The Story of Gideon Turney

Peter Turney was an accomplice in the burial of the Missouri State Treasure in Searcy County, Arkansas. Peter was in Co. A, 10th Arkansas Infantry during the Civil War.  He lived near the border of MO and AR, in Heber Springs, AR, and was a Union sympathizer.  The Confederates came North and gave the border people a choice.  Either join the Southern army or die.  Peter chose to join the Southern army.  He was marched to Little Rock where he was inducted into the Confederacy.

While he was in the army, he consorted with fellow soldiers from Missouri.  Three of these army buddies robbed the Missouri State Treasury and came South to Heber Springs, AR.  They arrived at Peter's house with a Sheriff's Posse close behind.  It started raining when they arrived at his house.  Peter led the buddies to Snowball, AR and helped them bury the treasure in an animal den that he knew about on the side of the mountain.  There were quite a few Turney's in Snowball and Marshall, so Peter knew the area very well.  Peter went back home and the three army buddies were captured by the Posse.  Nothing has been heard about them since.

Peter was safe at home and was wary of returning for the treasure.  In August 13,1921, Peter Turney dictated the map (way bill) to his son, William Henry Turney.  William's daughter, Ava, then took control of the way bill.  She later passed it on to her nephew, James Fred Turney.    Ava Turney and her sisters, Pearl, Annie, and Sarah, lived in Stigler, OK and used to clean Peter Turney's house for him.   She heard the story and dictation firsthand.  (Story told by Forrest Gene Turney, Irving, TX 75062.)

Thea Gilliam

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07/9/2002