Maryland is a state that will surprise most treasure hunters. It is often thought that there are few locations worth searching for, but my research has shown this theory to be wrong. There is a treasure in Maryland that can still be found.
The triple-masted sloop, the Indies Ballad, was thrown into the vault of the deep off Maryland’s seacoast in 1792. With her, a ship carrying $130,000 in gold intended to fuel the thriving slave trade with America indirectly sank. Despite two known searches, the ship and her treasure have never been found, and they remain a tempting lure for treasure seekers even after 200 years.
She put away from Boston in early spring, rounded Cape Cod, and then swerved sharply south, bound for the West Indies. Stashed below deck aft in the captain’s quarters were three good-sized chests full of beaten gold wafers. Each little lustrous shard measured only one inch by four inches by one-half inch. The edges were smooth and rounded.
At first, the sloop was made to be a freight ship, so it was wide and slow on the open ocean. She didn’t have a full cannon, but she did have four swiveling “murderer guns” that were meant to shoot iron pellets at raiding border guards.
The Indies Ballad left the Cape and plowed awkwardly past Nantucket with the new morning. Alert to the brewing squalls, the captain ordered the ship to be kept just within sight of land should they need to seek shelter in a hurry.
Reaching Long Island, the ship rode into the storm’s blustering fringe. The ship plowed along the coast into the heaving seas and whirlwind gusts. She was soon engulfed in a torrential cloudburst. As the sloop skidded clumsily by New Jersey’s Cape May in the churning waves, the first mate requested the captain to make port in Delaware Bay to wait out the storm.
The skipper, anxious to make time and distance, demurred. About 20 minutes later, he vowed to make for the Chesapeake Bay, but they never reached their goal.
Off the northern stretch of Maryland’s Assateague Island, the storm’s relentless fury overcame the wallowing Indies Ballad and plunged the sloop and her golden fortune to the ocean bottom.
About 12 of her crew struggled to the island’s shore through the pounding surf, including the captain and the first mate. They could not salvage the chests of gold that had been in the captain’s quarters. To this day, this cargo rests on the bottom of the ocean off Maryland’s shore.
Not far from Frederick, Maryland, is the town of Braddock, not to be confused with nearby Braddock Heights. On a mountain near here is buried a chest of jewels stolen from a French duchess. The location should not be far from the old Hagen Tavern.
In 1830, a stranger came to the old tavern and stayed awhile as a guest. While there, the man cached a fortune in jewels on one of the neighboring mountains and then left. Residents at the time knew nothing of the man and his stolen treasure, thinking he was just another traveler.
Two years passed. In 1832, the stranger returned. He again stayed at the Hagen Tavern. The man spent his time roaming the hills, looking for something. Natives remembered him from his previous visit but paid little attention to him until, during a freak storm, the man slipped and fell on the muddy ground while in the mountains. He was brought to the tavern in hopeless shape.
Realizing he was dying, the stranger related his story to the doctor and the tavern owner. He reported that he had buried a chest of valuable jewelry stolen from a French lady of the court on a nearby mountain. Knowing that he would have to wait for a while to recover the treasure, he had left the vicinity.
When he returned to collect the jewels, he could not find them. The two intervening years had blurred his memory of where he had put the cache. The thief did not live long enough to offer more details, but he set many people to search the mountains. As far as is known, the jewels are still buried where he cached them.
Maryland has many treasure sites, particularly in and around the Chesapeake Bay. For starters, there are two authenticated treasures buried by Captain William Kidd. Incidentally, it is debatable whether he was a pirate or not.
Kidd knew that orders were dispatched from London for his arrest. He suspected merchants in New York and London, “big wheels,” who backed his privateering as a legitimate enterprise, planned to do away with him and seize all the loot. Before surrendering to authorities in Boston on July 5, 1694, he sailed up and down the New England coast, hiding much of his treasure. He was subsequently tried and executed in London.
One of the spots where Kidd stashed treasure was Druid Hill Park near Baltimore. He buried a sea chest filled with gold and jewels there. A second cache is on the south side of Gibson Island, north of Sandy Point in the Chesapeake Bay. It consists of chests containing an undetermined amount of gold, silver, and jewels.
The pirate Blackbeard, Edward Teach, also favored this island. While his cutthroat crew caroused in Baltimore Town, he had four men dig a deep hole and bury four chests of treasure on the east point of Gibson Island.
