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, Vermont 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 1500 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, 90 feet deep, in the full expectancy of regaining it, and in the mid 1800s this belief had grown to such proportions that 50 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, but 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 jeweled 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, New York 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 of New York, 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, New York, the buried treasures of Lord Abercrombie have remained successfully hidden until this day.
The oldest house at Fort Neck, Long Island, New York 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 shrieks 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 ordered his three slaves to bury them in pits that they had dug beneath his house. Then, as they were shoveling 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 the 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?