The history of the stolen meteorite
In autumn 1902, a Welsh immigrant named Ellis Hughes discovered a strange, partly buried in the ground stone. The find was located at a distance of about 1, 2 km from the Hughes' house, in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The next day, Hughes confided his discovery neighbor, William M. Daley, and showed him a piece of rock found. Dale accidentally hit him with a stone, and, to his surprise, heard the ringing sound. Since both men were miners, they immediately recognized in his discovery of an iron meteorite ...
They hid it under a pile of fir boughs and began to discuss how they could retain the right to dispose of the meteorite. The problem was that the land where lay the Willamette meteorite, owned by (ironically) Oregon Metallurgical Company.
They decided to keep the discovery a secret and try to buy the land on which he lay. Dale went home in eastern Oregon, to sell anything from home values, and thereby raise the necessary capital for the purchase of land.
For some reason unknown to us, Dale did not return. A few months later, the wife of Hughes' dopeklo "her husband, constantly remind you to do something, while another lucky not found a meteorite. Given the lack of money to buy the land where the meteorite was lying, for Hughes quickly it became clear the only way he had to steal meteorite Willamette.
Steal 15-ton piece of iron - not an easy task. In August 1903, Hughes began excavating around a huge meteorite. Working in secrecy, with blunt instruments, he only helped his teenage son and the old horse.
Transportation Willamette meteorite
After a serious hard work, they tried to move the meteorite out of the hole on the board primitive cart, built entirely of logs, using tree trunks as rollers. Resourceful miner built the device in the form of the spire to pull the meteorite in the basket.
Hughes and his son worked for three months unbearable while hauling iron meteorite Willamette on a distance of over a kilometer to the house.
Surprisingly, their work so effectively masked Hughes that his neighbors had no idea that in front of them there is something unusual. When a meteorite was brought to the house, Hughes built a hut around him and announced that he had found the meteorite, and it is his property at the right, and began to charge a fee in the amount of twenty-five cents to everyone to look at this miracle.
Unfortunately, one of the first customers was Hughes' attorney Oregon Metallurgical Company. Somehow, he concluded that the meteorite Willamette was stolen. Probably he found footprints leading to a large pit in the land with us. The lawyer just said Hughes, the ownership of the meteorite to the client - Oregon Metallurgical Company.
In order to avoid court proceedings, he kindly offered miner fifty dollars for the meteorite. Hughes categorically rejected the proposal. The lawyer was forced to file a lawsuit on behalf of the company to return the meteorite in the ownership of the company, and the case was sent to court.
Hughes fought long and seem genuinely believed that the meteorite Willamette rightfully belongs to him. The Court recognized the right of the plaintiff. Immediately after the verdict, the company sent a victorious team working with the horses to the house of Hughes and began the evacuation of an iron meteorite.
Hughes was desperately trying to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court of the State, and he was able to obtain an injunction to move the meteorite before the final decision. The company has hired a security guard, who was sitting on the top of the meteorite with a loaded gun at a time, until the issue is solved.
Meanwhile, Hughes' next-door neighbor, too, has filed a lawsuit, this time against both Hughes and against the company. The neighbor claimed that the meteorite was, in fact, stolen from his land. As proof, he showed investigators a huge crater in their own land, which, he claimed, was formed by a meteorite. The case was dropped when the man's neighbors said they heard the noise of blasting operations, which were carried out from a neighbor just a week ago.
Patriotic selling the Willamette meteorite
So, July 17, 1905, the state Supreme Court upheld the earlier decision and left the Oregon Willamette meteorite steel company. The company took him to Portland, where he was introduced to the public with great fanfare at the Lewis and Clark Exposition. It was announced that the largest US meteorite will remain in the state of Oregon, in his home state.
When the exhibition was closed, Oregon Metallurgical Company, already indifferent to this patriotic rhetoric, Willamette meteorite sold to William Dodge for $ 20,600, which gave it to the American Museum of Natural History.
It was the highest price for this time paid for a copy of the museum's collection. Visitors will find the massive iron meteorite on the ground floor of the Hayden Planetarium Museum (New York), where children continue to climb into the cavity of the meteorite.
At the conclusion of geologists, Willamette meteorite originally fell to the ground in south-eastern British Columbia a few hundred million years ago. During the last glacial period, less than a hundred thousand years ago, moving ice captured a meteor and a meteorite dragged to the south, on an iceberg on Lake Pend Oreille.
Next meteorite continued traveling on the ice downstream of the Columbia River. After all the meteorite was in the Willamette Valley of the same name, where he found his lucky (or not so lucky) miner.