Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederate Battle Flag

My thoughts and prayers are with the grieving families and friends in Charleston, South Carolina. We all grieve with you.

The Confederate Battle Flag has come under fire again, being blamed for this senseless massacre. The flag did not commit this crime, as it was the act of one sick person. When asked why, Roof stated that he wanted to start another race war. He will not accomplish that, but he does get the satisfaction of playing a part in this national debate over the display of the flag. The banning of flags and monuments is like censorship of a history book in the library. We should use these as a teaching tool  just like a history book, let flags and monuments remind us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We must come together, put the hate from the past to rest with the wonderful souls that we honor and lay to rest today. Let us honor them by teaching the youth of today, being role models and mentors and leading with good examples. The sad reality is if we do not carry on in this manner there will be more Roofs and these beautiful people will have died in vain. By banning flags, removing monuments and hiding the dark places in history is to repeat history. We already see that this is offending and those who vandalize monuments with paint are trying to put out a fire with gasoline. These are really great examples to teach children. Hate breeds hate and violence leads to more violent acts. Why not use your painting energy to educate yourself about what these monuments and the Confederate Flag teach us.

I know of no flag flying that is not soiled with the blood of the good, and stained with acts that are dark. The Confederate Battle Flag is being associated as a symbol of slavery, a dark place in United States history. That flag was not around when slavery came about in this country and hiding it will not end racism or change the fact that slavery, the flag, the bloody Civil War are all part of our past.

What about the United States Flag and should we associate it with unsavory events of our history? Under the United States Flag in 1830 the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Of all Indian policies adapted under the U.S. Flag, none was more heartless than removal. This led to what is know by the Cherokee as the Trail of Tears. In 1838 General Winfield Scott moved against the peaceful Cherokee people ordering the remaining 15,000 be moving west within a month. They were stripped of their land, everything they had and marched from Georgia to Oklahoma leading to the death of 4000 plus along the way. The accounts of the Trail of Tears are as horrific and sickening as it gets.

Under orders of Abe Lincoln, 38 Dakota Sioux were hanged at Mankato, Minnesota on December 26th 1862, the largest mass execution in United States history, basically for being hungry. Banned from hunting beyond the boundaries of their reservation and starving because their provisions, that were supposed to be provided by the government, were sold to settlers instead. Given only rotting meat, unfit for the dogs, some of the men slipped out to find food for their starving families and stole some eggs from settlers causing a skirmish. It is unclear if the men hung were even guilty at all. I highly recommend typing in Dakota 38 + 2 in your search engine and watch this documentary.

Flying the United States Flag, Brigadier General James H. Carleton, U.S. Army Commander, removed the Navajo from the 30,000 square miles they occupied and relocated them to Fort Sumner (Bosque Redondo) in New Mexico. What is know as The Long Walk began in 1863 and consisted of 300 miles. About 9000 Navajo were herded like cattle, with little food or water, to Bosque Redondo. Those who could not keep up with the others were shot and killed, whether they were women giving birth, the ill, or individuals who had paused to help others. As many as 2000 avoided capture by the military, but some were found by slave traders and sold. At least 2000 men, women, and children died during the Long Walk or at Bosque Redondo. Fort Sumner was harsh and corn does not grow there. They starved, died of sickness, and were attacked by enemies. Navajo boys are said to have gone to were the horses and mules were corralled, rooted around in the manure for undigested corn, and roasted it as food. If that does not hurt your heart you don't have one.

Just as the Confederate Battle Flag did not cause slavery or Dyllan Roof to hate and kill, the American Flag did not cause any of these atrocities. It is sad that a historic symbol is wrongly associated with racism. Ethnocentrism, or the belief that one's own culture is superior to another is the seed of racism. When one sees that we are all equal even if we may be different, then they are past racism.

The United States of America is the greatest country in the world to live and the American Flag is the symbol that we cherish our freedom and just as the door to the American Methodist Epistocal Church door is open and welcomes all, so is America. Our flag may have stains, as all flags do, but many have given their life to protect what she stands for, freedom to worship, freedom of speech, freedom to debate this issue in an intelligent, yet peaceful manner, as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all no matter what race or whether you come from the north, south, east, or west. We are America, we are Old Glory and long may she wave.

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When good people are hurt it is the cause of all those who might be called good to suffer.

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting






Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Train Robbers

Some of the most captivating stories of hidden treasure are the ones about train robbers and the law men who pursued them. All treasure stories get told so many times that they grow and become a lot more colorful than the actual facts of the original event. This is one reason why research is so important, and digging for all the accounts and information you can find is what will make you successful.

