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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Treasure Hunters


The police were called to the West Side Coal and Lumber Company on this evening 100 years ago because three men were digging in the yard at midnight. Abel Brooks, the owner of the company had called the police and confirmed that he had given the men permission to dig there. Why he called the police was not explained at all.

​Adlai Stevenson of 1216 Mason Street had come to Brooks, explaining that he belonged to a cult that could locate treasure and foretell future events. They believed that a member of the Trotter family had buried $55,000 in gold coins after the Civil War. The men had been allowed to bring their instrument for finding the treasure to the yard and had pinpointed the location. They said they would dig at midnight that night, but were unable to because one member of the crew was ill. (?!) So they left this publicly disclosed area where gold was buried unguarded and exposed for any other treasure hunter to discover the gold.

Despite this obvious breach of treasure hunting protocol, the men returned the next evening and industriously dug for the gold. They explained their work to the police and then indicated that their work could not continue with anyone watching the work.

The Pantagraph reported the following day that the notoreity of their work was interfering with the "thought waves" necessary to the discovery of the gold. The enterprise was suspended.


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