Although Rhode Island is the smallest in land area of the fifty states, it lays claim to a greater number of historic sites and other points of interest to treasure hunters than other states, which are twice its size.
The Nazi submarine U-853 lies about 85 yards due east of the northern tip of Block Island, at a depth of about 125 feet, and is strewn with depth charges. Her captain torpedoed the old tanker Black Point just a day before Germany surrendered in May 1945.
Within minutes, American destroyers swept the ocean with depth charges. A few hours later, oil and wreckage from the U-853 signaled her demise.
It is rumored that Captain Froemadorf of the U-853 did not take his ship into deeper water because the ship carried treasure and high-ranking Nazi officials escaping from Germany.
Divers saved her propellers and maybe some other things in 1953, but they couldn’t get the $1 million worth of mercury that she was said to hold.
In May 1960, a diver went inside the haunted cave and brought one of the many bones he found to the surface. It was later buried with full military honors at Newport.
If the U-853 did carry mercury as ballast, this treasure alone would make a future attempt to save it well worth it.
In 1957, the state of Rhode Island lay directly in the path of a hurricane. The storm came ashore somewhere between the beaches of Weekpaug and Quonochontaug on Block Island Sound. Everything movable was swept inland by the force of wind and water.
Ten homes were situated on the Breachway at Quonochontaug. All were swept from their foundations, smashed to pieces, and carried into Quonochontaug Pond. Anything that didn’t float ended its journey at the bottom of the pond.
During this hurricane, someone stole a collection of coins and Indian arrowheads worth a lot of money. Research has shown that the coin collection was housed in a steel chest. The arrowheads and other Indian artifacts were in a display cabinet.
This collection belonged to a doctor who owned one of the houses swept into the pond by the storm. He was listed as missing some time after the storm, and his relatives have since moved from the area. No one knows how much this collection is worth, and there is no record of a reward being offered, but a lot of work was done to find it. This is a public beach, and treasure hunters are permitted in the area.
There is little chance that this treasure has been recovered, as the water remains murky most of the time due to tidal action from the nearby ocean. The depth of the water depends on the tides, but at low tide, it is about six feet.
Recently, a Quohauger raking for clams in the pond brought up several beautiful arrowheads on his rake. Efforts to find more failed because the tides were high then, and the water was quite murky. A large safe was found, but because it was too heavy, it was not recovered then, and no reports of its being taken from the pond since then have been made.
There are many valuables under the sand of Quonochontaug Pond and possibly all along the coastline. Many summer homes and waterfront properties were destroyed during that hurricane, as did others that hit the area.
The arrowheads were recovered along the pond’s northern shore and in the water about 40 feet from the shoreline, about halfway up the pond from the Breachway. A wooden or fiberglass boat, along with an underwater detector, would greatly increase the treasure hunter’s chances of finding the Quonochontaug treasure.
Nearly 300 years ago, Captain Thomas Tew, a famous privateer who turned into a pirate, settled down in Newport, Rhode Island, to live a quiet life. He had accumulated a considerable fortune, which was well hidden from prying eyes.
In his “Directory of Buried or Sunken Treasures and Lost Mines of the United States,” Thomas Penfield states that Tew’s booty was worth in the neighborhood of $100,000. Today, its increased value can only be guessed at.
But Tew’s old shipmates talked him out of retirement to go on one more trip. He never returned from that trip to enjoy his money, hidden somewhere in or around Newport. To this day, the old pirate’s loot has never been recovered.
Thomas Tew came from a respected Rhode Island family. He went to sea at an early age and soon learned that life aboard a pirate ship was more rewarding than that aboard an honest merchantman. The young man turned up in 1691 in Bermuda with enough gold to purchase a share in the sloop Amity, owned by five merchants and officials living on the island.
The governor gave Tew a privateer’s commission through his influential partners, with instructions to take the French factor at Coree on the River Gambia. This was on the west coast of Africa.
