Unfound Treasures In Your Area
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Location: United States
Posted: 13 Jan 2007 at 2:52am
Alabama treasures waiting to be found
The NuŮez family treasure is said to be buried near an old river ferry site at Seminole, Baldwin County.
Along the Alabama seacoast pirate treasures may be buried, including some caches by Jean Lafitte at Bayou Batre and elsewhere.
On the shore of Bay Minette in Baldwin County some Spanish-American gold may have been cached. Nearby and not far from Fort Morgan pirates may have buried some treasure.
C.E. Sharps, a wealthy mill owner in Alabama, liked to keep his money in gold coins, and hidden, according to one account. In June 1899 he drowned, taking the secret of his "huge cache of gold" to the grave.
Alaska treasures waiting to be found
There are scattered reports of missing gold in the Yukon. Doubtless, nuggets were cached here and there, but probably few minted coins were involved.
A safe deposit box in Juneau is said to contain a number of rare national currency $10 notes from that city, put away long ago by a mine owner in the district.
In Stevens Passage between Admiralty and Douglas Islands in the southern reaches of the state's Pacific coast the steamer Islander went down on August 15, 1901, with a reported $3,000,000 in gold and $400,000 in currency aboard. Forty people lost their lives.
Arizona treasures waiting to be found
Bars of gold remain hidden in the San Francisco Mountains in Coconino County. If stamped with the markings of territorial assayers they would have significant numismatic value.
Bandits' loot from a train robbery secreted near Bisbee Junction has never been found.
Treasure from a holdup at Canyon Station. Will C. Barnes commented:4 "A large natural cave on Posta Quemada Canyon, eight miles off the Tucson-Douglas highway and 19 miles east of Tucson. On south slope of Wrong Mountain in the Rincon range. Owned by the state. First discovered by a man named Rolls, 1879. A Southern Pacific Railroad train was robbed in 1884, and the robbers trailed to this cave. One man was found dead. The others escaped. On Christmas, 1902, some Tucson people found some old Wells-Fargo sacks which proved to be part of the 1884 holdup upon identification in San Francisco."
Hashknife Charley's missing 38 gold bars, near Sononita, Santa Cruz County may have assayers' stamps on them, but no one will know until they are found.
A safe and its contents proved to be missing after a flash flood in Fools Gulch northeast of Wickenburg. Possibly, the treasure remains today underground in some dry stream bed.
Treasure taken by pirates from the steamer Gila near Crescent Spring, Mohave County. (This sounds like a very interesting story!)
A thousand pounds of silver dollars taken in a train robbery in the Dos Cabezas Mountains near Willcox remains unaccounted for. At 56 pounds per $1,000 face value, this would amount to close to 20,000 coins.
In addition to coin accounts, stories abound of lost silver (mostly) and gold mines in Arizona. The legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine at Superstition Mountain is a staple item in the folklore of the state.
Arkansas treasures waiting to be found
The fortune of a mill owner (assuming that mill owners have fortunes; they recur in treasure accounts) is said to have been buried near Huntsville, Madison County, and partially recovered at a later date.
John Murrel (also spelled as Murrell), notorious bandit, buried treasures on Stuart Island near Lake Village in Chicot County. Murrel made many depredations in the Mississippi River watershed area and is said to have had "HT," for "Horse Thief," branded on a thumb as part of his conviction for that crime. Loot from his various robberies is said to have been buried in different places in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and elsewhere. Murrell also engaged in nefarious activities along the Natchez Trace.
Many Spanish-American gold coins brought overland from Texas and Mexico are said to have been hidden here and there around the state not much to go on with information as vague as this!
On or near the land once owned by John Avants along the Cosatot River is a vast fortune transported overland from Mexico in several wagons.
California treasures waiting to be found
$200,000 in gold coins may be hidden near Scotty's Castle in Death Valley, today a tourist attraction. Scotty is mentioned in many stories published over the years. He may have had lots of money or he may have had none, depending upon what you read. Scotty was certainly a fascinating character.
The fortune of a French saddle maker (as we asked about mill owners, did saddle makers accumulate fortunes?) is concealed on the Rancho Santa Teresa near San Jose.
In the Trinity Mountains near Cecilville in Siskiyou County $80,000 in stolen money was hidden by "Rattlesnake Dick."
Loot from the Bentz Company robbery hidden near Biggs in Colusa County has never come to light.
Treasure from the holdup of the Bodie stage north of Bodie in Mono County and also a strongbox from the Bodie stage at Freeman Junction about 60 miles east of Bakersfield remain who knows where.
Famous bandit Joaquin Murietta hid some loot in Arroyo Cantoova and Hornitos, among many other places.
In Mokelumne Hill in along Route 49 in the Mother Lode country, a cache of $50 gold coins is said to be in an old foundation wall.
$30,000 in hijackers' loot was once stashed at Camp Oak Grove, San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, and may still be there.
A bandits' underground hiding place near Avila, San Luis Obispo County, is said to have been the depository for much loot, but how can one locate the cave?
In Los Angeles a pirate treasure is said to have been buried where Elysian Park is now. If so, this might be a tough one to spirit away without notice, for the Los Angeles Police Department has a training site there.
Treasure taken from a Death Valley wagon train that was burned is, perhaps, somewhere in that vast desert area.
Treasure from the Fallbrook stage coach on the Butterfield line between Temecula and Pala in San Diego County is among the missing.
Gold bars from the Freemont (or Frémont) Mine near Amador City are said to have been hidden in the area. One cannot help but wonder if they have anything to do with Felix Grundy Hoard (see Chapter 12).
Gold coins were lost in Horse Canyon near Tehachapi.
Treasure belonging to an innkeeper at the old Warner Ranch at Aguana in San Diego County awaits discovery.
Coins hidden in the hills near Isabella, Kern County, have never been found.
Dr. John Marsh's cache of $40,000 in gold coins, Marsh Creek, east side of Mount Diablo, near Brentwood, Contra Costa County, would be worth many multiples of that figure if it were found today.
Lieutenant Jonas Wilson's poker winnings - no description at hand - are said to be hidden somewhere in Hoaglin Valley at the foot of Haman Ridge, Trinity County.
Coins lost near Ventucopa, Santa Barbara County are still lost.
Gold "slugs" and coins, the treasure of the Mariposa tax collector, remain undiscovered on Deadman's Creek near Agua Fria, Mariposa County.
Loot from the Needles bank robbery, near Oro Grande, San Bernardino County, is supposedly still missing.
The S.S. Mollie Stevens laden with gold bullion, was lost on Owens Lake in the Owens Valley in May 1882, according to one account.1 Another account is more mundane and noted that after the Mollie Stevens had served well on the lake from about 1874, she was beached alongside the Bessie Brady so that parts from her including the steam engine could be used in the latter vessel.2 During the process, the Mollie Stevens caught fire and was destroyed.
Gold "slugs" hidden at the old Forty Mile House near Shingle Springs near El Dorado County have never come to light.
A lost cache of "octagonal gold coins" in the Panamint Mountains remains unaccounted for. Alert readers will realize the numismatic implications of this. The only trouble is that one could spend a lifetime poking around this particular mountain group and still not cover every outcrop and gully. By the way, the name is from a good wish expressed to gold miners: "I hope you pan a mint."
The "Rifle Barrel payroll" hidden near French Gulch, Shasta County, has been missing for many years.
Treasure taken by the Ruggles brothers (who were subsequently hanged) from the Redding stage and buried near Middle Creek about six miles from Redding, Shasta County, is nowhere to be found.
Assets of a saloonkeeper hidden at the junction of Greenhorn Gulch and Freeman Gulch, Kern county, await the lucky finder.
"Treasure of the San Francisco Mint" at Shelter Cove near Point Delgado, Humboldt County, no doubt would prove interesting if found.
Loot from the Sonora stage was hidden near Snelling, Merced County.
A tub filled with gold coins was hidden at Yankee Hill (old mining town) near Sonora, Tuolumne County. A washtub? Bathtub?
