Stolen Treasure – Con Men Strike

Most children, and adults – if they would admit it, dream of finding buried treasure. Barnard and I were often seized by this urge, and would grab-up shovels and run off to dig up a most excellent spot.

At seven years of age, I thrilled to a real treasure adventure, when Daddy arrived home from work, telling us about a buried treasure found close to Vida, AL.

Barnard and I hurried through supper, rushing Mama and Daddy, “Let’s go! Let’s go, we wanta get there before dark.”

Everybody seemed to know Daddy. If he hadn’t met them through buying timber, land and pulpwood over five, central Alabama counties, they knew him from all-day singings at their churches.

So it was no surprise, when the elderly couple came sprightly from their house into the front yard to greet “Mr. Stewart”, waving us to their backyard to see the hole, where the buried treasure had been pulled.

After much discussion amongst the adults, we trooped inside to behold what had been buried.

The house was the common, wood-framed, farm dwelling with parts of the ceiling floored, serving as a loft, and part open to the rafters.

A large crockery churn sat in the loft with a rope around its neck. This rope ran from the churn threw a block and tackle – a necessity – they said, to raise and lower the heavy treasure.

The churn, pitted and leached by alkalinity in the soil, looked old. It had inch wide, red writing, brushed on it, stating the amount inside, and that it had been sealed with lead and acid.

They eagerly told their story:

Two men, strangers, stopped by their place about six weeks before, telling them that there was treasure buried in their yard, and if the couple consented, the strangers would dig it up, and split it equally between them.

“We thought we had us a couple of crazy city-slickers.” The woman said, “I mean, look at this house, ain’t nobody ever lived here with money enough to bury.”

“And you could tell they were from some city; they talked funny, and had hands that had never shelled an ear of corn,” the man said showing his well callused hands.

The woman took-up the story. “So we just listened to them talk, and well, if they wanted to dig up our yard, didn’t put blisters on our hands, and I can plant petunias in the hole come spring.”

“We were danged-sure surprised when those two hit that churn. Lordy, it was so heavy, took me and those two all we had, to lift it out of that hole.” The man explained.

The strangers convinced the couple to store it in their loft, unopened for some days, before they all got together to divide it, cautioning the couple to tell no one lest the government take it away.

A few days later, one of the guys stopped by, wanting to take the elderly couple to a fine restaurant to celebrate. These were country folk, who didn’t own a car, and who had never been to a fine city restaurant. They were delighted, cleaned-up, dressed in their finest and went with him.

The date set to divide the treasure came and went. The couple became antsy and decided to open the churn for a look-see at the treasure.

They knew something was wrong as soon as they began lowering the churn – it was way too light. When it reached the floor, the seal had been broken, the top loose enough to move around and nothing was left in the churn.

To my knowledge the loot, nor thieves were ever heard from again.

November 23, 2010 В· Carolyn В· No Comments
Tags: , ,  В· Posted in: country life

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