Vol. 5 No. 10                                                                                                                                                 OCTOBER 2000



The day of our Fall Seeded Hunt started out very cool with overcast skies. By the time my wife and had I left Sunday services, the weather was looking much better. . . still a little cool but clear skies and sunshine wherever you looked. We arrived at the Latterner's about 15 minutes early and found a large group already on hand. By 2 o'clock the temperature was perfect for a hunt. . . we couldn't have ordered a more perfect day! Our Huntmaster, Tom Latterner, and his wife, Jackie, had everything prepared for another great family event! Before the first hunt we had time to visit, but as the clock approached start time, it was clear not everyone had arrived. We were expecting several members to arrive who were not yet registered.

There was just one of the pre-paid hunters still absent so we decided to give him another ten minutes. Little did we know, Wild Bill Hicks, the one we waited for, was sitting home totally forgetting the big event! Even after we started, I kept looking over my shoulder, watching for a shiny new P.T. cruiser to come driving into view.

By start time we had only twenty hunters signed up! With Bill's absence, the seeded hunt got under way with the smallest number of hunters ever! But come to think of it, I saw no one crying. In fact everyone seemed to have dollar signs in their eyes! According to Gene Carruthers' report there were 391 silver dimes, 156 silver quarters, 78 silver halves, and 58 tokens! That wasn't all! Rob Poth donated 2 U.S. large cents, Dan Clark donated 1 silver half dollar, and the club donated 3 U.S. silver dollars.

I did very well at the hunt, but I was a long way from those who did best! My only regret was that I didn't wear suspenders to keep my trousers up. . . man that silver gets heavy!

I felt responsible for one family who did not show up. Mark & Kathy DeBruyne had asked me before our last meeting a very good question. "If a family pays one total hunt fee of twenty dollars, can one family member compete in one hunt, then the other compete in the other hunt?" I put that question before the club and gladly discovered that the answer is yes! Sorry that I didn't get back to you Mark and Kathy. . . one of my senior moments!

This is something for each of us to keep in mind! If you have children who would like to hunt, or you feel like two hunts are a little more than you can do yourself . . . send in your spouse to finish the second hunt. This would be great for those on a budget. . . like I should be!

Not only was this hunt like the great silver robbery, we were fed like Robin Hood's merry men. . . what a feast! Indeed a good time was had by all!

We also had a third hunt! The great, " Penny Jackpot Scramble!" This was another fun event dreamed up by the genius mind of Huntmaster, Tom Latterner! Most of the pennies planted were marked in one way or another and only Tom knew which one was the winning penny! The winner, Mike Walker pocketed $65.00! This was a fun event.

Speaking of Tom, I talked to him on Friday the sixth. He was getting ready to attend the Central States Hunt in southern Indiana. Of course, he had hopes of finding lots of treasure! Tom's main plan was to get some new ideas for our seeded hunts! What a guy! I hope that each of you take time to thank Tom and Jackie for opening their home to us and working hard to show us a great time! What a treasure friends like these are!


Once again we enjoyed another history presentation by Mr. Mike Hook. And folks if you missed this one, you missed the best one ever! I guess when you get down to the study of history nothing beats local history!


When on vacation in the beautiful U.P. I have been know to drop what- ever I am doing, any time day or night, hop on my bike, and ride to the tracks when I hear the freight train coming! The little town of Amasa has a long freight train that passes through twice a day. The train services the northern paper mills with wood chips and recycled paper scrap. Late at night after it passes through town, it begins a long climb up a several mile grade. I love the sound of those massive diesel engines as they strain under the heavy load for miles up that grade. . . it's a guy thing.

Mike always has many slides with his talks and this one was no exception. Seeing the early steam engines, depots, track laying crews, even train wrecks was really neat. Many pictures peaked the treasure hunters in all of us! These included early area schools, general stores, and downtown scenes from the dirt road days. You could almost see the Seated Liberty dimes falling onto the street!. Many scenes were from what today are known as Southwest Michigan "Ghost towns!"

