Posts Tagged With: Pirates

10 Lethal American Highwaymen History Forgot About…..

Highwaymen were the pirates of the land, robbing travelers along public roads leaving a path of terror in their wake. The following ten tales focus specifically on American highwaymen whose monstrous and murderous deeds throughout history have, until now, seamlessly faded from present day literature.


10The Doan Brothers


Between 1781 and 1788, the Doan brothers terrorized eastern Pennsylvania with a string of robberies, shootouts, and jailbreaks in what many historians claim was the result of retribution. Prior to their criminal ways, the brothers were Quakers until the Patriots confiscated their father’s land during the American Revolutionary War. In retaliation, the siblings began a life of debauchery and crime, ultimately forming a gang consisting of at least thirty men.

One of the gang’s biggest heists was the Newtown Treasury in which they made off with £1,307. None of the money was ever recovered. Unfortunately for the Doan brothers, their years of luck would soon run out. The oldest sibling, Moses, was shot and killed by authorities, while Levi Doan and Cousin Abraham were hanged in Philadelphia. The three remaining brothers managed to escape; Mahon is theorized to have sailed to England following his break-out from a Baltimore jail while Aaron and Joseph headed north to Canada.

9Ben Kuhl


The last horse drawn stage robbery in the United States was on December 5, 1916, outside Jarbidge, Nevada. Fred Searcy, the driver of the first-class mail stage, was found shot in the back of the head with the culprits fleeing with $4,000 in gold coins.

Police later discovered, in the vicinity of the crime, a discarded black overcoat and a bloody envelope. The coat was recognized by townspeople to have belonged to Ben Kuhl, a troubled drifter with a lengthy rap sheet. Kuhl was tracked down and arrested along with three of his friends, one of whom would testify against him. In addition to countless testimony from several witnesses, the most damaging piece of evidence was the envelope containing the bloody palm print. For the first time in American history, palm prints were entered into court evidence, and this led to the Kuhl’s conviction and sentence of death.

After his death sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment, Plummer was released at the age of 61 in April 1943. He would die of tuberculosis only one year later.


8Joseph Thompson Hare


In 1790, Joseph Hare traveled from Pennsylvania to New Orleans upon where he befriended three men who shared the same conniving and murderous ways as he. On the men’s voyage back north, the four robbed and murdered countless peddlers and farmers while disguising themselves in a horrific fashion; smearing their faces with dark berries, allowing for a bloody and grotesque appearance guaranteed to cast fear. Throughout their coarse journey, they would encounter and trade with Indians, as well as obtain counterfeit passports for which they would be jailed by the Spaniards during the Spanish-American War.

Following their early release, Hare began experiencing ghostly hallucinations on the wooded trails of the country, at one point witnessing a “magnificent white horse.” The apparition stopped Hare in his tracks long enough—following a recent crime in which he was in pursuit by a vigilante posse—that he was captured and spent the next five years in prison. Following his release, Hare declared himself a changed man. Despite his newfound sense of self, he was arrested the following year for the robbery of a Baltimore night mail coach. For this crime, Hare was hanged in front of a crowd of 1,500 people on September 10, 1818.

7Michael Martin


In Ireland 1816, 20-year-old Michael Martin was offered a “partnership” by a man he met at a tavern who went by the name, Captain Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt saw potential in Martin who was an exceptionally fast runner, thus, dubbed him “Captain Lightfoot”. Armed with brass pistols, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot began robbing wealthy highway travelers, never once stealing from women or the poor. Their chivalrous thievery brought the two all over Ireland, Scotland, and England until the day Martin made the journey to the United States, never again seeing his mentor Captain Thunderbolt. In America, Martin began his old ways by robbing unsuspecting people as he traveled throughout the East Coast.

Martin’s last highway victims were a Boston dignitary Major Bray and his wife. Following the robbery of $12, Martin made off into the night but was soon captured by authorities. While in prison, Martin viciously attacked a jailor which allowed him to escape and flee to the countryside. He was eventually recaptured in Springfield, and in 1821 he became the first and last person to be hanged in Massachusetts for highway robbery.

6James Ford


For a man who served respectable offices—Tennessee delegate, county Sheriff, justice of the peace, Captain of the Livingston County Cavalry, and overseer of the poor—James Ford was the epitome of service to his respected communities, yet what lay underneath the facade was a dark and sinister man.

Of the many talents Ford possessed, he was a well-skilled ferry operator who worked the streams of the infamous Cave-in-Rock waters. Ford, who has been described as “Satan’s Ferryman,” was nothing more than a skilled counterfeiter turned murderous river pirate known for creating the “Ford’s Ferry Gang”; a cast of degenerates who preyed on travelers passing through the vicinity.

Ford’s gang of hoodlums would ravage and murder the region for the better part of the 1820s until their reign of terror came to a sudden and unforeseen halt. In 1833, a mob of unknown vigilantes took the law into their own hands and assassinated the gang leader bringing to an end a decade of violence and death.


5The Potts Inn


Even after the death of James Ford, lawlessness continued along the Ford’s Ferry High Water Road, only now the unsuspecting victims would first be made to feel right at home. Potts Springs was the location of Potts Inn, a quaint residence where travelers seeking food and lodging could lay their heads for the night.

