Divers and beachcombers looking for treasure along New Jersey’s 127 miles of coastline have almost unlimited chances of finding things that we call treasure today.
New Jersey has many places where people can look for pirates, pioneers, bandits, and other outlaw caches.
Those treasure hunters searching for pirate loot along New Jersey’s coastline should read the book Folklore and Folkways on New Jersey and the Newark Daily Advertiser for December 27, 1834.
Many of Jersey’s beaches are on small islands a few hundred feet to many miles away from the main island.
Legend has it that the vicinity of Long Beach and others nearby were once the stomping grounds for pirates from many ports on the Spanish Main. They sought shelter from the open sea’s rigors in the islands’ secluded back bays.
Contrary to popular opinion, pirates did not bury their treasure in the dunes. Such locations were too obvious, as other buccaneers might come along and dig them up. Also, the winds shift and change the landscape almost daily. Instead, they usually buried their treasure away from the waterline in the nearby forests, near a large tree or rock that could be easily remembered when they returned.
This story is about one little-known location of pirate booty believed to be buried on Five-Mile Beach. In the early days (about 1700–1750), there were no buildings on this beach except the lifesaving station on the south end. This station was operated by a retired captain named Eli Barnett for many years.
One morning in 1710, when Barnett was alone at his station, he saw a sailing ship heading for the breakers through his telescope. The ship was anchored offshore, and a small boat was lowered. Eight men came ashore, took their bearings, and went into the dunes.
Sometime later, the men reappeared on the beach, rowed out to the ship, and then sailed away. Were these men checking to see if the loot they had previously buried was still there?
For anyone interested, the old lifesaving station was near the south end of the beach. With the old type of telescope used in those days, Captain Barnett couldn’t have seen very far. It’s worth a search.
Information on ghost towns can be obtained in several ways. One way is obtaining a copy of Thomas F. Gordon’s Gazetteer of the State of New Jersey and History of New Jersey, published by F. Denton, Trenton, New Jersey, in 1834. A copy of this book is in the New York City Public Library. Gordon lists many New Jersey towns that no longer exist.
Two books by Henry Charlton Beck, Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey and More Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey, contain information on ghost towns that will aid you.
You might want to check out Ong’s Hat and Old Halfway in Burlington County. Topanemus was in Monmouth County. Finding these sites and others in New Jersey will take patience and perseverance, but they will almost always pay off.
It was in mid-April 1903 that concerned neighbors became worried about Patrick Flynn. He was 82 years old and known as the Hermit of Harker’s Hollow. Flynn hadn’t been seen for several days around his house or in the surrounding area of Belvedere, N.J.
They checked his home and found an older man dead.
Flynn, a bachelor, distrusted banks, and it was common knowledge among his neighbors that he hoarded all the money that came into his possession. A search was made to locate his wealth now that he was dead. The investigation was productive in every way. “Wherever the men searched, they found money,” was the official report. About $3000 was found by the neighbors.
These neighbors knew that Flynn had a sister living in New York, and they wired her the news of Flynn’s death. After arriving on the scene and seeing what money and valuables the neighbors had found, the sister alleged that the money found was only a tiny part of her brother’s wealth.
Without a waybill or even an estimate of how much money the old man had buried or hidden, the amount left behind was and still is unknown. But from all indications, the remaining treasure of the Hermit of Harker’s Hollow is well worth a modern treasure hunter’s quest.
People say that a man named Arthur Barry, about whom not much is known, buried a lot of money on Schooley’s Mountain, which is sometimes called Hackettstown Mountain in the area, while he was staying at a health resort. It is believed that Barry’s treasure was buried along the grade up the slope near the old stone huts of the early German settlers.
Since 1770, Schooley’s Mountain Springs has been known as a health resort. The Indians used the springs to treat rheumatism and skin eruptions. This should also be a good location for artifact hunting.
There are approximately 1800 silver bars still unrecovered off Sewaren, N.J., that a treasure hunter experienced as a diver would be well worth checking into.
