From Staff reports
Walking along a dry winter lake bottom is nothing new for brothers, Bodean and Enos Pervis of the Hickory Tree community near Bluff City. Every winter when area lakes draw down they look for lost fishing lures and gear, watches, jewelry and bottles. This past January their luck changed in a valuable way. They struck gold.
Bodean suggested they keep their find quiet until it could be valued but Enos let the cat out of the bag when he told his sister. The news was out. The brothers had found a large number of old gold coins in a jar barely visible, partially buried under an old rotten log. They couldn’t lift the log and had to rent a chain saw from East Tenn Rent-Alls to cut the log in half to get to the shiny coins.
Inside the jar they discovered gold coins in $5, $10 and $20 denominations with the dates of 1840s and 1850s. The brothers and Enos’s wife, Magnolia, guessed the coins had been stolen from an Army payroll during one of the Indian wars in Alabama. The coins looked like they had been hidden and the culprits caught or killed leaving the loot unclaimed.
“We have gotten a preliminary value of them ole’ coins and I was shocked out of my shoes,” Bodean said. “The professor, Dr. Seth Poole, told us the coins could be worth well over a million bucks.”
One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985.
Magnolia Pervis is one of the happiest of the family saying, “It’s gonna be a new day around our house. A new car, new tires and maybe even a new house with hot water!”
Enos has been living with his brother and sister-in-law since his wife left him penniless a few months previous. “I bet that grouchy gal will get back here in a heartbeat when she hears about our discovery. I don’t want her back.”
Although most of the coins were minted in Georgia, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as San Francisco.
The brothers know great stuff lurks at the bottom of area lakes, especially this one. “It’s like hitting the lottery. The gold may be worth even more than $1 million I bet,” Bodean said between cigarette puffs.
“I don’t think TVA will try to file a claim since we found it. We’ve hidden it again just in case. We only let the professor look at 15 coins. He was astonished as we was,” Bodean claimed. “I don’t even think the IRS will try to claim taxes on something so old. We should have kept our mouth shut anyway,” Bodean claimed.
Enos said, “I’ll just tell anybody that starts a pokin’ around… ‘once Jimmy Hoffa is found, we can move on to finding Jimmy Buffett’s lost salt shaker…ha, ha, ha’.”
Local officials have told the brothers and immediate family to keep a low profile especially this weekend since it’s April Fool’s Day coming this Sunday, April 1st.