Researching the treasure hunt's origins

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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby GrailKnight7 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:19 am

Actually the Father of Samuel Archibald and Grandfather to Col. Robert is known. I have a book titled “The Descendants of Samuel Archibald & Eleanor Taylor” (my direct ancestors) that I purchased in Truro. It was researched and compiled by Jane (Currie) Wile and is sold at the Colchester Archives.

The first names in the book (and Father of Samuel (b.1719) and David (b.1717) is John Archibald (b. 1691) in Londonderry, Ireland. He died August 10, 1751 in Londonderry, NH, New England and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry, NH. His occupation is listed as Selectman / Surveyor. He married Margaret Wilson in about 1716 in Londonderry, Ireland. Margaret was born 1695 in Northern Ireland and died after 1751 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. She is also buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry.

John & Margaret Archibald had 9 children and David & Samuel were the eldest.

According to the Vaughan genealogies, Anthony Jr.’s wife Elizabeth had only just turned 16 at the time of their wedding in May 1803 and I note that they had their first child just over 4 months later on Oct 4, 1803 so I think it’s safe to assume why they got married. At the very least we can say that Anthony Jr and Elizabeth had definitely met at least 9 months previous in January 1803.

As you know Paul, Simeon’s younger brother Dr. David Barnes Lynds is also mentioned as having been involved in the treasure hunt over the years. David (b.1781) would have been about 22 in 1803 and I don’t know if he would have been a doctor yet? It makes sense that if he was the only doctor in Elizabeth’s extended family that he might have been involved in her pregnancy? Perhaps he learned of the pit on a visit to Anthony and Elizabeth and told Simeon or maybe Simeon went to visit Elizabeth & Anthony with Dr. David? This is just conjecture at this point but is possible.

Last edited by GrailKnight7 on Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:49 pm

GrailKnight7 wrote: Perhaps he learned of the pit on a visit to Anthony and Elizabeth and told Simeon or maybe Simeon went to visit Elizabeth & Anthony with Dr. David? This is just conjecture at this point but is possible.


I like your suggestion for a parallel visit and to associate Dr. David perhaps offering Dr care to Elizabeth, rather than other version making the association to Smith wife. Recall, the other version says the contact was initiated as a result of their first child. In all honesty, I strongly think there to be elements of truth; however, various folks knew what the truth was but could not say what the truth was. They told their stories in such as way to provide hints to the more than casual reader who only dare to look.

You have just hit indirectly on one such hint which on the surface seems innocent and a little confusing with Dr Lynds, the first child, and Smith as a theme. If we care to look closer for the element of truth it now becomes apparent and very surprising with consequences to the story and which fills in some missing bits of the puzzle.

I've known for a long for time that Anthony Jr had premarital sex with Elizabeth Nelson, the record is clearly in the Chester Township Papers.

Anthony and Elizabeth Married 26 May 1803, first child Ann Embre Vaughan born 4 Oct 1803. This means they got it on when Elizabeth was 15 and that is borderline for even that day, sometime in January 1803 was the dirty deed with Elizabeth being 5 months pregnant when married. I would rather avoid a lengthy debate about premature baby survival rate during the very early 19th Century in rural NS; however, including Dr David (if he was a Dr at that time) does suggest potential complications or simply something else. Perhaps there was a community shunning of Anthony and Eliz for engaging in premarital sex and she could simply not have the local Dr help her, Hippocratic oath or not.

This obviously indicates a much earlier contact between the Vaughns and Truro than has previously been associated to the story. I doubt these two met at a tavern and because of the marriage, we can conclude Elizabeth's family knew the Vaughn family and were able to locate them for the purpose of getting their daughter married up to the father.

This now opens up the most reasonable possibility for the 1803 contact to have been motivated by a shotgun wedding. If the Lynds were present for the marriage, this suggests the Nelson family called upon the kin folk for muscle. We can easily understand members of the family 'tree' taking Elizabeth to Chester and talking to Mr Vaughn, who of course would be Anthony Sr.

“Listen you Truro lot, if you don't kill my son he'll marry your daughter. I'll try to make things right and let you in on the dig for Captain Kidd's treasure”.

Such a statement would be a reasonable conclusion to draw for bringing in Truro and Onslow into the treasure hunt; however, as we clearly know there was previous contact.

On a side note, I've often wondered why Anthony Jr changed his name to include the second 'a', thus Vaughan. Perhaps he was forced to by his father?

Regardless of anything else, this part did not make it into the story.

Something which needs to be stated and which once again speaks towards a more basic element of truth is the inclusion of a young Dr into the story. On the surface of the statement, a Dr does give credibility; however, there is an additional hidden message because he wasn't just any Dr, he was a Lynds. Anyone daring to look will see Dr. David was born 10 September 1781, thus by the May events or Oct events of 1803 he would have been 22/23 years of age.