The Inn was owned and operated by none other than husband and wife, Isaiah and Polly Potts who primarily catered to ferry goers. Whether renting a room for the night or merely stopping by the Inn’s tavern while passing through, the Potts would murder their guests and bury their remains in a shallow grave. In fact, one did not even have to be a guest of the murderous couple to fall prey, given that many travelers were killed along the route leading to the Inn. It is said that the Potts’ long lost son, Billy, was lured to the tavern and murdered, all the while both parties never recognizing one another.

4David Lewis


Soon after enlisting in the Army at the age of 17, David Lewis became a deserter. Escaping the death sentence bestowed by the Military Court, Lewis broke from the shackles of the ball and chain. He would soon make his way to Vermont where he embarked on a new trade, counterfeiting.

Following his second imprisonment, Lewis escaped with the help of his future bride, Melinda. After relocating his operations out of the Doubling Gap Hotel, Lewis focused his sights on the city’s elite, robbing those he assumed would bring in the highest amount. After a profitable succession of robbing the wagons of wealthy travelers, the “Robin Hood of Pennsylvania” was in due course wounded and captured. In the end, gangrene infested his wounds and he died in jail in 1820.

3Henry Plummer


In 1856, Henry Plummer was elected sheriff of Nevada City, California and served two terms before he was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his mistress’ husband. Having served only six months in San Quentin before being pardoned by the governor, Plummer returned to Nevada City, this time he was elected to Assistant Marshal. Avoiding prosecution for killing a man in a whorehouse brawl, Plummer fled in 1861, ultimately settling in Idaho where he took up with a gang of highwaymen.

Due to his influence, the gang became known as “The Innocence” who robbed and murdered travailing miners. In 1863, “The Innocence” followed Plummer to Bannack, Montana, where he was elected sheriff. While in office, Plummer ran an effective and deadly criminal ring, providing his henchmen with the routes of gold shipments, as well as their protection, all the while the gang ran rampant in Bannack without the fear of ramification. After the robbery and murder of more than 100 locals, a team of nearly 2,000 settlers turned vigilantes captured and hanged a weeping Plummer and two of his men on the same gallows the crooked sheriff had prepared for another.

2Samuel Mason


The infamous shelter for roaming highwaymen, Cave-in-Rock, became a temporary respite for Samuel Mason in 1797. The Ohio River, situated on the Illinois-Kentucky border, was the site of Mason’s criminal headquarters. He murdered all who trespassed through his waters. Mason’s river piracies involved setting up a sign near the cave that read “Liquor Vault and House of Entertainment,” leading many unsuspecting victims into a deathtrap.

Once aground, any and all were murdered by Mason’s heinous band of criminals, in addition to the countless who were attracted to shore due to the beautiful “stranded” women hired by Mason. The bodies of the dead were gutted and filled and with rocks so they would sink to the bottom of the river, while all valuables were sold in New Orleans.

After Mason and his accomplices were detained by Spanish authorities in 1803, they escaped en route to Tennessee after murdering the commander overseeing their transport to American territory. Because of this, the bounty on Mason’s head substantially increased, leading one of his gang affiliates to take note. In July 1803, Mason’s head was cut off by his trusted criminal associate, Little Harpe, who brought it back to Mississippi to claim the reward.

1The Harpe Brothers


The Harpe Brothers are often referred to as America’s first true serial killers. Regardless of the assessments factuality, Micajah (“Big Harpe”) and Wiley (“Little Harpe”) left an endless trail of mutilated corpses throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, casting fear in the hearts of frontier families. They murdered not for financial gain, but for the love of the sport. Their lust for death proved even too much for fellow outlaws to bear, casting the brothers out of the Cave-in-Rock territory. Nevertheless, they continued their murderous spree of torture and disembowelment, with no discrimination pertaining to age, gender, or race. No one was spared. Their victim count is estimated to be between 25 to 50, although the actual number has never been known.

Big Harpe met his end from the blade of a tomahawk in July 1799. Subsequently, he was decapitated, and his head was fixed to a tree where it remained for ten years. Little Harpe escaped authorities and later joined the forces of Samuel Mason’s gang. After beheading Mason, Little Harpe strolled into town with the intention to claim his rightful reward only to be immediately recognized by officials. Consequently, Little Harpe was arrested and hanged in 1804.

Categories: gold, gold coins, gold jewelry, Legends, Old West, Strange News, Uncategorized, Unlawfull | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Treasure of New Jersey

For those treasure hunters interested in searching for pirate loot along New Jerseys coastline, they should read the book Folklore and Folkways on New Jersey, and also the Newark Daily Advertiser for December 27, 1834.
It was in mid-April 1903 that concerned neighbors became worried about Patrick Flynn. He was 82 years old, and he was known as the Hermit of Harkers Hollow. Flynn hadnt been seen for several days around his house or in the surrounding area of Belvedere, N. J. They checked his home and found the old man dead.

Flynn, a bachelor, had a distrust for banks, and it was common knowledge among his neighbors that he hoarded all the money that came into his possession. Seeking to locate his wealth now that he was dead, a search was made. The search was productive on every hand. In fact, wherever the men searched, they found money, was the official report. About $3000 was found by the neighbors.

