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Treasure Coast Essay

Will Ashley Gang ghosts return?

  Ninety years ago -- on November 1st, 1924 -- the notorious Ashley Gang was wiped out at the south end of the bridge that carried Dixie Highway over the St. Sebastian River.  I wonder if ghosts of the gang members will come back on Halloween to haunt places on the Treasure Coast.  One of the gang's first crimes was the robbery of the Bank of Stuart in 1915.  The bank was at the corner of Southwest St. Lucie Avenue and Southwest Osceola Street.  Later the site was the location of a restaurant named The Ashley.  The occupant is now a Mulligan's bar and grill.  Another place that might be haunted is where the four members of the Ashley gang were ambushed by a posse led by the Indian River County sheriff.  The lawmen insisted that the gangsters were reaching for their weapons. But witnesses said the captives were handcuffed when shot to death.  Perhaps the best place to encounter ghosts of the gangsters is the Ashley family cemetery outside Gomez in south Martin County.  The burial ground is surrounded by a gated community called Mariner Sands.  Among those buried there is John Ashley.  Loot is rumored to be hidden on the property.  Finding that would be even more fun than spotting ghosts.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.