In addition, just about all of the old Spanish missions along the coast have treasure tales connected with them. Stories of lost mines in the Sierras and Mother Lode country also abound.
Colorado treasures waiting to be found
$100,000 stolen by bandits was hidden east of Clifford, Lincoln County.
The site of Bent's Fort on the old Santa Fe Trail is supposed to be where much treasure is buried.
"Treasure of the Denver Mint," apparently including silver dimes, was concealed in a chasm on the Gunnison River between Crawford and Montrose.
At Robbers' Roost near Fort Collins a lot of stagecoach holdup loot is said to have been hidden.
Treasure of the paymaster of Fort Garland was stashed on Trinchera Creek, Costilla County.
Two barrels of coins belonging to Henry Sefton were lost at the Gomez Ranch, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Huerfano County. Sounds interesting!
Some of Jesse James' treasure is said to have been cached in Half Moon Gulch, southwest of Leadville. (Accounts of his hidden loot abound and are ascribed to many different western states.)
$100,000 in gold hidden by outlaws near Manitou Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak has never been found. "Near Manitou Springs" covers many square miles of territory.
The "Bloody Espinosas," obviously an unsavory group, buried treasure near the present-day town of Cascade in Ute Pass in the late 1860s; this is on the slopes of Pikes Peak not far from Colorado Springs or, for that matter, Manitou Springs, or for that matter, where A.J. Mitula built his "nickel house" (see Chapter 19).
A chest filled with gold was hidden on Ralston Creek Road between Central City and Denver.
Coins hidden by the Reynolds gang near Hand Cart Gulch, Park County, have never turned up.
Train robbery loot hidden near Grand Valley, Garfield County, remains undiscovered.
Near Monument, between Colorado Springs and Denver, the Butch Cassidy gang is said to have stashed $100,000 from bank robberies. Monument, which a few years ago was nothing but a small roadside stop along the Interstate is now a teeming community, probably making it difficult to seriously prospect for hidden gold and silver.
Treasure from a wagon train, hidden near La Junta, Otero County, has never been found.
Connecticut treasures waiting to be found
Tuxis Island off Milford is said to have yielded "a great quantity of eighteenth-century coins" for a group of campers in 1903. Perhaps more remain.
The beach at Penfield Reef near Fairfield may be worthwhile, as in 1888 George Hawley found a cache of gold and silver coins all dated 1795. If, perchance, these were United States coins, this has to be one of the most interesting finds around. Too bad we don't have more details.
Delaware treasures waiting to be found
The Atlantic coastal areas of Delaware have yielded many coins over the years, numerous examples of which have washed up on the shore. The salvage of the DeBraak and an account of the Faithful Steward are given in Chapter 10. Many other ships have been wrecked off Delaware and in her inlets and bays, and doubtless there is treasure waiting to be found. Most such coins are probably Spanish-American or British.
Florida treasures waiting to be found
Stories of Florida treasures are dominated by accounts of buried pirate treasure and sunken Spanish galleons, both of which largely antedate indigenous American coinage. Chapter 10 discusses several important finds made from the 1960s to date, but undoubtedly there are more to be located. Nearly all finds have been associated with Spanish treasure fleet wrecks and not with pirates. The treasure-hunting community is particularly active along the Florida coast, and numerous shops offer Scuba equipment, electronic treasure detectors, guidebooks, and other useful items.
Fowler's Bluff on the Gulf Coast may be a productive site for the seeker of pirate treasure.
At the headwaters of Carter's Mill Creek in the northern part of the state, Indians may have cached a fortune in gold coins received from the British as payment for their depredations on settlers.
At Amelia Island there may be much buried pirate treasure.
F.L. Coffman reported that "an old treasure hunter, Bill Sneed," found $625,000 in gold bullion and coins at the mouth of the Suwanee River, a part of a treasure of gold coins valued at $5,000,000. The present writer knew Bill Sneed, who in the 1950s operated the Wilmary Motel in Lakeland, Florida, and recalls that he enjoyed regaling his acquaintances with tall tales, but had relatively few rare coins as evidence to verify his finds.
Jose Gaspar, better known as Gasparilla the pirate, is said to have buried many treasures along the Gulf Coast. In modern times his name has been given to an annual festival in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
Near Fort Walton on Choctawhatchee Bay on the Gulf Coast, pirate Billy Bowlegs may have cached many gold and silver coins.
On the bottom beneath the sparkling waters of Silver Springs, near Ocala, are coins tossed by tourists including, perhaps, some dating from the 1920s and 1930s or even earlier.
In his History Under the Sea, 1965, Mendel Peterson gave advice concerning potentially profitable sites for undersea treasure exploration, noting: "The reefs of the Florida Keys and coast of Florida north to Cape Kennedy [Cape Canaveral], which is one of the richest spots." Further: "Almost any bar lying near harbor approaches on the Atlantic coast will yield sites. On the eastern side of the Florida Passage to the Bahamas formed a dangerous barrier for ships, and these reefs and keys are littered with sites."
Georgia treasures waiting to be found
A certain Mr. Duncan, a prosperous businessman who lived in Griffin, Georgia, did not trust banks, but kept coins and bills stored here and there around the house. His wife feared for his and her safety, as his wealth was well known, and someone might break in. At her insistence, he consolidated all of this money, said to amount to at least $100,000, and said he would take it to a bank. However, he had second thoughts and buried it in a peach orchard instead. Some months later, Duncan was disabled by a heart attack. While bedridden he attempted to gesture as to where the trove was hidden, but could not make himself understood. He died shortly thereafter, taking the secret of the location with him.
The old Lions House on Third Street, Columbus, is supposed to contain hidden treasure.
At Blackbeard's Island the treasure of you-know-who is said to have been buried. More of his chests (or whatever he used for storage) may be on Ossabaw Island.
Various citizens of the state buried coins and other treasures to prevent capture by William Tecumseh Sherman during his famous (or infamous) march through the countryside, in which his troops pillaged and burned everything in sight. A psychologist might find that he did this because he had failed in banking, lawyering, and a few other endeavors before the military provided him with the proper emotional outlet.
Near LaGrange a wealthy plantation owner named Lipscomb accumulated about $100,000 in silver and gold coins and buried the treasure in two places near his house just before the Civil War. He enlisted the aid of a faithful servant whenever he dug up the ground to make a "deposit" or simply to review what he had stored. One day he wanted to visit his coins, but his servant was not around, and Lipscomb could not locate the sites. Forewarned, he later recorded directions to the spots. Lipscomb died, and his widow was not able to locate the directions. Today the treasure is still missing.
At Milledgeville, Baldwin County, a treasure of remarkable proportions is said to be hidden under a house.
In Savannah the pirate treasure of John Flint may be concealed in or near a house he once occupied on Broad Street.
Many gold and silver coins that were once a part of the Confederate States of America Treasury may be hidden on the south bank of the Savannah River (or near Washington, Georgia; or Abbeville, Georgia; or near Richmond, Virginia; or in the false bottom of a horse-drawn coach; or divvied up among trusted officers, who each did their own hiding; or in a railroad car, etc.), while other narratives relate that military payrolls from both sides were hidden on various occasions when their security became endangered.
Idaho treasures waiting to be found
Multiple possibilities: Booty from a stagecoach holdup was hidden on the south side of the Boise River near Boise, another stagecoach stash may still be secreted near Camas Creek in Jefferson County, and yet another near Grimes Creek in Boise County awaits discovery.
Robbers hid $75,000 in loot ("cold cash"?) near the Shoshone Ice Caves in Lincoln County.
North of Boise a strongbox with $50,000 in stagecoach loot is hidden.
A robber's treasure secreted near Lewiston, if discovered, will be found by accident, as the territory described covers a very large area, a common theme for many "clues" to such caches.
Treasure, possibly from a Wells Fargo stage holdup, may still be at Mud Lake southwest of Idaho Falls.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s took with it many Washington Season medals for distribution as peace medals to Indians in the north central and northwest sections of America. Only a few of these are accounted for today.
