Clifford C. Spooner - 1930
| There are none living now who can remember her as she
used to go around the town, old and bent of form but always
kind to all and always looking for a chance to do some kind
deed. Born in the year 1750, she grew up
to womanhood as the country grew, and was reported by our
grandparents to have been beautiful as well as a good woman.
She never married and never had a home of her own as far
as was known around here. She came into the community at
times when no one expected her, and if anyone was sick,
and especially among the poor, she might appear out of the
unknown almost, and care for them with her uncanny skill
with herbs, and on their recovery disappear as suddenly
as she had come. She was kind to the needy especially and,
like Robin Hood, gave to them not only care and attention
but articles of substantial value that as she went from
house to house she obtained from their more prosperous neighbors.
the days long gone by, there were various theories about
her. Some called her a witch and thought
her to be endowed with powers somewhat supernatural. Some
feared her and others regarded her as possibly lacking in
mental ability. The last was probably correct. Whatever
her story might have been the people of the community were
all kind to her and took her into their homes for a time,
always allowing her to come and go as she wished and never
tried to stop her or inquired into her affairs more than
enough to be neighborly. This is the character that Molly
Fisher bore according to the story of those who remembered
her. To us it seems as if the people of today, in the rush
of this life of hurry, might like to look back for a moment
at least and think of someone who always had time to help
others when they needed help.
three miles south of the village of Kent, on the
road to South Kent, lies a farm which in years gone by belonged
to Barnabas Hatch. The land on the west side of the road
and between it and the Housatonic River rises abruptly to
form a mountain, now known as Lane's hill on top of which,
at an elevation of 650 feet above sea level we shall find,
if we know how to locate it what is known as the Molly
Fisher Rock. If we were to go up there the easiest
way, we would drive up the hill to the west from the Barnabas
Hatch homestead to what was at the time of this narrative
the home of Micah Spooner, but which went out of the Spooner
name several years ago and is now owned by Willard D. Paddock,
a sculptor of well known ability.
might follow from here the old abandoned highway which leads
from here to within a few rods of where we wish to go, keeping
in the woods all the way and coming out on the top of the
hill. At any rate we must walk as the way is steep for the
next half mile. If we wish to go by the open pasture we
will be careful not to leave any of the barways open to
cause trouble by allowing cattle to escape. Going almost
due north up the steep pasture we come to a barway on the
very top of the hill which will let us into the woods where
an old wood road winds away to the north. But just before
we enter the woods we will stop to rest after our hard climb,
and as we look back at the hill we have just come up, we
see one of the most beautiful of the many beautiful valleys
of Kent. We see laid out before us Hatch Pond and it's surrounding
hills. Away in the distance we can see South Kent almost
covered with trees and farther still Long Mountain. These
are on the left side of the picture. On the right we see
the Housatonic River winding its way through a narrow valley.
Still farther to the right. in the distance we look into
New York State at Wingdale. Schaghticoke Mountain fills
in the rest with the few houses of the Schaghticoke Indian
Reservation nestled at it's foot. There are still a few
part blood Indians left there. Many of the best farms of
Kent lie in these two valleys and many of the oldest homesteads
also. The view from this spot is worth the trip
up here even if there was nothing else to look for.
here we enter the woods to the north and it is time to be
looking for what we started out to find. Just after we enter
the woods we notice a peculiar level place near the old
road. It seems to have been made that way on purpose and
if we look carefully we find it to be about forty feet across
and nearly circular. If we should dig up a bit of earth
here we will find it very black and it will contain fine
particles of charcoal. This is a coalpit bottom and there
are several others within a few rods of each other. This
is where the charcoal was made which was used in one of
the several furnaces in Kent where the famous Kent Iron
here we can see several large boulders and wonder how we
shall know which one it is we are looking for. These boulders
here all lie right out on the top of the ground and on looking
to see why. we find the whole is of solid rock. Doubtless
these large boulders came here during the Glacial period
as they are not the kind of rocks we see usually in the
fields. How shall we find the one we want is the first thing
that comes to mind when we see so many, but to one who knows
it is easy. Look at that one over there, the one with the
strata of pure white quartz about four inches thick running
all through it. There are no others like it and it is the
one we are looking for. It is some twelve feet long and
about nine feet wide and nearly six feet high. About one
foot from the top we find this strata of pure white quartz
which runs clear through the full size of the rock the largest
way. It is rather an unusual formation and is quite
sure to be noticed if one is looking for such things.
inscription which is cut on the southeast side. It is just
above the quartz strata and if we look sharp we will find
several characters quite deeply cut in the rock itself.
