Hiding Silverware, Keepsakes in Water Well Saves Items From Union Soldiers

During the Civil War, family's servant hides silverware, jewelry, keepsakes down deep water well.

Content Tools

A cousin told me the story of how her family's silverware, jewelry and precious keepsakes were saved from the Union soldiers by their servant, Adam.

Word was sent by a neighbor's young houseboy, who sneaked through the woods to their home to warn them that the Union soldiers were foraging, and so they had a little time to hide things.

All the keepsakes that they felt the Union soldiers might take were hastily dumped into a large, dark-colored bag that had a draw cord in the top and a rope tied to the draw cord. Uncle Adam suspended it down into the well by the long rope and concealed the rope tied around the support for the windlass as best he could.

The Union soldiers arrived and took the chickens, and some other things, but when they went through the house, they couldn't seem to find anything of value.

When the soldiers stopped at the well to draw up a bucket of cold water, the hearts of the watching family were in their throats, but by good fortune they didn't notice the rope suspended into the well, or else thought it was merely something put down in the well to be kept cold, as was the custom, and so the family treasures were saved.

Estelle Laughlin
Gering, Nebraska

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.