The hidden element of truth is for Thomas Lynds to have had money or access to money to educate his son to the level of Dr. Is this a hint for us to explore Thomas Lynds to discover the root of his wealth? I don't like the name dropping throughout the story and as my next segment will show, the name dropping has significance to mean something else was going on....just like the above information does.
I'll say it once again, the real story of that island is much more interesting than a treasure hunt all by itself.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:39 pm

Hi Scott,

Referring back to my post which thankfully brought you into this thread was my relationship comment between the Lynds and Vaughns.

As the story goes, “Simeon called upon Vaughn because his father and Vaughn were related”. Notwithstanding the last few posts and their clear implications, the subtle word usage remains the same.

Why not just say “Simeon called upon Vaughn because he was related” if indeed the narrator is speaking about a family relationship through blood?

We can easily understand that much later in time the story tellers would be confused over marriage dates, poor genealogical records (still in family bibles perhaps), and the sequences of events to allow for a clouded recollection of when the family relationship was actually founded. These reasons are most generous for accepting a statement like “Simeon called upon Vaughn because he was related”; however, the story teller chose to specifically use “Simeon called upon Vaughn because his father and Vaughn were related”

I could be wrong, but I think the relationship between Thomas Lynds and the Vaughn was in reference to something other than a family blood relationship.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:16 pm

This would be a very good time to examine the apparent contradiction between a lack of documents from the discovery period, against the claim that McGinnis was talking all about the pit and asking others for help. The implication for that passage would reasonably have such knowledge/discussion propagate in the community; thereby increasing the probability for a public record.

Get one of your favourite beverages and get comfortable. This will be a long presentation of information to set the level of community awareness from the moment McGinnis found the clover. We don't have much, but we do have other sources of government documents to draw from and help built a picture to test the veracity of the legend. Basically we do have the ability to see if subsequent actions by the participants mirror the innocent belief of buried treasure. I will make every attempt to refrain from not getting to far ahead in the story.

An element of secrecy is also thought to exist in the early diggings, but once again contradicted by McGinnis advertising the pit. Combining reasonable secrecy and the lack of documents go hand-in-hand against any overt advertisement. Now would be a good time to combine those into a proper context, examine the documented evidence, and finally put this issue to rest.

Pondering if McGinnis was or was not advertising the pit is confusing. Compounding matters is having to realize this was actually a clover patch and only transitioning into a pit once shovels were used. The legend implies this transition happened quickly, but reading closely indicates only after McGinnis told Vaughn, The original stories do not indicate the time interval between discovery and McGinnis returning to the mainland. One hour, one day, one week, one month, or even one year would all have give different means to the passage.

Attempting to understand the context and keeping within the elements of truth, we can infer “talking about the pit” to mean either the physical pit, or something related to the pit other than the physical structure itself. An example of this would be “I know where there is a pit.”

Likewise we can interpret “asking for help” to mean either dig in the pit, or something related to the pit but not digging in the pit itself. An example of this would be “Can you discretely help spread the word that I know where the pit is?” or my favourite possibility “can you come to the island for a few months and help us with assistance from your musket?”

Reasonable interpretations can be made of such ambiguous truthful elements throughout the discovery phase. The means for such statements can change as the story progresses away from discovery.

Discovery delves into the mystical world of tales and legends. Names like McGinnis and Vaughn are inconsequential because while elements of truth exist, those names do not necessarily mean they are the truthful elements. Clearly not knowing Vaughn's first name illustrates this point. Depending on the year, Vaughn covers about 20 different adult males and dozens of children, along with many females. Changing one Vaughn for another changes the context and changes the possibilities. A definite name limits and confines the entire scope of post discovery documented evidence which then limits the possibilities for getting to the truth. For instance, if we replaced McGinnis for Ball, how would an ex-slave Negro discovering the pit affect the story, or even replacing McGinnis for a woman or younger child? Did excluding Ball from the story change the story itself? Yes, of course it does with the Mary Smith/DesBrisay account as an example. The same rational must be applied for anyone else attached to the island at the time of discovery. Rather than names we can refer to the discoverer as the primary and anyone else to be secondary.

We must accept the early treasure hunt was being conducted in secrecy and sooner or later they would be caught and in need of a story. Some folks argue the awareness the government gained in 1849 prompted the story to come out. Others argue the story did not come out until they needed to defend their actions from public criticism, primarily the Liverpool Transcript with the digger Patrick rebuttal letter. We can study the material and must fully acknowledge the basic popular story did not appear in public until the early 1860s; however it was told privately.

Even from 1849 to 1862 they were able to work in relative quietness from public knowledge. The opportunity of time to get their story right becomes apparent. When we think about it, these Onslow narrators had over 50 years to perfect the basic elements of story they wanted to tell.

For us to understand any context of 'advertising the pit', we need to re-visit discovery at the very moment when McGinnis told Vaughn, then go forward in time to 1849 as it pertains to this exercise. Until other records are found, the body of evidence of known documents before 1849 are the following:

A. Poll Tax 1791- While keeping the basic elements as truthful statements and while working within the boundaries of sound reasoning and historical evidence, McGinnis surely advertised and solicited assistance from his immediate neighbours of the island. His neighbours are those people listed in the 1791 Poll Tax and shown to be living on Oak Island and perhaps a few other property owners who were trusted.

