Harrison Township,WASHINGTON, Indiana.... Widows Hidden Cache
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Thread: Harrison Township,WASHINGTON, Indiana.... Widows Hidden Cache

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  1. #1
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    287 times

    Harrison Township,WASHINGTON, Indiana.... Widow's Hidden Cache

    In the 1870 census, the widowed Elizabeth Ratten and her two children are shown in the family of her father, Thomas Baldwin (1870, Indiana, Daviess county, Harrision township, page 206, dwelling 102).
    In 1880, her son Denson Wrattin is listed as head of the house, and she is listed as Elizabeth Wrattin in her son's household, along with her daughter and father (1880, same location, page 493, dwelling 117).

    As the widow of a Civil War soldier who died in action, Elizabeth Wratten commenced drawing a pension shortly after her husbands death. She was known to be energetic and business minded. She was a money lender and was said to receive considerable income from this activity (Daviess county history (Myers), 1:226).
    Tradition is that she kept large sums of money hidden at home, and it was generally known that she was relatively wealthy . In 1893, the home in which she lived was known as the old Thomas Baldwin place and Elizabeth was the owner. The house was an old fashioned three room half log structure covered with weather boards. Included in the household was her son's family (ibid).
    On the night of 18 September 1893, Elizabeth Wratten and the five members of her son's family were asleep when James E. Stone forced his way into the home and murdered the entire family of six with a corn knife. He searched for the money box, but failed to find it. He left, leaving enough evidence to later help prove his guilt (ibid, 1:227).
    Murderer James E. Stone is a first cousin, one generation removed, of Elizabeth Wratten. Their common ancestor is Elias Stone.
    The murders received nationwide attention in the newspapers of the day (ibid, 1:226).
    Indeed, The Rocky Mountain News of Denver, Colorado, carried the initial report on page one of its 20 September 1893 issue. The story reads as follows, in its entirety:

    Horrible Butchery. An Entire Family of Six Murdered in Cold Blood.

    WASHINGTON, Ind., Sept. 19,1893,
    - Last night in Harrison township, nine miles from this city, an entire family of six persons were butchered with hatchets. The family consisted of Denson Wratten, his mother, wife and three children. The eldest of the children, a girl of 12, is still living, although unconscious, and with her head cruelly gashed.

    Denson Wratten was a farmer, 35 years old, a good citizen in moderate circumstances. His good mother lived with the family and drew a pension. She did not bank her money and was supposed to keep several hundred dollars about her. This money was doubtless the motive for the murders. The house is a log one, a story and a half high, and has a long kitchen annex. The murderers entered by a window, breaking in the sash, and there was evidence of a fierce struggle. Wratten was sick with typhoid fever and incapable of resistance. The old lady was found upon the floor, cut terribly about the head and both hands cut off at the wrists. All were found dead upon the floor except the baby, 3 years old, which was killed in bed.

    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2
    us
    Mar 2009
    Illiniois
    Fisher F70 with 11"DD coil, CZ-21 with 10" coil, Fisher 1265X
    228
    12 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Harrison Township,WASHINGTON, Indiana.... Widow's Hidden Cache

    About ten years ago I lived about 3 miles from the old Wratton Place. I thoroughly research that old story and according to the old papers I read her money box was found under one of the dresser drawers by the authorities when investigating the murders.Based on the amount that was in that box I doubt if there was more. It never stopped me from using my detector at the old homestead but I never found anything. Just about everyone in the neighborhood seemed to have searched that area. I lived there for 8 years and had my greatest MD moments during that time. I still remember talking the an old fellow in Odon which was about 15 miles north of Washington after I had my car serviced at his garage. In the course of conversation he mentioned that he had some large square rocks that needed removed from the front of his property. I went out there and immediately recognized them as foundation stones. I found 2 cent pieces and indian heads from the 1860's. Then I got a solid hit that turned out to be a 1847 mexican 8 reale coin that had one of the pieces of eight cut out of it with a huge knife. An even better treasure story from that area came to me first hand but I searched like crazy and never found it. One night an old lady I knew spotted her old neighbor wandering in the back yard. She went out to see what was wrong and her neighbor was crying and she kept muttering "my gold, my gold I can't find where H..... buried my gold. H.....was her husband who was the biggest business owner in a nearby small town. He died suddenly of a heart attack so it certainly seemed plausible to me. I had permission to hunt the grounds but I never searched the house or the barn. Both have since been bulldozed down. I wish I knew how close I came on that one. There are some incredible stories from that area. Now all I have to do is find some good leads where I live now. Unfortunately there is a lot more competition where I live now and what a difference that makes. I have been skunked far too many times at what should have been primo detecting territory!

  3. #3
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    287 times

    Re: Harrison Township,WASHINGTON, Indiana.... Widow's Hidden Cache

    Very Cool story!
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  4. #4

    Dec 2018
    1
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    My grandparents (and sons, including my father) lived in the old house until it burned down.
    They owned the property on both sides of the county road, and built a concrete block home across the county road after the fire.

    I ran that property as a teenager, and saw a BUNCH of people, some 'Lookie Loos' and some looking with metal detectors or digging holes randomly. No one ever found anything I know of, some buttons, washers, nails, etc.

    In 1977 my grandfather and me were cleaning out the old spring basin for livestock to water and found a hatchet head with some of the wood still in the eye of the hatchet. It looked like a utility hatchet from the 1800s, with a blade/nail puller notch on one side, a hammer head on the other.
    It was the only time my grandfather ever wondered if we had found the missing hatchet, the corn knife used in the murder was found right after the murders.

    My great-grandfather was one of the men that ran hounds to try and find the killer, and one of the first persons on the scene.
    There was a hatchet, corn knife & pry bar missing from the tool shed, the pry bar & corn knife were found at the time.

    Keep in mind that the house was closer to the town of Hudsonville than Glendale, and just a few miles away is where some famous criminals, including John Dillinger gang hid out.
    Many coins, a few firearms & ammunition casings, and a bunch of metal waste has been found that dates back to the Dillinger time.
    South of the same area, just north of Otwell, IN was a hideout for Civil War era murders/bandits, members of the Quantrill's Raiders gang used to hide out, recover from wounds (sometimes die) and were buried locally just north of the town.
    Several gold and silver coins were found at the old White river camp for that bunch during the 70s with metal detectors.

    The biggest find of coins I know about was in 1976 in Hutsonville where the old church/school stood.
    Nothing but foundation and corner stones in 1976, but as those stones got moved a couple of coins were found, and metal detectors turned up a couple hundred coins.
    There were also coins found at the old ferry crossing of the White river just outside of Hudsonville, on both sides of the river.
    vpnavy and jeff of pa like this.

 

 

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