Old Josh Blocher's supposed wealth got him killed in 1951.
Lester Stevens heard rumors the Bailey County hermit was rich in 1947, when he was working on a Bailey County road project.
By 1951, Stevens was working at an Amarillo lead smelter, where he became acquainted with co-worker Thomas Livesay, the Amarillo Daily News reported.
The men told their story of a "treasure hunt" to Amarillo police about two months after Blocher was found dead in a cotton field west of Muleshoe:
They drove to Blocher's one-room shack in Progress after work the afternoon of Aug. 11, 1951, the Amarillo newspaper reported.
They told Blocher they were interested in purchasing land in the area and coaxed him into Livesay's car.
First, they searched Blocher's wallet where they found just 13 cents. When he refused to tell them where he kept his riches, at least one of the men beat him with a pistol and soda bottle and tried to loosen his tongue with barbiturates.
Then they removed most of his clothes and dumped his battered body in the field, six miles northwest of Progress, where two young farmers found him dead about 36 hours later.
Livesay and Stevens returned to Blocher's shack and rummaged through his belongings, but found nothing.
The Amarillo paper reported the pair was arrested on Oct. 3, 1951, after Livesay's wife voiced concerns her husband had been involved in Blocher's death.
Both men were convicted of murder and ultimately received life sentences.
Next week, I'll tell you whether Blocher had more than 13 cents.
David Stevens is not related to Lester Stevens. His history blog is at: highplainsyesterdays.com