State Treasures - Indiana

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 39 of the May, 2013 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2013 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


A Strange Tale of Treasure
PIKE COUNTY - The following events occurred during the late 1890’s through about 1901-02.
The story is odd because it is based solely on rumor, yet all indications are that a real treasure did exist consisting of $20 gold pieces buried in an iron bound chest, although the total value of the treasure is unknown.
As a young man, Alvin Trayler was owner - operator of his own transportation business.
Trayler flat-boated goods such as maple molasses, sassafras, maple sugar, hoop poles and bacon down the Ohio River, sometimes as far as New Orleans.
Once all the cargo had been sold, the boat was sold for lumber and Trayler would return home by taking passage on another boat.
It was on one of the returning trips where Trayler met a Mississippi river boat gambler named Carl Schurman.
The two men developed a friendship of sorts; Trayler though remained cautious of Schurman and never allowed the gambler to draw him into a game.
Years passed and, as Trayler aged, he eventually retired to the quiet life of farming, settling down on his aging father’s farm a few miles from Petersburg.
One day news reached Trayler that the 160-acre parcel of land adjacent to his father’s farm had been sold.
One day he decided to introduce himself to the new neighbor and was stunned to discover the new owner was none other than the riverboat gambler he’d met years before, Carl Schurman.
Schurman admitted he was the same man Trayler had met during his days on the river, but he seemed nervous having any further conversation about the matter.
Trayler no doubt respected the man’s desire for privacy, but didn’t forget about it either.
In town Trayler listened to the local gossip about the newcomer.
It was claimed that Schurman had paid for the land in $20 gold pieces.
Another story he heard was about an iron bound, heavy chest that arrived by wagon from Evansville at the Schurman farm, which locals surmised was full of gold.
Trayler gave little thought to the stories at the time, but that changed one day during the late 1890’s when Trayler arrived at the Schurman farm and found the German near death.
Trayler cared for his neighbor for several days before Schurman died.
Among the German’s effects was a letter addressed to Trayler, which stated that Schurman wanted Trayler to inherent his farm for the years of kindness he’d shown the man.
Having no heirs, the letter was accepted as Schurman’s last will and Trayler came into possession of the farm and the personal effects the German had in his cabin.
Trayler recalled local gossip when Schurman first purchased the farm and had the chest delivered, so he lifted the floorboards within a month of taking possession of the land. Nothing, however, was found.
Curious, Trayler, thinking another obvious place to hide the German’s wealth would’ve been in the yard or barn, he dug up those areas to no avail.
Trayler’s attempt to recover the German’s hoard made its rounds through Petersburg.
Several local residents claimed they’d seen the heavy chest being delivered to the Schurman residence, but had no idea what became of it.
This information apparently convinced Trayler of the legitimacy of the treasure story and he continued searching.
Trayler employed many methods to locate the treasure, including using a navigational technique used by mariners for centuries to plot their course using the stars. But this, too, failed.
Trayler hired a man to help him dig and the two men dug around the roots of trees and everything else the German may have used as a landmark, but this produced no results.
It was then Trayler got the idea to dig up all 160 acres of land to a depth of three feet.
To accomplish this he hired 20 men, gave them shovels and put them to work. But when the task was over Trayler again turned up empty handed.
After much thought, Trayler landed upon a new theory; what if Schurman didn’t bury his wealth on his property, instead burying it on land he didn’t own?
Trayler now wondered if the treasure had been secretly buried on his father’s adjacent land.
There is no further mention of Trayler making any more efforts to recover the treasure.
It is assumed he never found the German’s hoard, if it existed.
The only two times I know this story was made public were on April 9, 1901, when it appeared in the Appleton Post. The second time was in April 1997 in Lost Treasure.

Treasure Lost at
Black Hawk Ford
SHELBY COUNTY - This tale of lost treasure is linked to an Indian cache buried by Delaware Indians who’d settled around present-day Anderson in Madison County after the Treaty of Fort Havnar in 1795.
But as whites once again encroached on Indian land, Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy (known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy), called for a meeting to address the white problem. The meeting was held on the Tippecanoe River near Prophet Village.
Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, the Delaware Indians who had more experience dealing with the white invaders opted out of Tecumseh’s scheme, preferring to hang onto their tribal treasury, which they buried near their village on the Flat Rock River near present-day Flat Rock.
The site was marked with Indian pictographs inscribed in a large rock, which they used to mark the site.
But whites continued moving into the region, forcing the Indians west beyond their reach.
In 1852, a party of 30 Indians arrived at Black Hawk Ford about three miles northeast of Flat Rock where they spent many days digging for the hoard without finding it.
Local resident R.G. Porter was interviewed in the early 1920’s and recalled the Indians’ search at Black Hawk Ford.
He claimed the Indians had missed the spot and instead searched an area called Hackberry Grove, which sat on Porter’s farmland near the site of Port Camp.
It is believed they did find ruins of their old village, but no treasure.
Mrs. Porter recalled that, in 1913, a flood ravaged the area revealing portions of an old Indian camp about 50 feet from the river.
Though the Porters had heard of the treasure they never searched for it, and it’s still believed to be buried where the Delaware Indians deposited it for safekeeping so long ago. 

Treasure at Little Goss Cave
FLOYD COUNTY - Little Goss Cave, named after Hugh Goss, its first owner, is near Greenville “about three miles off Highway 150 on State Route 335.”
The cave’s interior consists of three levels and has two entrances.
In the early days before the coming of the dreaded white man, Indians made their home inside the cave; Indian mounds and untold numbers of Native American artifacts have been found in the vicinity.
At one entrance to this cave a large rock bears chiseled symbols of a horseshoe, star, footprint, left hand print, arrow, and a circle.
It is a mystery who may’ve been responsible for the inscriptions, since after the Indian occupation of the cave ended it is known to have been used as an outlaw hideout that local legend claims was once used by the Reno Gang of train robbers.
None-the-less, many believe the mysterious markings are directions to a hidden cache site inside or near the cave.
Legend tells both Indians and outlaws used this cave at one time to bury their wealth. The cave is on private property so permission must be obtained first before searching the area.

The Covered Bridges
of Newton County
NEWTON COUNTY - During the decade leading up to the Civil War, Newton County is said to have been inundated with prairie pirates, highwaymen and other outlaws.
Residents traveled in groups of three to five for protection in those days.
Newton County outlaws favored the county’s covered bridges as ambush sites. Victims were commonly attacked from the dark as they crossed the bridges, or from hiding at either entrance.
Travelers were often pulled off their horses or were simply shot without warning as they traveled over them.
Another tactic highwaymen often employed was to wait in hiding along the trail at either end of the bridge.
They would shoot the horse(s) and three or four men, then overpower the rider.
Victims were found buried in shallow graves near the crime scenes or were thrown into the river.
Almost all the fords and covered bridge sites in the county have tales of murders and robberies that include reputed buried caches at nearly every one.   

Sources:
Dictus, Daniel J., “A Shovel And A Dream,” April 1997, Lost Treasure, p. 21
Pallante, Anthony J., “Indiana - Flat Rock Cache,” July 2001, Lost Treasure, p. 22
Hidden & Lost Gold / Silver Treasure in Indiana, http://gwiz.co/treasures/indiana.php