About halfway across the Atlantic, Tew told his crew that the planned attack wouldn’t give them much of a reward for being brave. His men readily agreed, so they hoisted the black flag of piracy and set a course for the Cape of Good Hope and the Red Sea.
Tew and his crew sighted their first prize in the Strait of Babelmandeb, a large and richly-laden Arabian vessel carrying 300 soldiers and a large quantity of gold. Fortunately, the Arabs were lacking in both skill and courage. As a result, this ship was captured without incident. Each man’s share in gold and jewels exceeded three thousand pounds sterling, and the powder store was so great that much of it was thrown overboard.
The next stop for the Amity was Madagascar, where 24 of the crew elected to leave the ship for a life of ease in an ideal climate. Tew and the others decided to return to America. This plan was abandoned, however, when Tew made friends with Captain Mission, another pirate who had established a buccaneer kingdom called Libertatia elsewhere in Madagascar.
After a few trips, during which he made a lot of money, Tew went back to America to talk to merchants about sending ship’s stores and various luxuries to the pirate colony in Madagascar. These things were needed for the colony’s comfort and safety.
In the South Atlantic, his ship was seized by a fierce storm, which nearly capsized the vessel and sprang its mast. After beating about for several days, Tew was fortunate to make his way to his old home at Newport. He had an exceptionally warm welcome, particularly when it was learned that he and his crew had bulging pockets.
While his craft was being refitted, Tew sent word to his Bermuda partners that their share of the profits was ready if they would send an agent to collect it. The “Calendar of State Papers, America and the West Indies, 1702–1703” relates that the partners dispatched one Captain Stone to collect the proceeds.
Stone later testified that Tew had buried part of the money in the ground at Newport, and he was obligated to go to Boston for the remainder. Tew’s share was said to have amounted to about 8,000 pounds sterling.
While in Boston, Tew applied to the governor for a new privateer’s commission. He was flatly turned down, but when he returned to Rhode Island, he had no trouble getting a commission.
Tew returned to Libertatia with a commission to seize ships of France and enemies of the Crown of England, and the Amity was again ready for sea.
Shortly after his return, Tew and Mission captured another large ship belonging to the Great Mogul. What loot! Aboard were over one hundred unmarried girls in addition to diamonds, rich silks, spices, rugs, and wrought and bar gold. Life at Libertatia now has a utopian aura. All of them lived well, and each man had several white, yellow, and black wives, depending on his taste and where he was from.
The pirates did a great job of protecting Libertatia from the sea, but its defenses on land were not very strong. This led to the eventual fall of the little kingdom. One night, two great bodies of natives came down on the settlement and slaughtered men, women, and children without mercy.
Only Tew, Mission, and forty-five men escaped with two ships. They were able, however, to bring away a considerable quantity of rough diamonds and bar gold. The two captains divided the loot evenly, and Tew set sail for America.
Arriving at New Port once more, the crew was given a fair share of the diamonds and gold, and then they quietly dispersed as they thought best while Tew settled down among his old friends to lead a quiet life.
On the other hand, the crew members squandered their portions on inebriation and wild living. Finally, when their purses were empty, they called upon Tew to make another voyage. For a time, he refused, but the men were so insistent that he finally agreed.
In November 1694, Captain Tew set sail on what was to be his last voyage. Captain Want joined him in a brigantine, and Captain Wake in another small vessel fitted out at Boston.
Few details are known of this voyage except that this small fleet arrived at the mouth of the Red Sea in June 1695. Captain Johnson, in his “History of the Pirates,” tells how Tew attacked a ship belonging to the Great Mogul.
A thunderous sea battle ensued, with shots smashing into both ships. An unfortunate shot “carried away the rim of Tew’s belly and held his bowels with his hands within a small space; when he dropped, it struck such a terror in his men that they suffered themselves to be taken without making resistance.”
Tew never left any indication of where his Newport treasure was hidden. Neither has anyone ever reported its recovery.
