Friday, 29 November 2013

They Found Gold -Ch 16 to end



Chapter XVI.
The famous MERIDA. Treasure ships in the East River.

Chapter XVII.
The remarkable salvaging of the LAURENTIC. Searching for the LUSITANIA.

Chapter XVIII.
Sketch Map of Treasures
Preparing for the greatest treasure hunt. Where no man has ever trod. Broadcasting from the bottom of the sea.

Why so many treasure hunts fail. Misleading charts and faked maps. Incomplete data. Ignorance of conditions. Treasure hunting a gamble. Cost of treasure hunting. Inadequate funds. Laws and regulations. Concessions. Outfits required. A game for wealthy men. Salvaging sunken ships. Modem devices. A business proposition. The lure of treasure hunting.

A list of known, historically authentic, lost, hidden and sunken treasures of America which up to the time of writing remain unfound.


Treasure Hunts in Home Waters

ALTHOUGH mention of hidden treasure hoards and sunken treasure ships brings up visions of ancient galleons and palm-fringed, tropical shores, yet many a great treasure lies near at hand, resting in the remains of long-lost ships in northern waters. Perhaps the most famous of these for it has had the most publicity, is the Ward Line* steamship Merida, which was sunk in a collision with the Admiral Farragut, in 1911, off the Virginia Capes. As is so often the case, there was considerable mystery connected with the loss of the Merida, and stories and reports told by the passengers and crew, all of whom were saved, were rather conflicting. But all agreed that the ship remained afloat for nearly an hour and that the captain and some of the officers returned to the stricken ship, when they found she still floated, and secured papers, documents and valuables. Also, as is often the case, rumors of vast treasures aboard the Merida were circulated. It was reported that hidden somewhere upon her were millions of dollars in gold coin belonging to the refugee family of an ousted President of Mexico. Even more spectacular was the rumor to the effect that the ship had gone down carrying with her the crown jewels of the ill-fated Emperor Maximilian and the Empress Carlotta. But the vessel's manifests showed no such treasures aboard the Merida, which omission, so argued the sponsors of the tales, was quite to be expected as the crown jewels had been surreptitiously smuggled out of Mexico, and the exiled family's fortune would have been seized had the Mexican authorities known it was aboard the ship. But the Merida's papers did show that several tons of silver bullion and considerable specie were included in the ship's cargo, together with a number of mahogany logs, and of course there were a certain number of valuables currency and jewelry, belonging to the passengers, which had been left aboard in their hurried exodus from the stricken vessel.
* AHV wrote "History of the Ward Line" in 1930. Not recovered yet./drf
And although the Ward Line's records do not indicate that any great amount of insurance was paid on passengers' claims, or that any insurance had been taken out on the alleged millions in gold and the crown jewels, the tales of the Merida's vast treasures persisted and caught the popular fancy, as tales of the sort always do, for there is a romantic streak in most of us. And what could be more romantic than the long-lost jewels of Maximilian and his consort lying at the bottom of the Atlantic within the hulk of a sunken steamship?
Of course, efforts were made to locate and salvage the Merida. But the wreck was too deep for any practical salvage work by divers in ordinary gear, although Frank Crilley, who holds the world's record for deep diving, reached the wreck, examined her thoroughly and duly reported his findings. As a result of his report, the salvage company employing Crilley abandoned their efforts, having decided that it would cost more to recover the ship's valuables than they were worth.
The decision did not, however, discourage others, and from time to time, for a number of years, one expedition after another has set sail to salvage the mythical millions in the Merida. Most famous and prominent of these were the expeditions of the late Captain Bowdoin whose persistence and perseverance are worthy of all commendation even if, up to the time of his death (1935), he had not recovered or found a trace of treasure and has expended a good sized fortune on the work. Moreover, Captain Bowdoin must be given all credit for having been the first to employ successfully metal-armored diving suits in salvage work and for having not only brought up portions of the Merida, but in addition, securing underseas photographs of the hulk. From time to time newspapers have announced in bold headlines that the treasure of the Merida had been found, and about a year ago, excitement and expectations ran high when the shell-covered, mud-coated safe of the Merida was brought to the surface. All felt that the ship's massive safe would contain priceless jewels, bags of golden coin, perchance even the Maximilian jewels. But when at last the long submerged safe was forced open it was found empty as bare of valuables as Mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare of bones.
Even more conveniently near at hand than the Merida is the sunken hulk of the British frigate Hussar which lies somewhere in the East River almost within stone's throw of busy, bustling New York City.
There is no doubt that the Hussar was wrecked in the East River in 1780 when, on her way to Newport, Rhode Island, she was caught in the treacherous currents of Hell Gate and struck a reef near Randall's Island. But there is considerable doubt as to whether or not she carried something over two million dollars in gold, silver and copper currency which was to be used in paying the long overdue wages of the Hessian troops, as has been claimed. Undoubtedly, when the Hussar set sail from England she did carry a very large sum in minted coin; but records, historians, log books and other documents are most confusing and contradictory when it comes to the matter of the Hussar's treasure. One chronicler says "Reaching New York from England, Sept. 13, 1780, came the famous Hussar, frigate, with a cargo of a large sum of money in copper, silver and gold coin. The British forces had not been paid for a long time and this money was to still their complaints." Yet the log of the Hussar does not make any reference to the treasure nor does that of the frigate Mercury which sailed from England about the same time and was supposed to be carrying 380,000 pounds sterling in coin. On the other hand, Fletcher Betts, an officer on the Hussar, in his report on the disaster, stated that twenty thousand pounds in coin, which was all that was on board the Hussar, had already been transferred to the Commissary General at New York.
Still another historian states that the British records show that the largest sum ever shipped to America during the Revolution was fifty thousand pounds sterling, yet in another paragraph he declares that the Mercury carried three hundred and eighty thousand pounds, despite his statement that her log did not mention any treasure. As it is impossible to reconcile these various contradictions, any one may believe, with equal reason, either that the lost Hussar went down with millions in her strong room or was sunk with no treasure worth mentioning.
Neither does any one know exactly where the Hussar now lies. As late as 1850 the wreck was buoyed as a menace to navigation, but she may have been carried far from the spot by the swift tides and currents of the East River since then. Of course many attempts have been made to salvage the Hussar, for even the chance of millions in treasure resting on the bottom of the river within a few hundred yards of shore is a lure too strong for any real treasure seeker to resist.
The first attempt was made in 1818, when the frigate's anchor and some of her guns were brought up, but with the crude diving gear in use at that time it was impossible to get into the wreck and secure the coin, if any, that was there. A few years later, another group of men had a try at salvaging the old Hussar by means of a diving bell. The wreck was located, but the bell proved useless and one of the party—a youth sixteen years of age and a powerful swimmer—dove out from the diving bell, swam into the cabin of the Hussar and secured a bronze plaque, pieces of table ware and other articles which are still preserved, some of the salvaged objects being in Columbia University and the others in possession of the grandson of the daring young man who salvaged than.
Since then, from time to time, the press has announced that some one was trying to secure the Hussar's almost legendary treasure. Only last year there were two salvage vessels with divers working in the East River off 132nd Street searching for the long-lost frigate. But the bottom of Hell Gate is strewn with wrecks, old junk and refuse; the soft slimy mud has covered the older hulks to a depth of ten feet or more, and to find and identify one particular wreck is an almost hopeless undertaking, especially as there is no certainty as to where the Hussar lies.
Possibly, had these last searchers been permitted to continue their work longer, they might have located the Hussar, but unfortunately, the United States Government has something to say in the matter. Not only do the Federal authorities control all dredging and salvaging operations in rivers and harbors, but in addition, the Government claims the Hussar and her contents, owing to the fact that she was an enemy warship sunk in American waters during a war. The only man who has official permission to salvage, or to attempt to salvage, the frigate, is Simon Lake, the famous inventor of submarines, who confidently hopes to succeed by means of his latest salvaging device. This consists of a captive miniature or "baby" submarine and a hinged steel suction tube somewhat like a gigantic vacuum-cleaner in principle. Within the submarine, which is connected with the salvage ship by cables, telephone wires, air hose, etc., a diver may examine the bottom, and when a wreck is found he can emerge from the tiny underseas craft by means of an air-lock, or if conditions demand, he can operate claws or grapples attached to the submarine. The purpose of the suction pipe is to suck up and remove the accumulated silt and also to draw up any valuables that may be found. At the present time, Mr. Lake feels that he has actually located the Hussar, but again and again salvagers have thought they had found the old frigate, and only time will tell whether Mr. Lake has succeeded or not. But even if it proves to be the Hussar, Mr. Lake is not over-optimistic as to securing treasure. "I wish it clearly understood," he says, "that I am not sure there is any treasure in the Hussar wreck. But we mean to find out. I have wanted to settle the question for fifty years." So until the wreck of the ill-fated frigate has been found and the many feet of silt that covers her have been removed, and the old hulk explored from stem to stern, no one will know for a certainty whether she carried millions to the bottom or whether her reputed treasure is only a myth.
But there is no question whatever as to the treasures that still rest within the rotting hulk of another British frigate which is lying somewhere on the bottom of the East River not far from the spot where the Hussar went down.
This is the Lexington, which was sunk in the eighteenth century carrying with her an immense fortune in currency, said to amount to over a million dollars, in addition to a treasure consisting of gold and silver bullion, gold plate, and other precious objects which were taken from Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Yet such is fame, that few persons have ever heard of this treasure ship wrecked so close to New York City, and no serious attempts have been made to salvage her lost riches, whereas the Hussar is quite famous and a real fortune has been expended in efforts to recover a treasure which very probably exists only in tradition and in imagination.

