Skip to main content

Louis Tells a Story -Swift Excerpt

This excerpt from my novel "Swift" is the exchange between the three main characters and a fellow that has searched many years for the lost treasure. Louis is, of course fictitious, but is based on some very likable and dedicated treasure hunters of the the past few decades. -Ed





Louis Tells A Story


      Louis Eversole lived up a hollow in the mountains along a small clear stream. Louis and his wife, Sarah, lived with at least six dogs and therefore always aware of visitors a good two minutes before they got to the front porch. They had lived on this small mountain creek for 40 years. Louis and Sarah grubbed out a small garden beside the clear mountain creek running down past their house. The house and various out buildings rested comfortably between the rocky, hemlock covered hillsides typical of a mountain homestead. Louis Wayne Eversole was considered an expert on the legend of the John Swift Silver Mine and had spent twenty years or more chasing after the dream tale. Years ago, he had found the turkey tracks, haystack rocks and three creeks but he never claimed he had found a mine or any silver. In fact, Will Morrow had with him in his pocket more silver found in this country than Louis had ever seen. Ray had convinced Will he should meet Louis and discuss the tales with him. Of course, they were not going to say anything about the map.
      Louis was sitting on his front porch with Sarah enjoying the cool breeze coming down the hollow over the rippling creek. Will pulled his truck up in front of the house. Louis, although not fearful, was curious and tried to recall anyone he knew who would be driving a fine new pickup truck. With dogs and his handy rifle by the front door, Louis knew he could determine the danger level once someone showed themselves from the truck. Ray jumped out first so that Louis would know who it was.
      “Howdy Louis!” Ray yelled out.
      “Ray? Ray Deevers! Well, what in the world are you doing up here in God’s country?” Louis questioned as he got up from the porch swing and moved toward the steps leading up to the porch. “Hush dogs!” Louis yelled. The dogs immediately quieted down but milled around sniffing the guests as each got out of the truck. The boss dog marked the truck tire, indicating the truck and visitors were now in his territory.
      “Louis, this here is Will Morrow and Jennifer Morgan. And I apologize for just dropping in on you all without calling ahead,” Ray introduced them.
      “Nah. Ain't no problem Ray. Glad to meet you folks, come on up on the porch and sit and a spell. We don’t get much company up here,” Louis politely invited.
      “Thanks Louis. This sure is a pretty place you have here,” Ray commented.
      “We like it. It’s quiet anyway. Say, are you folks thirsty? Honey, why don’t you bring these folks something cold to drink, maybe some of that good sweet tea you make, if you don’t mind,” Louis turned and glanced at Sarah.
      “No, thanks Mrs. Eversole. We’ve had cold drinks on the way up here. We appreciate the offer though,” Will answered for all three.
      “Are you sure, it ain’t no trouble at all,” Sarah quickly followed.
      “Oh, yes, Mrs. Eversole. Will is right. But we appreciate your kind offer,” Jennifer quickly and politely responded.
      “Well, Ray what’s on your mind?” Louis point blank asked Ray while studying all three people one at a time.
      "Louis, we get out, uh, the three of us get out ever now and again to rock hunt and general exploring cliffs and caves. The other day we ran upon a turkey track and some other markings. Well, here, Will you explain it to him,” Ray said pointing to others.       
      “Got the silver mine fever, do we?” Louis jokingly remarked, eliciting a modest chuckle from everyone.
      “Mr. Eversole,” Will began.
      “Call me Louis. There ain’t no big ‘I’s and little ‘u’s around here. Louis’ll be fine,” Louis interrupted.
      “Okay, Louis. We are interested in the John Swift Silver Mine. Ray here says you’re the man, the one that knows all there is to know about the Swift Lost Silver Mine. We’ve been interested in the legend and all, well, we just have come up with a few questions,” Will fumbled for the words.
      “What do you want to know?” Louis questioned.
      “Anything you might want to share about your experiences and knowledge of the legend.”
      “Heck, you can check on them computers Internet or something and find all about John Swift,” Louis responded.
      “We can’t find out what Louis Eversole knows on the Internet; I’ll guarantee that,” Ray boasted. With that statement Louis was encouraged and primed to tell all. Louis had spent years following leads, tales and not many folks asked him about the story much anymore. In fact, not many people knew about the tale of the lost silver mine.
      “So you think the turkey track carvings you found might have something to do with the silver mine?” Louis questioned.
      “We don’t know. I’ll tell you one thing though, I never saw carvings like this before,” Ray answered. Both Jennifer and Will gave Ray a casual, quick glance just to let him know not to talk too much. Ray got the message and became quiet. Louis paused for an uncomfortable amount of time.
