In the 17th and 18th centuries, both France and England claimed Ohio as part of the Northwest Territory. After its defeat in the French and Indian War, France ceded that rich land to England. Twenty years later, at the end of the American War for Independence, the Treaty of Paris in 1783 made the Northwest Territory part of the United States.
From 1725 to 1795, the Indians and the white people fought over who would get to live in their old homes. As the Indian relinquished his villages and hunting grounds, he scattered over the soil of his ancestors ample evidence of his way of life for the archeologist and the treasure hunter.
The white man had added his treasures to those of the Indian. Many true stories about lost, buried, or underwater treasures in Ohio date from the 1700s to the present day. Lake Erie and the Ohio River cover untold wealth from ships wrecked.
The decaying remnants of military forts, isolated cabins, old inns, stagecoach stops, canals, trading posts, ghost towns, and riverboat landings offer countless sites to the treasure hunter.
Although this cache has been searched for, no one, to my knowledge, has ever found it.
Catachecass, or Black Hoof, as he was also known, waited for the report of his scouts to tell him of Clark’s advance on the village just a few hours before General George Rogers Clark and his small army were to attack the Indian town of Old Chillicothe, now Oldtown, Ohio.
He had known for several days that the attack was coming, and while he waited, he remembered the coming of the white man, the beginning of the end for the Indians’ way of life.
According to the old stories, the first white men came for gold and silver. Wild-eyed men, wearing iron hats and carrying a stick that spat fire and death, called themselves Conquistadores. Finding no riches in the Indian villages, they moved to the north.
Black Hoof could remember the French people that came after the Spanish, who built their friendly trading posts and had gifts for the Indians. After the Long War between the whites and the French and Indian War (1856–1763), the French people were forced to leave the Ohio and Illinois valleys.
Then the English traders, trappers, and hunters came. Footloose and carefree men they were, always looking over the next mountain or crossing the next river. These men presented no problems to the Indians’ way of life. Some, like Simon Girty, one of Black Hoof’s chief scouts, even accepted it.
It was the coming of the settler, moving deeper into the Ohio Valley, who made the danger to the Indians. His progress was slow, plodding, and permanent. When he moved in with his family, built a cabin, and tore up the earth with his plow, he meant to stay.
This Black Hoof saw the eventual removal of all Indians; they were being pushed west, always west, and the eastern lands were forever closed to them.
Late in the afternoon of August 6, 1780, Red Snake and Simon Girty brought word that Clark was only a few hours away. Black Hoof called a council of his sub-chiefs and told them what had to be done with their possessions.
They were to hide everything they didn’t need, burn the village, leave, and join their friends at Piqua Town. Black Hoof knew that General Clark was relentless; his name and death meant the same thing to the Shawnee.
In a short time, the Indians gathered a large pile of tools, pans, kettles, furs, leathers, and spare weapons. The heaviest and most valuable items were made of silver. There were armbands, plates, earrings, necklaces, medallions, long bars, and heavy wads.
As soon as it was dark, the Indians began to move the silver and goods west to the large marshy area between the village and the Little Miami River. A large part of this silver was also buried north of the village. One tree, a large oak, grew in the swamp.
Black Hoof stood near this tree to supervise the hiding of their valuables. Each item was passed from hand to hand, down a long line of warriors and squaws, and then thrown into a large pool of stagnant water of an unknown depth.
When everything was in the pool, it was covered with brush and set on fire. Black Hoof then led his people back to the village, burning most of it and the surrounding area. Then the entire tribe, all but about a dozen warriors who had taken part of the silver a few miles north of the village to bury and who were to meet the others at Piqua Town, started their march to the northwest for the village, thirteen miles away on the north side of Mad River.
In his report, General Clark said that when he reached the village of old Chillicothe, only a few buildings were still standing, and he burned them. Since all of the Indians were gone by that time, Clark knew nothing of the buried silver and goods. Clark then went to Piqua Town, where the Indians were routed, with several killed, the rest scattered and afraid to return.
The Shawnee never recovered this treasure from the stagnant pool, and the silver was taken a few miles north and buried. According to local residents, Indians have previously visited the area to pay homage to their ancestors more than to try and locate the treasure.