The Most Successful of all Treasure Hunts

ODDLY enough, the salvaging of vast sums in coin or cargo from modern ships sunk in northern waters in recent times, never arouses the same interest as the recovery of treasure from some old galleon beneath a tropical sea or some hoard of gold buried by pirates, smugglers or others on an islet under the palms. No doubt the reason for this is because so little true romance surrounds the foundering of a steamship and the recovery of its contents by organized matter-of-fact wrecking companies, whereas there is ever the halo of adventure and of romance about the old galleons, the swashbuckling pirates and buccaneers, pieces of eight, golden doubloons, and visionary treasure-hunters faring forth to desert isles and shark-infested coral reefs.
Yet far greater treasures lie upon the bottom of northern seas than among the corals and sea-fans of the tropics, and far more of these sunken riches have been recovered than have ever been salvaged from galleons and plate ships.
When, a few years ago, the salvors, after long months of dangers, hardships and heartbreaking disappointments, wrested the treasure from the sunken steamship Egypt, it caused scarcely a ripple of excitement or interest, whereas, had some one salvaged a few millions in golden doubloons and plate from the wreck of a Spanish galleon in the Caribbean, press and public would have clamored for the story and every one would have been thrilled.
Successful and remarkable as was the salvaging of the Egypt's treasure it was not the only fortune which has been recovered from sunken steamships in recent years without arousing any particular interest or notice.
In 1912, the P. & O. steamship Oceana collided with a German vessel off Beachy Head, England, and went to the bottom carrying with her a treasure in currency and bullion worth more than four million dollars. And although I doubt if one person in ten thousand ever heard of it, salvagers recovered every cent's worth of her cargo except two bars of raw silver worth two or three hundred dollars at the most.
It was a truly wonderful, as well as a most highly successful piece of salvage work, yet nothing by comparison with the salvaging of the steamship Laurentic, which stands out as the most remarkable as well as the most successful of all treasure hunts in the history of sunken treasure ships. Not only was her immense treasure recovered, but more remarkable still, the salvaging was carried on during the period of the World War and continued for seven years, and was so well and so economically conducted that the entire costs amounted to barely half a million dollars, a good sized sum to be sure, but a very small item by comparison with the twenty-five millions salvaged from the lost ship.
It was on January 25, 1917, that the Laurentic was sunk off Fanad Head by a German U-boat. Over three hundred human lives were snuffed out by the tragedy, and twenty-five millions in gold went to the bottom with the torpedoed steamship. Fortunately a little mine-sweeper was not far from the Laurentic at the time and her captain, Commander Geoffrey Unsworth, rushed his vessel at full speed to the scene of the disaster to succor passengers and members of the crew who still lived.
It was terrible weather, a southwest gale was howling across the sea and the huge combers broke in icy spray over the gallant little ship. But the Commander and his men were true British seamen, and for forty fearful hours they battled seas and gale, bitter cold and freezing spray, and by superhuman determination and grit rescued every survivor of the Laurentic's company. But the heroic officer very nearly sacrificed his own life, for the exposure and cold he had endured brought on pneumonia and he was hurried to a hospital.
He was the one man who knew the exact spot where the Laurentic had gone down, and when the Government had searched in vain for the sunken ship in order to salvage her millions, Commander Unsworth left his sick bed, and with a heroism, seldom paralleled in the history of the sea, located the sunken ship and buoyed the spot. Had it not been for this one desperately ill man the chances are that the twenty-five millions in the Laurentic's strong room would still be lying at the bottom of the sea. Yet so lacking in sentiment and gratitude was his government that his services were never mentioned nor was he honored in any way by the British Admiralty, although the actual salvagers were handsomely rewarded.
Of course, in the salvaging of the Laurentic, the salvors had one great advantage over all others. The entire resources of the British Navy and the Government were backing the venture. The capital they could draw upon was unlimited, and they were equipped with every known device, invention and apparatus for deep sea salvage work. And bearing this in mind, we can better appreciate the difficulties to be met in recovering treasures from wrecks in deep water under stormy seas when we consider that despite the fact that active work was begun within a month from the time the Laurentic was sunk, seven years elapsed before the final load of treasure came dripping up from the depths.
Never in the history of salvage work have men gone about their undertaking under more adverse conditions. The World War was raging on land and sea, enemy submarines were all about, there was no shelter from storms, gales and waves, and the Laurentic was twenty-five fathoms beneath the surface. Moreover, the explosion of the torpedo that had sunk her and the bursting of her boilers had torn the liner to pieces and left her a mass of bent, warped and twisted metal, while at the depth where she rested the divers, using conventional suits (the present day armored suits had not been perfected) could work for only an hour or so at a time. Had the ship been undamaged above the decks it would not have been such a terrific job to have entered and reached her strong room. But as it was, it was necessary to remove hundreds of tons of broken and twisted steel and iron and blast a passage through five steel decks.
Also, of course, the divers were working in almost total darkness, and in order to aid them in their work of tearing away the wreck piecemeal the salvors had a scale model of the Laurentic, exact in every detail, and each day, as the divers blasted and ripped apart the sunken ship, the same portions of the miniature ship were removed from the model.
Again and again the salvage ship Racer was forced to slip cables and seek safety from tempestuous weather, and often weeks would pass with no possibility of salvage work being carried on. But at last the hardest of the work was done, the shattered plates, the torn and buckled bulkheads, the twisted stanchions and steel frames, and the wreckage of state rooms, saloons and cabins had been cleared away; a great gaping hole had been blasted through all five of the liner's decks, and the strong room had been reached. But so slowly had the work progressed, so often had bad weather interrupted the salvagers, that only eight bars of gold were recovered the first year. But in 1920 over six hundred ingots were salvaged, the following year three hundred were brought up; during 1922, the salvors recovered nine hundred bars of gold and in 1923 all records were broken by salvaging one thousand one hundred and fifty bars, the total when work was at last abandoned being three thousand and fifty-seven ingots of gold, leaving only one hundred and fifty-four bars unaccounted for. Truly the most remarkable, profitable and successful of all treasure hunts considering all the facts of the case.
No doubt, the question will arise in the minds of my readers as to why, if the British Government had such success in salvaging the Laurentic, the Admiralty did not also salvage the Lusitania?
There are several reasons. In the first place the Laurentic went down in twenty-five fathoms or one hundred and fifty feet of water, whereas the Lusitania sunk in more than one hundred fathoms or over six hundred feet, which is over three hundred feet deeper than any diver in a rubber suit ever descended, and it is only within the last few years that mechanically-operated, armored metal diving suits capable of withstanding the enormous pressures of deep water have been invented and perfected and have become practical. In the second place, the exact spot where the Laurentic sank was known, although if it had not been for Commander Unsworth, she might never have been found, whereas no one knows precisely where the Lusitania sank. Although the spot where she was torpedoed is known, the stricken ship drifted several miles before she went to the bottom, and as she undoubtedly sank very slowly she may have been carried a mile or more farther by the tides and currents before she reached the bottom six hundred feet and more beneath the surface of the sea. Also, there was no question that the Laurentic carried a cargo of gold worth twenty-five million dollars, whereas there is considerable doubt as to whether the Lusitania had on board enough treasure to cover the cost of salvaging her, despite the fact that newspaper accounts refer to her "millions in gold," sometimes conservatively mentioning a mere twenty millions, at other times boosting the total to two hundred millions. But largely the depth of water above the torpedoed Lusitania has been the stumbling block which has prevented serious efforts being made to salvage the most famous of steamships sunk by the Germans in their inhuman and relentless submarine campaign. But at the present time an expedition is actively engaged in attempting to locate and salvage the Lusitania.
With the salvage ship Ophir, provided with every up-to-date, scientific device, and aided by the British Admiralty and survivors of the Lusitania's crew, the treasure hunters on the Ophir stand a very good chance of being successful in their quest. Among the other highly perfected apparatus employed by the salvors on the Ophir is an electrical echo-sounding machine. Broadly speaking this is a device which sends sound waves from the ship to the bottom of the sea at the rate of one hundred and thirty per minute, and these sound waves, striking the bottom, "echo" or are returned upward to the ship where they are amplified and actuate a moving stylus which traces the varying depths upon a prepared sensitized roll of paper, thus giving a "graph" or profile of the ocean's floor. By slowly steaming over the sea the salvagers can see the outline of the bottom on the graph as clearly as though gazing upon it with their eyes, and any wreck or other object is instantly recorded. Already a number of sunken ships have been found and registered by the remarkable device and at any minute—before I have completed this paragraph, perhaps—word may be received that the Lusitania has been found. For descending to the wreck, the divers of the Ophir will use a highly perfected armored suit weighing nearly a ton, but so constructed that the man within can move about, use arms and legs and can grasp, move or lift objects by means of the steel claws or fingers which serve in place of hands. Safely ensconced within this suit the diver can descend to depths far out of reach of the ordinary rubber suit, and as he depends upon oxygen contained in a tank upon the back of the suit, instead of compressed air, he is not affected by the pressure and can breathe freely and normally. Provided the Lusitania is located, there is no reason why the salvors should not recover everything of value within the sunken steamship. Perhaps she does hold a vast treasure. Perchance the total valuables recovered will not repay the costs of the expedition. But even if no treasure be found, if the Lusitania is located and the divers, as they surely will, descend to the wreck, the salvors will be well repaid and will have performed a service for which the civilized world should be grateful, for an examination of the sunken steamship will settle for once and forever whether or not the Lusitania carried arms and munitions of war and hence was legitimate prey for a U-boat, or whether the Germans by torpedoing her committed the most callous and inhuman of crimes, the most atrocious wholesale murder, when they sent the giant Cunarder to the bottom and sailed away, deliberately leaving thousands of men, women and children to drown.

