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Bank Robber Hides Something In A ‘Mystery Box’, 100 Years Later, His Great Grandson Opens It
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Vintage2 years ago

Bank Robber Hides Something In A ‘Mystery Box’, 100 Years Later, His Great Grandson Opens It

Every time my grandma told me about her parents, I would devour every little crumb of information she’d give. When I was learning about my ancestors, it always felt like I was learning about myself as well.

Imgur user jellybeanjelly just found out about some over 100-year-old wooden boxes that belonged to his great grandfather, John Bunion Knight. John was a bank robber, so naturally, jellybeanjelly was really intrigued. The best part is that they documented the entire process and uploaded it to the internet where we can go on their journey with them.

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Quick backstory: My great grandfather, John Bunion Knight (1877-?), was in Leavenworth prison most of his life. Family story goes he was a bank robber and the last time his son (my grandfather) saw him as a kid there was a pile of cash and guns on the bed. Then his wife told everyone in the family that JBK had died. Fast forward many years, the son has a young son (my dad) and they are at home when the phone rings and are told that the man who they thought had been dead for decades was alive in Leavenworth prison but has late stage cancer so they are letting him out

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Fast forward to 2019. An extended family member passed away and his wife finds these boxes that had been passed down from JBK who made them in prison. At some point someone had wrapped them up bc the intricate woodwork was falling apart. Because JBK was on her husbands side of the family she gave the boxes to my parents to open up

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

JBK had a daughter (Beatrice) and a son (my grandfather)

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Thankfully at some point, someone protected everything. Edit: Obviously the bubble wrap is not 100 years old. My great-uncle secured the boxes and contents at some point but his wife wasn’t sure what was inside

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

A wooden spoon

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

No clue what this means. Would love to know if anyone has any ideas

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

A bank robber MUST keep diamonds in his box, right?! Inside was this beautiful tiara but judging by the quality (and the fact that all of his possessions were with him in Leavenworth) this must have been Beatrice’s decorative dress up tiara that he kept with him as a keepsake

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

If only they were real

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Along with the spoon, tiara, and mirror, was this beautiful porcelain figurine

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

This Josef Originals figurine apparently goes for a cool $20 on Etsy

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Now onto the second box! The woodwork on both is great. Obviously not a masterpiece but hundreds and hundreds of small pieces, cloth lined, lock and key, mirrors, and for +100 years old have held up pretty good. Lots of time in prison to work on it I guess. Better than anything I could create

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

At some point, I’d love to get these boxes restored to their original beauty

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Inside the second box

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

A photo of his son (my grandfather) on the left and his daughter on the right. At the bottom it has his initials and the date Jan 17, 1920, which is still a mystery. His son was born in 1918, but could be the date of his incarceration? If my grandfather and his sister had a hazy memory of money/guns on a bed then that could make sense (she was slightly older). Something to look into – but in 16 days it will be the 100 year anniversary of whatever happened!

Image credits: jellybeanjelly

Other than the pictures above, inside there was only pieces that had fallen off and the key. But the personal keepsakes and story are worth every bit of anticipation and the payoff – at least for me, probably not for anyone hoping for a treasure map or a real diamond tiara

Here’s what people said about opening the boxes

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Carol Emory
Community Member
2 years ago

I believe the markings on the spoon means it's bone, not wood.

Dee Hunter
Community Member
2 years ago

The texture looks a little like bone as well

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Belinda Matson
Community Member
2 years ago

100yrs today wow. So he had the mirror with their pics in prison with him but no one knew he was alive for years while he cherished them in his heart every day? :(

L McN
Community Member
2 years ago

If they were told he had passed I wonder if it just came from a relative who decided that they needed to focus on their lives and cut off contact. This is sad for him, AND for the family. But, just maybe he instructed her to do so. Still sad but it shows love as well.

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Zach Tan
Community Member
2 years ago

Sounds like the start of a great mystery novel!

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
2 years ago

Lol especially that comment about "shine the tiara on the mirror etc" it's like a Dan brown

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ShareMusic
Community Member
2 years ago

The spoon looks like ivory or bone.

Daniel Mason
Community Member
2 years ago

When I saw the box I thought it was old school Jumanji at first XD

Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

How cool would that be?! Like I'm being serious. I always thought that jumanji board was the best part of the movie.

Load More Replies...
David Jeu
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

How you get the box is his original state. Dont restore it, cherish is damage as souvenir.

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
2 years ago

Consider having them x-rayed. Glad you're planning on having them restore.

Parmeisan
Community Member
2 years ago

The date could simply be the date he finished the box. It hardly seems significant to us, but to him after so many hours of work it would be. It could just be a signature line.

J. Normal
Community Member
2 years ago

I tend to think it is the day he lost his family. A daily reminder of what he lost.

Load More Replies...
Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

Those boxes are absolutely beautiful. I've collected a few wood boxes over the years but nothing like those.

Petra Ostojić
Community Member
2 years ago

I think on the second box he used the intarsia woodworking or wood art technique. The box is beautiful, I would definitely restore it.