Here is the story:
The Mallory Shipping Line brought the silver ingots, consisting of 7678 silver pigs weighing about 100 pounds, from Mexico for the American Smelting and Refining Company. On the night of September 27, 1905, the silver was towed on the barge Harold’s deck from Elizabethport to Perth Amboy.
The silver had been loaded secretly at dusk by stevedores. As it turned out, a haphazard job of loading had been done. Sometime during the night, while being towed, the massive cargo of silver shifted, and about 400 tons went overboard.
The captain of the barge Harold, Peter Moore, was asleep on another barge and did not know that the silver had been lost until Harold docked the following day with only 200 ingots of silver lying scattered on her deck.
A contract was given to the Baxter Wrecking Company to locate and salvage the lost silver. A crew was selected and then sworn to secrecy. William H. Timans, an experienced salvage operator, was in charge of the operation. After a few days of dragging Staten Sound, contact was made in an area known as Story’s Flat.
In five days, 3000 ingots were found using a mechanical shovel, grappling hooks, and divers who brought the bullion up by hand. By October 16, another 2500 ingots had been retrieved and sent to the smelter.
After paying it off, the wrecking company abandoned the rest of the silver because of threats made by local water pirates, and the insurance company forgot about it.
About 1800 silver ingots are still in Story’s Flat, at the bottom of Staten Sound near Sewaren. It might be worth it to look for them.
A lost site in New Jersey once yielded the largest spinel crystals in the world. One crystal weighed almost 30 pounds, and another fabulous crystal could still be there.
As the demand for spinel increases, the lost mine becomes more and more valuable. Records show it was worked in the early 1800s and was located about half a mile south of the old town of Amity, in New York, in Sussex County, just across the state line.
One clue to finding the spot is that less valuable deposits of green, black, and brown spinel crystals are found in a broad belt of Franklin Marble that stretches across Sussex County, N.J., and Orange County, N.Y. The crystals usually occur in raised hummocks of marble.
Spinel is a hard, crystalline combination of magnesium oxide and aluminum. It can be almost any color, from clear to bright red or black. It sometimes reaches gem quality and can be pretty valuable.
It is a known fact that the notorious Captain Teach, better known as “Blackbeard,” made his headquarters at various times near Long Beach. It is believed by many that he buried large amounts of treasure here before he was killed at Ocracoke, North Carolina, in 1718.
The nearby back bays of Brigantine were a favorite stomping ground of Captain William Kidd. He was caught because he was interested in a farm owned by a woman named “Amanda” from Ocean County who lived near Barnegat. Captain Kidd is said to have buried a large share of loot near the mouth of the Mullica River or in Oyster Creek, just south of Long Beach.
It is also rumored that the pirate John Bacon and his crew buried loot on Long Beach during the 1780s.
During the 40 years before 1878, more than 125 ships were known to have wrecked in the vicinity of Long Beach Island and left their bones on the beach. This stretch of coastline is truly named the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Here are a few of the known wrecks.
The Spanish frigate Sagunto wrecked on the southeast point of Smuttynose Island in January 1813. Fifteen of her crew survived the wreck and reached the island, only to freeze to death. Several silver bars have been found among the rocks in shallow water near the island. These are believed to have come from the unfortunate Sagunto.
The City of Athens, with $300,000 in her substantial room, lies off Cape May at the southern tip of New Jersey.
In 1769, the schooner Live Oak went down off Squaw Beach, carrying $20,000 in specie for the British troops in America.
A British ship, type unknown, was bound from Liverpool, England, to New York when she grounded and wrecked on the southern end of Brigantine Shoals. Her cargo was tea and a silver plate.
The 1248-ton wooden steamer Cassandra was wrecked in February 1867 while en route from New Orleans to New York. Coins dating from 1804 to 1850 were discovered under her hull in 1968. The coins were covered with tar, and since it was common during this time to hide coins in tar barrels, it is thought that there is still more money in the wreck.
Delaware sank in 1898, three miles off Point Pleasant. Her reported cargo, including gold bullion, was valued at $250,000.