The Greatest of all Treasure Hunts

Ogre-like Diving Suit
ALTHOUGH the salvaging of the Laurentic was unquestionably the most spectacular and successful of treasure hunts up to the present time, although the salvaging of the Egypt and the Oceana netted the salvors millions, and although sturdy old Captain Sir William Phipps holds the world's record for recovering treasures from long-lost Spanish galleons, yet, all of these together, with the salvaging of the Lusitania, if successful, in addition, would not equal, either in scope or in the value of treasures sought, the great treasure hunt that is now being organized in New York.
Ever since treasure ships went to the bottom of the sea there have been treasure seekers and salvors striving to recover the submerged gold. But in every case, irrespective of whether success or failure was the outcome, the treasure hunters have confined their efforts to some one treasure or some particular wreck. In a way this is a good deal like putting all of one's eggs in one basket, as the old saying goes. If the one wreck sought is not found, if storms or other circumstances prevent work on the one wreck, if it is found impossible to secure the treasure or if for any one of a dozen or more reasons the attempt is unsuccessful, then time and money have been lost with no chance of making good. But the expedition I refer to is to conduct operations on quite a different basis. Instead of setting out to salvage any one treasure ship, these salvors have scores of treasure-laden wrecks on their list. Indeed, it is planned to search the entire coastwise waters of the Atlantic seaboard of the United States from Florida to the Gulf of Maine, with some of the West Indian seas in addition, combing the reefs, shoals, bars and waters for the treasure-laden vessels which have gone to the bottom during the past three centuries or more, and salvaging all that may be found. It is a stupendous, a gigantic undertaking; beyond any question the greatest, most elaborate treasure hunt in the history of the sea. Also, it stands the greatest chances of being successful, for surely, among a score and more of wrecks which are known to hold treasure, it would be strange indeed if at least one were not found and salvaged. And any one of the many to be searched for would repay all costs of the expedition with a million or more over as dividends.
Moreover, even if no golden doubloons, no blackened silver coins, no long-lost gems or precious bullion are recovered, there is little chance of this salvage expedition being out of pocket, for aside from treasure ships there are countless wrecks, filled with valuable cargoes of merchandise, dotting the ocean's floor between Key West and Eastport.
While bales of silks and velvets, bundles of merchandise, cases of dry goods, and crated motor cars and machinery, are rendered worthless by immersion in salt water, there are many cargoes which suffer no harm through being sunk, even for years. Copper and tin, lead and zinc, case-oil and liquors, cabinet woods and minerals, even canned provisions and side leather are all salvageable. And to the salvor who is out to make a profit, all should be treasure which comes to his grapples, to paraphrase the trite old proverb. Even if there is a lure and a romance in gold and silver and precious stones, a few thousand tons of copper or tin, thousands of feet of mahogany or rosewood, hundreds of cases of choice imported liquors and other equally unromantic commodities all are worth good money, and a million dollars is a million dollars quite irrespective of whether it exists in the form of gold, silver, copper, lumber, brandy or champagne, or other merchandise.
Finally, this greatest of treasure hunts will be equipped with the most highly perfected, the most efficient and the most practical of modern devices. The armored suits to be used in diving are capable of permitting a diver to descend to depths of a thousand feet and have already been thoroughly and exhaustively tested as deep as six hundred feet with entire success. Although appearing like some grotesque, semi-human monster, gigantic, cumbersome and bizarre, yet the suit is so constructed that the diver has as much freedom of movement as if in an ordinary rubber suit even at extreme depths, for the all-metal joints are so designed that the greater the water pressure upon them the more mobile they become. When working at great depths the diver within the suit depends upon mechanical hands and fingers consisting of steel grips which are so delicately yet strongly adjusted that a single coin may be picked up or a section of heavy timber torn from its fastenings. But in fairly shoal water the diver may do away with these and use his own hands and arms like any diver in a conventional suit.
For breathing, the occupant of the suit depends upon oxygen contained in a tank within the suit itself, thus entirely obviating the danger of a leak releasing the precious gas and leaving the diver to suffocate before he can be drawn to the surface. Moreover, the diver ensconced in this remarkable gear is not cramped, but can move about freely. In fact there is abundant space for him to watch the dials and indicators within the suit, use the telephone or even read a paper. As the northern seas are ever murky and visibility poor, even in shoal water, and as the ocean is a dark, greenish-black void at great depths, entirely new and wonderful underseas lights have been provided which will illuminate the bottom of the sea for many square feet and will enable the divers to have as clear a view of the wrecks as though working at moderate depths in the crystal-clear, transparent waters of tropical seas.
Finally, one of the most interesting, the most novel and the most spectacular features of this greatest of all treasure hunts will be the radio broadcasting from under the sea. Each day, as the diver descends and moves about upon the ocean's floor, he will talk into a microphone within his helmet, telling what he sees, describing his surroundings, giving a graphic account of the grotesque forms of life about him—the strange fishes, the great gray sharks, the gigantic lobsters and enormous crabs lurking in ancient wrecks or reaching immense claws from crevices in subterranean cliffs. No living man has ever yet seen the inhabitants of the bottom one hundred fathoms or more below the surface of the Atlantic along our coasts. No one can say what unknown, strange, impossible monsters may inhabit these depths. But the diver in this wonderful new suit, with the powerful beams of the undersea lights illuminating the ocean's floor, will see and report to the world the wonders of marine life. And when a wreck is found tens of thousands of listeners will hear the voice of a human being, far beneath the surface of the sea, describing the appearance of the shell and algae-coated hulk, the rotting timbers, the ancient guns, or if it be a more recent wreck, the corroded iron hull, the twisted and torn steel beams, the slime-covered decks will be described. Even after the diver in his grotesque armor has actually entered the wreck his voice will still be heard, coming through hundreds of feet of water, through hundreds of miles of space; uncanny, thrilling, amazing, as he tells of fearsome devil fish and octopi, of giant eels and huge crustaceans haunting the empty staterooms and cabins, or announces that he has entered the strong room of some ancient treasure ship and with his steel fingers is lifting bars of gold or silver or is pawing over mounds of black and encrusted metal disks that once were shining golden and silver coins.
So even if the expedition salvages no great treasure, even if no centuries-old galleons are found, it will be a success, for it is a many-sided undertaking with an egg in every basket, metaphorically speaking; a treasure hunt which even if on the sea win still be on the air.
Perchance, at the very first descent, the diver in his metal armor may find himself standing beside the wreckage of some once proud and stately galleon with a mound of gold marking the spot that once had been her strong room. Perhaps many a mystery of the sea may be solved. No one can say with certainty what new and wholly undreamed-of creatures may or may not be discovered during this exploration of the bottom of the Atlantic. But one thing is certain. Within the next few months countless thousands of persons throughout the world will be transported mentally to the bottom of the sea, and for the first time in history, divers, hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the ocean, will be talking to the world at large, broadcasting the story of what they see and find where no human being ever has been before; where no human eyes have ever gazed upon the strange inhabitants of the Atlantic's depths, where hundreds of shattered, forgotten wrecks lie scattered on the ocean's floor with incalculable treasures only awaiting the modern salvor in his fearsome armor—a far more grotesque monster than any denizen of the deep.