B. The only known hint dating to before 1849 is found in a series of anonymously letters submitted to the Acadian Recorder of Halifax before 29 Mar 1823. These letters are light satiric sketches of rural life at the time, and in regard to its follies, so held the mirror up to nature, that we know no work from which we can obtain a better idea of the state of society in Nova Scotia at that period. The passage peaks for itself and merely provides a hint. The passage is from letter six and is the following:

“and not like the Chester folks; who once dug for money, and at last got so deep that they arrived in the other world; and falling in with the devil, were glad to get away with the loss of their tools”.

Debate still exists about the meaning. On one hand, some folks suggest a treasure hunting mania in Chester and for it not to apply to Oak Island. The counter argument of course is contained in the description provided by the text and for there to be no other reports of very deep pits that would have any digger fall in with the devil.

The series of letters would be collected and put into book format and known as The Mephibosheth Stepsure Letters. On 22 Dec 1821, the first of twenty-five linked letters appeared in the Acadian Recorder of Halifax and concluded on 29 Mar 1823. Wrote by the Presbyterian Minister Doctor Thomas McCulloch of Pictou Nova Scotia. McCulloch would have known Sheriff Thomas Harris. Additionally, a source of information could have been through Robert Archibald's Reverend in Upper Stewiacke, Rev James Munro who was very close friends with McCulloch.

****Note**** I will revisit this letter at a later time. McCulloch's period context word usage will become very clear, he is saying more than meets the eye which can only come from an intimate knowledge of the truth.

Until other earlier primary sources are found, the body of evidence is VERY limited to mere hints within a single document. A lack of public records pertaining to Chester is the main argument to defend a notion for the pit to be well advertised. Outside of a very extensive body of government reports and letters, there are about 6 diaries/journals of the locals including ministers who wrote extensively. We also have a total of eight travel books dating to between 1790 and 1815. The authors visited Chester and providing excellent descriptions showing they spent time in the area. Not a single document mentions a treasure hunt on Oak Island.

A book within this collection was by Rev James Munro who travelled NS in 1795. A Presbyterian Minister who at this very time was the pastor in Upper Stewiacke. This of course is the very church and within the period when Col Robert Archibald was a church elder.

Munro, James. History and description and state of the Southern
and Western Townships of Nova Scotia in 1795 by Rev. James
Munro, late of Antigonish.

Reading the passage upon departing Halifax and travelling by road, the passage picks up in Lunenburg. There is no mention of Chester which is most strange due to the mode of travel. Additionally, the large Presbyterian congregation in Chester and his contemporary in Chester would suggested a visit was in order. I have viewed the original manuscript and I do note for pages to be missing. I cannot recall if the pages were carefully removed or if they were a collection of single pages.

Notwithstanding those reasons and for those who really have been paying attention to the body of evidence, you will recognize the Munro name connected to Oak Island and prior to 1795. This is John Monro who is recorded as living on the island for the Poll Tax of 1791. John owned lot 24 and you can refer to my land chart for additional details regarding his deed...which mentions a road. Genealogical records for both John and James show contemporary namesakes; however, the record is insufficient to show a definitive connection. You will immediately notice a variation of both surnames. I do think Rev Munro is spelled correctly as he was a literate man. John of Oak Island may have suffered a surname variation as illustrated by the various spelling used for McGinnis, and due to a thick Scottish accent not easily understood by the town clerk who was from New England. Even on John's various deeds, there are three variations to the spelling, Monro, Monrow, and Monrowe. The context for these two men meeting (outside of kinship) would be the celebrity like status these travelling preachers had. Folks would actually flock to see them and pay money to hear them preach. Given the limited number of Monro men in NS, it stands to reason for John hearing of James attending Chester, would naturally be curious about his namesake.

Summarizing Rev James Monro

-travelled Southern and Western Townships of Nova Scotia in 1795, kept a detailed record of his travels, subsequently printed into a book.
-Chester pages are missing from the original manuscript and not included in publication.
-Contemporary surname namesake (possible relative) living on Oak Island in 1791.
-Associated with Col Robert Archibald via the Presbyterian Church of Upper and Middle Stewiacke
-Associated with Dr. Rev Thomas McCulloch of Pictou when Rev Monro took a (post 1795) position in McCulloch's diocese, they became close friends and associates.

Could the missing Chester pages have been loaned out to Archibald and were never returned, perhaps loaned to McCulloch and never returned? The other possibility is they were removed intentionally for the information the pages contained? Either way, these pages were not submitted for publishing the book.

The next post will continue with documents published post 1849, but with implied knowledge of events before 1849.