One story that has been twisted so many ways is the Farrington train robberies. In July 1871 Hilary and Levi Farrington along with William Barton and Bill Taylor,  robbed a Southern Express car on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad at Moscow, Kentucky. This robbery got them a grand total of $1600.00. On October 21, 1871 they robbed the north bound at Union City, Tennessee and according to Allan Pinkerton they stole around $6000.00 and it was reported on October 23 in the Memphis Daily Appeal that $4000.00 was the take. How this turned into $20,000.00 is a mystery. There is no record of the Farringtons robbing any other train nor were they charged with any other train or bank robbery. In his confession, Barton said that Hilary Farrington mentioned robbing other Southern Express trains but there is no record of it. It is very unlikely that any treasure was hidden. When Levi Farrington was captured at Farmington, Illinois at the home of his cousin Mrs. Kate Graham, a large sum of money was recovered in his bags. Barton also said they had given money to Mary Farrington, the mother of Hilary and Levi. She is listed on the 1880 census living with her uncle and aunt Patterson in Lawrence County Missouri.

Research of these robberies is a great story and it led to the discovery of two very interesting sites. One is Lester's Landing Tennessee which was 12 miles below Hickman, Kentucky and the other I will quote from what Allan Pinkerton wrote:

Nigger-Wool Swamp, a description of it will be necessary.
The swamp is more than seventy miles long by about thirty-five miles wide, and, as a piece of bottomless ooze, its superior cannot be found in the United States. There are just two roads crossing it, one running from Hall's Ferry, at Point Pleasant, Missouri, and the other from Mitchell's Ferry, thirty-five miles below. These roads are mere bog-paths in themselves, being heavily overlaid with underbrush and corduroy logs, yet they afford the only means of crossing this vast morass. The period of the annual overflow turns it into a turbid, sluggish lake, the roads being then deeply buried under water; but even in the dryest seasons the greater portion of the swamp is a bottomless slime of mud and putrefying vegetation. Large tracts of thickly-wooded land are contained within the limits of the swamp, and these constitute a semi-substantial basis for the two roads which run through them; but even these clumps are impassable at most seasons, except along the artificially-constructed roads. Sometimes, for miles and miles, nothing but the rankest of swamp-vegetation is seen, growing in wild profusion and covering the treacherous ooze with a close network of leaves and branches, until the surface looks firm enough to be taken for solid ground; but should any unfortunate traveler venture to cross such a spot, his limbs would be clogged by these clinging water-plants, his feet would find no secure resting-place, and, sinking rapidly deeper and deeper into the mire, his bones would find a sepulcher where nothing but a general natural convulsion would ever disturb them.
Still, there are occasional islands of firm ground through this section, and these have become the resort of lawless characters of every nationality and degree of crime. Over the entrance to Nigger-Wool Swamp might be placed, with perfect truthfulness, the motto: "Who enters here leaves hope behind." Each man is a law unto himself, and he must maintain his rights by the strong arm and the ready shot-gun. In one thing only are the dwellers of the swamp united, namely: a bitter and deadly resistance to the law. No officer of justice ventures therein to perform any of the duties of his office; unless backed by a powerful body of determined men, he would never return alive, and, if so accompanied, he would never succeed in catching a glimpse of any criminal whom he might be seeking.
About the middle of the swamp, the two roads cross each other at a spot called "The Gates," and every person traveling through either way must pass this place. Knowing this fact, I felt sure that Mrs. Farrington would await the arrival of her sons at "The Gates," in case she entered the swamp, and I determined that, in such an event, I should try to capture them there. I was fully aware of the danger of such an attempt, but I knew that to take the bull by the horns is sometimes the safest means of overpowering him. To send officers to that point with the avowed purpose of arresting any one, would be equivalent to sending them to their certain death, and I had no intention of doing anything of the kind; but I had men of my force who could visit Nigger-Wool Swamp for the professed purpose of hiding there from pursuit for alleged crimes, and, when the moment came for action, I did not doubt that they would bring out their men before the neighboring outlaws could discover their object.
May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting

 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Arrowheads

On Spring Break we got sunburned, muddy, dirty, and tired. We spent time catching up with old friends and made some new ones. We ate at some great restaurants, saw some beautiful places and on top of all that we found some arrowheads.

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May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Holiday Hunting

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

I am out on a holiday hunting adventure, but will be back in a few days.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day.

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May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Dime

I found a dime and I am still a lot puzzled. When I started examining it I saw that it was a 1965 Roosevelt, but it seemed to be inside of a wedding band or small ring. After a little cleaning it really started to not look right. I went to the change and found a 1965 dime and got into a box of old coins to retrieve a 1964. It was obvious when compared,  my dime is smaller. A regular 1965 clad dime weighs 2.27 grams and my find weighs 2.0 grams. A Roosevelt dime is 17.9 millimeters and my find is between 16 and 17 millimeters.

So far I have not investigated by contacting an expert. I have to test the center as it seems that the ring is clad and the dime inside the ring is silver and missing a lot of detail. Here are some pictures.

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting


 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

THE MECHANIC – Treasure Steamboat

May 9th, 1825

The Steamboat "Mechanic" Snagged and Lost to the Ohio River.