In McCammon, Bannock County, about $100,000 taken from an 1865 stagecoach heist is hidden. The bandits were chased by a posse and killed. Obviously, driving a stagecoach or being a bandit in Idaho was dangerous business!
Money taken from a pack train by robbers between White Bird and Dixie, Idaho County, has never been accounted for.
$118,000 stolen by bandits is buried in the area of Humphrey in Clark County.
Loot of the Henry Plummer gang, hidden in Beaver Canyon near Spencer, Clark County, likewise remains unlocated.
Virgil Brumbach's Gold Certificates are said to be lost in Soldier's Canyon east of Saint Maries, Shoshone County.
Illinois treasures waiting to be found
In the late 1860s in the 1200 block of North State Street in Chicago, Felix and Ellen Conway spent their married years, but were not on friendly terms with each other. Felix, upon being diagnosed with an incurable illness, dug deeply in his backyard and buried $250,000 in gold coins. He told his doctor of the cache, and suggested that after he died and after Ellen also had passed to her reward, he could recover it. The doctor himself became ill and neared death, at which time he told his son of the fortune in store. As it turned out, the doctor's son died, while Ellen Conway continued to live, until at the age of 92 she passed away. Today, the exact location of the gold coins is not known, and they are presumed to still be there.
Near old John Hill's Fort at Carlyle, Clinton County, a buried fortune remains for the lucky finder.
Cave In Rock in Hardin County was long used as a hideaway by many robbers and other unsavory characters including the Harpes Gang and the notorious Wilson, and it is said much loot remains secreted there. Robert M. Coates has written: "From Red Bank [on the Ohio River] on down to the town of Smithland, the river traversed its most dangerous section. Shoals abounded, sand bars lay just below the ripple of the surface, islands split the channel.
Landsmen most of the travelers were, as they came poling down in their barges." A whole hierarchy of piracy had arisen to prey on them. The first of these was a man named Wilson. "He took his stand at a cave in the bluff along shore, a cave with deep chambers and hidden recesses. He posted a sign on the river bank: 'Wilson's Liquor Vault & House for Entertainment.' The cave was known as the Cave Inn, later twisted to Cave-In-Rock. It had a long chapter in the history of river piracy. Boat-wreckers waited along the bank. Watching a boat pass, they would offer to pilot it through the channel. If the unskilled steersman chose to run the rapids unaided, it was more than likely he would run aground. If he hired a pilot, the chance of his grounding became a certainty. Once beached, the boat and its occupants fell easily before the attack of Wilson's gang."
Indiana treasures waiting to be found
In or near Rockford, Jackson County, $98,000 taken in a train robbery is buried. Could this be related to the following account?
On May 22, 1868, the Reno gang (Clinton, Frank, John, Simon, and William) held up the J.M. & I. Railroad train at Marshfield, Indiana, about 20 miles south of Seymour, and escaped with $90,000 cash described as being in "new notes." After another escapade or two, the brothers were tossed into jail in New Albany in December of the same year. On December 11 a group of do-gooders went to New Albany, entered the jail, seized the prisoners, and hanged them. What happened to the stolen currency was not stated.
In the mid-1820s one of Marquis de Lafayette's carriage drivers stashed $8,000 in gold in the ground in Connelton, Perry County. Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, revisited the United States in 1824-1825 and was declared by Congress to be "The Nation's Guest."
Iowa treasures waiting to be found
Near Redfield in Dallas County a gang of outlaws buried their ill-gotten coins.
A long time ago outlaws gathered in Bellevue, Jackson County, and buried treasure in the area.
At Kelly's Bluff in Dubuque a well-to-do miner buried his personal fortune. Some of it was later discovered, but more remains to be found.
Horse thieves buried their treasure near Sabula, Jackson County.
Kansas treasures waiting to be found
Treasure of an Army paymaster was lost near Lawrence, Douglas County.
Wells Fargo treasure was hidden west of Dodge City, Ford County.
Bandit loot hidden at Point of Rocks northwest of Elkhart, Morton County, remains concealed.
Treasure from a wagon train of Forty Niners headed to California was hidden southwest of Offerle, Edwards County.
Near Point of Rocks some other wagon trains headed for Californiaóor perhaps this is another version of the preceding storyówere plundered by outlaws who buried their loot in the area.
Yet another wagon train treasure is said to have been concealed near old Fort Dodge.
Similarly, a wagon train from Mexico with a vast fortune aboard was attacked by Indians. Some travelers survived with their money and buried it in the area.
A group of Forty Niners returning from California with $50,000 in a buckskin bag buried their treasure near Offerle, Edwards County, before being killed by Indians.
Kentucky treasures waiting to be found
Just before the Civil War, William Pettit hid treasure at Alleghany Hall, south of Lexington.
Indians are said to have buried an immense treasure including many coins (some of which have been found now and then) in the Winchester area.
In Hueysville, Thayer County, a well-to-do landowner buried a large quantity of gold coins around the turn of the twentieth century.
Contents of a chest of silver and gold coins stolen from a bank in Nicholasville, Kentucky, may lie on the bottom of King's Mill Pond, although a few coins were recovered by a fishing guide in 1910.
Louisiana treasures waiting to be found
Stories of the treasure buried in Louisiana and other Gulf of Mexico places by pirate Jean Lafitte have filled several books. Lafitte, who is alternately viewed as a hero or a scoundrel, and who was of help to the government during the War of 1812, plundered many ships. Quite possibly within his buried strongboxes and chests are many United States coins, although probably most are Mexican or from other Spanish-American mints.
Within Louisiana such places as near Shell Beach Drive in Lake Charles, Opelousas in St. Landry Parish, an island in Lake Borge (such island, like Lake Wobegon, having eluded mapmakers), the banks of the Mississippi River upstream from New Orleans, Caillou Island, the LeBleu plantation site in Calcasieu Parish, Pecan Island near Westwego in Jefferson Parish, Kelso's Island, Isle Dernier, and Jefferson Island near Lafayette are said to be especially good possibilities for the location of Lafitte's gold and silver.
Marsh Island may be where coins salvaged at an early date from Spanish wrecks off Padre Island (Texas) were brought for safekeeping.
Marie Laveau, the beautiful "Voodoo Queen," offered fortune telling and consultation to various clients and in time became wealthy, so much so that she built a fine home, Maison Blanche, on Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. When she passed from this earthly sphere in 1881, her fortune estimated at $2 million could not be located.
Honey Island in St. Tammany Parish may be one of many places in the Mississippi River area where John Murrel hid his loot (see entry under Arkansas above). Outlaw James Copeland may have cached coins on this island as well as along many other coastal areas.
The Parlange Plantation treasure, near New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish, is part of a cache originally comprising nearly a half million dollars' ($300,000 appears in several accounts, $500,000 in another) worth of silver and gold coins stored in three metal strongboxes or chests and buried early in the Civil War. The owner, Madame Virginie Parlange, feared that Union soldiers would ravage the mansion, which had been built by Marquis Vincent de Ternant in 1750. The Yankee troops arrived in due course, but were friendly to the owner after she greeted them in a warm fashion and even invited them to dinner. After the war, her son followed his mother's instructions and unearthed two of the chests, but the third could not be found. It was presumed that the two slaves who had helped bury the chests and who had since decamped to Texas had unearthed the coins and had reburied them elsewhere. Although several attempts were made to locate the treasure, the coins remain missing to this very day.
The Gabriel Fuselier plantation in St. Landry Parish is believed to be the site for coins buried during the Civil War era.
In Magnolia Cemetery in East Baton Rouge Paris there may be something buried besides bodies, that being gold and silver coins. One might imagine that modern digging there would be discouraged, however.
An entire "shipload of gold" (Penfield, 1952) may be at the bottom of the Amite River near the site of where Galvez Town used to be, near present-day Oak Grove in West Carroll Parish.
The site of an old French settlement, Fort Iberville, in Plaquemines Parish, is said by some to be where $160,000 in gold treasure is buried.
