Mar 13, 2008, 07:25 AM
Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust
John Hermans Jars of gold..... Dutch Mills
The Hermann family buried 5 large jars of gold coins in seperate locations during the Civil War on their farm at Dutch Mills, SW of Fayetteville. After the war, he could only remember where he cached 3 of the treasures, the other 2 hoards were never found. Dutch Mills was formerly called Hermannsburg......$200,000 in gold is reportedly buried on Boston Mountain.
Early settler William Flynn buried a wooden keg filled with $115,000 in gold and silver coins somewhere on his farm property near Fayetteville. He had been to the California goldfields and brought back a fortune when he returned. His treasure has never been recovered........
On 10 July 1850, Johann Heinrich Hermann wrote to his brother Wilhelm about his newly adopted home.Hermann, whose English name was John Henry, wrote, “So with Ganter I got on the road south and after several weeks…I arrived in Washington County, Arkansas, where I found all the things I desired: rich upland soil, springs and brooks in great numbers, and a healthy location.” Johann regales his brother with stories of grape vines a foot thick and of berry bushes covering entire hills. The winters, according to Johann, are mild and the summers not too hot. It was here in this new land that he was going to accomplish his new dream of producing silk.
Johann Hermann came to the United States in 1849. In letters to his mother he tells that he left from the port of Le Havre, France, on 29 July 1849 and arrived in New York 26 August on the ship Louisiana. Hermann was born 28 May 1823 in Mannheim, Germany. He attended Vienna Polytechnic and the University of Heidelberg before making his early career in engineering and manufacturing. Soon after school he took a job as an engineer in a French factory. His manufacturing career in France came quickly to an end during the February Revolution in 1848 and Hermann returned home to Germany. It was soon after, that his friend Ganter convinced him to travel to the United States.
“From earlier reports I knew that New York is a fine city but I could not have imagined its real magnificence. But I cannot remain here. According to all those to whom I was recommended, it is not possible for a foreigner to get a position as an engineer or draftsman immediately.” Taking these recommendations to heart, Hermann left New York for Albany, Buffalo, and Detroit.
It is unknown if Hermann attempted to find work in these places but on 20 March 1850 Hermann mailed a letter from Memphis, Tennessee, informing his mother that he was on a steamboat from New Port, Missouri to meet his friend Ganter in Arkansas. In early 1850, Ganter convinced Hermann to visit him in western Washington County. Hermann gives no reason for his visit in March saying only, “From that time we discussed the best thing to do.” Over the summer of 1850 he found work in the grist mill of Freyschlag von Karrback, working to maintain and update the mechanical systems in the mill.
Hermann returned to New Port in the fall of 1850 where he married Nanni Wilhelmi.Nanni, Johann, and a hired German immigrant returned to Washington County, Arkansas in the spring of 1851. Hermann was intent this time on settling down. “I have had enough of this homeless wandering-about,” he wrote in 1850. Hermann purchased the unfinished mill of Booker Smith on the Whitaker Branch in western Washington County in 1851. He wrote to his mother, “it is a desirable location in every respect, in the center of a rich section of Arkansas, on the Texas Road and with a more constant water-flow than any other mill.” According to Hermann’s letters, due to lack of funds, Smith failed to complete his mill on the site. An 1834 map of the township and range shows a mill and distillery along the Whitaker Branch that were possibly Smith’s.
It took over a year for Johann Hermann and his hired employees to complete the construction of the mill. By that time they had been joined by fellow immigrants from Germany. Hermann wrote in July 1852, “Both of the new immigrants have arrived here…[and] will stay with me and help me to bring the mill into operation.” The letters home finally convinced Karl, Johann’s brother, to come to the new village and he arrived in the spring of 1853. That same year the petition for a post office was approved and the growing village beside the Whitaker Branch on the Cane Hill Road officially became known as Hermannsberg.
There were at least fourteen German families who chose to settle in Hermannsberg. Many, like Karl Hermann and Julius Wilhelmi, came because of family connections. After settling, Karl built and operated a dry goods store not far from his brother’s mill. In 1855, Johann Hermann, with his brother-in-law Julius Wilhelmi, converted the water powered grist mill to a steam mill and added wool carding equipment. The town became an important location at the Cane Hill Road ford of the Barren Branch of the Illinois River. The road was the primary route between Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Fayetteville via Evansville, Hermannsberg, Cane Hill, and Prairie Grove. In fact it was so important and well traveled that when John Butterfield was looking for routes for his new stage operation—Butterfield’s Overland Mail—he and his engineers examined the possibility of using the Cane Hill Road.
Local stages were already in operation between Fort Smith and Fayetteville over the Cane Hill Road when John Butterfield won his contract for a cross country mail route in 1857. Therefore when Butterfield and his engineers visited Washington County in late 1857 and early 1858 they examined the Cane Hill Road as a possibility for their mail route from Tipton, MO to Fort Smith and ultimately San Francisco. Though none of the roads in southern Washington County appeared to be in the best shape—one reporter noted, “I might say our road was steep, rugged, jagged, rough and mountainous—and then wish for some more expressive words in the language”—the Cane Hill Road was particularly treacherous. The route through the valleys required fording five unbridged river crossings: it crossed the Illinois River at Cane Hill, the Barren Fork of the Illinois near Dutch Mills, Evansville Creek, Mountain Fork Creek, Natural Dam Creek, and Lee Creek between Evansville and Cedarville. Additionally, rain soaked the clay soils and quickly made sticky, slow roads that were highly likely to mire animals and wagons alike.
