My thoughts on John Smith and company

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My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:49 pm

I have been reading here and there items questioning John Smiths involvement with the Money Pit and here's what I believe.

The question of whether the story of the year 1795 being a start date of all this exploring may not be exact as Smith had already been living there on the island for some time and may have known about the Pit depression in the ground earlier. I do think that 1795 could be the date when he and his friends decided to finally take a crack at finding out what was down in it.

The question over the description of the three original treasure explorers as either boys or young men can be attributed to the cultures and eras in which they are described. I believe Dan was 13 and the youngest of the three while John was 19. In that time 19 could definitely be a description for a young man but even at 13 in the 1790s wasn't far off from when young men were marrying and starting families of there own. Here in the states we have one state that still has it on the law books that women as young as 14 can marry with their parents permission (usually what we call a shot gun marriage). By the 1890s though the age of starting out a family and accepting responsibilities , especially in the more educated class, was definitely later. Today we would describe the three as teenagers.

As far as the question of John Smith's involvement I think owning the Money Pit plot for 62 years speaks for itself. People have pointed out Vaughn being the source of the early history of the search as he told reporters and the 1850s searchers and seemingly that Smith was rather silent on the matter. I feel that every group needs a spokesman and Vaughn filled the role.

Just my thoughts. I could be wrong and am willing to admit it if proven so.
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:37 pm

Also the history or legend that Daniel was the original finder of the Money Pit, I think, is how Vaughn and Smith wanted it. I really think that Smith found it sometime before Daniel did and had included Vaughn in the secret. But before they could get around to trying to find out what was in the ground their younger friend stumbled onto it. So possibly to keep him from letting everyone else in town know, and someone beating them to it, they commenced the dig.

As to whether or not Daniel, the Onslow group or anyone else early on knew there was a prior knowledge of the Pit's depression in the earth I don't care to speculate. I think when the 1850s came along the story as has been passed down to what we consider the origins of the Money Pit had been told so many times by Smith and Vaughn that they just let it perpetuate.

One other thought on Vaughn as the spokesman/historian of the original trio. He had the main story to tell, but Smith had the stone to show and tell.
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:38 pm

JodyLane3 wrote: I have been reading here and there items questioning John Smiths involvement with the Money Pit and here's what I believe.

The question of whether the story of the year 1795 being a start date of all this exploring may not be exact as Smith had already been living there on the island for some time and may have known about the Pit depression in the ground earlier. I do think that 1795 could be the date when he and his friends decided to finally take a crack at finding out what was down in it.


Fred Blair was the first person to introduce the year 1795 in connection with this story. He introduced this year because this was when Smith bought lot 18. Blair did not know Smith was living on the island with his mother and step father since 1789.

JodyLane3 wrote:The question over the description of the three original treasure explorers as either boys or young men can be attributed to the cultures and eras in which they are described. I believe Dan was 13 and the youngest of the three while John was 19. In that time 19 could definitely be a description for a young man but even at 13 in the 1790s wasn't far off from when young men were marrying and starting families of there own. Here in the states we have one state that still has it on the law books that women as young as 14 can marry with their parents permission (usually what we call a shot gun marriage). By the 1890s though the age of starting out a family and accepting responsibilities , especially in the more educated class, was definitely later. Today we would describe the three as teenagers.


If by Dan you mean Donald McGinnis, there is no readily available document at this time which can positively identify his age, and I have many documents on the man. I do have one lead to further source which might identify his age. This of course is a copy of his marriage record. He was married on 8 September 1795 at St. James' Anglican Church in Lunenburg. A copy of this record can be found within the Latter Day Saints archive, somewhere on microfiche reels 0883661 ; 0933975 ; 0962591 ; 1012328. If these are listed in chronological order, my guess would be to look in 0883661.

If you are suggesting Dan was only 13 years old in 1795, this would make him one very young groom. There is much evidence which suggests he was much older than 13 years old in 1795. He was discharged as a Corporal from the British Army in 1784 at Shelburne NS. Your suggestion would have Donald as 2 years old in 1784.

JodyLane3 wrote:As far as the question of John Smith's involvement I think owning the Money Pit plot for 62 years speaks for itself. People have pointed out Vaughn being the source of the early history of the search as he told reporters and the 1850s searchers and seemingly that Smith was rather silent on the matter. I feel that every group needs a spokesman and Vaughn filled the role.


Documents surviving until today do show John Smith did a little talking on the matter, specifically his conversation with Mr Cooke. John's children who were raised on the island didn't do much talking after 1849, that is for sure. There is one exception and that is through his daughter Mary. She was either a house servant or nanny to a young Judge DesBrisay, who captured Mary's story in the History of Lunenburg County, first edition. The story the Judge learned through Mary and by visiting the island before 1849 had him exclude John Smith and basically replace him with Samuel Ball. Mary did not include her own father in discovery!

