Other Buried Wealth





The wealth of the Astors hardly exceeds the treasure that is supposed to

be secreted here and there about the country, and thousands of dollars

have been expended in dredging rivers and shallow seas, and in blasting

caves and cellars. Certain promoters of these schemes have enjoyed

salaries as officers in the stock companies organized for their

furtherance, and they have seen the only tangible results from such

enterprises.



One summer evening, in the middle of the seventeenth century, a bark

dropped anchor at the mouth of Saugus River, Massachusetts, and four of

the crew rowed to the woods that skirt its banks and made a landing. The

vessel had disappeared on the following morning, but in the forge at the

settlement was found a paper stating that if a certain number of shackles

and handcuffs were made and secretly deposited at a specified place in

the forest, a sum of money equal to their value would be found in their

stead on the next day. The order was filled and the silver was found, as

promised, but, though a watch was set, nothing further was seen of men or

ship for several months.



The four men did return, however, and lived by themselves amid the woods

of Saugus, the gossips reporting that a beautiful woman had been seen in

their company--the mistress of the pirate chief, for, of course, the

mysterious quartette had followed the trade of robbery on the high seas.

Three of these men were captured, taken to England, and hanged, but the

fourth-Thomas Veale--escaped to a cavern in the wood, where, it was

reputed, great treasures were concealed, and there he lived until the

earthquake of 1658, when a rock fell from the roof of the cave, closing

the entrance and burying the guilty man in a tomb where, it is presumed,

he perished of thirst and hunger. Dungeon Rock, of Lynn, is the name that

the place has borne ever since.



In 1852 Hiram Marble announced that he had been visited by spirits, who

not only told him that the pirates' spoils were still in their olden

hiding-place, but pointed out the spot where the work of excavation

should begin. Aided by his son he tunnelled the solid granite for a

distance of one hundred and thirty-five feet, the passage being seven

feet high and seven wide. Whenever he was wearied the mediums that he

consulted would tell him to make cuttings to the right or left, and for

every fresh discouragement they found fresh work. For thirty years this

task was carried on, both father and son dying without gaining any

practical result, other than the discovery of an ancient scabbard in a

rift. The heiress of the house of Marble alone reaped benefit from their

labors, for-resuming on a petty scale the levies of the first dwellers in

the rock--she boldly placarded the entrance to the workings Ye who enter

here leave twenty-five cents behind.



In several cases the chasms that have been caused by wear of water or

convulsions of nature (their opposite sides being matched) were believed

to have been hiding-places, but, in the old days in New England, it was

believed that all such fractures were caused by the earthquake at the

time of the crucifixion--a testimony of the power of God to shake

sinners.



The Heart of Greylock is the name given to the crater-like recess, a

thousand feet deep, in the tallest of the Berkshire peaks, but it was

formerly best known as Money Hole, and the stream that courses through it

as Money Brook, for a gang of counterfeiters worked in that recess, and

there some spurious coinage may still be concealed. The stream is also

known as Spectre Brook, for late wandering hunters and scouting soldiers,

seeing the forgers moving to and fro about their furnaces, took them for

ghosts.



Province Island, in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont, is believed to contain

some of the profits of an extensive smuggling enterprise that was carried

on near the lake for several years.



A little company of Spanish adventurers passed along the base of the

Green Mountains early in the last century, expecting to return after

having some dealings with the trading stations on the St. Lawrence; so

they deposited a part of their gold on Ludlow Mountain, Vermont, and

another pot of it on Camel's Hump. They agreed that none should return

without his companions, but they were detained in the north and

separated, some of them going home to Spain. Late in life the sole

survivor of the company went to Camel's Hump and tried to recall where

the treasure had been hidden, but in vain.



While flying from the people whose declaration of independence had

already been written in the blood of the king's troops at Concord, the

royal governor--Wentworth--was embarrassed by a wife and a

treasure-chest. He had left his mansion, at Smith's Pond, New Hampshire,

and was making toward Portsmouth, where he was to enjoy the protection of

the British fleet, but the country was up in arms, time was important,

and as his wearied horses could not go on without a lightening of the

burden, he was forced to leave behind either Lady Wentworth or his other

riches. As the lady properly objected to any risk of her own safety, the

chest was buried at an unknown spot in the forest, and for a century and

more the whereabouts of the Wentworth plate and money-bags have been a

matter of search and conjecture.