It was a cold night on March 19, 1699, when a mysterious ship, without lights, dropped anchor off Montauk Point, New York’s eastern tip of Long Island. As frigid waves slapped the vessel’s hull, a long boat was lowered, and several seamen slid down the lines to man the ores.
Before the boat made for shore, heavy bags and a chest were lowered into the craft. Then a brutish-looking fellow slid down another line into the stern of the long boat. It was Captain Joe Bradish, a much-sought pirate of the Atlantic coast.
Pushing away for the vessel, the Adventure, the long boat made its torturous way through the pounding surf to the sandy shore. As the boat struck the beach, all but Bradish leaped out in the shallow water and hauled the boat ashore.
Unloading the boat, the pirates carried the heavy chest into the shelter of the windswept trees. After digging a grave-like hole, they buried their burden. It was a $300,000 treasure of gold, coins, and jewels. But if recovered today, it would be worth at least ten times that amount.
As dawn broke, Bradish made his departure. His destination was Block Island, a lonely island eight miles long and two to five miles wide off the coast of Rhode Island.
Until now, the pirate life had been going well for this young fellow, who was originally destined to be just another seaman. Joe Bradish was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on November 26, 1672. He grew up as a fisherman and casual sailor in New England waters.
Finding himself needing a berth in London in 1698, he signed on as a boatswain’s mate aboard the Adventure. This ship, commanded by Captain Thomas Bulleck and outfitted with 22 guns for protection against pirates, was on its way to Borneo for a trading mission.
It was a quiet voyage, perhaps so quiet that the crew began to get ideas. Putting in for food and water at a small cove in the East Indies, Captain Bulleck and his chief officers, together with some of the men selected as burden-bearers, decided to hunt for game on the island of Polonais. Twenty-five men have left aboard under the command of the boatswain’s mate, Joe Bradish.
The young sailor seems to have been too tempted by this sudden rise to a position of power. As a test of his newly-acquired power, Bradish suggested that he and the crew turn pirates and make their fortune on the bounding main. The crew didn’t need much encouragement because one quickly cut the anchor cable with an axe, and the Adventure eased her way out to sea.
To make their new careers as pirates official, two of the crew, both handy with the needle, fashioned a pennant emblazoned with a skull and crossbones.
Their ship was the first to be looted. The break room contained nine chests loaded with Spanish dollars. Each man received a share of 1,500 Spanish dollars when the chests were broken open on deck. As the newly elected captain, Bradish received two and one-half shares.
The pirates’ next stop was Mauritius, where they fixed up their ship and stocked up on food. They decided to work their way back to New England, pirating as best they could.
At the end of this voyage, Bradish dropped anchor off Montauk Point. It was here, too, that he secreted a large treasure, worth in the neighborhood of $300,000 at yesteryear’s prices. The day after burying this hoard, the pirate captain set sail for Block Island, off the Rhode Island coast.
By the time Bradish had completed the short trip to Block Island, he could readily see that the Adventure had seen her best days. The battered hull was leaking, and the rigging would not weather a good storm. So he dispatched two more reliable men to the mainland to buy another sloop.
When the two purchasing agents failed to return to Block Island within a reasonable time frame, Bradish began to worry about the massive loot still aboard the ADVENTURE. As a result, he ordered it to be brought ashore and buried to prevent capture by the authorities. In his “Directory of Buried or Sunken Treasure and Lost Mines of the United States,” Penfield said; this loot is valued at approximately $200,000 and has never been recovered to this day.
As weeks went by and nothing was heard from the two men sent to the mainland, Bradish and his crew finally concluded that, although piracy had been a lucrative occupation, perhaps it was wiser to take their shares of loot and retire from pirate life. Thus, Bradish’s men broke up their pirate company and departed in several directions for more peaceful pursuits and enjoyment of their loot.
Next, Joe Bradish turned up in Boston but did not advertise his whereabouts. Through the grapevine, he learned that authorities had arrested several of his old crew members who had bragged to the wrong people about their seafaring adventures.
