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 Published May 11, 2011   

Beale Treasure Story
Ferdinand C. Hutter, Anonymous Author of Ward's Pamphlet

  

The identity of the anonymous author of Ward's pamphlet has long been thought by many to be James B. Ward, the man who published the pamphlet. In his book, The Beale Treasure, New History of a Mystery, Peter Viemeister carefully outlined the reasons and justification for concluding that Ferdinand C. Hutter was the pamphlet's anonymous author (see Viemeister, Chapter 20, "Hidden Talent"). From Viemeister's account, it is clear that he believed Ferdinand C. Hutter was the likely person selected by Robert Morriss to be the new custodian of the Beale Papers (see also BTS II, pp. 44–45). Other names have been proposed, but none appear to fit the storyline as well as Ferdinand C. Hutter.
    
Ferdinand C. Hutter died on February 21, 1885, shortly before the pamphlet was published. The following lengthy obituary was published in the Lynchburg News, February 22, 1885.  
  
"DEATH OF MAJOR FERDINAND C. HUTTER — the surprising announcement was made late yesterday evening that Major Ferdinand C. Hutter had died very suddenly in his home at the southern suburb of this city. Major Hutter had been for some months in delicate health, but it was not supposed that he was affected with any serious disorder; hence, the very great surprise occasioned by his death. The deceased, while in all of his life and sympathies a true Virginian, was born in Missouri, in which State his father was stationed as paymaster in the United States Army. He was entered as a cadet at the West Point Military Academy, when quite a youth, but for some reason or other, did not complete the prescribed course of study. Soon after leaving West Point, young Hutter was made clerk to his father in the paymaster's department of the army; and he was discharging his duties in that capacity at Charleston, S.C., when that State seceded from the Union and war burst upon the country. He resigned his position and came to Virginia, and was appointed captain and assistant quartermaster-sergeant in the first provisional army of this State. Subsequently he was promoted to the rank of Major and quartermaster-sergeant, in the regular army, with headquarters at Richmond. Major Hutter's history since the war is perfectly familiar to most of our readers. For many years he was chief clerk to Captain J. H. Rives in the internal revenue office here; and discharged the difficult and responsible duties devolved upon him to the entire satisfaction of the department and more especially to the satisfaction of the tobacconists at Lynchburg, who regretted very much his retirement. Major Hutter was about fifty-four years of age, was a gentleman of pleasant address, and one whose high sense of honor and many other desirable qualities earned him the respect of his fellows and the warm attachment of many friends. He is survived by a wife and several children, and also leaves, to mourn his loss, two brothers, Major Edward S. Hutter, and J. Risque Hutter, Esq. The cause of Major Hutter's death was heart disease."
  
Hutter's untimely death just two months before Ward's pamphlet was announced in the Lynchburg Virginian could explain why the original Beale papers were never made public. Hutter may have had a plan to coordinate the release of the original papers with the publication of the pamphlet by cousin James. But that plan, if there had been one, was understandably never realized due to Hutter's sudden death. No one should die without a will, but it happens all the time.
  

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