The oak tree is gone now; the marsh has been drained and is now being cultivated. I can learn of no recent attempt having been made to locate this hoard. This is a perfect spot to use a deep-seeking metal detector, as I believe the weight of the silver and goods has caused them to sink to bedrock during the last 200 years.
During the 1780s, the British built Fort Wapatomica at Zanesville, which was the main town of the Shawnee Indians in Ohio at that time.
George Rogers Clark and Benjamin Logan raided Indian towns along the Miami and Mad Rivers. When Captain Caldwell, the British officer in charge of Fort Wapatomica, learned of these raids, he decided to attack Kentucky.
At Bryan’s Station, near where Lexington, Kentucky, is today, the American pioneers resisted, and Caldwell had to retreat into Ohio. He then prepared to attack Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania and Fort Henry in what was then western Virginia. This was in open defiance of the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, officially ending the American War of Independence.
Before leaving Fort Wapatomica, the British collected all their valuables and placed them in a large iron kettle, which was then buried within the stockade. This pile of money was made up of gold coins that were used to pay the British troops, thanks money for the Indians who took American scalps, and the savings of some soldiers who had saved their pay.
While Caldwell was attacking Fort Henry, Wheeling, West Virginia, today, Benjamin Logan and his Kentuckians burned Fort Wapatomica to the ground. Logan knew nothing of the treasure buried inside the fort. Since this treasure has not been publicized, minimal searching has been done.
A marker put up in 1953 in Zanesville shows where Fort Wapatomica is. This is where a lot of gold coins may have been buried.
After General Anthony Wayne’s victory over the Indians in 1795, most aborigines moved west. A few renegades remained near Nelsonville. They began stealing horses and other property from the settlers. The cave they used for their hiding place, and loot was named Tinker’s Cave for their leader.
The cave is on Route 363, close to Nelsonville. The Indians are believed to have hidden some of their stolen money in the cave.
Lewis Wetzel, a famous Indian fighter of the 1780s and 1790s, lived near Fort Henry, where Wheeling, West Virginia, is today. Wetzel declared a one-person war against the Shawnee Indians. He hated the Indians so much that he cached guns, ammunition, supplies, and a little money in three different places so he could have ready access to them.
Two of the caches were in Belmont County. The third was in Fairfield County. In Belmont County, one cache was under a rock shelter at the mouth of a small creek emptying into the Ohio River near Martin’s Ferry. The other was near St. Clairsville.
His cache in Fairfield County was at Lancaster, in a cave near the top of Mt. Pleasant. However, Wetzel confided to friends that when Indians were trailing him, he forgot where he had hidden his rifles, lead, and powder and was never able to find them.
From 1882 to 1885, Azariah Paulin and his seven sons, each of whom were good at a different crime, ran the Morgantown Gang out of Woodford, near East Liverpool.
The gang committed murder, arson, robbery, and other crimes. It is believed that most of the proceeds from their infamy were buried on the Ohio River near the two shacks they used for headquarters.
Azariah Paulin was known as the “Old Fox.” He was caught in Pennsylvania and returned to Youngstown for trial. Paulin and other members of the gang received lengthy prison terms. When they were released, the police kept them under such effective surveillance that they were afraid to try to retrieve their hidden loot.
In the middle of the 1800s, an older man named Lesure came to the vicinity of Rochester. He had a letter that had been given to him by his father. The letter told the location of sixteen pack-loads of gold, silver, and silver plate buried by the French Army when they had to evacuate Fort Duquesne in 1758.
