Article for the MP discovery pre-1791

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Article for the MP discovery pre-1791

Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:33 am

Article for the MP discovery pre-1791

This article stems from conflicts with the earliest sources of written information about Oak Island. Like many, I have been bothered by the various stories of discovery and how at times they seemed to contradict one another, especially the circumstances of events which lead up to the day of discovery, who was where, and even how old.

History and printed facts

Harris makes no claim the island was uninhabited before 1795. In his first edition on page 7 he states, “Here is may be said that the original survey of the island, made in 1785, shows such a road, although there had been no person living on the island since the settlement of Chester in 1759.”

Clearly Harris means prior to the survey, for the purpose of showing a road with unknown origins.

Harris in his second edition revised the first survey date to 1762 (Charles Morris II), but drops the reference about no person living on the island at all.

R.V Harris never claims the island was uninhabited at the time of discovery.

Harris further states that Anthony Vaughan Sr. and his brother Daniel Vaughan came to NS in 1772, with them settling in Chester by 1783. Daniel sold his Oak Island lots 13 and 14 in 1790.

Anthony Vaughan, son of Anthony, and Anne Vaughan, was born in Chester on the twenty fifth day of August, one thousand, Seven hundred and Eighty two. Recorded October 30th, 1782. Ebenezer Fitch, Town clerk. He would have been 12-13 years of age in 1795.

Old Plan No 1046 Crown lands office shows Duncan Smith taking possession of lot 24 in 1785, and Edward Smith in 1780. The first Oak Island deed available shows Edward Smith also owning lot 19, but sold in 1768(D’Arcy O’Connor). (Note: I think Edward Smith was an Army Captain who left the area in the 1770s and who I think Smith’s Island got its name.)

McGinnis and McMullen were the first settlers, with Ball being an earliest ( RV Harris).

The Poll Tax of 1791 substantiates what RV Harris writes about our earliest people.

Ball, Samuel Farmer Oak Island
Marshall, Martin Wheelwright Oak Island
McGinnes, Donald Farmer Oak Island
McMillan, Neil Farmer Oak Island
Munro, John Farmer Oak Island

Below you will find the essential earliest references to the Oak Island Story, before the tale of three boys came to be or to McGinnis rowing out to the island. Unfortunately we don’t know who the sources were, such as what people were interviewed? DesBrisay is the only person to offer a reference and the 1893 Prospectus is vague on which facts were related.

Please read these articles in a 1795 frame of reference with McGinnis, John Smith , and Anthony Vaughan Jr as the traditional participants, a series of easy questions follow.

It is interesting that not one of these early sources mentions the year 1795. The only source to give a date is DesBrisay 1st Edition and he says 1799! The Prospectus of 1893 is the first to state 1795 and was included for this reason.

1. J.B McCully – Truro, June 2, 1862.

“ Sometime after the arrival of these persons a Mr. McGinnis went to Oak Island to make a farm, when he discovered the spot in question from its being sunken, and from the position of three oak trees, which stood in a triangular form round the pit. The bark had letters cut into it with a knife on each tree facing the pit, and one of the trees being so directly over the pit, that two large branches formed a crotch, were exactly perpendicular to the centre, and had a hole bored through, and an oak tree-nail driven in, on which hung a tacle [sic] block. He was induced from the appearance to suppose that it might be the place referred to by the sailor. He then acquainted two men, Smith and Vaughn, of the circumstance, and they commenced digging. After going down ten feet they found a layer of oak timber, at twenty the same, and thirty the same. ”

2. The Colonist of 1864 –

a.“Thus Captain Kidd and his treasure remained for several years following the death of the old sailor, when three men named Smith, McGinnis, and Vaund, emigrated from New England to Chester, Nova Scotia. Smith and McGinnis took up land on Oak Island, and Vaund settled on the adjacent main-land. At that time, this part of Nova Scotia was thinly settled, and few inroads had been made upon its primeval forests by the axes of former settlers.”

