“Searching For Buried Treasure:” One Local Man’s Last Request

Photo By Ann Evans Austin

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MINT HILL, NC – As a boy, Jerry Evans, enjoyed playing with his toy trucks on his family’s local homestead here in Mint Hill, NC. During his childhood, his family built a new home on the same homestead location. In the time that the home was being built, Jerry enjoyed visiting the site and playing with his toy trucks during construction on the home. One day, he decided he would drop two of his toy trucks in where the pillars for the porch were being constructed. Jerry dropped two metal trucks down into the column construction, and several days went by. When he went to retrieve them, the porch had been finished, and the column support was then covered with the post that supported the porch. As years went on and Jerry grew to be an adult, he would think about those two metal trucks every once in a while. He always wondered if they were still there. The wonder is what he thought about until the day he passed away on December 26, 2019.

As adults, the Evans children – Ann, Jerry, Tommy, and Dick – always traveled to the beach together in late September for a week. This week, the years that they spent together gave them a time to rejoice about their childhood, reunite as a family unit, and the best of all, tell stories of their beloved homestead growing up. On their vacation of 2019, Jerry was not doing well. He had just finished up treatments for lung cancer that consisted of chemo and radiation, but Jerry would never miss a beach vacation with his family. During this trip is when he told his story of the trucks and how they had been buried below the column of the porch. He had always wondered if the two trucks were still there. He asked his sister, Ann, to make him a promise: that when the homestead was taken down, they would join together and search for the missing trucks. 

Evans Homestead after the demolition started
Evans Homestead after the demolition started.
Photo By Ann Evans Austin


Over the years, the homestead had passed through a couple of hands. After the death of their mother in May of 2006, the property sat for nearly two years before the siblings decided it was time to rent the home and bring life back to it. In 2019, the real estate market in the area finally turned around, and they knew it was time to sell the home. Unfortunately, the state of the home was not as great as it once was, and they knew that the home was soon going to be demolished. Jerry and the Evans siblings were still planning to keep their promise of being there when the house was taken down, but unfortunately, as time passed, Jerry’s health deteriorated. In December of 2019, he developed pneumonia and was hospitalized in Winton-Salem. All the Evans siblings joined around Jerry as they shared stories and laughs. Jerry once again reminded Ann, ” Sis, remember to look for the toy trucks when they take the homeplace down.” He passed at the end of the month, and the home was still standing at that time.

As the months passed in 2020, the Evans family had not received any information on the demolition of the home. They always hoped the buyers would give them a “heads up” about the property. Then, on September 21, Anna’s daughter was passing by the homestead and saw that the process had started, so she instantly got on the phone to call her mother. Ann made a call right away to her brothers, Tommy and Dick. Tommy and Dick asked their sons to join. They all gathered together as quickly as possible to make sure that Jerry’s final request would be honors. As soon as they reached the property, the gentlemen running the Bobcat came over to the family, and they were able to share the story. As all the family joined around, the operator knocked the column down, and the two sons went over to research. Sure enough, in the hole, under some dirt and debris, there laid the two trucks. One was a faded red truck, and the other was a buggy that over the years had lost its top; nonetheless, they were able to recover them.  After all those years, Jerry’s trucks were still preserved in the porch column.

The Evans family has a wonderful history here in the Mint Hill community, and their family has been in the area since the early 1900s. The history along with their family stories is what has created this strong and wonderful community that we call home. We thank Ann and her family for sharing this wonderful tribute to their late brother, Jerry Evans.

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Jessica Mentzer
Jessica Mentzer is a mother, wife, and freelance writer that loves to travel and write. Whenever she is not traveling with her family or writing she enjoys hiking, canoeing, swimming, and spending time with her two children. She is a stay at home mom and enjoys watching her children grow and learn each day. Her passion for writing and her love for travel are two things that she loves to share with friends and family.