Stephen L. Blain
"Forgotten Horded Money"
We bought our farm in 1993 from the widow of the man that had owned it for thirty-three years. In all of that time he never had lived on the land. He and his friends hung out in the old barn. I guessed to keep from going home to their wives. The barn by the time we got it was in sad shape. The siding was falling off, and there were large gaps in between the boards. The roof leaked and the all of the wood in the barn was full of wormholes. There was an old springhouse and some other out buildings on the land also, which he had used to store all of his junk and his friend’s junk as well. The land looked like a mini junkyard.
This is the old barn. As you can see it is in very bad shape
The springhouse was in really bad shape. The weather had had its way with it. The foundation had one complete corner and the back end cracked apart from the rest of it. The spring in the basement had exited through the crack and ate the ground from under the foundation, causing the whole building to tilt towards the downhill side. It was beyond fixing and in a few more years collapsed into a pile of rubble with the spring water running through it, making it a muddy mess.
This is the side of the spring house. The foundation had split and was not repairable. The door went into basement, where the spring was running.
n 1994 we built a new house behind and off to one side of the old barn. After three years we decided to tear down the old barn. The wife didn’t like it in front of the house and it was well on its way to falling down anyway. We left the barn’s concrete floor and used it to park our trailer and farm tractors on.
In 1998 we built a new sheet metal barn down by the springhouse. In 2004 we decided to clean out the springhouse mess and replace it with a modern construction. It proved to be a far bigger job than we had planned on. We got the new foundation and basement walls up, with the spring still running through the basement. This time the spring was all enclosed in a tile and a plastic drain line that carries the water away from the foundation, but before we could finish the building, the wife got laid off of her job and we kept saying, “next year, we’ll finish it”, but like tomorrow, next year never seemed to come.
In 2008 we had a barn sale and met and talked to some people who used to live around the area back in the fifties. They told us about the old man that owned the land before the man that we got the land from did. The story goes that he lived in the old springhouse, which had no electricity or bathroom. It seemed that he was pretty much a hermit. He had lived through the great depression and didn’t trust banks or paper money.
At one time he had owned a complete section of land around here, but he gradually sold off all of the land expect for this twenty-one acres he was living on. The story also goes that he sold the land on the north side of him for $3300 and that he buried the money some where on his land.
One lady said that when she was a young girl, her mother would have her bring him some food from time to time. She was always scared to walk back here by herself. She also had heard the rumors about him burying money. A man that use to live up the road from here, said he came over here as a boy and looked for the buried money along the creek, but never found anything.
When we cleared away the old springhouse, we didn’t find anything in it or under it. All this talk about buried money got us fired up, and we got out the “Gold Bug II”. We thought that he would have buried the money by some landmark that was close and handy. The only thing around the springhouse that was there fifty years ago was a large maple tree. We’ve been detecting around the tree in a grid, but as of yet we’ve not found any money. We’ve found a lot of metal junk.
In May of 2009 we decided that we needed an implement storage and repair shed. We were going to build it where the old barn stood, but first we would have to remove all of the old concrete. The concrete was all broken and uneven. It appeared that they had poured the floor in small section at a time. My father-in-law and my wife were digging up the concrete with a backhoe and took a noon break for something to eat. While walking back out to the backhoe, they walked through the area where they had been digging. My father-in-law saw something shiny in the dirt and bent down to see what it was. Picking it up and wiping the dirt off it, he saw it was a silver half dollar. Looking back down in the dirt he saw some more, picking them up, he turned to my wife and said. “Nancy, these are silver half dollars.” She didn’t believe him at first. He handed them to her and her heart started to race. There was a line of them where the backhoe had dragged them through the dirt.
She called me at work and was so excited. When I answered, she said, “We’ve found the ‘Mother Lode’. Dad and I have found some silver half dollars under the old barn floor.”
When I got home, I got out my “Gold Bug II”, and with the help of the detector, we were able to find two hundred and eighty-six “Walking Liberty silver half dollars”. They dated from 1917 up to 1945. The face value of the coins was $143, the silver value of the coins was $1550, but the coinage value was $2300. Not a fortune, but a very nice find anyways. Some of the coins in the forties look like they just came from the mint. We plan on selling some of them and keeping some as a reminder of the forgotten horded money we found.
These are the silver half dollars on the coffee table. You can see some of them had a green corrosion on them.
We figured that the old hermit buried the money in the barn’s dirt floor and died before he could retrieve it. The next owner then poured concrete over the barn’s dirt floor, never knowing that the money was hidden there. The fact that we found it was a lucky break for us.
I’m sure there is more money
buried on this land somewhere and with the help of the metal detector, I’m
hoping we’ll find some of more of it. Even if we don’t, just the thought of
it gets the blood pumping. Until the next time, keep hunting and may your pan
always be golden.