Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mormon Gold in Illinois?

Here’s one of those treasures that getting permission to search for might take an act of God, literally.

The county of Hancock, Illinois has a history of running people out of town and not giving them time to collect their belongings before leaving. In 1839 Joseph Smith. Jr., the then president of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, founded the town of Nauvoo on the Mississippi River in Hancock County and made it the headquarters of the church. In it’s hay day Nauvoo had a population of over 12,000 residents, mostly members of the Mormon Church.

In 1845 the other residents of Hancock county had grown to resent the large Mormon presence in the county and feared with their political clout they would be able to completely take over the county. They also accused the Mormons of counterfeiting money. There always has to be something, doesn’t there? With that in mind the residents succeeded in getting the town’s Charter cancelled by the Governor of Illinois and after a year of battling, forced the Mormons out of the town. This was later known as the Mormon War of Illinois. About a year or two after the expulsion of the Mormons the Mormon temple in Nauvoo was burned to the ground.

Although the Mormons feared they would be leaving their town behind they fought tooth and nail to stay. Even with their hard efforts it only took about a year for the complete expulsion of the Mormons from Nauvoo. That year was a violent and uncertain time for the Mormons. It is said that at the time of the expulsion the Mormon church was sitting on $4,000,000 of gold coins and were afraid to try to move them out of the town for fear of loosing the money to an angry mob.

According to legend the four millions dollars in gold coins were buried under one of the church’s buildings in the town of Nauvoo. It was many, many years before the Mormons even attempted to come back to the town and it was thought the location of the golden treasure was forgotten and the coins were never recovered.

Personally, I would think somebody would remember where they left a large pile of gold coins unless of course the building they were planted under was destroyed and the spot lost because it was unrecognizable. Is that what you call positive thinking?

The Mormon church owns most if not all of the historic buildings in the town today, especially any that were significant to the church and their history in the town including the rebuilt temple. According to Wikipedia the rest of the town is a hodge-podge of buildings described this way;

On the city’s higher ground are the temple, residential areas, and the business district along Mulholland Street (Illinois route 96), much of it devoted to the needs of tourists and those interested in Latter Day Saint history. The flatlands are occupied by a small number of 19th century brick houses and other buildings that have survived the city’s vicissitudes, with large empty spaces between them where houses and whole neighborhoods have entirely disappeared.

If the Mormons didn’t secretly come back for this treasure there is a possibility that maybe, just maybe, the four million dollars in gold is buried in one of the empty spaces where the buildings have “entirely disappeared”.

Could anyone really be that lucky?

Even if the gold is gone, it sounds like this would be a very good place to run a detector. With the history of the town and the fact that it shrank from over 12,000 residents to just over 1,000 that leaves a lot of places in the town to find relics and even coins. Empty lots that used to have buildings on them in the 1800's can be bonanzas for the coin shooter and relic hunter.


Anonymous said...

Nauvoo isnt the only place the Mormons were run out of. They came to Illinois after being run out of Missouri. As far as being forced to leave their belongins behind they were probably items they lifted from the neighboring towns. Counterfeit Mormon money has been found in Nauvoo. No gold coins have been found just Mormon bogus coins.

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