New Yorker Shares Epic Treasure Hunt As She Seeks Missing Heirloom on Her 1787 Farm

A model-turned-farmer has been documenting the incredible treasure hunt left by her ancestors on her family's 234-year-old farm, as she hunted for a missing family heirloom.

Iris Rogers used to grace the pages of Vogue, but turned her back on her modeling career in the Big Apple to move back to her family's 1787 farm, in upstate New York.

Now managing the farm, called Homestead Hemp 1787, Rogers set about trying to track down the original deed, which had been lost years before.

As she started delving into her family's, and the farm's, history, she ended up on a treasure hunt across the estate, following bizarre clues left in Bibles, trees and in the foundations.

Explaining the backstory in a video, Rogers said: "This is the story of how the deed to my family's 234-year-old farm went missing. Long ago in the year of 1787 my ancestor, Clark Rogers, signed the deed for 559 acres of land. The same land we live on today. The deed was handed down from generation to generation. And the story goes my great-grandfather Elbert, used to keep the deed in a milk can for safe keeping.

"The good news is my grandpa Cliff and my grandma Nancy got their hands on it at some point, made a copy of it and transcribed it to the best of their abilities. Which ended up being a really good call because eventually the deed did go missing. And the story is that the milk jug, that the deed was kept in for safe-keeping, was eventually filled with milk and sent out for delivery one day. But I started thinking about how many old milk cans we have lying around the farm, and did it really actually go missing?"

"It's kind of turned into a spooky, 100-year-old treasure hunt," she said in another video, as she followed the trail of breadcrumbs, which she suspected had been left by her great-grandfather Elbert.

She started the search by looking in the old jugs, and in the bottom of one found a pamphlet, entitled "Pierce's Memorandum Account Book," which had a sentence inside saying "top of the stairs, to the left."

"Naturally I went looking in every single staircase on the farm," she captioned a follow-up video, as she shared the hunt with followers.

Rogers looked through the many staircases in the house and outbuildings, where she found an old book, called The Harvest Feast by Wilhelmina Harper. "Maybe it's nothing," she said as she turned the pages—and found a note inside. It was a poem, which after some research, she discovered it was by an author named Robert Frost.

The poem was about apples, which led Rogers to examine all the fruit trees, and apple crates, on the property. After doing a second sweep she discovered a glass bottle wedged inside a trunk, which had a page from a Rip Van Winkle book inside.

The page, which had the word "Hudson" on it, led her to explore one of the "creepy" basements on the property, which had the name in big writing on a door. After digging through the crawl space she found a wooden box, which sadly didn't contain the deed.

Instead, she found old postcards addressed to Elbert, which led her to explore the house's two attics, where she found the original Rip Van Winkle book where the page had been ripped out and stored in the bottle. An etching on the bottom of the book didn't beat around the bush, and simply said "horse barn," leaving Rogers to despair.

"If you've been watching the whole series from the beginning, you might connect that this whole search started in the barns," she fumed. But, nevertheless, she grabbed her coat and a torch and went back out to search.

After doing a thorough sweep she found a covered frame behind an old cupboard—but sadly it wasn't the deed. She cursed Elbert for "hiding clues all around our family barn," as she discovered the framed painting was a reprint of a Currier & Ives lithograph, which could be valuable as they stopped being printed in 1907.

While she didn't find the deed, she thought that was the end of the treasure hunt after finding the potentially valuable print, as she revealed one of her ancestors owned the original at one point. "Maybe this whole series of clues was his way of making sure his future generations found his heirloom left behind," she mused, referencing Elbert.

While the original series was uploaded in March, Rogers was back after discovering the trail hadn't gone cold after all. Checking an old safe led Rogers to some more clues, as she said: "Anyway here's why I feel silly about never looking in the safe."

"I found a jackpot of deeds," she revealed, including ones from 1825, 1848 and 1855, although she still didn't locate the original. "I pretty much found every deed to do with the farm except the original from 1787," she said.

At the beginning of June she started the hunt all over again, in what she dubbed "season two," as she went through everything in an old safe, including "letters, receipts and poems."

Rogers maintained she thought the deed was hidden somewhere on the property, and hadn't been accidentally taken away in the milk jug, due to how diligently Elbert had hidden papers and artefacts. As she tore apart the house once more, she headed for one of the "creepy" basements, and decided to check the third entrance.

"Apparently this was open but it was closed up about 60 years ago," she revealed, as she got her dad to make an access panel so she could check the crawl space behind, underneath some stairs. There she found an old Bible, saying: We found some of the signatures from our very first ancestors that moved here in 1787, Elbert's signature is in here as well as the front of the book."

The book didn't contain anything of significance, apart from some pressed flowers, which Rogers reckoned must be another clue. She paid great attention to the wording on the page, which referenced four gold rings—which jogged her memory to three gold rings found in the safe, along with a letter from 1918.

Re-reading the Bible passage she decided to check the four corners of the house—in the foundations—where she says she found a box containing diaries.

As she read through them the mysterious fourth ring was inside one of the four journals, which dated back to the 1800s. While writing behind the red velvet lining said "keep this for my sake," along with numbers and letters spelling "513C24".


The missing deed part 1–Season 2 drops June 1st! #TWDSurvivalChallenge #MaxPlumpJump #fyp #fypシ #mystery

♬ original sound - iris

Rogers theorized 513 referred to the farm, as it was written on the milk jugs so the delivery man from yesteryear knew where to send them, while her dad reckoned "C24" could relate to a plot of land.

The video where Rogers uncovers the gold ring was shared on Friday, and has amassed more than 10 million views, and can be viewed here.

Followers have declared they're completely invested in the saga as they waited for the next instalment in the series, despite some people unsure as to whether Rogers had orchestrated the entire hunt.

Suspecting it could be an advertisement for her business, as Jess O'Brien: "This is literally the best marketing I've ever seen. I'm so into this!"

While Sherry Lund pleaded: "Netflix sign her please, her life story is going to be at least on par if not better than many of your originals."

And Danno Unlimited asked: "How is that box not deteriorated [from] being in the ground like that? Loving these posts but that seems unlikely."

As Shina asked: "What in the national treasure is this?"

While T joked: "Girl are you sure these aren't horcruxes?"

When asked by Newsweek if the treasure hunt was real or an elaborate stunt, Rogers said: "The only thing I say is this: I'm only the messenger of this crazy journey/adventure I've been on. It so doesn't matter whether I say it's real or fake, people will form their own opinions anyway. So I'm just enjoying the chase and relaying what I've found and that's all I can do. People can think whatever they want!"

Update 7/21/21, 11:25 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Rogers.