I couldn’t figure out where to put these two odd stories that both involve antique G.F. Filley cast iron pieces, so…here they are!
THE SUNKEN STEAMBOAT BERTRAND AND ITS TREASURES
The steamboat Bertrand sank in the Missouri River on April 1, 1865 after hitting a submerged log about 25 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska.
Bound for the newly discovered goldfields of Montana from St. Louis, Missouri, the Bertrand began to sink into the Missouri River. After initial salvage efforts, she was quickly submerged beneath the water and silt. Her cargo was written off as [a] complete loss.https://www.fws.gov/refuge/desoto/steamboat-bertrand
Treasure hunters discovered the wreck in 1968. Because it was located on Federal property (the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge), all recovered artifacts were required to be turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.1
By late 1969, the vessel’s cargo was completely excavated from its nearly thirty-foot deep, mud tomb. Unfortunately for the salvors, the treasure they sought had eluded them. Insurance company divers had apparently removed most of the mercury and other valuables soon after the ship sank. However, what had been left was a diversity of tools, clothing, and food items. The Bertrand’s cargo was remarkably well-preserved, and the refuge’s collection is a unique time capsule for researchers and visitors interested in America’s 19th century material culture.https://www.fws.gov/refuge/desoto/steamboat-bertrand
About 300,000 items were recovered. Among them were two hinged cast iron waffle irons marked “Giles Filley.” A case with between 48 and 50 cast iron skillets was also recovered. Those skillets are also thought to have also been produced by G.F. Filley.2
Many of the artifacts recovered from the Bertrand are on display at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center just outside of Blair, Nebraska. You can see a brief overview in the video below.
203-POUND FISH WITH G.F. FILLEY WAFFLE IRON MARKINGS INDENTED ON ITS BACK CAUGHT IN 1881.
This bizarre story from a 1881 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speaks for itself.
A 203-pound fish? That had imprints of an 1869 G.F.Filley Waffle Iron?!?