Dyer’s Mill Forest and the ghosts of Silver Run

Lights in the forest

Lights in the forest

Telling tale tales about spooky happenings are always fun this time of year. The Huffstutter family’s residence at Dyers Mill Forest in the Silver Run Valley of Maryland when the now legendary occurrences related below first happened adds a bit spice to the retelling.
My attention was drawn to a legend of hauntings at Silver Run mentioned in an article written Linda Morton for the Dec/Jan 2007 issue of Carroll Magazine. Ms Morton wrote: “As the story goes there is a lost silver mine on Silver Run. An early German silversmith who was friendly with the Susquehannock Indians learned the location of this mine with the stipulation he must never tell anyone about it. Among the items the silversmith created from his secret silver stash was a beautiful brooch given to his daughter on her thirteenth birthday. She was so delighted that she begged her father to show the location of the secret mine. Unable to refuse her wish he blindfolded her and took her to the mine. Along the way she broke branches to leave a trail and later returned to the spot with a friend. The Indians felt betrayed and killed both the German silversmith and his daughter. Their ghosts still wander the valley and the legend says they will continue until three persons have died looking for the mine. Thus far two have died in the search. There are many theories for the mines location but it remains a mystery to this day.”
Other accounts, in particular a children’s book by Lois Szymanski, called “Silver Lining” mentions a German settler on Silver Run named Ahrwed and his beautiful daughter Frieda. This account embellishes the story with the additional fact that when the Indians found out Ahrwed told the location of the mine to Freda and she in turn took her friend to the mine they became hopping mad. Not only did they bury the mine thus hiding it forever but Ahrwed along with Frieda and her friend were never seen again.
The legend continued to be retold as over the years a mysterious lantern light was reported gleaming eerily near Rattlesnake Hill, a local landmark where many people believed the mine was hidden. Some residents talked of headless bodies wandering aimlessly in the area.
Local newspapers have also kept the legend alive.
April 25, 1883 Hanover Spectator added more material to the legend.
“….A light, as of a lantern carried by someone was said to have often been seen moving across the hills toward the mine, which, if followed, would disappear; this light always moved in a uniform course, and was never seen to pass beyond the mine. A well authenticated story comes from a man who must have seen Old Ahrwud himself. This man was one night walking along a post fence, not far from the mine, when he noticed a stranger just on the other side of the fence, wearing a long gray beard, a big broad-brimmed hat, and carrying a lighted lantern. The stranger moved quietly with him until they reached a cross fence bounding the next field, when the stranger passed through the fence without raising his lantern and vanished. When this man was asked why he did not talk with the stranger, he answered, “He didn’t look as if he wanted to talk!” A farmer who lived near the mine said that he often saw this light and that he was one night coming down the Hanover road with his team when, at a point in the road where the woods reach from the road to the mine, his horses stopped and refused to go a step. He got off the saddle horse, and went forward, but could find nothing in the road; he then whipped the horses, without making them move, until he felt a breath of cold air across his face, after which the horses moved on as if nothing was wrong. He did not see anything himself, but the horses snorted as if in great fright. Another person spoke of a time when he was a boy, and was one night going near by the mine with his father…when his father with a sudden start said: “Did you see that woman without a head? She was nearly as tall as the trees!” The boy did not see the headless woman, but said that he saw a big fire burning on the top of the trees that same night.”
This article appeared in the February 7, 1885 issue of the American Sentinel
“The famous Myers’ District silver mine, about a mile and a half east of this place, was reopened a couple weeks ago by a young German who has only been in this country two months. The vicinity of the mine still sustains its reputation for queer appearances. The miner says that on Friday morning, 30th ult., at nine minutes past eleven o’clock, the hour the moon fulled, three curiously clad Indians carrying a lantern, appeared on the hill by him and disappeared in the woods beyond. One evening while he was digging by moonlight, they also made their appearance.–T.”
The (Silver Run) News, May 9, 1885. “Monster Seen”
“A Pennsylvania chap, whose sweetheart lives near Rattlesnake Hill, was wonderfully frightened one night a few weeks ago by seeing a large white fiery-eyed monster near the haunted silver mine in this district”.
What’s the truth behind the legend? One source hints that a family kept their savings safe from creditors in a chest buried on Rattlesnake Hill, scaring people away from the real treasure by using ghostly charades. While no ghosts have been reported prowling the haunted silver mine for a hundred years or more it is fun to ponder this old legend attached to the area where our ancestor Ulrich Huffstutter lived. You can’t help wondering if Ulrich and his family told the tale around the campfire one dark Halloween, long, long ago.