Blackbeard then ran his bloody sword through each of the four pirates and went back to Baltimore Town. This was a few weeks before he was killed with a pike by Border Patrol agents in South Carolina.
Burying the family treasure was an annual event for William Perry II, Lord of Perry Hall Plantation and wealthy Talbot County senator. Each year, before journeying to the Maryland State Legislature in Annapolis, Senator Perry, with the help of a trusted manservant, banked his gold, silver, and family valuables somewhere on the fertile grounds of his 350-acre Miles River estate.
Perry was a wealthy man. He was born to a powerful Englishman and later married into a wealthy Talbot County family.
In the 52 years of his life, leading up to the fateful trip to Annapolis in 1798, he served as justice of the peace, associate county judge, delegate to the first state convention, and finally, president of the Maryland Senate. His plantation was known to be among the most profitable in the entire county.
The fact that the Senator chose to protect his family valuables by burying them wasn’t unusual, as there was no commercial bank of the day convenient to protect them during his annual leave of absence from Perry Hall.
Two months after he moved to Annapolis in 1799, the Senator died of an apoplexy attack. Fate added the final twist. As was his custom, or perhaps his precaution, Perry took the servant who had helped bury the treasure with him on all such trips to the state capitol. And it was on the servant’s return trip home that the treasure of Perry Hall slipped from legacy into legend.
In a disastrous carriage accident, the servant, the only other living soul knowing the whereabouts of the buried hoard, died without uttering a word.
Until recently, the ownership of the plantation remained in the Perry family. Their repeated recovery attempts stretched over several generations and made it quite apparent that they placed considerable value on the old legend.
The last heir who lived at Perry Hall tried everything, from metal detectors to spiritualists, to find out what happened to his money. Excavation after excavation yielded tantalizing hints but no money. After many failures, he finally gave up in 1967 and sold the historic house to the people who started the nearby Kirkland Hall College.
The Perry land, and what many believe to be a great legacy, is located a few miles west of Easton on Maryland Route 33, off St. Michael’s Road.
Somewhere on lonely Assateague Island, just off the coast of Maryland, a pirate cache valued at $1,000,000 or more lies hidden.
Made up of silver, gold, diamonds, and other jewels, this immense trove had lain unfound since the early days of the 18th century, when Charlie Wilson, Southern “sea demon,” preyed on unwary ships of commerce along the eastern coast.
In 1730, at Charleston, Wilson, once a law-abiding South Carolina sea captain, fell in with men of ill repute and was lured into the ways of piracy. Roving far and wide in his long freebooting career, he soon amassed a sizeable fortune from plundering English vessels.
Like most of his kind, he stored a considerable portion of his ill-gotten gains in natural banks, burial sites picked with the utmost security in mind, usually on uninhabited islands.
Finally, however, fate caught up with him, and in 1750, he and his ratty crew were cornered and captured by British naval units. When they got to England, the British Admiralty Court quickly tried them, found them guilty, and sentenced them to hang.
Wilson wrote a letter to his brother George, who lived in Charleston and was a good person, while he was waiting to be put to death. In the letter, he told of burying, in ten iron-bound chests, bars of silver, gold, diamonds, and jewels near three creeks lying 100 paces or more north of the second inlet above Chincoteague Island, Virginia.
This would put it inside the Maryland state line. He gave the exact spot at the head of the third creek to the northward on a bluff facing the Atlantic where three cedar trees grew, each about one and one-third yards apart.
Wilson buried the treasure between the trees at this place known as Woody Knoll, admonishing his brother to go to Woody Knoll secretly and remove it. “The treasure,” said Wilson, was worth 200,000 pounds sterling.
Today, the contents of these ten chests would be worth $1,000,000 or more, a fact verified by William H. Worten, Jr., Assateague historian, in his work Assateague, printed in 1970.
That George Wilson never received his brother’s letter is a certainty, for it is known that it lay in British naval files for 198 years before being discovered and made public in 1948.
Dr. Reginald V. Truitt, the Assateague research expert for the Natural Resources Institute, University of Maryland, says, “Wilson’s brother, George, died in this country as a pauper. There is no evidence that the chests were recovered, and certainly not in recent times.
Finding the exact spot indicated in the letter is complicated because the cedar trees have been destroyed for a long time by the invading sea, and inlets have come and gone since Pirate Wilson’s time. However, Woody Knoll, covered by pine trees, into cedars, persists near North Beach.”
