Stamping Ground has it’s very own columnist! Buck Creacy will be writing Stamping Ground Tales every week in the News-Graphic.
Stamping Ground is Full of Secrets
by Buck Creacy Feb 4, 2017
I have found out that Stamping Ground has some really good secrets. Some of them haven’t been discovered yet either and folks are still poking around trying to uncover the whole truth. For example, it gives me goosebumps to think that Jesse James and Cole Younger and their gang rode these hills. They might’ve watered their horses right there in downtown Stamping Ground, behind the Cake Lady’s Shop.
We both know that every community has its secrets. Some will drop your jaw; others are the general run of the mill gossipy type of secrets. Gossipy does not interest me much, not even if it’s really juicy. I’m relatively new to Stamping Ground.
By now, I feel pretty certain that almost everyone knows that Jesse’s daddy was the pastor of the Great Crossing Baptist Church right there on Highway 227 next to Elkhorn Creek. From what I can find out, Pastor James was a good man of faith, and I just this second realized that makes Frank and Jesse “Preacher’s Kids”. It’s no secret that the boys were wild as a march hare and ruthless to the core. I’ve seen that happen when folks walk away without their faith and family values. Jesse and Frank’s mother always faithfully welcomed them home. Even so, I can easily imagine many a restless night and tear stained pillow covered with prayers for her boys.
History says that the James-Younger Gang had a criminal rampage from Kentucky all the way down to Texas. They murdered and robbed stage coaches, banks, travelers and trains. Records show that in the James-Younger Gang’s short career they stole over $1.5 million in gold, jewelry and coin. Most of the Younger boys would eventually be sentenced to life in prison and young Jesse would be shot in the back of the head by Robert Ford, one of his own gang members.
Bad day for Robert too, he was immediately arrested and put on trial for murder. Only a governor’s pardon saved Robert from a stretched neck. You see, Robert Ford and the good governor had made a Judas-like deal for the life of Jesse James. Robert Ford would commit suicide in May of 1884, sick and broke.
But no one has found their treasure if there is one. For reference; in 1865 $1 in gold is now worth $14.20. Imagine, peeking into a sinkhole or creekside cave and finding $21,300,000 worth of gold, watches, rings and coins twinkling back at you. Is there gold treasure in or around Stamping Ground? No one has found it. Maybe the gang just drank it up in rot gut whiskey.
Frank James and Cole Younger would eventually calm down and even start a Wild West show to thrill city folks about the rough and tumble days of the American Wild West. From what I hear it was not a success and both men died bankrupt, old, and truly broken men. I can’t help but wonder what caused them to choose their path, to assail innocent folks for trinkets and drink and then pretend to be showmen, keepers of the old ways; offering a playacting glimpse into the past.
So what does all that have to do with Stamping Ground secrets? Well, you tell me. How come no one ever found all that treasure? How come the gang kept coming back to this part of Kentucky even when Jesse’s momma didn’t live here anymore? It wasn’t a sweetheart. It was widely known that Jesse took female company where he found it. I have only lived here in Stamping Ground a little while and I haven’t really had a lot of time to spend in the woods and creeks yet.
I have to admit that I did find a singular treasure and I hate to tell anyone about it. I know that just as soon as I put it down on paper, I will have to struggle. But here goes; have you had some of those bourbon cupcakes from the Cake Lady on Main Street in Stamping Ground? No? Good, don’t buy any, don’t go there, don’t drive over this way to check it out or order a cake either. And please, pretty please don’t buy any of those Bourbon Cupcakes. I want to keep them a secret just between us two. The last thing I need is a crowd of folks in front of the Cake Lady’s shop and them leaving me to stand in line with my bad knee. Stamping Ground has a few sweet secret treasures. One of them is in the Cake Lady’s Shop and let me just say; those secrets are jaw dropping good. Remember; let’s just keep it between us.