Nemaha County Kansas buried Gold
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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    306 times

    Nemaha County Kansas buried Gold

    Julesburg was not only a stag station of considerable size, importance at that time but was located well toward the end of the plains country where the heavy loads of freight were often divided into two wagons for the hard pull over the mountains. Here the caravan halted, some for a few days' rest, others for a return trip over the mountains.

    The young men from the east became disgusted with the drinking and gambling that was indulged in so freely and decided to take their chances with the perils of the plains rather than risk their lives and hard earned money fortune with drunken men. They forged ahead the next 500 miles alone. The wagon was loaded lightly and the team was strong and every day was taking them so many miles nearer home and their loved ones.

    In due time they reached Richmond on the west bank of the Nemaha. It was late one after noon. It so happened that they crossed near where Mr. and Mrs. Ripey had camped over Sunday on their wedding trip. The two young men decided they too would make camp and replenish their supplies from the little store in Richmond. After Dark they buried their powder can filled with gold.

    They selected a site across from the "big tree" (which might have been oak, elm or cottonwood) on the west bank of the Nemaha in direct line with the rays of light shining from the window of the saloon to the place of deposit. They did not risk leafing the gold in the wagon un-guarded even though no on there might suspect them to have a fortune in un-coined gold.

    It was rather late when they made their visit to the combined store and saloon and gambling quarters in the rear, They made some purchases and were preparing to carry them back to the wagon and camp which they were loathe to leave very long. At this stage who should emerge from the rear of the saloon into the store but the two ruffians of whom they had suspicion and thought they had escaped in Julesburg. The Ruffians had been drinking, possibly to strengthen their courage for the dastardly deed for which they had been waiting 2000 miles for an opportune time to perform.

    Immediately they became quarrelsome and a fight followed. One of the men from Massachusetts was shot and instantly killed. The other put up a good fight until the light in the saloon were put our or shot out.

    Not knowing but that the saloon keeper and the others there might be accomplices of the two ruffians, the other Massachusetts man stole out in the darkness of the night which offered a cloak to escape. Making his way to his team and wagon with all haste he hooked up and fled east, leaving the gold where he believed it was safer than in his possession. About noon the second day he arrived at St. Joseph. But he did not feel he dared return to Richmond for fear of further encounter with the hold-up men. At St. Joseph he disposed of the team and wagon and pursued his course to his old home state.

    Who would presume to say at this time that the boyhood sweetheart he had left in old Massachusetts five years before was not more precious to him at this particular time than buried gold? At any rate he hurried on leaving the treasure to be clamed at some future time. Soon after reaching home he married his lost partner's sister, the girl he had pledged to claim when his fortune had been made.

    Several years quickly passed quickly and for some unknown reason he had not been able to return to Kansas for the dearly earned fortune which rested under the sod on the banks of the Nemaha. At this time the Civil War broke out He responded to the call and enlisted.

    Before leaving home the family to join the ranks from which he never returned he left with his wife and two baby sons a map he had made showing the location of the buried gold on the hillside on the east side of the Nemaha and I might say, in the shadow of the trunk of the tree that stood in direct line with the rays of light from the rays of light from the saloon window.

    Years passed by and the lonely widow reared and educated the fatherless sons and with the firm belief that some day they would be able to realize on the gold.

    About thirty years after the murder and attempted robbery, when the young men had grown to splendid types of young manhood, they came to Kansas to search for the treasure hidden by their father and uncle. After considerable inquiry among the old settlers the site of the old Richmond was located. An abandoned well was the visible landmark left of the old town site. The timber had been cleared off all that part of the valley on that stream was in cultivation, making the map of little value, except what might have been located from the old ford, had the ford been located on the map.

    These two young men from Boston had brought bayonets taken from army muskets, with them. They hoped to prod the ground and thus strike the powder can with it's gold nuggets. They worked vertiginously for several weeks prodding the ground where the thought the gold might be located. They had no success. Tired and discouraged and with blisters on their hand they abandon the search and returned home.

    Twenty two years later, later one hot afternoon in August a prosperous looking old gentleman walked into my office caring a fine new looking leather handbag of considerable size. I greeted my visitor in a cordial manner in which real estate neb usually meet a prosperous looking prospect.
    "Your are Mr. Thompson?"
    " Yes."
    "In the real estate business?"
    "Yes Sir."
    "Know the country pretty well, I suppose?"

    Wanting to impress my customer that I knew my business I answered in the affirmative. Here the old gentleman asked for a private interview. I led the way to the private room of my office. After the door was closed he revealed identity. He was none other than W. D. Ripey, the pioneer freighter who had amassed a fortune in his various enterprises.

    While this old man had not withheld his means from assisting many a worthy cause, his age had not deprived him of any of his desire for more gold. during the afternoon Mr. Ripey told me a lot of very interesting history of early days of the early days on he plains, some of which were entirely new to me. He told how he and his wife had made their wedding trip with a train of freight wagons, camping over Sunday at a ford on the Nemaha near a place called Richmond. In substance he told me all I have related about the two gold miners, their success and one being murdered, how the other made his escape: about the two sons of the survivor and their fruitless search for the hidden treasure.

    However I had heard conflicting statements about the time the young men from Boston were making their search with bayonets.

    Of course I was delighted in the getting so much pioneer history from the mouth of a man who had real experience and knew his story very well. But I was much more surprised then I can tell when Mr. Ripey proceeded to unfold a much worn map which he carefully guarded -- telling me how he had obtained for a consideration from the mother and sons who apparently were friends of his and would share in what he might find.

    After taking me into his confidence in all that I have related Mr. Ripey said: "The country has changed so much in the nearly 60 years since I camped at the ford at Richmond I am not sure I could find the place. I believe I can trust you and I want you to help me. Will you do it?" I assured him I would be only too good to render any service within the consent of the owner of the land. Mr. Ripey strenuously protested against any publicity

    But I remembered how the owner of the land has posted notices in the local paper that all trespassers would be arrested. This he had to do for protection for his place had been over-run with prospectors after the young had given up and returned to their homes.

    The day was far spent and being desirous to grant his request to see remaining evidence of the old trail and ford, I consented to drive out that way. We left the car by the road side and started out on foot, as near as possible along the old trail leading to the field to the ford.

    We located the ford but there was nothing in evidence where by which we could locate the camping sight of his honeymoon trip. It was a real disappointment to the old man. The next day we returned to make farther investigation for some landmark. I had gained permission of the landowner so we no longer felt that were trespassers

    The old man of 88 had made a fortune in his lifetime by persistent effort and even at this advanced age he was unwilling to give up this new undertaking.

    Several weeks later Mr. Ripey again returned with his handbag. This time he opened it withdrew a brand new two bushel seamless "A" bag, saying, "I guess this will hold the gold."

    I was sorry to have to say the promised thrill of my life was as far away after our third attempt to locate some object to help in using the map as it was before.

    The vanishing of Richmond, removal of timber along with repeated floods of more than half a century had changed the countenance of the earth so much that both of us were at a completer lost to find any thing we could recognize. Not willing to give up, Mr. Ripey planned to return at some future time for another effort. This, age and Father Time prevented.

    So far as I know the gold sill lies buried in the hillside of the Nemaha.
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow



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