Thursday, July 22, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 101

Bob Alcumbrack's wildest dream was to find the lost Cannonsburg cannon and yes, he did find the cannon on July 9th and 12th, 1988. That's 103 years after its disappearance on July 5, 1885. So why hadn't you ever heard that he did find the cannon and the story behind it? It's because of where he found his wildest dream. Never in his wildest dream did he imagine where he'd find it.

American philosopher Charles Peirce (1839-1914) once said that the "Wildest dreams are the necessary first steps toward scientific investigations. It is the man of science, eager to have his every opinion regenerated, his every idea rationalized" and this historical researcher drank at "the fountain of facts" that helped Bob channel all his energies towards "truth not as he understands it, but as he did not understand it." Bob didn't have all the answers to problems just as neither did his cannon hunting crew. Some things in life you learn as you press forward into the future and try as you might the outcome may not be what should have happened.

A case in point is the mysterious disappearance of the fellows searching for the Lost Dutchman's treasure who went missing. They sought the treasure, but why haven't searchers found them? It could be they found the treasure by accident. Could the earth have swallowed them, the ground giving way catapulting them into a deep cavern, the earth burying them without a trace or could they have met their doom by the hands of others who lead them to the treasure? That's always why it is important to have a close cluster of trusted comrades who know where you've gone when treasure hunting.

Timeline: July 5, 1885 approximately 1-2 a.m.

Roughly 12 hours after the accident Dr. Rev. Patterson came outside his residence and told the faithful still outside that Walter Tompsett had passed away. He laid for 12 hours on the bed bleeding to death before his parents or any physicians and surgeons could arrive to amputate the remainder of his leg and stop the flow of blood. He technically bled to death. The faithful burst into tears. It was a horrible end to such a festive Fourth of July.

Tompsett's six friends and the township officials who previously buried the cannon wept. Although the cannon killed Walter it was largely their fault for not heeding the advice of town elders, but both groups of men created the tragedy. Had the seven young men ages 27-43 not dug up that cannon from the streamside grave this tragedy could have been averted, but then again it might have happened in the near distant future.

Five grief stricken men left to get the cannon and made it go missing for 103 years. They were going to make sure nobody ever fired that cannon again, but for such an honorary cannon, they would make sure it stayed in the community. This was their biggest secret. So what happened to the secret cannon?

All in all Bob had forgotten lessons learned in life that children lose all track of time. Time to a youngster is fleeting most of the time. God knows truthfully how long the men were gone. This was not to insinuate that Estella Ward was wrong or fudged about the time gone and when the men returned, but it would be impossible to return the cannon to its former grave and walking back past the Ward home an hour later. Couldn't be done. So where and how did they hide the cannon.

Theoretically this is what we believe might have happened to the cannon, but as you will eventually see sometimes researchers can look right at something and miss it. We get so heavily involved we miss things easily seen, but it is not recorded in our memories.

Beyond the Ward estate, the men went up the trail over the hill and crossed the small footbridge over the small stream and past the original burial site where Mr. Murray's eyes filled with tears. Just beyond the trail forked, the southwest trail returning to Cannonsburg Road, the other trail going northwest approximately 12oo feet to Le Grand Cannon's favorite piece of property. It's a high hill that in 1885 looked southeast over fields of wheat and pastures. The view of Cannonsburg was breathtaking. Mr. Cannon's most favorite spot in Cannon Township had become the Cannonsburg Cemetery on Sunfish Lake Road. Five men could have dropped that killer cannon off in the cemetery and presumably dug a grave for it and Tompsett or the sexton buried both. Who would have thought that Mr. Cannon's favorite spot would become a cemetery. The cemetery might be its final destination.

The five men rushed back to town and walked past the Ward house shortly after sunrise. They couldn't take the chance that someone would see them walking past houses on public roadways. At sunrise the churchbells rang in "Churchtown", because Cannonsburg was a town with churches and it was going to be a solemn day. Oops, lots of thunder a storm approaches, but I just wanted to start the ball rolling causing you to wonder what and where did Bob really find the cannon. Is it in the cemetery? Next time in segment 102 and 103 I unmask the ultimate secret. What will the destiny of segment 103 and year 103 reveal. The mysterious disappearance of the Cannonsburg cannon is understood upon its 125th year absence.

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