These neighbors knew that Flynn had a sister living in New York, and they wired her the news of Flynns death. After arriving on the scene, and seeing what money and valuables the neighbors had found, the sister alleged that the money found was only a small part of her brothers wealth.

Without a waybill, or even an estimate of how much money the old man had buried or hidden, the amount left behind was and still is unknown. But from all indications, the remaining treasure of the Hermit of Harkers Hollow is well worth a modern treasure hunters quest.

A man named Arthur Barry, about whom very little is known, is said to have buried a considerable fortune on Schooleys Mountain, sometimes known locally as Hackettstown Mountain, while a guest at the health resort. It is believed that Barrys treasure was buried along the grade up the slope near the old stone huts of the early German settlers. Schooleys Mountain Springs was known to the Indians as a remedy for rheumatism and skin eruptions, and has been famous as a health resort since 1770. This should also be a good location for artifact hunting.

There are approximately 1800 silver bars still unrecovered off Sewaren, N. J. that would be well worth checking into by a treasure hunter who is experienced as a diver. Here is the story:

The Mallory Shipping Line brought the silver ingots, consisting of 7678 silver pigs, each weighing about 100 pounds each, from Mexico for the American Smelting and Refining Company. On the night of September 27, 1905, the silver was being towed on the deck of the barge Harold from Elizabethport to Perth Amboy.

The silver had been loaded secretly at dusk by stevedores. As it turned out, a haphazard job of loading had been done. Some time during the night, while being towed, the huge cargo of silver shifted and about 400 tons went overboard. The captain of the barge Harold, Peter Moore, was asleep on another barge and did not know that the silver had been lost until the Harold docked the next morning with only 200 ingots of silver lying scattered on her deck.

A contract was given to the Baxter Wrecking Company to locate and salvage the lost silver. A crew was selected and then sworn to secrecy. William H. Timans, an experienced salvage operator, was put in charge of the operation. After a few days of dragging Staten Sound, contact was made in an area known as Storys Flat.

Within five days, 3000 ingots had been retrieved through the use of a mechanical shovel, grappling hooks, and divers who brought the bullion up by hand. By October 16, another 2500 ingots were retrieved and sent to the smelter.

The wrecking company then abandoned the rest of the silver because of threats made by local water pirates and the insurance company, after paying off, forgot about it. The approximately 1800 silver ingots that remain in Storys Flat, on the bottom of Staten Sound, off Sewaren, could be worthwhile to search for.

A lost site in New Jersey once yielded the largest spinel crystals in the world. One crystal weighed almost 30 pounds, and there could be other fabulous crystals still there.

As the demand for spinel increases, the lost mine becomes more and more valuable. Records show it was worked in the early 1800s, and was located about half a mile south of the old town of Amity, in New York, in Sussex County, just across the state line.

One clue to finding the spot is the fact that less valuable deposits of green, black, and brown spinel crystals are found in a broad belt of Franklin Marble that stretches across Sussex County, N. J., and Orange County, N. Y. The crystals usually occur in raised hummocks of marble.

Spinel is a hard crystalline combination of magnesium oxide and aluminum. It can be almost any color, from clear to bright red or even black. It sometimes reaches gem quality and can be quite valuable.

It is a known fact that the notorious Captain Teach, better known as Blackbeard, made his headquarters at various times near Long Beach. It is believed by many that he buried large amounts of treasure here before he was killed at Ocracoke, North Carolina, in 1718.

The nearby back bays of Brigantine were a favorite stomping ground of Captain William Kidd. It was his interest in a farm less identified only as Amanda from Ocean County, who lived in the vicinity of Barnegat that eventually led to his capture. Captain Kidd is said to have buried a large share of loot near the mouth of Mullica River or in the vicinity of Oyster Creek, just south of Long Beach.

It is also rumored that the pirate John Bacon and his crew buried loot on Long Beach during the 1780s.

During the 40 years prior to 1878, more than 125 ships are known to have wrecked in the vicinity of Long Beach Island and left their bones on the beach. This stretch of coastline is truly named Graveyard of the Atlantic. Here are a few of the known wrecks.

The Spanish frigate Sagunto wrecked on the southeast point of Smuttynose Island in January 1813. Fifteen of her crew survived the wreck and reached the island, only to freeze to death. Several silver bars have been found among the rocks in shallow water near the island. These are believed to have come from the unfortunate Sagunto.

The City of Athens, with $300,000 in her strong room, lies off Cape May at the southern tip of New Jersey.

In 1769, the schooner Live Oak went down off Squaw Beach, carrying $20,000 in specie for the British troops in America.

A British ship, type unspecified, was bound from Liverpool, England, to New York, when she grounded and wrecked on the southern end of Brigantine Shoals. Her cargo was tea and silver plate.

The 1248-ton wooden steamer Cassandra wrecked in February 1867, while en route from New Orleans to New York. In 1968, coins were found under her hull that dated from 1804 to 1850. The coins were coated with tar and as the practice of placing coins in tar barrels for concealment was a popular thing during this period, it is believed that more money is still within the wreck.