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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:05 am

Pre1849 documents which discuss treasure hunting on Oak Island are virtually non-existent, there are two documents from post 1849 which indicate treasure hunting knowledge existed before 1849. Both documents clearly suggest a private knowledge

Reinforcing the opinion for McGinnis to be discussing things with trusted non-resident landowner is the story of Jimmy Pattillo. His father is the only third party person connected to the island at that time, but not connected to treasure hunting and who provide a date approximation for when the pit was discovered. James Pattillo's father was Alexander owned two lots on Oak Island and sold them both to Donald McGinnis. James indicates “Alexander Pattillo bought a piece of Oak Island at about the time the pit was discovered” He bought lot #27 on 17 Nov 1786 and sold 3 May 1991, and he bought lot #1 19 Feb 1785 and sold 9 September 1794. Alexander was a fellow Scott who operated a lime mine and brick kiln. He was by the time of discovery a man with money for McGinnis to approach.. Ref: The Great Pattillo by Joseph E Garland as transcribed from the original manuscript recorded by Rev Rakey of James orally narrated autobiography. US Library of Congress Catalogue Card No 66-16559. page 18 para 2.

Mary Smith's connection to a youthful Judge DesBrisay (1828 – 1900) is an obvious choice of how he came to learn his version of discovery and who subsequently told the story in His History of Lunenburg County, 1870 FIRST EDITION. The Judge says Mary lived with his family (in Chester) for 16 years during his youth. Considering DesBrisay was admitted to the bar in 1851, he must have left for school in Dartmouth and Halifax at a much earlier date. I imagine she told the child “If you're a good little boy, I'll tell you a bedtime story about Captain Kidd's treasure, but you cannot tell anyone about it and it will remain our little secret”. How would you even begin to tell someone that your father owns the land where Captain Kidd's treasure is buried? Whatever the lingo was for the day, I'm sure young DesBrisay called “bullshit” and hounded Mary to see the island, which she eventually did in kind. The Judge wrote the version he was told even though many versions were already in print. For his second edition, the Judge adopted the 1886 version by Longsworth, which in turn was the 1864 version by Cooke. DesBrisay is obviously writing from memory but also from first hand knowledge and locally acquired knowledge after 1849.

Here is a link to the 1870 version.

We can speculate for the Judge to have heard his version between perhaps 5 and 15 years of age, which would equate to between 1832 and 1843. This does prove the basic elements to the story existed before 1849 providing Mary Smith was the source.

Having collected and read 1000s of public and private records dating to between 1785 and 1849, this researcher can say all obvious historical documents pertaining to NS have been searched. Family trees looking for documents have also been searched for even the slightest mention of Oak Island before 1849. Certainly the most obscure reference in the Acadian Recorder is testimonial to my effort.

Based upon my findings, I conclude the suggestion of public advertising about the pit by anyone after discovery is without merit. The story's element which say “the story became known across the whole bay, or the whole province “to be an element of untruth.

There can be no doubt for these folks at discovery to be talking privately, but they certainly were not talking publicly. This suggests a VERY small circle of those who were in the know. As the story suggests, a very small circle from discovery all the way to 1848. In the implied context of greed through the use of Captain Kidd's treasure, it is highly likely for these folks to have been consistent with human nature and talked all about it. We must conclude the element of Captain Kidd's treasure to be untrue. Captain Kidd's treasure easily substitutes for anything thought to be of significant value and still underground.

There can be only one reasonable explanation for the secrecy.

A small quiet inner circle of normal folks who did not talk public or even risk the story becoming public FOR A LIFETIME can only be motivated to keep quiet through fear. It would be premature to speculate the root of any such fear, but I'm fairly confident we will soon figure it out.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:49 pm

How can actions by our participants potentially indicate their relationship and importance they placed upon the island? Here is where property deeds can indicate so much more information than just the details which they contain. An obvious and fair statement would say, those buying property on Oak Island wanted to own property on the island, regardless of purpose, reason, or need. Likewise, those selling a property no longer had a purpose, reason, or need to own the property. Buying and selling patterns/frequency can indicate the degree of purpose, reason, or need. In a more strategic sense, one who owns the property controls the property, which also means an ability to deny the property or access to someone else.

The research I've shared through land charts and biographical information a significant addition to the body of knowledge regarding the island's history. This information is irrefutable evidence of ownership and for the most part, when acquisition took place.

The find of Gifford and Smith as landowners in 1753 is perhaps the most significant addition to the island's over all history. Their ownership lapsed into the Shoreham grant with circumstantial evidence suggesting the island's ownership was contested.

Previous to my investigation, the best known source of information to show early Oak Island ownership would be the Crandall's additions to his lot survey called Plan 1046. I must present the history of this plan because it will clearly prove an intentional deception of lot ownership is at play. The body of overwhelming evidence will show a possible conspiracy is at play on Oak Island and long before McGinnis ever arrived.

Here is a detailed sequence of events in chronological order to show how Crandall's plan developed and which document resources were available.

Oct 1764 – Island is divided by Josiah Marshall.