This is a verbatim copy of that letter:
“We of the French Army were defending Fort Duquesne against the British when it was learned that the English were attacking in force. A detail of 10 men and 16 pack horses was selected to carry the French army’s gold and silver away from the fort. I was chosen for this detail. Three days and a forenoon later, Northwest of West from the fort, while on the Tuscarawas Trail, our advance guard returned to our little column and reported British soldiers advancing on us. The officer in charge of our detail ordered us to stop and dig a hole in the ground. He posted a few guards while the rest dug. The gold was unloaded from the horses and placed in the hole. Then the silver was lowered into the hole. On top of this, we shoveled the dirt and covered it with branches. The British started firing at this time. The digging shovels were put under a log on the hillside. No sooner was this done than the British were upon us. Eight were killed, and only Henry Muselle and I were spared. The English had not noticed where the two of us hid. We made the following marks in the area before we fled. The gold was buried in the center of a square formed by four springs. About a half mile to the west of the hole where the gold was buried, Muselle jammed a rock into the fork of a tree so it would stay. Six hundred steps to the north of the hole, the shovels we hid under a log. As we left by the East, I carved a deer into a tree which I judged to be about one mile east of the hole.”
The area referred to in the letter is now a farm near East Rochester in Columbiana County. The shovels and the rock in the tree have been found, but the gold and silver, if found, have not been reported.
In the fall of 1791, President Washington told General St. Clair to leave Fort Washington, now called Cincinnati, with 2,300 soldiers and supplies to protect white settlements from more Indian attacks. The Indian resistance was stubborn; by the time St. Clair reached the area of the present town of Findlay, he had only 1,400 men left.
It was here that over 2,000 Indians attacked St. Clair, killing over 631 American soldiers. When it seemed the army would be annihilated, the general is believed to have ordered the payroll money to be buried somewhere on the battlefield.
This was never found because General St. Clair was captured and burned alive at the stake by the Indians.
In 1936, near Jackson, Ohio, in Jackson County, the F. B. I. arrested a man named Bailey. It is believed he was a member of the John Dillinger gang. Though he took no active part in the gang’s bank robberies, it is known that gang members visited his farm on several occasions.
Just before his arrest, Bailey had purchased a new Ford car in Jackson and paid cash for it, which was unheard of in those days of the Depression. People believed the money came from one of the gang’s bank robberies.
The old farm where Bailey lived is about eleven miles north of Jackson. It might be an excellent place to search for some $825,000 that John Dillinger hid but never found.
History and legend surround the old home of Andrew Meyers. Built in 1816, it is now on the northeast corner of 13th Street on Broad Avenue in Canton. Meyer was one of Ohio’s wealthiest men. His home is almost hidden in ten acres of wooded land, which is conducive to stories of hidden treasure.
One of these stories tells of a strong box in which Napoleon carried his payrolls. This strong box is supposed to be somewhere in the house or on the grounds. However, another story is factual. It was reported that a farmer dug up several gold coins on the premises a few years ago.
These tales and others have led to speculation that thousands of dollars worth of gold and silver are buried in the old mansion and the ten acres surrounding it.
In the 1890s, East Liverpool was a wide-open town. It is estimated that gamblers, bootleggers, and illegal stills alone brought over $1,000,000 a year into the town.
The Dutch Zellner Gang ruled the region during this period, and there are several reported caches hidden by this gang, both near East Liverpool and the neighboring town of Wellsville. The Cool Street section of Wellsville is an excellent place to search for the gang’s booty.
I have heard of a huge treasure in Snyder Park. I cannot say for sure if any treasure story is true, but here is the story of this treasure. People think that between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 are buried in Snyder Park in Springfield, Ohio.
This money is supposedly in gold coins. John Snyder planted it in 1890 on land he gave to Springfield. Snyder later told his family the money was buried near the abutment. This cache has not been found because city officials have kept an eye on the park for years.
They would probably reach an agreement with anyone who could find the treasure.
This is the story of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid through Ohio in 1863, giving his route and the town he plundered. This will provide treasure hunters with locations and information on possible treasure left by Morgan and his men.
How much money, what valuables, guns, etc., were hidden along the way by his men in the hope that they could return later and get it, will never be known. At different times, some of his men were cut off from the main column, killed, or captured, and they had to bury or hide any money or valuables they had.
Morgan made several towns along his route pay a ransom to keep from being burned, and what happened to all the gold Morgan was paid? He and his men had nothing and were exhausted when the raid ended.
Confederate Colonel Basil Duke, who was with Morgan, said after the war that most of what the raiders stole, took, or plundered, was hidden or scattered along the route. Morgan moved to Ohio from Harrison, Indiana, on July 13, 1863.