These are not like the scratches which are always present
on these boulders caused by being pushed across other rocks
in the course of their trip here in the glacier, but are
plainly the handiwork of man. Of what man and how long ago
no one knows. And more than this they cannot or have not
been deciphered. About a hundred years ago a party of professors
and students came here just to see this rock and to study
this writing on it, but they could make nothing out of it.
is a rock similar in size and appearance and marked with
the same strange characters on it's southeast side, near
the Long Island Sound near Saybrook, Connecticut. These
men said they were not able to get the least clue to the
meaning of the unknown writings. The ground around the place
shows unmistakable signs of having been disturbed although
not in late years. The name of the rock comes from
association, as it was always said that Molly Fisher always
visited it when she came here and that she had been heard
to say that chests of gold had been buried near it by Captain
Kidd. When questioned as to the means of obtaining
the treasure, she always maintained that if it was unearthed
it would be by someone who kept absolutely silent, as to
utter a word while searching it would forever preclude all
possibility of success.
attempt at least has been made to obtain the Kidd gold.
A hundred and twenty-five years ago, a man of good
address and apparently of ordinary intelligence, who said
he came from Vermont, appeared at the home of Micah Spooner
and obtained board there, paid his board for a week in advance,
purchased tools and after having received permission from
the owner of the land on which the rock lay he began excavating
for the treasure. He labored steadily until near the end
of the third day, when he appeared very hurriedly and in
a dazed condition at the home of Micah Spooner. He related
a strange story of discovering after digging to the depth
of several feet, an iron chest or box about fifteen inches
square, and that carefully digging all he could around it,
he proceeded with great exertion, as it was very heavy.
to slowly raise it out of its bed and elevate it toward
the surface. It was a long and hard job and when he had
it nearly to the top of the hole he was very tired and stopped
to rest and gain strength for one more trial which he hoped
would enable him to roll it out of the hole and to firm
ground and then the treasure would be his.
holding it thus he said he spoke some word out loud, what
happened he could scarcely tell. The chest was wrenched
violently from his grasp and sunk at once from his sight
into the earth. Loud groans and shrieks were heard.
Blue, green and red flames appeared about him and he found
himself enveloped in sulphurous smoke which nearly suffocated
him and he felt himself thrown forcibly from the excavation.
After a time he came back to consciousness. How long he
was gone he had no idea, and he looked around. The big hole
he had dug was nearly full of dirt and there was no sign
of any chest. He took his bar and tired to see if he could
hit against the treasure anywhere near the top of the chest,
but the bar was thrown from his hands this time and he left
his tools there and hurried away down the hill and told
of this experience.
would not be persuaded to go back but took his clothes and
departed for Vermont or elsewhere as quietly and apparently
as poor as he had come. His tools were found near the rock
and the ground showed that he must have moved a large quantity
of earth while there. Some people who went up there to look
said that they could faintly smell brimstone but there was
no sign of the chest or the gold. Perhaps it is forever
out of the reach of common mortals.
Molly Fisher has long slept the sleep of the just but the
old rock stands as it has stood for ages, moss-grown and
gray, battered by the storms of winter and caressed by the
sunshine of summer, ever the same till time shall be no
more. Silent is the one who engraved the queer inscription
upon it, silent as to the meaning of the unknown, untranslatable
inscription itself and just as silent as to the untold wealth
of the buried treasure which guards so long and well.
much of this is legend and how much is truth cannot be known.
It is a well known fact that at one time Captain Kidd made
his headquarters around New London and Saybrook. It is known
that he did bury treasure in some places because it has
been found. The rock at Saybrook with its similar shape
and inscription are sure. It was said that Molly Fisher
used to go from one end of the state to the other and surely
she lived at the time of Captain Kidd. If she knew there
was treasure there she knew the meaning of the writing no
doubt. There is no question that the man came from Vermont
or some place else to dig and that in some way he knew that
there was treasure there. Probably growing tired and naturally
being of nervous and superstitious temperament perhaps,
he imagined many things. But the fact remains that he came
and dug and went away very hurriedly.
in the woods on the top of what is today known as Lane's
Hill, within a few rods of one of the first highways in
the western part of Connecticut, a main highway laid out
six rods wide from the south end of the town in a nearly
straight line toward the north, it runs over Spooner Hill
and Lane's Hill to just east of the present village of Kent
and straight on north to what is now known as Flanders.
This is where the original settlement of Kent was made about
1738. From Flanders the highway continues to run to the
north clear to the border of Canada.
this little old village of Flanders, runs this old highway
which comes directly from Norwalk, Connecticut on Long Island
Sound and not so far by water from Saybrook and New London.
Did Captain Kidd and his cut-throat band bring a
chest of treasure up that highway and bury it upon the hills
of Kent? Did some of that band cut an inscription
so that it might be found again should occasion ever require?
Was Molly Fisher one of that lawless band and did she ever
come back here from time to time to see if it was safe?
Perhaps you will find out.