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.

***

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.

***

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

***







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.

***

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
 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

WHAT A TREASURE

HAPPY MOTHERS
DAY!

You can hunt for treasure of all kinds all over the world, but you will never find any treasure as valuable or that means more than MOM.

Hugs, Sunshine, Flowers and Love to all MOMS!  May your dreams be real.

HAVE A GREAT DAY *** YOU DESERVE IT

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

*** 


Friday, May 8, 2015

14 Double Eagles and 10 Silver Dollars

August 1862
The border war was hot like the weather and most of Quantrill's men were still looting Independence when The Battle of Lone Jack Missouri took place on the 15th and 16th. A few of the raiders had made their way to Lone Jack including Cole Younger and a young man named Carter. For a short time Carter was captured with a few others and told before his death how scared he along with the other men were that they were going to be executed. He told how Cole Younger helped them escape and that Younger helped him steal horses so they could get away. During his escape Carter took a ball to the leg, but kept riding.

All young Carter wanted was to go home to Kentucky, he almost made it. He made it almost to Norfolk Landing, but the fever, infection and heat had all but done the young man in. He had lost his horse and walking was very slow and limited.

A farmer found Carter wandering along a wagon road and took the young man to Norfolk where the women tried to nurse him back to health. On the second day he told his story and said that the night before he was found by them that he had spent the night near a pond, at an Indian mound, where he had buried his belongings. He said his poke included 14 Double Eagles and 10 Silver Dollars he had stolen in Independence. He told the ladies caring for him that the cache was under three round Indian stones on the South East side of the mound. He died that night in sight of Kentucky.

The farmer hunted Carter's cache but never found it, passing this story down, and as far as anyone knows it has never been found.

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Shotgun Shell Brass

Shotgun shell brass can be almost as aggravating as flip tabs with the fact they are not a coin. I have hunted sites that produce quite a few and have found that these little brass slugs can be of some assistance when trying to date a site. Some sites are mysterious as to the W's, who ,what, when and without finding a coin with a date or any other information, narrowing down 100 years to 20 years is difficult. You can use the brass of these old shotgun shells to narrow the date down. The best place I have found to help with dating brass shell stamps is www.cartridge-corner.com.

In the early 1800's a man named John Duff was a superior counterfeiter for his time. He operated out of Hardin County, Illinois, and Union and Crittenden Counties in Kentucky. He hid many caches of counterfeit coins along Treadwater River near Sturgis, Kentucky.

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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ohio Treasure


Zane's Trace was an early road in the Northwest Territory that connected Wheeling, Virginia, to Limestone, Kentucky (present-day Maysville) from 1796 until well after the War of 1812. Many businesses were built along the road. Taverns and inns catered to travelers and ferries transported people and goods across the rivers. Farmers used Zane's Trace to get their crops to market. Stores were opened in nearby communities to sell a variety of items brought from the East to Ohio settlers. The road had a major influence on development in the southern half of Ohio. Many caches remain hidden along Zane's Trace waiting to be found.

On August 3, 1795, leaders of the Wyandot Indians, the Delaware Indians, the Shawnee Indians, the Ottawa Indians, the Miami Indians, the Eel River Indians, the Wea Indians, the Chippewa Indians, the Potawatomi Indians, the Kickapoo Indians, the Piankashaw Indians, and the Kaskaskia Indians formally signed The Treaty of Greenville. All the chiefs were given medals by the government. They have a picture of George Washington on one side and an Eagle on the other. These medals are very rare and if you find one with your metal detector, you have hit the jackpot. If you see one for sale beware of reproductions.

In 1863, Tom Felton buried the family valuables and $200.00 in gold coins to keep John Hunt Morgan's Raiders from taking it. As fate sometimes is cruel, Mr. Felton met with an early demise never revealing where he cached the valuables. It is located on a farm owned by John Ireland, in Vinton County, Ohio near McArthur.

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

Zane's Trace

Greenville Treaty Medal 1795(reproduction)
 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lost Union Payroll


On Dec 30, 1862 during the Civil War, Union Colonel C L Dunham of the 39th Iowa Regiment was ordered to seek out and destroy the CSA 7th Tennessee Calvary Brigade of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was known to never give or expect quarter, so before the engagement, Dunham had two Lieutenants and a Sargent (possibly Quartermaster Adams) bury the payroll strongbox of $15,000 gold US coins 200 feet due east of one of the five springs located at Dollar Hill, where the Union had pitched camp.

The next morning, Dec 31, 1862, Dunham's regiment met Forrest's at Parker Crossroads, and heavy casualties were inflicted on the Union. As Dunham ordered retreat, a rain storm flooded the area.

