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Home: Surnames: Haskin Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Haskin family of Lyn, Ont.
Posted by: Nancy Haskin (ID *****9028) Date: October 22, 2007 at 16:33:51
In Reply to: Haskin family of Lyn, Ont. by Marg Hunter of 225

Hi Marg -

I don't know if you still want this info but I have found a Sydney Haskin (1825-1882) buried in the Lyn Cemetery. His parents were Joseph and Lucy (Parish) & his grandparents were Joseph and Deborah (Beekman). They all lived around Leeds, Ont.
Sydney married Mariah Slack and their son Byron was my grandfather. Here is a tale about Sidney - Enjoy
Nancy Haskin

Father’s Search for LaRue Money Recalled by Haskin
Dr. Byron Haskin, Theresa, Tells of Search With Divining Rod

By Ernest G. Cook

Some of the newspapers in Ontario, Canada, just recently have revived the story of “Billa” LaRue,” the pioneer on the banks of the St. Lawrence river, across and down the river a little from Alexandria Bay, and his buried treasures which were never found. The Canadian historian, T. W. H. Leavitt, in his histories of Leeds and Greenville counties, gives much space in his book to this man and the hunt for the treasure. He tells that a man was once employed with a divining-rod to locate the buried gold and the papers of late speak also of that incident.

“If you read anything about this man with the divining-rod searching for the gold, you may be certain it is correct,” said Dr. Byron Haskin of Theresa. “The reason why I know is that man with the rod was my father, Sidney Haskin, and I was with him when he made the search. I was only nine years old at that time, which would be 55 years ago, but I remember it as if it were but yesterday.”

“My father was considered an expert with the witching-rod and many a farmer would secure his services when a new well was to be put down. Father would walk back and forth across the yard and hold the forked cherry-sprout upright and when he came to where water was flowing underground, the forked-stick would surely turn and point down. I have seen it work many a time and I don’t pretend to explain it. But father said it needed a man to carry the stick who had plenty of electricity in his body, for electricity and water always worked well together. The neighbors would come for father to do this work and usually gave him $5. They would dig the well where he said and always find water.”

“Now about this William LaRue, or ‘Billa,’ as he was mostly called. Some said he was of French descent, and maybe was, but the records show he came from the New England states at the time of the American Revolution and, being a United Empire loyalist, he went to Canada and was given a grant of land--the records show that---on the banks of the St. Lawrence at what became the town of Escott. He was given nearly 1,000 acres on May 17, 1802. There was a deep ravine running down to the St. Lawrence river in which flowed a stream of water. LaRue conceived the idea of putting a dam across the ravine and planting a sawmill there. His plan worked. It is told that he selected the finest pine tree on the place and had it cut into choice planks and from these he made his coffin. He planted apple trees, chestnut and walnut trees and turned his mill over to the British at the time of the war of 1812 to get lumber for the forts. He planted riflepits on the place for defending that point. They tell that he walked barefoot to Cornwall to buy leather for boots, Cornwall being the nearest point to obtain leather. He became rich.

“When he was on his death bed his room was where he could look from his window to a certain spot, where people thought his wealth was buried for it was known he had his money hidden. He died without telling a soul where his treasures were.

“In after years people searched and searched for the money. I know I heard much about it when I was a boy, but as he died in 1832, the stories had become about as much legend as actual history. Well, there was a woman (line missing)............tell of mysteries and they went to her for advice. She told them that they had been digging on the wrong side of the ravine, and to go to the opposite side. I don’t know how much digging they did under her directions, but I do know that in 1881 a man came to our home in Lyn (spell that word with one ‘n’) and made arrangements for father to go to Escott, which is above Mallorytown on the St. Lawrence, to ‘witch’ for that money.

“I might add that father was very good at that. I have seen him at evening parties permit people to blindfold him and he would take his rod and folks would put a silver dollar on the floor in some spot and let father start out, and, sure enough, he would locate it. That gave him a reputation for finding money. It was quite a drive to Escott with a horse and buggy and we knew it would be late before we got there. It was rather late but father said we would start in. I, as a boy of nine, was greatly excited. I can see the place now---the little family cemetery, unkept, the solid house that LaRue built, and all. Father took a hint, I think, from the Witch of Plum Hollow and started walking on that side of the ravine.

“Suddenly the forked-stick turned down. Father went over the place several times and each time it turned down. ‘Dig right there,’ father said, and started to leave the place. But they asked him to remain and some men from that section began to dig hurriedly I think.

“I know the hole they dug was rather small across and when they got down rather deep, I, being small, was let down in the hole to dig the ground loose with a crowbar. Suddenly, it was about nightfall, I struck something I thought was a large flat stone and I actually thought I could hear the chink of the coins as my bar shook the stone. I called up that I thought we were getting near it, when suddenly one of the men looked frightened.

“ ‘It is the hour of witches,’ he said, ‘and they will be coming from that cemetery there and other places, so we had best stop for the night. In fact I wouldn’t stay here another minute, no matter what we got.’

“That settled it. All wanted to quit, except my father, but it was not his party; he was only getting pay for locating the treasure. I recall that they helped me out of the pit, as it was getting dusk, and we went to a family nearby to spend the night.

“The next morning the men went back but things seemed to have been changed in the night. The bar did not (sic) longer strike the stone. Some of the men said that the witches had come from the LaRue cemetery and rehidden the money. Anyway, it was not there and we went home in deep wonder---or at least I did some hard thinking, for it was I who certainly struck that stone at night and could not locate it in the morning.

“I have sometimes wondered if one or more of those helpers did not come back to that place in the night and, if there was a box there, make way with it and keep their deed a secret. Anyway, they have never found the money that ‘Billa’ LaRue was supposed to have hidden about the place. A man by the name of Cherry Buell owns the place today and resides there. The tipping tombstone on the LaRue grave reads, ‘Sacred to the memory of William LaRue, who departed this life November 15, 1832, aged 72 years, 9 months, 9 day.’ His wife, Abigal (sic), died April 30, 1834, but she was younger, being but 59 at the time of her death.

“I have often thought of that (line missing) ....................riches of ‘Billa’ LaRue, pioneer and important citizen of that entire section before and during the war of 1812.”

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