Engraving Sauk & Fox Indians circa 1839

You may remember the blog [11 August 2013] where some of our correspondence with Clay Jones concerning his ancestor William Washington Jones was discussed. To refresh your memory here is a bit of background from Henry Rideout’s book William Jones, Indian, Cowboy, American Scholar, and Anthropologist in the fields, p 7. “William Washington Jones–…By Katiqua the Fox chief’s daughter, he had three children, of whom only one is living, a son, born in Iowa in 1844. This son Bald Eagle, as his mother’s clan called him took from his father the name of Henry Clay Jones.”
Additional information regarding the family of William Washington Jones was received from Jacob Case Family Data, Clay Jones & Martha Louise Case, shared via e-mail from Clay Jones 7/22/13, 7/23/13.). “William Washington Jones …is said to have served in the Black Hawk Indian War acquiring his Sac and Fox wife and my g-grandfather Henry Clay Jones was born on the Iowa river near Tama, IA in 1844. There was a daughter as well who had moved to San Francisco but contact was lost after 1906.”
This is where things stood when we received independently of the previous research of Clay Jones another inquiry from family researcher Ron Schulz that offered more information on the Sauk and Fox Indians of Iowa and a tantalizing clue to the Jones family. Ron Schulz wrote: “I only just came across your Huffstutter Family website & this is the first I’ve been in touch. My ancestor, Sophia Jones was born in 1832 in Iowa according to the 1900 census. The story passed down was that she was part Indian. She, with or without any of her birth family, turned up in St. Charles County MO, where she married a 1st time to Jacob Crandle, before running off with my own ancestor William Ontis and eventually marrying him. In fact, she is the mother of all the Illinois branch of the Ontis family. Unfortunately I cannot find her on the 1850 census after years of trying, but I find that Indians and even many whites living with them in Indian reservations or territories were missed or left off before the 1900 census and tribal rolls did not begin until late 1880’s. A dearth of records to document her origins, except that a John “William” Jones born about 1843(?) married to Mary Pujol had 2 boys before supposedly dying in the early 1870’s, one of whom, Lewis Andrew Jones described as a nephew, turns up on the 1880 census in Jersey Co. ILL as a 12 year old boy with the Ontis family, his brother was raised by the Navarre family in Calhoun County ILL.
I’m just wondering if William Washington Jones, who also I cannot find on the census, might figure into the mysterious origins of my Sophia’s Jones. The only white people allowed in Iowa in the 1830’s & early ’40’s were traders or married into the Sac-Fox or Ioway tribes. Could WW have had other children before Clay?”

I was intrigued with Ron’s little puzzle and couldn’t resist hunting and pecking around the internet. That led to what appears to be another grandson of William Washington Jones through his only known child Henry Clay Jones and first wife Sarah Penny. Unfortunately I didn’t find any additional children for William Washington Jones and Kah-te-quah. The book about his life written by William Rideout mentions there were three children. Was one of them John William Jones, born about 1843? Who was Sophia? Could she be Kah-te-quah or was she the missing daughter mentioned by Jacob Case?

The mystery continues and awaits further proof.

Connie Graves
Shalimar, Florida
June 26, 2014

Harvesting apples on the McIntosh Tree

America’s role as a melting pot of different races, religions, and ideas has often been commented upon.  Sometimes these differences bring the nation together as “Americans” and other times they separate the country into fanatical opposites.  The melding process was never more apparent than among the descendants of Ann Huffstutter, the daughter of Ulrich and his first wife Catherine.

Certainly the exploits of Ann’s husband, Peter McIntosh, both during the Revolutionary War and on the frontier in Pennsylvania and Indiana contain enough guts and glory for any history buff , but there is more to the family story. Ann and Peter’s two sons both married into the Boone family.  This brought more prestige to the family line with connections to Daniel Boone and his famous extended family.  However, the story did not end there.

Recently, through The Huffstutter Family website, we connected with a McIntosh descendant named Clay Jones and he had a whopper of a family story to add to the family history.  Mr. Jones in his e-mail declared his American Indian ancestry stating : “Besides Cherokee I am also Sac and Fox through a g-g-grandmother Keti-aqua (Eagle girl) and thereby a Sac and Fox tribal member. Her father was a Wa-she-ho-wa, a chief to which I find no other record. The Sac and Foxes were at Tippecanoe and were known earlier as the “British Band” because of their allegiance to them. So my ancestors were probably on the other side in the French and Indian War. Actually I am Mesquakie which is the “Fox” part of Sac and Fox.”

