Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jackson County, MO treasure

In 1864 the residents of Kansas City, MO became worried that their money and valuables would not be safe because of the approaching armies and inevitable battles. It is said that about half of the families pulled their money out of the local banks and took it and other valuables to the most trustworthy man in the town, Father Bernard Donnelly. Father Donnelly was the pastor of the Church of Immaculate Conception.

Father Donnelly accepted the responsibility of this treasure and placed it all in a large wooden box and then enlisted the help of the church’s grave digger. They loaded the box into a wheelbarrow and took it to the cemetery that was two blocks west of the church. There they dug a fake grave and buried the treasure so no one could find it.

I know what you’re thinking, how can we search for a treasure in a cemetery and not look like grave robbers? Come on, admit it, that’s what you were thinking.

Well you don’t have to worry about that. It seems the church’s grave digger liked to have a drink or six on occasion. When ever he had a few too many he started talking about the treasure and where it was buried . Because of this, Father Donnelly enlisted the help of a few of the parishioners to dig up the treasure and move it to another location. Father Donnelly measured off a spot north of the church under a large tree and reburied the treasure.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that when the pastor returned to dig up the treasure, apparently more than a year or two later, he had forgotten how far he had measured from the church and apparently in which direction and couldn’t relocate the treasure. OK, so for him it was bad news but for us it is good news!

It is said that the pastor spent the remainder of his life searching for the treasure so he could return it to his parishioners but he never found it.

I will admit this story seems a little strange because how many places could there be around the church that you could dig a hole? Granted, in 1864 there was probably a lot of open land around the church but just how far would they have taken the large wooden box? You would think they would dig up the whole countryside looking for this stuff but apparently that didn’t happen. People died during the war and others moved on and just gave up on getting their money and valuables back. The pastor was left to look for the treasure on his own.

Now for the bad news, Kansas City has grown just a little since 1864 so it’s very unlikely that the land around where the church was is still bare land. This might be worth a little extra research just to see what’s in the area of where the church used to be. You never know, you may just get lucky and find that there is a park there!

Don’t forget about the get together on June 13th. Okie always makes sure it is interesting and fun.

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