The Delaware sank in 1898, three miles off Point Pleasant. Her reported cargo, including gold bullion, was $250,000.

There is a wrecked ship off the shore at Ft. Mercer. Local legend says it was a Spanish galleon. The date of sinking and cargo are unknown.

If you are a diver who likes well-aged whiskey, a different kind of treasure awaits you off New Jerseys Sandy Hook. Back in 1922, the Lizzie D., a rum-runner, sank midway between New Jersey and Long Islands Jones Inlet. Her cargo was a great quantity of Scotch whiskey and Canadian rye. The ghost of the old Lizzie D. and other vessels, including the San Diego, the Oregon, and the Iberia, haunt treasure seekers off the Jersey coast, who strip the ships for portholes, bells, and brass trimmings.

In July 1978, treasure diver John Larson, of South Amboy, and four companions found nearly 200 bottles of liquor in the hulk of the Lizzie D. We werent overly greedy. We figured we could always go back, so we only brought up a few bottles apiece, their report said.

This area can have great attraction for a diver, as an estimated 4000 ships have sunk there since the 18th century.

Situated near a center of population is tiny Absecon Island, just across Absecon Inlet from Atlantic City. This island bears heavy overtones of buried pirate treasure. In olden days the islanders were not above doing a bit of ship-wrecking for profit. During violent Atlantic storms, these islanders often lured ships onto the dangerous Brigantine shoals in order to plunder them.

The decoy was a lantern hanging from a pole lashed to a jackass, which was led back and forth along the beach. To a ship in the outer, storm-tossed waters, the bouncing light would seem that of a vessel peacefully riding out the storm in a sheltered harbor. The shoals completed the work of wrecking the incoming vessel.

The islanders then put off in boats to salvage the cargo of the doomed ship, taking action to murder any surviving crewmen, for dead men tell no tales.

Being deeply religious in some matters, the islanders taught their children to pray that a ship would run aground.

The beach here often turns up old coins from unfortunate wrecks. The best time for coin-shooting is after a storm when coins work their way up to the surface.

During the early 1700s, there were over 1500 pirates operating along Atlantic coast, and several are alleged to have buried plunder on Absecon Island.

Further to the north, separated from the mainland of Ocean County, by Barnegat Bay, is Island Beach, eight miles of perfect beach and grassy sand dunes extending to the north side of Barnegat Inlet. During the Revolutionary War, John Bacon and his notorious Barnegat pirates held this beach as their base of operations. A scourge of the Jersey coast, Bacon was shot by a band of patriots in 1783, while whooping it up at a tavern near West Creek. He never had a chance to say where the bulk of his loot was hidden on Island Beach. Perhaps you may be fortunate enough to find it.

The mansion that was once the Seven Stars Tavern still stands today with the builders initials and the date of completion, 1762, on its wall. There is quite a story connected to this mansion, and the folks in the Woodstown area of southern New Jersey have been passing it along since shortly after the Revolutionary War.

Peter Louderback was a German immigrant to the colonies who worked in Newark, N. J. As the story goes, his boss had a beautiful daughter. Romance being much on a young mans mind, then as now, he fell in love with her. Apparently her father disapproved, for Peter and Elizabeth eloped and ran away to South Jersey to be together.

Peter had no intention of remaining poor and perhaps he felt he owed his wife more than a mere existence, since she was accustomed to some luxury. Anyway, he set about building a tavern. He worked hard and when the tavern was complete, it was a fine example of good workmanship, built strong enough to last many generations. It still stands today on Kings Highway, just outside Woodtown.

Louderbach not only knew how to work with his hands, he was also a shrewd businessman. His Sign of the Seven Stars was built on the main road, so he had a steady flow of stagecoach travelers who kept him and his wife busy caring for their needs.

For several years the Louderbachs prospered financially, and then bad luck struck them. Perhaps it was the hard work, or maybe one of the illnesses so prevalent in those times, but Peter died while still in his prime, leaving his widow the task of raising the family and keeping the tavern.

She carried on for a time but eventually the burden became too much, both physically and financially, and she was forced to sell. The fact that she was in need of cash shocked one and all for miles around and caused many to wonder what had happened to the fortune Peter had amassed. For reasons nobody will ever know, the location of his hidden wealth was something he kept secret, even from Elizabeth.

Should you decide to go after Louderbachs cache, consider these additional facts. Research established that the original property consisted of over 100 acres, plenty of area in which to hide even a big pot of money. Although the land is more populated today than it was in Louderbachs time, a good deal of it is still horse and cow pasture.

A short distance from Jersey City, N. J., is the small town of Homestead in Hudson County. Here Hendrick Dempster lived until his death in 1873. As he was a successful farmer, people were surprised when little money was found after Dempsters death. It was assumed that he cached it all.

The bulk of the cache is given as $38,000 in gold coins, worth twenty or more times that amount on todays market. The coins are said to be buried beneath a hill on his farm.

In 1923, two teenagers were found by a farm hand from Dempsters farm. They had been tunneling under the hill for 10 days. Before being asked to remove themselves, they did discover a filled passageway in the hill.