Spread across governmental records is the toll list of the many ships that have met their fate on the sand bars of Assateague Island, and treasure hunters will find the timber piles of some of these old wrecks along the shoreline. Sometimes, a new storm will bring to light the remains of a person who has never been recorded.
Following the great storm of 1962, the hulks of fewer than eleven old ships were uncovered between Pope Island and the Sinepuxent Bay Bridge. Since most were previously unknown wrecks, no one knows what the cargoes of these lost vessels might have been.
However, pieces of eight guineas, medallions, and rings have been found by beachcombers. Assateague Island is a national seashore, so be sure to check with authorities before you attempt to do any treasure hunting in the area.
A rich silver mine lies on Rattlesnake Hill in Carroll County, Maryland, known as Ahrwud’s Lost Mine.
Herr Ahrwud was a prosperous silversmith who came to Carroll County from Germany in the latter part of the 18th century. He was a skilled craftsman whose work became well-known throughout central Maryland. His neighbors were curious when they noticed that he always had an abundant supply of silver, but they could not learn where it came from.
The silver came from an Indian mine on Rattlesnake Hill. Ahrwud got along well with a nearby tribe, with whom he often traded food and other goods for their silver. Although the Indians were no longer warlike, they still distrusted all white men except Ahrwud.
The Indians often took Ahrwud with them to their mine, always traveling at night and walking on hidden trails to the site, a natural cave in the hill. Ahrwud dug high-grade silver ore from a vein in the back of the mine and normally did not return home until near dawn, always carrying a bag of the rich ore.
Ahrwud visited the mine several times without trouble with the Indians until his daughter began questioning him about the source of his silver. She nagged him continually until he told her about the mine. The girl wanted to see the mine, so the following night, he led her to the cave. She was astonished at the sight of the huge, sparkling vein of almost pure silver.
Ahrwud warned his daughter that she must never tell anyone about the mine, declaring that the Indians would kill both of them if she did. The girl promised to keep the secret.
However, the daughter somehow managed to mark the trail secretly, as she and Ahrwud returned home before daybreak. The following day she told a friend about the mine, and the two girls followed the marked trail to the cave, where they took some silver.
One of the Indians saw the girls at the mine and told his chief, who was greatly angered at Ahrwud for not having kept his word as to the secrecy of the mine. The next day, the Indians seized the unfortunate silversmith and his daughter and dragged them to the cave, where they were tortured and slain.
The bodies of Ahrwud and his daughter were left in the cave, and the entrance was closed by a landslide started by the Indians.
Ahrwud’s lost mine has not been found to this day. During the late 1700s, several shafts were dug in the Rattlesnake Hills area, but the Indians’ silver vein was never relocated.
Today, Rattlesnake Hill is covered with weeds and brush. No cave or mine shaft can be seen. Rattlesnake Hill is east of Union Mills, Maryland.
The crystalline rocks of the Piedmont Plateau have been found to contain gold. The first discovery of gold in Maryland was in 1849, near Sandy Springs, in Montgomery County, near the great falls of the Potomac. Many rich specimens were found in the quartz veins and were sometimes accompanied by lead and silver.
A report of 1906 said that the annual output of gold from a mine in Montgomery County was estimated at $2500. This mine was first opened in 1867. There was no mention in this report of any panning activity, so this area might be worth exploring.
During the early part of this century, gold was discovered near Great Falls on the Potomac. Located in the corner of boundaries that include the state of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, this site yielded $10,000 in gold nuggets to one man, who picked them from a small stream.
This small stream empties into the Potomac River just downstream from Great Falls and along the old C&O Canal, which was built to transport boats around the impassable area of the falls on the Potomac.
A great flurry of excitement was short-lived, though, because the free gold that lay in the stream bed soon played out, and when working the rose quartz in the area proved more costly than the worth of the gold extracted, mining soon slowed to a halt.
As far as is known, it was never begun again, other than recently, for several weekend miners in the area.
In the late autumn of 1931, several deer hunters found the dead body of an old hermit who lived in a small cabin on Dan’s Mountain in western Maryland. He was pretty old and had been dead for several months. The hunters wheeled his body in a wheelbarrow into the town of Midland, where he was given a decent burial.
Rumor had it that at one time, the old hermit had been very wealthy, having been a successful Southern planter before the Civil War. After the war, he returned to the mountains and retired to a monk-like existence. It is believed that he had cached a considerable amount of money around his old cabin, which has never been reported as having been found.
