Friday, December 19, 2008
A Hoard of Gold and Silver in a Cast-Iron Washpot
A Haul of Silver and Gold Coins
Many of North Carolina's treasure most famous and popular trove tales and legends deal with the coastal communities, sunken ships, and Blackbeard's buried pirate caches. But the Tarheel State has a long and proud history and its treasures (both lost and recovered) can be found throughout the state and not just along its beautiful coastlines.
The treasure tale I am about to impart to you may not enjoy the status of other, more popular treasure legends, but what it does have is a cast iron wash pot filled with silver and gold coins from the late 1700s and early 1800s. How many coins, you ask? Probably quite a haul, considering the fact that cast iron wash pots of the period were very large items indeed.
Abe Kuykendall's Tavern
Abraham Kuykendall was a prominent citizen of Rutherford County, North Carolina, serving as a captain of militiamen during the American Revolutionary War as well as County Commissioner and Justice of the Peace. Eventually Abe married and settled down on 1,000 acres of land in Henderson County near Asheville, North Carolina. The location became known as Flat Rock and it was here that Abe build a tavern and waystation to service travelers along the Old State Road nearby.
Abe's tavern soon developed a sterling reputation among weary travelers as "the" place to stop and rest. Not only were the accommodations excellent as were the food and drink, but a weary and frugal traveler could expect to pay a fair price for all. Abe had one important stipulation for all his customers though. They had to pay him in silver and or gold coin. Nothing else would be accepted. Needless to say, Abe's tavern soon made him a very wealthy man.
A Buried Hoard and a Stern Warning
As his hoard of silver and gold coins increased in number and volume Abe began to worry about the safety of his treasure. Banks were non-existent in the area at the time and he was fearful of burying his wealth in the standard of the day, large trunks made of oak bound with leather straps. For Abe Kuykendall, such an item would not do at all. No way, no how.
So one dark night Abe stashed all his gold and silver inside a large, cast-iron washpot. He blindfolded 2 young male servants and directed their movements to a location deep into the dense woods nearby. Removing their blindfolds he had them dig a deep pit under a bent white oak nearby and had them lower the cast-iron wash pot into it. Before they buried the hoard of gold and silver Abe warned his servants on the pain of miserable death to never reveal what they knew. Then he blindfolded them once again and led them back to the tavern.
A Treasure Tale is Born
Many years later when Abe Kuykendall was 104 years of age, he decided to retrieve part of his stash to complete a business deal. Unfortunately, Abe failed to return from the woods and was later found face down in a stream, deader than a doornail. One of the servants knowing that he could now speak freely, told Abe's family members about the buried cache of coins, and the hunt was on as frantic men and women dug up the surrounding area searching for Abe's treasure. In this endeavor they were unsuccessful and a North Carolina treasure tale was born.
Facts to Consider
This is one treasure tale that is no "will-o'-the-wisp." Serious searchers for Abe Kuykendall's buried hoard of silver and gold coins should know that:
Abraham Kuykendall was a real person.
Abe's tavern actually existed.
Descendants of Abe Kuykendall still reside in North Carolina.
Numerous documentary records exist concerning Abe's life and his tavern.
These are all important facts to consider when attempting to decide if this treasure legend has merit (and it does, in my opinion). Research should focus on Abe Kuykendall's life and times in the area, with an emphasis placed on the Flat Rock and Pheasant Run areas.
Good luck and good hunting!
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Legends of Lost Gold: Pegleg's Gold Found? (Conclusion)"
(c) J.R. 2008
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org