When the Hessian troops marched from Saratoga to Boston, to take ship

after Burgoyne's surrender, they were in wretched condition-war-worn,

ragged, and ill fed,--and having much with them in the form of plate and

jewels that had been spared by their conquerors, together with some of

the money sent from England for their hire, they were in constant fear of

attack from the farmers, who, though they had been beaten, continued to

regard them with an unfavorable eye. On reaching Dalton, Massachusetts,

the Hessians agreed among themselves to put their valuables into a

howitzer, which they buried in the woods, intending that some of their

number should come back at the close of the war and recover it. An Indian

had silently followed them for a long distance, to gather up any

unconsidered trifles that might be left in their bivouacs, and he marked

the route by blazes on the trees; but if he saw the burial of this novel

treasury it meant nothing to him, and the knowledge of the hiding-place

was lost. For years the populace kept watch of all strangers that came to

town, and shadowed them if they went to the woods, but without result. In

about the year 1800 the supposed hiding-place was examined closely and

excavations were made, but, as before, nothing rewarded the search.



A tree of unknown age--the Old Elm--stood on Boston Common until within a

few years. This veteran, torn and broken by many a gale and

lightning-stroke, was a gallows in the last century, and Goody Glover had

swung from it in witch-times. On tempestuous nights, when the boughs

creaked together, it was said that dark shapes might be seen writhing on

the branches and capering about the sward below in hellish glee. On a

gusty autumn evening in 1776 a muffled form presented itself,

unannounced, at the chamber of Mike Wild, and, after that notorious miser

had enough recovered from the fear created by the presence to understand

what it said to him, he realized that it was telling him of something

that in life it had buried at the foot of the Old Elm. After much

hesitancy Mike set forth with his ghostly guide, for he would have risked

his soul for money, but on arriving at his destination he was startled to

find himself alone. Nothing daunted, he set down his lantern and began to

dig. Though he turned up many a rood of soil and sounded with his spade

for bags and chests of gold, he found nothing. Strange noises

overhead--for the wind was high and the twigs seemed to snicker eerily as

they crossed each other-sent thrills along his back from time to time,

and he was about to return, half in anger, half in fear, when his spirit

visitor emerged from behind the tree and stood before him. The mien was

threatening, the nose had reddened and extended, the hair was rumpled,

and the brow was scowling. The frown of the gold monster grew more awful,

the stare of his eye in the starlight more unbearable, and he was

crouching and creeping as if for a spring. Mike could endure no more. He

fainted, and awakened in the morning in his own chamber, where, to a

neighbor who made an early call, he told--with embellishments--the story

of the encounter; but before he had come to the end of the narrative the

visitor burst into a roar of laughter and confessed that he had

personated the supernatural visitant, having wagered a dozen bottles of

wine with the landlord of the Boar's Head that he could get the better of

Mike Wild. For all this the old tree bore, for many years, an evil

reputation.



A Spanish galleon, the Saints Joseph and Helena, making from Havana to

Cadiz in 1753 was carried from her course by adverse winds and tossed

against a reef, near New London, Connecticut, receiving injuries that

compelled her to run into that port for repairs. To reach her broken ribs

more easily her freight was put on shore in charge of the collector of

the port, but when it was desired to ship the cargo again, behold! the

quarter part of it had disappeared, none could say how. New London got a

bad name from this robbery, and the governor, though besought by the

assembly to make good the shortage, failed to do so, and lost his place

at the next election. It was reputed that some of the treasure was buried

on the shore by the robbers. In 1827 a woman who was understood to have

the power of seership published a vision to a couple of young blades, who

had paid for it, to the effect that hidden under one of the grass-grown

wharves was a box of dollars. By the aid of a crystal pebble she received

this really valuable information, but the pebble was not clear enough to

reveal the exact place of the box. She could see, however, that the

dollars were packed edgewise. When New London was sound asleep the young

men stole out and by lantern-light began their work. They had dug to

water-level when they reached an iron chest, and they stooped to lift

it-but, to their amazement, the iron was too hot to handle! Now they

heard deep growls, and a giant dog peered at them from the pit-mouth; red

eyes flashed at them from the darkness; a wild-goose, with eyes of

blazing green, hovered and screamed above them. Though the witch had

promised them safety, nothing appeared to ward off the fantastic shapes

that began to crowd about them. Too terrified to work longer they sprang

out and made away, and when-taking courage from the sunshine--they

renewed the search, next day, the iron chest had vanished.