      “Well, let me see. I started, well, got interested you might say, in the sixties. There were some fellers from Virginia that came into this country and spent a small fortune lookin’ for that silver mine. I eventually hooked up with them, as a kind of a guide you might say, to these hills. I had heard of the story all my life, mostly from my daddy, but I never was much interested until the Virginia boys came along. After taking them to various places each year (they would come every year in the fall) I learned a lot about the silver mine. They were convinced that the silver mine was somewhere down around the cliffs of Chimney Top Creek,” Louis began.
       “They had maps, testing equipment, and most important to me a copy of what they claimed to be the authentic journal left by John Swift himself,” Louis added.
      “Did the journal give exact directions to the mine?” Will asked.
      “No, not directly. It was more like clues. It described rocks and creeks. The journal, I have a copy around here somewhere, Swift claimed to have written himself so that he could find the mine again. He said that he mined silver, smelted silver and made counterfeit English crowns in the wilderness south of the Ohio River and west of the big mountains from 1760 until 1769. Swift claimed he was captured by the British and put into prison for siding with the colonists on one of his trips to England,” Louis continued.
      “Why did he go to England?” Ray asked.
      “Oh, well, John Swift said he had a very successful shipping business prior to the revolutionary war and actually owned a fleet of sailing ships, according to his journal,” replied Louis. “Anyway, while in England he was thrown into prison for many years. By the time he got out, Swift was blind and couldn’t find the mine. So he wrote down everything he could remember, descriptions of rocks, rock houses etc., and with others acting as his eyes tried to return to his precious mine,” Louis concluded.
      “Let me ask you, how did he find the mine in the first place?” Will asked the all important question.
      “George Mundy. He met George Mundy when Mundy was a war prisoner in General Braddock’s army. Mundy was a Frenchman that had been captured by the British and colonists. Swift says that he befriended a man by the name of George Mundy who told him he had been mining silver south of the Ohio River. Apparently, after that, Mundy took Swift to the mine along with a company of men to work in the mine. That’s the way I understand how it went anyhow,” Louis said.
      “Braddock’s army? George Mundy?” Will was getting confused.
      “Well, you see, Mundy had found the mine from the Indians and had been working the silver out himself. It always seemed to me old Mundy might have bought his freedom by telling Swift of the silver mine. Anyway, Mundy led Swift and some of his associates to the mine around 1760, according to Swift’s journal.”
      “Do you still believe the mine exists?” Jennifer interjected wanting to get to the bottom of the line of questioning.
      “Yes I do,” Louis said wholeheartedly. “Just because I ain’t found it after searching so long, doesn’t mean squat. I’ve not been in all the right places. Ray, do you remember going to Jellico?” Louis turned to Ray.
      “Sure do, we had us a heck of time that weekend. Met some strange people though.”
      “Well, each of us were bitten by the Silver legend and it may seem a little strange, but I got to say I have had some good times and thought I was close once or twice,” Louis said.
      “Seems like if Swift sailed ships he would know how to clearly mark his trail to the mine,” Will pondered.
      “Well, he was a captain of his own ship and claimed to own more ships. He did write down the latitude of 38 degrees and 11 minutes in his journal. So we can only conclude Swift had the proper instrument to plot coordinates,” Louis added.
      “What about the longitude?” Will asked.
      “Unfortunately, all the journal says is that it was near 83° longitude. I always thought Swift left it that way since all he really needed to do was get into the general area and he could find the mines,” Louis responded.
      “That opens up quite a big area, I guess, if the journal information is correct,” Ray added.
      “Where do you think the mine is located? Uh, assuming it really exists, of course,” Will laid it out point blank.
      “Son, if I knew, we sure as hell wouldn’t be havin’ this conversation, would we? Oh, I guess I’ve always felt it was somewhere in these cliffs around here. All the landmarks Swift mentions in his journal are here, and we are pretty close to the 38 degree latitude and there sure are plenty of places it could be buried on these mountains. I just have not been able to put it all together,” Louis concluded.
      “We think the carvings we found are some kind of a crude map,” Will remarked.
      “What kind of a map?”
      “Well, in fact this map and the carvings, are on the back wall of a big sandstone rock shelter.”
      “How do you know it’s a map?”
      “Well, there’s more,” Ray interjected.
