Downtown Delphos
Downtown Delphos
The following is a review of some of my most popular history stories.

The Van Wert Republican comments on the statements made by the Herald last week in regard to the alleged silver mine on M.I. Germans farm in Van Wert county, and gives the following additional particulars.

“That silver does exist in that locality has long been known. Mr. Jacob Young, of Van Wert, knows probably more about it than anybody else.”

“I know there is silver there,” said Mr. Young, “but I did not believe it has been found. Three weeks ago Mr. Lampe came to me an asked me if I would aid him in finding the vein. I told him I would and we went over the German and Timbors farms which adjoin. Lampe had a divining rod which he used. Several places the rod indicated one but we could not find it.

“I have known of the one for more than forty years. When we moved to that neighborhood the furnaces used by the Indians to melt it were still standing.

The Wyandot Indians who roamed through the forests knew of the mine and utilized the ore for various purposes. In 1851 a stranger came to father’s house who said he had lived with the Indians and knew the hiding place of the precious metal. He offered to divulge his secret for a consideration, but this offer was refused. He left the house, was gone for a few hours and returned with a peck of nuggets. We frequently found good sized chunks but could never locate the main vein. I sent a nugget to a Cincinnati mineralogist and he wrote me that the one contained eight ounces of silver to the pound, the remainder being mostly lead. The last Davis Johnson went from Van Wert county to a Kansas reservation in 1842. He wanted them to tell him where the mine was located but they would not tell him.

Mr. Young has not yet given up, however, and expects to do some more prospecting during the summer.

Delphos Herald, July 6, 1895


Treasure Found on the Banks of Auglaize River

DEFIANCE — Aug. 19, 1895 — Frank Slavin and George Jefferies, two young men who were camping out on the Auglaize river in Paulding County, left their home at Junction, a few days ago for a two week outing, but returned Saturday morning almost breathless with excitement, and showed a half dozen pieces of gold and silver coins, dating from 1784 to 1805, and stating that they had found them near a large excavation at the foot of a high bluff on the south bank of the river, just across from Blodgetts Island.

The young men had pitched their camp on the island, which is a historic spot, because on its north shore, there still remains a large mound, a relic of the days when Ohio was peoples by a race whose history remains unwritten and untold. Just opposite the island stands the cement mill and a little further up the river is a high bluff of slate stone. The side of this wall for some distance is as smooth as though built by human hands. At the base of the bluff is a strip of sand 100 yards long. This narrow belt is overgrown with willows and underbrush, which almost hides the lower part of the wall.

It was there that the young boys made their discovery. Near the center of the bluff they found a large excavation in the slate stone and sand. Leading to the water’s edge was a path which had been cut.

When the boys told their story to the villagers at Junction, a search party was formed and the young men led the way back to the spot. Near there was a spade, pick ax and a couple of steel bars, all new, purchased by two strangers.

The party also discovered two Spanish doubloons. On the face of the cliff, about six feet from the base was discovered, cut in the rock, a large cross and below this a number of strange marks which were unintelligible.

The strangest part of the story is the fact that the treasure has lain buried beneath the sand of the Auglaize river for nearly a century, though the existence has been known to some of the early settlers for many years.

There lives in Mark township, a woman, old in years, who has number of charts and papers relating to the hiding place of the treasure which she has guarded for more than half a century. Her name is Martha Fairfield.

Away back in the early 1840’s, she says there came to her home an Indian trader. He was a Frenchman who was sick with the fever. Her parents took the man in and nursed him through his last illness. During the delirium he frequently raved about some hoarded wealth. Finally he rallied for a short time and he attempted to tell them the story of the buried treasure.

The Frenchmans story as told by Martha Fairfield follows. “It was during the war of 1812, when the British had possession of Detroit, a party of English subjects accompanied by Indian guides, left Detroit with $12,000 in gold coin to pay the English soldiers and their Indian allies, when they were stopped by troops from Kentucky. Fearing the gold would fall into the hands of the Americans, the British buried it on the banks of the Auglaize river. In an engagement shortly after, many of the party were killed, and the treasure never recovered.

Delphos Herald, Aug. 19, 1895