On Crown Point, Lake Champlain, is the ruin of a fort erected by Lord

Amherst above the site of a French work that had been thrown up in 1731

to guard a now vanished capital of fifteen hundred people. It was

declared that when the French evacuated the region they buried money and

bullion in a well, in the northwest corner of the bastion, ninety feet

deep, in the full expectancy of regaining it, and half a century ago this

belief had grown to such proportions that fifty men undertook to clear

the well, pushing their investigations into various parts of the

enclosure and over surrounding fields. They found quantities of lead and

iron and no gold.



Follingsby's Pond, in the Adirondacks, was named for a recluse, who, in

the early part of this century, occupied a lonely but strongly guarded

cabin there. It was believed afterward that he was an English army

officer, of noble birth, who had left his own country in disgust at

having discovered an attachment between his wife and one of his

fellow-officers. He died in a fever, and while raving in a delirium spoke

of a concealed chest. A trapper, who was his only attendant in his last

moments, dug over the ground floor of the hut and found a box containing

a jewelled sword, costly trinkets, and letters that bore out the

presumption of Follingsby's aristocratic origin. What became of these

valuables after their exhumation is not known, and the existence of more

has been suspected.



Coney Island is declared to have been used by a band of pirates as the

first national sand bank, and, as these rascals were caught and swung off

with short shrift, they do say that the plunder is still to be had--by

the man who finds it. But the hotel-keepers and three-card-monte men are

not waiting for that discovery to grow rich.



In Shandaken Valley, in the Catskills, it was affirmed that a party of

British officers buried money somewhere, when they were beset by the

farmers and hunters of that region, and never got it out of the earth

again.



On Tea Island, Lake George, the buried treasures of Lord Abercrombie have

remained successfully hidden until this day.



The oldest house at Fort Neck, Long Island, was known for years as the

haunted house, and the grave of its owner--Captain Jones--was called the

pirate's grave, for, in the last century, Jones was accused of piracy and

smuggling, and there have been those who suspected worse. A hope of

finding gold and silver about the premises has been yearly growing

fainter. Just before the death of Jones, which occurred here in an

orderly manner, a crow, so big that everybody believed it to be a demon,

flew in at the window and hovered over the bed of the dying man until he

had drawn his last breath, when, with a triumphant cry, it flew through

the west end of the house. The hole that it broke through the masonry

could never be stopped, for, no matter how often it was repaired, the

stone and cement fell out again, and the wind came through with such a

chill and such shriekings that the house had to be abandoned.



The owner of an estate on Lloyd's Neck, Long Island, had more wealth than

he thought it was safe or easy to transport when he found the colonies

rising against Britain in 1775, and flight was imperative, for he was

known by his neighbors to be a Tory. Massing his plate, coin, and other

movables into three barrels, he caused his three slaves to bury them in

pits that they had dug beneath his house. Then, as they were shovelling

back the earth, he shot them dead, all three, and buried them, one on

each barrel. His motive for the crime may have been a fear that the

slaves would aid the Americans in the approaching struggle, or that they

might return and dig up the wealth or reveal the hiding-place to the

enemies of the king. Then he made his escape to Nova Scotia, though he

might as well have stayed at home, for the British possessed themselves

of Long Island, and his house became a place of resort for red-coats and

loyalists. It was after the turn of the century when a boat put in, one

evening, at Cold Spring Bay, and next morning the inhabitants found

footprints leading to and from a spot where some children had discovered

a knotted rope projecting from the soil. Something had been removed, for

the mould of a large box was visible at the bottom of a pit. Acres of the

neighborhood were then dug over by treasure hunters, who found a box of

cob dollars and a number of casks. The contents of the latter, though

rich and old, were not solid, and when diffused through the systems of

several Long Islanders imparted to them a spirituous and patriotic

glow--for in thus destroying the secreted stores of a royalist were they

not asserting the triumph of democratic principles?