Dunham and his remaining men returned to Dollar Hill to retrieve the strongbox, only to find the area was "a sea of mud and standing water", and quickly departed to avoid CSA patrols.

This is one of the few lost gold stories of the Civil War to be real. Allen Chambliss, a teenager from Huntington,Tn, who Dunham hired as a scout, witnessed the burying of the stongbox and the battle, and lived to tell this tale. It was also confirmed in Colonel Dunham's report of this encounter with CSA General Forrest.

Here are some interesting facts:

Colonel Dunham reported 23 killed, 139 wounded, and 58 missing. One Lieutenant acting as his aide and Quartermaster Adams were captured leaving only two possibly three who knew where the strongbox was buried. They arrived at Clarksburg after dark on the 30th, taking breakfast and departing for Parker Crossroads at daybreak.

Poplar Springs located along Dollar Hill Road would be a good place to begin.

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Surface Hunting for Treasure

Metal Detecting has an added extra in all the little non-metal trinkets we find on the surface. I run into more and more people out looking for arrowheads than ever before. I see people walking creeks and dry stream beds hunting all kinds of treasure. I ran into a lady the other day who hunts lucky rocks. River banks during low water turn up many finds of all kinds. It is great exercise and fun for all ages, not to mention you do not have to have a metal detector. After flood waters recede off of sites and after rains on farmed sites everything on the surface shines. I usually walk over places like this before getting the metal detector out of the truck. It is amazing how much treasure is on top of the ground. I have found buttons, marbles, arrowheads, fossils and even coins walking a site before detecting. It does not take long to walk and scan over a site then concentrate on metal detecting much slower.

Congratulations to Susie Clark on a great surface find. Susie found a 3.69 carat white diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. It is the largest that has been found so far this year. She named her diamond "Hallelujah Diamond" because she said a little prayer before beginning to hunt on the last day of their trip. Susie said she asked, "Are you going to bless me today and let me find a diamond?" She was truly blessed and plans to keep her find. Way to go Susie!

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

Surface Treasure

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rings

Every time I dig up a ring, while metal detecting, I wonder what story it would tell. Rings go back as far as history has been recorded, and each one has a special meaning tagged with a unique story. They tell stories about cultures with wealth and show us how hard times can be. If you metal detect long enough there will be a ring tell you its story, I guess just because it needs telling. No matter if it is made of gold, has diamonds or glass, silver, tin, engraved, or hammered out by a poor man each one is made with love and a happy intention. Rings are symbols of marriage, love, membership and wealth. It never gets old to see a young lady react to a guy on one knee, with a sparkling ring, ask for her hand in marriage, to see just as much happiness on the face of a little girl who gets a ring from a bubblegum machine, or the smile of a graduate when they receive their class ring. As treasure hunters we should always go an extra step to try to find the owner of lost rings if possible. I always am happy to read where a treasure hunter somewhere returns a valuable item such as a ring to the rightful owner. Unless you have done this, you can't imagine the look on their face, and how grateful they are, not only to get back their lost item, but to know that there are good, honest people who go the extra mile to do the right thing. When you walk away from returning a ring or other valuable, you will never forget how good that made you feel.

Sometimes, after all efforts have failed, you just have no way of knowing who the ring belongs with. Then the find is yours and we all know that some rings are quite valuable. I have paid for two metal detectors with rings that I have found. Antique gold and silver rings are very much in demand and fetch a high price. Be very careful and do not let a sly dealer con you out of an antique for the price of gold or silver weight. Just like finding sites or searching for the rightful owner, finding the value requires research. Do your homework. You will be very glad you did.

