Sixteen French Pack Horses
About the middle of the 1860s an elderly man named Lesuer came to the vicinity of Rochester. He had a letter which had been given to him by his father. The letter told the location of sixteen pack-loads of gold, silver and silverplate that had been buried by the French army when they evacuated Fort Duquesne in 1758. The following is a verbatim copy of that letter:
“We of the French army were defending Fort Duquesne against the British. When it was learned that the English were attacking in force, a detail of 10 men and 16 pack horses were selected to carry the French army’s gold and silver away from the fort. I was chosen for this detail.
Three days and a forenoon later, northwest of west from the fort, while on the Tuscarawas Trail, our advance guard returned to our little column and reported British soldiers advancing on us. The officer in charge of our detail ordered us to stop in our tracks and dig a hole in the ground. He posted a few guards while the rest dug. The gold was unloaded from the horses and placed in the hole. Then the silver was lowered into the hole. On top of this, we shoveled the dirt and covered it with branches.
The British started firing at this time. The digging shovels were put under a log on the hillside. No sooner was this done that the British were upon us. Eight were killed, only Henry Muselle and myself were spared. The English had not noticed where we hid. We made the following marks on the area before we fled. The gold was buried in the center of a sort of square formed by four springs. About one half mile to the west of the hole where the gold was buried, Muselle jammed a rock into the fork of a tree so that it would stay. 600 steps to the north of the hole, the shovels we hid under a log. As we left by the east, I carved a deer into a tree which I judged to be about one mile east of the hole.”
The area referred to in the letter is now the farm of George Robbins, near East Rochester in Columbiana County. The shovels and the rock in the tree have been found, but the gold and silver, if found, have not been reported.