There is a wrecked ship off the shore at Ft. Mercer. Local legend says it was a Spanish galleon. The date of the sinking and cargo is unknown.
If you are a diver who likes well-aged whiskey, a different treasure awaits you off New Jersey’s Sandy Hook. In 1922, the Lizzie D., a rum runner, sank midway between New Jersey and Long Island’s Jones Inlet. Her cargo was a great quantity of Scotch whiskey and Canadian rye.
The ghost of the old Lizzie D. and other vessels, including the San Diego, Oregon, and Iberia, haunt treasure seekers off the Jersey coast, who strip the ships for portholes, bells, and brass trimmings.
In July 1978, treasure diver John Larson of South Amboy and four companions found nearly 200 bottles of liquor in the hulk of the Lizzie D. “We weren’t overly greedy. We figured we could always go back, so we only brought up a few bottles apiece,” their report said.
Divers may be drawn to this area because an estimated 4000 ships have sunk there since the 18th century.
Absecon Island is a small island near the center of the population. It is right across Absecon Inlet from Atlantic City. This island bears heavy overtones of buried pirate treasure. In the olden days, the islanders were not above doing a bit of shipwrecking for profit.
When there were bad storms in the Atlantic, these islanders would often lure ships to the dangerous Brigantine shoals so they could steal from them.
The decoy was a lantern hanging from a pole lashed to a jackass, which was led back and forth along the beach. To a ship in the outer, storm-tossed waters, the bouncing light would seem like a vessel peacefully riding out the storm in a sheltered harbor. The shoals completed the work of wrecking the incoming vessel.
The islanders then put off in boats to salvage the cargo of the doomed ship, taking action to murder any surviving crewmen, for dead men tell no tales.
Being deeply religious in some matters, the islanders taught their children to pray that a ship would run aground.
The beach here often turns up old coins from unfortunate wrecks. The best time for coin-shooting is after a storm when coins work their way up to the surface.
At the beginning of the 1700s, there were more than 1,500 pirates along the Atlantic coast, and several of them are said to have buried their loot on Absecon Island.
Further to the north, separated from the mainland of Ocean County by Barnegat Bay, is Island Beach, eight miles of perfect beach and grassy dunes extending to the north side of Barnegat Inlet. During the Revolutionary War, John Bacon and his notorious Barnegat pirates held this beach as their base of operations.
A scourge of the Jersey coast, Bacon was shot by a band of patriots in 1783 while whooping it up at a tavern near West Creek. He never had a chance to say where the bulk of his loot was hidden on Island Beach. Perhaps you may be fortunate enough to find it.
The mansion that was once the Seven Stars Tavern still stands today with the builder’s initials and the date of completion, 1762, on its wall. There is quite a story connected to this mansion, and the folks in the Woodstown area of southern New Jersey have been passing it along since shortly after the Revolutionary War.
Peter Louderback was a German immigrant to the colonies who worked in Newark, N. J. As the story goes, his boss had a beautiful daughter. A young man was thinking about romance, and he fell in love with her then, as he does now. Peter and Elizabeth got married, but her father didn’t like it, so they eloped and ran to South Jersey to be together.
Peter had no intention of remaining poor, and perhaps he felt he owed his wife more than mere existence since she was accustomed to some luxury. Anyway, he set about building a tavern. He worked hard, and when the bar was complete, it was a fine example of good workmanship, built strong enough to last many generations. It still stands today on Kings Highway, just outside Woodtown.
Louderback not only knew how to work with his hands, but he was also a shrewd businessman. His “Sign of the Seven Stars” was built on the main road, so he had a steady flow of stagecoach travelers who kept him and his wife busy caring for their needs.
For several years the Louderbachs prospered financially, and then bad luck struck them. Perhaps it was the hard work, or maybe one of the illnesses so prevalent in those times, but Peter died while still in his prime, leaving his widow the task of raising the family and keeping the tavern.