Cincinnati, July 13-14, 1863:
The night of July 13-14 was black and airless. Morgan fooled his pursuers into believing he was headed for Hamilton and then rode through the suburbs of Cincinnati. By this time, his men were so exhausted that stragglers fell out of their saddles and were found asleep by the roadside the next morning.
At daybreak, he was past the city. The column rested briefly and fed their horses in sight of Camp Dennison. Skirmishing broke out, and they were off again for Williamsburg by way of Batavia.
Williamsburg, July 14, 1863:
The weary Rebels entered Williamsburg early in the evening of the 14th. They could snatch only an uneasy rest, for the Federal forces were beginning to encircle them. General Judah took a shortcut through Kentucky and crossed back into Portsmouth to catch the raiders, while General Hobson, who led the 2nd Brigade of Judah’s Division, pressed them from behind.
Locust Grove, July 15, 1863:
At Williamsburg, Morgan divided his force. Colonel Richard Morgan, his brother, was in charge of a group that went south through Georgetown, Ripley, and West Union. Morgan went through Mt. Orab, Sardinia, and Winchester at an angle. On the 15th, the columns met up again at Locust Grove.
Scioto River, July 16, 1863:
The gaunt, weary raiders arrived at the Scioto River on the 16th, pillaging Jasper and Piketon.
Winton, July 17, 1863:
From the Scioto River, they rode 45 miles during the night. The next day they struck Jackson, which they looted, then hurried on to Vinton for the night. Everywhere they moved, they were obstructed and harassed by the aroused citizens. On the other hand, people stood along the path of the Federal Cavalry as it chased the Confederates. They gave the soldiers fried chicken and sang “Rally Round the Flag.” According to General Hobson, even the katydids learned the damned tune.
Buffington Island, July 18, 1863:
Morgan went to Buffington Fort in Portland. He planned to cross into West Virginia there. But when he got there after dark on the 18th, Union soldiers were already there. Rather than risk a night attack, he put off the assault until the morning.
The next morning, July 19, he learned that the earthworks had been abandoned. The Federal Cavalry caught up with him before he could put his columns across Ohio, and gunboats appeared on the river.
Colonel Duke’s brigade managed to delay the Federals long enough for Morgan to break out and escape upriver with about 1,200 men.
More than a hundred soldiers from Morgan’s division were killed in the engagement, while Colonel Basil Duke and Colonel Richard Morgan, along with some 700 raiders, were captured.
Fifteen miles up the river, near Reedville, Morgan again tried to cross. Gunboats came into sight, and he was driven back. About 300 of his men did manage to reach West Virginia, and Morgan was halfway across Ohio when he turned back to his stranded men on the shore of Ohio.
He had started the raid with 2,400 men; he now had only about 900 left. That night, the 19th, they managed to escape.
Valley Furnace, July 20, 1863:
Doubling back to prevent encirclement, Morgan played a deadly game of hare and hounds in southeastern Vinton County. The night of the 20th was spent at Valley Furnace.
Zaleski, July 21, 1863:
The tired, bearded, hollow-eyed men rode all day Tuesday and Tuesday night. Morgan’s command dwindled by the hour. Shortly after midnight Tuesday, they skirted Zaleski, but there was no time to rest.
The Muskingum, July 22, 1863:
The men reached the Muskingum on the 22nd, having passed through Nelsonville and New Straitsville. Horses were dropping from exhaustion, men asleep in saddles, pitched headlong to the ground and continued to sleep.
Cumberland, July 23, 1863:
Before daybreak on the 23rd, Morgan’s command crossed the Muskingum south of Taylorsville, evading the 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, waiting for them at Eaglesport. However, they ran into militia at Blue Rock, so they struck eastwardly to Cumberland.
Antrim, July 24, 1863:
Through Campbell Station, the harassed men rode, and there was a skirmish at Old Washington. At 4:00 p.m., they reached Hendrysburg, then doubled back northwestwardly to Antrim, where they managed to snatch a few hours of rest.
