Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 46

National Treasure was a thrilling action packed movie, but Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon had the same philosphy that clues lead to clues and more clues. While our search wasn't as intense as National Treasure it took lots of hard research to find the clues that lead to more clues. Bob was searching for the ultimate treasure, but he needed a crew he could trust.

True the small military cannon mentioned in the Cannon history book and the accident story in the Rockford Register did fire up the historical imagination of Bob Alcumbrack growing up in Cannonsburg.

As a child he was living the legend of Indiana Jones and he was going to resurrect what he viewed was the theft of a priceless historical local artifact, the Cannonsburg cannon that had been missing for a century. Bob prodded old man John Murray for approximately ten years until he passed away in 1943. Murray was born in 1863 and at the time of Walter Tompsetts death he was 22 years of age and carried the dreadful day about 58 years. His eyes filled with tears each time he took Bob on his buggy ride over the creek crossing. Bob always tried to understand his body language and when at sleep this is what created Bob's wildest dream which stroked his intellect and body to find out what happened to the cannon.

Listening to the oral history provided by John Murray and Grandma Herrington (Estella Ward) what they did or didn't say isn't the best reason to start physical digging. Then too, the history book says Le Grande Cannon's name and date given to the township is engraved somewhere on the ordnance or carriage. It was labor intensive and difficult to engrave cannons after being cast. It had to be done by expert foundrymen and not a jo-blow jewelry engraver with a yen to expand his business. Engraving after being cast caused tiny fractures in the gunmetal and this is what caused premature burstings.

For years Bob kept his silence. He wouldn't chance telling any secrets to just anyone, because he never knew who might be listening or watching for they could be the thief in the night to steal his priceless dream cannon. Collectors pay big bucks to historical looters. Bob was Indiana Jones personified and he kept silent secrets from those who might discover his source of information to put the jingle jangle in their pockets rather than keep the cannon for local historical preservation. Bob was going to protect the cannon from outside interests. National treasures have been stolen for centuries and smuggled out of countries of origin to bring value and prestige of ownership to museums, private collectors and government treasuries during wars. Bob didn't want any cannon grave robbers stealing the priceless Cannonsburg cannon.

The art of cannon hunting means more than just listening to oral history. It means the researcher must dig into past history and uncover as much hidden paper evidence as possible. Paper trails reading old books, newspapers through a hundred other sources determines the success or failure of a treasure hunter. Search for secret clues is hard work and it comes from the most unlikely spots just as the cannonballs he found. Death notices, obituaries, memorials in newspapers, but old memoires hidden in walls of old houses too can reveal secrets nobody knew existed. Short today, I've got some appointments to fulfill. Clues lead to...

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