Various plantations on inland waterways are said to be very rich possibilities for very rich treasures. Of the over 1,000 large plantations in operation along the Mississippi River and elsewhere in the states along the lower reaches of the river, only a few hundred remained active after the Civil War.
In Natchitoches Parish at an old landing on the Red River, hidden treasure worth several thousand dollars has been found over the years, and it is said that this is just the beginning. Good luck!
In Hulls Lake at Selma, Grant Parish, the loot from a bank robbery was hidden, never to be found, at least not yet.
On the banks of the Red River near Acme, many gold coins are said to have been buried circa 1861.
In a bayou near the Chretien Plantation a large quantity of coins is said to have been hidden prior to the Civil War. Some of this treasure may have been from pirates who had some sort of an arrangement with the owner of the estate.
Maine treasures waiting to be found
The coast of Maine is said to have been an especially popular place for such pirates as Captain Kidd, Captain Bellamy, and their ilk to have buried treasure. All of Bellamy's gold and silver may have been hidden near the coastal town of Machias, but, on the other hand, it may have been buried elsewhere (such is the nature of pirate treasure accounts, and if enough of them are read, the reader comes back full circle to the starting place). If and when any such treasure is found, most probably it will consist primarily of Spanish-American coins, although there is the possibility that some Massachusetts silver could be included. In addition, the "stern rockbound coast" (as one poet put it) of New England, and of Maine in particular, spelled disaster to many coastwise ships who became lost in fog or darkness. Many of their hulks remain today at the bottom of the sea, some with rare coins scattered in the sand nearby.
All along the Maine coast are more islands than can be counted, and many of these have been suggested as burial sites for buccaneers and privateers. Deer Isle, Vinalhaven and North Haven (constituting the main part of the Fox Islands group), Fort Popham (built in 1861 as a deterrent should the Confederacy invade the Pine Tree State), Reef Ram Island, Mount Desert Island (a vast acreage now a national park; Ship Bottom Bay is there), Monhegan Island, Elm Island, Bailey Island, and Money Cave (sounds particularly interesting!) on Isle du Haut are among the sites reflected in treasure lore.
Pirates aside, the coastal areas of Maine have yielded their share of Massachusetts Pine Tree shillings and related pieces over the years, as related in Chapter 1. At the very least, any treasure hunter who pokes around the Maine coast will see a lot of great scenery even if he or she doesn't find any Pine Tree shillings or Spanish-American gold doubloons.
At Cedar Ledges east of Ram Island in Casco Bay, three kettles of gold coins were found on Thanksgiving Day, 1852, and more may still be there.1
On Richmond Island, offshore from Cape Elizabeth, a vast treasure of Spanish-American and other gold and silver coins was found in 1855. Many of the pieces were given to the Maine Historical Society.
Maine is one of only a few states for which the population 150 years ago was a substantial fraction of what it is today. This means that old sites have not been overwhelmed by new construction, developments, etc. Thus, certain areas may yield treasures. In general, wealth was concentrated along coastal areas rich with sea commerce, shipbuilding, etc. Inland activities were mainly agrarian.
Maryland treasures waiting to be found
A French immigrant is said to have buried $100,000 in coins near Catonsville.
At or near the old Croissant Mansion in California, St. Mary's County, a treasure is said to be hidden.
Near Salisbury, about $30,000 in treasure had already been found by the early 1950s, and legend has it that more awaits lucky searchers.
Maryland coastal areas are said to conceal some of Captain Kidd's treasure, some of which may be inland near the old Mansion House in northwest Baltimore.
Maryland has a rich colonial history, and without doubt many town and commercial sites conceal coins awaiting seekers using electronic detectors.
Chesapeake Bay has had its share of ship losses, but any coins remaining on the sea bottom are probably the personal property of passengers rather than lost treasure cargo.
Massachusetts treasures waiting to be found
In Salisbury, Essex County, $175,000 in buried treasure has never been found.
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, both offshore south of Cape Cod, are said to have been favorite roosts for buccaneers.
Cape Cod (in particular) and other coastal regions are said to have been a popular place for secreting pirate gold and silver. Captain Kidd's name is often associated with such accounts. Anyone wanting to read exciting tales of Massachusetts ship losses, disasters, and pirates need but acquire several of the books written by the late Edward Rowe Snow, who for many years was the prime American chronicler of sea lore. Snow related that it was common practice for pirates to be tried (loose interpretation of this judicial term) in Boston and their corpses put in shackles and chains and taken to islands in Boston harbor to be strung up from a gibbet in full view of passing ships—a warning to what happens to buccaneers when they are caught. Among those so displayed was Jack Quelch, who often operated out of Marblehead; his corpse put in chains and strung up at Nix's Mate, a small island in Boston harbor, where it rotted away, although some remains could be viewed for several years thereafter.
In and around Marblehead harbor various pirates, most especially the aforementioned Jack Quelch, are believed to have hidden treasure.
Snake Island, offshore from Marblehead, is supposed to have been a hiding place for pirate loot. Ditto for Plum Island near Newburyport, today a popular seaside nature conservancy and tourist destination.
The banks of the Parker River near Byfield may be a worthwhile site for treasure hunting, including over $200,000 worth of gold and silver in a chest.
At Dalton in Berkshire County loot stolen by Hessian mercenary soldiers during the American Revolution is said to be buried. Doubtless, such coins as Pine Tree shillings would have been included.
Near old Tenney Castle at Methuen, Essex County, two eccentric brothers are said to have hidden a fortune.
At Deer Island near Winthrop, 1,200 Mexican 8-reals were dug up in 1906, and who knows how many more there might be. The beaches at Ipswich and Salisbury are said to frequently yield 8-real Mexican silver coins dated circa 1715. Short Beach and Grover's Cliff as well as nearby Nahant and Revere were used as cache sites for pirate silver and gold.
Michigan treasures waiting to be found
A fortune belonging to FranÁois Fontenay is said to be buried on Presque Isle near Detroit.
Many treasures are said to be aboard sunken ships off the shores of Michigan. Over the years many thousands of ships have gone down in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.
Minnesota treasures waiting to be found
In a stand of trees at Henderson, Sibley County, a treasure is buried.
In the woods near Wadena a group of bandits buried their loot and were killed shortly thereafter by a posse.
Mississippi treasures waiting to be found
Near the old Gore mansion in Calhoun City valuable treasure was hidden in the earth.
Bandit James Copeland is said to have hidden gold coins in coastal areas in the 1840s and 1850s.
Pirate Patrick Scott is said to have buried some treasure in the early nineteenth century near Ocean Springs, Jackson County.
A treasure of gold coins may have been buried at Beaux Bridge in St. Martin's Parish in the early nineteenth century by the slaves of Narcisse Thibodeaux.
The Pirate's House near Bay St. Louis is said to offer obvious possibilities including the finding of underground tunnels facilitating the clandestine transfer of gold and silver from shore to the house.
The treasure of merchant Gaines is said to have been hidden in Greene County, and although quite a bit of it was recovered in the late nineteenth century, much remains undiscovered
Just before the Civil War the Pickett family buried its fortune near the edge of Vicksburg.
Two kegs of gold are said to have been buried near Greenwood in 1865 by robbers.
At Mathiston in Choctaw County many buried gold coins are supposedly waiting to be found.
Joe Hare, a bandit who once operated in the area, may have buried his treasure in Fayette, Jefferson County.
At Pass Christian in Harrison County the old oak tree beneath which Captain Dane is supposed to have buried $200,000 may not still be there, but the treasure near it has never been discovered. The money, in Spanish-American gold coins, belonged to a lady passenger of the Nightingale, who in the aftermath of a love triangle, was locked in a cabin when the ship sank. Great material for a novel, it would seem!
The Copeland gang looted the Bay St. Louis area in the early nineteenth century and buried their treasure in Catahoula Swamp.
Missouri treasures waiting to be found
Near Waynesville in Pulaski County a wealthy Forty Niner is said to have buried $60,000 in the hills.
