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Friday, October 29, 2010

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."

2 comments:

  1. Mrs. Bula Croker is known for partially salvaging the "Santa Margharita" off Palm Beach, Florida, but don't know if anything was salvaged near Pensacola by her.

    Also, here is an interesting link with some info about Bula Croker's life and history:
    http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/bula-benton-edmundson-croker

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  2. The book "Tequestra: Pirates and Treasure Trove of South Florida" by David O. True tells us in one excerpt:

    "Under the waters of Choctawhatchee Bay are the wrecks of a dozen pirate ships, some dating after the American occupation, and culminating with the glamorous story of Billy "Bowlegs" Rogers and his millions."

    http://digitalcollections.fiu.edu/tequesta/files/1946/46_1_01.pdf

    Any info / contributions welcome on what pirates might have been in the area during 1781-1784 when this treasure was sunk, where this gold and artifacts might have been stolen from in Mexico, any other news on this woman, the contractor/ digger, or their financial backers, any finds in the bay or specifically any of the many bayous, and do any of their depths and distances match well (Churchill, Hogtown, Boggy, LaGrange, Rocky, Garnier, etc.)?

    Of course, hurricanes have disturbed the area over the years, but if true as mentioned in many Billy Bowlegs stories that some treasure has washed up on nearby islands, and considering the vast amount of treasure that has been lost, the islands, beaches, and shallow areas around the Choctawhatchee Bay would seem to hold great potential for metal detecting after major storms.

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