Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buried Treasure in Pendleton County


Riverton Gap. This is in the vicinity of the treasure.

Mysterious Strangers Do Strange Things in Riverton
The Pendleton Times, January 8, 1932.

For several months a party of three mysterious strangers with a Maryland license on their automobile have been noticed by the inhabitants of Riverton. On the week of Christmas the party was around the hills near Riverton and seemed to be avoiding the local people. Then on Sunday during the Christmas holidays they stopped for the day on the road that leads up Roots Run across the river from Riverton. They seemed to be working on the car. In fact they told one boy the car was broken down and that they had sent to Franklin for a mechanic.

That night while the people of Riverton were at preaching, the three strangers began to dig a place in the ground and by the time the service was over they were starting away. Some of the citizens went over to investigate and found the hole they had dug partially filled. Later in the night it seems the strangers came back and filled the hole and made a couple of marks as though someone had been buried.

Later an investigation showed that a hole had been started in the shape of a grave and that at the bottom of the hole, three feet down, it seemed that some round object like a stone jar had been removed.

Old residents declare that the spot, which is on Elmer Lambert's farm, was once covered by a very large flat, thin rock. This was beaten up as a part of the foundation of a nearby bridge.

Naturally such happenings set people to wondering and the prevailing theory is that they were fortune hunters. It reminds one of the tales of the pirates or gold holders of the Spanish Main.

Old residents declare that after the Civil War a large quantity of gold was stolen in Virginia and brought to this country; that later the two brothers who were supposed to be guilty were apprehended and a party went to arrest them, which resulted in a fight in which one of the brothers was killed. It happened to be the one who had hidden the hold the night before in a new place.

The other brother fled from the county and has not been seen since. Inasmuch as one of the three strangers who was in the party of last week appeared to be between ninety and a hundred years old, many people believe he was the brother who fled.

Naturally this is news of great interest. If the gold was hidden and found we hope that the truth may be discovered and some one found who will divulge the secret. The only clue to the strangers is the fact that the car had a Maryland license. Any further clues as to the identity of these strangers would be much appreciated.

Another View of the Riverton Gap, where this treasure is supposed to be buried.


Hidden Gold at Riverton
The Pendleton Times, January 15, 1932
Editor Times;

This is a reply to the article of last week in regard to the legend of the lost or hidden gold in the gap along Root's Run east of Riverton.

This legend is strong and I have heard it ever since I can remember and I heard it from different old people, some yet living--people who had heard it from older ones who were nearly grown when the incident took place.

The legend as I have heard it is this; During the War of 1812, twelve men came one evening, traveling from no one knew where and camped at or near where J.E. Lambert now lives. I do not know that there was any house then built there.

The descendants of old John Justice Hinkle had scattered and built over most of the Germany Valley section and farther up Root's Run. Anyway, there were dwellings, and dwellers lived on the Stringtown Run where Claude Nelson now lives.

The twelve men camped for the night at the spring where the two runs fork, and they had with them a half-bushel camp pot or kettle, level full of gold coins, and they told the local people who saw them that they were getting away from the war and taking their gold so that it would not be taken from them.

The people supposed they were robbers or pirates; my guess would be the latter, for this was about the time when the American colonists got a navy strong enough to make the pirates along the Atlantic coast think about scattering. As these men stated, they divided up and carried the gold with them during the day, but being afraid to keep it with them during the night it was their custom for one of them to slip out from camp after dark and hide it away. At this they took turn about, one hid it one night, another one the next night.

On this particular night one of them shouldered up the kettle and went down Root's Run, which at that time was almost covered with timber and underbrush. I presume there was some kind of trail there at that time for it was the natural outlet for the settlers to go down to North Fork river.

This man disappeared and came back in a short time, and he alone knew where he had hidden the kettle full of gold, And now the sad part of the story comes in. Before the time to get the gold next morning this man was a corpse. Probably a row started and he got in the way of a long knife or stopped a slug from a flint-lock pistol.

When the remaining eleven men went out to get the gold, they were unable to find it. A month's search with the help of the settlers who lived in the section failed to disclose the hiding place, and finally the travelers had to abandon the search and left for parts unknown. So far as anyone knows this gold has been hidden there for 120 years, and is still there unless the three mysterious strangers mentioned last week who did the digging during Christmas week did really locate it with a divining rod, magic needle, or whatever dinkus is called that they locate buried treasure with. For my part, I did not see the hole that was dug by the strangers until it was so trampled up by people that I could not tell anything about it.

Now, if this legend about the gold was really true, according to my judgment the digging was done at a very favorable place, for the trail that was there 120 years ago was probably right where the road is today, for the reason that there is no other place for it to have been, this man, loaded down with 200 pounds or more of gold did not leave that path very far, or he would have had to up into the rocky bars along the cliffs on either side where the old settlers for many years did most of their hunting for the gold.

About 15 years ago, or about the time of the advent of the Model T Ford in this section, I was going through the gap one evening and saw three men wandering up and down through the rocks on the opposite side of the Run. One had some sort of dinkus in his hand,"sorter" carrying on like Calvin Ruddle does when he is witching for water. The men were strangers to me and had their old Ford parked down where the school house was then.

I also saw, last summer, a party of men in the gap who were probably on the same business. So it looks like the search has been carried on at intervals all down through the years. W.L. Warner.

2 comments:

tipper said...

Neat! Another good post for this time of year.

The Tile Lady said...

Love these newspaper articles! What fascinating stories the three strangers dredged up about buried treasure! Really wonderful folklore (and maybe quite true!)