Some good areas in western Maryland for metal detector sites can be found with little trouble. For example, people who live in Frostburg may remember that General Braddock had a short fight with some hostile Indians and slept on top of old Welch Hill for the night. Eight of his men were killed and buried in a row on the top of the hill.
For many years, turkey shoots and numerous other contests were held around the Midland and Mt. Savage areas. There should be lost coins, keys, rings, and knives that fell from the pockets of men participating in these shoots.
There are several abandoned coal camps in the George’s Creek region, now ghost towns. These would be really good places to check.
The Toll Gate area of the Six Mile House between Cumberland and Frostburg should prove interesting. This pass through the narrows was the only way west for many years.
The old road from Pompey Smash to Clarksville, used as a supply road during the Civil War and by both the North and South, would be an excellent area depending upon who had control at the time. The Clary Inn was constructed in 1812 and served as a hospital during the Civil War. The creek area served as a water supply during that period and should have many items in and around its banks, dropped while dipping and carrying water from the area.
The western Maryland area was baseball-happy many years ago. Every town had its ball team, such as Lonoconing, Westernport, Midland, Vale Summit, Mt. Savage, etc. The old ballpark sites are now mostly deserted; quite a few are grown with shrubs and small trees. There was always heavy betting done at these games. There could be good hunting here.
Some of the early farms in the area had their race tracks, and many old coins should be within the range of a good metal detector. Also, cockfights were very popular, although they were illegal. They were attended by prominent and wealthy men and protected by selected law enforcement officers. The sites of these cockfights would be an excellent place to check.
During the early 1930s, a wealthy farmer who lived a few miles south of Frostburg in the George’s Creek area always celebrated the end of his fall harvest by leaving home with a lot of cash and going on a big drunken bender for three or four weeks.
Regardless of the number of spirits he consumed, he would never drink up all the money he had left home with. Someplace, on every drunken trip, he buried or lost huge sums of money because he always arrived home with empty pockets.
A little research on his route home on these trips might turn up a small cache of coins that would be worth a lot more today.
The Atlantic seaboard harbors the skeletal remains of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of derelict hulks, ships sent to the bottom of cannon fire or ranging storms, events beyond any man’s control.
The passenger steam-brig Enid was such a ship that fell prey as much to her captain’s improvidence as to nature’s cruel whim. She was a twin-masted steamship sailing from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina.
On this particular voyage, she carried one-hundred-fifty people, forty of them crew members. Of equal interest is the treasure she carried on that fateful journey, today worth over $500,000.
In the late 1860s, the Enid put out from New York harbor under full steam, commanded by Captain Todd Quirtland, and blessed with fine weather and a light southwesterly breeze. Securely locked below decks was a government chest packed with twenty-thousand bills of freshly issued fractional currency.
The chest was secured with three locks, each wax-sealed and imprinted with the Federal Treasury logo. And every seam and wood joint of these chests was, in turn, coated with a hand wax to ensure that the paper money could not corrode from saltwater immersion.
The chest was then enclosed in a canvas-lined crate and firmly nailed shut. Stored aboard the Enid was $5000 worth of twenty-five cent Third Issue Red Backs, so called because they were printed in red ink. This particular currency shipment was destined for a couple of South Carolina banks, a shipment that would never arrive.
As the ship went by Egg Island Point in Delaware Bay, the chief engineer told the captain that the rear boiler’s water feeder pipe had come apart at the inlet joint. Almost immediately, water began splashing into the engine room proper instead of into the boiler. The boiler was shut down, and the water valve closed. Repairs were to be made while still underway.
The Enid emerged from the bay on one boiler to meet moderate swells and headwinds gushing at thirty miles per hour. A tropical storm was coming up the coast.
The winds grew in intensity, the ocean began heaving, and visibility dropped sharply. The ship surged through the whipping spray mists, barely making headway because of the lone boiler in operation. Finally, the forward boiler began to overheat from the strain that was being placed on it.
Shortly after passing Cape Henlopen, the forward boiler’s high steam pressure blew out its pipe fittings, killing ten crew members and stopping all engines. The ship was now dead in the water and entirely at the mercy of the sea.
She was pitching and twisting grotesquely through the froth and could not remain afloat much longer. The engineer called all the passengers and crew members to the deck and got them ready to leave the ship.