John owned lot 18 and many other properties until his death, so merely owning lot 18 really has no significance.

JodyLane3 wrote:Also the history or legend that Daniel was the original finder of the Money Pit, I think, is how Vaughn and Smith wanted it. I really think that Smith found it sometime before Daniel did and had included Vaughn in the secret. But before they could get around to trying to find out what was in the ground their younger friend stumbled onto it. So possibly to keep him from letting everyone else in town know, and someone beating them to it, they commenced the dig.


Donald's own children and grandchildren are on record saying Donald was the discoverer. In 1795 Anthony Vaughan Jr was only 12 years old. There is no record at this time which details any type of pre-1795 relationship between Anthony Vaughan Jr and John Smith; however, John most likely knew of the elder Vaughan brothers being Anthony Sr, Daniel, and John.

I have often wondered why Anthony Sr and Daniel opted to sell their Oak Island lots during the very height of discovery if such a significance was placed on a treasure pit?

JodyLane3 wrote:As to whether or not Daniel, the Onslow group or anyone else early on knew there was a prior knowledge of the Pit's depression in the earth I don't care to speculate. I think when the 1850s came along the story as has been passed down to what we consider the origins of the Money Pit had been told so many times by Smith and Vaughn that they just let it perpetuate.


Early accounts do suggest that before 1800 the story 'became known all around the bay', unfortunately there has yet to be found any record or mention of this story which dates to this period. There are perhaps 20 known sources of diaries, travel journals and the likes dating to this period; however, not a single mention of Oak Island.

There is one source still outstanding which needs to be found. This source is the Martin Marshall papers which could very well identify the exact date of discovery. These papers were mentioned in 1965 or so in a book called Family Bibles of Jasper County Georgia.

http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/jasper ... rshall.txt

I think the evidence points to a different conclusion, this being Anthony Vaughan Jr intentionally attempting to minimize his family's association to the island during the 1780s and 1790s. By 1849 Anthony Jr and John Smith's friendship was clearly established thereby Smith helping Anthony Jr by keeping quiet about the real events.

JodyLane3 wrote:One other thought on Vaughn as the spokesman/historian of the original trio. He had the main story to tell, but Smith had the stone to show and tell.


Regardless of the stone's authenticity, the fact Anthony Jr never mentions the stone is most puzzling. This suggests he did not know of the stone. Further reducing any significance to the stone was for John Smith eventually building a partition wall which hid the stone from view. It was not until 1862 that we first learn of the stone's existence and this information comes by Mr Cooke of the Association. Upon disclosing his knowledge of the stone, we can read the partition wall was removed, then the stone removed from the fireplace.

Further reading of the stone can be found here:

http://www.oakislandtheories.com/index. ... &Itemid=46
The post Revolutionary history of Oak Island is a complex web of lies and partial truths to sort through.

http://www.oakislandtheories.com
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:57 pm

Finally back at a computer. As far as the ages go, I may have switched the ages of Vaughn and McGinnis as they have been stated in the past (the ages of the three being between 13-19 or 12-19). But as far as hiding the stone goes, other references place the stone in full view in back of the fireplace. Going by fireplaces I can see this being dead center of the back wall with the characters facing out as you look into the fireplace. So like many of our discussions it seems we will have to agree to disagree with each other based on our sources. I think John Smith buying the MP lot in 1795 is a great indicator when all this began.

And how does Samuel Ball fit into this if you take Smith out?
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:25 am

JodyLane3 wrote: Finally back at a computer. As far as the ages go, I may have switched the ages of Vaughn and McGinnis as they have been stated in the past (the ages of the three being between 13-19 or 12-19). But as far as hiding the stone goes, other references place the stone in full view in back of the fireplace. Going by fireplaces I can see this being dead center of the back wall with the characters facing out as you look into the fireplace. So like many of our discussions it seems we will have to agree to disagree with each other based on our sources. I think John Smith buying the MP lot in 1795 is a great indicator when all this began.



The typical period design of Smith's house (not that we know for sure) was with the fireplace put in the middle of the room, thus the rock could have been in the back of the fireplace with character facing out for all to see. I do possess the letter which identified Jefferson MacDonald, a stone mason, who removed the rock. Along with him was a carpenter who removed the partition. This is pretty conclusive evidence for the stone eventually being hidden by this partition wall.

JodyLane3 wrote:And how does Samuel Ball fit into this if you take Smith out?


Samuel Ball, Donald McGinnis, and Martin Marshall are all tied together via Shelburne and it would seem tied also to Daniel and Anthony Sr. Vaughan through their grist and lumber mill.

