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XYZ series - REPLANTED LbNA #72750

Owner:SherlockMiles Supporter
Plant date:Mar 24, 2018
City:Deep River
Location: Fountain Hill Cemetery
Found by: burning feet
Last found:Nov 14, 2023
Last edited:Mar 25, 2018
This is a replant of Box #1 from XYZ Series (LbNA #7729, AQ #19406) by SwampYankee&Sunshine. This is their stamp carving. Also note that the LbNA clues were updated in June 2009, but the AQ clues were not. So anyone who tried to follow the AQ clues had no hope of finding them.

The below history is from the original listing. The clues at the end are mine. The original listing had 3 boxes, however #2 and #3 are no longer there, so this listing is for 1 box - The Lady in Black Letterbox.
First the story:

DEEP RIVER WAS a bustling little Connecticut River town during the last quarter of the nineteenth- century. Boasting a world-famous ivory piano-key factory, numerous businesses catering to the maritime interests on the river and a lively commercial block, the community easily supported two banking institutions, unusual for a town so small. Thus, while criminal activity was even then associated in the public mind with the larger cities, the people of Deep River became convinced that their town could match New Haven or Hartford anytime, because something approaching a crime wave began in 1874. After all, thieves always go where the money is, and Deep River was rolling in it. The Deep River National Bank was the intended target of robbers who tried to break in that year, but for one reason or another, the attempt failed. Over the next few years other efforts to crack the National Bank were also unsuccessful. Then, early in 1899, Asa Shailer, president of the town's other bank, the Deep River Savings Bank, received a letter from the American Bankers Association which contained disquieting news. According to A. B. A. intelligence sources, a band of burglars was being assembled for the express purpose of robbing banks in Connecticut. "Your bank and the Deep River National Bank are mentioned as institutions upon which attack is contemplated," the letter added, ominously.

Given Deep River's past record of bank robbery attempts, Shailer took the warning seriously. Though previous break-in efforts had been unsuccessful, the town banks could ill afford to press their luck too far. The Savings Bank president called the bank's directors into emergency session and at the meeting it was decided that for the first time in the institution's 48-year history, it would have an armed night watchman. A bank employee sent to the Winchester Firearms Corporation in New Haven to buy a weapon for the guard returned with the company's newest riot gun, a rifle reportedly able to kill two people with one blast. The watchman hired to carry the fearsome weapon was Harry Tyler, a Deep River man who had earned a reputation for cool courage under fire when he had foiled an attempted hardware store robbery in the town.

In February, 1899, Asa Shailer received another letter from the A. B. A. with more unsettling news. "Burglars are contemplating an attack on a bank in Deep River,'' the message warned, "when the moon has waned and the nights have grown darker." Harry Tyler and his Winchester were ready, but the moon waned (and waxed) many times before the expected burglar "attack" was launched. In the early morning hours of December 13 a dog's bark alerted Tyler that something was up. Sure enough, as he peered through the window in the Board Room at the rear of the bank, the guard saw four men approaching stealthily. When two of them began to jimmy the window, Tyler noticed that one of them carried a revolver. That convinced the watchman that these were no pranksters but the long-awaited, genuine bank robbers. Tyler stepped back slightly into the shadows, put the riot gun to his shoulder, aimed carefully and pulled the trigger.

After the blast, a makeshift posse quickly formed on Main Street to hunt for the three would-be robbers who had run from the scene of the shooting. But for the fourth bandit there would be no more running. His body was found crumpled beneath the bank's north window, a fair portion of the left side of the head removed by the shot from the Winchester. The corpse was removed to a local funeral home where, for several days, it was viewed by people from both near and far in the hope that someone could make an identification. But no one knew him and since his companions were not caught, there seemed no choice but to give him decent, if anonymous, burial. After the founders of the Fountain Hill Cemetery donated a plot, the hapless burglar was laid to rest in a short ceremony witnessed by a few curious townspeople. His grave was unmarked.

For several days the thwarted robbery and slaying of the unidentified man received wide publicity in the press from Boston to New York. The Deep River Savings Bank was flooded with letters praising the bank's effective security system and the courage of Harry Tyler. But as Tyler bathed in the tide of admiring letters, he came upon one note that struck a different chord. Written in what he took to be a woman's hand, unsigned, and delivered in an envelope bearing an illegible postmark, the brief letter asked that the unknown bank robber's grave be marked with a monument inscribed with the last three letters of the alphabet. Although there was no explanation for the strange request and no way to judge its seriousness, Tyler complied. Over the grave of the man he had killed, he placed a wooden marker with the roughly carved inscription "XYZ."

As the sensational events of December 13 began to fade from local memory and investigation of the case failed to produce a single clue as to the identity of any of the would-be-robbers, Deep River gradually turned back to the business of earning a living, the late XYZ all but forgotten. At this point, however, the mystery deepened and the legend took another curious turn. For it became obvious after a few years had passed that at least one person had not forgotten the anonymous victim of Harry Tyler's Winchester. People began to notice that each December 13, a woman dressed all in black rode into Deep River on the train. Always alone, she would leave the station platform and walk out along the tracks to Fountain Hill Cemetery, where she placed a small bouquet of flowers on the grave marked XYZ. In all the years she made her pilgrimage --- annually, as far as people could remember -- no one ever thought to question her identity or her association with the man buried in the grave she decorated. Her last recorded visit was made in 1947, when the Hartford Times published a "human interest" piece on the lady in black and the flowers found by the cemetery's groundskeepers.

Was the lady in black the author of the letter requesting the XYZ marker? Was she the widow or grieving sweetheart of XYZ himself? Or was she just a woman who had lost a loved one and singled out the XYZ grave for symbolic remembrance? When an officer of the Deep River Savings Bank takes down the old Winchester riot gun from its place of honor on the north wall of the Board Room -- as happens on occasion down to this day -- he probably ponders the answers to these and other questions which will never be answered.

From "Legendary Connecticut" by David E. Philips

Now the clues:

Find your way to Fountain Hill Cemetery in Deep River CT. The entrances are both on High St.
Follow the road into the cemetery, always bearing right, to be on the southern edge of the cemetery. After turning right after the utility building (on your right), park by the Pet Cemetery (on your right). If you’re brave, you can continue to drive down to the turn around, but it’s an unmaintained 1 car wide ‘road’ that had trees across it from the recent storms. (I’m sure they’ll be cleanup soon, but we had to turn around - quite a not-fun activity given the narrow road.) Follow the road to your right all the way around a sweeping left curve to a ‘turn about’ - a circular loop at the end of the road with a large Oak and that used to have goldfish pond at its center (the pile of broken rubble is still there). Walk/drive around the turn counter-clockwise to the 9 o’clock position (you will be facing the road you just came down). Look right up the hill and notice a three-sister tree growing out of the ledge and to its right a single tree growing out of the ledge. In front of these - closer to the road - you’ll see a mature tree with smooth bark (pictured). The Lady In Black letterbox is behind this tree under leaves and sticks. No logbook; no ink.

Hike length: 0.5 miles