Last week, we started a series of three of our favorite tall tales stories from the Smoky Mountains. If you haven’t read that one, go check it out! Here’s story no.2:
The Missing Gold Mine in Greenbrier
In the years following the Civil War, the richest man in Greenbrier Cove was local blacksmith Perry Shults. While most men in the area had no money, Shults always had plenty of coins to spend. What was the source of Perry’s wealth? Rumor had it that Perry Shults had discovered gold in the Smoky Mountains!
After uncovering a shallow streak of gold with his pick and shovel, Shults chartered a mine in search of a great fortune. To throw potential robbers off his trail, Perry played his cards close to the vest. He always took different routes when visiting the mine, and he never even told his wife the details of his operation.
Shults had another reason to be secretive: he was using gold from his mine to counterfeit coins! Perry used the forge at his blacksmith shop to melt gold nuggets into authentic-looking money that he could spend in town. The key to Shults’s counterfeiting project was stolen gold coin reproduction plates that were given to Perry by a friend who used to work for the U.S. mint.
When federal agents caught wind of Shults’s scheme, Perry allegedly tossed the treasury plates into the Pigeon River and stopped his illicit activities. Some people say that Shults fled from the Smoky Mountains and left a treasure trove of gold coins buried somewhere in the Greenbrier area. Others say that Shults stayed in Greenbrier, but suffered a stroke before he could tell his wife where his fortune was buried. Regardless of what happened to Perry Shults, no one has managed to find his buried treasure or discover the location of his secret gold mine…yet.
Story no.3 coming next week! Stay tuned!