Ten of these men were apprehended in Connecticut and two or three more in Rhode Island. In New York, three others were nabbed by Lord Bellomont, the governor of New York.
In the meantime, the pirate captain was caught in Boston and put in the old stone jail. Fortunately for Bradish, the keeper, Caleb Ray, was a relative of the pirate. This fact was not known to the authorities at the time, so it was not surprising, while awaiting trial, that the grilled door of the jail was wide open one morning. Bradish and another pirate, Tee Weatherly, had escaped.
Governor Bellomont was so angry that Bradish and Weatherly got away that he offered 200 pieces of eight to catch Bradish and 100 pieces of eight to catch Weatherly. An Indian sachem, Essacambuit, heard that a tribe was harboring both fugitives somewhere back from the main coast. He betrayed both pirates to garner the reward. This time a new jailor was appointed to guard them.
Finally, the British man-of-war ADVICE took aboard Bradish, Captain William Kidd, who had also been captured, and other buccaneers. They were all transported to London and tried at about the same time. It did not take long for the court to find Joe Bradish guilty of piracy. So he was hung in chains at Hope Dock early in 1700.
As far as it is known, the combined value of the old pirate’s caches at Montauk Point and Block Island is one-half million dollars at the old prices. This plunder is still awaiting discovery.
Thomas Paine lived on Connecticut Island. He was a freebooter and a seaman for 40 years before the Revolutionary War. Paine was supposed to have buried gold coins and valuable jewels from each voyage in his place called Cajact. The value is unknown, but local legend has it that many English, Spanish, and South American gold coins were buried there.
Block Island is popularly believed to be one of the hiding places of Captain William Kidd’s treasure, and the island has been dug over many times by enterprising treasure seekers. It is said that some booty has been found.
In 1689, French privateers captured Block Island and made it a base for their operations on the Atlantic Coast. Some of the many treasure tales that keep searchers busy along the island’s coast are connected with these privateers.
Beach Pond is located on the Rhode Island and Connecticut state lines on Rhode Island Route 165, and besides having a nice beach, a protected swimming area, water skiing, and good fishing, the pond has a treasure beneath its waters.
This treasure is an antique bottle dumped in about 20 feet of water. Since Beach Pond is fresh water, the bottles haven’t been subjected to heavy currents and tidal action, so most are still in excellent condition. All that is required to clean them is hot, soapy water and a little elbow grease.
For any diver interested in going to Beach Pond, the little bottle dump is located on the right side of the beach, approximately 150 yards down the shoreline and about 60 yards out from the shore.
There have been several ships that have sunk in the waters around Rhode Island. Point Judith, near Newport, has seen numerous sinkings. It is estimated that between 500 and 600 ships, some carrying valuable cargo, have gone down, including the steamer ATLANTIC in 1846.
The steamer FAIRFAX sank in 1898, and the SS SILVIA sank in 1908 off Sow and Pids Reef. Both would be worth something in the line of salvage.
One of the country’s largest untapped deposits of the valuable metallic element, titanium, lies today deep within Iron Mine Hills, a half-mile square part of the land in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
For several reasons, there has been no great rush to stake a claim to this treasure, but as a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Mines puts it: “It’s something we may not need for 50 years, but we should be aware that it’s there.”
Titanium was named after the mythical Greek Titans, known for being strong. It is the ninth most common element in the crust of the earth. It is never found in its pure form but as an oxide in other elements. For example, it’s mixed with iron, aluminum, and magnesium in the abandoned mines of Iron Mine Hill to form Cumberlandite, a rock unique to the area and the state mineral.
Titanium is a dark gray metal that is shiny and light. It is very brittle when cold but can be shaped when heated to high temperatures. Because of these qualities, it has been used extensively in nuclear reactors, in the various components of aircraft, such as firewalls and landing gear, and the Mercury and Gemini space capsules.
When mixed with oxygen, titanium forms a white pigment in paints and plastics.
