Is there treasure in the upstate of South Carolina? No doubt…but where? That has been a question that many have sought the answer and I have sought the answer to for over thirty five years now. There is a connection between my love for the hunt and my equal love for local history. I was born and raised in upper Spartanburg County near the tiny town of Campobello near the Greenville County line and on the edge of North Carolina. Being at the foot ofthe Blue Ridge Mountains I was constantly exposed to the old mountain cultures as well as the encroaching more modern culture which has/is slowly pushing out the old ways. Progress….is guess. However I would and do like to salvage as much of that other time as possible and to remember and try to preserve those memories in our minds and the minds of our children and grandchildren.. Some memories are good and some are not so good. Some of that bygone culture is better and some was worse than today.
One of the things that I want to share with you today is a bit about an area in northern Greenville County called “Dark Corner”. Is there treasure there?? I think so. Is it easy to find?? Probably not. So what about this “Dark Corner”? Well I have heard several stories about how it got its name. One local author claims that the notorious title was given to the area because the mountain people of the area would not agree to support the Articles of Secession and that the area was a Union safe haven during the Civil War thus suggesting that the people in the area “were in darkness”. Others say that it was because of the rampant manufacture and sale of moonshine whiskey, something that I was witness to as a young fellow. Riding in the truck with my daddy over the twisting dirt roads made me pretty nervous knowing the legends of the area. Daddy never let me know what we were doing over at the foot of Glassy Mountain but later I figured it out. Enough about this…..get to the treasure Bob.
In the early 1980’s a local gentleman named Harvey Scivedge wrote a little book about mountain people. In that book was the story of a treasure tucked away in the heavy mountains of upstate of South Carolina in the upper Greenville County. So sit back and read about this story as described by him along with some other things that I have added.
When the Civil War was over times were hard and there was almost no work. Reconstruction was the order of the day. A man could hardly feed his family. My great-great grandfather has seen his farm fall in value by two thirds. Liquor was a large part of the mountain peoples lives. They made it, drank it and sold it. Corn was raised on the river bottoms and ground into meal and made into mash and alcohol was distilled. Dray wagons went loaded with the stuff into Greenville and Spartanburg where it was sold to buy food and supplies. People who lived in this area were concentrated along places like Table Rock, Beaver Dam Creek, Devils Fork (present day Lake Jocassee) Hogback and Glassy Mountains, Caesers Head (Saluda Mountain SC). After the war the area was a hangout for outlaws and marauders. There are many legends of hidden treasure in these mountains. This is one.
A gentleman named Steve Munford came up from Charleston along about the year 1840. He and his wife bought a four hundred acre tract of land along the west side of the North Saluda River in upper Greenville County. He purchased three slaves and together they improved the land and the next eleven years it was believed with his inheritance that Mr. Munford had accumulated over twenty thousand dollars in gold and silver. With the Civil War looming it is said that Munford decided to take his hoard load it up and take it over on Dust Mountain and bury it to protect it from all the miscreants in the area. Munford being physically ill at the time needed the help of his slaves for that much gold and silver was far to heavy for him. Knowing that his slaves were afraid of him and would not dare speak of this endeavor, he threatened to kill them. So he took two of them with him. Blindfolded he gave each of them a large bag to carry while he rode on horseback with digging tools and an iron pot. He had the first man hold the horse tall, and the second man hold onto the first man. Though blindfolded they could tell that they were going in a winding pattern. After what seemed hours they stopped dug a hole and hid everything. After that he blindfolded them again and put them on the horse and he led them back to the farm house and again warned them not to speak of it.
As the war raged on plundering of the area was the order of the day. Lawless marauders calling themselves homeguard and militia but nothing more than both Union and Confederate deserters terrorized the area. Munford had definitely done the right thing in hiding his cache and waited for the end of hostilities. The close ofthe war brought no better climate. Reconstruction provided only a greater level of hostilities leading Spartanburg, Union and York Counties of South Carolina to be placed under martial law in 1871. Munford apparently never found the comfort that he needed to retrieve his hoard as lawlessness in the area prevailed. The law would not even enter the area. In 1885 Steve Munford died in his sleep leaving his treasure buried along the slopes of Dust Mountain. After his death his former slaves were no longer afraid to tell their story. They described their adventure. They described that they could hear water running over falls and when they made the turn. Twenty five years had passed and the only landmark that they could recognize was the sound of falls. The great thing is that there are only four five water falls in the entire area. It is said that Munfords grandsons opened up their grandmothers grave in search of the gold only to find a terrible stench and a skeleton. About fifty years ago someone dug all the graves in an old cemetery back in the woods near Dust Mountain. They had scattered the bones over the cemetery. All of these big holes dug all over Dust Mountain proves that the locals believe that the treasure is buried someplace there on the mountain. I believe that there is a treasure of twenty thousand dollars face in gold and silver and it seems “that it is almost as if this mountain and the ghost of the dead man was working together to keep this location a secret forever.”
Can you find it?