Not-so-MadMax
Community Member
2 years ago

The little combes on the tiara seem to be plastic. Most clear plastics turn opaque over time, suggesting is isn't very old.

Jane Doe
Community Member
2 years ago

The real treasure is the value he placed on these keepsakes. The pictures were his true treasures.

Della Greymane
Community Member
2 years ago

My suspicion is the markings on the spoon are a measurement. Metric was just being developed at that time, and the US was a signatory to the compact developing it. Leavenworth was a federal facility, so it is possible they were using it experimentally at that time. If that is 1/2 m/L on the engraving, then that is roughly 1/10th of a teaspoon, or a "dash". Can't confirm without actually having measurements though.

Седьмая Печать
Community Member
2 years ago

пупырку использовал прадед? айфона там не было?

Ismar Sehic
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

beastunbox.com to see my art blog

Kerry Rice
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

So there was bubble wrap 100 years ago???

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
2 years ago

That's explained in the article...

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Patty Fox
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Bubble wrap didn't exist 100 years ago.

Parmeisan
Community Member
2 years ago

It says as much in the original post ;)

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Christina Dudley
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Well who'd have known they had cling film and bubble wrap 100+ years ago 😳

Yugan Talovich
Community Member
2 years ago

Well, who'd have known some people don't read carefully?

Load More Replies...
Avital Pilpel
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

They certainly didn't have cling-film or bubble wrap 100+ years ago...

Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

Y'all didn't read the story...another family member for that to preserve it

Load More Replies...
Carol Emory
Community Member
2 years ago

I believe the markings on the spoon means it's bone, not wood.

Dee Hunter
Community Member
2 years ago

The texture looks a little like bone as well

Load More Replies...
Belinda Matson
Community Member
2 years ago

100yrs today wow. So he had the mirror with their pics in prison with him but no one knew he was alive for years while he cherished them in his heart every day? :(

L McN
Community Member
2 years ago

If they were told he had passed I wonder if it just came from a relative who decided that they needed to focus on their lives and cut off contact. This is sad for him, AND for the family. But, just maybe he instructed her to do so. Still sad but it shows love as well.

Load More Replies...
Zach Tan
Community Member
2 years ago

Sounds like the start of a great mystery novel!

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
2 years ago

Lol especially that comment about "shine the tiara on the mirror etc" it's like a Dan brown

Load More Replies...
ShareMusic
Community Member
2 years ago

The spoon looks like ivory or bone.

Daniel Mason
Community Member
2 years ago

When I saw the box I thought it was old school Jumanji at first XD

Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

How cool would that be?! Like I'm being serious. I always thought that jumanji board was the best part of the movie.

Load More Replies...
David Jeu
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

How you get the box is his original state. Dont restore it, cherish is damage as souvenir.

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
2 years ago

Consider having them x-rayed. Glad you're planning on having them restore.

Parmeisan
Community Member
2 years ago

The date could simply be the date he finished the box. It hardly seems significant to us, but to him after so many hours of work it would be. It could just be a signature line.

J. Normal
Community Member
2 years ago

I tend to think it is the day he lost his family. A daily reminder of what he lost.

Load More Replies...
Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

Those boxes are absolutely beautiful. I've collected a few wood boxes over the years but nothing like those.

Petra Ostojić
Community Member
2 years ago

I think on the second box he used the intarsia woodworking or wood art technique. The box is beautiful, I would definitely restore it.

Not-so-MadMax
Community Member
2 years ago

The little combes on the tiara seem to be plastic. Most clear plastics turn opaque over time, suggesting is isn't very old.

Jane Doe
Community Member
2 years ago

The real treasure is the value he placed on these keepsakes. The pictures were his true treasures.

Della Greymane
Community Member
2 years ago

My suspicion is the markings on the spoon are a measurement. Metric was just being developed at that time, and the US was a signatory to the compact developing it. Leavenworth was a federal facility, so it is possible they were using it experimentally at that time. If that is 1/2 m/L on the engraving, then that is roughly 1/10th of a teaspoon, or a "dash". Can't confirm without actually having measurements though.

Седьмая Печать
Community Member
2 years ago

пупырку использовал прадед? айфона там не было?

Ismar Sehic
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

beastunbox.com to see my art blog

Kerry Rice
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

So there was bubble wrap 100 years ago???

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
2 years ago

That's explained in the article...

Load More Replies...
Patty Fox
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Bubble wrap didn't exist 100 years ago.

Parmeisan
Community Member
2 years ago

It says as much in the original post ;)

Load More Replies...
Christina Dudley
Community Member
2 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Well who'd have known they had cling film and bubble wrap 100+ years ago 😳

Yugan Talovich
Community Member
2 years ago

Well, who'd have known some people don't read carefully?

Load More Replies...
Avital Pilpel
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

They certainly didn't have cling-film or bubble wrap 100+ years ago...

Becca Gizmo the Squirrel
Community Member
2 years ago

Y'all didn't read the story...another family member for that to preserve it

Load More Replies...
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