Moments later, the ship’s hull was battered open, and the ship seemed to capsize in the same instant. There was some disagreement later about what happened, and the Enid sank rapidly beneath the swirling, breaking waves off Assateague Island, Maryland. Plunging to the seabed with her went the precious chest of money.
The Federal government never sponsored a salvage attempt; instead, it simply printed new currency to replace that which had been lost, leaving the “small change” money, now rare and worth a fortune to collectors, to the ages, or some lucky salvor.
Divers found some pipe fittings, rotted deck planking, and other things they thought came from the Enid in the late 1950s. The remaining part of the hulk was never located, and the $500,000 treasure remains somewhere on the bottom of the ocean to this day.
This little-known treasure site certainly bears further investigation. George Burkhart was a recluse who saved strings. For over 40 years, he lived in the seven-room frame house where he was born, located at the point where Northeast Creek enters the Black River in Baltimore County. For those 40 years, he collected all things and built shelves for his treasures. Officials said, when he died, “Everything was as neat as a pin.”
He moved into one of his outbuildings when the house was filled to the roof. He was found dead there on March 6, 1967, of hardening of the arteries, at the age of 66. After his death, vandals made a junk heap of his place on Choptank Avenue, which had no gas, electricity, or running water.
The housing court issued an order to remove a health menace, and a bulldozer moved into the rubbish pile. The Sanitation Bureau hauled away more than 30 truckloads.
The police supervised the removal of the junk. No report of any money having been found was given, but residents of the area say as much as $60,000 was hidden on the property. There is no record of this being discovered.
This location of Civil War weapons would be well worth the search because they would almost certainly have been put into a protective covering and, if found, would be quite valuable today.
In Salisbury, a house called Pemberton Hall has an arsenal of small guns buried somewhere on the grounds. During the Civil War, it was a meeting place for Southern sympathizers, and Captain Parsons, who lived there then, hid a cache of arms that the group would use against the Yankees.
However, a detachment of Union soldiers got wind of the plot and raided the house, killing Captain Parsons, his brother, and an enslaved person. The Yankees, however, were unable to find the guns. The secret hiding place of this cache went to the grave with the three dying men.
There is supposed to be between $50,000 and $100,000 buried near Catonsville, Maryland. This story comes from a newsletter clipping published in 1969. I will quote, in part:
“The name of the estate was Windsor, or sometimes referred to as DeVere Place, and is situated on the Old Frederick Road at DeVere Lane, Catonsville. The property has by now been reduced to about ten acres, and has recently been sold to the Baltimore County Department of Education, for the future site of a new school. Originally the land had been a grant of 10,000 acres in 1650, to Colonel Edward Dorsey, an antecedent of Miss Janet Ball, who has lived in the house all her life. Col. Dorsey first lived in Annapolis, and upon receiving the grant, became the owner of an area extending from the Patapsco River to the city line. He built a two-story house about 300 feet from the Old Frederick Road. This portion of the house was built in 1701. In the middle of the 18th century, the house was sold to a Mr. DeVere. Later, in 1793, known by the date on the fireplace in the front parlor, the more pretentious front section was added, making the original house merely a rear wing. In 1802, DeVere sold the property to Jean de Royer Champagne, a French émigré who sold many of his French merchant ships to prevent the probability of having them confiscated during the French Revolution. He and his body servant secretly, and without the knowledge of his family, buried the money from the sale of his ships, estimated to be between $50,000 and $100,000 somewhere on the grounds. Some years later, Champagne lost his mind and finally died. The old manservant went to a nearby community, called Mt. Ceblo, to spend his remaining years. Before his death, the servant told his friends that if he could remember where he had helped bury the chest, he would be rich. But all he could remember was that he had helped Champagne carry the chest into the estate’s woods after dark and had forgotten the direction in which they went.”
This cache may still be where Champagne and the manservant buried it many years ago.
Here is a local story of lost coins on U. S. 40 west of Frostburg. While returning from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a coin dealer from Frostburg was snowed during a blizzard in the area. In attempting to free his car from a snow drift, he lost twelve $20.00 gold pieces. It could pay an interested person to do local research on this one.
This is not a buried or hidden treasure, but it certainly would pay to check it out. This item appeared in the Boston Herald on November 9, 1906:
“Calvin S. Harlan, an eccentric Quaker, was struck by the Harrisonburg and Baltimore Express as he crossed the tracks near Baldwin. Thousands of dollars were scattered along the tracks for a mile before the accident was discovered.”