In the river areas near St. Louis there are said to be several coin-laden steamship wrecks.
Montana treasures waiting to be found
Much Plummer gang (also active in Idaho) loot was hidden near Sun River, Cascade County, and several other specified areas.
The Horsethief Cache near Billings is said to be where cattle rustlers hid treasure (presumably coins, not cows or horses).
Robbers' Roost at Sheridan, Madison County, is where thieves secreted their plunder.
At Drummond in Granite County a Chinese miner is said to have buried five pounds of gold (coins? nuggets?) in a can under a tree.
Treasure taken from Gen. Custer's troops after his "last stand" in Big Horn County is said to have been hidden in the area (although one can only with great difficulty imagine Army troops having much treasure). Separately, a few scattered coins such as Shield nickels have been found on the site in recent decades and, called "half dimes," were shown in an issue of National Geographic Magazine a few years ago.
Virginia City, Montana (named after Virginia City, Nevada), was the site of extensive gold discoveries in the 1860s. It is said that much treasure is still hidden in the region.
Nebraska treasures waiting to be found
Jesse James is said to have hidden loot here and there, such as at Devil's Nest near Crafton, Knox County.
$40,000 stolen from a bank in Kearney is believed to be hidden near Sargent, Custer County.
Gold miners returning from California were robbed near Lexington, Dawson County, and their treasure buried in the area.
Robbers' Cave near Macy, Thurston County, may contain much treasure.
Nevada treasures waiting to be found
Loot of highwaymen: Stagecoach robbery loot hidden near Columbus, Esmeralda County; Wells Fargo treasure from the Empire Stage, near Carson City; stagecoach coins hidden north of the ghost town of Jarbridge, Elko county; tens of thousands of dollars in takings known as the stagecoach treasure of Williams Station on Harrison Creek near Hill Beacher Road, Elko County; and another stagecoach treasure hidden near Genoa, Douglas County, remains to be found.
The payroll intended for workers at the Candaleria Mines was stolen and is said to be hidden near Mina, Mineral County.
Lost gold from the Mormon caravan, between Cave Valley and Ash Meadows near Carp, Lincoln County, has never been located.
Money left behind in the winter of 1846-1847 by the ill-fated Donner expedition in the High Sierras may still be hidden somewhere, perhaps in the region of Shafter, Elko County (also see account in Chapter 2 of a find from the Donner Party).
A miser's fortune was hidden near the old Pogue Station southeast of Eureka, White Pine County.
A bank robber's treasure was hidden near Six Mile Canyon near the road from Carson City to the ghost town of Ramsey.
As is the case with many western states, most treasure stories concerning Nevada have to do with lost silver (mostly) or gold mines, not coins.
New Hampshire treasures waiting to be found
Near Colebrook in Coos County, far in the northern regions of the state and quite distant from the sea, some of Captain Kidd's treasure is said to have been buried, and "old coins have been found." If so, there is a remote possibility that such a cache could have or still does include Massachusetts silver coins. However, it is difficult to imagine that Captain Kidd would have spent a week or more journeying to this remote inland location after he anchored his ship on the New Hampshire coast.
In Dublin a treasure buried in the 1940s has never been found.
Governor John Wentworth is said by some to have buried $25,000 in coins and silverware near Portsmouth, presumably before fleeing to the north during the parlous times of the Revolutionary War. It is known that Wentworth was a man of considerable wealth. Separately, the site of his summer home on the shore of the body of water that today bears his name, Lake Wentworth, in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, has been a prime archaeological focal point for many years, various small British coins and numerous artifacts have been located there, and today a small local association supports its heritage. Despite reading several accounts, the author has never located any reliable reports of his having hidden any treasure, but anything is possible.
The Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire and just about every landing along the state's short (about 17 miles) seacoast have been long regarded as prime sources for hunting pirate treasure, although little has actually been found there. This offshore group includes Smuttynose Island, said to be a particularly rich possibility, for many pirates, including in particular Jack Quelch, thought this was a great location to bury silver and gold (if after a search there, a treasure seeker is in need of a libation, some Old Brown Dog Ale made by the Smuttynose Brewing Co. in nearby Portsmouth can offer succor).
Ned Low and William Fly were two other pirates who liked the area. Cotton Mather, the Massachusetts diarist and prominent justice, recorded that Fly's career was especially bloodthirsty, but lasted only 35 days before he was tried and hanged in Boston, where Fly helped the hangman tie the knot for his neck. Appledore Island, not far away, is said to be laden with treasure just waiting to be found, although a lot of people have tried. Ditto for Star Island. Londoner Island, later called Lunging Island, is where Blackbeard is said to have buried treasure, on the side of the island facing the Star Island Hotel across the water; Blackbeard is said to have had 14 wives and a bevy of concubines, apparently a treasure of another sort.
The lower reaches of the Piscataqua River, which empties into the Atlantic at Portsmouth, are said to be where Samuel Bellamy cached some supplies and possibly coins.
New Jersey treasures waiting to be found
With all of its shoreline, New Jersey was an enticing place for pirates to bury treasure, and some of them did. However, very few American coins would have been included. It is not unusual for old coins to wash up on beaches, particularly after storms and high tides or, especially, after a combination of both of these events. Asbury Park, Stone Harbor, Beach Haven, and other coastal sites have been mentioned in this regard. Pirate gold is said to be secreted at several places including Perth Amboy and Cape May.
Near Colt's Neck and near Farmingdale, both in Monmouth County, robbers who terrorized the pine barrens are said to have buried their loot.
Near Caldwell a German naval officer is said to have secreted a treasure before he was killed.
New Mexico treasures waiting to be found
Money from the Cooney stagecoach, hidden near Cooney, Grant County, has never been found.
Stagecoach treasure hidden in Doubtful Canyon near Steins Peak, Hidalgo County, is unlocated.
Lost treasure of Fort Bayard, Grant County, remains unfound.
At Devoy's Peak near Mount Dora much outlaw loot is hidden.
$100,000 in missing cash from train robbery(ies) believed hidden near the Lava Beds southeast of Grants, Valencia County, is still hidden.
A Texas outlaw's stash may still be concealed at Pump Canyon, San Juan County.
Seventeen to 20 tons of gold ingots believed by some to be hidden near Shiprock, San Juan County, and believed by others to be imaginary, makes an interesting story.
Gold bars have been missing for many decades at Tres Piedras in the San Juan Mountains, Taos County.
$40,000 in gold coins from a wagon train, hidden about 25 miles east of Springer, Colfax County, may still exist.
In addition to coin stories, there are many tales of lost silver and gold mines in this state, with one particularly interesting account telling of a hill near Pinos Altos being made of nearly pure gold.
New York treasures waiting to be found
At the old Jeffery Amherst Fort site at Crown Point, Essex County, treasure may have been buried.
In the Montezuma Swamp near Seneca Falls the Loomis gang is said to have buried much loot.
At Grand Island in Lake Erie, not far from Niagara Falls, a fortune is said to have been hidden by an early resident.
Near Hell's Gate in the East River a ship carrying a vast fortune was lost many years ago, and although the area is not large, the hulk of the ship in question has never been found.
The west shore of Lake Champlain is said to offer possibilities for electronic metal detector use, and quite a few old coppers have turned up.
The notorious Captain Kidd is said to have buried much treasure in coastal areas, especially at Gardiners Island. Most probably, if such still exists it includes few American coins. There are numerous accounts of lost chests, sunken ships, etc., near Manhattan in the East River, Hudson River, and New York harbor areas. Long Island, with its extensive sandy beaches, is said to offer many possibilities.
North Carolina treasures waiting to be found
A stranger is said to have buried a bag filled with gold near the old Brummels Inn at High Point.
In the early twentieth century some old Spanish-American coinsóincluding some dated 1788ówere found on the James Robert Thomas property in Waynesville.
On the bottom of the Pamlico River an old brick vault is said to have been found by fishermen, and within were several kettles and over 200 Spanish-American gold coins. For reasons hard to figure out, the fisher folk are said to have reburied the treasure on a nearby shore, where it was lost track of, as flooding changed the profile of the river bank.
