Monday, December 20, 2010

Buried Treasure in Niagara Falls

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Amanuensis Monday, hosted by John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch.

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Two weeks ago I shared the very sad death of Alice Glover. As I continued to dig for more information about her and the other Glover family members that lived in Niagara Falls, New York, I found another very unusual story.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Friday, June 11, 1886. Front page.

HIDDEN TREASURE

Finding Money Under an Old Building - Who Placed it There?
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The finding of a sum of money under an old building at Suspension Bridge has created considerable excitement in that locality. The exact find is variously estimated, about $700 being standard. While the sum is somewhat smaller, still the amount is considerable larger than many people would care to have lying around loose. The facts learned by a GAZETTE representative are as follows:

A short time ago Mr. J. T. Brundage of this place purchased a lot at Suspension Bridge of Miss Glover, the lot being a portion of the Glover estate. Standing on the lot was an old barn and cooper shop. Wishing the barn for use Mr. Brundage had the cooper shop moved up and the barn repaired. Mr. Geo. Haberlee was employed to do the work and on Wednesday afternoon last four of his men were at work digging a place for putting a support under the barn. Throwing out a shovel full of earth one can imagine his surprise upon finding several hundred dollars in gold pieces ranging from $1 to $20 roll of the shovel. The money was gathered up and divided by the workmen who took it home. Of course such a discovery could not be kept long a secret, and soon everybody knew of it, and of course everybody had a theory as to whom it belonged. The law says that treasures found shall belong to the finder where no owner can be found. It does not seem to be the desire of the finder to keep what belongs to others, and this morning all of the money was placed in a sealed package and deposited in the Bank of Niagara by Mr. Haberlee.

There are many theories as to how the money came there and who put it there. The date on the various pieces varies from 1848 to 1861. During the early part of the sixties the war was in progress and large bounties were being paid. A very feasible theory is that the money was paid to a volunteer or substitute who buried it thinking to get it when he returned and was probably killed in the army. If the person who placed the money is now living he can no doubt have it by proving that he is the rightful owner.
The Miss Glover mentioned above was Alice, which is made clear in the next article. The beginning of the article repeats almost word for word what was written just days before. The last paragraph is new and quotes Alice's mother, Charlotte Ainsworth Glover.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Wednesday, June 16th, 1885, page 5

HIDDEN TREASURE

Finding Money Under an Old Building - Who Placed it There?
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The finding of a sum of money under an old building at Suspension Bridge has created considerable excitement in that locality. The exact find is variously estimated, about $700 being standard. While the sum is somewhat smaller, still the amount is considerable larger than many people would care to have lying around loose. The facts learned by a GAZETTE representative are as follows:

A short time ago Mr. J. T. Brundage of this place purchased a lot at Suspension Bridge of Miss Glover, the lot being a portion of the Glover estate. Standing on the lot was an old barn and cooper shop. Wishing the barn for use Mr. Brundage had the cooper shop moved up and the barn repaired. Mr. Geo. Haberlee was employed to do the work and on Wednesday afternoon last four of his men were at work on the barn. One was employed digging a place for putting a support under the barn. Throwing out a shovel full of earth one can imagine his surprise upon beholding several hundred dollars in gold pieces ranging from $1 to $20 roll off the shovel. The money was gathered up and divided by the workmen who took it home. Of course such a discovery could not be kept long a secret, and soon everyone knew of it, and of course everybody had a theory as to whom it belonged. The law says that treasures found shall belong to the finder where no owner can be found. It does not seem to be the desire of the finder to keep what belongs to others and this morning all of the money was placed in a sealed package and deposited in the Bank of Niagara by Mr. Haberlee.

There are many theories as to how the money came to be there and who put it there. The date on the various pieces varies from 1848 to 1861. During the early part of the sixties the war was in progress and large bounties were being paid. A very feasible theory is that the money was paid to a volunteer or substitute who buried it thinking to get it when he returned and was probably killed in the army. If the person who placed the money in this singular place is now living he can no doubt have it by proving that he is the rightful owner.

WHO DOES IT BELONG TO?

This is the question everybody is asking everybody else in regard to the gold that was found on the Brundage property formerly part of the Glover estate. Who do you think will get it? Who put it there? are questions we also often hear. In a very pleasant interview with a GAZETTE representative Mrs. Glover tendered the imformation that the question of ownership would be fully contested by her daughter Miss Alice Glover and that she had already employed a leading lawyer at the Falls to look after her interest. Mrs. Glover said that she personally has not the least doubt but what Teine Glover put the money there, that whenever a piece of gold coin came into his possession he was always very careful of it, and frequently wrapped it in paper, that he would never pay his men off with gold coin but at all times had that longing to retain it in his possession. During his life he was known to have silver spoons in the barn and that it was invariably kept locked either he or Reuben carrying the key. Teine Glover has very emphatically and often said, "I have given Alice the deed to the barn and lot, don't let her under any circumstances dispose of it." Saturday morning Miss Glover's lawyer demanded of Mr. Geo. Haberlee, in whose name the money is deposited in a sealed package in the bank, all money found, but it was not forthcoming. Geo. Haberlee being interviewed said that of course he thought it belonged to the men in his employ who found it and that he would like to see them retain possession of it.

So who should the gold go to?

Why wasn't Alice's father, Reuben Glover, quoted? Family notes say he didn't die until 1887 but those notes have been off a year or two in other cases. Why can't I find an obituary for him?

More importantly, who was Teine Glover?! "During his life" would indicate that he had died. My best guess would be Alice's uncle, Lewis E Glover who had died in 1863 based on the next article.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Monday, June 28, 1886, Front page

--- There are fourteen claimants on the Glover side for the gold that was found on the Brundage property; offers have been made by them to the finder for a compromise, but were rejected by the men.

Fourteen claimants! So Alice wasn't in line to get all of the money. I mentioned Lewis E. Glover above. He died a widower without issue so I'm guessing that is where all of the claimants came from. There were sixteen heirs listed in a newspaper notice and that did not include all of his heirs. Was my great-grandfather, Ashley Carlisle, one of the fourteen?

In the end it didn't matter. The finders keepers rule won out. The last little blurb in the paper gives no indication as to how the matter was decided.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Wednesday, September 8, 1886, page 8

Suspension Bridge Briefs

--- The gold that was found on the Glover property has been divided equally between the finders.

A great story that begs more questions than it answers. I see a vacation to the Falls in the not too distant future.

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3 comments:

Carol said...

Fascinating what we find in old newspapers!

Brenda said...

Alice's story is so interesting (and sad). I hope you can find more answers to the many questions!

Nikki-ann said...

I love finding articles like that in old papers. I think a trip there would certainly be in order... It's been 10 years since I went!