THE CAPRICORN

 

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I received a telegram from Jock Crimmins a few years ago.

He said he was doing fine and that Albany is still in the same mess it was a century ago; and will probably be in the same mess a hundred years into the future.

Jock – – – appreciating full well how much the telegram would cost – – – for each and every letter of the alphabet used was quite expensive – – – mentioned a few quick things.

First; the McIntyre Iron Mine, up in Tahawus, was making good progress.

Second; Tammany Hall, down in New York City, was also making good progress.

Third; Ezra Cornell was making headway with purchasing the right-of-ways for his telegraph business.

I took the last item as good news.

Jock also mentioned that Paul C. Stevens had passed away. He said that Stevens died in bed; which is where everyone expected him to die.

Stevens had sort of – – – melted away – – – after the war of 1812. He was a soldier at the Battle of Chateauguay.

Battle of Chateauguay

THE BATTLE OF CHATEAUGUAY

 

It was the one and only thing he did in his life that he was proud of.

The battle was in Quebec.

The Battle of Chateauguay map

Stevens, remained in Chateugay, New York – – -not a great distance from the battle site – – -for the remainder of his life. No one could quite figure out why. He had no business place or relatives there.

Chateaugay Four Corners

CHATEAUGAY FOUR CORNERS, NEW YORK

Stevens liked to tell the story of the battle.

Of course – – – Stevens, being a Capricorn – – – was practical and prudent.

He also had a side that was not so ambitious – – – but he was disciplined.

Everyone in Chateaugay – – – New York of course – – – said the he was patient and careful; yet he could be humorous as well as reserved. That probably accounted for his dry humor.

However – – – Jock often mentioned that Stevens – – – deep down inside – – – had a pessimistic and fatalistic outlook. Jock – – – who supposedly was a good friend of Stevens – – – said several times that Stevens was miserly and grudging.

When I mentioned theses opposing qualities of Stevens, Jock offered a reason for them.

I don’t know if Jock knew what he was speaking of or whether it was something he surmised or if it was the rumors that often circulated around Stevens.

I don’t deal in rumors – – – however – – – it seems as though Stevens had come upon a cache of gold during the battle of Chateauguay. People say that he absconded with it and had reburied it somewhere on the banks of the Chateaugay River in New York.

There is one story that claims that a new keystone bridge covered up Stevens’ gold. He wanted desperately to retrieve the gold before the bridge was built. However, the bridge was in progress of being built before Stevens had a chance to recover the gold. The bridge was composed of large keystones and tons of fill.

Jock said that may be the reason why Stevens was miserly and grudging. He had all that gold and knew he was rich – – – but could never make use of his fortune.

Stevens, on his death bed – – – while in a fever – – – mumbled something to the wife of a potato farmer – – – she was acting as Stevens’ nurse – – – a story about the ‘Gold from Chateauguay.’ She didn’t think the story was factual and quickly forgot about it.

There was a young boy in the next room who had overheard Stevens’ story. He made more of it than the farmer’s wife – – – and he kept it to himself. Later – – – when he grew into a strapping lad – – – a new bridge was built.

 Chateaugay River and Globe Mills and New Bridge

Much of the stone and fill from the old bridge was used as a ‘false-work’ during the construction of the new bridge.

The lad thought that this would give him a chance to recover Stevens’ gold.

He was wrong. No man – – – by himself – – – while trying to keep a secret – – – could move those large stones and tons of fill without being seen.

He, like Stevens, kept the secret of the buried gold to himself. “Someday, he thought, I will purchase the land around the old bridge, a team of strong horses, a sled for moving the large stones and an iron scoop to haul away the tons of fill.”

The young lad grew into a bitter old man as he imagined his gold buried deep in the earth. His only relief was a frequent trip between the Chateaugay Hotel and the Half Way House near Brainardsville. These were his watering holes.

His favorite topic was telling the story about how he knew where Stevens’ gold was buried.

The listeners – – – of the old and moldy tale – – – would continue purchasing him drinks – – – in hopes that the story was true – – – and in hopes that he would add one more clue to the location of the gold.

One day the bitter old sot fell off his horse and froze to death in a snow bank.

However, the rumors persist.

 

 

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About Waldo "Wally" Tomosky

I am proud of my work life (not the jobs, just the work).  Bait monger  Lawn mower  Paper boy  Windshield cleaner in a drive-in theater (if you don't know what a drive-in theater is there is no sense in you reading any farther)  Snack shack janitor in a drive in theater (ditto for drive-in theater)  Milling machine clean-up boy in a tool and die shop  Plastic injection press operator  Centurion in the US Army  Factory hand  Apprentice boy  Tool and die maker  Software user manual writer  Computer programmer  Ex-patriate par excellence  Engineering manager  Software test manager  Retiree  University administrator  System analyst  Retiree (2nd try)  Licensed amateur paleontologist  Retiree (3rd try)  Shovel bum (archaeology)  Retiree (4th try)  Delivery driver  Retiree (5th try)  Graduate student (skipped AA and BA due to the level of difficulty)  Retiree (finally got the drift of it) I have been writing for fourteen years and have fifteen books on Amazon/Kindle. Some horror, some twisted, some experimental, some essay and a few historical. I think that now I will really, really, really retire and just write. Lets see if I can do retirement correctly this time!
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