Bergholz, July 25, 1863:
Before the night was over, the column was on the move again, heading east to Harrisville. The pursuit was closing in from all directions. The exhausted men skirmished at New Athens. Moving on doggedly to Smithfield, Wintersville, Richmond, and Bergholz, they halted and camped where they had fallen off their horses.
West Point, July 26, 1863:
Morgan was routed from breakfast Sunday morning, the 26th. Fleeing north, the 9th Michigan Cavalry overtook his command at Salineville. Some 20 raiders were killed, 50 wounded, and 200 taken prisoner.
Morgan, however, escaped with the remnants of his force. Struggling eastwardly, they encountered a militia captain who agreed to guide them to the Pennsylvania line if they would do no damage to his district.
As they rode along, Morgan noticed a long cloud of dust rolling parallel to his column. Slowly it inched ahead. Major George W. Rue’s 9th Kentucky Cavalry was moved up by rail and joined Colonel Frank L. Wolford’s 1st Kentucky Cavalry to repel Morgan.
So finally, on July 26, 1863, Morgan surrendered in a field near West Point, only 14 miles from the Pennsylvania line and only a day’s ride from Lake Erie, the northernmost penetration by Rebel forces.
When the Federals rode into Morgan’s camp, they found nearly all the men asleep.
For hours afterward, the Union Cavalry discovered others sleeping along the road and in fence corners. The Great Raid was finally over.
This story is unusual in that it tells of part of a buried treasure, which proves that the original amount certainly existed, with the part being found and the rest, about $14,000 in gold sovereigns of the English mint, being still in the area.
Proctorville, Ohio, is one of the oldest communities in what is now Lawrence County, and throughout most of its history there, the legend has prevailed as “Letcher’s Gold.”
In the late 1700s, a pioneer company led by Colonel Letcher traveled down Ohio and was attacked by Shawnee Indians and white renegades while camping one night. The Letcher party had $56,000 worth of gold sovereigns with them. During the battle, Mrs. Letcher and a black man named Johnson split the gold into small pieces and buried them in different places so that the Indians and outlaws on the frontier couldn’t get it if the company had to leave.
The battle lasted two days; the party was killed, and the caches of gold went undiscovered. Still, the treasure’s location was in the Proctorville vicinity, as estimated by travel descriptions left by the part that was later found.
A Proctorville native, H. A. Borders, wrote a series of articles concerning the legend, basing his information on extensive research. His first story appeared in an area newspaper in 1930.
Four years later, Borders wrote another series of articles to update the information he had accumulated on Letcher’s gold and to give an account of a former Proctorville man who, as a boy 20 years earlier, had discovered part of the gold in an excavation being made for laying sewer tile in the village.
Borders’ 1934 articles tell of the man coming to his house and identifying himself as a person who lived a short time in Proctorville as a boy in 1914 and was a former acquaintance of the writer who was about the same age.
The visitor had read the 1930 articles and appreciated Borders’ research of the legend. He then told Borders of the gold’s discovery but extracted a promise that the writer wouldn’t reveal his name. He thought Borders should know about the discovery because he had worked hard on his research.
During the discussion, Borders said he felt the public should know, but he agreed to conceal the man’s identity from the readers. He then presented in detail the visitor’s story, calling him Brad. Brad told of a sewer pipe being laid through the lower end of Proctorville in 1914.
To save the digging time, 12-foot-long trenches were spaced with 5-foot-wide unexcavated areas between, which were tunneled through with minimal digging.
On Saturday, work ceased at noon because the Proctorville baseball team was to play at the fairgrounds that afternoon. An evening scrubbing game for youths followed the adult game. Brad had been benched because of a new boy, a left-hander whose pitching was in demand.
Late in the game, Brad wandered off toward home and, in an adventurous spirit, jumped into one of the trenches as he was passing the excavation area. While lying in the trench, he looked into one of the tunnels and spotted a variation in the tunnel roof. Feeling the area with his hands, he was hit by a chunk of metal that fell from above.
Examining eight fallen objects, he found them to be about the size of five-dollar gold pieces, and they weighed gold. Each one bore a date, strong evidence that they were genuine coins. On the other hand, the engravings on both sides of the coins were in a foreign style.