Several years ago I was detecting around an old country store that had closed after 100+ years of being there for the community and making the best sandwich you ever had at lunch. It goes without saying that the bottle caps and flip tabs had been broadcast like they might sprout and grow. There were two old oak trees beside the old store where generations of tobacco cutters, hay haulers, highway workers and treasure hunters sat on benches or the ground enjoying a good sandwich, cold soda and conversing about current events. I found a gold F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America) ring that one of the roots had grown around leaving only about half of the ring exposed. It was beautiful 18K gold and heavy. It had the name of the young man engraved inside and I knew it probably would not be to hard to find him. There was no social media then so I searched the phone directories with many last names but no match to the first name. I ran an ad in the lost and found of the local papers and my phone rang the next day after the ad had run. There was a lady on the phone who said she believed I had found her sons ring. I politely told her that he would have to describe the ring and I would be happy to return it. She described it to the scratch, which amazed me, and she went on to say that she would like to come get it where I found it and that they had pictures and a proof of purchase. This seemed a little strange but I agreed to meet them at the old country store. We had the ring cleaned and got a ring box from the jeweler so it would be nice when they got it back. I will never forget, I met them on a sunny Thursday afternoon in May. We did not wait any time until a car pulled in and a younger lady helped an elderly lady out of the passenger seat. We could see that she was a little feeble and after introductions we sat down on a bench on the porch of the old store. She opened her folder that was sticking out of her purse and began to show us pictures of this fine looking young man at his graduation. She told us how hard he had worked hauling hay, cutting tobacco and had even raised a calf his father had given him to buy that ring. They said he was so proud of it and as I opened the box I asked where her son was. Big tears rolled down her face as she took the box in her shaking hands and said, "He has gone to be with his father and the Lord, they both died in a head on collision with a drunk driver right after his high school graduation 20 years-ago in May. They were coming here to look for this ring he had lost while eating lunch here with his friends." My heart had sank and fighting the tears myself the only thing I could say was, "I am so sorry." It was silent as she looked at the ring and she looked at me said, "You are a fine young man like my men were and I know that a man who would go to such trouble to return this ring will not take any reward money, but I insist on two things." I said, I do not want any money, and that I hoped if I ever lost something that important it finds its way back to me. What are the two things?" She said, "One, I insist that you hug my neck and two, you and your wife join us for dinner and allow me and my daughter to treat." We hugged her and she said she loved us for what we did. I never said it but I thought, maybe it was what the ring did.

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

She told me that the one who gives also gathers




Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tokens



I did a little hunting at an old site along the railroad. The site is right in front of a very old cemetery where some Confederate soldiers are buried. It is called the Young Cemetery, but I know little about the site. Here are some trinkets that I found:


Two Trade Tokens
Tiny Porcelain Figure 


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


Taking a Break

And Goodnight

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Silver Bar Cache Never Found

 In 1850 on through the Civil War Webbs Ferry, located on the Wabash River in Posey County Indiana, was one of the routes used as an underground railroad crossing to move slaves into Illinois and on up to Michigan. It was also the choice road from Louisville to Saint Louis. Union troops used this route back and forth on a regular basis.

Confederate raiders under George Todd learned that a Federal shipment of silver bars had left Louisville traveling this route by wagon. Todd's men crossed the Ohio River from Union County Kentucky and headed north to capture the shipment. As the Union transport was about to cross the Wabash, they were warned that the raiders were close and quickly buried the silver then escaped to the north. When they returned to retrieve the silver bars the Wabash River had flooded. After the water receded silt and mud obscured the hiding place and the troops never found the cache.

The location of Webbs Ferry is where the abandoned Illinois Central Gulf Railroad and Interstate 64 crosses the Wabash River. There is no record of the shipment ever being found and you never know, the next high water may reveal what has been hidden all this time.

The area around Webbs Ferry has all kinds of history and either side of the river would be good metal detecting.

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hunting Ghost Communities

Ghost communities are similar to ghost towns except they were less populated and lacked businesses. There might have been a merchant or a huckster, a church/meeting house, and may have even been a precinct, but these small communities never reached town status. Buffalo and Elk traces became roads as settlers established these little communities along creeks or rivers with a spring nearby. As railroad and river towns grew, new and improved roads took the place of trails, these little pieces of Americana with a stream down the middle, started to vanish. By 1950 the little hamlets became the subject of stories told by old men whittling on a bench in front of the store or under a shade tree in town. Trees and weeds took over where gardens, orchards, pecan and walnut groves once flourished and fed the small communities.

To find these ghost communities all one has to do is pull over along the highways and interstates, look across the field to find a woods, or follow a creek. If you look or follow far enough the monuments of these old ghosts will appear out of nowhere, left behind for electric bills and the finer things.

Ghost communities can prove to be quiet challenging for metal detecting. The summer finds them grown over, snake, spider, tick, chigger and wildcat infested so be careful and stay alert. Just as they can be a challenge, they can be very rewarding with relics, bottles, coins and caches waiting to be claimed.

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

A Ghost Community Called Lupe's Crossing












Finds from Lupe' Crossing 04-20-2015 
1928 penny, 1948S dime, 1946 dime, 1942S nickle 
  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Story of a Soldier – Sunday Tribute

Treasure hunting and researching has an amazing way of revealing stories and facts that we are not really searching for. Thursday afternoon I was out checking new site leads when I ran across a little cemetery in the middle of nowhere. No road, no sign, just a pasture/hay field and way over in the back edge an old cedar tree. There were about 15 tombstones but the one under the old cedar made me curious for some reason. It was the grave of a 22 year old WWII veteran and the only soldier in the small cemetery. His name was Raymond Blackburn, PFC US Army.

