Growing up in Petersburg, Virginia is a treasure hunters dream!
I spent a large portion of my childhood exploring the Petersburg National Battlefields, and that was a prime location for anyone fascinated by Civil War-era relics!
I never knew what I’d uncover on a scavenging trip, but I was never disappointed. I often found old bullets known as Minnie Balls, and each one had its own story to tell. Some were whole and unscarred, but the ones in rougher shape REALLY piqued my interest. Had they been responsible for the death of a soldier? Had the damage occurred as they smashed into bone? My imagination ran wild!
Bullets were my most bountiful battlefield treasure, but I found plenty of other fascinating objects as well. I collected an assortment of bits and pieces of rifles, pistols, and even wagon wheels! When I looked over my collection, I could almost feel the memories of those battles fought over a hundred years ago.
My childhood explorations were fueled even further by my love of adventure books. I remember reading about the Lost Dutchman when I was just a boy, and his story stuck with me long after I was grown.
The tale of a man venturing all alone into unknown mountains and discovering more gold than he could ever have imagined was inspiring! He fought through incredible challenges, narrowly avoided being robbed and killed, and managed to hide his gold deep in the Superstition Mountains where no one would ever find it.
His fortune is the stuff of legend. Records show that he cashed in over $250,000 worth of gold in a VERY short time. That’s a ton of money today – imagine how much it was worth back in the 1800s!
And that doesn’t even account for the gold he hid for his friends or traded with others. In fact, if the story is correct, he left a bucket of gold nuggets under his bed for his caregiver when he died.
Stories like these have inspired treasure hunters for generations, and I’m proud to carry on the traditions with the Tunnel of Gold series. I hope that my stories will inspire you to do some exploring of your own. And if you happen to strike gold, feel free to send a few nuggets my way!