      “Do you have a picture of it?”
      “We have a drawing of it,” Jennifer said as she pulled out the map.
      “Let me see here, I’ve seen a lot of carvings and markings the past forty years,” Louis responded. Louis carefully studied the hastily drawn map. He couldn't immediately tell anything from it right away, other than easily recognizing the large and small turkey track markings. The map only contained the turkey tracks and the lines. The other symbols, the eye, the x’s, and the half moon with lines on it were purposefully omitted.
      “How big is this thing, the carving I mean?”
      “I’d say it is five feet high and probably six or eight feet across,” Ray explained.
      “That big, huh? And you say these markings are carved on the wall of a rock shelter?”
      “Yeah, although they're covered with moss and other stuff growing on the rock. We would not have seen the thing except for the way the light happened to hit it on the day we were there.”
      “And these lines, Louis pointed, are carved all the way across the map?”
      “They are.”
       “We think the map is in Kentucky somewhere but can’t figure out where.”
      “Ray thinks this is either the Licking or Big Sandy River cause he thinks the lines at the top are the Ohio River. What do you think?” Will asked.
      “Are the carvings deep?” Louis asked.
      “Pretty deep. Someone spent some time carving these symbols into the rock for sure. They wanted the carvings to be there for a long time. There were no names or initials carved, either.”
      Louis became more interested now. Although he had seen about every kind of carved turkey track in the country he was quite certain he had never encountered anything like this. He would love to see the rock carving for himself. Perhaps it was a piece of the puzzle he had been trying to solve for the last twenty years. Louis knew equally as well that he would not get all the information and likely would not be invited to see the rock carving during this visit; it was just the way treasure hunters behaved.
      “So what do you think Louis? The Licking or the Big Sandy?” Ray asked.
      “If I had to guess right now I’d say neither,” Louis finally announced.
      “Neither?” Ray exclaimed in disbelief that Louis had just shot down his theory.
      “My opinion is it’s the Warriors Path,” Louis added.
      “Warriors Path?” Will questioned.
      “Yes, the Warriors Path. You see, if these lines represents the Ohio River, and I think they do, then why wouldn’t you put all the rivers in the map? Just putting one river in would virtually make the map impossible to use. Heck, a person wouldn’t know if they were on the Big Sandy or the Kentucky River, or one of the other rivers, or even a big creek. Nah, I’d say it was the Warriors Path,” Louis concluded.
      “Where is the Warriors Path?” Jennifer excitedly asked.
      “Runs along the edge of the mountains before you get to Winchester. Runs all the way from up north down through Cumberland Gap into Tennessee. It’s on the early maps of Kentucky, the one John Filson made, I believe,” Louis answered.
      “Well, I’ll be,” said Ray, astonished by this new information. Ray knew about where the Warriors Path was located based on this description.
      “Do turkey tracks point to something, generally? I mean do they point in a direction?” Will asked Louis for confirmation to his previous claims.
      “I always heard and believe they do. A simple way to show a direction to go. The turkey foot would be pointing in the direction the ‘turkey’ is walking,” Louis offered.
      “Well, this certainly has been interesting and we very much appreciate your time and help,” Will said.
      “So, you folks think you are on to something?” Louis asked.
      “Something, but who knows what. It’s fun to chase after it, though. Good exercise and heck, we meet some interesting folks like you and learn a little history too,” Will commented.
      “I guess it wouldn’t do any good to ask where this rock carving is located,” Louis remarked.
      “Let’s put it this way, it’s on the western edge of the mountains,” Ray answered.
      “Then I’m pretty sure the line on the carving is the Warriors Path. Look around the rocks, there might be more turkey tracks and other carvings. Check it out good,” Louis advised.
      “Mr. Eversole, may I take you and your wife's picture?” Jennifer politely requested.
      “Why, I don’t see why not.”
      After the photographs were completed and the group loaded up, they headed back home to Frankfort. Now they had all new information and an appreciation for both the famous legend and at least one searcher of the treasure.
      “I noticed you never showed him the silver arrowhead,” Jennifer said as they drove west on the interstate.
      “No, I was afraid it would have been a bit too much,” Will said.
      Ray agreed. What they did know was that they needed to regroup and re figure the meaning of the map. They also knew they had found not one, but two, turkey track carvings much closer to the Warriors Path than the one they had seen on the rock bridge.
                                                                   