Near Chimney Rock, Round Top mountain, which forms one side of Hickory Nut Gap, is said to be the burial site for a pot of gold put there by a group of six Englishmen over 250 years ago. A copy of a map indicating the site is in the Library of Congress. Several explorations have been made, but no success has been reported.
Off Cape Hatteras, the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," countless ship hulls litter the sea bottom—so many, in fact, that they are beyond counting. Presumably, many contain at least a few United States coins. Shoreline areas—such as near Okracoke Inlet—are said to have been an especially popular place for Blackbeard (who seems to have frequented the place) and other pirates to bury chests of treasure.
Near Wrightsville Beach there is a place aptly named Money Island.
Plum Point in Beaufort County was a burial spot for pirate booty, and to prove the contention, some has already been recovered (so they say).
The Great Dismal Swamp may be where Frenchmen, fleeing a British warship, hid gold during the early days of colonization.
North Dakota treasures waiting to be found
Along the Missouri River near Bismarck, Forty Niners laden with gold from California are said to have buried treasure worth $90,000 to prevent its capture by Indians.
At Rolla in Rolette County, bank robbers hid loot in the foothills of Turtle Mountain.
The paymaster for Hudson's Bay Company buried $40,000 in the area of Lignite, Burke County, just before an attack by robbers.
Ohio treasures waiting to be found
The Bridge family pot of gold was buried near Eaton, Preble County, in the early nineteenth century and has never been recovered.
At Rockford, Mercer County, loot of bank robbers has been found, but more is believed to be in the area.
Oklahoma treasures waiting to be found
Gold belonging to an Atoka cattleman is believed to be lost.
Half a bushel of silver coins hidden by bandits on Holsum Valley road, Le Flore County, has never been found.
At Roman Nose State Park, near Watonga, Blaine County, the loot of several old-time outlaw gangs is said to be buried.
Robber's Cave State Park, near Wilburton, Latimer County, offers obvious possibilities.
An outlaw's treasure on Boggy Creek near Boswell, Choctaw County, awaits a lucky searcher.
Treasure formerly the property of California emigrants, is supposedly hidden on Fish Creek near the old Edwards Post south of Holdenville, Hughes County. One cannot help but wonder how much "treasure" the average person going from the East to seek wealth in the West actually carried. Probably not much.
Charles ("Pretty Boy") Floyd's loot hidden near Sallisaw, Sequoyah County, may still be there.
Treasure from Captain Golden's wagon train was hidden at Big Caney Creek south of Artillery Mound near Boulanger, Osage County.
Loot of the Dalton gang was hidden in various locations around the state including in caves at Sand Springs. Dozens of rumors exist, but little in the way of facts.
Dick Estes' outlaw gold treasure on Panther Creek about 10 miles north of Cache, Comanche County, has not been found.
The lost gold of Fort Arbuckle, on or near the old Fort Sill Military Reservation, is still missing.
Glass jars containing $58,000 or more in coins was secreted near Sulphur Canyon Bridge near Clayton, Pushmataha County. (Anyone writing a history of glass jars may well want to include a chapter on coin caches, for such tales recur!)
Robber Henry Starr's ill-gotten gains may be cached near Rose and Pryor, Mayes County.
Treasure in the ghost town of Ingalls east of Stillwater, Payne County, awaits the discoverer.
The Dillon gang is said to have buried treasure in and around Mannford, Creek County.
Joe Vann's treasure on the site of his old mansion, Webbers Falls, Muskogee County, has been talked about, but not found.
Kenton, Cimarron County, was once a center for banditry, and stolen treasure is still hidden in the area.
$50,000 in gold coins is said to be hidden near Rattan at Seven Devil Mountain, this being from the loot of a bank robbery. The bandit was hanged, but not before giving directions to where the coins were cached. However, later attempts to locate the coins proved futile.
The safe taken from the Kosoma train on Buck Creek near Antlers, Pushmataha County; has been missing for a long time.
Silver dollars were lost near Summerfield, Le Flore County.
An Army paymaster's cache may be hidden at Twin Mounds near Jennings, Pawnee County. Similarly, an Army payroll was hidden at Cache, Comanche County, to prevent capture by Indians.
In addition, there are many stories of Jesse James' loot being hidden in the state.
Oregon treasures waiting to be found
A buried fortune may or may not be on the Baker Ranch on Birch Creek south of Pilot Rock, Umatilla County.
At Mount Hood in the area of Government Camp, Clackamas County, stolen treasure was buried.
Pirate treasure is said to be buried near Cascade Head, Lincoln County.
In Baker City, some of the two-ounce gold "buttons" made in 1907 may be in safe deposit boxes or elsewhere. Only three or four are known today from an original production of many dozens.
Many ships in the coastwise trade have been wrecked off the coast, and it is said that some contain money from passengers' purses and from safes, although factual accounts of coins are scarce.
At Horse Thief Meadows near Parkdale, Hood River County, $25,000 from a stagecoach robbery is believed to be hidden.
Pennsylvania treasures waiting to be found
Many Indian peace medals were given out by early settlers, but only a few of these are known to numismatists today. Medals were given out in many other eastern and midwestern areas as well.
At a place called Asylum on the upper reaches of the Susquehanna River, escapees from the French Revolution (and some displaced Frenchmen from the West Indies as well) are said to have concealed their wealth during the mid-1790s.
Near Mount Carmel $250,000 is missing from the site of a 1948 airliner crash.
Pithole City on Pithole Creek where it joins the Allegheny River, was a boom town beginning with the discovery of oil there in 1865. Within a year or two there was so much business going on there that the incoming and outgoing mail at the Post Office was third in volume only to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in the state. "Fortune seekers from all parts of America and Europe were attracted. On every train they came rushing to the land of derricks."
The population grew to 12,000 to 15,000 inhabitants. Alas, it was not to last. Most oil claims petered out. The Oil City & Pithole Branch Railroad banked the fires in its locomotives, and the Reno, Oil Creek & Pithole Railroad was never completed beyond the grading and tie-laying process. No one checked in anymore at the four-story hotel in the center of town. By 1870 Pithole City was no more, and it was not even mentioned in the federal census of that year. Today the site may furnish interesting opportunities for electronic treasure detection.
The Doone Gang of Tories stashed $100,000 in loot near Wernersville, Bucks County.
For such a big state with such a long history, there are not many treasure tales to relate. Not enough pirates or stagecoach robbers in this area, I suppose.
In a home on the south side of a country road near Carverton, Luzerne County, a cigar box filled with old Indian cents is believed to exist.
Money gathered by settlers at the communal settlement of Ephrata Cloisters is said to be concealed somewhere in that area.
Rhode Island treasures waiting to be found
There are lots of pirate treasure stories associated with the beaches and inlets of this seacoast state.
Pirates' Cave on the southern reaches of Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay may or may not be aptly designated.
South Carolina treasures waiting to be found
Most treasure stories relating to this state concern pirate loot, such as treasure hidden at the appropriately named Pirate House on Church Street, Charleston; the site of old Fort Randall; Tilghman's Point on Little River; and Murrell's Inlet in Georgetown County.
Hampton Plantation, located northeast of Charleston, is where Edgar Allan Poe is said to have written his "Gold Bug" story in the 1840s, obviously an excellent omen for a place said by later generations to conceal treasures. George Washington is said to have slept there, too.
Archibald Rutledge (life dates: 1883-1973) once owned the place, and when there he found 198 gold coins hidden during the Civil War, no numismatic description of which has been encountered. Could there be more waiting to be found? If so, midnight might be the best time to lookóbecause the place is now owned by the state and operated as a tourist attractionóbut this brings up the problem of a ghost which is said to haunt the place. Beware!
South Dakota treasures waiting to be found
Money may still be hidden on the site of a burned ranch near Redfern, Pennington County.