Why is this valuable element being left untapped? Although it was first verified in 1908, most people, including local and state officials, don’t know it even exists. More importantly, a comprehensive geological survey made 25 years ago reported that titanium is present in only 10% of the Cumberlandite rock and Iron Mine Hills.
Experts estimate that a 20–25% concentration is needed to mine the titanium properly and at the most reasonable cost. So, this source isn’t used while richer veins are mined in places like Wyoming and Florida.
Another reason for this status quo situation is the sentiment of the residents.
Cumberland is a bedroom community of about 26,000 people. The area of the mine is privately owned and zoned for agricultural use, and there is a new residential development close by the mine site. Officials in the area are sure that if the mine were to be developed, there would be strong opposition.
Since the early 1970s, the demand has been increasing steadily, and the $1.42 per pound price tag has nearly doubled. As this trend continues, the titanium treasure remains locked in Iron Mine Hill in Cumberland, Rhode Island, patiently awaiting its fate.
Sandwiched between Connecticut and Massachusetts is the smallest and most densely populated of the fifty United States, Rhode Island. Rhode Island, named for the principal island in Narragansett Bay, is mainly a granite state with little to report in the way of fossils. There are, nevertheless, a few good mineral-hunting localities in this state.
In the 19th century, the geology of Rhode Island was extensively studied. Since then, ambitious rock hounds have occasionally turned up new mineral-collecting localities. Many of these areas are given here. You might try contacting the Rhode Island Development Council, State House, Providence, Rhode Island 02903.
Bristol County: Some interesting jasper occurs as pebbles in gravel pits and deposits around Bristol.
Kent County: Carnelian pebbles occur in the gravels along the shores of Narrangansett Bay near Warwick.
Newport County: An unidentified mine about four miles south of Tiverton reportedly yields unusual graphite specimens.
Providence County: Many quartz-family minerals, including agate, chalcedony, jasper, sagenite, and rutilated quartz crystals, occur in the Calumet Hill area quarries. A large mine at Penner Ledge yields graphite. Agate, amethyst, carnelian, and jasper pebbles can be found in beach gravels at Mt. Hope Bay.
Graphite can be collected at the area mines around Bridgeton, Pawtucket, and Valley Falls. Graphite and hematite are available from area deposits at Cranston. A wide variety of minerals can be collected in the Cumberland Hill area. The quarries in this area yield agate, chalcedony, jasper, and quartz crystals.
Chalcopyrite, magnetite, and recondite can be found around Sneech Pond. The area quarries and mines around Diamond Hill produce agate, chalcedony, hematite, jasper, and quartz crystals, with the crystals being clear, amethyst, and smoky.
Talc can be found in the area’s quarries around Manville. The area beach gravels at Pawtucket yield agate, amethyst, carnelian, and jasper pebbles.
Five miles north of North Providence, Dexter has a limestone quarry with bowenite. Bowenite is a type of serpentine that looks like jade. The nearby Conklin and Harris quarries also contain bowenite. Interesting whetstone can be found in mica-slate quarries and outcrops of quartz-mica schist in the Smithfield area.
Washington County: The Kingston and Tower Hill area mines yield galena specimens. Graphite can be collected in the area mines at Saunderstown. Always ask permission before collecting on private property, and inquire locally for helpful tips on collecting localities.
It seems unusual that there could be a lost gold mine in Rhode Island, but such is the case. It was worked in Moosup Valley, near Foster Center, in the late 1700s. It was rediscovered and mined about 1812–1825 but then lost again.
In the early 1800s, there was also a small gold strike near Johnston, but the profits were not enough to make it worth the time and money, so mining stopped.
Both of these discoveries were of glacial origin. With today’s gold prices, these locations could be worthwhile to investigate.
Since many treasure hunters think strange things can happen when looking for buried or lost treasure, I will tell this strange story.
There is a story connected with an Indian living in Scituate, Providence County, during the early 1800s. After his death, the Indian’s spirit was said to haunt a certain room in the Black Horse Tavern, which came to be known as the Indian Room.