I made my rounds after finding the little cemetery and later that evening at home, for some reason I could not keep from looking into this young soldier and his story.

It is not unusual to find soldiers in small family cemeteries, but I guess what really got me curious was that he died December 25, 1943. I could not get the fact that he died on Christmas Day out of my head. I had to know why or how. After some late night research I found that his story was not at all what I had pictured, but should be told today.

Raymond, I bet they called him Ray, was stationed at Camp Breckinridge Kentucky. The army post was an inland prisoner of war camp for 3000 German prisoners from 1943 to 1946. Ray had a pass for the Christmas weekend (may have been a week pass) and left Camp Breckinridge, bought his girlfriend a necklace for Christmas, and started hitchhiking his way to Paducah Kentucky where she lived. I can't assume any of the events as they are not known, but after reaching Paducah sometime before Christmas Day, Ray was walking across a railroad trestle and must have slipped on the snow causing him to fall off. The fall broke his back and no one knows for sure how long Ray laid in the snow, but long enough to wear a hole in his shoe on the rocks, trying to move. Ray was alive on Christmas Day when some men got to him, but the corner said he already had pneumonia from the exposure, and when they tried to move him it severed his spinal cord. Ray never made it to his girlfriend to give her the necklace and although he did not die on a beach in France, he was still a soldier trying to get home, he will always be one of our Heroes and the Treasure I found Thursday.

Salute Raymond Blackburn and to all our Soldiers trying to get home. Gods Speed. Come Home Safe.

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


  
It has been said that nothing great has ever been accomplished without passion.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Gold Border

When we hear treasure stories from the Civil War we seem to be tuned in to battle and skirmish sites, camps and raids. There are a lot of stories and treasure from these stories comes in all forms. We love to find bullets, buttons, buckles, and all kinds of artifacts relating to a turbulent time that has been romanticized by film and print.

Not too long ago, I asked some young men that were hunting a campsite, "If you could pick any place to metal detect related to the Civil War, where would it be?" Their answer, without hesitation, was places like Gettysburg, Shiloh and Antietam. I asked some of my hunting partners the same question and got almost the exact answers. I had one guy who paused saying, "That's a hard one, where would you pick." I told him the Missouri/Kansas border sites and he smiled and asked, "When are we leaving?"

There were raids, massacres, looting and burning at so many locations on both sides of the border between these two states that the odds of finding gold is good to great. All of the back and forth revenge raids created fear that caused caches of gold, silver, jewelery, and other valuables to be scattered for miles and miles on each side.

Do a little research, pick a place and you never know, we may see you there.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Morgan's Raids

John Hunt Morgan's raids through Indiana during the early days of July, 1863 were incredible to put it lightly. In the short span of five days, Morgan's men robbed, pillaged, looted and destroyed property, caching more plunder than most any pirate did in their entire career. The only resistance was at Corydon where 450 Indiana Militia was no match for the raiders. From there Morgan's men spread out, stealing and destroying everything they could.

Treasure in every form is cached throughout the area. There are numerous stories of some very hefty amounts that were stolen and never left the area, only to be hidden for 152 years a short distance from where it was taken. Follow the railroad would be the first clue to quickly finding something. I will tell you that the Salem Public Library, Harrison County Public Library and the Jackson County Public Library are great resources of individual accounts.

Lieutenant George Eastin of Morgan's men was captured by Union troops near Old Pekin. It is thought to be between the old road and railroad. Eastin told that he was in a wooded area trying to escape from the soldiers and that he buried his sword, gold and silver coins, his medals, uniform buttons and a knife before being captured. He never returned to find his cache after the war.

A few miles Northeast of Old Pekin, just South of Harristown, several of Morgan's men were cut off by pursuing Union troops. Pinned down in an orchard the raiders buried their loot and perished from the bullets of the Union troops. This cache could be found with some serious research and a little luck.

This does not even begin to describe what is hidden along John Hunt Morgan's raid through Indiana.
***

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



Treasure Hunter's Code of Ethics

I WILL respect private property and do no treasure hunting without the owners permission.
I WILL fill all excavations.
I WILL appreciate and protect our heritage of natural resources, wildlife, and private property.
I WILL use thoughtfulness, consideration, and courtesy at all times.
I WILL build fires in designated or safe places only.
I WILL leave gates as found.
I WILL remove and properly dispose of any trash that I find.
I WILL NOT litter.
I WILL NOT destroy property, buildings, or what is left of ghost towns and designated structures.
I WILL NOT tamper with signs, structural facilities, or equipment.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Charles Lewis Garrett: Sunday Tribute to an American Hero

What a Story What a Life!