1784 – Island Shares document is prepared as part of the government's request to determine vacant lands for re-granting. Island Shares was a summary of deeds and grants for a quick reference and from which the Justice of the Peace was able to determined which properties were still vacant or abandoned. This document was never transmitted to Halifax, rather a letter was submitted which summarized the available properties. This was an accurate 1784/85 snap shot of who owned what properties.

1785 – William Nelson's plan is prepared as part of 1784. There are no period documents dating to 1785 which indicates he actually did a survey. There are no such instructions to survey or payments for such services. Instructions to survey would be needed to enter properties even back then. At minimum Nelson used the 1764 survey (lost to time)as a reference. I suggest he did this because as records show, he did not have the time to do yet another survey of the island due to the huge influx of recent arrivals all needing their new grants surveyed. This argument can be used to say Loyalists were being granted vacant lots on the Island, hence his need on the island; however, the island was already surveyed and the lots laid out whereas those other non island Loyalist properties were not yet divided. Nelson had full access to all township deeds, locally assigned grants, and the island shares document from 1784. It would be natural to think that Nelson populated the map with names; however, this would not be his responsibility, but rather Chester's Justice of the Peace responsibility. Nelson plan and the return submitted to Halifax have not survived to this day. This is most unusual because other plans from Chester for the vacant property report have survived. Either the plan for Oak Island was removed from the file, or it was never submitted in the first place. We do know a copy or the original was still in Chester during 1818 for use by Crandall.

1818 - Petition of [Magistrate and Deputy Surveyor] David Crandall for a grant of land as he relinquished a valuable part of his own land to the government for the use of the Mi'kmaq. Asks for land at Gold River and Oak Island. Granted: 500 acres at Gold River, Chester and Oak Island in lieu of land relinquished. The petition is granted, with Crandall's grant for new land registered as number 1046
Ref: NSRAM RG 20 Ser. A - Crandal, David W. 1818

1818 - A surveyor (perhaps Crandall himself) surveyed several properties related to Crandall's granted of land. The survey work is completed with the Oak Island segment centred around lot 15 and only showing the eastern side of Oak Island. The surveyor numbered the plan 1046 as it pertained to Crown Grant number 1046. Two copies of the plan were submitted to the surveyor general in Halifax for registration. The surveyor general signed one copy making it official.

1818+ Crandall manufactures on his own accord, a full plan of Oak Island and submits this plan to the government as the definitive ownership plan. By 1805 or so, instructions to survey were strictly issued by the Surveyor General and these records are complete. There are no orders instructing Crandall to survey Oak Island or to complete a plan. In completing his plan, Crandall merged his survey return for grant 1046, the Nelson Survey of 1785, and a few contemporary property deeds. Crandall's full plan would become knows as old plan 1046. Examining Crandall's plan we can conclude the plan is not a snap shot of property ownership for 1818, it is not an original ownership plan, it is not an original grant listing. The plan is most confusing and appears to not use any type of standard convention for assigning names to lots. He did associate correct names to the lots and this can be confirmed; however, he did not associate these names with the proper dates. You can refer to my property ownership chart to show that if he should have used one type of convention, the names and dates on 1046 would look much different.

The Crandall information is innocent enough but we must ask, why didn't Chester (during 1818) just file Nelson's plan, or a copy of it, or even as an attachment? While this is suspicious, it does not yet implicate Crandall in any type of conspiracy and certainly not before McGinnis.

On the premise and above board belief that Crandall's source of information was taken from the 1785 Nelson survey (as he states on the survey), we must conclude any errors for property ownership and not contemporary too Crandall or post Nelson (1785+), too have originate from the Nelson's survey of 1785. This is to say any errors before 1786 can be attributed to misinformation reflected on the Nelson survey.

Here is where the slight of hand exists and where no particular labelling convention is used for the first time. There is no reasonable naming convention applied to the surveys. At minimum we would expect Crandall's survey to reflect Nelson's survey which in turn should reflect the island shares document. The island shares documents of 1784/5 clearly listed even the most recent of arrivals and grantees for Island shares, this even included John Smith's biological father Duncan Smith. The Island Shares is a very complete snap shot for 1784/5 property ownership, but why was that not reflected?

Comparing my land chart against the original Crandall 1818+ submission (not the more modern derivatives sold as posters) you will understand the non-standard convention at play. For instance, if original grantee was the theme then lot 32 should have a different name. If current ownership was the theme, it should have yet another name. I picked lot 32 as a simple example to illustrate this point.

Comparing those two documents will show two very important people missing from Crandall's 1818+ submission. We can reasonable understand an owner of a single lot being omitted due to a non standard naming convention; however, the Vaughns and Melvin's ownership during 1785 is missing. Between these two families they owned 14 deed properties and possibly two others with unknown acquisition dates. During 1785 the Vaughn own lot 17 with Melvin own 19. These would go on to buy even more properties and by 1790, the Melvin's would own 17 and 19.

