dr. Bushay wrote down the gist of the deathbed confession in a hospital journal. For a long while after that, he kept thinking that someday he would get a chance to search for the treasure. By the time he was transferred to the east, however, pressing duties and years had erased it from his thoughts, and when he left, the journal stayed behind.

“At last, the entry was read by others in the hospital and the search began; one that would continue to the present day. There is no substantial evidence that the golden treasure has ever been unearthed.

“Now, some folks are asking ‘Will the waters of Table Rock Lake seal away forever the hiding place of the outlaw fortune?’ Or ‘If it is above the waterline, will some lucky person unearth it while excavating for a vacation cottage, a resort, or retirement home in the area?’

“Whatever happens in the future, here’s what started it all, back in April, 1862.

“Capt. W.F. McCullagh was stationed with a company of United States troops at Logan, on the Frisco Railway, 25 miles west of Springfield. He had been trying for several months to capture a band of outlaws led by Alonzus Hall.

“For the past year, under the leadership of the young, crafty and handsome Hall, the gang had ranged back and forth between Northwestern Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri. They robbed and pillaged at will, since this was a lawless land, inhabited by only scattered settlers.

“One day Capt. McCullagh received word that a band of seven outlaws had ridden through Greene County, going south on the Wilderness Road. He and his soldiers immediately set out, tracing the outlaws through Greene County, into Christian County, and then to the White River in Stone County.

“In the fierce battle that followed, three soldiers were wounded, six of the seven outlaws were killed, and Alonzus Hall was shot through the lower abdomen and captured alive.

“The company surgeon patched Hall’s wound the best he could, loaded him into a wagon, and the soldiers rode back to Linchpin Campground, near present Reeds Spring. Here they spent the night. The next day they continued on to Springfield.

“The Union Army’s general hospital was located in the old Berry home, in the eastern part of town. The wounded outlaw leader was taken there.

“Dr. Bushay was the hospital surgeon. Cox Stewart and James C. Wood were dispensing clerks. The doctor’s examination of the outlaw chieftain revealed that a musket bullet had penetrated the intestines, and that Hall could not live more than a day or two. He told the bandit this, after Hall kept insisting that ‘He be informed of his actual condition.

“Hall remained silent until the following morning. He then called Dr. Bushay, Stewart and Wood to his bedside. He made a long deathbed confession with the doctor writing notes.

“He stated that he and his six men had recently robbed a bank at Centralia. They escaped with $52,000 in gold pieces. On the ride southward, they robbed two farmers; one of $4,000 and the other of $6,000. Being unfamiliar with the country, Hall did not know in which counties the farmers had lived. He knew only that they had been between Centralia and Springfield.

“A lookout had discovered the soldiers practically upon them, so Hall and another man hurried to hide the gold. Nearby, they discovered a small cave and hastily buried the four buckskin bags which contained the $62,000, covering them with dirt, then with enough moss to make the spot appear undisturbed.

“Hall and the man then returned to the ill fated battle.

“The bandit tried to describe to Bushay the location of the cave, stating that once inside there was a room with a crack in the ceiling. Through this crack shone sunlight, near the shaft of which the gold had been buried. He asked the doctor to find the money and return it to the bank and the two farmers. Shortly afterward he died.

“In the following years, many persons have searched for this lost treasure. If it has been located, as many old timers believe, the finder never made known his discovery.

“There is a tale that a man named Horn used to come to Reeds Spring with a pocket full of $20 gold pieces, bragging that he had a lot more where these came from."
News-Leader July 13, 1958
This article lists the doctor's surname as Busha and Bushay. A search of Roster of all Regimental Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons in the Late War by Newton Allen Strait does not list anyone with the last name Busha or Bushay. 

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