Hints for Treasure Hunters

I HAVE often been asked why it is that so many treasure hunts fail if the treasures really exist and their locations are known?
There are many reasons why treasure hunts do not always result in finding and recovering treasure. Granted that the treasure hunters actually possess knowledge of the exact location of a hidden, buried or sunken hoard, the principal reasons for failure are: lack of adequate funds to carry on the work, improper equipment, inexperienced personnel and insufficient knowledge and experience in the work undertaken.
But far more treasure hunts are doomed to dismal failure because of inaccurate information, faith in traditions or legends, faked maps or charts, or ignorance of the laws of the countries where the treasures exist. Amateur treasure hunters are, as a rule, very credulous and will swallow as gospel truth almost any exciting tale of hidden or sunken treasures. Many a man has set out on a quest for some mythical treasure with only a few hundred dollars in capital and an alleged chart or map as his equipment And here let me warn all prospective treasure hunters to beware of charts, maps, written directions or similar documents purporting to reveal the precise spot where some old hoard has been cached. Nine times out of ten these are faked, or if genuine they were purposely made misleading, the owners of the treasures being the only persons who could understand them. In other words, they are a sort of code, and so many paces or feet to the north, for example, may mean the same number of yards in another direction. As a rule, however, maps and charts of buried treasures, despite their apparent age and their earmarks of being genuine, are modern and are made with the object of luring innocent treasure hunters on false quests. Take, for example, the alleged map of the Cocos Island treasure mentioned in the chapter on that famous treasure. It purported to have been made by Captain Thomson of the brig Mary Dear; but it would never have fooled a sailor or any one thoroughly familiar with the history of the Lima treasure hidden on Cocos. In the first place, Thomson's name is spelled "Thompson" on the document. In the second place, it reads "Captain of the Mary Dear" although no master-mariner would ever sign a paper other than as "Master," while finally, the real Captain Thomson was quite illiterate and spelled the name of his brig "Mary Dere"
Another chart which I have seem, and which led an expedition on a wild goose chase and cost the dupes nearly ten thousand dollars, showed the cached treasure buried, "a fathom deep," in a spot which proved upon investigation to be bare, solid ledge. Still another "pirate's map" which was crackled and yellow as if of great age, and was written and drawn in a faded reddish ink (supposedly blood) gave the exact location of a sunken pirate ship fairly bursting with loot. Yet the spot where the ancient wreck was supposed to be resting in six fathoms of water was, in reality, over a mile from the sea!
I do not mean to assert that all treasure charts are fakes or that there may not be genuine treasure maps in existence. But if so, their owners would go hunting the treasure for themselves, instead of disposing of them for a few hundred dollars and a "share" in the treasures. Neither do I know of but two treasures which have ever been recovered by means of one of these supposedly old charts. I am convinced that it was very rarely that any one hiding treasure or who knew of the exact location of a sunken or hidden treasure, really made a chart disclosing the hoard's precise location. To have done so would have been to risk having it fall into the hands of some one else who would be in a position to recover the riches. Even Sir William Phipps took good care NOT to mention the exact location of the galleon whose cargo of treasure he salvaged. Nowhere in his journal or log was its position referred to, and his chart, which is still preserved, although clearly showing the reefs of Silver Shoals, does not indicate where the wreck was discovered. Only by a careful study of his notes telling the depth of water where he anchored, the general direction from his anchorage to the wreck, the time it required for his "pinnace" to make the trip, and other trivial matters, was I able to figure out the general position of the wreck. In the chapter on the Valverde treasure I have mentioned the old map, a copy of which is reproduced. Although Valverde intended—or supposedly intended—that his chart should enable others to locate the source of his riches, yet it is so indefinite and confused that no one yet has been able to follow the route to the treasure, with the single exception of Colonel Brooks. Perhaps Keating's original chart, showing the treasure cache on Cocos Island, may still be in existence as is claimed by the present possessors of a map alleged to be his. But by far the greater portion of treasure charts are of no more value in a search for hidden hoards than the imaginary map of Treasure Island in Stevenson's well known book.
Another common fault with treasure seekers is their habit of starting on a hunt without first learning the conditions they are to face—the laws of the country, if out of the United States, concerning treasure trove; the character of the territory where the treasure lies, or the seas, bottom and reefs, if a sunken treasure; the difficulties to be encountered, and the engineering or salvaging problems to be solved. A ten-acre islet may appear a mere pin point even on a large scale chart; but ten acres of jagged coral rock and sand covered with dense, thorny jungle and razor-edged sawgrass, and infested with sand flies, mosquitoes and ticks, is a lot of territory to dig over. And even in the crystalline waters of the West Indies, where the bottom is visible thirty or forty feet below the surface, it is a long, costly, tiresome and disheartening undertaking to spot an old wreck. A sunken ship, even if a good-sized vessel, is a small object compared to the area of bottom, the cliff-like reefs, the great submarine caverns, the immense coral-trees and the jungles of seagrowths, and when coated with lime, coral, sea-fans and algae a wreck is almost invisible. Even if the exact location—within a few square yards—of a buried treasure chest is known, the searcher should bear in mind that a million dollars' worth of gold occupies a space scarcely as large as an ordinary steamer-trunk, and that there is a lot more earth than chest even in a space a few yards square.
Also, recovering a treasure is not always a simple matter of pick and shovels and elbow grease, nor is it such an easy undertaking for an amateur in a makeshift diving gear to descend to a sunken ship and salvage her treasures.
The treasure seeker, if he is to have even a chance of success, must either possess engineering knowledge and be an experienced sailor and diver, or else employ men who are. And all this costs money. To attempt to salvage a sunken treasure or to recover treasures buried on land on the proverbial shoestring is a sheer waste of time and money. If the treasure seeker feels that he has reasonably definite knowledge of the location of hidden or sunken riches it should be a good .enough gamble to risk adequate capital. And if not, then pass it up as too great a risk.
Treasure hunts, if properly conducted, are expensive propositions. In fact most persons will be amazed to learn how expensive they are. It is practically impossible to undertake a maritime treasure hunt with less than fifteen to thirty thousand dollars capital, and while a treasure hunt on land may cost less, if comparatively accessible and near at hand, yet it is surprising how quickly ten or fifteen thousand dollars may be legitimately expended. Why, it may be asked, is so much money required? Let us consider the expenses of an expedition to salvage an old treasure wreck in the West Indies. First, there is the boat to be purchased or chartered. A good, fast, seaworthy vessel with steam or Diesel power is necessary. A yacht is worse than useless for such work, a sailing vessel is worse yet, and a power-propelled ship large enough and seaworthy enough to make a long ocean voyage and stand Caribbean seas, squalls and a possible hurricane, will cost at least $3000 per month chartered. Unless she is a wrecking or a salvage vessel she will require powerful hoists, re-enforced derrick-booms, small boats, a diver's boat and extra heavy ground-tackle. The wages of her crew, consisting of captain, two mates, engineer, assistant engineer, oilers or firemen, cook, and at least two seamen will amount to over five hundred dollars a month. In addition there must be a diver who will receive a minimum salary of three hundred a month, and a diver's tender at two hundred. Next there is the diving equipment. If this is hired it will run into a lot of money, and nine times out of ten will be unsatisfactory. Some divers supply their own suits and gear, but as a rule these are supplied by the expedition. There must be two full suits, a shallow water helmet, several hundred feet of air hose, a powerful air compressor, plenty of new, high-grade hemp rope, repairing supplies, a diving ladder or stage and other incidentals which will run up the bill to a couple of thousand dollars. Enough provisions to supply twelve men and the treasure seekers for several months must be taken along, and it is astounding how much food a dozen husky seamen and a couple of divers will eat. Finally, there are the fuel and water, the costs of papers—clearances, manifests, consular documents; port charges, pilotage and other incidentals—to consider. In other words the operative costs will run to almost five thousand dollars a month or for a three months' trip fifteen thousand dollars plus equipment, diving gear, food, etc., which will come to fully two thousand dollars additional. And as a reserve fund for unforeseen contingencies is essential, the capital required will be fully twenty thousand dollars. Of course a treasure-hunting expedition on land is far cheaper. But if the search is to be made in Latin America there will be the costs of securing a concession, the good-sized "presents" to be made to officials which are essential if long delays and opposition are to be avoided, the costs of travel, wages of laborers, food and equipment all of which must be provided before starting on the expedition; tools and instruments, steamship fares, and usually a large sum of several thousand dollars to be deposited as a bond to insure the fulfillment of the treasure seekers' part in the concession. Neither should