The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Henry Rufus & Buried Treasure

By YKW © 1984

Issue: October, 1984

(Editor's Note: Tuggles Creek is located in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the tiny mountain community of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Meadows of Dan is a crossroads community where US Highway 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway cross. Mabry Mill is north about 1.6 miles and Mayberry Trading Post is about 2.8 miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.)

Henry Rufus

Henry Rufus was a quiet easy going fellow who lived not far from us. Although he was much older than I was, I liked being with him. He showed me how to make a whistle from a chestnut sprout You just rubbed the sprout briskly with a stick until the bark could easily be twisted off unbroken. Then you cut the proper notches and pretty soon, you had a fine whistle.

When World War I came along, all the eligible young men around were drafted. Henry Rufus was among the last to be called. He had to report to the draft board in Stuart on November 11th, 1918.

While they were standing around waiting for the train to take them off to war, the news came that the war was over. Everybody said that when the Kaiser heard Henry Rufus was coming, he promptly surrendered.

Buried Treasure

Cain Hylton was a hard worker and a shrewd trader and so accumulated some extra cash. He always wanted his money in silver dollars. If he couldn't get it any other way, he would take his greenbacks to Sandy Shelor, the only person he really trusted, who made frequent trips to Stuart in the lumber business. Sandy would exchange the money at the bank and bring back the amount in silver dollars.

Most people thought that was a very foolish thing to do, instead of leaving the money deposited in the bank.

However, he proved that he was smarter than any of us. Had he lived to cash in on the great silver rush of a few years back, he could have realized at least a thousand percent profit on his "investment" in silver dollars.

I don't suppose anyone ever knew how many dollars he had because he kept them carefully hidden away.

Then, one day while he was chopping wood at the wood pile, he was seized by a sudden stroke and paralyzed. Someone helped to get him in the house where it is said he tried very hard to tell his wife Bell something but was unable to do so. People thought he was trying to tell her where the hidden dollars were.

At any rate, after his death, scavengers swarmed all over the place digging holes and tearing up out buildings trying to find the silver hoard. So far as I ever knew, no one ever succeeded or if they did, they kept very quiet about it.