Common Misconceptions

The two most common misconceptions regarding the Beale Treasure are the author of the Beale Papers, and the name Thomas Jefferson Beale.

Most people say that James B. Ward wrote the Beale Papers. The Hart Papers even note that Ward was the author of the pamphlet. However the only thing that is certain, is that Ward was the one who submitted the papers to the Library of Congress in 1885. If you read the Beale Papers closely, the author clearly states that he wished to remain anonymous and that he had turned over the Beale Papers to an agent. It is more likely that Ward was the agent and not the author.

If Ward didn't write the Beale Papers, than who did? There are many different theories. Some believe Edgar Allan Poe, who was obsessed with "living on" after his death, could be the author. Especially since the Beale Papers mirrors his early story "The Gold Bug". Others believe N.H. Hazlewood, who introduced the Hart Brothers to the mystery, was the man whom the Beale Mystery consummed.

Most people refer to Thomas J. Beale as Thomas JEFFERSON Beale. Yet there is no hard evidence that a Thomas Beale even existed in Virginia between 1819-1821, let alone a Thomas Jefferson Beale. Most people assume the middle name is Jefferson, due to the DOI being the key to cipher #2. But nowhere in the Beale Papers is Thomas Beale ever referred to as Thomas Jefferson Beale. All of his letters are signed T. J. B. and in the story itself he is referred to as Thomas J. Beale. In fact, it's conceivable that Beale may not even be spelled right! There are alternate spellings such as BEALL, BEAL, and the french spelling BOUILLE.

If you think you know of a common misconception regarding the Beale Mystery, contact me at the address on the front page.