Author to discuss Hendricks Lake treasure story


Buried treasure in East Texas? Find out more when Gary Pinkerton speaks at Panola College at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 25.

The M.P. Baker Library of Panola College will host a book debut and reception at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 25, in the Murphy-Payne Community Rooms of the library.  Author Gary L. Pinkerton will share the story behind his newest release, True Believers – Treasure Hunters at Hendricks Lake, and provide books for purchase and signing.

Since he first learned that a rut across his family land was the route of a historic road, Gary’s passion for research and writing about Texas history has resulted in the publication of two books.

Trammel’s Trace – The First Road to Texas from the North, is the history of a 200-year-old road and its role in early smuggling and migration into Texas beginning in the early 1800s. He researched both the trail and its namesake, Nicholas Trammell. Gary and other “rut nuts” continue to work on locating and mapping its remaining pathways across eight East Texas counties with the help of landowners committed to preserving their part of Texas history. This award-winning book was published in 2016 by Texas A&M University Press. (

His second book, True Believers – Treasure Hunters at Hendricks Lake, is the story of people who believed a Texas treasure legend enough to search for it. For over 150 years, people have heard the tale that Jean Lafitte plundered the Spanish brig Santa Rosa in Matagorda Bay in 1816. His caravan of six wagon-loads of silver headed north along Trammel’s Trace but was overtaken by soldiers. Rather than give up the silver, the wagons were cut loose and rolled into Hendricks Lake near Tatum. At least that’s what the legend says. Houston oilmen, a Carthage TV repairman, some tough Texas lawmen, an MIT-educated electrical engineer, and the “world’s greatest underwater treasure hunter” are just some of the men who believed the treasure legend of Hendricks Lake in East Texas enough to search for silver there. W.C. Jameson, author of The Lost Canyon of Gold, says “This book is a compelling history artfully wrought by an excellent writer with an intimate connection to the land and the people.” The book is available from the author from his website at

Recognition for Trammel’s Trace has been broad. A reviewer for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, said that Gary “brings considerable historical and geoarchaeological skills to bear in his in-depth analysis of an often-overlooked early route to Texas.” The President of the Texas Historical Foundation called Gary a “historical volunteer” and said, “Through research, countless presentations to local historical organizations, and one-on-one education of landowners, he has reconnected Trammel’s Trace and brought the historic pathway back into current consciousness.” As a result of his research and his efforts to educate others about the old road, the Stone Fort Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas erected a five-foot granite marker for Trammel’s Trace in Nacogdoches in 2018.

Gary is a member of the Editorial Board for the East Texas Historical Association, and his work also appears in the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, the online Handbook of Texas, Portal to Texas History, and the Journal of Diving History.

The event and reception are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Attendees may purchase Trammel’s Trace for $25, True Believers for $20 or both for $40. Any form of payment is accepted. For additional information please call 903-693-2052 or email [email protected]