Loot from the holdup of the "Old Ironsides" Canyon Springs stagecoach is believed to be hidden near the junction of Prairie and Rapid creeks near Rapid City. One might imagine that the robbers of this and other stagecoaches made off with their ill-gotten gains and spent it, rather than burying the treasure and never coming back to claim it.
Buried treasure of the Gordon Stockade, French Creek, Lawrence County, remains lost.
Fruit jars filled with cash, the Mexican Ed Sanchez treasure, is hidden on Dirty Woman Creek near the old town of Grinston, Custer County.
Loot from the Sidney Stage may still be buried or stashed near Hat Creek near Ardmore, Fall River County.
Stagecoach holdup loot was buried near French Creek near Fairburn, Custer County.
Loot amounting to $140,000 was taken in a stagecoach holdup in 1878, hidden along a creek near Fairburn, Custer County, and never found. The treasure was being sent from a mining camp to a bank. The bandits were chased by a posse and killed.
Near Hat Creek, Rumford, Fall River County, a strongbox taken in a stagecoach robbery in 1877 remains missing. This may be the same as $30,000 in gold coins in a treasure chest reported taken in a train robbery.
A steamboat was lost near Riverside Park, Pierre, in the 1860s, with much gold aboard. To this day it has not been located.
At the bottom of Long Lake near Lake City, Marshall County, a "flour sack full of gold" is said to be hidden.
Miners returning from the Virginia City, Montana, area in the 1860s, laden with gold, buried their treasure near Deadwood before being killed by Indians.
Tennessee treasures waiting to be found
The Touhy gang from Chicago stashed $60,000 near Newport.
Wartburg in Morgan County is where much gold brought back from California in the 1850s remains buried.
The parts of the Natchez Trace that wound through the forested areas of the state are said to offer many possibilities for robbers' loot including some from notorious Samuel Mason and his son.
John Murrel, a bandit in early times, is said to have cached up to $1,000,000 worth of treasure near Denmark, Madison County.
During the Civil War much treasure was buried near Dover, Stewart County.
Texas treasures waiting to be found
Gold bars were lost in Paisano Pass near the Brewster-Presidio county line, Brewster County.
Coins taken by Emperor Maximilian from the Mexican treasury may have been spirited off to Texas and hidden there.
Notorious Texas outlaw Sam Bass spent time in the 1870s robbing stagecoaches including several near Deadwood in the Dakota Territory. Seeking other opportunities, Bass and his sidekick Joel Collins went to Big Springs, Nebraska, and there held up the Union Pacific Railroad, escaping with a payroll of 3,000 freshly-minted 1877 $20 gold pieces in a trunk. Although $25,000 worth of coins and jewelry (this would have been 1,250 $20 gold coins if the jewelry had been minimal) was recovered, Collins and Bass died without revealing where the rest of the loot was. It is said that Bass had hidden his part in Cove Hollow about 30 miles from Denton, Texas, where, who knows, it may still be today.2
In spring 1894 four men held up the First National Bank in Bowie, Texas, and rode away with 500 $20 gold pieces ($10,000) and $18,000 in currency. Considering that the bank, chartered in 1890, issued its own $10 and $20 notes, could there have been any of these among the bills taken? Before crossing the flooded Red River they decided to bury the heavy coins as they might impede their crossing, but it seems highly unlikely that at the rate of 125 coins per man, each coin weighing about one ounce, that they would really have been a problem. Anyway, as the story goes, the men were later captured and hanged, but not before one of the desperadoes confided to lawman Palmore that the gold was buried beneath a large tree, supposedly in a stand of cottonwoods near where the Red River meets the Little Wichita River.3
A cache of coins hidden by robbers near or on Biloxi Creek near Lufkin, Angelina County, has never been discovered.
At Castle Gap, about 15 miles east of Horsehead Crossing, the gold and other treasure of Emperor Maximilian may be buried. A 15-wagon caravan was ambushed circa 1866 by ex-Confederate soldiers and other opportunists. Does this treasure exist. If so, does it include gold coins?4
Treasure of the Forty Niners hidden at Buffalo Gap south of Abilene remains unfound.
In Illinois a gang of desperadoes held up a train, escaped with $350,000 in loot, and for some reason took it to near San Antonio, Texas, to hide it, apparently so well that it has never been found.
Butterfield Stage treasure was hidden at Castle Gap near King Mountain, Upton County.
Loot hidden by an Illinois train robber near San Antonio remains unlocated to this day.
A lost cache of $20 gold coins in Palo Duro Canyon, Armstrong County, will certainly yield surprises if found.
A Missouri wagon train treasure, possibly as much as $30 million, was hidden near Willow Springs northeast of Monahans, Winkler County.
Forty Niners laden with gold from California, on their way back east, buried gold in Buffalo Gap, Taylor County, when ambushed by Indians.
The missing Musgraves treasure of gold coins is said to be near Cotulla, La Salle County.5
Stagecoach robbery loot was hidden in Rattlesnake Cave, a.k.a. Skeleton Cave (for one of the bandits' remains are supposed to still be there), near old Fort Concho west of San Angelo, Tom Green County.
The missing $100,000 on the old Riddles Ranch near Fort Worth has never turned up.
The Sanderson train robbery loot, near Sue Peak, Brewster County, remains missing. More loot from another train holdup is believed to be hidden at the southwest edge of Stanton, Martin County.
Stories abound of pirate Jean Lafitte's treasures hidden at various places along the Gulf of Mexico coast and of gold and other treasures brought to Texas from Mexico, only to meet various fates. Similarly, Mexican troops involved in various battles (the Alamo, for example) are said to have hidden coins in various places.
Utah treasures waiting to be found
An Army payroll treasure remains missing near Castle Dale, Emery County.
Train robbers' loot hidden near Bear River City, about four miles north of Corinne, Box Elder County; has never been found. Ditto for the take from the Corinne stagecoach robbery believed to be concealed near Corinne.
Caleb Rhodes, of Mountain Home, Duchesne County, had much wealth from an unknown source. Some of this, or perhaps a secret gold mine, awaits discovery.
Members of the Donner Party (also see Nevada entry above and Donner information in Chapter 2) on the way to California are said to have hidden valuable coins near Silver Island Mountain near Wendover, Tooele County, Utah, in autumn 1846.
The Castlegate payroll treasure near Hanksville, Wayne County, has been missing for a long time.
Robbers' loot from an Emery bank holdup was hidden at Hondo Arch near Emery.
The Mountain Meadow Massacre treasure is said to be hidden about 30 miles south of Cedar City, Iron County. This dreadful encounter has been written about by Mark Twain and others, and it seems unlikely that any treasure was actually left behind by the perpetrators of this sad event, a very dark chapter in the history of Utah.
Mormon gold coins are said to be stored in a vault in Salt Lake City.
The "Wild Bunch treasure," about $28,000, was secreted at a cabin near Brown's Hole, San Juan County.
Vermont treasures waiting to be found
One does not usually associate Spanish explorers and expeditions with the Green Mountain State, but Tom Penfield (1952) told of two treasures buried by Spaniards, one of gold on the slopes of Ludlow Mountain.
One often sought "treasure" is the original wooden mint building used by Reuben Harmon and his associates in the coining of Vermont coppers circa 1785-1786. In the 1960s, when poking around Pawlet in search of clues, I was shown not one but two candidates for the structure, both moved from the original site along a brook. Too bad that Sylvester S. Crosby (Early Coins of America, 1875, p. 90) gives a fairly detailed account of the building's loss when it collapsed in a windstorm in the winter of 1855-1856.
Virginia treasures waiting to be found
On a hill near McGaheysville, Rockingham County, a treasure was buried, according to local accounts.
In Fauquier County, William Kirk amassed a large fortune by the late eighteenth century, and is said to have hidden it on the grounds of his estate, thus accounting for various scattered discoveries of coins in later years. However, the bulk remains unlocated.
Major General George Cornwallis, whose surrender effectively ended the Revolutionary War, is said to have cached his own coins plus those captured during his earlier forays, to prevent seizure by the American troops. These coins and other precious items may still be found in or around Yorktown, if you are lucky enough to look in the right place.