Further

2b “The secluded situation of the place in a hitherto uninhabited Island, and the singular traces it presented as having been visited by the hands of civilized man, appeared quite in keeping with all the rumors regarding the hidden treasure of which they were in possession.”

3. The Scotsman -22 Sept 1866

3a. “Nearly a quarter century later, three men, named Smith Vaud (Vaughan) and McGinnis, emigrated from New England and settled in Chester NS. Smith and McGinnis taking up land upon Oak Island. As soon as these men had erected their huts, they commenced their work of felling the forest that covered the island. McGinnis while roaming over the island one day was astonished to discover traces of former civilization...”

3b. The Scotsman continues “…Compelled to abandon the search for want of money, Smith and his associates endeavored to enlist the assistance of their neighbors, and told their secret; but the people were poor and ignorant, and laughed at them for attempting to find Kidd’s money when he invariably ‘killed a nigger to guard it’. Fifteen years passed without any further attempts being made to fathom the mystery of the old Pit. “ (Note: they got their money out of that guard and the fifteen years from above is in reference to the Onslow Group.)

4. History of Lunenburg County – FIRST EDITION 1870

“McGinnis rowed back to the mainland and got two men Ball and Vaughan”

5. Prospectus of the Oak island Treasure Company of 1893 Note, the only source stating 1795.

About the close of the last century [note, 1800] this part of the country was very sparsely populated and the island in question was without an inhabitant. In 1795, three men - Smith, McGinnis and Vaughan - visited the island, and while rambling over the eastern part of it, came to a spot, of which the unusual and strange conditions at once engaged their attention. (Mr Vaughan himself, who was only a lad of 16 at the time, subsequently related these facts to Mr. Robert Creelman, who still lives at Upper Stewiacke, N.S., and who was afterwards the manager of a company formed to recover the treasure.)





Questions generated from the articles with the 1795 frame of reference and with traditional participants.

From Source 1. How could that year be 1795 when the Poll tax indicates differently? How could a 12 year old Vaughan Jr. be identified as a man?

From Source 2. Vaund is no doubt Vaughan, but how could he have emigrated from New England when he was born in Chester NS 1783? How could Smith and McGinnis settle on the island at an implied same time prior to discovery when the Poll Tax says McGinnis was before Smith and with land records showing Smith after the discovery? How could the island have been uninhabited with the Poll Tax of 1791 showing differently?

From Source 3. Similar questions from source 2; however, how could Smith have erected his hut prior to discovery? How can it be that McGinnis is clearly established on the island with a hut prior to discovery in 1795? How could 15 years pass until the Onslow Group, when said group was fixed to 1804 (RV Harris) if discovered in 1795?

From Source 4. Again with the mentioning of men, but does 12 year old Anthony Vaughan Jr meet that criteria? Why would he get Ball?

From Source 5. If our Anthony Vaughan was 16 at the time of discovery wouldn’t that mean discovery took place in 1798 or was Vaughan 16 at the time of relating the facts?

Confused? These are just a few of my questions. Did all of the sources get it wrong and intentionally contradict one another?

Now go back and re-read the references with our McGinnis, Daniel Vaughan, and Duncan Smith in a pre 1790 frame.

Not so confusing anymore with ALL of the articles complimenting one another with those three men in a pre-1790 frame fitting within the known documented facts from above.

Both John Smith and Anthony Vaughan Jr. could have sworn on a stack of bibles that McGinnis, Smith, and Vaughan were the characters who discovered the MP, and they would be correct. Any story wrote in a 3rd person would have identified the proper surnames; however, there is no document available showing Smith or Vaughan speaking in the first person regarding discovery, no sworn affidavit by either men, nothing which relates either men in their own words or another as being in the first person and in on the discovery. Even the prospectus of 1893 where Anthony Vaughan relates the names to Creelman is none specific. Yes they would be correct with stating McGinnis, Smith, and Vaughan, providing John Smith and Anthony Vaughan Jr were not stating it was them.

