You would think it would be easy to take a simple map that has two lines drawn to intersect and find that spot, wouldn’t you? Well, it is not.
It was afternoon by the time that Mark, Marian and Bob, GuyK, Denise, and myself had loaded up a couple of jo-blades and the survey equipment and driven around to the old Christmas Cemetery. There we unloaded in a little pull-off from the road and slipped over to the graveyard. We were on posted land but we do know the landowner Paul Brown. He would have given us permission to visit, but we did not want any questions about what we were doing. We all felt excited as if it was a great adventure; like we were in the middle of the book “Treasure Island.”
Mark and I quickly located the flat marble slab over the grave, checked everywhere for snakes and brought everyone up while we used our hands and the bush blades to clear the marble top so we could inspect it.
The writing was faded with his name, date of birth and death (just a few years after coming here). In the center was a round shape like a sun in the clouds. There were no other markings found that we could use, so we put the instrument over the sun shape, leveled it and aimed it due West. I quickly found out that this was not going to be easy.
100 years ago, I am sure this was all open crop and pasture land, but now it was a grown up forest. It took Mark and I about 15 minutes to cut a hole through the brush enough for us to run out first 100 foot line. After that I would aim, people would chop and cut enough to see and we would move.
A lot of time was spent shooting around trees and resetting the instrument. By 6:00 PM we had only covered half the distance shown on the map.
At 8:30 PM we called it a day and headed back to steaks on the grill that Denise and Marian had decided to get going after it looked like there would not be a treasure chest of gold found. We ate hearty and talked about the journal and map for a few hours, enjoyed a nice fire and went to bed eager to start again the next day.
Noon on that next day, GuyK drove a stake in the ground at the 1962 foot mark. There did not seem to be anything there special that marked the spot. I am not a surveyor so I figured we were within 15-20 yards of the spot at worse. We left that line and headed over to the big Indian Mound near the Beehive Stand marked on the map. Another hour of clearing, looking for a marker and finally setting the instrument as close to the center of the top of the mound as possible and we shot our first line due South.
Once again it was tough work to clear a line through the woods. The woods were bigger and more open but we still had to shoot around a few trees. We drove the stake in the ground at the 849 foot mark at around 6:00 PM. Unfortunately, the two lines did not meet. Did I mention that I am not a damn surveyor.
Anyway we were within 10 feet of the westerly line but over about 20 feet west of the first stake. Everyone was determined to figure out what was there, so we decided to take a quick dinner break and come back with the metal detector. Once again a good meal of hamburgers made by the ladies and by 7:30 PM we were back in the woods. It does not get dark in the summer until close to 9:00 PM here. We had shovels and high hopes as Mark turned on the metal detector and slowly started covering the area.
He almost missed it, it was getting dark and just a slight reading came on the metal detector as he made his way around a large rock. Looking back, I should have realized the rock was not supposed to be there anyway. Excitedly we dug around the rock (with Guy giving directions) and pried it up and out of the way. Everyone got quiet as Mark turned the metal detector back on and moved it over the hole. It gave a loud buzz and everyone almost went crazy. Denise grabbed a shovel and started digging like crazy.
Finally we all cooled down and Mark and I started carefully digging. It was dark now but we had some flashlights and a large Coleman lantern that Marian lit that gave us a bright circle of light.
Metal scraped on metal and I got on my knees to dig around whatever we had hit. To my surprise it was the tip of a metal rod about a quarter inch around that stuck up from the hole. This cooled everyone off as we gathered around and stared at the tip of the rod sticking out of the ground. A bottle was produced, a few cokes from a cooler and some plastic glasses were found and we sat down to talk about what it meant and what to do next.