STANFORD, Ky. (LEX 18) — While sitting in his car, something in the rear view mirror caught the eye of William Sharp.
“Right off the bat! As soon as I saw it was carts I said, ‘it’s the mine,’” Sharp said.
He was referring to having located Swift’s Silver Mine, and the carts he mentioned were remnants of steel wheels left behind from carts used to haul away those gems.
“Something kept itching at me, and itching at me to get up there and see what it is,” Sharp said.
Legend has it, Englishman Jonathan Swift came to Kentucky before Daniel Boone, and mined for silver. Over the centuries, the story has been shared, but no one knows if any of it is true, or not. Certainly no one knows if they’ve actually ever found the mine’s location. Some believe it to be in Virginia, or Eastern Kentucky. Others feel - if it exists - it would be located somewhere in Tennessee. Sharp, however, thinks it’s on a cliff in Lincoln County. And he’s spent the better of the last year researching Swift’s story, and canvassing this area.
Sharp will point to items and markings that he feel support his claim. Things like carvings into the stone, and in particular a word that does appear to read: “MINE.” He also shared a drill bit, which may have been attached to a hand crank used to gain leverage over the tool.
Then there’s the silver itself, which over the course of two and a half centuries, has not been left in its original form.
“I’ve researched ore, and I’ve melted a couple of pieces of this and you get a little bit out of it,” Sharp said. “All of it wouldn’t turn back, but you get a little silver out of it when you melt it with a torch.”
As long as Sharp has that torch, his dream of having found Swift’s Mine will continue to flicker.
“I couldn’t walk away from this,” he said.