Want to read the rest of the book? "Swift" is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and all the usual places. If it is not at your favorite bookstore just ask them and they will order it for you. But an easier and secure way to purchase your hard copy or eBook is by simply clicking right here at edhensonbooks.com. You can place your order and if you download your eBook you can be reading it in just a few minutes!  Also there a couple more chapters there to help you decide!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Broke Leg Falls

For sure one old landmark in eastern Menifee County Kentucky is Broke Leg Falls. The Falls has been a tourist stop along US Hwy 460 since the 1940's and before. It was a place for picnics and adventures into the rough rocky terrain the likes of the Red River Gorge. It's location on once a major highway along with the pristine beauty of the box canyon that the stream formed no doubt contributed to the popularity of the Falls.
    The Falls is about 80 feet in height but much of the year has a small water flow. But over eons of time the Falls and stream have carved out a magnificent canyon retreating nearly to the crest of the ridge.
    Located in Menifee County Kentucky, Broke Leg Falls has been a popular tourist spot for travelers of the US Highway which is located only a few yards from the falls. A popular landmark since the 1940's, the Falls was privately owned. Visitors could pay a dime and get to hike the short distance down into the box canyon to view the Falls…

The High Rock Petroglyph

What do you think the strange symbols carved on this sandstone boulder represent? The High Rock Carving is certainly one of the most mysterious antiquity found in the Red River Gorge country.  We did a previous post  about this strange rock in August, 2012. Discovered underneath a small rock shelter near the High Rock fire tower, the carvings were discovered on one loose boulder in the shelter. In the late 70's the boulder was removed from the rock shelter by the Red River Museum and Historical Society placed at the museum in Clay City, Kentucky. It was felt that vandals and artifact collectors would soon end up destroying the unusual carved stone. In fact some of the surface appears to have been chipped away, perhaps portions already removed by vandals.    The carvings have many varied, curved shapes including concentric circles and shapes that may represent animals. Additionally, there are numerous holes and other features. Some of the rock has been lost likely by the weathering …

Swift Interview

It was a very interesting day April, 26. A production crew from KET (Kentucky Educational Television) taped a segment of yours truly discussing the background and lore around the famous legend of John Swift and his mysterious silver mines and treasure. I met up with the crew at Sky Bridge in the Red River Gorge and after a short hike down beneath the rock arch they video taped me discussing what I have come to know about the search and treasure.
    Basically, the short segment will focus more on the legends background and how long the story has been around rather than giving clues on searching for the supposedly hidden treasure. I hope that viewers will take away the importance of the history of the legend and not the debate whether silver and the mines ever existed. As I note in the interview, the beauty of the whole legend is just how long the search has been going on and how the legend originated at least as early as the first famous pioneers entered the wilderness that was to…