We can end discussion of the Crandall plan and carry on with tracing interest in the island through documents showing ownership. I can end this post satisfied at showing the Vaughn and Melvin family's ownership of property during 1785 was recorded at the local Chester level, but it was not reflected in survey returns to Halifax.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:01 pm

For those patiently reading along, the text has jumped around but not as an intentional means by me to confuse you. Unfortunately the path towards the single element of truth is not straight with much misinformation needed to be explain in detail, put into a proper context, then compared to the other known information. Remember, this story has been in development for over 200 years, with much conflicting information wrote over the years with some information held to be gospel.

This post will be the second to last post I make on the subject.

In my opinion, issues with the tales and legends should be summarized and compared against the collected research and documented primary sources of information, sort of to see where we are at. I think we can all accept the early part of this story did not happen as Fred Blair said it did. For the most part Blair relied upon second hand information about discovery and only tried to fill in some missing gaps, like using 1795 because that is when Smith bought the property. He of course was using a document to substantiate that date, just like many of us have been trying to do for other issues.

For his information, Blair may have contacted family members, perhaps grandchildren of 1804/05. Blair also had access to McCully and McNutt, possibly Cooke from the Association, and of course Isreal Longworth (who published Cooke's version from 1864). The Blair collection of materials contain no letters and he never once refers to a source as being a grandchild of the 1804/05 participants.

The following comes with the caveat 'if' McCully, McNutt, and Cooke did not fabricate parts of the story.

Regardless if McCully, McNutt, and Cooke had relatives involved in 1804/05, they had contact with Anthony Vaughan Jr and John Smith. History records two or three versions told by McCully, so perhaps he got one story from Smith and another from Vaughan as a reasonable explanation for different versions. If Smith was a source for McCully, how come the intimate details of the inscribed stone and other details were missing from McCully's version? I doubt Smith was McCully's source for his final version. Since McCully's final version and Cooke's versions are very similar, I suggest Cooke was McCully's source with McCully making it to press first because he was the secretary during 1862. This would also explain why the inscribed stone was removed from Smith's fireplace shortly after the Cooke version of 1864; because Cooke seemed to be the only person aware of its location. On a side note, just tracing who the frig was secretary at any moment is a challenge in itself.

McNutt chain:

McNutt said he captured all the information in his note book while working on the island. He mentioned four men digging in the pit during discovery, but not by name, and claimed in a letter to Blair for his source of information was Anthony Vaughan Jr. On a side note, McNutt wrote 'they' tried to engage the neighbours but 'they' would not due to “superstitious dread”. Recall, McNutt's version has missing page(s) prior to the digging in a clover patch, thus prior to digging is missing. If this was 1787/88/89/90/91, then according to deeds and Poll Tax of 1791, all but one of the island men were already engaged!

Cooke chain:

Cooke wrote in a letter to Mr Hunter-Duvar that he spoke with Smith who provided testimony on the inscribed stone. We can conclude to some degree of certainty that Cooke captured Smith's version.
Cooke seems to relay very good details to Hunter-Duvar during 1865, which suggests he may have been summarizing from notes. Given the degree of detail and length of his version, I think it reasonable to conclude Cooke took notes while on the island. Once again, Smith to Cooke knowledge of the stone, Vaughan did not seem to know where the stone was located.

If the sources are correct, we can then say McNutt's early version comes from Vaughan and Cooke's early version from Smith.

The common element in both stories would suggest a common source, the uncommon elements to both versions would suggest a different source. Cooke is the first original version mentioning Smith, Vaughan and McGinnis, but only infers Smith and Vaughan were diggers.

We can then recall Mary Smith's version told to Judge Desbrisay (calculated to be mid 1830s to mid 1840s). In her version, Smith is replaced by Ball, but McGinnis and Vaughan remain. We must wonder if John Smith was really involved during discovery or not? Did Mary or the Judge intentionally exclude him, or prior to 1848 did John exclude himself, but then included himself after? The conflicting information is very confusing for sure.

We must consider the possibility that since no names are mentioned by McNutt, Vaughan may have not want anyone local (of the present time) connected to discovery. This rings true when we consider McNutt's inclusion of Simeon Lynds, but McNutt does not mention a family relation or even visiting on 'business', McNutt merely says “happened to call on the house of Mr Vaughn”. On a side note, McNutt does use the spelling of Vaughn to indicate Anthony Sr, not Vaughan to indicate Anthony Jr.

Considering Smith, Vaughan, and McGinnis' names are provided by Cooke, John Smith might be of a different opinion than Vaughan?

We must understand both Smith and Vaughan Jr were very good friends with many documents speaking to this; however, they should have told a near identical stories with each man offering their own tidbits of information. Regardless of their age during 1849, they lived with this information for 59 or so years. We can argue the details may have faded, but at minimum, they should have recalled the year and who participated! Additionally, between the two, they should have provided sufficient detail to cover more than 30 seconds worth of detail.

