The Bank

Baum’s Bank and Trust

On the right-hand side of the room are two desks with two chairs for customers. Behind the furthest is a nondescript man nonchalantly working on a few papers; behind the closest is an older woman with thin framed glasses (Nancy Colden). The woman’s desk contains a short stack of books, and two stacks of papers. She works diligently on papers, moving them to a “done” stack when finished. The man’s desk contains a single long accounting journal; he works more slowly.

At 25’ in, the room is divided by a tall oak counter that span nearly the length of the building. Metals bars span from the counter-top to the ceiling, except for a 2’ wide space directly opposite the door for a teller. A young woman sits behind the bars, and two stocky men stand behind her. Behind all is a metal enforced door.

To the right, the counter ends to jail-style bars and door. Behind the door is a 5’ area that leads to a metal reinforced door to the Secure Personal Storage room, and a jail-style door to the teller and vault area.

The secure personal storage room contains 32 storage boxes. Inside each box is a wooden box with a flat flip-top lid.

Miss Colden handles all loans, personal storage, and other similar transactions. To interact with a box, you must present the key and provide the box number and name. She will first verify the payment status for the box, then go hand off the key to ask for the wooden storage box. Her bottom right drawer contains a ledger that contains 32 file folders and possibly other things. The ledger contains an accounting of what boxes are currently rented, and the name. Each folder contains the payment status for the box. The key box contains 32 small compartments that hold either 1 or 2 keys, depending upon if it is rented or not.

There are no boxes registered to Miller, Seiler, or Zeiler.

Storage Fees:
– 10 cents per day
– 50 cents per week
– 1.50 dollar per month

They have strict regulations to ensure customer privacy, to not reveal names of any box “renters”, or even how many boxes are rented at any given time without a court order from Easton City Hall – and even then, the information is released only to the Sheriff. Typically, this type of request also requires either presentation of a death certificate and approval of the nearest immediate family (spouse, parent, child, sibling, uncle/aunt), or a court order (from the Judge in Easton).

If investigators ask to open box #19, the records in the file show that the payments are delinquent, and the fee for that box is only 50 cents per month. “It must be grandfathered in at that rate – as long as the owner keeps paying, we don’t raise the rate. The owner must have had this box for quite some time.” She will start scribbling on some papers and announce “$123…I’m so sorry, but the last payment was in Aug 1868 for the month of Sept. At 50 cents per month, that’s 246 months (her math is wrong)…” “We should have received a letter on this.”

  • She will flip through the file to discover an envelope with a letter from “Easton Bank and Trust” dated December 10, 1868: (Letter from Easton Bank to Baum’s Bank). After laying the letter on the table, she will dump out a small gray stone, and stare at it blankly for several seconds. Afterwords, she will return all contents to the envelope and put everything away: “Okay, everything seems to be in order, please give me the key and I will go get the box.” (The stone is an unremarkable gray with 3 intersecting white lines and slight green hue)

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The box contains two items. One is a small stone with an etched and inked turtle totem

The other is an ancient book with a loosely folded, non-creased paper tucked behind the last page and the back cover. The paper contains a charcoal drawing of Johann Seiler holding a turtle shell ceremonial rattle, sitting next to a fully decorated Indian wearing a simple necklace with the tortoise totem stone and another necklace with diamond center-piece surrounded by a feather, and holding a tall feathered spear in his right hand. On the back is of the drawing: Dr. Johann Peter Zeyler and Head Chief White Eyes – 1777"

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The book is well-kept, but fragile. It is hand written and an inscription on the front page indicates it is written by Dr. Johann Peter Seiler. The first page is blank followed by a title page: “On the Healing Property of Herbs – as learned by personal research – and through teachings of the indigenous peoples”; the bottom of the page is dated 1740 – 1797. It begins with crude drawings of plants and notes. About half-way through, the additions of Lenape Indian script accompanies the English text, which is scribbled out and modified in many places. The last quarter of the book has a dividing page titled “Indigenous Native Remedies and Treatments”. The very next page contains a depiction of the Witch Head rock, with a ‘U’ like cradle in the base. An arrow points into the center of the cradle, stretching from a circled group of numbers: 12, 1, 9, 2, 6.

Beneath all of this, and on the remaining pages, it contains Lenape Indian script as the main text with translation to English in the margins.

The Bank

Sleepy Little Township jimmorte