As the personality of Silas Tucker became clear, I knew that if he had gone to the trouble of creating a secret room, then he would have hidden things of value inside. Here was a man who when building his house had put in a hidden staircase, hid a portion of the basement, and created a tunnel to escape through. When building his house he had just lived through the Civil War and marched to the beat of his own drum. With the chaos in the nation at the time, he felt it reasonable to take measures to ensure that if war broke out again, he’d have means to escape, and he also managed to build up quite a nest egg and munitions to defend his stronghold.
She [Rhonda] poked her head out. “This is no ordinary storeroom. It’s a post-Civil War version of a safe room.” She cleared a cobweb from her path and took a step farther in.
Then it hit her. Silas wouldn’t have kept tobacco in a safe room because he wouldn’t have used it. The smoke and scent would have told his pursuers where he was hiding. She stretched her arms and grabbed a tin off the top. The decades of dust felt gritty under her fingers. She pried the lid off. Definitely not tobacco, but something papery inside. She shone her light in the tin.
Her hand shook and the lid dropped to the ground. She blinked. The contents didn’t change. The tin was full of five-thousand-dollar bills sporting James Madison on the front.
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