In memory of Charles Lewis Garrett. 1932-2015. Inventor. Treasure Hunter. Patriot. An American Legend.
There are not enough words to express our gratitude for all that Charles Garrett did for the world of Treasure Hunting and Treasure Hunters. There are not enough words to honor Charles Garrett and say it all. A true American Hero, Role Model, Mentor, Educator, TREASURE HUNTER AND TREASURE GIVER. Thank You Charles for the passion you stir in the hearts and dreams of the young and old! Thank you for making it possible for the average blue collar person to be able to buy an affordable metal detector that has all the features one needs and durable enough to take anywhere you want to take it. Thanks for building them in the United States, and thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us. Thanks for making them where the whole family can have one they can use, making it a family event to go treasure hunting. Thank you for making the world safer for travelers and for our troops. There are so many things to thank Charles Garrett for it would take a big book and a lot of time to write it, so THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!

Today we say goodbye to Charles Lewis Garrett, that makes us sad and leaves an empty place, but we also celebrate his life. His legacy will live on generation after generation. My heart goes out to the family. May God keep and comfort you.

Every time my old GTI makes that wonderful bell and every time my AT Pro sings it's beautiful song, the smile on my face is for you Charles.

May all your trails be smooth and your treasure sites many.
 

IN MEMORY OF CHARLES LEWIS GARRETT


Charles L. Garrett —inventor, entrepreneur, treasure hunter, patriot, husband, and father—died on April 3, 2015. A native Texan and resident of Garland, Dr. Garrett and his wife Eleanor in 1964 founded Garrett Electronics which grew to become the world’s largest manufacturer of metal detection equipment.

Garrett detectors have discovered some of the world’s most valuable buried treasures, and its security equipment has protected millions of travelers and others, including Olympic athletes and spectators at the Games since 1984. Dr. Garrett was born in Houston on April 1, 1932, and grew up in Lufkin. After four years of service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict on board the USS Bottineau (APA-235), he graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont with a degree in electrical engineering. A lifelong treasure-hunting hobbyist, Dr. Garrett first developed a metal detector for his own use and because it was so much superior to others, he and his wife founded a company to sell it.

He pioneered the development of the modern metal detector, demonstrated its capabilities searching for treasure throughout the world and devoted himself to teaching others to use detectors. He discovered treasure with metal detectors of his own design on every continent except Antarctica, and he also scanned under lakes, seas and oceans of the world. Many of the treasures and relics he discovered are displayed in the Garrett Museum at the company’s factory in Garland. In 1984 the company also began to manufacture walk-through and hand-held security detectors, including the famed Super Scanner®, the world’s most popular hand-held detector, and revolutionary new walk-through units. As a patriotic American, Dr. Garrett generously donated his company’s equipment for numerous projects where metal detection equipment was required, including many of the Olympic Games.

He authored some 20 books and wrote literally scores of articles about metal detectors, treasure hunting on both land and under water and security. Many of his books remain in print. Today, the name Garrett stands as a worldwide synonym for treasure hunting and security metal detectors. Charles himself has been called the Grand Master Hunter. Along the way, he also became recognized as an unofficial spokesman for the hobby of treasure hunting and the metal detecting industry through a long list of honors, personal appearances, books and articles. U.S. Representative Sam Johnson visited the Garrett factory in February 2010 to read and present to Dr. Garrett a copy of the Congressional Record in which he acknowledged the quality and determination of Garrett’s American-made products. Charles and Eleanor Garrett have been generous contributors to Lamar University and her alma mater, Sam Houston State University. Both have been granted honorary doctor’s degrees from these schools. Charles Garrett was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during Lamar’s spring commencement ceremonies in May 2011. The Charles and Eleanor Garrett Engineering Center was dedicated at Lamar University in April 2012.

Dr. Garrett was an Eagle Scout and an inductee into Eta Kappa Nu, the national Electrical and Computer Engineering honor society. In 2004, Governor Rick Perry commissioned Charles Garrett as an honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy. He was also a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and was a Distinguished Alumni of both Lufkin High School and Lamar University.