In 1951, Ed Torski uncovered a cache on a New Jersey farm. Because of documents found with the cache, it was thought to be part of an auto manufacturers hoard, rather than Dempsters. The exact location of the find was not given, and for good reason.

As far as is known, Dempsters cache of gold coins still awaits some persistent treasure hunter.

The amount of money that is probably still hidden at this little-known treasure site could be in excess of $100,000.

Up until the moment of his death, in the early 1900s, Furman Dubell denied that he had any wealth other than the home he lived in and the surrounding property. From evidence uncovered by Furmans relatives after his death, the estate and what was hidden was valued at $300,000 to $500,000.

His relatives began a search in which they found $9000 in gold, silver, and old paper bills, mostly $100.00 denominations. The bills were found between the leaves of an old book, and the gold and silver were hidden beneath the carpet, in recesses and out of the way places and buried near the shrubbery on the grounds. In one room full of rubbish, $1700 was found in a peck measuring bucket. An old cigar box contained $2500 in gold coins. Between the pages of an old pamphlet 38 $100 bills were found. Old trunks, clothes, and closets had money stuffed in pockets or cracks in walls.

Dubell received a yearly income from his estate. This money he reinvested in securities, bonds, and mortgages. He owned quite a bit of real estate in Burlington, and let several aged and needy people live in different buildings he owned rent-free.

For years he had lived on so little that his neighbors wondered how he had managed to survive. Dubell did not trust banks or any type of company savings institutions, so his income was kept at home. He had accumulated a fortune over the years through frugal living and wise investments.

Dubell had no use for his few relatives. His family, after extensive searching, could account for only about half of his wealth, about $200,000. They could only guess as to where the rest was hidden. This would be a very good location for local research. Check with the recorder of deeds in Burlington, N. J., to locate exactly where the property stood in 1905.

Buried outlaw loot in New Jersey? It may sound incredible to those who believe that only the Old West had outlaws, but back in the early days, in the states lonely and primitive Pine Barrens, there roamed a band of desperadoes whose deeds of daring banditry kept the residents of Monmouth County in constant fear. They never knew when members of the band might appear at their door to claim their belongings and possibly their lives.

The leader of these New Jersey cutthroats was one Jacob Fagan, described as a monster of wickedness. The reward for his capture at one time reached $500, a huge amount in those days. His right-hand man, Lewis Fenton, was considered as dangerous, if not more so, than the gang leader himself.

These two men and their numerous accomplices, including a renegade named Burke, robbed, burned, murdered, and maimed their way through the Pine Barrens, always returning to the safety of their hidden caves just outside Farmingdale in Monmouth County.

The caves werent formed by nature. Rather, they were holes dug on a downward angle into the side of a steep hill. Inside the walls were braced with timber, and the caves were several feet wide. A small trap-door gave access to each cave, and was so arranged that when shut it could be concealed from sight by leaves and branches.

From the top of the hills, the bandits could see the country for miles around, and the narrow entrance to their hideout could easily be defended.

Fagans favorite ploy was to attack a farmhouse while the men were away, and the women were at home alone. This was easily accomplished since most of the able-bodied men were off fighting the War of Independence.

One such account concerns the family of Major Benjamin Dennis, who was attached to Light Horse Henry Lees cavalry detachment at Monmouth Courthouse, now Freehold, N. J. Major Dennis house was located about three miles from Allaire on the Manasquan River. As one man went ahead to see if the women were alone, Fagan, Fenton, and Burke followed in a wagon which was to be used later to carry the loot.

Actually, the man sent ahead, whose name was Smith, was a spy. He warned Mrs. Dennis of the impending attack, and advised her to give up her valuables without resistance. But when the outlaws appeared, she refused. For this they decided to hang her. Luckily, her hired hand returned before they could finish the gruesome task. When he saw what was happening, he fired a shot from the edge of the woods, and the outlaws, suspecting they might be outnumbered, fled the scene.

But Fagans greed would not allow him to give up so easily, and a second raid was planned on the Dennis household a few nights later. This proved to be his undoing, for Smith warned Major Dennis, who was ready and waiting as the unsuspecting outlaw drove up to the farmhouse for a second time.

Fenton and Smith escaped, but the soldiers with Major Dennis killed Burke and mortally wounded Fagan. Fagan soon died, and his body was hung from a chestnut tree on the Colts Neck Road about one mile east of Monmouth Courthouse as a grim reminder to any other would-be lawbreakers in the area.

Fagan died of his wounds in 1778. About a year later, Fenton met a rather undignified end, when he was shot by soldiers while stealing a mug of rum from in front of Our House Tavern.

In all, more than 25 Pine Barren Robbers were either shot or hung at Monmouth Courthouse alone, for murder, robbery, and treason. Did any of them bury their individual shares of loot in or near the hillside caves that they used as their hideout?

It seems highly probable. Certainly they didnt use banks, and so it seems reasonable that there would be several caches in or near the caves, caches the individuals were unable to recover because of their sudden capture and execution.

If there wasnt considerable recorded evidence that it did happen, this location of approximately $100,000 in gems that was hidden during the Depression of the 1930s, on a farm in New Jersey, would sound like fiction.

In July 1931, a quiet, cultured man stopped at the farm of Otto Rutter, just outside Andover, N. J., and inquired whether he could obtain room and board. He said he was tired of big city life and wanted to live quietly.

