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.