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Historic papers behind walls of Asheville home

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — An Asheville man has spent the past month reviewing a cache of documents found hidden in a secret compartment next to the chimney of the landmark home he bought last fall.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports an electrician found the papers of Thomas W. Patton hidden in the Patton-Parker House that attorney Jim Siemens owns.

Included in the papers are the signatures of U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren on land grants to Patton, who was a captain in the Confederate Army. He served as Asheville mayor, Buncombe County commissioner and county tax collector. He died in 1907.

Three former slaves built the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Siemens is renovating it for a law office.

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