She carried on for a time, but eventually, the burden became too much, both physically and financially, and she was forced to sell. The fact that she needed cash shocked everyone for miles around and caused many to wonder what had happened to the fortune Peter had amassed. For reasons nobody will ever know, the location of his hidden wealth was something he kept secret, even from Elizabeth.
Should you decide to go after Louderbach’s cache, consider these additional facts. The research established that the original property consisted of over 100 acres—plenty of areas to hide even a big pot of money. Although the land is more populated today than it was in Louderbach’s time, a good deal of it is still horse and cow pasture.
A short distance from Jersey City, N.J., is the small town of Homestead in Hudson County. Hendrick Dempster lived here until he died in 1873. As he was a successful farmer, people were surprised when little money was found after Dempster’s death. It was assumed that he cached it all.
The bulk of the cache is $38,000 in gold coins, worth twenty dollars or more on today’s market. The coins are said to be buried beneath a hill on his farm.
In 1923, two teenagers were found by a farmhand from Dempster’s farm. They had been tunneling under the hill for ten days. Before being asked to leave, they discovered a clogged passageway in the mountain.
In 1951, Ed Torski uncovered a cache on a New Jersey farm.
Because of documents found with the cache, it was thought to be part of an auto manufacturer’s hoard rather than Dempster’s. The exact location of the find was not given and for a good reason.
As far as is known, Dempster’s cache of gold coins still awaits some persistent treasure hunter.
The money that is probably still hidden at this little-known treasure site could be more than $100,000.
Until his death in the early 1900s, Furman Dubell denied that he had any wealth other than the home he lived in and the surrounding property.
From evidence uncovered by Furman’s relatives after his death, the estate and what was hidden was valued at $300,000 to $500,000.
His relatives began a search in which they found $9000 in gold, silver, and old paper bills, mostly $100.00 denominations. The bills were found between the leaves of an old book, and the gold and silver were hidden beneath the carpet, in recesses and out-of-the-way places, and buried near the shrubbery on the grounds. In one room full of rubbish, $1700 was found in a peck measuring bucket.
An old cigar box contained $2500 in gold coins. Between the pages of an old pamphlet, 38 $100 bills were found. Old trunks, clothes, and closets had money stuffed in pockets or cracks in walls.
Dubell received a yearly income from his estate. This money he reinvested in securities, bonds, and mortgages. He owned quite a bit of real estate in Burlington and let several elderly and needy people live in different buildings he owned rent-free.
For years he had lived on so little that his neighbors wondered how he had managed to survive. Dubell did not trust banks or company savings institutions, so his income was kept at home. Over the years, he accumulated a fortune through frugal living and wise investments.
Dubell had no use for his few relatives. His family, after extensive searching, could account for only about half of his wealth, about $200,000. They could only guess where the rest was hidden. This would be a very good location for local research. Check with the recorder of deeds in Burlington, N.J., to locate precisely where the property stood in 1905.
Have they buried outlaw loot in New Jersey? It may sound incredible to those who believe that only the Old West had outlaws, but back in the early days, in the state’s lonely and primitive Pine Barrens, there roamed a band of desperadoes whose deeds of daring banditry kept the residents of Monmouth County in constant fear.
They never knew when band members might appear at their door to claim their belongings and possibly their lives.
Jacob Fagan, who was called a “monster of evil,” was in charge of these crooks in New Jersey. The reward for his capture at one time reached $500, a huge amount in those days. His right-hand man, Lewis Fenton, was considered dangerous, if not more so, than the gang leader.
These two men and their many helpers, including a renegade named Burke, stole, burned, killed, and hurt people in the Pine Barrens. They always returned to their hidden caves outside Farmingdale in Monmouth County, where they were safe.
The caves weren’t formed by nature. Instead, they were holes dug at a downward angle into the side of a steep hill. The walls were braced with timber, and the caves were several feet wide. A small trap door gave access to each cave and was so arranged that it could be concealed from sight by leaves and branches when shut.
From the top of the hills, the bandits could see the country for miles, and the narrow entrance to their hideout could easily be defended.
