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There is an old story told of an occasion in 1799 when a twelve year old boy named Conrad Reed skipped church and went fishing in Little Meadow Creek on the family farm near Fayetteville, North Carolina. In an attempt to spear a fish young Conrad Reed missed but his spear struck an interesting looking gold rock, which he carried home. The rock rested out on the front porch until one day when the boy's father, John, went into Fayetteville and took the rock along to show to a jeweler. The jeweler recognized the seventeen pound rock as one very large gold nugget and offered to buy it from John Reed for whatever price he wanted. John Reed, thinking it was only a pretty rock sold the rock for what was then a week's wages or $3.50... one tenth of one percent of its real value. (Rev. J. Curtis Goforth, Pirates and Parables, July 27, 2008)

Most of us, upon hearing that story get kind of a sinking feeling in our guts and wonder how incredibly ignorant it was of John Reed to sell a 17-pound gold rock for $3.50. At current gold prices, the rock was worth $435,200.

John Reed soon learned that he had made an unthinkable mistake but after that, though farming was their main focus, in their spare time they began to mine for gold in the creek that ran through their farm and in the end became quite wealthy. They discovered a 28-pound nugget the same year and you can still pan for gold today at the Reed...

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