One of my favorite slides was a picture of a track inspector's invention! A bicycle-powered hand car! Mike mentioned this one-of-a- kind item is on display in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. It seems that while this rail inspector was out of town, his children would lift the device onto the tracks and go for a joy ride with no thought of the danger!

The hand car also sparked a memory from club meetings a long, long time back. More about that in the next article. (You will enjoy that, Mike!) Thank you, Mike for sharing this . . . it was my favorite! Mike will be back, 'Lord willing' in March to bring us his final installment about "Michigan Railroad History!"


The track rails were super heated by the mid-day August sun to scorching hot. Three excited, nervous, men quickly stepped along on the sticky, tar-soaked oak ties. The leader of the threesome mumbled once again the plan that they had gone over so many times.

Just a few days earlier, the men visited the Richland Savings Bank and studied the bank's layout. . . this job had been carefully planned. When at the edge of town, they hurried along the windowless side of the whitewashed dry goods store, looking in every direction in a very nervous fashion.

Stepping onto the board- walk, it seemed the only eyes to notice them were a few horses tied to the hitching post. That day it seemed like the gang's heavy boots sounded like drums on the wooden walkway. This was something they never noticed before. . but today was different. There were other sensations which they not noticed before, like the sound of their own hearts which seemed to be in their throats!

As they reached the bank the three men spread out on the board- walk. Trying very hard not to look suspicious, they took careful notice of their surroundings. All was quiet, just as they had hoped it would be. One lonely farm wagon was slowly leaving town heading south loaded with bags of grain.

As two of the men glanced at their leader, he nodded to them and took his position beside the huge oak door. It was time to get this over with!

The outlaws pulled their sweat-soaked bandanas over their noses while pulling pistols from their vests. They had no more than entered the stately building when a lady teller, seeing the masked outlaws, let out a loud gasp! The tellers reaction seemed to get things rolling. The two robbers shouted out warnings of violence, then loud instructions as they tossed canvas bags at the teller and bank manager.

As it was days earlier, the large, heavy safe door was wide open as if to display the beautiful artwork painted on its inside. One thief waved his gun motioning for the banker to start unloading the drawers inside the vault of their cash and valuables.

As each drawer was opened the gunman's only order was "faster, faster!" The thief then spotted several empty bank bags. They too were ordered 'filled' with anything found in the safe. Negotiable bonds, legal papers. . . everything was stuffed into the bags. Even a large, heavy sack of coins was carried out with the other bags of loot! When the men were satisfied with their take, the two bank personnel were locked in the large safe. They hoped this would buy them some time for a clean getaway!

As the men stepped from the building, their leader reached for some of the burden, then the three men broke into a quick pace back in the direction from which they had came.

Their master plan continued when they reached the railroad tracks. The loot was quickly loaded onto a handcar waiting on a side-spur. As two men started pumping the car into motion, one member of the gang switched the rail permitting their getaway car access to the main line. The little hand car scooted along at a quicker and quicker pace as the men's pumping increased to match the little trolleys downhill speed. The men soon reached their destination leaving the town of Richland far behind them.

When the car came to a stop, the men quickly loaded their plunder onto the three horses which they had tied in the woods near the track. It was clear that they underestimated the carrying capacity of the horses! Some of the loot would have to be left behind! The first and most obvious choice was the bulging, extremely heavy sack of coins. And the second choice was the negotiable bonds. A nearby hollow log seemed the best hiding place for the bonds. While one of the men wandered further into the woods looking for a place to stash the bag of coins, he found a hole left by an uprooted tree that seemed like a natural hiding place for the coins. The hole was then filled by caving in the sidewalls, then it was covered with brush.

Riding off, the outlaws fled to their hiding place where the money was to be hid until the heat was off.

What! Sounds like another one of Al's wild stories? Maybe it does, but this time it is no story; it is true!