The Butterfield Overland Mail bypassed the Cane Hill route in favor of the Boston Mountain Road which, though in just as rough condition, had only two fords. Connecting stages continued to offer passage between Fayetteville and Fort Smith along the Cane Hill Road. In 1859, Washington County finally built a bridge over the Illinois River at Cane Hill. The Fayetteville Arkansian noted, “We are gratified to learn that the long talked of bridge across the Illinois River at Cane Hill crossing is in a fair way of being built.”
Indeed the small town of Hermannsberg prospered along a well traveled road. The Cane Hill Road connected Hermannsberg to Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Fort Smith, and Fayetteville. It brought local farmers to town to shop at Karl Hermann’s dry goods store and to purchase lumber from Johann Hermann’s saw mill. On the eve of the Civil War Johann Hermann’s mill was one of thirteen grist mills in the county producing an estimated $290,500 dollars of goods each year. His carding mill was one of only three mills in the county. These three mills employed nine, including two women, and produced almost $16,000 dollars in finished wool. Hermann’s saw mill was one of only four in the county making Hermannsberg an important distribution center for lumber products As beneficial as the Cane Hill Road was for the growth and prosperity of Hermannsberg, it would ultimately bring about the town’s demise.
Karl Hermann observed in his memoir, “the question of admitting Kansas into the Union had produced a violent cleavage within the ranks of political parties and had divided them into Northern and Southern wings.” Many of the German immigrant families living in Hermannsberg worried about the possibility of a Civil War. Though they owned slaves, the group largely supported the Union. The Hermann brothers, having both experienced civil war in Europe, expressed dismay over the secessionist movement. “The pro-secession forces won the election, but only as a result of using intimidation, noted Karl.When asked about his opinion of the election to secede, Karl remarked, “I don’t like it at all. Never desert the old ship Union.” He continued, “An ambiguous silenced followed. After I had spoken shortly on the horrors that go with civil war, I decided it the wiser course to drop the subject altogether,
The horrors of the Civil War would indeed visit Hermannsberg.Cane Hill Road became the primary route for both Northern and Southern forces during the war.During the battles at Cane Hill and Prairie Grove the town of Hermannsberg was occupied by both forces. The fact that the Hermanns and their fellow citizens were known Union supporters brought regular visits by bands of Southern sympathizers who terrorized the population. One neighbor, a man known only as Dannenberg, was killed by a group of men looking to rob his home; the same was true of a man named Malloy,
Karolina Hermann, wife of Karl, kept a diary in which she notes almost daily visits by the armies or their marauding bands. In 1862 she wrote, “The last two years have been trying ones for us; somehow things seem to grow worse instead of better.” Throughout November 1862 Hermannsberg was looted by both armies and roving bands of criminals. Hogs, chickens, flour, and bread were stolen time and again. On 18 November Karl’s store was broken into and almost completely emptied. After the battle of Prairie Grove the looting became more sinister, “They demanded money, looked through everything and carried away much stuff…. The scoundrels took coffee, flour, clothes, shirts, handkerchiefs, and some clothes made of especially fine material that Fritz had bought me. They spent two hours, then went away
On 18 December 1862 the Hermanns and many of their neighbors left Hermannsberg as refugees. Escorted by over 100 Union soldiers they left many of their possessions behind and headed for Missouri. Johann Hermann returned in December 1863 to attempt to recover some family possessions. When he arrived the home was completely destroyed, the stairs, walls, floors all torn loose. He found the doors missing and windows broken. At some point during the war the mill was dismantled and the equipment stolen; the remaining was burned
There is little history of the village of Hermannsberg after the Civil War. Only one German family remained in the area and new settlement in the area was largely American born farmers. At some point prior to 1925 a new steam powered mill was built on the site of Johann Hermann’s mill. New stores were opened and the town took a new name, Dutch Mills, with its new post office in 1871. The new mill at Dutch Mills burned in 1925 and was never replaced. The post office and a store remained open and were the heart of the community into the 1960s.
Through the early 1900s Cane Hill Road remained the primary route between Van Buren, Evansville, Dutch Mills, Prairie Grove, and Fayetteville. The road through Dutch Mills and the store in Dutch Mills also served the rural farm families living in eastern Oklahoma. It is therefore little surprise that Washington County worked diligently to keep the road in good condition.
I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow
Mar 13, 2008 07:25 AM
Mar 19, 2008, 11:53 PM
finder of the lost
Re: John Hermans Jars of gold..... Dutch Mills
very good one miss gypsy...i will be in this area tomorrow
Search tags for this page
barren fork creek treasure
dutch mills ar
dutch mills ar treasure
dutch mills arkansas
dutch mills arkansas history
hermann family treasure
history of dutch mills, arkansas
john hermans jars of gold dutch mills ark
picture of store/post office, dutch mills, ar
the hermann family treasure
Click on a term to search for related topics.