State Treasure - Kansas

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the November, 2009 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2009 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

The Castle Treasure
WYANDOTTE COUNTY – The story of Sauer Castle and the lost treasure of the Sauer family is one recorded in both history and local folklore.
The site has been the subject of all kinds of fantastic yarns, which has made it very popular among present-day ghost hunters.
Sauer Castle is at 935 Shawnee Drive, Kansas City, Kansas. Locating the Castle is no problem, but finding the buried treasure of Sauer Castle may prove a bit more challenging.
German born Anton Sauer, his wife, Francesca, and their five children immigrated to New York City in 1858.
Ten years later, Francesca died and, soon after, the family moved to Kansas City. By 1869, Anton was running a successful business and courting a 28-year-old widow named Mary Einhellig Messerschmidt. That year the couple married and their union produced five daughters.
At some point Sauer contracted tuberculosis and knew his days were numbered.
He completed Sauer Castle by November of 1872 that stood a short distance from the old Shawnee Indian Trail, which by then was the Santa Fe Trail.
On August 16, 1879, Sauer died in his sleep at home. Mary remained living in the Castle until her death in 1919.
Legends surrounding the Castle have passed from one generation to the next.
Five generations of the Sauer family lived at the Castle until it was sold by heirs to Paul Berry, following the death of Eve Perkins in 1955. Berry continued to reside at the Castle until his death in 1986.
Legend claims one or more buried treasures exist on the property that once belonged to Anton Sauer and the Sauer family.
The value and circumstances surrounding the Sauer treasure are vague, but it is said one treasure was buried in the huge underground wine cellar once located on the south side of the house. Today a small stone house has been built over the cellar.
Another treasure is linked to the discovery of a brick foundation that was unearthed following Anton’s death.
The foundation was located about two feet underground and at each corner a flat stone was discovered.
An arrow was found chiseled on each of the four stones. The positioning of each stone pointed in the same general direction when found.
Descendants of the Sauer family are reported to have searched for a buried treasure by following the arrows, but where they converged nothing was found.
Another treasure story has been linked to a secret tunnel built by Anton that led to the Kaw River.
The tunnel is believed by many to have been part of the lost Quindaro Slave Tunnel built during the Civil War, which has yet to be discovered.
Specific details regarding the treasure associated with this tunnel are unknown.
Local research may help further specify what treasure could be hidden at Sauer Castle.

Blood & Treasure Along
the Old California Trail
NEMAHA COUNTY – Here is a little known story of two Massachusetts prospectors, both 22 years of age, who were among the first to reach California during the spring of 1849 to man the California Gold Rush.
According to the tale, both men made a quick fortune at placer mining and made plans to return home as soon as possible.
On their return trip, the pair hooked up with an eastbound freighter train for protection from Indian attack.
But the Massachusetts boys opted to part company with the group in Colorado after they became suspicious of two unruly men in the party they regarded as “exceptionally handy with their guns,” according to Seneca realtor and banker W.F. Thompson, who became involved in searching for this treasure during the early 1900’s.
According to Thompson, the two Massachusetts men traveled alone and stopped to camp near the village of Richmond along the Nemaha River one night.
Both men packed their gold into a black powder can which, by Thompson’s account, was buried after dark, “on the west bank of the Nemaha in direct line with the rays of light shining from the window of the saloon to the place of deposit.”
After caching their gold, both men went into Richmond for supplies.
As the men were paying for supplies at a combine store, saloon and gambling den, the two ruffians they’d left behind in Colorado stepped out from the gambling den drunk and obnoxious.
A gunfight erupted that left one of the Massachusetts men dead. The second man fled for home, leaving the treasure behind. Soon after he reached home the Civil War broke out and he enlisted, never returning to Kansas.
The ghost town of Richmond should not be confused with present-day Richmond in Franklin County.
Although no trace of Richmond remains today, the tiny community originally sat roughly two miles northeast of Seneca along Highway 63 at or near Oneida Road, 6 miles west of Oneida.

The Point of Rocks Treasure
FORD COUNTY – The Point of Rocks treasure is well documented in historic records.
The original version was penned by buffalo hunter and frontier scout Robert M. Wright and published in 1913.
To summarize his account, the following events occurred in 1853 along the Santa Fe Trail, roughly four miles west of present-day Dodge City at or near a landmark known as the Point of Rocks, once marking the border of Mexico and the United States.
Wagonmaster Jesus M. Martinez was leading a train of freighters from Mexico to Independence, Missouri, which consisted of 82 men and 120 wagons.
Martinez was a trusted plainsmen and veteran freighter of 30 years. Each night Martinez ordered the wagons corralled for protection and guards were posted with orders to sound the alarm on the approach of Indians, bandits or prairie fires.
One night the freighters corralled their wagons and settled in for the evening. Little did they know they’d reached the trail’s end.
While the men slept, the guards observed movement in the distance, but could not make out what it was. The dogs commenced making a fuss and Martinez was awaken by a guard.
After observing the suspicious activity, Martinez sounded the alarm and told his men Indians were afoot and to prepare for battle.
Trenches were dug and makeshift breastworks erected. With the Mexicans staring into darkness, and prepared to fight, the figures of hostile Indians seemed to increase as they lurked closer and quietly surrounded the Martinez train. Minutes passed in silence that seemed like days as the freighters waited for the wraiths to strike from the darkness.
Then, shattering the stillness of night, the first war cries came; moments later phantoms could be seen as they passed through shadows from every direction to lay siege to the ensnared freighters.
Eighty-two balls fired into the enemy line was the Mexican reply. The Mexicans, according to Wright, “Fought like demons!”
Heavy causalities on the Indian side caused them to retreat and left the Mexicans praying for deliverance. Soon after sun up they knew deliverance was not at hand. The Indian commanders ordered renewed assaults at intervals; it was a battle that raged on for five days.
Day 5 – The Indians had suffered far more causalities then the Mexicans. But time was the Indians collaborator and both sides knew water and ammunition had become scare for the Mexicans and the end was nigh.
They fought until powder and lead were spent and, when the guns fell silent, the train was consumed by rage and butchery. Only one man managed to escape the bloodlust that night - Jesus M. Martinez.
Jesus watched as “wild Cheyenne, Arapahoe and Kiowa” warriors pillaged the train, setting fire to several wagons, and capturing their stock, taking mostly flour, bacon and other provisions. Then, “Indian-like, immediately left the field of carnage,” wrote Wright. Martinez simply remained in his… “hiding place until morning and until the Indians were miles away,” Wright added.
“Surveying the ruins covered in gore, Martinez”… “was alone with the dead,” Wright penned.
Being freighters, the train carried more than just trade goods; a considerable amount of Spanish silver specie was being transported as well. Wright states Martinez immediately secured the treasure, but did not find it all.
A dying Martinez told his son he recovered 21 small bags, each containing 1,000 silver Mexican dollars. He then carried the treasure away from the massacre site some distance and buried it. He could not remember what direction or how far he walked.
From there, Martinez claims he walked back to Mexico and in time returned home. He died soon after, but only after swearing his son to find the treasure.
Years later, Martinez’s son did arrive in Dodge City to search for the treasure. He searched for weeks, but ultimately returned to Mexico empty handed. So far as is known, the treasure was never found.

Ray, Becky, Sauer Castle,
Centennial History of Argentine; Kansas City, KS 1880-1980, Sauer Family, p. 187-189
Wright, Robert Marr, Dodge City, the Cowboy Capital, 1913, Dodge City, KS, Self-published.