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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    234 times

    VILLAGE OF HARPER Buried Gold Coins Canada

    This is a manuscript in the Perth Museum research files.
    Transcribed by Charles Dobie.
    This letter is in the Public Archives of Canada, and is also quoted in part on page 13 of Andrew Haydon's book, "Pioneer Sketches In The District of Bathurst."

    The following is the summary of a paper presented to the members of the Harper Women's Institute, by Clyde Bell, on November 21st, 1963. Mr. Bell [was] a director of the Perth Museum Inc. His family came to the Harper District in 1817, and his great grandfather, James Bell, was granted a Crown Deed for the West Half of Lot 23 in the 6th Concession of Bathurst Township on April 27th, 1827.
    The paper is based on the recollections of his neighbour, the late G. E. Wilson, the stories told by his late father, Wm. R. Bell, and on the records in the archives at the Perth Museum.
    My father was blind from 1942, and because of this, he tended to lose contact with current events, but he could recall stories of the past as vividly as though they had happened yesterday. He looked forward to the frequent visits Mr. Wilson paid him, and they never seemed to tire of retelling the old stories of Harper. One story that has always intrigued me, is the story of the buried gold, for I am quite sure that it is true. Perhaps the members of the Harper Women's Institute would like to make the finding of this buried treasure your project for Canada's Centennial Year.
    Andrew Shiperal, the first school teacher at Harper, was a citizen of the United States. In fact, he had come to Canada as a soldier during the war of 1812 to 1814, but he didn't have much liking for the war, so he walked away and left the rest to do the fighting. He sems to have lived around the Brockville district, or The Front, as it was then called, but he moved inland when the Rideau Settlement was begun. You can understand that an American deserter was not very popular in the Military Settlement of Perth, so he made his way to the Harper district, where he found work clearing land for Winkworth Brown. Sometime during the 1820's, Archibald Campbell gave Mr. Shiperal a plot of land on the Seventh Line for a cabin and a school.
    Shiperal had around $100.00 in United States gold coins, and for some reason he placed these, along with his papers, in a bottle and buried it near his cabin. During the winter, the settlers helped him erect a schoolhouse, but the following spring, he could not find the bottle containing his papers and the gold coins.
    Thirty years later, he and his two sons returned from the United States, and offered one half of the gold coins to anyone who could find them. Mrs. Tom Wilson remembered the young men about Harper digging in McNee's field, but, if the coins were ever found, this fact was never divulged by the finder. Uncle George Wrathall owned this property at one time, and he kept telling me that I could have the gold coins if I could find them. So far as I could see, Uncle George would get his field dug up and I would get the exercise.
    The buried gold is not the only lost treasure in the Harper District. Back a good many years ago, my mother's father, Lupton Wrathall, and his brother, George, paid a visit to the wise-woman at Plum Hollow, who told him that there was a silver mine on his farm, Lot 15 in the Sixth Concession of the Township of Bathurst. Either Mother Barnes was having an off-day, or Grandfather didn't dig deep enough in the right place, for so far as I know, a silver mine has never been found in the district. I asked the Department of Mines about the possibility of silver being found in the area, and I was told that outcroppings of silver bearing rock might occur, but it was unlikely that it would be in a large enough quantity to make it worth while developing a deposit. The Geological Survey conducted in this area by J. Dugas of the Department of Mines, Ottawa, during the summers of 1948 and 1949, makes no reference to a silver deposit having been indicated on Lot 15, Concession VI, Bathurst Township.
    As most of you know, Walter Cameron's mother and my mother were sisters, so I asked Walter about the silver mine. He could tell me very little more about the story, except to say that our grandfather had never taken Mother Barnes seriously, and had made no great effort to find the mine. He recalled Uncle George and Uncle Archie Wrathall showing him the site of the mine, which was supposed to be on the face of the hill north of the barn, now long gone. Uncle Will Wrathall took more interest in the story than the other members of the family, but never got more than the exercise in payment for his efforts.
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow



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