Fagan’s favorite ploy was to attack a farmhouse while the men were away and the women were at home alone. This was easily accomplished since most non-disabled men were off fighting the War of Independence.
One such account concerns the family of Major Benjamin Dennis, who was attached to Light Horse Henry Lee’s cavalry detachment at Monmouth Courthouse, now Freehold, N.J. Major Dennis’ house was located about three miles from Allaire on the Manasquan River.
As one man went ahead to see if the women were alone, Fagan, Fenton, and Burke followed in a wagon to be used later to carry the loot.
The man sent ahead, whose name was Smith, was a spy. He told Mrs. Dennis that an attack was coming and told her to give up her valuables without fighting. But when the outlaws appeared, she refused. For this, they decided to hang her.
Luckily, her hired hand returned before they could finish the gruesome task. When he saw what was happening, he fired a shot from the edge of the woods, and the outlaws, suspecting they might be outnumbered, fled the scene.
But Fagan’s greed would not allow him to give up so easily, and a second raid was planned on the Dennis household a few nights later. This proved to be his undoing, for Smith warned Major Dennis, who was ready and waiting as the unsuspecting outlaw drove up to the farmhouse for a second time.
Fenton and Smith escaped, but the soldiers with Major Dennis killed Burke and mortally wounded Fagan. Fagan soon died, and his body was hung from a chestnut tree on Colt’s Neck Road, about one mile east of Monmouth Courthouse, as a grim reminder to any other would-be lawbreakers in the area.
Fagan died of his wounds in 1778. About a year later, soldiers shot Fenton while he was trying to steal a mug of rum from in front of Our House Tavern. This was not a very honorable way to die.
More than 25 Pine Barren Robbers were shot or hung at Monmouth Courthouse alone for murder, robbery, and treason. Did any of them bury their loot in or near the hillside caves where they camped?
It seems highly probable.
Certainly, they didn’t use banks, so it seems reasonable that there would be several caches in or near the caves, which the individuals could not recover because of their sudden capture and execution.
If there weren’t considerable recorded evidence that it did happen, this location of approximately $100,000 in gems hidden during the Depression of the 1930s on a farm in New Jersey would sound like fiction.
In July 1931, a quiet, cultured man stopped at the farm of Otto Rutter, just outside Andover, N. J., and inquired whether he could obtain room and board. He said he was tired of big city life and wanted to live quietly.
His income seemed to come from his job as a windshield wiper salesman. He would be gone for several days and always return to the farm after dark. These actions aroused no suspicion in those Depression days when everyone was making a living as best they could.
The lodger obtained New York newspapers daily and seemed interested in the news. He ran up a two weeks bill for newspapers at the newsstand of George Losey in Andover. This act was his downfall because, on October 22, 1932, detectives acting on a tip showed a photo of Arthur Barry, a talented second-story thief they believed to be hiding in the area, to residents.
When Losey saw the photo, he recognized the lodger at Otto Rutter’s, who had not paid him in two weeks. It had seemed strange to Losey that anyone living on a farm in New Jersey would be so interested in a complete set of New York newspapers.
Losey led the detectives to the farm. Otto Rutter was surprised to learn that the lodger was Arthur Barry, one of the most wanted criminals in the country. Barry had been the target of an extensive manhunt for several months.
He was well known to the police and had accumulated over $2,000,000 during his crime career. His specialty was second-story burglary, and his favorite items to steal were money and jewelry.
The law had caught Barry once before and put him into Auburn Prison in New York.
With connections outside the prison, it wasn’t long before Barry had guns smuggled in and had helped to instigate a riot, during which he shot his way out of jail. Deciding to lie low for a while, he had gone to New Jersey.
After his capture, authorities accounted for all of the loot Barry had stolen but not the $100,000 they believed he had hidden somewhere around Rutter’s farm. This has never been reported found.