On Friday morning, May 6, 1825, the steamboat Mechanic departed Nashville, Tennessee. She had been chartered to deliver the American and French hero General Marquis de Lafayette (6 Sept. 1757—20 May 1834) and his traveling party to Marietta, Ohio. General Lafayette was on a grand tour of the United States and had just visited General Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage. Other notables on board other than Captain Hall and crew were Georges Lafayette, son of General Lafayette, the Governor of Tennessee, General William Carroll and staff, Governor Edward Coles of Illinois, General O'Fallon and Major Nash of Missouri and Isaac Shelby and Henry Clay of Kentucky.

There was a large round rock in the river just past the upper end of the Cannellton lock. It was called Elephant Rock from its shape and it was used as a navigational mark by steamboats going upstream. Before reaching it boats moved to the Kentucky side where the current was easier on the inside of a curve.This was the situation when the steamer was ascending the Ohio River on that rainy Sunday night. The boat, the Mechanic , moved to the Kentucky side and soon hit a submerged tree, called a snag, and sank around midnight.  The river was rough and in the darkness Lafayette lost his footing and tumbled headlong, into the river. Had it not been for the quick action of two sailors, he might have drowned in the Ohio River. However, the great man was no worse off than wet, so when the small boat reached the shore, fires were built and the 65-year-old Lafayette and his party spent the rest of the night on the Kentucky shore with a fire burning. At daybreak a rowboat was found and he was brought to a cabin near Elephant Rock on the Indiana side. He stayed here out of the rain until around noon when a downstream steamer, the Paragon, turned around and took him to Louisville. Bert Fenn found three eye-witness accounts which agreed with one another. So Lafayette was not wrecked on Rock Island nor did he spend the night at Lafayette Spring around 3/4 mile upstream from Elephant Rock, near the mouth of the Deer River, as some stories suggest.

There was no loss of life, but the Mechanic went down quick causing General Lafayette to lose $8000.00, his carriage, clothing and other personals. Captain Hall lost his desk which contained the ships purse and his personal money. Much more treasure went down, being there were so many notables aboard.

During low water these river banks could be very profitable, as the Mechanic and her treasures are still waiting to be salvaged.

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Katy Train Robberies

After the Civil War the railroad industry expanded west at a feverish pace. As the railroads grew so did the numbers of gangs that had nothing to do but rob banks and trains. Robbing trains in the east was difficult due to the larger populous, but not impossible. The ease at which gangs pulled off robberies glorified the act to a new generation of young, nameless outlaws eager to try their hand at easy money with the chance of getting named the star of a dime novel.

The Missouri-Kansas and Texas Railroad (the Katy), because of its route through Indian Territory, was one of the most targeted rail lines in the country. It passed through large stretches of sparsely inhabited land which made it easy to rob. Gangs were targeting the Katy shortly after it laid the first tracks into the Cherokee Nation.

In response to this constant threat, the railroad hired lawmen to ride the rail line, particularly if a large shipment of money or goods was being transported. In 1894, Bud Ledbetter was hired by an express company to police the railroad. He was on the Katy in mid-November of that year when one of the more famous train robberies occurred.

The year 1894 had seen a great deal of outlaw activity. It was during this time that the U.S. government made a large payment to Cherokee citizens for the purchase of the Cherokee Strip — a northern section of land along the Kansas border. With so much money being transported and changing hands, bandits saw an opportunity for easy spoils.


John Moore, a railroad agent under Bud Ledbetter, told the story of two robberies that took place near the Katy Station, Parsons, Kansas in 1894. His account seems to suggest that he was seeking a reward and fame as an investigator, or that he was no better than the robbers who did the job. A couple of bandits robbed the Katy of $35,000 in gold coin and buried it along the tracks in a leather sack. A month later, the same bandits robbed another Katy train at the same place, this time acquiring $50,000 in gold coin. They put the coins in a small leather trunk and buried it beside the tracks. The outlaws were tracked to Wichita and killed resisting arrest, never revealing where the loot was buried. John Moore searched many years for the caches without ever recovering the gold, before ever revealing that he knew that the money was buried along the tracks. 

What are the odds that two train robbers would be lucky enough to rob two different trains, one month apart, with this much money? Most gangs never saw that amount of money if you added all the banks and trains they robbed together. Mr. Moore surely tipped his two partners of the trains to rob, not counting on their untimely demise. The revelation of the caches coincidently, if you believe in coincidences, surfaced at the same time the Katy Station in Parsons, (accidently) burned, destroying all records, making research into any investigation into the robbery and John Moore's involvement tough.

One thing is sure, John Moore did not spend all those years hunting nothing up and down those railroad tracks, keeping it secret what his search was about. What's $85,000 in gold coins from the 1890's worth today? ANSWER:  It's worth a look or two up and down those old tracks!

May all of your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
Best Wishes and Good Hunting


Katy Depot fire, March 18, 1912, Parsons, Kansas