Mesquakie (Fox) Indians, 1857.  Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Mesquakie (Fox) Indians, 1857. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

Having caught my attention with his opening statement from here the story only became more intriguing to me.  Using the bits and pieces of history Mr. Jones tossed about so cavalierly in his e-mails I was able to piece together the family line which goes like this:

George Baxter McIntosh and his wife Elizabeth Ann Boone had 15 children.  Among them was a son, Moses Boone McIntosh who married Elizabeth Marksbury.  Their daughter Amaltha  Elizabeth McIntosh married John Jacob Case in Harrison Co., Iowa in 1868.  Their daughter Aseneth Aletha Case married as her second husband Leroy Jones.  So now we are down to the Jones branch of the McIntosh tree and explains how Clay Jones became a Huffstutter descendant dangling from one of the twigs.

As Clay Jones continued to tell his story, “Keti-aqua was the squaw of William Washington Jones whose enlistment papers show his occupation as gold miner enlisting from Breckenridge CO in 1862 and serving in the 3rd CO Cav…The Jones were from KY in the early 1800’s and “lived near the Lincoln’s and moved west”… He is said to have served in the Black Hawk Indian War acquiring his Sac and Fox wife and my g-grandfather Henry Clay Jones was born on the Iowa River near Tama, IA in 1844.”

Now that was a terrific story but it does not end here.  Mr. Jones added to the tale: “…A great uncle, William Jones, I did not tell you about. He was my grandfather’s half-brother. [sic Henry Clay Jones] He began by his mother dying when he was 1 or 2 and then being raised by his grandmother Kati-aqua so that his first language was Meskwakie. He was a cowboy in Kansas. His father encouraged him to go to school, I think at Carlisle, Hampton Institute, Harvard, then a Ph.D at Columbia. Some of his essays at Harvard were beautiful and were online at one time. He produced several texts, such as Fox Tales, which is the mythology of the Meskwakie and is written in that language which he devised a writing for on one page and the English on the other. But being the 2nd Indian to get a Ph. D. in ethnography under Franz Boas (the first native American having gotten a Ph. D in the 1600’s) there would be difficulty in finding an academic position. He took on a field trip to the Philippines funded by the Field Museum to establish his name. But after a couple of years as he was pressing to go home he was killed. ..Much of the story is recounted in a book written about him in about 1912 by a Harvard friend.”

After a little hunting and pecking online I managed to find the book: William Jones, Indian, Cowboy, American Scholar, and Anthropologist in the fields, by Henry Milner Rideout and if you like cowboy and Indian stories I recommend it.  You will enjoy the poetical  “Indian” views of life as much as I did. 

Here is a personal description of William Jones from Rideout’s book:

“It was always regret to him as well as to his friends that he had not been able to conquer his shyness and learn enough of music to write out the songs he knew so well. A friend to whom he was willing to sing them tried to take down some of the simpler songs, but never succeeded in getting them quite as he knew they ought to be. One only — a simple little one — remains to bear the stamp of his approval — the song he as a little boy sang to the snake, begging him to find the arrow he has lost in the grass.

As a little child he learned to imitate the call of the birds and squirrels, the wild prairie animals and the horses, and often amused himself, even in the East, by, as he said, ‘talking to them’. Any horse was of interest, and sometimes on the crowded streets he would stop to ‘say just a word to that tired old horse’. Whatever it was, the horse would prick up his ears and seem to understand.

He also had a trick of patting on his knees the different gaits of a horse— trotting, cantering, loping, galloping or running — so accurately that one could almost see the action. Imitating the reports of different firearms was another form of amusement. ‘Hark’, he would exclaim, under his breath, ‘do you hear that Winchester way over yonder?’ And sure enough from ‘way over yonder’ would come the sound that one could hardly believe was made by a human throat.”

Knowing the Joneses would have been a pleasure. Thank you, Clay Jones, for sharing your wonderful family history with us. We can safely say the descendants of Ann Huffstutter McIntosh garnered their share of fame and truly represent the diversity of America and the amalgam of different cultures that glues us together. 

Connie Graves

11 Aug 2013