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That's the Breaks

The break through the mighty Pine Mountain
    I attended a book signing not too long ago in the neat little community of Elkhorn City, Kentucky. I had the opportunity to meet with some wonderful folks with a tremendous amount of knowledge about the Swift legend as well as many other interesting historical incidents unique to the area. It was a great day. While I based the book in the Red River area and west in Kentucky, make no mistake the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and especially along the Pine Mountain area is probably even more a focal point these days in the Swift search. And rightly so. Several years ago Mr. Bill Gibson discovered under a cliff on the mountain, a cache of Spanish silver coins dating from the mid seventeen hundreds. According to the reports I hear, Mr. Gibson made the discovery as he climbed over a dirt bank in the rock shelter. There were literally hundreds and obviously had been buried there left for someone to come back later to recover.
One coin of many discovered by Bill Gibson
    The coins are thought to be counterfeit though they are in excellent condition as if the Spainish had minted the coins in South America and boarded for home. They remind me of the Mel Fisher Etocha discovery. But up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and Virginia?
No one will likely ever know the answer to that question. 
   Pine Mountain is one long mountain formed by the upheavil of the vast Appalachian system. General the mountain extends from the Breaks area southwest to Jellico Tennessee.  One, long (nearly a hundred miles long) fault block mountain. Geologist tell us it is the mirror image of the Cumberland Mountain just to the south.
    Breaks Interstate Park is a unique attraction unto itself. It is here that the fork of the Big Sandy River cuts right through the mountain forming the deepest canyon in the Eastern U.S.  The view is breathtaking and the rock formations are pronounced. This is a place that everyone should visit sometime.
    The park is unique among parks in that it is one of only two parks that are operated and maintained jointly by two states. Virginia and Kentucky  both have land holdings that comprise the park. The two states have for many years worked out a cooperative and finanical arrangement for the care and upkeep of the park. While there is no formal development outside of primitive trails on the Kentucky side, Virginia has invested millions of dollars over the years developing a full blown resort park complete with a lodge, new cabins, a pool, campground, trails and picnic facilities. The park is set up much like the familiar Kentucky State Resort Park that are so well known. 
One of the newly constructed rental cabins
    Standing at one of the beautiful overlooks across the vast canyon at the various rock outcrops one cannot help but wonder if Swift himself traveled through this mountain pass leaving the wilderness and his mining operations. Swift claims to have counterfieted silver crowns but what if he also made a few Spanish pieces of eight along the way? And just as described in his supposed journal he left numerous caches along his route. What if Bill Gibson found one of those caches? Whether there is a connection or not, we know there is treasure out there because as treasure researcher and historian Timothy Belcher said "Bill has got coin."


  1. Does Bill Gibson have any of those coins for sale say on EBAY or any where else?

  2. I am unaware if he has sold or plans to sell any of the coins. I was informed that he gave some of the coins away to some of his friends years ago when he discovered the cache. Mike Steely or Timothy Belcher would likely know about the coins. Both guys are on the "Swift Silver Mines " page on Facebook. Best of luck!


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