The lost treasure of Christian Weidler

Christian Weidler was not a leprechaun.

Just thought I’d get that out of the way up front. Christian Weidler, in spite of the fact that he had a hidden pot of gold, was not a leprechaun. He wasn’t even Irish. He was German.

Let me back up a bit.

Christian Weidler was born in Germany on Christmas Day, 1818. His family lived in Wurtemburg. He was 11 years old in 1829, when his parents came to America. According to the Historic Resource Survey Form, he first settled in Williamsport. (The form doesn’t mention his parents. I assume they were there, too, but you never know.) Weidler worked in the mills and lived in Lycoming County until 1854. Somewhere in all this, he met and married Julia Ann Sallada, the daughter of Jacob Sallada, who founded Salladasburg.

He moved to Crawford Township, Clinton County as an adult, buying up quite a few acres of heavily forested farmland. He spent the next two years building a two-story farmhouse and barns, where he and his wife lived.

He made enough money to go from being a mill employee to a mill owner. He had a son, Houston, who was born in 1846. (He had seven other children, but Houston was the active one in the family business.) Together they purchased the Rauchtown Mill in 1879, and they ran it together until 1891, when Christian basically retired.

He died in March 1904. And that’s when things got kind of exciting.

The article was on the front page of the Clinton Republican on March 9, 1904. The headline shouted, “Found More Money In Wiedler’s House.”

Weidler was 85 when he died. He was sick for a while, and as he lay on his deathbed, he instructed his family to go out and look on his property. There was a pot of gold buried out there, he said.

Having told them to go out and look for the gold, and also the approximate location, Weidler died. The family went out and looked for the gold. Now, it would occur to me to wonder if maybe he’d been just messing with people, playing a practical joke before he died. The famous outlaw David “Robber” Lewis probably got away with something like this, and I’ll admit I’m not above trying it myself. But the family went and checked.

It turned out to be true. Weidler had left behind a buried pot of gold on his property.

“Recently a pot of gold was found in the grist mill of Christian Weidler at Rauchtown, this county, where he directed that a search be made for it a short time before his death,” the Republican said.

His family gathered up the gold, and brought it inside, figuring they had a major inheritance. They made the funeral arrangements and began cleaning up. But the fun wasn’t over yet.

When they took his sheets to wash them, they found money concealed in the bed.

The Clinton Republican reported this, too. “When the members of the family were cleaning up the house after the funeral, they found a large amount of money sewed up in the bed clothes which had been used by Mr. Weidler. While the bed clothes were being handled suspicious lumps were found in different places. They were opened, and proved to be rolls of bills, ranging from $5 to $20 in denomination.”

Presumably, Weidler died before he could get to that part. Or maybe he was messing with people, after all.

The family counted the money; they didn’t make the full amount public, but the newspaper said “it made a very ample appearing roll when all together.”

Houston also inherited the mill, and continued to run it, with his wife and five children.

How, with eight children, Christian Weidler managed to save up all that money, I’ll never know. But he left them one serious inheritance, as long as they could find it.

Lou Bernard is a Lock Haven resident with a keen interest in the history of this area. He is adult services coordinator at Ross Library and may be reached at ross13@ross or 570-748-3321.