Survivors include his wife of almost 60 years, Eleanor; three children, Charles Lewis Garrett, Jr., Deirdre Lynne Garrett Hasselbach and her husband Timothy of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Vaughan Lamar Garrett, his wife, Angela, and their two children, David and Sydney. Dr. Garrett was a member of the Saturn Road Church of Christ. Dr. Garrett was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne L. and Stella Barber Garrett; and his brothers, George Wayne Garrett and Donald Bert Garrett.

Visitation will be at Sparkman Crane Funeral Home in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, April 10, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. A memorial service will be held at Orchard Hills Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Graveside services will be conducted at 3:00 pm on Sunday, April 12, at Calvary Cemetery in Trinity County, Texas, east of Crockett on FM 357. In lieu of flowers, anyone desiring to make a donation can do so in memory of Charles Garrett to: Lamar University Foundation, P.O. Box 11500, Beaumont, Texas, 77710.

"The difference between an entrepreneur and a con-artist is an entrepreneur truly believes in what he is doing."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Metal Detecting

The last couple of afternoons a friend and I got together to do a little hunting. I pulled into an old wayside stop used many years ago as a place to rest and water the horses. I knew before he said it, this place is hunted out. After we argued a minute he agreed to hunt here a little while on the condition that if we did not find anything I had to buy his breakfast the next day, but if we do he has to buy mine. I agreed to his condition, because I like to eat breakfast on him.

I hear him and others say,"hunted out site," quite often. I do not believe you can hunt out a site where people gathered for decades. There is just no way to find everything, even if you can cover every inch, the conditions are different each time you hunt a site. Conditions effect the ground, the metal detector and you. That is the reason I do not believe in hunting out a site.

After hunting a few minutes he got a hit and while he was digging I got a hit. I dug an old button and he dug a 1964D penny he accused me of putting there. He turned around and after a few sweeps he got another hit. I get breakfast, because he found a bronze 1886 Variety 2 Indian Head. We did pretty good adding another Indian Head unreadable, a 1900 Indian Head, 2 old buttons, 4 bullets, 1888 nickel, and a nice Sterling Silver Thimble.

Yesterday, as I enjoyed breakfast at the coffee shop with my friend, I could not help but comment, "Not bad for a hunted out site." He just smiled and told me to shut up and eat my breakfast.

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

"Just because everything is different, doesn't mean anything has changed."

Hunted out site?





Thursday, April 9, 2015

General Robert E Lee

General Robert Edward Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant 150 years ago today at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox County, Virginia. General Lee was an honor graduate of The United States Military Academy, served in the United States Military for 32 years, was the Superintendent of the United States Military and was offered the command of the Union forces. He decided to stay loyal to Virginia and surrendered there. After the war he served as President of Washington and Lee University and died in 1870.

President Grant started out a little less distinguished. He also was a graduate of The United States Military Academy, but struggled with grades. He was an excellent horseman and he was also a soldier but quit the Army. He worked his way into the command of the Union and the rest is history.
President Grant left behind what is said to be the best Presidential Memoirs ever written. His records and accounts of the Civil War are a wonderful gift to the treasure hunter. There are locations of camps in these records that has never had a metal detector on them.

There are memorials all over the south of General Lee and even though he lost the war he is memorialized as a hero. There are no memorials at all to President Grant.

There were no photographers on hand to capture the surrender of the Confederacy by General Lee 150 years ago. That would not happen today.

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


Robert Edward Lee.jpg
General Robert Edward Lee


Confederate forces surrendering their muskets and colors.
Confederate Soldiers surrender guns and flags.

Union and Confederate soldiers sharing rations.
Union Soldiers share rations with Confederate Soldiers waiting for Lee to surrender.



Robert E. Lee rides away from the courthouse.
General Lee riding away after the surrender.

Morgan Silver Dollars

The United States Mint has a limited number of the 1921-P Morgan Silver Dollars BU. They are priced at $69.95 and cheaper if you buy more. These are a great investment if anyone is interested in investing in silver. Check them out at www.govmint.com.

1921-P Morgan Silver Dollar BU

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Ghosts of Camp Beauregard

On a peaceful, beautiful hill top in Graves County, Kentucky, a mile and a quarter east of the town of Water Valley and a mile and a half north of the ghost town, Feliciana, is a cemetery with a Confederate Memorial that reads:

CAMP BEAUREGARD MEMORIAL
IN MEMORY OF THE BRAVE MEN WHO DIED HERE
SEPTEMBER 1861 TO MARCH 1862
FOR THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA
AND WERE THUS DENIED THE GLORY
OF HEROIC SERVICE IN BATTLE

Looking out over the valley you would not think that during the winter of 1861-62 around 6000 Confederate troops were trained here and because of pneumonia, typhoid fever, and cerebrospinal meningitis, around 1500 of these soldiers perished here. During the peak of the infection as many as 75 died within a days time.