The article does not say, but Harlan was almost certainly driving a wagon to carry this amount of money. Since there were no metal detectors in those days, the coins couldn’t have been found.
It is now a quiet area. There are few permanent residents in this section of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The most populous body of water surrounding the area is quiet. It is the permanent resting place for several hundred Confederate soldiers and civilian Copperheads, who died as prisoners when the bay ravaged their camps and the breeze had turned into a freezing gale.
This prisoner-of-war camp was set up after the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, as all the other prison camps in the area were overflowing with prisoners.
The Maryland camp was established in August 1863. The prisoners did not have barracks or shelter that was good enough for the coming winter. The men perished as Washington provided them only with tents, which soon ripped and fell apart because of the constant wind and salt air. The old camp is a prime metal-detecting country.
This listing of Civil War battle sites comes from the official records office. Either army did not record other skirmishes. These places can usually be found in local county histories.
Antietam, or Sharpsburg; Baltimore; Boonsboro; Cashtown and Clear Springs; Grampton’s Gap or Turner’s Gap; Cumberland or Flock’s Mills; Edward’s Ferry; Falling Waters or Waynesville or Martinsburg; Frederick; Frederick City and Solomon’s Gap; Funkstown; Hager’s Mountain and Middleton; Hagerstown and Pleasant Valley; Monocacy; Monterey Gap and Smithburg; Mouth of Monocacy River; Noeansville; Point of Rocks; Poolesville; Pritchard’s Mills or Darnestown; Rockville; Seneca; Solomon’s Gap and Middleton and Frederick City; South Mountain and Turner’s Gap; Sugar Loaf Mountain; Westminster; and Williamsport.
To obtain a listing of all Civil War battles, write Central Reference Divisions (WNC) National Archives, Washington, D. C. 20408.
Although there aren’t many ghost towns in Maryland, a few in Talbot County are worth a visit. York, which was the first county seat, Dorchester, sometimes known as Wyetown, Dover, and Kingston, the longest-lived of them all.
The ghost towns of Talbot County bear no resemblance to ghost towns in the West. Today, no trace of them remains except possibly a few foundations, depressions, and perhaps a few grave markers.
The first ghost town of Talbot was a small community near the banks of Skipton Creek, known as Yorke or York.
During the Civil War, Dr. Docker buried a stash of gold that was said to be worth a lot of money on his farm near Commerce, Maryland. The report said that the doctor, fearing that his home would be ransacked by both Confederate and Union armies in 1863, buried his fortune.
An aged servant who worked on the farm is said to have been the only one to whom the doctor confided the secret of his hiding place. Shortly after burying the gold, the doctor died.
Several people demanded that the servant reveal the secret hiding place, and when he refused to do so, they tortured him to death. A search of the records shows no evidence that the hiding place was ever found, and the doctor’s gold is believed to be buried where he left it over one hundred and twenty years ago.
One of Baltimore’s best “coin-shooting” areas is Druid Hill Park. The City of Baltimore purchased Druid Hill in 1860. There were 20,000 people at the dedication ceremony, and the cannon firing made the ceremony official.
The park was made a home for the Twenty-First Indiana Regiment. In about 1863, Camp Belger was set up about a block from the park entrance. Soldiers from these two camps roamed the park during the Civil War.
Before, during, and after the war, people from Baltimore and surrounding communities came by trolley, carriage, horseback, and foot. The park was like a magnet, drawing people to it.
The park comprises ten picnic areas, a boating lake, and other areas that hundreds have frequented for over one hundred years.
Remember, permission to search must be obtained from the Department of Recreation and Parks in Baltimore, Maryland.
This site could be worth investigating. Joseph Hart, a wealthy Englishman, buried an immense fortune during his lifetime near his home on the island that bears his name. Hart died in 1852, and his heirs could not find his fortune.
When Herman Rabbit died in 1972, his family and the people in charge of his estate discovered that he had a safety deposit box with a map. The map showed where he had buried three milk cans full of more than $350,000 in cash on his property. An oil drum in another location held $50,000 in silver coins.
Rabbit had been a cattle farmer who owned almost three thousand acres near Gaithersburg. During the 1929 bank failures, Rabbit lost a fortune. He swore never to trust a bank again.
After regaining part of his losses, Rabbit speculated in cattle and, by the 1960s, was a wealthy man. His family and researchers believe that since he collected coins (which were not pinpointed on the map), they are still buried somewhere on the property.
