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Poor Boy Visits His Ancestors’ Graves, Finds Map on Tomb of His Grandpa’s Great-Great-Grandfather — Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Aug 22, 2022
08:15 A.M.
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A young boy investigates his family's history for a school project and finds a map on his great-grandfather's tomb, leading him to an exciting discovery.

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"Who are you? Where do you come from?" asked Mr. Barton. "I believe that if we don't know where we come from, we don't know where we are going. And that is what I want you to find out!"

Dylan Gordon listened to Mr. Barton, then he put his hand up. "Do you mean like from Missouri, or France or Guatemala?" he asked, and Mr. Barton shook his head.

"No," he said. "I want you to discover your roots, who your forebearers were, what they did, what their dreams were. Tell me your history, Dylan. That is what I want!"

"I believe that if we don't know where we come from, we don't know where we are going." | Source: Unsplash

"I believe that if we don't know where we come from, we don't know where we are going." | Source: Unsplash

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That afternoon, Dylan rode his bicycle to his grandmother Ruth's house and knocked on the door. "Well, isn't this a nice surprise," Gran Ruth cried. "Come on in!"

Our family is our greatest treasure.

"Hi, gran!" Dylan said. "My teacher wants me to do a report on where I come from, like who my forebearers were. That means you, right?"

Gran Ruth laughed. "Oh my! You make me sound like a mummy!" she exclaimed. "I think he might want you to go a bit further back. Why don't we take a stroll down to the cemetery on Saturday?

"Our family has been buried there since the Civil War. You can look at all the graves, write down their names and dates, and I'll tell you their stories, OK?"

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"That would be great," cried Dylan. "See you Saturday!"

On Saturday morning, bright and early, Dylan and Gran Ruth went to the cemetery. She led him to the furthest corner, where all the Gordons were buried.

"This here is James Gordon," gran said. "I think he came over to the United States from Scotland. The headstone is so worn you can't even read the dates anymore.

Dylan went to grandma Ruth for help. | Source: Unsplash

Dylan went to grandma Ruth for help. | Source: Unsplash

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"Now this one...This is Andrew Bellamy Gordon. He was my great-great-grandfather!"

"Wow!" Dylan cried. "That means he was my great-great-GREAT-grandfather? That's a fancy tomb! Was he important?"

"He was an adventurer," Gran Ruth said. "He ran off to sea and became a sailor, then he went to California to join the Gold Rush in 1849, and the family legend is that he struck it rich.

"He came back in 1856, and he got married. He bought himself a nice house, and he settled down. But then the Civil War started, and Andrew upped and joined the Union Army.

"His wife Hannah was pregnant by then, and he told her he'd left enough gold to see her through. He even left her a map, but Hannah couldn't make head or tail of it.

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"So when Andrew died in Virginia, in 1862, Hannah had him brought home. She asked the blacksmith to cast his map in bronze, and there it is on his tomb."

Grandma Ruth took Dylan to a remote corner of the old cemetery. | Source: Unsplash

Grandma Ruth took Dylan to a remote corner of the old cemetery. | Source: Unsplash

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"Wow!" said Dylan again. "That is WAY cool! So no one ever found the gold?"

"No," Gran Ruth said. "My grandfather tried, so did my father, but no one found Andrew Gordon's gold."

Dylan and gran Ruth reverently cleaned Andrew Gordon's tomb, and he even made a rubbing of the map. Dylan looked more closely at the rubbing.

"Did you say Andrew was a sailor?" asked Dylan.

"Yes," said gran Ruth. "Why do you ask?"

"Because there are numbers here on the map!" Dylan said excitedly. "Sailors used coordinates, right? So maybe that is what these numbers are."

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Andrew joined the California Gold Rush. | Source: Unsplash

Andrew joined the California Gold Rush. | Source: Unsplash

Dylan fished out his cell phone and introduced the numbers into the GPS. "I think it's somewhere in the woods, Gran!" he said. "Come on!"

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With Dylan leading the way, the two walked into the woods, following the GPS. Deeper and deeper into the woods they went, and Gran Ruth was starting to feel a bit tired and worried.

"Dylan," she panted. "I think we need to go back!"

"No!" said Dylan. "Look, there's an old cabin!" The cabin was more of a ruin, Ruth saw, only the brick chimney still stood.

"This is where it is!" her grandson said. He started scrounging through the ruins, looking for a sign of the mysterious gold. Ruth was tired so she sat on a stone in front of the chimney.

She leaned back and felt something move. "Don't move, Gran Ruth!" Dylan whispered. "I think I know where the gold is!"

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Andrew fought in the American Civil War. | Source: Pexels

Andrew fought in the American Civil War. | Source: Pexels

Dylan started pushing on the bricks on the chimney until he felt one move. Carefully, he pulled out the brick. Deep in the hole left behind on the mantel, there was a tin almost as big as the brick.

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Dylan tried to lift it out but it was heavy! He had to slide it out, and he and gran Ruth lowered it carefully to the ground.

Dylan opened the tin box with bated breath. Inside was a piece of parchment paper, and underneath he could see the shimmer of gold! "We found it, gran!" Dylan cried. "We found Andrew's gold!"

But Gran Ruth was more interested in the paper. She carefully unfolded it and read the faded writing:

"My beloved, if you are reading this, I have gone on to heaven before you. The gold in this box will give our baby a bright future, and give you comfort. If I don't come back, don't let my child forget me. Tell him or her that the greatest adventure of my life was knowing I am to be a father. I go to war knowing that my family's future is assured."

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Dylan and grandma Ruth found a ruined cabin in the woods. | Source: Pexels

Dylan and grandma Ruth found a ruined cabin in the woods. | Source: Pexels

Ruth sighed. "He signed it, 'My love always, your Andrew.' You see Dylan, he left the gold for his family's future and that means you, and your dad."

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"Is it worth a lot?" asked Dylan.

"I don't know," Gran Ruth said. "But whatever it is, I know it will be a big help for your mom and dad."

"But what about you, Gran Ruth?" asked Dylan. "You're Andrew's family too!"

"But you are the one who will be taking Andrew's memory into the future," Ruth said. "And mine too. We live on in our family, your teacher was right about that!"

Dylan got an A on his report about his forebearers, and his dad discovered that the gold was worth over $60,000! It was enough to clear the family's debt with enough left over for a vacation!

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Dylan found Andrew's treasure. | Source: Pixabay

Dylan found Andrew's treasure. | Source: Pixabay

What can we learn from this story?

  • If we don't know where we come from, we don't know where we are going. Our past is part of us and helps us define who we are now and in the future.
  • Our family is our greatest treasure. Andrew left his gold to assure his wife and his baby's future -- but it was his great-great-grandson who solved the riddle of the map.
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Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a little boy grieving for his recently deceased father who is worried that he will be afraid of the dark, so he takes a candle to his grave.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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