1917: Treasure hunt takes place after St. Helena hermit dies

A Look Back

Feb. 7, 1917

HARTINGTON — Hidden treasure is the lure which has drawn the major portion of northwestern Cedar County’s population to the farm of John Koulesky, the “hermit” who died at his home near St. Helena about a month ago.

Koulesky was a bachelor, 40 years old, and of an eccentric disposition.

He took no part in the social life of the community and held little communication with his neighbors.

When he fell ill, he lay alone in his home for several days and finally started, with a chair, to the home of his neighbor, Ignatz Lammers. He was found by the latter halfway between the two places, sitting in the chair and almost exhausted.

He remained at the Lammers’ home a short time and insisted on returning to his own house before he had fully recovered.

He died as the result of a relapse shortly after.

While at the Lammers’ home, he talked about a will and some valuable papers in a safe somewhere.

He had also indulged in some rambling talk about valuables in his “cave.”

The talk spread and imaginations were fired up with “treasure tales.” Koulesky never patronized banks.

Mr. Lammers was appointed administrator of the estate. When he went to  search the Koulesky farm floor the “cave” he found others had preceded him.  The frozen ground looked as though it had been visited by Jeff’s Abyssinian woodpecker, it was drilled so full of holes.  So far, neither safe, nor cave have been discovered.