Much banter was made about the Onslow Group, specifically if they were involved 15 years after discovery, or 7 years after discovery? RV Harris only states the weight of evidence suggests 7 years, with Harris fixing the Onslow Group at 1804. Harris never does state what weight he gave to what evidence or how he even fixed the date as 1804, if seven years after discovery in 1795 was accepted.

So what year before 1791?

I say 178_ and for good reason, but in Part II.
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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Postby FutureProspect784 on Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:09 pm

Interesting stuff, but I'm afraid I can't make a comment, as all that information has me very much confused. But I'll hang around for part two.

1. J.B McCully – Truro, June 2, 1862.

“ Sometime after the arrival of these persons a Mr. McGinnis went to Oak Island to make a farm, when he discovered the spot in question from its being sunken, and from the position of three oak trees, which stood in a triangular form round the pit. The bark had letters cut into it with a knife on each tree facing the pit, and one of the trees being so directly over the pit, that two large branches formed a crotch, were exactly perpendicular to the centre, and had a hole bored through, and an oak tree-nail driven in, on which hung a tacle [sic] block. He was induced from the appearance to suppose that it might be the place referred to by the sailor. He then acquainted two men, Smith and Vaughn, of the circumstance, and they commenced digging. After going down ten feet they found a layer of oak timber, at twenty the same, and thirty the same. ”


I found this one kind of intriguing. How accurate would this account be?
88’s

FP

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Accuracy

Postby Tank04 on Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:28 pm

FP,

I found this one kind of intriguing. How accurate would this account be?


Therein lies the problem......
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Dispute

Postby Tank04 on Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:11 pm

Paul,

Harris makes no claim the island was uninhabited before 1795. In his first edition on page 7 he states, “Here is may be said that the original survey of the island, made in 1785, shows such a road, although there had been no person living on the island since the settlement of Chester in 1759.”

Clearly Harris means prior to the survey, for the purpose of showing a road with unknown origins.


Of course, I dispute your interpretation. But for the sake of arguement and smooth operation of the forum, lets say we agree to disagree.
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Re: Article for the MP discovery pre-1791

Postby GrailKnight7 on Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:36 pm

Hi n4N!

I'm interested in seeing where you're going with this thread in part 2.

n4n224ccw wrote:It is interesting that not one of these early sources mentions the year 1795. The only source to give a date is DesBrisay 1st Edition and he says 1799! The Prospectus of 1893 is the first to state 1795 and was included for this reason.


Although those sources don't mention it, we also have the Abstract of Deed in the Halifax Archives which shows that John Smith purchased Lot 18 from Casper Wollenhaupt on June 6th, 1795. It doesn't prove that the so-called Money Pit was actually discovered in 1795 but it does show that John Smith was interested enough in Lot 18 in 1795 to buy it.

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Postby n4n224ccw on Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:18 pm

FutureProspect784 wrote:
I found this one kind of intriguing. How accurate would this account be?


This is the first known public written account of discovery. McCully was also with the search groups of 1849 and interviewed both Smith and Vaughan.

The Secret Treasure of Oak Island, D'Arcy p4.

His diary and letters are in Truro.

Considering he had access to both, weight can be given to his statement. At no time does he mention 1795.
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Postby D'Arcy on Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:19 pm

n4n:

Some of your archival information is rather interesting. But in any case, I still believe that the initial discovery of the "Money Pit" was made in 1795, either by "boys" or "adults" in 1795, and whether they were active Oak Island landowners or not. The bottom line is that I agree with Harris and his original sources that the whole OI "mystery" began in the summer of 1795.

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Postby n4n224ccw on Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:31 am

D'Arcy wrote:n4n:

Some of your archival information is rather interesting. But in any case, I still believe that the initial discovery of the "Money Pit" was made in 1795, either by "boys" or "adults" in 1795, and whether they were active Oak Island landowners or not. The bottom line is that I agree with Harris and his original sources that the whole OI "mystery" began in the summer of 1795.