Putting the coins in his cap, he took them home and showed them to his mother and father. After consulting a dictionary, they identified them as English gold sovereigns and found they were worth about $6.90 each in U.S. currency.
The boy and his father took a hooded lantern to the ditch, climbed in, and started probing the tunnel’s roof. They were very careful not to raise suspicion in the neighborhood. Chunks of mold and pieces of metal began pouring out of the top.
They filled a gunny sack and their pockets with coins, working quietly. Later, they arrived home, lugging about 200 pounds of gold coins, a treasure worth $42,000. According to the records, the original amount buried was $56,000.
Before she died, Brad told Borders that he thought the Letcher woman was afraid that her friend would beat her back to the various caches if they lived or that he would tell the Indians and renegades about the locations if he was caught. So, he presumed, she had dug up several small caches and reburied them except for a few and that he and his father had discovered most of the gold.
The family moved away soon after they found the treasure to hide where the money came from and to keep the child from being tempted to talk about it with other people in Proctorville.
The family never moved back to Proctorville or did any searching for the rest of the gold. This means that somewhere near where the $42,000 in English gold sovereigns was discovered, another $14,000 could be waiting for some lucky treasure hunters.
The story of a counterfeiter’s cache of between $80,000 and $100,000 in gold dust, nuggets, and coins being hidden in the Northampton Township of Akron, Ohio, is still being contested by historians and treasure hunters. The evidence points to the fact that it is still there.
Of all the known counterfeiters that have operated throughout the history of the United States, the Brown family of Summit County, Ohio, two generations in all, were probably the most successful. Their recorded exploits in different types of counterfeiting read like fiction.
The family’s American history began with the immigration of Henry Brown from Ireland sometime in the 1760s. He served seven years in the Continental Army, married, and settled in Livingston County, New York. His two sons, Daniel and James, were born here. In 1802, Henry Brown moved his family to Ohio, where he lived to be 104 years old.
Daniel, the eldest brother, married in 1816 and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he resided until about 1825. James’s younger brother married in 1819 and lived in Akron, Ohio.
It is unknown when the two Brown brothers began counterfeiting. Still, by the time the Ohio Canal opened in 1828, they had established a headquarters in the Cuyahoga Valley with several others, including William C. Taylor, Abraham S. Holmes, William Ashley, and Johnathan DeCoursey.
The leaders did not pass any bogus money but had a small army of accomplices traveling all over Ohio and adjoining states, passing counterfeit bank notes.
Banks were allowed to print their currency if it was backed by gold or other assets, as the United States Government had not yet started printing paper money.
Dan and Jim would obtain notes printed by banks all over the country, counterfeit them, and then their cohorts would pass the bogus money. At one time, they schemed with William G. Taylor to flood the foreign market with bogus bank notes.
A trip around the world was planned, and with $1,500,000 already printed and the machinery set to make another $2,000,000, Jim Brown and Bill Taylor purchased a large vessel in New Orleans. However, they made one mistake: both decided to paint the town red before sailing. During their carousing, they attracted the attention of the police.
When they returned to their ship, the police followed. The counterfeit money, machinery, and ship were confiscated as evidence. Jim Brown and Bill Taylor were held for trial. Daniel Brown was arrested in Akron, Ohio, and taken to New Orleans, where he died in jail.
Taylor was convicted after Jim Brown turned the state’s evidence against him. Shortly after the trial, Jim Brown’s wife divorced him. After that, Brown was in and out of jail until his death from a fall on December 10, 1865.
Now enters the most successful counterfeiter of the Brown family. Daniel, the son of James Brown, was named after his Uncle Daniel. His father and uncle had trained him in all the arts of forgery. The first mention of him is in the February 1838 issue of the Cleveland Advertiser newspaper.
He was caught with $20,000 in counterfeit currency. He was using the alias Daniel West. Brown outwitted all attempts to catch him for the next ten or twelve years. It is on record that he passed from $40,000 to $50,000 in counterfeit gold coins in the Oakland area alone. It has been estimated, on good authority, that Daniel Brown probably printed or helped print over a million dollars worth of counterfeit banknotes and minted almost that much in fake coins.
