Unsolved Mystery Box of Tamaqua

In April of 1898, when Joseph Southem, the graveyard sexton preparing a burial ground for Mrs. Margaret Wyatt, he made a curious discovery that leading to a mystery which has remained unsolved for over a century.

The following comes from the Shenandoah Evening Herald, on April 4, 1898:

"The preparation of the grave for the interment of Mrs. margaret Wyatt in the Odd Fellows' cemetery at tamaqua led to a discovery that is causing much discussion. While Joseph Southem, the sexton, was digging the grave he came upon a large rock weighing about a ton. This was removed by the Southem with assistance and beneath it was found a rough box, which was found to be empty. The sexton at once reported the matter to the secretary of the cemetery association. A search of the records was made, but it could not be found that the lot had ever been sold to any one other than the Wyatt family. To avoid any possible confussion in the future a lot in another location was given and the grave arranged before the cotege arrived. How the rough box got into the place where the sexton found it continues a mystery. The box had the appearance of having been in the ground several years."

Why would anyone bury an empty box in a cemetery beneath a one ton boulder? Who would go through such trouble? Did the box once hold a valuable treasure that had somehow been unearthed before 1898? Or was somebody planning on returning to the spot later with the hopes of burying something that nobody would ever be able to find?

That, of course, is the mystery, and it's a mystery that boggles the mind the more you stop to think about it.
The story provides some possible clues as to the age of the mystery box; according to the sexton, the box appeared to have been in the ground several years before it was unearthed. Could the box have been buried before the cemetery was laid out?



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