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Treasure: Can it be found at Kelly's Bluff or was it a "Bluff by Kelly?"

If you live in Dubuque, Iowa, you are probably familiar with a location there called "Kelly's Bluff." If you are not from Dubuque, you will become familiar with it after reading this article and watching the video.

Treasure Chest of Gold
Public Domain

In 1808, Thomas Kelly was born in King's County Ireland. He later ventured to America before the great "Irish Potato Famine" struck Ireland. After arriving in America, he traveled some, but finally settled on the bluffs behind St. Raphael's Cathedral in Dubuque in 1832. He immediately began mining for lead ore and became quite prosperous doing so. Reports are that Kelly was a miser and did not believe in banks, so he hid his fortune in the ground at different locations on the bluff. Even though Kelly brought some family members to Dubuque later, he did not leave a will when he died in 1867, but left a note that informed people if they wanted his gold, they would have to search for it.

Kelly lived a very secretive life, and some believe he may have killed a man in New York and escaped an insane asylum to return to Dubuque in 1857. When Kelly died in 1867, his estate was believed to be worth between $50,000 and $200,000, without the hidden gold.

Since his death, some of his gold has been found in three different caches. One of the findings contained $1,800 in gold, and another was $1,200, while the third, which was found in an iron chest by two boys, contained $10,000 in eagle and double eagle coins. The "mother lode" of Kelly's gold is still believed to be buried on the property in another iron chest.

Kelly's Bluff is now a subdivision of privately owned homes and condos, and it will be to the discretion of the individuals living there to believe if there is more gold on Kelly's Bluff or if it was just a "bluff" made by Kelly? Be sure to watch the video in this article.

If you don't already subscribe to the Small Town Travel articles and events written by Gerry Glenn Jones in the Examiner, you can do so by clicking on the subscribe link located under this writer's photo at the top of the page. All these articles are free.

Until we meet again on these pages, "We will let the world turn onto our next destination."

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