Leo's Lance -- Hidden Treasure
Thursday, April 03, 2014 3:32 PM
Have you ever fantasized about finding a hidden treasure? Have you considered there might be such a treasure in your own home town? The story we are about to tell is true, only the names have been changed for obvious reasons. We have no way of verifying some of the information related by other people.
This is about a man we once knew here in Seminole. We'll call him Jed. We didn't know him very long, or very well for that matter. He was definitely a man cut from a different cloth than most men are cut from. He and his wife are both now deceased.
Jed took me out to a vacant lot he owned which had a bunch of old car frames and parts scattered among the tall weeds. He called it his wrecking yard. I had told him I had not noticed a wrecking yard in this part of town so he took me out to show it to me. As it turned out, the reason I hadn't recognized it as a wrecking yard was because the weeds were taller than the old car parts.
He was telling the history of his "wrecking yard," when he suddenly stooped down as if to pick something up from the ground. He said, "Look what I found!" In his hand he held a roll of 100 dollar bills big enough to choke a mule. I was stunned, I didn't know what to say. I'd never seen as much money in one wad. I said, "Wow! I wish I had been looking down there and found it first." He laughed and stuck it down in his pocket, then proceeded with his story as if nothing had happened.
People who knew Jed said he always carried a big wad of bills and liked to show it off to people and they suggested he probably just took it out of his pocket and tricked me by pretending to find it on the ground.
On another occasion while visiting in his home he said he wanted to show me his collection. Jed was a senior citizen when I met him so I wasn't surprised when he asked me to come into his bedroom and drag his heavy collection into the living room.
When I entered the room, he had partially pulled a large white enamel, about 15 quart, dishpan from under his bed. It was heaping full of fifty cent pieces. It was so heavy I could hardly drag it. I have no idea how much money was represented in this cache, but it was a bunch.
Jed and his wife lived in a small, modest home where he had once owned a service station and maybe a garage. There was a large warehouse on the property which was filled with, how shall I say it kindly? Second hand items? The word, "junk", comes to mind. In his front yard was a huge pile of scrap-iron, car parts and everything else in the way of iron you could think of. Some of Jed's fingers had the last joint missing, he said they were mashed off handling the scrap iron.
He also had some old automobiles in his yard. One was a Corvair, (a compact car produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors Company from 1960 to 1969. It featured a rear mounted, air cooled engine). Jed's Corvair wasn't in very good condition but I teased him acting as if I wanted to buy it. "What will you take for it, Jed?" I asked. "It's not for sale!," he snapped back. Thus ended the conversation about it. I had been told Jed wouldn't sell any of his second hand stuff.
Once a teenage boy stopped by and asked if Jed had a fuel pump in his scrap heap which would fit the boy's car. Jed told him "no!," but the boy saw one in the pile and reached to get it. Jed flew into a rage, slapped it out of the boy's hand, cursed him and ordered him off his property.
Jed may have been suffering from dementia by this time, but people who had known him for years said he always had a bad temper.
I had occasion to visit Jed and his wife fairly regularly. On one occasion, when I arrived I found Jed in a fit of anger. I asked him what was wrong. He told me some years before he had buried a Mason fruit jar full of money in the alley behind his house by a telephone pole. He recently dug it up and found the tin lid had rusted out and water had seeped into the paper money and damaged it. He said he took it to the bank, but they could only reimburse a little over $5,000.00 of it. The rest was too badly damaged and couldn't be replaced. He was mad at the people at the bank because he had lost quite a large sum.
A story, as I remember it, was told by a friend of his on an occasion when Jed had sold some acreage he owned out in the country. He sold it for cash, apparently the way he liked to do business, and had a considerable amount of cash in his possession. He asked this friend to drive him to Midland to put it in the bank. As they were driving downtown in Midland, Jed told the friend, "Stop here and wait for me." He then disappeared down an alley and returned shortly. He got in the car and said, "Okay, I'm ready to go home, now." The friend said there wasn't any banks on this block and he had no idea what Jed did with the money.
After several years Jed was having some serious health problems and was placed in the old nursing home here in Seminole. Jed was angry a lot and was creating some problems for the folks at the nursing home. I had told them they could call me to come and help with him if he was causing problems. I had been up there a few times when he was angry, and had been able to calm him by talking to him and getting his mind off of whatever was bothering him.
One night my phone rang at about 2:30 a.m. It was the folks at the nursing home. Jed was raving mad and wouldn't do anything they tried to get him to do. He wouldn't go to bed and was yelling and hollering and keeping the other patients awake.
I think by the time I got up, got dressed and got down there he had cooled off quite a bit, so I was able to get him to go back to his room and hold his voice down some. I asked him to tell me about his years in the service station business and he took the bait. He got absorbed in telling me about his dad running the station and then about when he took it over and about the many interesting things which he remembered. After about 45 minutes he had calmed down and didn't seem agitated at all and I was thinking about going home and getting the rest of my night's sleep.
While speaking in conversational tones Jed asked me, "Would you go get me a butcher knife?" "Now, what are you going to do with a butcher knife?" I had to ask. In the same calm, conversational tones he answered, "I am going to kill that (Bleep) nurse."
"Now, Jed, you know you can't do that and you shouldn't even be talking about it," I scolded. Then I preached him a sermon about being nice to people and setting the right example since he was supposed to be a Christian. We also talked about the judgement day. He made it appear he was only joking, and I prayed he was, but this was no way to joke.
He began to get sleepy before dawn, and I excused myself and was able to convey a word of caution about what he had said to the nurse before I left. I wasn't called back so I guess everything went well.
Not long after this event Jed passed on into eternity. While visiting with his wife she asked me to do something for her and of course I said I would.
She reminded me of the dishpan full of half dollars Jed had showed me, and told me he had carried it out to the warehouse and hid it. She hadn't seen it since, and was concerned about it. She wanted me to go out there and see if I could find it.
I went, and I can honestly say I don't think I ever walked through so much dusty junk in my life. I looked and looked, but I did not find the coins, nor anything else of real value.
She said she suspected two men who had come to visit them unexpectedly a few weeks back, and to whom Jed had showed his treasure. She was afraid they might have come back and stole it or Jed may have hid it somewhere else. So far as I know it was never found.
While recalling my experiences with Jed and his odd way of handling of money, it dawned on me we may have a real "hidden treasure" story right here in Seminole.
Given Jed's fondness for carrying around large amounts of cash and teasing people by showing it to them, coupled with his habit of hiding it, especially for burying it, one can't help wondering if he may have hidden a lot more of it than anyone knew about. If so, could there be many more buried treasures around Seminole and the surrounding area.
For years Jed wouldn't sell any of his property even though he obviously didn't intend to use it, and reportedly had been offered very generous prices for it. Some have speculated he may have buried money on it, and this was why he wouldn't sell it. No one may ever know. But it does raise the possibility and spikes the imagination just to think about the possibility of hidden treasures so close to home, doesn't it?