the prospective treasure seeker forget that it costs money to clear jungles and to dig holes. It would be a simple matter to disinter a treasure if one knew the exact spot where it was buried, but, unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and even if one is certain that the cache is located within a given area of a few hundred square feet a deal of time and cash will be expended before that area is thoroughly excavated. If the treasure seeker plans to dig ancient graves or mounds he will find a number of problems, aside from the expense, confronting him. In every country of Central and South America there are laws which prohibit the excavation of the old Indian tombs, graves and mounds without permission of the government, and then only when the work is done by representatives of some recognized scientific institution. Moreover, in such cases the government reserves the right to any and all specimens desired for the local museums or collections and, as a rule, claims all objects of gold, agreeing, however, to pay the finders the bullion value of such specimens. And as an official usually is appointed to accompany the expedition and supervise all excavations there is little chance of "getting away" with anything, quite aside from the ethics of such a procedure. I do not mean to state that it is impossible to dig ancient graves without a concession or permit. Neither is it impossible to secure a permit which allows the concessionaires to retain what treasures they find. But, in the first case, it is risky business, for the diggers, if apprehended, are liable to heavy fines or imprisonment, while one must expect to "pay through the nose" as the English express it, in order to secure a favorable concession or to blind the eyes of officials as to what is going on. Even assuming that the expedition locates and secures treasure from the ancient graves, there is still the problem of getting the objects out of the country, for in most cases the exportation of huacos is prohibited unless one has a permit, and Latin American customs officials have the right to open and inspect outgoing as well as incoming packages and luggage.
But let us assume that the expedition is going in search of some treasure which does not come under the law governing archaeological specimens, and estimate the costs of such an undertaking. First, there is the camp and other equipment, including provisions and supplies, tools, fire arms, packs, clothing, etc. The cost of such will of course depend a great deal upon the number of persons forming the expedition, the distance to and the locality of the treasure trove, and the length of time to be devoted to the search. But assuming that there are but two men, that the objective is somewhere in the Andes—as the Valverde treasure, for example, and that it is planned to be gone for six months, the preliminary costs of outfitting will run into a thousand dollars at least. Then there are the steamship fares, say another thousand for the round trip, which is putting it rather low. Landing, freight, wharfage and customs charges on the outfit will spoil another couple of hundred dollars.
There will be hotel bills to meet while the party is being organized and permits, documents, etc., are being obtained, and by the time these essential papers are secured a third thousand will have been expended. Then comes the question of labor and of transportation. Horses, mules or llamas must be purchased or hired to convey the outfit into the mountains beyond the railways or motor roads, and a gang of native Indian or Cholo (mixed white and Indian) laborers must be hired. Labor, to be sure, is fairly cheap in Latin America, a day laborer receiving on the average a dollar a day or less; but don't forget that it takes four or five natives to do the work of one husky European laborer. At least ten natives must be employed if anything is to be accomplished, so that the labor bill alone will amount to fully fifteen hundred dollars, not counting the cost of pack-animals and their drivers. In other words, such an expedition might just as well be abandoned unless you are prepared to expend at least six to eight thousand dollars. And as totally unexpected and unforeseen contingencies almost invariably arise there should always be a reserve fund of several thousand dollars on hand.
Treasure hunting, whether on land or under the sea, is not a poor man's game. In fact it is not a game for anyone unless he or they look upon it as a game, an out-and-out gamble, and enter into it for the adventure, the thrill and the fun to be had for the investment. Regarded in such a light, treasure hunting is one of the most exciting and pleasurable of sports with prizes worth the proverbial king's ransom, for the lucky winners. But as a business proposition, treasure hunting, as a general rule, is about the poorest investment any one can make. There are, however, exceptions to that rule as to every other. When the location within a reasonable distance of a sunken treasure ship is known, and when the value or approximate value of her contents is established by historical or other documentary evidence, treasure hunting may be considered as a bona fide business proposition with more than even chances of paying immense dividends.
That more of the countless treasure-laden ships which dot the oceans' floors have not long ago been salvaged is largely because of obstacles and conditions which formerly could not be met and overcome. The ordinary diver in his rubber suit and bronze helmet is restricted as to the depth at which he can work, while the amount of work that he can do, even in fairly shallow water say fifty feet, is limited. Any one who has ever descended in a diving suit appreciates the handicaps under which even the most skilled and experienced divers must work. One's movements and vision are both very limited. One must move slowly, as if in one of those nightmarish dreams where one is striving madly to dash from some peril and finds oneself incapable of moving rapidly, but must crawl laboriously and painfully forward. And as a man in a diving suit has little stability and less weight, any great exertion or effort is impossible. A diver may pry or lift up on a bar or some piece of wreckage, but the moment he presses downward the effort lifts him from his feet. To use a bar, pick or shovel for digging, or to wield an axe, maul or hammer effectively is impossible. One has only to immerse one's arm in water and try to use a hammer or a hatchet beneath the surface in order to realize how futile it is. As a result of all this it becomes obvious why so few of the sunken treasure wrecks have been salvaged, for the majority lie one hundred feet or more beneath the surface and in water so turgid or so dark that for a diver to locate them is an undersea game of blind-man's-buff. But within the past few years tremendous strides have been made in improving gear and apparatus for deep sea salvaging. The Williamson* undersea tube was devised primarily for salvaging, but has proved of more value as a means of taking underseas motion pictures, although the depth to which this collapsible tube with its huge glass-windowed observation chamber may be lowered is limited to about fifty feet. More practical and ingenious than such devices, which are clumsy and restricted in their scope, are the armored, articulated diving-suits, several of which have been invented and used. These heavy all metal suits, which resemble weird robots or monsters from some other sphere, are designed to be used at great depths and to withstand the terrific pressure of the water several hundred feet beneath the surface. Several of these armored suits were provided with leather, rubber or other flexible material at the movable joints of arms and legs, but proved worthless in deep water where the pressure so compressed the flexible material as to render it solid and immovable. As a result, the latest designs in metal suits have all-metal joints, some being provided with ball bearings and others with ball-and-socket joints. At least three different types of these have proved practical and have been tested out at depths utterly beyond the reach of divers in ordinary rubber suits. One such has been used in attempts to salvage the steamship Merida, another type is now being used in efforts to salvage the Lusitania, and a third form, which is probably the best and most promising, is to be used on the greatest of all treasure hunts now being organized (see Chapter XVIII).
* Williamson movie documentary "With Williamson Beneath the Sea" (1932) lists AHV as a writer. This is supposed to appear on the web soon. /drf
With such modern apparatus, together with submarine lights which illuminate the bottom for an area of many square feet, there is no valid reason why many of the lost treasure ships should not be salvaged. But the expense entailed in using them is very great. The suits alone cost hundreds of dollars, special electrical and other devices essential to them add to the cost, the underseas lights are expensive, and a specially fitted and equipped ship must be provided. Only a very wealthy man could afford to undertake a salvaging expedition of this sort on his own. In order to conduct such an expedition with any hopes of success a company or organization with ample capital is required, and the work should be planned and carried out on a hard and fast, matter-of-fact business basis as a salvage job pure and simple, depending upon the recovery of general cargoes, such as copper, coal, merchandise, case oil, canned goods, etc., for profits, and with treasure as a side line. Such an undertaking may destroy the romance, the thrill and the adventure of treasure hunting, but it also eliminates a great portion of the element of chance and is the only way in which treasure hunting will ever become a business proposition and not a gamble.
The majority of men, however, are inherently gamblers in one form or another, and as long as human beings are human beings, as long as men find a thrill and excitement in taking a chance; as long as the love of adventure and the lure of romance exists in the hearts and minds of men, treasure hunting will hold its own and men will follow the will-o'-the-wisp of golden hoards whether buried under the palms on sea-girt tropic isles, hidden in secret caverns in the fastnesses of the mountains or lying amid the coral-encrusted, rotting hulks of ancient galleons beneath the sea.

Authentic Unrecovered Treasures in America

Only those treasures the existence of which is borne out by historical or documentary evidence have been included.