His income seemed to come from his job as a windshield wiper salesman. He would be gone several days at a time and always returned to the farm after dark. These actions aroused no suspicion in those Depression days when everyone was making a living as best they could.

The lodger obtained New York newspapers daily and seemed very interested in the news. He ran up a two weeks bill for newspapers at the newsstand of George Losey in Andover. This act was his downfall, because on October 22, 1932, detectives acting on a tip were showing a photo of Arthur Barry, a talented second-story thief that they believed to be hiding in the area, to local residents.

When Losey saw the photo he recognized the lodger at Otto Rutters, who had not paid him in two weeks. It had seemed strange to Losey that anyone living on a farm in New Jersey would be so interested in a complete set of New York newspapers each day.

Losey led the detectives to the farm. Otto Rutter was surprised to learn that the lodger was Arthur Barry, one of the most wanted criminals in the country. Barry had been the target of a large manhunt for several months. He was well known to the police and had accumulated over $2,000,000 during his crime career. His specialty was second-story burglary and his favorite items to steal were money and jewelry.

The law had caught Barry once before and put him into Auburn Prison in New York. With connections outside the prison, it wasnt long before Barry had guns smuggled in and had helped to instigate a riot during which he shot his way out of prison. Deciding to lie low for a while, he had gone to New Jersey.

After his capture, authorities accounted for all of the loot that Barry had stolen but $100,000 that they believed he had hidden somewhere around Rutters farm. This has never been reported found.

I quote, in part, from a special news item sent to the New York Times for October 22, 1933, from Newton, N. J.: Arthur Barry, the notorious sneak thief, who got away with more than $2,000,000 in gems from exclusive homes in Nassau and Westchester Counties five years ago, and who subsequently shot his way out of Auburn Prison during the riot there in July 1929, was captured tonight near here on a lonely farm, where he had been living under an alias for the past year.

Reported by the New York Times for March 9, 1933, prior to the arrest of Barry, again I quote in part: Ronkonkomo, Long IslandFour men found a gold mesh handbag filled with jewelry beneath the root of a tree they were felling on Lakewood Avenue. After an examination of the jewelry, from which most of the gems had been removed, the police said they were confident that the jewelry had been buried after one of a series of robberies of Long Island homes by Arthur Barry and Boston Billy Monahan. This is part of the jewelry that was recovered. More was stolen that has never been seen again. There are old-timers still living in the area who can remember when Barry was captured.

Another Pine Barrens robber was Old Joe Mulliner, who really got around. He was a 19th century outlaw of this area, a sparsely populated area in southern New Jersey.

Mulliner and his band of ruthless thugs ravaged the countryside, held up stages, burned and pillaged farms, and terrorized the women while the men folk were off fighting the British. Joes justification for these acts was that he was loyal to the Crown.

Actually, the Pine Barrens was Joes playground. Even today it is easy to imagine those rogues losing themselves in the endless forest. This sprawling 100,000-acre tract covering portions of three counties has long, unbroken stretches of wilderness.

That Joe accumulated enough gold to bury is borne out by the many accounts of raids and hold-ups committed by his gang. It has been estimated that his gang numbered between 40 and 100 men, most of them wartime riffraff and a foul crew by any standards. Daring, cunning, and capable of anything, they usually raided at night, sometimes masked, and at other times more boldly. Seizures of noted persons, demands for ransom, and payments of high tribute filled their record books.

Joe was often pictured as a happy rogue with the warm heart of a Robin Hood. This swaggering Englishmans particular weakness was for tavern parties, barn dances, and other such frolics.

It was this love of dancing and the ladies that spelled disaster for Joe Mulliner. With the depredations of his gang casting terror over South Jersey, men of the vicinity organized a company of rangers under the command of Captain Baylin, an old Indian fighter.

One night, longing for gentler company than that of his band, Joe recklessly appeared at New Columbia, later Nescochague and now known as Nesco, where he danced with nimble step among the best of the party. One of the men slipped out to carry word to Captain Baylin. In no time, the building was surrounded and for the first time in his life, Joe became a prisoner.

Under arrest, he was taken to Burlington, N. J., where he was charged with banditry and treason. Conviction and sentencing to the gallows followed shortly thereafter. He was placed in a wagon, with his coffin, and taken to a spot called Gallows Hill, and there hung.

Mulliners body was sent to his wife at Pleasant Mills, where he was buried. Captain Baylin pursued the remaining gang members and, after a grueling fight at Hemlock Swamp, brought them to bay. A few were shot and at least one, an army deserter, was hung at Crowleys Point.

Since he certainly did not have time to retrieve them, some of the caches made by Joseph Mulliner are still hidden somewhere around Cold Spring, Mordecai, or Hemlock Swamps, in southern New Jersey. Here is where local research could pay off for an interested treasure hunter.

A howling gale lashed the four-masted brigantine Sindia as she struggled up the New Jersey coast. Her captain, Allen McKenzie, worriedly peered through the darkness of the December night.