Back in the early days of our club we had a young husband and wife team who were appointed, "Club Research Committee." It only seemed natural as they were both history majors at Western Michigan University. They came across this story while searching old editions of the Kalamazoo Gazette. The old Gazette archives are on micro fiche at Western's library. The first account they found was the original headline story which covered the robbery and details of a clean get-away. A follow-up piece revealed the bank robber's total take and it mentioned that one suspect was already being sought. The next update, carried by the Gazette a week later, announced that one of the group had been arrested and it said he had identified his accomplices! In that same news article, the public learned that he had lead authorities to the hidden bonds!

What peaked our interest as treasure hunters was that the news- paper made it clear that the coins could not be found! It was also revealed that the bag contained "uncirculated" pennies! To make matters more interesting to us as a club, these unrecovered coins were 1898 Indian cents!

Judging by the lay of the land at the time, north was only practical direction for the robbers to escape. However, that direction was slightly downhill, and it was also the only direction for a "wooded area." The southerly course had been throughly cleared for farming and was uphill. The possible location narrowed down to one piece of ground! Sadly, the property was very clearly posted with warnings to any trespassers! Eleven years ago, club researchers reported the spot was covered with large up-rooted tree stumps. The property owner was approached with the club's desire to search the section of property. The owner responded with a firm, NO!

Since then our student members went on to finish school, then moved west. Do the same people own that land eleven years later? Were the coins ever recovered? The entire gang was sent to prison. It is likely they served their time and were released. Was the bag of pennies worth looking for to them? Personally, I think they were long forgotten. What do you think? There is all manner of history surrounding the old railroad line that wound its way through Richland!


First, Alan Randolph won a book about foreign coins at one of our meetings. At that same meeting, someone asked to borrow the book. We are sure that in the rush, which is our American lifestyle, the borrower forgot to return the book and even forgot that he or she has it. Please think back and if you discover that you have Al's book, he would like it back, please.

On the other topic, I don't want to sound like the morals police but sometimes certain things happen within a club like ours that can be hurtful to others. At the last meeting, one of our new members entered his first item into the Find of the Month. He proudly watched as it was displayed on the treasure cam for all to see. Sadly someone was overheard to say that his target was not dug, suggesting cheating on his part. Of course he was crushed, as I would be. (I do not see any way possible to defend him without revealing the find which was also the winner in the Token, Fob, Badge category.) It was the Kellogg's Toasted Flakes fob. First of all, I know this member to be of high standards. Secondly, I know that if this fob had been purchased from a collection, it would have looked much different. You see, this fob was originally a very brightly colored, enameled piece! In fact it was colored exactly like the cereal box of the day!

He did spend time carefully cleaning up the fob, but it clearly showed a patina that could have only come from many years in the soil. Our Find of the Month contest is based on the tried-and-true 'honor system.' And, you are entitled to your opinion. But please, unless you have all the facts, keep these opinions to yourself rather than hurt other's feelings. We, in turn, will do the same for you.

I found out about this because the finder of this item asked me if it was a bad idea to clean his finds before entering them. This is a touchy subject, at least when it comes to maintaining a collectable value. The only antique items that I know of, where cleaning is not only acceptable but encouraged, is antique bottles. Along with what I already have learned, I am studying some new information about cleaning and preserving your finds. When I have gathered enough information, and if our president oks it, I will present all the facts to our club in the near future as a program. In the meantime, let's all be friends!


I must apologize! At the end of each meeting folks like to ask me questions or share items of interest with me. . . and I enjoy that! But, often the last thing I do, before locking the club house, is gather up the Find of the Month slips. With several new members, many are not aware that I need those slips. They are used to help write the newsletter. That is why we ask you to sign the back of the slips. Well, this month there were missing slips! Thankfully, Linda Randolph listed all of the finds so I know what was entered. But without all of the entry slips, I am missing some names.