The landlord’s wife, Mrs. Jencks, saw the ghost several times and followed him. On one occasion, the apparition pulled the woman downstairs and out of doors. He then pointed to the roots of a cedar tree in the yard.
Mrs. Jencks told her husband of her experience, and he, believing in buried treasure, saw some connection between such treasure and the ghost’s gesture. He dug without success.
Again the ghost visited Mrs. Jencks, pointing this time to the roots of an apple tree. Again, Mr. Jencks dug without finding anything.
The ghost repeated these visitations and gestures several times, but nothing was ever found. This would be a good location for those who believe in the supernatural. Perhaps with a metal detector, the Indian’s ghost can be laid to rest.
The Historical Society of Newport, Rhode Island, could probably help with the locations of different battles in the city from 1756 to 1783. The British captured the city in December 1776 and held it until October 1779.
The city was founded in 1639 and quickly became one of the major seaports of New England. During the French and Indian Wars, it was a major smuggling port and soon became an important slave-trading center. There could be stories of hidden contraband that local research might reveal.
There are several stories of Indian treasures, or the hiding of loot taken in battle, that occurred during King Philip’s, a Narragansett Indian chief’s war. This war began in June 1675. Its goal was to kill every white colonist, and it would have done so if not because some Indians turned on their people.
At that time, 52 of the 90 settlements in New England were attacked, and 13 were almost destroyed. Over one thousand colonists were killed. More than six hundred homes were burned, and the expense of the war to the Plymouth Colony was more than 100,000 pounds sterling, an enormous amount in those days.
King Philip’s War raged for two years, with sporadic outbursts for some time afterward. All the settlements in northern Rhode Island suffered damage at the hands of the Indians. In Providence, twenty-nine out of 75 homes were burned. Every house in Warwick was destroyed when all the inhabitants fled.
The Indians had learned of the value white men placed on money and jewelry. In addition to whiskey, lead, powder, and anything else they wanted, the Indians have taken thousands of dollars worth of money and jewelry at today’s prices. Since they had no use for them, they were mostly buried or lost at their different camps and battle sites.
King Philip was finally cornered at the Great Swamp near Mount Hope and killed by a renegade Indian.
A likely area to search for some of the hidden loot is around King Philip’s Spring, just north of the marker showing where he was killed.
Another site is where the Indians camped before and after attacking Providence and Warwick. Still another site is Philip’s headquarters at Mount Hope. The islands of Narragansett Bay and the east shore would be good search areas.
The largest Indian stronghold was in South Kingston; another was at Narragansett. While different stories of atrocities, burning, and stealing during the most significant Indian uprising on the East Coast are local and are a mixture of legend and tradition, the fact remains that the white settlers lost thousands of dollars worth of property, money, and personal items.
With a metal detector today, a part of this might be found. The historical value of certain items alone would make an effort worthwhile. The following books could be helpful to the person interested in searching: “Sachems of the Narragansetts” by Howard M. Chapin, “History of King Philip” by John S. Abbott, and “The Narragansetts” by Henry C. Door.
Due to the storms and the large number of vacationers who visit each year, all of the beaches, from Misquamicut in the extreme southwest of Rhode Island to Sakomet in the southeast, are good coin-shooting areas. Also, since Rhode Island is one of the oldest states, all parks are good places to investigate. Be sure to obtain permission to search where necessary.
This lead concerning a lost bell may not sound enticing to treasure hunters until they learn its value. One reason the bell would be so valuable today is that it is supposed to have been made of almost pure silver, which gave it a tone impossible to duplicate.
Another reason for its value is the history connected with the bell. Peter Seest made the bell in Amsterdam in 1263. It was brought to this country in 1664 and hung in a church near Providence. The bell was later taken down and was to be hung in an English convent but was lost.
It was aboard a British ship again during the War of 1812 when Americans captured it. In 1891, it disappeared again and was never recovered. The historical value of the bell would be priceless today; also, the two to five hundred pounds of almost pure silver would be worth a small fortune.
