This is all about something I reported to the members at the January meeting. I realized that I never put this in the newsletter. (At least I cannot find where I put it in a newsletter.) When you do newsletters for two clubs, it is easy to forget what story you told and which one you just thought you told.
From those who already heard this story, the first thing I will be asked is, "Have you heard any more of the details about this?" Well, the answer is no. In fact, it seems as if there has been a lid put down on the whole thing. Here is what I do know and it is true-- but slightly dramatized.
My friend, Scott Hendrichsen beeped me on my Nextel 2-way cell phone when he was out running his U.P.S. route. Scott was excited and had some very interesting news.
A friend of Scott's stepson was hard at work at a construction site just outside Kalamazoo. I don't know the exact location, but it sounds to me like a business is located there.
In order to expand an existing building (or build another), a huge dead tree had to come down. After the trunk and limbs were removed from the property, a backhoe was brought in for the huge task of digging out the giant stump. Once the tractor was brought into position, two large stabilizer legs were lowered to steady and hold the tractor upright. Then the backhoe operator started using the powerful digger. The strong scoop with iron tines ripped through the ground, making a medley of sounds.
The scoop's contact with large rocks sliding across the cold steel bucket sounded like the screech of giant bats! As the bucket tore at the roots, the tractor engine would groan and the diesel would send up thick black smoke, as if to complain that the job was too hard.
The entire tractor would shake and rock on its stabilizing leg extensions, as the roots would finally surrender with deep low popping sounds. These popping and tearing sounds from the roots somehow reminded the driver that what he was fighting with what was once part of God's creation--- a living, breathing and very important part of God's creation!
Judging by its species and the
giant size of its trunk, the once
stately old tree must have been
just a tender shoot at the start of
the terrible Civil War. Many
people don't know this, but
Kalamazoo is known to be home
to some of the oldest trees in
Time and time again, the backhoe would be repositioned as the worker broke new ground around the stump. The idea was to dig down through the roots to the softer ground just below the matted-root layer. Using the crane like a giant arm, the operator would reach far to one side to dump the rich black soil into neat piles.
The operator marveled at the rich dark soil to be found here in the Kalamazoo river basin. He started to think back to the days when much of this area was used for massive celery fields.
"Rich black dirt and plenty of moisture could make a tree pretty happy and healthy" he thought. The soft dark soil looked almost like fresh ground coffee as it slid down the sides of the piles.
Suddenly, the operator was pulled out of his day dreaming by the sight of something unnatural-- something shiny!
Quickly, he rotated the crane arm and dropped the bucket where it would be out of his way, then he climbed off the tractor. By the time he was near the place where he saw the mysterious object, there was no sign of it.
To see better, he quickly hopped into the hole, which put him at chest level with the bottom of the dirt pile. With his gloved hands, he sifted through the soft soil. Taking one handful at a time, he let the dirt drain from one hand to the other as he watched very carefully.
"Had I just imagined it?" he thought to himself.
As if to answer himself, he thought out loud "No, I saw something! It has to be here."
As he started rearranging the soil a little more aggressively, his glove filled up with dirt. Just as he started to pull the glove from his hand, he felt something cold and heavy drop into his palm.
It was as if this tiny treasure was trying to hide from him! With his glove off, the sight of this elusive item left him speechless! This was indeed like a dream--a dream that he had many times!
During the years of running backhoes and other heavy equipment, he had found quite a collection of interesting old items. Antique bottles make up the biggest part of his collection. He has found old iron tools, arrowheads, stone tools and even a small weapons cache! But this was his dream-come-true! He noticed that he was trembling as he stared at the beautiful gold coin in his hand!
Then he had a thought which physically startled him--- "Could there be more to be found?"
Quickly he slipped the coin into his pocket. Grabbing a large protruding root, he pulled himself from the hole and reached up to shut off the rattling diesel engine. In the back of his truck where he kept his rake and shovel, he spotted the iron grid that he used to classify stones for cement work.
He was so excited! His mind was filled with thoughts of finding treasure, and everything else was blocked out.
He was back and setting up his make-shift sifter in no time. With the old red bricks that were unearthed in the digging, he made a platform for his classifier.
Being very careful, starting with the top of the first pile, he filled his shovel. Each scoop of soft dirt was drained though the mesh until the dirt eventually reached the bottom of the sifter. With his rake he dragged that pile out to make room for the next load of dirt.
For a while it looked like that gold coin was all alone. Perhaps it slipped from a pocket as a weary traveler rested in the shade of the tree over 100 years ago. Soon he started daydreaming again as he finally scraped up the last dirt finishing that pile.
When he started with the next pile he became a little more careless. Perhaps he had convinced himself that there were no more coins to be found. Grabbing his rake, he started dragging the pile down and spreading the dirt out.
Boy, was he was in the right spot this time! Over a dozen coins sparkled like stars in the dark sky! Soon he was on his knees picking up coins and raking with his fingers. By the end of the day, he felt as if he had found the last of the coins.
The next day he contacted a friend with a metal detector who gladly offered his services. I understood that a few more coins were found with the detector. The final count was 15- $20.00, 8- $10.00 and 22-$5.00 gold coins! That is 45 gold coins, with dates ranging from 1852 to 1876! The face value of $490.00 represented a sizable savings at the close of the 19th century!
Here we have evidence that shows that whoever lived on this property was able to save and buried their money. That tells me that there is a very good chance that there could be more caches on this property. When Jimmy Sierra found the Goat Doctor's Hoard, the cans of silver dollars were buried all over the property.
The ideal location for the old timers to bury their money was in the privacy of a dirt floor building. If that building also served as a chicken coop, it was equipped with a smelly, but effective, alarm!
When the loot is buried outside, there was usually a landmark, which in this case is our old tree. Also, when the cache was buried outside where there was no door to lock, there was the ever- present fear that it could somehow be discovered, everything was not kept in one location.
Who was the guy with the metal detector? I'd like to know what kind of machine he used and how well he knew the detector. You would be amazed at some of the crazy ideas some people have regarding the power of a detector. Some think, if the detector is on and swept over the ground, and if anything is down there
(regardless of how deep), they will find it.
There are more caches out there, folks!