This place was all but forgotten and took until October 1920 before the monument was placed, due to the efforts of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the chair of the monument committee, Lizzie Lowe Fuller.

A very good article on these events is, A History of Camp Beauregard, by Dieter C. Ullrich.

It is said that the ghosts of the soldiers still watch over Camp Beauregard and if you care to visit during the fall and winter months they will make their presence known.

***

Because of an IDIOT, metal detecting permission on the surrounding farms where Camp Beauregard was located is impossible. The land owner let the said IDIOT have permission with the agreement of half the loot. This IDIOT later gave the owner some cast iron and an old horseshoe, saying it was all he found. Some time later at a local Banana Festival, held each year a few miles away in Fulton located on the Kentucky/Tennessee line, the IDIOT had a booth set up with bullets, buttons and other artifacts labeled Camp Beauregard. The landowner and his wife saw this and now they do not allow metal detecting. Just goes to show how the act of one IDIOT can destroy what we all work so hard to preserve.

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




 RobertCole's headstone at Camp Beauregard, KY.


memorial to the confederate soldiers who died at camp beauregard ky ...



Original file ‎ (1,600 × 1,200 pixels, file size: 602 KB, MIME type ...
Camp Beauregard Cemetery

 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Frank and Jesse James in West Kentucky

On a chilly, rain-soaked, foggy morning in the early 1870's, William and Sarah Todd woke up before dawn as usual. They started their morning routine and by first light Sarah and her daughters were preparing breakfast. William started off to the barn before breakfast to feed the stock and milk the cow. When he opened the door, the dim light from his lantern revealed 5 men and their horses in the hallway of the barn. One of the men turned up the flame of their lantern as William stood there frozen with fear. A man spoke up and said, "Sorry mister, we didn't mean to spook you. The weather was so bad last night that when we ran across your barn we took shelter. I hope it's all right, my name is Frank." William knew who they were and that his only option was to be neighborly, so he replied, "You gave me a scare, I wasn't expecting company. The weather is bad and you men are welcome to shelter as long as you need. My name is William Todd." Right then one of the men said that they had already milked his cow and handed him the pail of milk saying how nice and gentle the cow is and that she had one fine calf. By now you could smell the bacon frying aroma coming from the house and Frank said, "That bacon sure smells good. We don't want to put you out, but if you have a few biscuits left over we would be glad to pay for them." William told them that they usually had some left and he would take the milk and see what he could round up. Again they said not to cut his family short.

When William got to the house his wife knew something was wrong and told him he looked like he had seen a ghost. He told her that there were men in the barn, but he didn't want to say who and alarm the children. He told her just some men traveling through and that they were hungry. She kept on and he finally told her, "Frank and Jesse James are in the barn with 3 other men and to be neighborly I'm going to take them some biscuits and coffee." Sarah quickly filled a pail with the biscuits and bacon she had cooked along with some butter and jam while William got the pot of coffee. They were both scared because these men had a reputation that gave them every reason to fear what they might do.

William returned to the barn with the breakfast and coffee and told the men it was not much and also offered for the men to get some of the sweet feed out of the stall for their horses. One of the men who had not said anything before walked up, shook Williams' hand and said, "Mister Todd you have been more than generous to us and I want to pay you. My name is Jesse James, I'm sure you have heard of us and I want you to know that you have nothing to ever fear from us." William said that he did not want any pay and hoped that if he ever got caught out in weather like last night that someone would treat him like a neighbor also. He told the men to stay there as long as they needed, that he had chores at the house. The men thanked him as he left the barn.

William and Sarah worried all day and when the afternoon milking time came he dreaded going back to the barn. Upon return he found the men gone and everything was in order. Relieved, William took the milk pail down from the nail to milk his cow. In the bottom of the pail there was $50.00 in gold coin. He later said that was more money than he would make that year and to be outlaws they were a lot more polite than a whole lot of people that he knew and did business with.

William Jesse Todd  b. 1821 — d. 1879
Sarah Jane Turner  b. 1829 — d. 1881
William and Sarah were married in Weakley County, TN and moved to Graves County, KY sometime after 1850. After 1860 they moved to what is now Carlisle County KY and lived on a farm north of Burkley. They both died of pneumonia. He was 58 and she was 52. They had 11 children.

You never know, if all the stories are true, these men may have hid a little of that K.G.C. money in the area.

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

 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

HAPPY EASTER!

A little story told long ago.