Shortly before two oclock on Sunday morning, December 15, 1901, the Sindia beached herself 150 yards off Ocean Citys boardwalk. Stuck fast, her 200-ton ballast of manganese ore slowly dug the Sindias sandy grave as the bellowing wind rocked the ship to and fro.

By daybreak, the wind had turned the Sindia from west to south, paralleling her to the shore. Her torn and shredded sails snapped loudly with each blast from the gale.

The Sindia was built in 1887, and for her first five years, was propelled by steam power. Then she was stripped of her engines and fitted with three square-rigged masts and a schooner-rigged mast. Her steep steel hull knifed through 200,000 miles of seas without mishap until she plied up off Ocean City that bitter December morning. During Sindias day she was considered the finest and fastest ship of her type afloat, and was valued at $200,000.

On her last voyage, the Sindia was loaded at Kobe, Japan, with an estimated $1,200,000 in fine china, manganese ore, oil, and a two-ton idol of a forbidden sect, which Captain McKenzie refused to stow anywhere except in the hold.

Although many attempts have been made to salvage Sindias cargo, most of it still lies in the bowels of the ship. Of the 3315 boxes of fine china listed on the ships manifest, only a small amount was recovered. Some of these beautiful and expensive pieces can be seen in the Ocean City Historical Museum. But no one has ever tried to recover the idol.

Treacherous offshore swells make seaward salvage attempts impossible. One land operation was made by building a railway to the ship. But whatever force was watching over Sindias grave stirred up a southeast wind, plummeted the small engine into the surf, and tore up the rails.

As time passed, Sindias masts cracked and tumbled into the ocean. Finally, Sindia was left to her fate. She burrowed ever deeper into the sand until only her tiller and rudder were visible.

Today, Sindias tiller looms up in the frothing surf off 17th Street, a lonely tombstone with screeching seagulls as her ever-watchful sentinels.

In the year 1802, a vast Spanish fleet began assembling in the harbor at Vera Cruz and off Point Lizardo, Mexico. They were to transport an immense fortune to Spain, a staggering hoard valued in the tens of millions of dollars. There were 23 ships, and all but five packed to their bulkheads with treasure.

Among these many ships was the frigate Juno. She was a massive vessel, carrying 34 cannon and possessing a deep draught with a wide beam. Her cavernous holds were loaded with an incredible amount of riches, mostly crates of long, flattened silver ingots. Below decks aft she also carried three dozen smaller chests of silver coins and gold sovereigns. Her total store has been valued at $3,500,000.

It was shortly after dawn when the Junos crew turned, to cast off the lines and brought the ship into the harbors basin, where she assumed her proper position in the line. About 30 minutes later, the procession sailed from Vera Cruz Bay. Some 15 miles to the south, the fleet rendezvoused with an escort of five warships. The expanded flotilla sailed on, following the coastal crescent of the Yucatan Peninsula.

They crossed the Yucatan Channel without incident and quickly swept south, skirting Cuba. The winds were brisk and steady, allowing them to make excellent time. The gusts, in fact, were a bit too favorable, allowing the lighter and swifter ships an advantage. Soon, many of the vessels were strung out for miles in a staggered parade, barely in sight of one another.

The Juno was already off-course to the north when she entered the Santaren Channel, which feeds the Straits of Florida. The powerful tail-winds blew incessantly, pressing the ship hard up along Americas eastern seaboard.

As time elapsed, however, the blustering winds and driving seas began to take their toll. Leaks began to develop. Other ships in the scattered squadron spotted the Juno intermittently during the next few days, until the 27th of October. She was last sighted wallowing in heavy seas off Delaware Bay, far up the American shore. Neither the frigate nor her crew would ever be seen again.

The small leaks gradually became larger, and the ship settled deeper and deeper into the pitching sea. Finally, on the night of the 27th, the Junos weakened support ribs gave way to the pounding waves, and salt froth rushed into her holds. Completely flooded, she sank rapidly, taking all 425 crewmen to their deaths with her.

Becoming a tomb for her crew and a treasure vault worth over $3,000,000, her remains lie 20 miles east of Cape May, New Jersey, in some 180 feet of water. As far as is known, no salvage attempt has ever been made.


In the small village of Bloomsburg, in Burlington County, the Trenton Old Ferry Inn, or Royal Oak Inn, as it was also known, was both a tavern and a ferry. The ferry started around 1726 and about 1753 the tavern was opened. Stages between New York and Philadelphia stopped here. By 1797, the tavern was gone but the ferry was still being used.

Clunns Tavern at Lamberton, in Burlington County, was opened about 1773, and records show it was open as late as 1830.

White Horse, Burlington County, has an old tavern dating back to 1746, called White Horse Tavern. Tales connecting it with Joseph Bonaparte, who lived nearby at Bordentown, have persisted for years. He supposedly buried some treasure nearby.

The Old Eagle Tavern was between White Horse and Washington. It was first licensed in 1798. In 1849, Burlington County maps still showed it, although the building was not being used any longer.

Quaker Bridge was a very busy little hamlet in the 1830s. It was located about four miles from Astion Furnace on the Old Tuckerton Road in Burlington County. A tavern was opened in 1809 and stayed open as late as 1849. Today, all signs of both the tavern and the village are gone.