On or near Chincoteague Island, on a wooded knoll overlooking the water, 10 strongboxes filled with treasure may have been buried by pirate Charles Wilson.
In Prince William County, Confederate raider John S. Mosby captured a troop of Union forces who had in their possession many coins, jewels, and other items pilfered from Virginia homes. Mosby hid these items in the area, and they still may be there.
In 1794 the family of Baron Franćois Pierre de Tubeuf, who lived in Washington County, was killed by outlaws, who may have hidden the baron's money nearby, for when they were captured there were no coins in their possession. 1
Near Richmond $10,000,000 or more in gold coins, part of the much-discussed "Treasure of the Confederacy," a loan from England, is said to be buried. This can be discounted as fiction, according to most modern scholars of the subject. The tale is probably derived from an account in the New York Times, October 31, 1947, "British Loan to Confederacy Thought Buried in Virginia:"
It was related that Virginia Governor William M. Tuck had recently received a letter from F.L. Weathers, of Greenville, South Carolina, who related that his grandfather, a Confederate soldier, had helped bury $10 to $11 million in gold, a loan from the British government, in an iron box and burying it. "I know the exact location in Virginia where the money is buried," Mr. Weathers wrote. "Some time ago I talked with a resident of that area, who said that the place I have mentioned has remained undisturbed since the close of the Civil War."
Governor Tuck told reporters that in view of the state's annual budget he would be grateful if such a treasure could be found. Apparently, Weathers declined the governor's invitation to come to Virginia and act upon his information.
On an old plantation near Front Royal, somewhere along where a tree-lined drive was once located in front of the mansion's portico, a pot of silver coins may have been buried in 1861.
Roanoke comprised many wealthy families before the Civil War. Many treasures of these people were hidden in and around the city, where they may remain to the present day.
In Saltville, Abraham Smith and his sons are said to have buried $46,000 worth of silver and gold coins under a roadbed during the Civil War to prevent them from falling into the hands of Union soldiers.
Thomas Jefferson Beale may or may not have deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of gold and silver coins and gold nuggets somewhere in the state in the early nineteenth century, in a location described in a cipher message, but many believe the whole story is just a hoax.
In Page County, Edwin Powell is believed to have buried a large quantity of silver coins in the early eighteenth century. The site may be under a rock into which the design of a horseshoe is carved. Powell is believed to have been a counterfeiter, so there is no guarantee that, if found, the treasure will consist of genuine Spanish-American silver coins or whatever else may have been circulating in the area at the time.
One of the more fanciful tales holds that Charles II of England, who was on the throne from 1660 to 1685, was fearful of being deposed, and in an early-day version of what many dictators and their kin would do to national treasuries years later—even now in the twentieth century—he sent some trusted aides with a large holding of coins to be secreted in the colony of Virginia. Part of this treasure may even include some ancient Roman coins.
The coastal areas of the state are rich hunting grounds for anyone equipped with an electronic metal detector, and many old coins have been found, usually one at a time.
Washington treasures waiting to be found
Captain Johnson's cache of gold may still be at the old Johnson home site, Ilwaco, Pacific County.
On Vashon Island in Puget Sound a logger buried gold in 1877, and it remains unlocated.
The treasure of Capt. James Scarborough is believed to be hidden at Fort Columbia.
Sarah Smith Collard of Seattle traveled widely and is said to have hidden money in out of the way places on her journeys, including $500,000 in an old clock and several $1,000 bills in another location. In the 1950s the administrator of her estate was seeking clues as to where some of the money was.
Robbers' Roost (several different places bear this name in the American West) near Fruitland is the site of buried loot.
West Virginia treasures waiting to be found
Dennis Adams buried his wealth in Kermit in the early twentieth century. It has never been found.
Near Chapmanville a payroll in coins destined for Union troops may be buried on the west bank of the Buyandotte River, while an even larger payroll may be secreted in Upshur County near or in Rock Cave.
In 1758 a group of Shawnee Indians attacked a settlement in this remote area, captured those who lived there, and took their coins and other possessions away. These have never been found and may have been buried on the slopes of South Fork Mountain.
The outlaw sons of John Jennings may have buried loot in and around Wetzel County.
In Jefferson County, Virginia, later a part of West Virginia (as of October 20, 1863), Rezin Davis Shepherd may have buried coins on his land in the 1850s and early 1860s.
Near the Buckhannon River in Randolph County two separate hoards of coins may be hidden.
Around 1820, Col. Joseph Van Swearingen, a Revolutionary War veteran, is said to have buried much of his fortune about a half mile north of Shepherdstown in Jefferson County, Virginia, in a district which later became part of West Virginia when it separated during the Civil War.
In 1917 a draft evader is said to have buried $150,000 in the vicinity of Marlowe, Berkeley County.
Wisconsin treasures waiting to be found
Near Antigo a bunch of bank robbers hid their loot, but were never able to come back to get it.
The Dillinger gang hid $250,000 in currency in the woods near Mercer in 1934.
Outlaws considered Bogus Bluff near Gotham, Richland County, to be a good hiding place for coins, many of which remain there today.
On Stockton Island (one of the Apostle Islands near Bayfield) treasure is supposed to have been hidden by British soldiers.
Wyoming treasures waiting to be found
Bandits' loot hidden near old Fort Laramie has never been found.
The Jack Slade gang hid treasure in Slade Canyon near Sunrise, Platte County.
$37,000 in stagecoach holdup loot was hidden in 1878 near Newcastle, Weston County, and remains missing.
The coins of an Army paymaster were buried at Smoot, Lincoln County, to avoid capture by Indians.
"Teton" Jackson buried his loot at Cache Creek near Jackson Hole, possibly the same treasure as given in a report of $150,000 in stolen gold hidden in the area.
In the vicinity of Baggs, Carbon County, outlaw treasure is hidden.
Gold coins were found at Rock River, Albany County, in 1916, but are believed to be just a small part of a treasure that is still unlocated.
Train holdup booty secreted near Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, remains untraced.
Stagecoach treasure near Newcastle, Weston County, has been lost for decades.
"Treasure of the San Francisco Mint" at Shelter Cove near Point Delgado, Humboldt County, no doubt would prove interesting if found.
Loot from the Sonora stage was hidden near Snelling, Merced County.
A tub filled with gold coins was hidden at Yankee Hill (old mining town) near Sonora, Tuolumne County. A washtub? Bathtub?
In addition, just about all of the old Spanish missions along the coast have treasure tales connected with them. Stories of lost mines in the Sierras and Mother Lode country also abound.
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Location: United States
This section is taken from chapter 22 of American Coin Treasures and Hoards by Q David Bowers. There are hundreds of pages of fascinating information to be found in this book, and you can order it online at the Coin World Marketplace.
Master at Coins
Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Wow, these are really interesting articles! I have a few, but I think most peoples heard about them already.
Joined: 04 Jun 2006
Location: United States
coldshot...VERY cool info! For as much as I read, I've never seen these before, thanks so much!!
Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Location: United States
There is that adventurer in all of us that grew from tales heard as a kid. Wouldn't it be cool to find something at one of these or to add to it with a new one.
Master at Coins
Joined: 24 Jun 2006
Location: United States
I have looked for the treasures in florida. Very hard and fustrating!!!
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Location: United States
If you look for treasures on dry land take into consideration that real pirates were a bunch of drunk theivin scally-wags that had nothing better to do after a big heist than drink and dig holes to hide the booty. most would be 10 feet deep or even more. lot of work and effort in this project. and you may still encounter traps even in the day they thought in high security hide outs. be cool and careful...
Edited by coldshot - 14 Jan 2007 at 4:31am
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Location: United States
Finding treasure underwater is not a total matter of skill as the ocean floor changes from day to day. Mel Fisher and his family and crew spent years an litterally millions of dolars before finally getting the treasure but still many years later to find the rest of the ship. the oceans floor is always in motion. I would love it there....some of the treasures found were a matter of being in the right place at the right time....
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