Buried Treasure in Springettsbury Township
A 1908 article, in The York Daily, describes another attempt to find the Rankin Treasure in Springettsbury Township, York County, PA. In 1778, James Rankin allegedly quickly buried a hoard of gold and silver on this property just prior to being arrested and jailed in Yorktown as a “traitor.” Rankin had remained a British loyalist during the Revolutionary War and was dubbed a “traitor” when he became involved in a conspiracy to bring the British troops across the Susquehanna River at the time when the Continental Congress was meeting in Yorktown during 1777-78. James escaped from jail and fled to the safety of British troops and thence to England; evidently planning an eventual return, to claim his buried treasure after the rebellion was squashed. If you are reading this on the Ydr.com site, click on this LINK for a Full View of the illustrations in this post on the original YorkBlog site; since the ydr.com site will occasionally cut off important details in the cropping of illustrations.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, James Rankin was one of the wealthiest landholders in York County. The “American Loyalist Papers, Vol. 42, Folio 132” list 20 properties belonging to James Rankin. Property #1 on this list is the 377-acre property that includes the Grist Mill later known as Loucks Mill; located where Route 30 presently crosses the Codorus Creek. James Rankin’s 377-acres on this main property extended from the Codorus Creek eastward to the present eastern boundaries of the Harley-Davidson property, northward to Paradise Road and southward slightly past Mill Creek. Rankin purchased these 377-acres at Sheriff Sale on October 27, 1772, for 1,564 Pounds. While Rankin was not the original mill owner, records show he made significant improvements during his ownership.
Early in 1778, laws were enacted allowing estates of “traitors” to be forfeited. The 377-acre property, with improved Grist Mill, was exposed to public sale at the Court House in Yorktown on October 14, 1778. Conrad Leatherman was the winning bidder at 35,201 Pounds, with the proceeds split between the State and National Treasuries. Several other individuals would own the Grist Mill property until the first of four generations of the Loucks family became the owners in 1805.
The 1908 article in The York Daily provides details about the renewed interest in finding the Rankin Treasure:
Several years ago, while plowing in a field west of the railroad at Loucks’ Mill, a laborer saw a small disc lying on the ground and picking it up saw that it was a coin, but was unable to tell of what value. Several took the coin to a jeweler and learned that it was an English guinea, equivalent to five dollars in the United States money. When it was learned that the coin had been found in the field, there was a rush of people, all eager to share in the supposed hidden treasure, however, none of them ever was known to have had any success in his quest.
The search for buried treasure in 1908 was the latest in a sequence of searches, usually triggered by finding yet another English coin. The 1908 article concluded by noting the son of James Rankin returned after the Revolutionary War and supposedly “secured the treasure his father had hidden, as he spent money before his return to England in a lavish manner, not in proportion to his means upon his arrival at this place.” With coins still sporadically appearing in fields over 100-years later, maybe the son did not retrieve all of the Rankin Treasure.
Related posts include:
- 1860 Buildings 31-40 in West Region of Springettsbury Township
- A Road Named N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford; Part 4 – New 1948 N O P Route Cuts Traffic Hazards
- Arsenal Road evolved from a Crooked Road that had an Iron Bridge that Shivered and Shaked
- Springettsbury’s 580-ft Cavern discovered in 1915
- Exploring Loucks’ Cavern to 580-feet
- Mapping of Loucks’ Cavern east of York
- Lead Clue leads to locating Loucks’ Cave