Samuel and Donald both self identified for their first Oak Island property deeds as Yeoman or rather a woodsman for the period. These deeds were also their first in Chester township. Martin Marshall self identified at Shelburne in 1785 as a millwright, but for the 1791 Poll Tax in Chester he identifies as a wheelwright. This was no doubt for Poll Tax purposes.

These three men are the only three which I can identify as coming from Shelburne to Chester during this 1786 to 1788 time period. Donald and Martin definitely departed Shelburne during the same period, but when exactly Ball departed is unknown; however they were all in the Chester area by 1788.

What brought them to Chester was no doubt for work. The Vaughan brothers owned a lumber mill. There can be no doubt they were supplying the new town of Shelburne with building supplies. I think it stands to reason the Vaughan's were in Shelburne and picked up some workers, especially the millwright Martin. We can see that between 1786 to 1788 Martin develops a relationship with Anne Vaughan and the two marry. Certainly Martin Marshall must have been a worthy man to marry into the Vaughan family (they were rich then).

It is just too coincidental for all three to have come from Shelburne and for all three to end up as neighbours on Oak Island when no other Shelburne folks can be traced to the Chester area, or rather any new Chester folks coming from Shelburne.

Donald's grandson gave direct testimony which says his grandfather was “already interested in the work on Oak Island before he bought his lot and built his house on this very spot”. What work he was already interested in is a good question. This researcher thinks it was cutting trees for the Vaughan brothers.

Samuel Ball bought his first property (lot 25) on 22 September 1787 with no other properties in his name at this time.

We know from Donald's property deed that he bought his first Oak Island property (lot 28) on 3 March 1788 with no other Chester properties in his name.

Martin Marshall bought lots 9 and 10 on 22 December 1788 and with no other Chester properties in his name.

John Smith's step father (Neil McMullen) did not buy his first property (lot 11) until 6 Oct 1789 and with no other Chester properties in his name. John Smith would have been only 14 years of age.

The Mary Smith story cannot by itself determine discovery, but it does speak to McGinnis getting his co-worker friend (Ball) and employer (a Vaughan). This version does make sense if one considers the time of discovery to be shortly after McGinnis came to the island as aspects of the legend say, simply put John Smith would not have been there yet.
The post Revolutionary history of Oak Island is a complex web of lies and partial truths to sort through.

http://www.oakislandtheories.com
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:29 pm

Here is a link to Judge DesBrisay's History of Lunenburg County, FIRST EDITION 1870.

http://www.ourroots.ca/e/page.aspx?id=208165

On page 118 he makes the link to John Smith's daughter Mary.

One must wonder why the Judge's recollection of the story departed so greatly from all of the newspaper articles published during the 1860s? By the time of his second edition of 1895, the Oak Island segment was changed to reflect the popular stories of the day.
The post Revolutionary history of Oak Island is a complex web of lies and partial truths to sort through.

http://www.oakislandtheories.com
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:26 pm

If Smiths stepfather bought a lot on the island in the time you describe it would definitely put him in the 1795 timeline.
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby n4n224ccw on Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:26 am

Yes, his step father Neil McMullen did buy this lot in 1789; but also John Smith's biological father, Duncan Smith, drew for Oak Island lot #24 in 1784 but sold it to Ambrose Allen on 24 February 1785. when the smith family first came to Chester from Halifax, their main property was past the East River towards Halifax. This is on the opposite side of Mahone Bay from Oak Island.

JodyLane3 wrote:If Smiths stepfather bought a lot on the island in the time you describe it would definitely put him in the 1795 timeline.


Unfortunately none of the early accounts even hint at 1795 as being definative. The 1795 date was first suggested by Fred Blair in 1894 and only based upon when John Smith bought lot 18. Sort of like implying John Smith rushed out and bought the property so that must be the year the pit was discovered. It did serve Blair and company well to sound like they knew what they were talking about to investors.

The following link provides a complete collection of the various stories which detail discovery.

http://www.oakislandtheories.com/index. ... &Itemid=46
The post Revolutionary history of Oak Island is a complex web of lies and partial truths to sort through.

http://www.oakislandtheories.com
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:55 am

I wouldn't be surprised if Vaughn Jr was on the island in 1795 if that were the year early workings were commenced. Much like MR Chappell was on the island as a boy in 1890s. But I do give into the fact I have been proven wrong about the age of McGinnis at the 1790s. Still not sure about the suggestion that the work originally commenced some 30-40 years prior to 1800 but am willing to look at the evidence, which is why I am here in the first place. To find out the early history of the search.

Jody
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Re: My thoughts on John Smith and company

Postby JodyLane3 on Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:40 am

By the way i meant that Vaughn Jr may have been tagging along with dear old dad in the excavation of the pit
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