1. 1903 U.S. BARBER DIME BY:                                             MIKE WALKER

2. 1945-S WHEAT CENT BY:                                         SORRY MISSING SLIP

3. 1844 U.S. LARGE CENT BY:                                                         DAN CLARK

4. 1864 U.S. INDIAN CENT BY:                                         JOHN ARCHBOLD

5. 1854 U.S. LARGE CENT BY:                                                 DENNIS SMITH

6. 1864 U.S. 2 CENT PIECE BY:                                    SORRY MISSING SLIP

7. 1872 U.S. SEATED 50¢ BY:                                                         JIM ARNSMAN

8. 1876 U.S. SEATED 10¢ BY:                                                       RON JENNER

9. 1867 U.S. 2 CENT PIECE BY:                                          GENE CARRUTHERS

10. 3 "LIRE COINS" BY:                                                                JACK SHORT

11. 1996 MEXICAN COIN BY:                                                        TOM BECKER

Our coin winner was Jim Arnsman with his beautiful 1872 Seated Liberty Half Dollar! Only 881,550 of these coins were minted in 1872, which is not a lot! Good job, Jim!

All of the entries were very nice. Thanks for sharing your finds with all of us!


1. SILVER & AMETHYST RING BY:                                       JOHN DUDLEY

2. GOLD & EMERALD RING BY:                                             MIKE WALKER

3. GOLD RING Diamond chips BY:                                             BUD SHERWOOD

4. 10k GOLD BABY BAPTISM RING BY:                           RUSS GEBHARDT

5. 14k GOLD CHAIN/ HEARTBY:                                                JIM ARNSMAN

6. BABY RING GEM STONES BY:                                                     JACK SHORT

7. STERLING GENT'S RING BY:                                                      RON JENNER

8. OLD BOY SCOUT PIN BY:                                              GENE CARRUTHERS

    Although our winning entry was a gold-plated ring with a sterling silver core, the members were amazed at its beauty and tiny size! This small ring is a testament to a good detector and a skilled hunter! The winner was Jack Short. The tiny ring has gem stones all the way around, and it is a sparkler!! Good job, Jack!


1. LIFE INSURANCE I.D. BY:                                                 SORRY NO SLIP

2. KELLOGG WATCH FOB BY:                                          MIKE BERGHUIS

3. 5¢ MINT TOKEN BY:                                                                  DAN CLARK

4. 1862 CIVIL WAR TOKEN BY:                                         JOHN ARCHBOLD

5. SUNOCO ANTIQUE CAR TOKEN BY:                                  RON JENNER

6. 1863 CIVIL WAR TOKEN BY:                                    GENE CARRUTHERS

Our winner, the Kellogg Toasted Flakes watch fob, was entered by Mike Burghuis. This was not the first time one of these rare fobs was entered by a club member. The late Bob Burd found one of these items, but his still had a great deal of the enamel finish. One of our Battle Creek members acted as Bob's agent and helped sell Bob's find to a Kellogg collector. As I recall the price paid was over $100.00 and I think it was closer to $150.00! Oh how I wish that I had found this item! Great find, Mike!



1. ANTIQUE SILVER SPOON BY:                                           MIKE WALKER

2. ANTIQUE DOOR KNOB BY:                                           TOM LATTERNER

3. ANTIQUE WHATS-IT? BY:                                                 JOHN DUDLEY

4. ANTIQUE TITLE PLATE BY:                                                  BILL HOWE

5. OLD HARNESS BUCKLE BY:                                      MIKE WALKER JR.

6. 40'S TOY FIRE TRUCK BY:                                                 RON CATHCART

7. OLD LEAD TOY DOG BY:                                                DAN MOLLOHAN

    The winner was our favorite crime fighter, Bill Howe! His entry was the first of its type that I have seen. Bill's find was the Florida Motor Vehicle title plate. This brass plate was issued as a legal title for motor cars in Florida back in the days when cars were still referred to as horseless carriages! Great find, Bill!



The entry slip said, " Sweet Potato . . . play a tune, Al!" Now folks, don't tell me you cannot learn a thing or two at these meetings! Tom purchased his " Sweet Potato Ocarina" off the e-bay Internet auction. There is no doubt about it being very old. I had no idea what the thing was or what it was used for. It looked like a space ship from the 1940's Buck Roger's films. . . only with a handle. Tom wanted me to give it a try. But, being a bottle digger who likes to spend time in old outhouse pits searching for old bottles, I have learned not to put something in your mouth if you don't know where it's been!