A little detective work in the form of local research might pay off on this one.
Like most sites of counterfeiters, this one has a story of “good” money being buried where the operation took place.
At Old Potters Pond, located about three miles from Wakefield, there is a legend of a counterfeit press, money, and plates being lost. In the early 1700s, a man named John Potter was making a good copy of the king’s money. Potter was described by a writer of the day as “a country squire, fond of fox-hunting, the pleasures of the table, and good wine. He was an acknowledged but not convicted counterfeiter.” This indicates that making bogus money must have paid off for Potter.”
However, word reached the authorities, and a raid was made on Potter’s home. Luckily, he was forewarned and had time to throw the press and plates into a farm pond and make good his escape. No report of any money or the press being found was ever made.
Robber’s Corner is located near Wickford Junction. It received the name “Robber’s Corner” because of the large number of stagecoach robberies there. Several local stories tell of bandit caches in the area.
During the Revolution, twenty separate forts were scattered over the island of Rhode Island, which is Narrangansett Bay. The island is 15 miles long. The actual sites of most of these forts have now been lost. If they could be found again, relics of the Colonial period would be well worth the search. The Butts Hill Fort Site, fortified by the British in 1777, is located off Rhode Island Route 138 in Portsmouth, and the earthworks can still be seen.
The site of Arnold’s Point Fort is located on Lehigh Hill, and the ruins of many old homes are scattered in the area.
The Bristol Ferry Fort was near the Mount Hope Marina, which is to the east of where the Mount Hope Bridge is now. Several major battles were fought over the island, most of which were well-marked. Vestiges of several earthworks and old ruins can be seen on the outskirts of present-day Newport. A report by the Portsmouth Historical Society, published in 1897, stated that the ruins of more than 1,000 structures dating back before 1800 were scattered all over the island.
The Fort Barton Site, on a bluff near Tiverton, in Newport County, was built in 1777. Traces of the fort can be seen in a park surrounding it today.
Green End Fort is located in the town of Middletown, Newport County. The town was founded in 1743 and destroyed by the British in 1776, who built this fort. Earthen ramparts of it can still be seen.
An overlooked area for Indian artifacts is near Jamestown, Rhode Island. A large bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean was a favorite camping place for Indians for many years.
I quote the following verbatim from “The Gold Bug,” a treasure hunter’s publication, for April 1965.
“Tiny Rhode Island sits on a buried hoard of treasure, and any adventurous treasure hunter ready to invest $2 can get the original directions for locating it by writing to the Rhode Island Historical Society, according to a recent newspaper report.
There are 20 gold bars, 20 gold wedges, 8 Jacobs, 11 plain rings, four double D loons, 1 Brasel, one silver plate, one silver candlestick, 2200 pieces of eight silver, three diamonds, and one ruby among the buried loot.
Clifford P. Monahan, director of the society, says that many people have shown interest since the directions to the treasure were first published in 1940. They are thought to have been written between 1700 and 1750 by someone in the buccaneering Greene or Arnold families of East Greenwich, R.I., and are extremely precise:
“‘att JL att BO,’ the directions read: ‘At the SE side of the Bay there is a Creek and on the South side of the bay: 50 yards from the waters side there is a large hollow oak tree with one limber cut of 11 yards from the tree there is a rock and from the rock NW: 7 yards and from the tree: 14 yards the within sum is his.
The ‘within sum’ already has been listed above to whet the digger’s appetite. Equipped with a compass and a yardstick, a tenderfoot Boy Scout could find the hoard. But this old sea dog who hid treasures forgot to mention one small thing: where the landmarks he described were. Most people in Rhode Island think he is talking about a place near Naragan.”
Sett Bay were pirates who were known to hang out in colonial times. Others can choose any other site that suits their fancy, from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico.
While the society’s director cannot provide any additional information, he is confident that the “goodies” are still waiting to be discovered.
Using maps from 1700–1750, a treasure hunter could get lucky.