NOVA SCOTIA. Oak Island. Chapter VII The origin of this mysterious treasure is unknown. It lies at the bottom of a shaft about 130 feet below the surface. At intervals of about ten feet, bulkheads of timber, matting or cement were placed in the shaft, and two side tunnels nearly five hundred feet in length were constructed with secret openings below the level of the sea so designed as to cause any excavation to be flooded with sea water. For nearly two hundred years various attempts have been made to recover the treasure, but so far without success. Borings, however, have proved its existence, for bits of gold and silver, a ring, parts of a gold chain and a fragment of parchment with writing upon it have been brought up by the drills. At the present time another effort is being made to secure this immense, mysterious hoard estimated to be worth several million dollars.

MAINE. Machias.
MASS. Eastham. The pirate, Bellamy, sought to establish a pirates' fort and colony on the Machias River. Remains of his earthworks are still visible. At that time he had recently captured a treasure ship, the Whidaw, with several millions in gold, gems and other valuables on board. He may have buried much of the treasure here on the banks of the Machias River, for his men, or rather the survivors, swore that he never divided his loot. On the other hand it may have been on board the vessel when she was intentionally run upon a reef off Eastham, Mass., by a whaleman whom Bellamy had captured.

MASSACHUSETTS. Cape Cod. In 1898, the steamship Portland went down off Provincetown. She was reported to have had between one hundred and two hundred thousand dollars on board in the ship's safe, as well as valuables belonging to the passengers. Some of her fittings have been salvaged, but the safe has never been recovered.

CONNECTICUT. Thimble Islands. In 1785, a smuggling sloop loaded with fine French brandy, while endeavoring to escape from coast-guard ships, ran onto a reef and went down. Although not strictly treasure, the brandy today might well be worth more than its weight in gold.

CONNECTICUT. Long Island Sound. In 1779, the Connecticut privateer, Defence, under command of Capt. Samuel Smedley, while fleeing from a British corvette, struck a reef near Stonington and went down. She had already taken several British ships and carried a large sum in money and valuables taken from her prizes. The crew of the Defence reached shore in safety, and Captain Smedley requested that the Connecticut Government appoint a commission to inquire into the loss of his ship, and if he were found to blame, to courtmartial him. He was completely exonerated. The wreck has never been salvaged and would be of great historical value, quite apart from the thousands of dollars of treasure it contains.

NEW YORK. New York City. During the Revolutionary War, in 1780, the British frigate, Hussar, struck a reef in East River and went down. She was bound for Newport, R. I., to pay off the Hessian troops and is supposed to have been carrying between two and four million dollars in currency. She sank near Randall's Island within one hundred yards of the shore, and as late as 1850 her wreck was buoyed as a menace to navigation. In 1818, a diver working from a diving bell entered the wreck and secured a bronze plaque, tableware, ornaments, etc., which together with the ship's bell and anchors are still preserved. But so far no one has salvaged the money or other contents of the ship. Simon Lake and many others have made attempts to salvage the Hussar and Mr. Lake is at present working on it.

NEW YORK. Hell Gate. Chapter XVI. Not far from the Hussar, the British frigate Lexington was lost in the treacherous Hell Gate in the eighteenth century. She carried an immense fortune in gold and silver bullion and other valuables taken from Vera Cruz, Mexico.

DELAWARE. Lewes. Chapter XVI. On May 25, 1798, the British privateer, De Braak, sank in fifteen fathoms of water off the Delaware Capes. The De Braak was en route to Halifax from the Caribbean where she had captured the Spanish galleon, St. Francis Xavier, laden with gold and silver bullion valued at ten million dollars (probably one half that amount in reality). Several attempts have been made to locate and salvage this treasure, but so far without success, although several times it has been reported that the De Braak had been found. At the present time a party of New England treasure hunters are searching for the wreck.

Ward Line advertisement
VIRGINIA. Chapter XVI. Perhaps the most famous of wrecked treasure ships in American waters is the Ward Line steamship, Merida, which was sunk off the Virginia Capes by collision with the Admiral Farragut in 1911. She was reputed to have carried a vast treasure including the crown jewels of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and a million or more in gold coin belonging to the fleeing family of a deposed Mexican president. It is very doubtful if the Merida had anything of great value, aside from the ship's funds, some mahogany logs and several tons of silver bullion, for the records of the Ward Line (whose history I wrote several years ago) make no mention of unusual treasure on board, and the insurance paid on loss of cargo and contents of the ship would not indicate it. For several years salvaging expeditions have been making determined efforts to secure the Merida's alleged treasures, but so far have failed. Last year the Captain Bowdoin expedition secured the Merida' s safe, supposed to contain a fortune in jewelry and specie, but when opened it was found empty.
It is reported that another attempt to salvage the wreck will be made this summer, 1935.*
* Since writing the above Captain Bowdoin has died and it is doubtful if his operations will be resumed.

CAPE HATTERAS. Among the countless vessels that have gone down off this famed and dreaded cape, was the two-thousand-ton steamer, Central America. The ship was homeward bound from California carrying raw gold to the value of over two million dollars. On September 12, 1857, she ran into a hurricane off Hatteras and foundered with a loss of four hundred lives. Never salvaged.

CALIFORNIA. On July 28, 1865, the side-wheel steamer, Brother Jonathan, sailed from San Francisco for Portland, Ore., with specie valued at three to five hundred thousand dollars. Two days after leaving port she sprang a bad leak and when heading back for land struck a rock ten miles off Crescent City and sank within an hour. Never salvaged, although various attempts have been made to recover the treasure.

FLORIDA. Palm Beach. Chapter XIV. In 1595, the galleon, Santa Margarita, carrying silver worth seven million dollars, sank in a hurricane off the present site of Palm Beach. Several years ago a diver, while working on a broken submarine telegraph cable, located the galleon and found her practically intact.
Returning to New York, he secured funds and equipment and was about to salvage the old hulk when a hurricane compelled him to abandon the work. When the storm had passed it was found that the waves had so altered the shifting sandy bottom that the wreck could not be located. The Santa Margarita still remains where she went down.

FLORIDA. Long Cay. Chapter XIV. On June 30, 1715, fourteen Spanish plate ships went down in a hurricane near Long Cay. Their total cargoes were valued at sixty-five million dollars. In 1716, the Spanish Government sent a salvage ship and divers to recover the vast treasure. A million and a half dollars had been salvaged when a vessel from Jamaica arrived. Her crew overpowered the Spaniards and went off with the salvaged treasure. No further efforts were made to secure the balance of the treasure.

FLORIDA. Key West. The infamous pirate, Black Caesar, is known to have secreted a large treasure either on Key West or on one of the neighboring cays.

FLORIDA. Gasparilla Is. Chapter II and XIII. In 1821, the ship of José Gaspár or Gasparilla, the "King of the Pirates," was sunk by an American sloop-of-war as the pirate chief was attempting to escape from his den. He had already placed all his booty, amounting to at least a million dollars, upon the ship which went down with all the treasure. When Gasparilla found capture to be inevitable he committed suicide by wrapping chains about his body and leaping into the sea.

FLORIDA. Suwannee River. Chapter XIII. In 1820, the United States Government paid five millions in gold to Spain as an indemnity to Spanish citizens of Florida when our country purchased the state. The specie was placed upon a schooner convoyed by a gunboat to be taken to Havana. During a storm the schooner sprang a leak, and in an endeavor to beach the vessel the captain ran her onto a reef off the mouth of the Suwannee River. She sank in about thirty feet of water, but has never been recovered.

FLORIDA. Apalachicola. Chapter II. While endeavoring to escape from a British corvette, Billy Bowlegs, the last of the Gulf pirates, ran his ship over the bar at the entrance to a lagoon. She sank in shoal water but never has been salvaged. She was loaded with the booty from several captured ships and had on board several tons of handpicked gold ore as well as a fortune in specie. Billy Bowlegs also cached a vast fortune in the sands of the beaches of western Florida. None of his lost or hidden treasure has been recovered as far as known.

CUBA. Matanzas. In September, 1628, the Dutch, under Admiral Heyn, attacked and captured a fleet of Spanish galleons in Matanzas harbor.
To prevent their treasure from falling into the hands of the Dutch, the Spaniards threw overboard a large part of the three million dollars' worth of currency and church plate aboard their vessels. Never recovered.

CUBA. South Coast. In 1812, the Spanish ship, Don Carlos III, was sunk after striking a reef. Many of her guns and several thousand dollars in coins have been recovered from the wreck, but the bulk of her treasure has not been salvaged.