Washingtons Tavern, located at the crossroads of the Tuckerton State Road and the Breenback to Speedwell Road, was one of the most famous of the Pine Belt of Burlington County. It was opened about 1773 and was in business until 1854.

Bodines Tavern, near Martha Furnace and Tuckerton, was a very popular tavern from the early 1800s until about 1835. It was used as a training day site for the militia, and all local elections were held there.

Dunks Ferry dates from 1696, and is one of the oldest landings on the Delaware River. A tavern was built at the ferry in 1738 and lasted for well over a hundred years.

Where the Old York Road and the Burlington-Bordentown Road cross, a tavern known as Crocked Billet Tavern was open from 1746 until 1844.

The village of Three Tuns, also called Hedding, in Burlington County, had a tavern that was open from about 1793 until 1849 and went by the name Three Tuns Tavern.

Buddtown had a tavern in 1779 and as late as the mid-1930s, the building was still standing.

A tavern was opened around 1800 at what was known as Ongs Hut, now a ghost town.

Between Speedwell and Vincetown is a place known as Sooy Place. A tavern called Pine Tavern was opened around 1810 and closed in 1817. The building was still standing in the 1890s.

Just outside the village of Clarksboro, in Gloucester County, is where the famous Old Death of the Fox Tavern stood. It was known to be open as early as 1727. In 1817, it was still being used as a tavern. The barroom was often used as a courtroom and for years was a meeting place for fox hunts in the area.

The Pine Tavern at Pineville, in Gloucester County, was opened in 1752. It closed in 1840.

At Billingsport, Gloucester County, a tavern was licensed in 1782 and some time during 1800, a ferry was built close by.

In 1799, a tavern was opened by Mount Ephraim and later became a hotel. The tavern and hotel were a popular gathering place for sportsmen from all over the state.

On the edge of Lawrenceville, in Hunterdon County, is the spot where a tavern was licensed in 1749. The building was still standing in the mid-1900s, and was used as a tavern for many years.

Yardleys Tavern and Ferry was first licensed in 1729. It was moved from the original site about 1794, to a location in what was known as the Township of Trenton, in Hunterdon County.

Coryells Ferry Tavern was located where Lambertville is today. The tavern opened in 1726 and was operated by different owners until after the Revolutionary War. The stage road crossed the Delaware River here on the route to Newark and Jersey City, using the ferry. The tavern became a favorite stopping place for many. During the Revolutionary War, many Continental Army officers stopped here.

Warfords Tavern at Bryan, in Hunterdon County, began operation in 1773 and remained a popular stopping place until about 1835.

Bonnies Tavern at Clinton was first licensed in 1764. A regiment of minutemen from Hunterdon was organized here in 1774 and trained in the fields nearby. The tavern remained open until after 1800.

Friesburg Tavern first opened its doors in Salem County in 1747, and remained open until about 1780. The building was located across from the Emanuel German Lutheran Church.

At Hancocks Bridge, in Salem County, is the building that was Bakers Tavern. It is now known as the Hancock House. The tavern first opened in 1761, and records show that a tavern was still in existence as late as 1870.

This is just a partial listing of taverns in New Jersey. There were literally hundreds located within the state. The possibilities of finding coins, rings, and other items or relics are almost endless.


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Aug 2012….Pirate ship discovery could spark treasure hunt

A historic pirate ship containing a legendary bounty of sunken treasure is thought to have been discovered by divers in Tonga.

The wreck of the Port-au-Prince, a 200-year-old English ship of war, is believed to have been found off the coast of Foa Island, in the Ha’apai Island group.

It sailed into Pacific water in search of whales in 1806 after straying from its main mission of ambushing and capturing treasure from the ships of British enemies.

Upon finding the Port-au-Prince in Tongan waters, chief Finau Ulukalala and his people seized the ship and massacred most of the crew.

Local legend says Ulukalala then scuttled the vessel with nearly all its bounty still on board.

Sandra Fifita, a tourism marketing officer in the Tongan Government, says the discovery of the wreck may spark a fervent treasure hunt.

“If it proves to be the Port-au-Prince then we may have treasure hunters and Tongan locals clambering to find the remains of years of successful pirate raids against the enemies of the British.

“Legend tells that the Chief salvaged the iron, which was of great value in Tonga at the time, and then sunk the ship and all her bounty. It is believed that a considerable amount of copper, silver and gold is resting with the wreck, along with a number of silver candlesticks, incense pans, crucifixes and chalices.”
The arrival and eventual demise of the Port-au-Prince also resulted in one of the most valuable documentations of pre-Christian life in the Pacific Islands.

Chief Ulukalala took William Mariner; a young deck-hand on the Port-au-Prince, to live with him and his people for four years after the massacre.

On returning to England, Marriner wrote a detailed account of his experience.

“This is a significant find for the people of Tonga. This ship wreck will reveal a great deal of information about the history of Tonga and specifically the Ha’apai Islands,” Fifita says.

The ship wreck was discovered by local diver Tevita Moala.

Greenwich Maritime Museum and the Marine Archaeological Society confirmed the age of the wreck after analysing copper sheathing found at the site.

The sheathing was only used between 1780 and 1850 to combat shipworm and marine weeds.

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