I quote, in part, from a special news item sent to the New York Times on October 22, 1933, from Newton, N. J.: “Arthur Barry, the notorious sneak thief, who got away with more than $2,000,000 in gems from exclusive homes in Nassau and Westchester Counties five years ago, and who subsequently shot his way out of Auburn Prison during the riot there in July 1929, was captured tonight near here on a lonely farm, where he had been living under an alias for the past year.”
Reported by the New York Times on March 9, 1933, before the arrest of Barry, I again quote in part: “Ronkonkomo, Long Island-Four men found a gold mesh handbag filled with jewelry beneath the root of a tree they were felling on Lakewood Avenue.
After an examination of the jewelry, from which most of the gems had been removed, the police said they were confident that the jewelry had been buried after one of a series of robberies of Long Island homes by Arthur Barry and Boston Billy Monahan.”
This is part of the jewelry that was recovered. More was stolen than has ever been seen again. There are old-timers still living in the area who can remember when Barry was captured.
Another Pine Barrens robber was Old Joe Mulliner, who got around. He was a 19th-century outlaw of this area, a sparsely populated area in southern New Jersey.
Mulliner and his band of ruthless thugs ravaged the countryside, held up stages, burned and pillaged farms, and terrorized the women while the men folk were off fighting the British. Joe’s justification for these acts was that he was loyal to the Crown.
The Pine Barrens were Joe’s playground. Even today, it is easy to imagine those rogues losing themselves in the endless forest. This sprawling 100,000-acre tract, covering portions of three counties, has long, unbroken stretches of wilderness.
The numerous accounts of raids and hold-ups committed by Joe’s gang attest that he accumulated enough gold to bury. It has been estimated that his gang numbered between 40 and 100 men, most of them wartime riffraff and a foul crew by any standards.
They were brave, smart, and able to do anything. They usually attack at night, sometimes wearing masks and sometimes not. Their record books were full of things like taking famous people hostage, asking for ransom, and paying high tribute.
Joe was often pictured as a happy rogue with the warm heart of a Robin Hood. This cocky Englishman loved tavern parties, barn dances, and other fun events.
This love of dancing and the ladies spelled disaster for Joe Mulliner. With the depredations of his gang casting terror over South Jersey, men in the vicinity organized a company of rangers under the command of Captain Baylin, an old Indian fighter.
One night, longing for a gentler company than that of his band, Joe recklessly appeared at New Columbia, later known as Nescochague and now known as Nesco, where he danced with a nimble step among the best of the party. One of the men slipped out to carry word to Captain Baylin. In no time, the building was surrounded, and for the first time in his life, Joe became a prisoner.
Under arrest, he was taken to Burlington, N.J., where he was charged with banditry and treason. Conviction and sentencing to the gallows followed shortly after that. He was placed in a wagon with his coffin and taken to a spot called Gallows Hill, where he hung.
Mulliner’s body was sent to his wife at Pleasant Mills, where he was buried. Captain Baylin pursued the remaining gang members and brought them to the bay after a grueling fight at Hemlock Swamp. A few were shot, and at least one, an army deserter, was hung at Crowley’s Point.
Since he certainly did not have time to retrieve them, some of the caches made by Joseph Mulliner are still hidden somewhere around Cold Spring, Mordecai, or Hemlock Swamps, in southern New Jersey. Here is where local research could pay off for an interested treasure hunter.
A howling gale lashed the four-masted Brigantine Sindia as she struggled up the New Jersey coast. Her captain, Allen McKenzie, worriedly peered through the darkness of the December night.
Shortly before two o’clock on Sunday morning, December 15, 1901, the Sindia beached herself 150 yards off Ocean City’s boardwalk. Stuck fast, her 200-ton ballast of manganese ore slowly dug the Sindia’s sandy grave as the bellowing wind rocked the ship.
By daybreak, the wind had turned the Sindia from west to south, paralleling her to the shore. Her torn and shredded sails snapped loudly with each blast from the gale.
