MYSTERY SOLVED: Farm-City Days medallion found at Sweatt Park in Humboldt

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October 10, 2017 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — The late George Sweatt, a Humboldt native who rose to fame on the baseball diamond in the Negro Leagues, is one of Allen County’s most famous sons.
He also was key in solving the 2017 Farm-City Days Medallion Hunt.
The DeVoe family of Iola worked through enough esoteric clues presented by the Farm-City Days Committee to find the hidden medallion Monday near a monument at Sweatt Field on the southeast edge of Humboldt.
If their names sound familiar, it’s because John and Jason DeVoe were also the winners of the 2015 Medallion Hunt, when it was hidden at the old site of the Funston Home north of Iola.
Aaron Franklin, the F-C Days Committee member who hid the medallion, took more than two weeks devising the carefully worded clues.
“My favorite part, aside from seeing families get outside and work together, was hearing where their imaginations led them,” Franklin said.
The key, he noted, was to consider each clue carefully and to realize their keywords could be interpreted in any number of ways.
“I tried to use words that can have two or three meanings,” Franklin said.
That meant many hunters mistakenly went in the wrong direction from the outset.
Franklin’s first clue — “‘To reap the harvest, you must look the hardest; in the town with the nation’s likely largest’ — left most hunters looking in Iola, near the courthouse square.”
In fact, the nation’s largest was referring to Biblesta.
The second clue — “Searching for booty out in fresh air, you’ll find yourself not far from a square” — still kept many in searching around Iola.
The clue, however, was referring to the nearby softball diamond, with its square infield.
Clue 3: “A special place for you to ride, more clues found near riverside,” referred to Humboldt’s old one-room schoolhouse near the Neosho River, part of the Humboldt Historic Society’s museum complex, which contains information on — you guessed it — George Sweatt.
Clue 4: “Searching searching, quite the chore. Remember, the magic number is four” has several different hints, Franklin said. Sweatt was a second baseman (no. 4 on a scorecard, diamonds have four bases, and Sweatt was the only player to appear in the first four Negro Leagues World Series.
Clue 5: “Missed last year by the width of a razor? Discover more with this trailblazer” referred to Sweatt’s impact on baseball history in the Negro Leagues. Oh, and the monument on which the medallion was hidden is situated along a path beyond the outfield fence. (See, now you’re getting the hang of this.)
Clue 6, the final one released before the medallion was found, was perhaps the most abstract of them all: “Folk-fairy tales common staple, in Grimm’s tales and Aesop’s fables.”
“It’s a reference to the wolf,” Franklin explained. “Sweatt Park is on Wulf Street.”

THREE unreleased clues hinted further at the hiding spot.
— “Not found it yet? Down to the wire? Getting Close? Starting to perspire?”
Sweat is how most people Sweatt’s name. The correct pronunciation is “sweet.”
— “A giant of normal magnitude. A kind-of king who never ruled.” Sweatt played for the American Giants and Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues.
— “Working the riddle at a frenzied pace, alas, between a rock and a hard place.” (The Sweatt Park monument.)

WITH THE medallion hunt complete, organizers have set their sights solely on the upcoming Farm-City Days activities.
A chicken-noodle dinner hosted by Humanity House runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Riverside Park. Bounce houses will be set up at 3; an ice cream social and free showing of the movie “Zootopia” follow the dinner.

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