Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: A Remarkable Find - Rendezvous of Old Murell GangDate: May 6 1887
Newspaper published in: Tupelo, MS
Source: Lee Co., MS Library
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 6
A REMARKABLE FIND
Supposed to be the Rendezvous
Of the Old Murrell Gang.
In the days of John A. Murrell, it was known that he had a hiding place or rendezvous somewhere in Mississippi, but it never could be located. Four miles south of Sardis there are many rough, ragged and step hills—one, the famous gravel pit, now furnishing gravel for the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas railroad. Yesterday while men were sinking shafts into one of them to see what amount of gravel it contained, there were surprised to drop into, what appeared to be a cave, but on close examination they found a door completely concealed from the outside now by bushes and briars growing up. Nearby there is a fine spring of pure water, but for the explorers to say they were horrified would be putting it mildly. There lay the bones of eleven horses, four dogs and one man. The man must have been a prisoner, as the chains showed he had been fastened to the wall. There were bunkers for eleven men covered with skins of wild animals. Panther feet and claws of eagles, hawks and other birds were tacked up all over the place. Three pairs of stirrups are of pure silver and very heavy. Most of the spurs are of the same material and have a striking resemblance, yet peculiar workmanship. There were three cases of old style dueling pistols. They were lined with fur and each weapon was carefully wrapped in tow or flax. Two double barrel pistols, very heavy, were found. A full set of burglar’s tools, that many of our modern cracksmen would like to own, all in a good state of preservation. Here is the list of names cut in the wood in different places: J. A. Murrell, Kissane, Pearson, Davis, Stout, Hamilton, Meaver, Griggs and Butter. The initials of John A. are all that are given. There was a place to cook, all of which has gone to decay and fallen in, filled up with leaves and cannot be seen from the outside. About $900 in gold and silver was found, most of it coined in 1826. A complete list of all the prominent citizens of East Tennessee and Kentucky who had fine horses was found. Many of the names are familiar to us yet. Thomas Hardiman is said to have six, all fine and ready for market.
About one year ago James Bryant, conductor of bridge train on the M. & T. R. R., found what he supposed to be some old family graveyard near this place. There has been a heavy rain and the constant changing of the creek bed had washed the bones to view. Three of the skulls showed plainly that a bullet had passed through them. Almost everything of value has been taken to the residence of J. T. Slater, at Sardis. He is road master of the M. & T. railroad. This is another link in the chain of __ of ___ of California. He was Jack Shepherd’s boon companion in his palmiest days, and he it was that planned most of the shore business of Captain Kidd. Mr. Martin Jones tells the writer that there is an old tradition among the colored people that these hills are haunted, and they assert that many times while out coon and ‘possum hunting they have seen horses and dogs flying over the hills as noiseless as the wind. Mr. Jones has live here many years.
Why there were left alone to starve will always be a mystery. Many of the most prominent citizens have visited the place to-day. If they can get light enough the interior of the cave will be photographed. The ceiling and floor is of very old fashioned puncheon.—Sardis Correspondent Memphis Ledger.