The clay bluffs at Pottery Beach, Brooklyn, were pierced with artificial

caves where lawless men found shelter in the unsettled first years of the

republic. A wreck lay rotting here for many years, and it was said to be

the skeleton of a ship that these fellows had beached by false beacons.

She had costly freight aboard, and on the morning after she went ashore

crew and freight had vanished. It was believed that much of the plunder

was buried in the clay near the water's edge. In the early colonial days,

Grand Island, in Niagara River, was the home of a Frenchman, Clairieux,

an exile or refugee who was attended by a negro servant. During one

summer a sloop visited the island frequently, laden on each trip with

chests that never were taken away in the sight of men, and that are now

supposed to be buried near the site of the Frenchman's cabin. Report had

it that these boxes were filled with money, but if well or ill procured

none could say, unless it were the Frenchman, and he had no remarks to

offer on the subject. In the fall, after these visits of the sloop,

Clairieux disappeared, and when some hunters landed on the island they

found that his cabin had been burned and that a large skeleton, evidently

that of the negro, was chained to the earth in the centre of the place

where the house had stood. The slave had been killed, it was surmised,

that his spirit might watch the hoard and drive away intruders; but the

Frenchman met his fate elsewhere, and his secret, like that of many

another miser, perished with him. In 1888, when a northeast gale had

blown back the water of the river, a farmer living on the island

discovered, just under the surface, a stone foundation built in circular

form, as if it had once supported a tower. In the mud within this circle

he found a number of French gold and silver coins, one of them minted in

1537. Close by, other coins of later date were found, and a systematic

examination of the whole channel has been proposed, as it was also said

that two French frigates, scuttled to keep them out of the hands of the

English, lie bedded in sand below the island, one of them with a naval

paymaster's chest on board.



On the shore of Oneida Lake is an Indian's grave, where a ball of light

is wont to swing and dance. A farmer named Belknap dreamed several times

of a buried treasure at this point, and he was told, in his vision, that

if he would dig there at midnight he could make it his own. He made the

attempt, and his pick struck a crock that gave a chink, as of gold. He

should, at that moment, have turned around three times, as his dream

directed, but he was so excited that he forgot to. A flash of lightning

rent the air and stretched him senseless on the grass. When he recovered

the crock was gone, the hole filled in, and ever since then the light has

hovered about the place. Some say that this is but the will-o'-the-wisp:

the soul of a bad fellow who is doomed to wander in desolate regions

because, after dying, Peter would not allow him to enter heaven, and the

devil would not let him go into the other place, lest he should make the

little devils unmanageable; but he is allowed to carry a light in his

wanderings.



In Indian Gap, near Wernersville, Pennsylvania, the Doane band of Tories

and terrorists hid a chest of gold, the proceeds of many robberies. It is

guarded by witches, and, although it has been seen, no one has been able

to lay hands on it. The seekers are always blinded by blue flame, and

frightened away by roaring noises. The Dutch farmers of the vicinity are

going to dig for it, all the same, for it is said that the watch of evil

spirits will be given over at midnight, but they do not know of what

date. They will be on hand at the spot revealed to them through the

vision of a hex layer (a vision that cost them fifty cents), until the

night arrives when there are no blue flames.



In the southern part of Chester County, Pennsylvania, is money, too, but

just where nobody knows. A lonely, crabbed man, who died there in a poor

hut after the Revolution, owned that he had served the British as a spy,

but said that he had spent none of the gold that he had taken from them.

He was either too sorry for his deeds, or too mean to do so. He had put

it in a crock and buried it, and, on his death-bed, where he made his

statement, he asked that it might be exhumed and spent for some good

purpose. He was about to tell where it was when the death-rattle choked

his words.



The Isle of the Yellow Sands, in Lake Superior, was supposed by Indians

to be made of the dust of gold, but it was protected by vultures that

beat back those who approached, or tore them to pieces if they insisted

on landing. An Indian girl who stole away from her camp to procure a

quantity of this treasure was pursued by her lover, who, frightened at

the risk she was about to run from the vultures, stopped her flight by

staving in the side of her canoe, so that she was compelled to take

refuge in his, and he rowed home with her before the birds had come to

the attack.



Old Francois Fontenoy, an Indian trader, buried a brass kettle full of

gold at Presque Isle, near Detroit, that is still in the earth.