Tom explained to the group that he remembered a family member who had one when he was a boy. . . since then he has wanted one. Well, that is exactly what has made e-bay one of the hottest sites on the Internet!

I did some research. I wanted to find where these things started and who invented them. . . well, forget it! As near as I can tell these clay or stoneware flute/whistles pre-date history. There are sites on the Internet where they still sell new ones and the price ranges between $35.00 and $65.00. There are three common sizes and each size has a different tone. I saw one site that claimed, "You can be playing in five minutes!" Are there any popular music recordings that feature Sweet Potato Ocarina music? As a matter of fact if you grew up listening to music from the 60's like I did, you may remember a beautiful piece that was very popular! I always wondered how this sound was made and now I know! The song was by the Mamas & Papas and it was titled "California Dreaming!" The soft flute-like sound was what made that song so popular! It was the most mellow, soothing sound I had ever heard. Thanks so much, Tom, for sharing that with us!


Our president, Keith McGrew, has some very important business to discuss with the club. Much of it has to do with the upcoming F.M.D.A.C. elections. The Federation of Metal Detector and Archeological Clubs is an organization of which we are a member club. It is time for the Federation's election of officers.

The Federation was formed first and foremost to give the hobbyist power for dealing with special interest and political groups. I'm talking about those who would deny us access to the areas we like to detect. Our longest, most heated battle has been with the archeologist. Many of these people would love to see every metal detector melted down and made into "KEEP OUT" signs. Not all archeologists are opposed to the detectorist, I just haven't met one of these types yet.

The archeologists making the loudest protests are basically uneducated about the capabilities of metal detectors. These people are practicing junk science at best and their main drive is selfishness and greed. Sadly, these charlatans don't even want to know that the metal detector poses no threat to their greedy lusts. The very ancient, deep, archeological treasures they want for themselves are several feet too deep to be detected by our hobby detectors.

If the F.M.D.A.C. cannot help by taking a stand for us, we are wasting time and money supporting them. If their only action is to put on hunts and send out newsletters . . . well, we already do a better job at those things.

In the race for, F.M.D.A.C. president, there are two candidates who are as different as night and day. Carolyn Garrett, the incumbent, has been doing a good job but many feel that her approach is a little too much, "business as usual." I must admit it does seem like we are seeing very few real victories, if any. Keith Wells is her opponent and he is proposing some very radical changes. I am not sure if that is the right approach either. But he seems like one who has rolled up his sleeves and is ready to fight. Frankly, the way this current administration seems to be stripping away freedoms, I am ready to roll up my sleeves too!

I think Keith will be giving us much more information on this election.

I feel the election that could be a death blow to everyone who loves outdoor hobbies is the one for the U.S. president! I think we better be concerned about Mr. Gore. If he gets into power he may get your detector, your guns, and maybe even your car if he has his way.

One thing that we lose sight of is how far we have come as a nation at cleaning up our environment. Read the book called "The Good Old Days," if you want to learn about real pollution! The radical environmentalist are guilty of the greatest pollution in decades! I am talking about the wild fires that raged in the west all summer long. Good forest management would have prevented these forests from burning out of control. But no! These people pull the strings tied to Clinton and Gore! As a result, these areas were allowed to go back to nature! I believe the God who made this world, gave man the responsibility to care for it and manage it, not to let it revert to weeds and kindling wood! Then, after their policies started going up in smoke, these so called "Clean Air" people said, "Let it burn!" filling our air with more carcinogens in a few months than industry has released in decades! Well, that is what happens when you base policy on what "feels right" rather than using informed management and careful decision making. Please get out and Vote!


I cannot wait until this month's meeting! I have been hearingabout some great treasure finds! The Bronson park sidewalk project produced some great old stuff! The Cathcarts returned from Beaver Island and they will give us an update. . . they cleaned up big time!

And there are many more success stories! You don't want to miss this meeting!