The General's Den
Recently, while searching for runaway Black Angus heifers in the huge county forest in Washburn County, Wisconsin, the author discovered a wooden door in a bank by a stream. Eventually able to return with proper tools, the door was opened. What was found behind the door is what the story is about. Opening the door revealed a small den like structure which had been built just after the Civil War. The den had been inhabited for many years and artifacts and other things found in and around the den takes the reader to faraway places and long ago events. The well preserved body found in the den apparently was that of Benjamin G. Mason, a Civil War General. He obtained 40 acres as payment for fighting with Captain Billy in the Indian Wars. He received a patent transferring the land from the United States Government and signed by the President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, April 15, 1839. Benjamin lived at Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania when he received the patent. Artifacts found in the den indicated that Benjamin s friend Lucy had several brothers returning from the Civil War and Benjamin should be on the watch for them as they were upset with events of the Civil War. They lived in Hagerstown, Maryland which is south of the Mason - Dixon Line. From information written by Benjamin, it indicates he built the den in 1866 and lived there until at least 1878. He was dead for at least 135 years and maybe longer when the author found him. This den was located on county forest property so removing Benjamin s body and other artifacts meant dealing with the county board. Other discoveries involved gold bars from the Civil War and several guns apparently from fur traders in the 1870's.