The Sindia was built in 1887 and was propelled by steam power for her first five years. Then she was stripped of her engines and fitted with three square-rigged masts and a schooner-rigged mast. Her steep steel hull knifed through 200,000 miles of seas without mishap until she plied up off Ocean City that bitter December morning. During Sindia’s day, she was considered the finest and fastest ship of her type and was valued at $200,000.
On her last voyage, the Sindia was loaded at Kobe, Japan, with an estimated $1,200,000 in fine china, manganese ore, oil, and a two-ton idol of a forbidden sect, which Captain McKenzie refused to stow anywhere except in the hold.
Although many attempts have been made to salvage Sindia’s cargo, most still lie in the ship’s bowels. Only a small amount was recovered from the 3315 boxes of fine china listed on the ship’s manifest. Some of these beautiful and expensive pieces can be seen in the Ocean City Historical Museum. But no one has ever tried to recover the idol.
Treacherous offshore swells make seaward salvage attempts impossible. Building a railroad to the ship was one land operation. But whatever force was watching over Sindia’s grave stirred up a southeast wind, plummeted the small engine into the surf, and tore up the rails.
As time passed, Sindia’s masts cracked and tumbled into the ocean. Finally, Sindia was left to her fate. She dug deeper into the sand until she could only see her tiller and rudder.
Today, Sindia’s tiller stands out in the crashing waves off 17th Street. It looks like a lonely tombstone, and seagulls keep a watchful eye on it.
In 1802, a vast Spanish fleet began assembling in the harbor at Vera Cruz and off Point Lizardo, Mexico. They were supposed to take a huge amount of money to Spain. The money was worth tens of millions of dollars. There were 23 ships, and all but five were packed to their bulkheads with treasure.
Among these many ships was the frigate Juno. She was a massive ship with 34 cannons, a deep draught, and a wide beam. Her huge holds were full of incredible wealth, mostly in the form of crates of long, flat silver ingots. Below decks, she also carried three dozen smaller chests of silver coins and gold sovereigns. Her total store has been valued at $3,500,000.
The Juno’s crew turned to cast off the lines and bring the ship into the harbor’s basin, where she assumed her proper position in the line shortly after dawn. About 30 minutes later, the procession sailed from Vera Cruz Bay. Some 15 miles to the south, the fleet rendezvoused with an escort of five warships. The expanded flotilla sailed on, following the coastal crescent of the Yucatan Peninsula.
They crossed the Yucatan Channel without incident and quickly swept south, skirting Cuba. The winds were brisk and steady, allowing them to make excellent time. The gusts were a bit too favorable, giving the lighter and swifter ships an advantage. Soon, many vessels were strung out for miles in a staggering parade, barely in sight of one another.
The Juno was already off-course to the north when she entered the Santarem Channel, which feeds the Straits of Florida. The powerful tailwinds blew incessantly, pressing the ship up hard along America’s eastern seaboard.
As time elapsed, however, the blustering winds and driving seas began to take their toll. Leaks began to develop. Other ships in the scattered squadron spotted the Juno intermittently during the next few days until October 27. She was last sighted wallowing in heavy seas off Delaware Bay, far up the American shore. Neither the frigate nor her crew would ever be seen again.
The small leaks gradually became larger, and the ship settled more profoundly and deeper into the pitching sea. Finally, on the night of the 27th, the Juno’s weakened support ribs gave way to the pounding waves, and salt froth rushed into her holds. Completely flooded, she sank rapidly, taking all 425 crew members to their deaths.
Becoming a tomb for her crew and a treasure vault worth over $3,000,000, her remains lie 20 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey, in some 180 feet of water. As far as is known, no salvage attempt has ever been made.
OLD TAVERNS, OVERLOOKED TREASURE SITES
In the small village of Bloomsburg in Burlington County, the Trenton Old Ferry Inn, or Royal Oak Inn, was also known as a tavern and a ferry. The ferry started around 1726, and in about 1753, the tavern was opened. Stages between New York and Philadelphia stopped here. By 1797, the tavern was gone, but the ferry was still being used.
Clunn’s Tavern at Lamberton, in Burlington County, was opened about 1773, and records show it was open as late as 1830.