Try and put aside any bias or favouritism to elements of truth and for these elements as truthful statements told by all. The next post is [b]THE[b] key which is going to simply explain too much. It should be information overload when connecting the dots for the first time, sort of a eureka voila moment...enjoy.

The research has almost taken us to the single element of truth. The next post will conclude this sharing of research.
The post Revolutionary history of Oak Island is a complex web of lies and partial truths to sort through.
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby n4n224ccw on Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:43 am

Continued from the previous post and concluding this research. The single element of truth will be shown as the only possible conclusion while maintaining McNutt and Cooke were telling the truth and by extension Smith and Vaughan were telling the truth. With that said, Cooke's use of key moment ambiguity indicates he is attempting to tell the underlying truth. This means Fred Blair was sort of telling the truth and by extension RV Harris. Now try not to jump to conclusions...

Regardless of Vaughan or Smith as the source, Cooke wrote on 20 Dec 1863 “On his deathbed, he confessed himself to have been one of the crew of the famous Captain Kidd. He assured those who had been witnessed his last moments, that many years before he has assisted that noted pirate and his followers in burying over two million beneath the secluded island, east of Boston”

I've previously mentioned Cooke's knowledge of the stone and through a sequence of his letters, appears to be the only person after Smith's death to know where the stone is located. As of 20 Dec 1863 and at least until James DeMille of 1870, the stone cannot be translated. Does anyone else (who doesn't favour the Kidd story) think Cooke's two million pounds are just a little too coincidental for the same number to be translated from the stone many years later?

It would be natural to draw the immediate conclusion for the inscription to be fabricated and you would be 100% correct. It would also be natural to conclude the inscription was fabricated by Cooke or someone else at that time for the purpose of raising stock; however, you would be 100% incorrect. Huh? Why else would Cooke or anyone else fake an inscription?

We can now turn to RV Harris who KNOWINGLY lets us in on the secret and which suggests he possessed the original transcription. RV's disclosure will also explain why the stone disappeared. His passage is a slight of hand and goes against the published translations dating to the 1800s. The translation we came to know in newspapers since the late 1800s is “Ten feet below two million pounds are buried”; however in the 1894 Prospectus it stated “Ten feet below are two million pounds buried”. I think everyone can agree those accounts are basically same the same thing even with a differing arrangements of words. Reading RV Harris' passage we can gain insight into his knowledge when he writes “Ten feet below two million pounds lie buried” Do you see the subtle difference? The only essential difference between all version and RV's is a single word, “are” versus “lie”.

One a side note, if you care to examine the dust cover of your RV Harris second edition (1967 and one year before he died), you will notice he used the inscription symbols and they look very familiar. RV's dust cover start off as “Forty Feet Below Two” but then the second line totally breaks down if meant to indicate “million pounds are buried”. See for yourself and figure out RV's hidden message.

The term lie has a much different meaning when used in the form of a verb than it does when in the form of a noun. Regardless, the word itself follows a pattern of key moment ambiguous word play that is consistent with information originating or attached to Cooke's name. RV may have used lie, but Cooke is attached to the stone forever and knew it said lie.

Here is a link to perhaps the single best source for the definition of lie.

Much to ponder and consider for using such an ambiguous word.

We can now easily understand the implications for the original translation if it contained the word lie. A statement like this be perceived to have a meaning of untruth or perhaps a warning.

Keep in mind, I think the following are truthful elements and they must be explained as truthful elements, We are still not at the single element of truth because Cooke wrote to Hunter-Duvar basically saying “Smith said he saw[in 1804/5] the [inscribed] stone come from below ground”. This statement must be held as an element of truth and likewise we must hold true that Smith or Cooke did not fabricate the inscription.

There only remaining two valid possibilities while keeping within the confines of truth for McNutt, Vaughan, Smith, and Cooke, The stone's inscription is 100% authentic, or someone from 1804/05 inscribed the stone and made sure Smith saw it come from below the ground.

Initially we can easily understand the stone's inscription to be a fake for the purpose of raising shares in the company. We must wonder about the careless chain of custody which causes the stone to go missing. Again, many conflicting stories surround the disappearance. We must also wonder why there was no rubbing or any record of it since Cooke and professionals such as DeMille and Leitchi supposedly had contact with the stone. DeMille and Leitchi's collection are absent of such information, trust me. Just like a void public record of the island before 1848, so is there no such record of the stone.

It is now easy to understand how a simple ambiguous word could explain much about the stone's history. Lie could obviously cause any investor concern when asked for money. One could not afford a potential investor to view the stone as they would apply the character substitution and see it did not fit. Sceptical folks of the day would point out the word lie and the ensuing argument would cause a stir, perhaps even causing existing investors to seek a refund. I think it was just easier to hid the stone and avoid the whole debate on a single word. Could they fake a stone? No, because they didn't know who may have previously viewed the stone. Anyone observing the stone while still on the island could easily say “That is not the same stone I saw on Oak Island” and open up a whole can of worms. It is ridiculous to think for a moment that when the Association was closing down due to lack of money, the stone is removed from the fireplace and not advertised in all the papers of Halifax and the province to come see it on display. It could only have been the inscription they were worried about.