SANTO DOMINGO. In the year 1500, the ship of Bobadilla, the retiring governor of Hispaniola, went down off Santo Domingo City during a storm. She had on board nearly two millions in gold coin and plate, as well as the famous "Golden Pig," an immense nugget weighing 3370 pounds; the largest gold nugget ever found. Never salvaged.

SANTO DOMINGO. Samana Bay. The island of Cayo Levantado in Samana Bay was at one time a stronghold of the buccaneers, and according to historical records a large treasure was secreted on the island at the time when the buccaneers were finally driven off.

SILVER SHOALS. Chapters IX and X. On these dangerous mid-ocean reefs, about one hundred miles north of Santo Domingo, the Spanish plate fleet of sixteen galleons struck in a hurricane in 1637. Nearly one hundred million dollars in gold, silver, pearls, emeralds and other treasures were lost, as well as every man. In 1687, Captain Wm. Phipps, later Sir Wm. Phipps, Governor of Mass., salvaged nearly two millions from one of the wrecks.
In 1933-34, the author conducted two expeditions to the reefs. One of the wrecks was located and much of her fittings and armament was salvaged. But bad weather, unforeseen circumstances, accidents and other causes prevented the salvaging of the treasure. Not far from this wreck the wreck of a privateer of 1812 was found and many arms, much equipment, etc., were recovered.

BAHAMAS. Great Inagua. On this island the Haitien Emperor, Christophe, had a summer palace, and it is universally believed that he concealed a vast sum in gold currency in the vicinity.

BAHAMAS. New Providence. When Sir Woodes Rogers took over Nassau, the town was a famous and notorious pirate settlement. Prominent among the freebooters was the famous Captain Turnley who openly boasted of having a fortune cached near his fort-like home "on the hill above the parade." He met a violent death and if he had the buried treasure it is still there.

BAHAMAS. Gorda Cay. Early in the sixteenth century a Spanish ship struck a reef off this cay. In order to lighten the vessel the crew jettisoned the cannon. The vessel then rode over the reef and went down in four fathoms. The bronze guns have been salvaged and are now at Government House in Nassau. The remains of the wreck are plainly visible upon the bottom, and from time to time several thousand dollars worth of old gold and silver coins have been picked up on the nearby shore.

JAMAICA. Kingston. In 1692 the pirate city of Port Royal, noted as the "richest and wickedest city on earth," was shaken by a terrible earthquake and most of the town sank into the sea, carrying with it vast treasures. About fifty years ago a British expedition attempted to salvage the valuables in the submerged city. They secured many relics, including a large quantity of bricks some of which were used in making the pavement at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Nassau; but lack of proper diving equipment prevented them from securing any treasure (as far as reported by them). In clear, calm weather the outlines of the old city may still be seen under the sea.

NEVIS. Jamestown. Like Port Royal, Jamestown, the former capital of Nevis, was destroyed and submerged by an earthquake in 1680. No attempts to recover its treasures have been made, although the outlines of walls and buildings may be seen in calm weather.

DOMINICA. Roseau. Off the town of Roseau the flagship of De Grasse was sunk by Admiral Rodney in 1782. In addition to the French Admiral's plate and other valuables, the vessel had on board gold and silver currency to the value of about half a million dollars. No attempts have been made to salvage the treasure.

MARGARITA ISLAND. In 1670, the Spanish galleon, Santisima Conception, was sunk by the Dutch buccaneer "Wooden Leg" about half a league from the harbor. The ship carried a vast treasure from Panama, Peru and elsewhere. Never recovered.

VENEZUELA. Cumana Bay. During the Venezuelan War of Liberation, the Spanish ship, San Pedro de Alcantara, was blown up and sunk by the Venezuelans in the channel between the islands of Coche and Cubaque. She had on board about four million dollars' worth of currency, jewels, gold and silver and church plate. Several unsuccessful attempts to salvage her treasure have been made.

VENEZUELA. Maracaibo. During his raid on the Spanish towns on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, Sir Henry Morgan, the buccaneer, sank six Spanish ships, including the Spanish flagship, with over a million dollars' worth of currency, as well as much gold and silver plate on board. Never salvaged.

COLOMBIA. Gulf of Uraba. In 1610, a Spanish plate ship with five million dollars in gold and silver went down in this gulf. No known attempt to recover the treasure has ever been made.

COLOMBIA. Lake Guatavita. The old legend of El Dorado had, as its foundation, the custom of the Chibcha Indians whose king was annually coated with gold dust and was ferried to the center of this lake where he plunged into the water and washed the gold from his body. Also, at that time, numbers of objects of gold and platinum were cast into the lake as offerings to the Indians' gods. As this had been going on for unknown numbers of centuries, the total treasures in the lake must be stupendous. In 1903, a British company undertook to drain the lake and recover the valuables, but owing to inadequate equipment and lack of engineering ability only a few feet of water were drawn off. A great number of gold and platinum objects were recovered, but the bulk of the vast treasure still rests at the bottom of the lake. With modern machinery and devices it would not be a difficult feat to drain the lake and salvage the treasure.

PANAMA. Chapter XII. In 1595, Sir Francis Drake held up a mule-train laden with treasure as it was passing along the old "Gold Road" from Panama City to Porto Bello. When a force of Spanish soldiers attacked the British the latter hastily buried most of the treasure in land-crab holes and under uprooted trees. Only a very small part of this was recovered, and fully ten tons of precious metals must still remain hidden beside the old Gold Road in the jungle.
It is a well known and historical fact that a good sized treasure is hidden in, under, or near the church at Nat which is the oldest church still in use in America.
According to tradition, the old church at San Francisco, in Veraguas Province, has twenty pounds of raw gold under each of its supporting columns.
In northwestern Panama the ancient Indian graves or "huacas" often contain a great deal of gold.
When Sir Henry Morgan sacked and burned Old Panama, many of the inhabitants hid their valuables in cisterns, wells and other spots. Many of the owners were killed or were carried away as captives, and there is good reason to believe that large quantities of valuables still are hidden at the site of the old city. A few years ago an attempt was made to find these by means of a radio detector; but the only object recovered was a gold rosary. Owing to disagreements with the government of Panama, and to the claims of private owners of the land, the search was abandoned.
Also, at the time when Morgan attacked the city, many of the people managed to escape in ships, taking with them their riches. Several of these vessels put in at Taboga Island where the treasures were buried. None have ever been recovered as far as known.

COSTA RICA. Chapter XV. Close to the border of Panama, if not actually within the latter country, is the fabulously rich "lost" mine of Tisingal. Although many attempts have been made to find the mine since the time when the Indians massacred the Spaniards and destroyed all evidence of the workings, no one has ever located it and returned alive. Several years ago, while I was living among a tribe of little-known Indians, I rendered a service to the chief by curing his sick daughter. Out of gratitude the chief led me to the old abandoned road leading to the "lost" mine and showed me the ancient cannon which had once been mounted upon the stockade surrounding the mine.
Many of the innumerable ancient Indian graves or "huacas" of Costa Rica contain numerous golden images, bells and other objects.

COCOS ISLAND. There are several large treasures on this most famous of all treasure islands. Davis, the buccaneer, hid several lots of treasure here, as did other buccaneers and pirates; but the largest treasure was that of Lima, mainly the valuables from the Lima Cathedral. At the time when Bolivar was marching on Peru, the loyal Spaniards and the priests sought safety for themselves and their riches in the Felipe Rey fortress at Callao. All who could do so secured ships and sailed away. Among the vessels in port was the British brig, Mary Dear, in command of a Captain Thomson. His ship was chartered to carry the treasures of the cathedral to Mexico, but the temptation proving too much for him, he turned pirate, killed the Spaniards, and hid the cargo of treasure on Cocos Island. Later, he joined Benito Benito, a notorious Spanish pirate, and for several years the two looted Spanish and other ships and cached their booty on Cocos. Eventually the pirate ship was taken by a British war vessel and most of the pirates were hanged, but Captain Thomson managed to escape. Several years later, he made the acquaintance of a Mr. Keating of Newfoundland, and revealing his identity, told of the Cocos Island hoard. An expedition was fitted out but Thomson died before it set sail. Keating and Captain Bogue landed at Cocos and actually found the treasure. But the crew mutinied and the two men endeavored to carry away as much as they could before being compelled to reveal the cache to the crew. Their boat was capsized, Bogue was drowned, and Keating was picked up by a Costa Rican vessel. He returned to Newfoundland but died shortly afterwards. Since then countless expeditions have searched in vain for the Cocos Island treasures. But scientists have established the fact that landslides have occurred since Keating and Bogue found the cache and the treasure is buried under many feet of debris. As far as known the only treasure ever recovered on Cocos was a single gold doubloon picked up by a German hermit named Geissler who lived on the island and searched for the treasures for thirty years.