Long ago and far away a mountain climber had spent most of a lifetime preparing to climb a high mountain. The climber made the journey alone to prove it could be done. As the day began to turn to night, the climber decided to continue to the summit. Clouds hid the moon and stars and the climber was surrounded by total darkness unable to see anything.

Only yards from the summit the climber slipped and fell into the darkness, falling faster and faster. The only thing the climber could see were shadow figures and the wind the only sound.

The climber knew death was near, but at that moment the rope tied around the climbers waist snagged in the rocks and the fall came to a sudden stop.

At the end of the rope, the desperate climber said, "God, please help me!

"How would you like me to help you?" came a calm voice from the darkness.

"Save me"!  the climber begged.

"Do you really think I can save you?"

"Yes, God, I do!"

"Well then, cut the rope," said the voice.

After a moment of silence the climber tightened the grip on the rope around the waist.

Hours later, the sun rose and rescuers found the climber. The climber had frozen to death with hands tightly gripping the rope tied around the waist____ the climber was hanging only two feet from the ground.

***

Sometimes when at the end of our rope, only by letting go can we be saved.

May all your trails be smooth and your treasure sites be many.
Best Wishes, Happy Easter and Good Hunting

Bandit Trails Treasure Hunter

Friday, April 3, 2015

Harper's Gold

1860 was a year that had to be full of anxiety, fear and tension like no other. News traveled slow and the talk of war with so many rumors, coming from so many factions, had the populous on edge.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with stressful situations as J.D. Harper did that hot, restless summer. Having the experience of forty years and being a very successful farmer in rural Hickman County, KY near the cities of Columbus and Clinton, Mr.Harper was a loner. As far as anyone knows he gained his wealth with a strong back and a level head, accomplishing everything on his own. The word of the times in Hickman County was that a civil war could cause a business man like him to loose everything he had worked so hard to gain. This fear must of weighed heavy on a man who was a problem solver that knew making the right move at the right time was critical to survival. According to historians account of the story passed down through generations, J.D. Harper's answer to the situation was radical, but not that uncommon for the times. He liquidated all assets, withdrawing around $10,000.00 gold, and sold part of his farm with the crop in the fields, in Columbus. He sold the rest of his farm and stock to his neighbor that farmed adjoining land. This neighbor, believed to be named Davis, but some argue that it was Vaughan, was a man J.D. trusted and where the account of these events originated. He let him have the land on the agreement that the profit from the crops be held and that he could buy back the farm when he returned. J.D. Harper with three slaves melted the gold in 3 sugaring kettles. The kettles, placed on a small horse drawn cart, were driven into a trench that he made the slaves did. Some believe that after the cart was unhitched and almost covered, that Harper shot the slaves and finished burying them and the cart. Several weeks later, with his affairs in order, J.D. told his neighbor that he was going to be gone for awhile. When the man questioned him, Harper told him that the three slaves had run off and probably was long gone, that he had buried the cart, would be in touch with him soon and he would return when things settled down. J.D. Harper was never heard from again and somewhere in Hickman County, KY there is three kettles of gold believed to be worth around $20,000.00 in 1860.

Several years ago I talked with a couple of old timers that lived in Columbus and had heard this story all their lives. They said that the man was named J.D. Hopper. There is no listing of a J.D. Hopper in the census, but there is a J.D. Harper who lived alone in Hickman County in 1860. There is no record of him in 1870 or any other place that we can find and no one knows of the gold ever being recovered.

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Coin Hunting

The last three days have been beautiful and that's a perfect excuse to do some coin shooting. I have really enjoyed getting out with my detector, but by the end of day 2 it seemed like I had forgot how. All I had to show for my effort was some shotgun brass, the top of a Boot Jack Plug tobacco tin, a lead something and a sore arm and back. Through most of this afternoon, at a different site, I was still skunked. Later this afternoon, clouds started moving in and I was about to, as my grandaddy would say, tuck my tail and give up, but there is something about not finding anything that makes me not want to quit even when I probably should. I looked at the time and decided to use my last hour in a little area between where I was hunting and the truck that had caught my attention. It was a narrow, long depression that appeared to be an old foot path. After a few minutes, that beautiful sound I had been looking for for three days, blasted my ears. At 4 inches I recovered a nice 1907O Barber quarter. It was like a bad slump was over, I had finally got a hit. I did not go 10 feet and dug a very worn 1900 Liberty Head nickel. I was on a roll, but it was quite awhile before I barely heard what I thought was a coin among a lot of trash. I made the dig and I am glad I did. A real pretty 1914S Barber dime was what I heard among the nails. It took 3 days and 2 sites, but winter is over!

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