On the banks of the Cumberland, in Tennessee, is a height where a

searcher for gold was seized by invisible defenders and hurled to the

bottom of the cliff, receiving a mortal hurt.



The Spaniards were said to have entombed three hundred thousand dollars

in gold near Natchez. A man to whom the secret had descended offered to

reveal it, but, as he was a prisoner, his offer was laughed at. Afterward

an empty vault was found where he said it would be. Somebody had

accidentally opened it and had removed the treasure.



Caverns have frequently been used as hiding-places for things of more or

less value--generally less. Saltpetre Cave, in Georgia, for instance, was

a factory and magazine for saltpetre, gunpowder, and other military

stores during the Civil War. The Northern soldiers wrecked the potash

works and broke away tons of rock, so as to make it dangerous to return.

Human bones have been found here, too, but they are thought to be those

of soldiers that entered the cave in pursuit of an Indian chief who had

defied the State in the '40's. He escaped through a hole in the roof,

doubled on his pursuers, fired a pile of dead leaves and wood at the

mouth, and suffocated the white men with the smoke.



Spaniards worked the mines in the Ozark Hills of Missouri two hundred

years ago. One of the mines containing lead and silver, eighteen miles

southwest of Galena, was worked by seven men, who could not agree as to a

division of the yield. One by one they were killed in quarrels until but

a single man was left, and he, in turn, was set upon by the resurrected

victims and choked to death by their cold fingers. In 1873 a Vermonter

named Johnson went there and said he would find what it was the Spaniards

had been hiding, in spite of the devil and his imps. He did work there

for one day, and was then found dead at the mouth of the old shaft with

marks of bony fingers on his throat.



The seven cities of Cibola, that Coronado and other Spanish adventurers

sought in the vast deserts of the Southwest, were pueblos. A treacherous

guide who had hoped to take Coronado into the waterless plain and lose

him, but who first lost his own head, had told him a tale of the Quivira,

a tribe that had much gold. So far from having gold these Indians did not

know the stuff, but the myth that they had hoarded quantities of it has

survived to this day and has caused waste of lives and money. Towns in

New Mexico that have lain in ruins since 1670, when the Apaches butchered

their people--towns that were well built and were lorded by solid old

churches and monasteries erected by the Spanish missionaries--these towns

have often been dug over, and the ruinous state of Abo, Curari, and

Tabira is due, in part, to their foolish tunnelling and blasting.



A Spanish bark, one day in 1841, put in for water off the spot where

Columbia City, Oregon, now stands. She had a rough crew on board, and it

had been necessary for her officers to watch the men closely from the

time the latter discovered that she was carrying a costly cargo. Hardly

had the anchorchains run out before the sailors fell upon the captain,

killed him, seized all of value that they could gather, and took it to

the shore. What happened after is not clear, but it is probable that in a

quarrel, arising over the demands of each man to have most of the

plunder, several of the claimants were slain. Indians were troublesome,

likewise, so that it was thought best to put most of the goods into the

ground, and this was done on the tract known as Hez Copier's farm. Hardly

was the task completed before the Indians appeared in large numbers and

set up their tepees, showing that they meant to remain. The mutineers

rowed back to the ship, and, after vainly waiting for several days for a

chance to go on shore again, they sailed away. Two years of wandering,

fighting, and carousal ensued before the remnant of the crew returned to

Oregon. The Indians were gone, and an earnest search was made for the

money--but in vain. It was as if the ground had never been disturbed. The

man who had supervised its burial was present until the mutineers went

back to their boats, when it was discovered that he was mysteriously

missing.



More than forty years after these events a meeting of Spiritualists was

held in Columbia City, and a medium announced that she had received a

revelation of the exact spot where the goods had been concealed. A

company went to the place, and, after a search of several days, found,

under a foot of soil, a quantity of broken stone. While throwing out

these fragments one of the party fell dead. The spirit of the defrauded

and murdered captain had claimed him, the medium explained. So great was

the fright caused by this accident that the search was again abandoned

until March, 1890, when another party resumed the digging, and after

taking out the remainder of the stone they came on a number of human

skeletons. During the examination of these relics--possibly the bones of

mutineers who had been killed in the fight on shore--a man fell into a

fit of raving madness, and again the search was abandoned, for it is now

said that an immutable curse rests on the treasure.





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