It doesn't really matter what they symbols were, it matters what they translated to. The physical appearance of the symbols are inconsequential at this point.

Cooke also goes on to infer who actually crafted the ENTIRE story, who carved the stone, and who introduced pirates as the coverup.

The pirate tale and stone are obviously tied together, so whoever introduced the story of the pirate tale must be responsible for the complete introduction of all elements.

Cooke wrote: “Thus Captain Kidd and his treasure remained for several years after the death of the old sailor, when three men named, named Smith, McGinnis and Vaughn emigrated from New England to Chester...”

Cooke is telling us the pirate story came from New England, thus whoever came from New England is responsible. He provides us with three names for his shell game. Lets look at the men and once again turn to documents to find the truth.

The use of Vaughn suggests Daniel, John, or Anthony Sr. We can eliminate Anthony Jr because he did not emigrate from New England, he was born in Chester. Daniel and John appear to come directly from Rhode Island; however, Anthony Sr has a short stay is Massachusetts before arriving in Chester. McGinnis never emigrated from New England, the closest he got to New England was with his Regiment in New York. Smith's family was in Boston for about 2 years. John Smith was born in Boston 1775 with the family in Halifax by 1777. The dates of Duncan time in Boston simple discounts him any reasonable opportunity to have ever met a pirate connected to Kidd.

Considering the Vaughn family in essence were New Englanders, they would be the obvious choice. John and Daniel Vaughn are gone from the area which now only leaves Anthony Sr as the culprit.

The single element of truth is for Anthony Vaughn Sr to have a need which required him to introduce Captian Kidd, an inscribed stone to reinforce the legend, and to make sure Smith saw it come out of the ground. Why Anthony Vaughn Sr needed to do this is a different element of truth to investigate.

We can now understand why John Smith kept the inscribed stone. Anthony Vaughn and those men from Colchester had no problem with him keeping it, after all, Vaughn and Lynds were 'related' and Lynds became of Vaughn's way of thinking. :wink:
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby Foxe on Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:13 pm

I've looked but can't see the answer to this:

What was the name of the man who was supposedly one of Kidd's crew?

I have a list of Kidd's crew here...
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Re: Researching the treasure hunt's origins

Postby PJK on Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:40 pm

Foxe, old chap

I’m not sure if this is the exact answer but the story concerned (as it appeared in The New York Herald edition of 2nd September 1866) was followed up with this answer by one Caleb Cowing, of Eddytown, Yates County, N.Y in the Hillsdale Standard edition of 9th October 1866:

Capt. Kidd’s Treasure

The following is a letter from one Caleb Cowing, of Eddytown, Yates County, N.Y., whose father knew of the whereabouts of the hidden treasures:

“My father, James Cowing, was born in Massachusetts, in 1810 and had heard everything connected with it in his time. The story was current at that day that Kidd, with the sailor, who is mentioned in the Herald as having been “one of Kidd’s officers,” went up the Bay of Fundy and buried it. This man’s right name was Edward Lowe, the pirate, and when they caught Kidd, and hanged all of his command that they captured, this person fled and took refuge with a man living on the shores of the bay.

Here he assumed the name of Gibson. He informed his host that he had a pot of money concealed on “the cape”, and would sometimes leave him and remain absent two or three days. He always returned with his pockets full; and furnished his keeper with money as long as he lives. Before his death he told him he would give him the chest Kidd had buried, for all the pirates were dead. He then related all the circumstances connected with it: where and how to find it; the place to start from, with the points of the compass, the course and the exact distance in chains and links, with a description of the locality of concealment, peculiarities of the ground, etc. He stated also, that, when burying the treasure, they dug a deep hole, and placing in it a tarpaulin, lowered, into the hole a four-foot chest, and brought the money in bags, silver and gold, and poured it into the chest until it was full. They then shut down the lid, turned the tarpaulin over it, and poured over all a barrel of tar, covering it up with earth to a depth four or five feet. My father was one of a company that was formed to go and dig it up. They did not all go; but a considerable number of them went up the Bay of Fundy, on the east shore, Nova Scotia, to the place Lowe has described, and found it exactly as he stated it to be. This party set the compass and run the course and distance, finding the locality precisely as defined by him. At that time an old Irishman owned the land in this vicinity, and they told him they were searching for money of Kidd’s. He swore he would shoot any man who dug on his land for the treasure, and they were, therefore, compelled to relinquish their object. No part of their knowledge of the secret was confided to this man.”

Personally, I think for this story to have any element of truth the member of Kidd’s crew would have to have accompanied him to New England (Boston) on the Antonio and stayed with him to the bitter end.

Have you got a crew list for both the Queddah Merchant and Antonio or just the one for the Adventure Galley?
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