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Sunday, November 7, 2010

70,000 Spanish Doubloons Buried by Famous Corsair Lafitte -- The Real Treasure Island?

FROM THE DELMARVIA STAR NEWSPAPER, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, AUGUST 2, 1931.

Island Quest for Jean Lafitte's Gold -- Claim 70,000 Spanish Doubloons Buried by Famous Corsair

It was 90 years ago, the story goes, when Henry Allock, grizzled old pirate, lay on his deathbed and dictated, in a gesture of remorse and out of gratitude to a man who once saved his life the story and location of Jean Lafitte's buried gold.

An old New Orleans priest sat at the bedside and took the letter.  Seventy thousand Spanish doubloons there were, and a bar of silver seven feet long.  Lafitte himself, dreaded plunderer of the seven seas, hid the booty under six feet of sod and marked the spot with an "unnecked" pirate's skull.

Today an expedition, composed of father and son, after twelve years of preparation, is almost ready for a quest of the buried booty, which they believe they have already located.

In the latter part of August, John Patorno and his son, Anthony, will leave for an unnamed island, where they recently made preliminary explorations, with the expectation of bringing back the treasure, $280,000 worth of it.

HAS RADIO FINDER

When the Patornos return to the island this time they will be equipped with a radio device for locating precious metals which the father himself has invented, and which, he said has already uncovered $2,000 in various caches around New Orleans.

Patorno has a map; faded with age, which was once in the possession of the mutinous crew of the barque Hispaniola, commanded by Lafitte.  It is the map, according to the story, that the pirate Allock sent to his friend, along with his letter giving the history of the treasure.  Patorno has the letter, too, and the story it unfolds matches the fabled Treasure Island.

Allock, the letter reads, was a member of Lafitte's crew.  He was one of six leaders of a pirate band that got possession of Lafitte's map in a mutiny. 

There were also Baros Carecros and Justin Bardelieux, who killed each other on the island.  Badeaux, another, died three days after the mutiny.  Still another, Cominorer, was hanged at New Orleans.  The fifth, Mora Dias, was "unnecked and drowned."  That left Allock the sole survivor, and gave him possession of the map.

FROM HIS DEATHBED

Allock on his deathbed sent the map to the father-in-law of a Captain Clark, well known over the Mississippi River.  On the father-in-law's death, the map went into the hands of Clark, who guarded his secret throughout the years, fostering dreams of making an expedition to recover the treasure, but somehow leaving them unfulfilled.

Twelve years ago, Captain Clark, feeling his life's span near an end, summoned Anthony Patorno, then a boy who played about the neighborhood, and asked the youth to get his father.  The elder Patorno owned a big yacht.  When he went to visit the old mariner the story of the treasure was unfolded to him.  Captain Clark still entertained hopes of sharing the wealth and had a paper made out before a notary, contracting that Patorno would give him half the treasure if he located it.  Then he entrusted his secret to Patorno.

Patorno struggled for years with his radio device.  Meanwhile Captain Clark died and left no heirs.  About a month ago Patorno said he went to the designated island and verified positions on the map.  At the time, he said, he had only a pick and shovel and so much water seeped into holes that he was forced to stop digging.

In August, Patorno and his son will return to the island, equipped with a radio device, motor and sewer pump, bent on booty that may or may not have lain hidden for more than a century.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spanish Treasure along the St. Mary's River in Georgia

A news article from the New York Times in December of 1911 talks about residents of Coleraine, Georgia digging for gold along the St. Mary's River between Coleraine and King's Ferry.  They apparently had built a levee near Coleraine which was the location of the old Creek Indian Confederacy, a trading post, and British military outpost, to hold back the waters so they didn't interfere with their treasure search.  During the Spanish occupation legend tells of a ship being blocked by Indians who had built a barricade with large logs across the river channel.  The story says the Spanish were trapped so they sunk the ship, buried the treasure in the swamps, and fled.  Ruins of what was believed to be the Spanish headquarters at the time have been searched numerous times by local inhabitants and treasure seekers, but only Indian relics have been found and recovered. 

Gold coins have washed up downstream sporadically around the Amelia Island area at the delta of the river which may be remnants of this treasure.

Also, in the publications "Shipwrecks of Florida," by Steven Singer and "Skin Diver" from 1983 there are stories of gold and silver coins that date to the late 1700s found at King's Ferry in the 1960s and 1970s.

1700s Pirate Maps Lead to $72,000,000 Sunken Gold Treasure Near Pensacola

Here's a newspaper article from the early 1900s that talks about maps a widow possessed that claimed to lead to $76,000,000 in treasure stolen by pirates from Mexico being located at a distance from Pensacola that seems to place it in the vicinity of the Choctawhatchee Bay (or a bayou thereabouts), an area where other treasure stories have centered. 

From The Palm Beach Post - January 23, 1948.  LOCAL WOMAN REPORTS MAPS OF PIRATE GOLD-MRS. BULA CROKER CONTACTS GREEN COVE TREASURE DIGGER FOR AID IN FINDING $76,000,000 OFF WEST COAST.

Mrs. Bula Edmundson Croker, widow of Richard C. (Boss) Croker, one-time Tammany Hall Chieftain, said last night she has two maps showing the location of $76,000,000 in pirate gold buried off the Florida West Coast.

Mrs. Croker said she had written J.P. Conway, contractor now digging for buried treasure in Green Cove Springs, and hoped that he would get in touch with her so they could work out an agreement to have him explore the area indicated on her maps.

She said the treasure is in two spots about 40 miles from Pensacola, in about 25 feet of water in a bayou, and she believes it is resting on rock bottom about 38 feet beneath the surface.

"I've been trying to find someone who is treasure minded," Mrs. Croker said.  "This fellow seems to know his business.  I believe he knows what he is doing, and I think he can find this gold." 

"These maps are authentic," said the widow of the one-time wealthy politician.  "They came from Madrid and were brought to this country by a Spaniard named Andrea."  She said Andrea arrived aboard a ship, "The Reflector," from Tampico, Mexico, and became ill in the home of James Faust.  She said Faust was given the maps by the dying Andrea.  Faust, she related, passed them on to his heirs, and Faust's grandson, Captain Walter M. Brown, gave them to her about the time of his death in 1936.

Mrs. Croker said one map shows the location of $4,000,000 and the other $72,000,000.  She said the treasure was buried for 3 years, starting in 1781.

Mrs. Croker, a one-sixteenth Cherokee Indian who was born in Delaware County, Oklahoma, said she was a cousin of the late Will Rogers.  She married Croker in New York in 1914.  He died in the Croker estate, Glencairn Castle, near Dublin, Ireland, April 29, 1922.

The widow lived in the Croker winter home, "Wigwam" at Palm Beach until recently when it was torn down.  Now she lives in a rooming house here. 

GREEN COVE SPRINGS (AP) - J.T. Conway, contractor on G.F. Mobley's digging job here for $4,000,000 in buried pirate loot, said yesterday he planned to contact Mrs. Bula Croker in response to her letter concerning $76,000,000 in pirate gold off Florida's West Coast.

His first job, he indicated, however, was to complete the search here for the 80-year-old Mobley and his financial backer, Dr. H.H. Humphries of Jacksonville.

In her letter to Conway, Mrs. Croker said "the big treasure" is in five chests "placed like the five spots on dice."  "The middle chest contains a silver pitcher sealed with uncut diamonds and emeralds, and two solid gold altar candlesticks and a solid gold bowl for holy water."

According to Mrs. Croker's letter, these were "stolen from Catholic churches in Mexico and South America."