The following list is for those interested in Colonial forts.
Fort Cumberland was established in 1750 and lasted until approximately 1765. It was located on the Potomac River at Wills Creek in Allegany County.
Fort Cresap was used during Indian scares in the 1740s. It was located near Oldtown in Allegany County.
Fort Tonoloway was three miles southwest of Hancock in Washington County. In this same county, Fort Frederick was built in 1755. Situated on the Potomac River, five miles south of Indian Springs, it was used as a prison camp during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Fort McHenry was the scene of heavy fighting during the War of 1812. It was located three miles from Baltimore at the harbor entrance in Baltimore County.
Also in this county, on the south bank of the Patapsco River, is the site of Fort Armstead.
Another site was Fort Howard, located three miles south of Edgemere.
Fort Washington was established in 1809, about two miles southwest of Silesia in Prince George’s County.
Remember, permission to search any of these sites must be obtained from the proper authorities.
The following story of English General Edward Braddock’s lost payroll and personal fortune is taken verbatim from the publication “Heritage Weekly” for February 28, 1977, and March 14, 1977, printed in Frostburg, Maryland. Scharf first wrote it in the book History of Western Maryland in 1881.
The region of Cumberland has its legend of buried treasure, like so many other localities in America.
Braddock’s expedition is made to play a part in the legend, which is as follows:
A gentleman of Cumberland, traveling over the National Road, some twenty or thirty miles west of the city, on a bright, moonlit night in May 1881, was unnerved by a large mass of stone rolling down the steep side of a mountain in front of him, and looking up, he discovered a man with gray locks holding a huge crowbar in his hands.
The strange man seemed to regret that he had scared the midnight traveler and offered an apology as he came down toward the buggy. The traveler fidgeted nervously with his pocket until he saw how old his new friend was. The new friend told him he lived three miles to the east and was on a “hunting expedition.”
The traveler invited him to a seat in the vehicle, which he accepted, and the two drove eastward together. The old man’s mind turned upon Braddock’s defeat when the traveler said he had an ancestor named Giles in Braddock’s army.
Giles? said the old man was a messmate of my father, and the two were of the six guards who had charge of the treasure of Gen. Braddock, kept for the payment of the troops. The French and Indians were after them so hard that they couldn’t get to Fort Cumberland. Instead, they had to hide the money in a cave in the rocks, which an old hunter had shown them on the way to Fort Pitt.
I am glad to meet you. Stop with me overnight in my hut, beyond the gap to the right. Very few people come that way, and I have lived alone for years. My father was very young when he marched through here with Braddock, and after the battle, he lived in New York until the Revolution, when he joined Gen.
Washington’s Virginia troops fought through the war, after which he married and came here, and in that hut, I was born. It is dear to me, and I love it more than if it were a palace. Let me lead your horse through this woodland road to my house, and I will tell you a secret about Braddock’s money.’
On reaching the hut, the traveler found it more inviting inside than out. When seated, the hut’s occupant gave a history of the traveler’s ancestor, Giles, pronounced correctly. “My father was in command of the guard who had charge of the money, believed to be about fifteen thousand dollars in gold, besides valuable ornaments of the officers,” the recluse continued.
They were sent ahead of the retreating troops with orders to head for Fort Cumberland. It was expected that the Indians would harass the retreating army but not that they would push ahead and intercept them after reaching the Meadows. However, the guard found to their sorrow, that there was danger ahead and in the rear.
Just as the sun set, they received a volley from behind a ledge of rocks that killed two and wounded a third. The fire was returned, and horses were whipped up. Another fire killed the third and wounded my father. The horses kept on, and the pursuit ceased at nightfall.
Two were badly wounded, the third fatally. Arriving at a point where the run divided into two streams, flowing around a large rock, they buried the money, and the two most badly wounded mounted the horses and started for the fort, leaving the father to watch the treasure.
Ten days later, the father was found wandering along the banks of Will’s Creek, his wound having brought on a fever that deprived him of his reason. He was taken to the fort and properly cared for. He learned nothing had ever been heard of the two men during his recovery.
He started with scouts to find the hidden treasure, but he could never determine how far he had wandered or which of the many points where the stream divided had been selected to hide the money. He was suspected of hiding it for his use, which preyed upon his mind until he determined to go to New York.