In early 1850, Daniel decided to travel to California and pass enough bogus bank notes onto the unsuspecting gold seekers to retire. Loaded with illegal currency, he traveled to the California gold fields. In a short time, it is known that he passed between $80,000 and $100,000 in bogus notes, receiving gold dust, nuggets, or coins in return. Brown left California by boat in the latter part of 1850.
When he reached New York, he was dying from the long trip and scurvy. Friends helped him reach his farm in Northampton township in Akron, Ohio. The argument about what happened to the $80,000 to $100,000 he brought from California is still going on. His assets were listed as less than $20,000 when he died on January 21, 1851, and was buried on his farm.
Detectives from California followed Brown to get back the money he stole from the miners. To prove that he was dead, they dug up his body.
Daniel Brown was one of the most expert and successful counterfeiters in America. It was said of him, “He was so slick that he passed bogus money to his banker then convinced the banker to pay him interest on it.”
There can be little doubt, but somewhere on the old farm site of Daniel Brown’s, there is a fortune hidden that he obtained during his illegal activities. This is a very good location for a treasure hunter to do local research and could prove profitable.
To the treasure hunter interested in gold and silver caches, a lead mine might not mean much until they remember that lead is often associated with silver.
The lost lead mine of Sunfish Creek, called Buckchitawa by the Indians, is an authentic location. The first mention of it by a white man was about 1790. Indians took Martin Wetzel near Fort Henry, where Wheeling, West Virginia, is.
He was the brother of Lewis Wetzel, who was a famous Indian fighter and pioneer. Martin was being taken to the main Indian town in Ohio, Wapatomica, to be burned at the stake.
After crossing the Ohio River en route to Wapatomica, the Indians stopped and retrieved a canoe they had left at the mouth of Buckchitawa Creek. Martin was tied and put into the large canoe with several Indians. They paddled upstream for about ten miles.
Martin was a seasoned frontiersman who could judge distance without any problem. The canoe was beached, and several Indians went off into the underbrush. They returned a short time later with a large amount of lead ore. This lead had to be close to the surface of the ground because the Indians had only hand tools to work with.
They could melt and mold bullets by using fire coals and a wooden ladle. They then proceeded upstream and camped near where it is now believed, near Woodsfield, Ohio. While the Indians slept that night, Wetzel managed to escape.
About 1800, when the Indian Wars were over, Wetzel returned to Buckchitawa Creek to locate the lead’s source, which was still an almost priceless commodity to the pioneers. Although several weeks were spent searching, Wetzel could never find the mine or the vein of lead.
It is common for farmers, even today, to plow up Indian relics all along Sunfish Creek. It is also known that an elderly Indian came back to the area in the early 1800s to search for the lead mine but was unsuccessful.
Several people around Cameron know the story, but some of them feel it was not a mine but veins of lead in outcroppings of limestone covered by Monroe County. They believed the lead to be on Brush Run, a tributary of Sunfish Creek, west of Cameron, Ohio.
This is a good location for the treasure hunter who is not trying to get rich but wants to find something to prove that a legend did have a basis. They might get lucky and find silver. Several people have searched for this, but no mention of its being found can be learned.
During the Prohibition era, George Remus was the King of the Bootleggers. Remus used to be a lawyer in Chicago. He put $100,000 into making connections with distilleries in Cincinnati to get Bourbon whiskey there. He owned drug stores to distribute the whiskey for medicinal purposes, which was legal.
His trucks hauled whiskey all over the central United States. Remus’ headquarters was at Dater Farm, now called Death Valley, near the Indiana state line west of Cincinnati.
Remus’ income was estimated at $70,000,000 a year. He threw expensive parties at his mansion on Price Hill in Cincinnati and gave his friends expensive jewelry, cars, and money as gifts.
The gifts were his downfall. The government indicted him on income tax evasion and raided his headquarters in Death Valley. Several government agents and some of Remus’ men were killed in the resulting gun battle. The agents confiscated 60,000 gallons of Bourbon whiskey and 17 trucks that belonged to Remus. The King of the Bootleggers was sent to prison in January 1924.
