The Yocum Silver Mine Aug 15, 2018 12:40:51 GMT -5
Post by tailypo on Aug 15, 2018 12:40:51 GMT -5
I am surprised to find no mention of the lost silver mine belonging to the Yocum family -- probably in Missouri -- or the famous (infamous?) Yocum Dollars. There isn't much about this particular lost treasure online, but it was always talked about locally and I have read stories about it since I was a kid. Accounts vary, but it is generally given that one member of the family either married into or was closely affiliated somehow with a local SW Missouri Indian tribe and learned of a secret silver mine used by the tribe. He gained access to that mine (whether by fair or foul means is up for debate) and worked it periodically to get enough silver ore to smelt into high-quality silver dollars that local people used in preference to the lesser quality government-minted coins of the time. In fact, it was the ostensible superior purity of the Yocum dollars that got them into trouble. (Apparently the government didn't like the competition.) The coins were outlawed and confiscated wherever they appeared and the Yocums seemed to have gone into other business ventures elsewhere. At any rate, no one seems to have any Yocum dollars to show and it is unclear where or when the original Yocum families left the area. The one thing folklorists seem to agree upon is that the mine was disguised with the idea that the family would come back to it someday and that it has not been found since.
Lots of local writers have contributed to this story from time to time and every so often there is a resurgence of interest in locating the mine (or debunking the whole idea of a silver mine located in SW Missouri -- not known for silver) but it has not been found and neither have any hoards of leftover coins or coin-making or mining equipment. Whether the whole thing is merely a legend, a hoax (some say the Yocums never had a mine, but bought the silver, melted it and re-fashioned it into coins), or something else entirely remains to be decided. Most people agree that if it is found it will be in the area around Branson, MO where there are still quite a few Yocum descendants.
One interesting side note (for me, at least), is that while researcing the title chain of the land we purchased 26 years ago, I found that the property once belonged to the Yocums. We discovered a filled in sinkhole on the property many years ago (and enthusiastically dug it down about 20', where we ran into side passages -- also blocked with stone and mud) but had too many other things on our plate to spend much time on that. It has since filled back in partially from rain washing soil into the opening, and we talk about going back to our excavations one of these days when we have time. Unfortunately, time seems to be the thing we are most short of these days so, who knows?