Flowers finds his fortune in old mine

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mr. George Calloway said he grew up listening to his father, William Jefferson Calloway, tell of his experiences while searching for gold.

He was half-Creek Indian and loved to talk.He told of Billy Flowers, who was an Australian and had been walking through central Alabama and stopped at a farm house near what is now Verbena and told the man where he was staying that he wanted the property where the old Ripito Mines were located on Blue Creek.

The mine had not been active for about 20 years.Flowers would go to Rockford to file his claim, but when he got to Rockford he found the old man had beat him to the land office and had filed for the claim.

Flowers went straight to the old mines, and the old man offered him a 50-50 deal. The old man offered the “grub-stake.” Mr. Flowers would do most of the mining. The old man found no gold, Flowers hid what he had found, and the old man got discouraged and left Flowers with the claim.Flowers hired William J. Calloway for one dollar a day. Calloway didn’t find anything after a few months and left it with Flowers; Flowers left with a sack full of gold.

Remember the father was a great storyteller, and he left us with these “facts:” He said De Soto came through here in 1740 or 1741 and built a fort on Blue Creek, where his troops camped. Calloway said De Soto took 2 Indian maiden hostage and demanded a ransom. The Indians gave him a room full of gold, but the Spaniards would not free the girls. The Indians attacked the fort, freed the maidens, took back their gold and killed De Soto! “De Soto is buried in Blue Creek.” The legend goes on to say that De Soto was put in a hollow log and sealed at both ends with gold to keep it from floating. “I believe it happened here and not on the Mississippi River.”

“The rest of the story” said that “the Indians buried their gold when they were driven from their land. They came back many years later, dug up their gold from the base of a tree and left in silence.”I’m not asking you to believe the story, but I got it from Ma Bates—I’ll believe it.