Kansas Mystery Stone
Lincoln romances mystery stone Historians ponder writing on stone By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING Th» Salina Journal LINCOLN—Hazel Neel was a child when a neighbor unearthed what would come to be known as the "Kansas mystery stone" on his farm near Beverly. Neel, now 86, doesn't remember much about the discovery. ' 'I remember when it happened, and I remember going over to see the stone," she said. "But you don't mark these things down and you forget the details. It just didn't seem like a big deal. It was a rock with some drawings on it." But now—almost 90 years after the stone was discovered—there is speculation it might be more— much more. After being stored in the basement of the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka for years—and literally forgotten—the stone has been returned to Lincoln County. Amateur epigraphists—those who study inscriptions—think the stone could unlock the story of ancient central Kansas. And they suspect there will be some surprises. "It's some good stuff, and it's a shame it had to lay there all those years," said Dean Jeffries of Leoti, who with his brother, Keith of Russell, has studied the stone.' 'I have to wonder why there wasn't more work done on it in the 1920s and 1930s." According to a 1948 article in the Kansas City Times, historians and archaeologists "puzzled over it and ended by shaking their heads in defeat. You can't unravel a mystery without a clue, and in this case there appears to be no clue." The stone was discovered by Maurice Briand, who grew tired of plowing around a flat limestone slab, eight feet long and four feet wide, buried in the ground. One day, out of frustration, he armed himself with a heavy hammer, a pick and shovel and started to remove the slab. The farmer found the mystery stone as he cleared away the debris. "Mr. Briand's first impression was that the place was a grave," according to the Kansas City Times article by Paul Jones, the former *> See HISTORICAL, Page 7 Penny Andreson and Marilyn Helmer, Lincoln County historical society members, show the Ben Harris/Salina Journal stone with mysterious writings that was found on a Lincoln County farm almost 90 years ago.