ECUADOR. Plate Is. Chapter XI. In 1573, Sir Francis Drake put into this island, which was then known as Cano, and finding that the Golden Hind could not safely carry all the treasure he had looted from the Spaniards, Drake jettisoned about forty-five tons of silver. Later, Davis, the buccaneer, spent Christmas Day at the island, and his crew fished up several hundred pieces of eight by means of tallowed leads. Several years ago a man dredged up eighteen tons of the silver which Drake threw overboard, but fully thirty tons must still remain on the bottom in fairly shallow water.

ECUADOR. Guayaquil. During the time of the Cromwellian wars in England the Spanish Government ordered the Viceroy of Peru to send about ten million dollars in gold and silver to aid in placing King Charles upon the throne. The ship struck a reef not far from Santa Elena, a short distance from the harbor of Guayaquil, and went down with all its treasure. In the eighteenth century an attempt was made to salvage the millions, but after a few thousand dollars had been recovered the native divers refused to go on with the work because of the number of sharks. After every severe storm, gold and silver coins from the wreck are picked up on the nearby beach. No recent attempts have been made to salvage the vast treasure.

ECUADOR. Chapter VI. Somewhere among the Andes of eastern Ecuador there is a crater valley and lake where an immense treasure in ancient pre-Incan gold and silver images, ceremonial objects, etc., is cached. For many years a Spaniard named Valverde, who was married to an Incan woman, made frequent visits to the spot and returned laden with gold. The map which Valverde left at the time of his death shows the route and location of the hoard, but no one has ever succeeded in finding it, although the late Col. E. C. Brooks reached the crater. He was forced to leave owing to a cloudburst and the desertion of his Indians before he had a chance to reach the treasure. At the present time (August 1935) an expedition is being fitted out in New York to search for this famous treasure.

PERU. Paita. A short distance from the present town of Paita, the Sieur Raveneau de Lussan, buccaneer, sank a Spanish vessel, the Todos Santos, with over a million dollars' worth of gold and silver bullion and specie. No known attempt to locate or salvage the wreck has been made.

PERU. Ancient graves. Chapter XII. The ancient Incan and pre-Incan tombs, mounds and graves or "huacas" are often rich in gold and silver objects. In 1576, a Spaniard, Garcia Gutierrez, secured over one million dollars from a single mound near the present town of Salavery, and in 1592, he took over $675,550 more. No one can estimate the millions that still remain in these ancient graves.

PERU. Interior. Chapter XII. When Atahualpa was a prisoner of the Spaniards under Pizarro, he agreed to fill the room wherein he was confined with gold for his ransom, and ordered his people to bring all the gold from palaces and temples of the Incan Empire to Cajamarca where he was being held. The Spaniards, however, became impatient and put the Inca to death before the room had been half filled. Learning of Atahualpa's death, the Indians bringing the treasures for the Inca's ransom, secreted them in the Andes. Among other treasures was the gold chain, weighing over ten tons, of the Inca Huascar; the gold and silver ceremonial objects and ornaments of the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco; the 'twelve life-sized gold statues of the dead Incas, and raw gold weighing 75,000 pounds which was being carried by one thousand porters, each with a load of seventy-five pounds, the whole amounting to more than one hundred million dollars in value. No one ever has found any of this vast hidden treasure, although its location, within an area of ten miles square, is fairly well established.

PERU. Callao. Chapter VIII. At the time of Bolivar's insurrection, when the various South American countries were seeking freedom from Spain, the inhabitants of Lima (then the richest city in all America) sought safety for themselves and their treasures in the Felipe Rey fortress at Callao. It was a part of this treasure that was concealed on Cocos Island; but a large amount was hidden in the citadel and never has been recovered.

PERU. Lake Titicaca. For countless centuries before the conquest of Peru, the Incas and the pre-Incas had been making sacrifices to their deities by casting gold and silver images and other objects into the lake. These offerings were thrown from the Temple of the Sun on the Island of the Sun, and although the lake is exceedingly deep, yet at this point the shore slopes gradually and is rough and rocky, so that any object thrown from the temple could not sink far. No attempt has ever been made to recover this stupendous accumulation of treasure.

PERU. Lurin. Before the Spanish conquest, the ancient, holy city of Pachakamak (about eight miles from Lima) contained vast treasures. The doors of the Temple of the Sun were plated with gold and studded with pearls and emeralds, the woodwork of the temple was fastened together with golden nails, there were many life sized gold images in niches about the walls, and the inner shrine was ablaze with gold and jewels. The temple of the Virgins of the Sun was almost as rich in gold and gems, as were the lesser temples and shrines. When the people learned that Hernando Pizarro (brother of Francisco) was approaching, the priests and officials hid the treasures in the neighboring valley of Lurin. A single emerald and a few plates of gold were picked up by the Spaniards who burned the woodwork of the temple and secured thousands of dollars' worth of the gold spikes. They also found a store of several tons of silver and used some of this for shoeing their horses. Even the most fearful tortures could not wring the secret of the hidden treasures from the priests, and to this day it still lies, either buried or secreted in a cave, in the little valley of Lurin.

BOLIVIA. Tiahuanaco. Originally the gigantic blocks of stone of which this immeasurably ancient city was built, were fastened together by means of huge silver staples or "keys." Many of these were torn out by the Spaniards, and from time to time a few have been found about the ruins. But immense numbers must still remain buried under the fallen walls. Also, there is little doubt that somewhere in the ruined city there are marvelous golden utensils and other objects.

CHILE. In April, 1902, the Kosmos Line steamship, Sakkarah, went down off the west coast of Hamblin Island, one hundred miles south of the Chilean mainland. According to the ship's manifest, she carried a cargo of nitrates and also gold bullion worth $330,000. Never salvaged.

List of Treasures Actually Known to Have Been Recovered or Salvaged in Recent Years

BAHAMAS. Grand Bahama Bank. Chapter 1. A blockade runner's safe was salvaged from a wreck three years ago. It contained several hundred thousand dollars in worthless British paper money and eighty-six thousand dollars in gold sovereigns.
ISLE OF PINES. Chapter XIII. Four or five years ago an American resident of this island located a cave wherein the loot of Vera Cruz was hidden. When he returned to secure the treasure he found the local officials had taken it. Another treasure was found by a man searching for a lost hog.
ISLAND OF PLATE. Chapter XI. Three years ago the owner of a towboat on the west coast of South America, dredged up eighteen tons of the silver thrown overboard at this island by Sir Francis Drake.
FLORIDA. Florida Keys. A short time ago two fishermen found several thousand dollars in gold and silver coins in the bores of two old cannon they had salvaged from the reefs.
FLORIDA. Miami. Chapter XIII. A few years ago a negro laborer while digging a ditch unearthed treasure amounting to about $300,000. He invested it in stock in a big department store.
FLORIDA. Pensacola. Chapter XIII. With a large treasure unearthed while excavating for a street, a resident of Pensacola erected the Thesian Building.
FLORIDA. Braden's Castle. Chapter XIII. In this old fortress-like house a man found a cache of gold worth over seventy-five thousand dollars. Incredible as it may seem he found the hoard through a dream.
CALIFORNIA. In 1931, the Panama Mail steamship, Colombia, was wrecked at Cape Tosca, Lower California. It was currently reported that she carried $850,000 in gold bullion from Central America. The steamship company, however, declared she had only $200,000 on board. The Merritt-Chapman & Scott Co. undertook to salvage the treasure, but when their wrecking vessels reached the spot they found the Colombia had gone to pieces and was in ten fathoms of water. The strong room had broken open and the gold coins had vanished in the mud and sand of the bottom. Tubes were lowered into the mud which was sucked up and run through screens and $190,000 of the treasure was recovered.
EUROPE. France. A few years ago the press contained frequent accounts of the salvaging of the S.S. Egypt. In the face of every obstacle, including sabotage, storms, deep water, etc., the Italian salvors recovered several millions in gold from the wreck.
EUROPE. Great Britain. Chapter XVII. During the World War, the S.S. Laurentic was sunk by a German submarine. Despite the war, rough weather and many other obstacles, the British Government recovered three thousand and fifty-seven bars of gold (valued at nearly twenty-five million dollars) out of the ship's total of three thousand two hundred and eleven.
EUROPE. England. Chapter XVII. In 1912, the P. & O. steamship Oceana was sunk in collision with a German vessel off Beachy Head. She had on board currency and bullion worth over four million dollars all of which, with the exception of two bars of silver, was salvaged.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.