White Horse, Burlington County, has an old tavern dating back to 1746 called White Horse Tavern. Joseph Bonaparte lived nearby in Bordentown, and people have been telling stories that link it to him for years. He supposedly buried some treasure nearby.
The Old Eagle Tavern was between White Horse and Washington. It was first licensed in 1798. In 1849, Burlington County maps still showed it, although the building was no longer used.
Quaker Bridge was a very busy little hamlet in the 1830s. It was on Old Tuckerton Road in Burlington County, about four miles from Action Furnace. A tavern was opened in 1809 and stayed open as late as 1849. Today, all signs of both the tavern and the village are gone.
Washington’s tavern, located at the crossroads of the Tuckerton State Road and the Greenback to Speedwell Road, was one of the most famous in the Pine Belt of Burlington County. It was opened about 1773 and was in business until 1854.
Bodine’s Tavern, near Martha Furnace and Tuckerton, was a trendy tavern from the early 1800s until about 1835. It was a training site for the militia, and all local elections were held there.
Dunk’s Ferry dates from 1696 and is one of the oldest landings on the Delaware River. A tavern was built at the ferry in 1738 and lasted over a hundred years.
Between Old York Road and the Burlington-Bordentown Road cross, a tavern known as Crooked Billet Tavern was open from 1746 until 1844.
The village of Three Tuns, also called Hedding, in Burlington County, had a tavern open from about 1793 until 1849 and went by the name Three Tuns Tavern.
Buddtown had a tavern in 1779, and the building still stood as late as the mid-1930s.
A tavern was opened around 1800 at what was known as Ong’s Hut, now a ghost town.
Between Speedwell and Vincetown is a place known as Sooy Place. A tavern called Pine Tavern was opened around 1810 and closed in 1817. The building was still standing in the 1890s.
Just outside the village of Clarksboro, in Gloucester County, is where the famous “Old Death of the Fox Tavern” stood. It was known to be open as early as 1727. In 1817, it was still being used as a tavern. The barroom was often used as a courtroom and was a meeting place for fox hunts in the area for years.
The Pine Tavern at Pineville, in Gloucester County, was opened in 1752. It closed in 1840.
In Billingsport, Gloucester County, a tavern was licensed in 1782, and sometime during 1800, a ferry was built nearby.
In 1799, a tavern was opened by Mount Ephraim and later became a hotel. The tavern and hotel were popular gathering places for sportsmen all over the state.
On the edge of Lawrenceville, in Hunterdon County, is where a tavern was licensed in 1749. The building stood in the mid-1900s and was used as a tavern for many years.
Yardley’s Tavern and Ferry was first licensed in 1729. It was moved from the original site in about 1794 to a location in what was known as the Township of Trenton in Hunterdon County.
Coryell’s Ferry Tavern was located where Lambertville is today. The tavern opened in 1726 and was operated by different owners until after the Revolutionary War. The stage road used the ferry to cross the Delaware River on its way to Newark and Jersey City.
The tavern became a favorite stopping place for many. During the Revolutionary War, many Continental Army officers stopped here.
Warford’s Tavern at Bryan, in Hunterdon County, began operation in 1773 and remained a popular stopping place until about 1835.
Bonnie’s Tavern at Clinton was first licensed in 1764. A regiment of Minutemen from Hunterdon was organized here in 1774 and trained in nearby fields. The tavern remained open until after 1800.
The Freiburg Tavern opened its doors in Salem County in 1747 and remained open until about 1780. The building was located across from the Emanuel German Lutheran Church.
At Hancock’s Bridge, in Salem County, is the building that was Baker’s Tavern. It is now known as the Hancock House. The tavern first opened in 1761, and records show that a tavern was still in existence as late as 1870.
This is just a partial listing of taverns in New Jersey. There were hundreds located within the state. The possibilities for finding coins, rings, and other items or relics are almost endless.
The different historical societies in New Jersey can help you locate these taverns and other old sites.