Sometime between 1918 and 1923, before being sent to prison, he built a vault, either at Death Valley or near the home of his partner Buck Brady, close to Tug Fork, a suburb of Newport, Kentucky. This vault supposedly holds millions of dollars worth of currency in large bills.
After being released from prison, Remus lived a life of ease for several years in Covington, Kentucky, and died of natural causes at age 76. He never disclosed the location of his vault, and local legend says the United States Government is still looking for it.
Gold, $50,000 worth of it, is buried in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. This cache would be worth approximately $1,000,000 on today’s gold market.
Here is the story:
In 1862, three robbers held up a bank in Canada and escaped with $50,000 worth of gold bullion. The holdup men escaped across Lake Erie with their loot. After arriving on the American side of Lake Erie, the trio fought among themselves over the division of the spoils.
One of the three killed the other two. This man died six months later in a Chicago hospital from a pulmonary disease. A few minutes before dying, he confessed to the crime and told the nurse and doctor the story of the hidden gold. He had been afraid to return because of the two murders he had committed.
The death bed confession follows: “The gold is buried three feet deep, all the bars together, 20 paces northwest from a large oak tree near the west bank of Grand River, in Ohio, about two miles south of the lake.”
Details did not leak out until a year later when the doctor and a Chicago group had searched in vain for the gold and left Fairport to return to Chicago by steamboat. A few old-timers in the area still occasionally talk about the buried gold, but very few people have searched for it during the last eighty years.
I believe someone with a deep-seeking metal detector and a map of the area made during the 1860s would have a good chance of finding that cache. Fairport is now known as Fairport Harbor, Ohio.
There are three locations for silver mines in Green County, Ohio. The Shawnee Indians mined silver from them for years before they were driven away, and their towns of Old Chillicothe and Piqua Town were destroyed by General George Rogers Clark and his army in August of 1780. The Indians knew Clark was coming and spent several days before his attack concealing the mines.
The richest mines were on Massie Creek, three miles northeast of Old Chillicothe, now Oldtown, Ohio. This excerpt is from a paper prepared by Professor R.S. King for the Archaeological and Historical publication of Ohio, Volume 26, 1917:
“According to some white prisoners, these prisoners were captured by the Shawnee; the Indians forced them to carry heavy loads of silver ore from a distance up Massie Creek down to Old Chillicothe, located close to the mouth of Massie Creek on the Little Miami River. They were blindfolded and then marched under guard for an estimated three to four miles from the village daily. They had to wait until a certain point on the creek until the Indians returned with leather bags filled with silver ore, which was taken to the village and smelted. After Clark destroyed Old Chillicothe and Piqua Town, the Indians who knew the mines’ location were either killed or afraid to return. In 1797, while digging a mill race to construct a flour mill on Massie Creek, Vincent King found two shafts about fifty feet from the bank and twenty feet apart, of an unknown depth. The shafts had been filled up with small rocks, among which were found rocks with markings or hieroglyphics that no man could read. A shaft was sunk beside one of the rock-filled holes, and only dirt was found. This proved that the shafts were man-made and had been dug years before. While trying to clear the shafts of rocks and debris, water flooded them; no attempt has been made in recent years to excavate the shafts and locate the mines. The shafts were just north of Wilberforce University on Massie Creek.”
This location is just below the bridge that crosses Massie Creek on Wilberforce-Clinton Road.
The first pioneers in the area after the Shawnee were driven away in 1780 found evidence of mining. The Indians had excavated on the left-hand side of Caesar’s Creek, southeast of Xenia, Ohio, a short distance from where South Branch enters Caesar’s Creek.
Early settlers found two excavations at Yellow Springs, Ohio, showing evidence of timbering and were very old. Near the falls on the East Fork of Yellow Springs Creek, several beads of silver were found in the 1930s. Several years ago, a geology student found samples of ore in the gorge on Yellow Springs Creek that were quite rich in silver.
Using a modern topographic map of the area and diligent searching, I believe the silver veins might be located.