At the close of the Revolutionary War, he returned here, and ever since I can remember, he or I have been seeking this hidden treasure. Something tells me I shall find it before I die, though I have seen eighty winters. I have sought among the rocks that border Braddock’s Run for a distance of twenty miles, wherever my father’s rough description of the place seemed to locate it.
Now, as you are a descendant of my father’s messmate, you are equally entitled to share with me the treasure when found, and I invite you to make this your headquarters while we continue the search.’
“The traveler concluded to remain over until the next day but declined to join in the hunt. His host threw many skins upon the floor, upon which they both lay down, and soon host and guest were dreaming of the hidden treasure.”
“The following day, the two men arose, and after partaking of breakfast, the traveler proposed starting for home and invited the old hunter to ride to Cumberland, less than twenty miles distant. I will ride to the junction of Will’s Creek and the Run with you, and return by night, said the old man.”
“I desire that my father’s spirit may cease to wander and be at rest, and I know that it will not be while this gold lies hidden from mortal eyes. I do not care for it, for I have plenty for my necessities, but I want it to get into circulation for my dead father’s sake.”
After getting into the vehicle, they drove quickly while looking into every hole and closely examining the bends in the stream. At the “Six Mile House,” he observed a dry bed of Braddock’s Run on one side of the road and the running stream on the other, with buried rocks at the dividing point. He said he would give that a closer inspection on his return.
Continuing, they came to the creek junction and ran, where he stopped the vehicle and spent half an hour gazing around with wistful eyes, first to the right and then to the left.
It should be hereabouts, but I have closely inspected every crook and cranny, yet I shall give this another inspection on my return.
Proceeding on their way, they entered the narrows, and when they reached Sebastopol, he looked across the creek to a pinnacle jutting above the precipices at the height of many hundred feet. ‘That is Lover’s Leap,’ said he. ‘There is a romantic story connected with it, and I can tell it if you like.’
The traveler desired to hear it, and the old man began.
Jack Chadwick said he “lived in the wild country near Negro Mountain with his mother and little brother Jesse.” He was a great hunter and feared nothing. In one of his excursions, he came across an Indian chief who lived in the canyon on Will’s Mountain, a mile or two up the creek, with his white wife and daughter, the latter just blooming into womanhood. The chief had sided with the whites against the protest of his tribe, and they had forsaken him. He took up residence in the hollow.
Jack fell in love with his daughter, and her attachment was reciprocated. But the chief wanted his daughter to marry an officer of the fort and told Jack he was too poor. Disheartened but still determined, Jack left for home.
Stopping at a spring to drink, he turned over a stone and uncovered a glistening ledge of rock, which he found to be rich silver ore. Returning to the home of his sweetheart, he told the chief what he had found and proposed to show him the mine if he would give him his daughter.
The chief agreed, the silver mine was shown to him, and the chief set a date for the wedding. Jack returned on the appointed day and brought his brother with him. The chief, however, had changed his mind at the instigation of the officer of the fort and declined to give his daughter to young Chadwick.
Jack argued with the old chief all day, but the chief wouldn’t give in. Finally, the lover seemed to give in and asked for a few minutes to talk to the girl, which was granted. Sauntering among the trees and talking over the parents’ harshness, the lovers finally agreed to escape to the fort and get married.
They soon slipped out of sight, but the old chief was watching, and when he missed them, he went in pursuit, overtaking them behind one of the cliffs. He was very angry and attacked Jack with a club. Unfortunately, the latter threw a stone at the chief and killed him.
The daughter loved her Indian parent dearly, and amid her wailing, she declared she could die with Jack but could not live with him now that he had killed her father.
“Then let us leap off the cliff together and end our trouble,” he said. She consented, and arm in arm, they walked off the cliff, where they clasped hands and leaped off together before little Jesse, who was nearby, could comprehend their purpose.
The mutilated remains were taken up by friends and laid away in a cave or grotto on the side of the mountain, and in my younger days, I saw the bleached bones of the skeletons mingling together in the cave.
“There are three things,” continued the old man, “that I want to find out and hope to do before I die.” The first is whether young Chadwick’s father was the Chadwick who helped my father bury the Braddock treasure; the second is whether the mine found by Jack was not the buried treasure which he had discovered through directions given by his father before dying; and the third, I want to find the treasure before I die and put it in circulation, so that my father’s spirit may rest in peace.
Here, the old man rose, bade the traveler goodbye, and walked slowly away until he was lost amid the huge boulders that covered the mountainside at the mouth of the narrows.