D'Arcy


The tale was much more romantic when three boys rowed out to Oak Island that day in 1795.

I would like to know of one published article which tells of the pit being discovered in 1795 while Smith or Vaughan are still alive.

The first mention of 1795 seems to be the 1893 Prospectus. Surely 1795 would be a good date to pick because that is when Smith bought the property.

"It must be true... he went out and immediately bought up the property."

If that does not sound like harmless embellishment to sell stock, I don't know what does.

I've read somewhere on this forum, "just because they owned the property, doesn't mean they lived there....."

There are Poll Tax records before 1795, 1795, and after 1795. I wonder on which records Smith’s name appears as being on Oak Island?
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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Postby PJK on Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:55 pm

Here we go. Not two hours into my rare day off, loads to do around the house and already I’ve got sidetracked.

Taxes eh? Normally they’re one of the two things in life guaranteed to make my eyes glaze over (The other one being Big Brother) but if the early Poll Tax records of Nova Scotia help us throw some new light on things I’ll make an exception.

I’ve only read the on-line records here so we need some confirmation of things.

Anyone of a certain age here will remember when we were lumbered with a Poll Tax (replacing the old rates system) about 18 years ago.

Basically, it was a local government tax raised to pay for local services and instead of taxing the property (in reality the owner) based mainly on its location the new Poll Tax was designed to tax by the person as long as they came under the criteria specified. The same as the Nova Scotia Poll tax.

http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/databases/polltax/


The key to it over here, in a fluid society, was your address as the Authorities tried to make sure everyone in their Borough was accounted for and paying up. You would have to notify them every year exactly who was living at a certain address. To make sure there was no escape you had to produce your proof of payment for other business to do with your Local Authority. Parking permits for example, as I found out the hard way by queuing up for an hour before being told (apparently I should have read Note 4B section ii, sub section llvvxii or something.)

So why did the Assessor see fit to include the “Oak Island” detail on his initial assessment.

http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/databases/po ... =3&Start=1

Quite clearly the assessor visited the Island and took the details of who was living there. It also seems to me that the “Location” field on his form was designed for either a person’s main or only place of residence. After all he could just as easily have merely put “Chester” but didn’t which suggests to me that the five names listed were living on the Island permanently.

To back this up Wollenhaupt, who we presume owned land on the Island at the time, came under “Lunenburg”. The location didn’t make any difference to the rate of tax but was an attempt to account for everyone.

The later amendments and further assessments of the Tax seem to leave this detail out. Ie It was already recorded-an early form of database management.

So, if this is true, as there’s a McGinnis, clear as a bell, living on Oak Island as early as 1791 why did it take him, or anyone in his family, four years to see the “clearing”. They would quite clearly moor a boat at Smith’s Cove and walk across Lot 18 to his own land.

Either the clearing wasn’t too clear or it was found earlier.

PJK

Just quickly re-reading this post (I've got to get on with something) its not completely clear but I think you get gist-the Oak Island detail was included as these five people were living on the Island as early as 1791 :lol:
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Postby n4n224ccw on Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:42 pm

D'Arcy wrote:n4n:

Some of your archival information is rather interesting. But in any case, I still believe that the initial discovery of the "Money Pit" was made in 1795, either by "boys" or "adults" in 1795, and whether they were active Oak Island landowners or not. The bottom line is that I agree with Harris and his original sources that the whole OI "mystery" began in the summer of 1795.

D'Arcy


Hi D'Arcy,

Would you mind sharing what weight you have given to the various materials to have you agree with Harris?

Would you know of any other material in Harris' possession for him to conclude a 1795 date, as he is very shy on explaining that part? Basically, he asks the reader to accept it.

To the more than casual observer it would seem he was merely agreeing with the 1893 Prospectus as they were close families.
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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