1952—Uncovering Pirate Treasure: Massachusetts-based treasure hunter Edward Rowe Snow, on a visit to a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia, used a metal detector and old charts to find eight 18th-Century Spanish doubloons and parts of a skeleton that was still clutching the coins in its hand. The treasure was believed to have come from a Spanish galleon captured by pirates in 1725.
1946—Underground Stolen Money: Using a mine detector borrowed from the U.S. Army, postal inspectors uncovered $153,150 buried in the backyard of a deceased postal employee who had stolen the money years before. The loot had been stashed in jars and cans inside a length of stovepipe, and buried nine feet below the surface.
The stories of a treasure that was supposedly buried by Captain William Kidd are so numerous that it would be a waste of time to try to investigate them all. I will give the sites, near the state of Maine, where Kidd is rumored to have left part of his ill-gotten gains. I make no attempt to estimate the value of each treasure, but I will give the names of various islands Kidd is supposed to have visited. You will have to do the local research on these different locations.
The islands are: Orrs, Outer Heron, Squirrel, Monhegan, Hollowell, Pittston, Isle of Haute, Twobush, Oak Island, Deer, and Bailey.
There is an unusual treasure that is probably still where it was stored, about ten miles southwest of Portland, Maine, waiting to be found.
To some people the idea of searching for Egyptian mummies might seem sacrilegious, but remember that the mummies have already been taken from their original graves, transported to the United States, and are worth, on todays collectors market, in excess of $12,000 each. Here is the story.
In 1857, and thereafter for several years, newspaper publishers in this country faced a severe shortage of rags, which were necessary to add strength and body to wood fibers used in paper sheets. As the shortage of rags increased, large numbers of small newspapers went out of business.
Augustus Stanwood, a printer in Portland, Maine, was greatly affected by this rag shortage. Realizing that he would go broke, Stanwood looked around for a much-needed source of this ever-increasing shortage of fiber. One night, while drinking with a sea captain, Stanwood told him of his troubles. The sailing captain suggested using the cloth wrappings of mummies. (At this time the Egyptian grave sites were being exploited, and artifacts, coffins, and mummies were being sold by the thousands throughout the world.)
Augustus made a deal with the ships captain to obtain several dozen of these cloth-wrapped bodies. When the shipment arrived, Stanwood stored them on his property, in pits to preserve them, about ten miles southwest of Portland. During the next three to seven years, he used about half of the mummies, putting their linen and cotton wrappings into his paper grinders. The pulp made a very good grade of paper stock.
About this time the rag shortage let up because of the Civil War and the capture of huge stores of cotton by Union forces throughout the South. Thus, Stanwood did not need to use the rest of his mummies. After he tried to sell them and couldnt, Stanwood left the mummies in the pits he had dug on his property.
After Stanwood died, few people even remembered the mummies, and they are, as far as can be determined, still buried on the old Stanwood property, about ten miles southwest of Portland, Maine. If you arent afraid of ghosts, this unusual treasure could be worth thousands of dollars today.
Yellow Barn State Forest (Tompkins) The majority of the lands that cover Yellow Barn State Forest were once used for farming and pasture. However, the land could not support intensive agriculture. Farming came to an end during the Great Depression when many of Upstate New York’s hilltop farms became economically unproductive. Originally part of township number 23 of the military tract, the Yellow Barn State Forest lands were added to the State Forest System from 1956 to 2002. The most significant acquisition took place in January of 1956 when about 1,242 acres of federal lands were added to the State Forest. Chiefly former farms, the federal lands were acquired as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal under what was then called the federal sub marginal land purchase program. In total, 12 farms were acquired under the sub marginal land purchase program, with an average farm size of about 104 acres. The lands that comprise the Yellow Barn State Forest were once part of a rural farming community. In addition to the village of Dryden, a hamlet called California was settled at the intersection of Yellow Barn and Midline roads. The hamlet appears on a 1860 map. It was supposed to have received this name, commented Iva Cornelius Van Pelt (1904-2001) “from a group of pioneers whose original goal had been that far-western state (the 1849 California Gold Rush) but who so liked the hollow that they decided to remain here instead” (Gutchess, n.d.). The 1866 Atlas of Tompkins County indicates that A. Hard, J.W.D., W. Carpenter, J. Hammond, A.D. Card, D.B. Card, D.A. Chatfield, T. Robinson, O. Smith, A. Simon Est., J.H.N., B. Simons, P.M. Overbaugh, L. Griffin, T. Johnson and J. Vanorder owned land within the Yellow Barn State Forest. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt pushed forth his “New Deal” legislation in an effort to combat the rising unemployment epidemic caused by the Depression. This legislation offered many opportunities to Americans throughout the country, and it help start the process of reforestation in New York State. At the state level, the State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 were enacted. These laws were created to help stabilize the school tax base and authorized the then New York State Conservation Department to establish State Forests by gift or purchase. State Reforestation Areas, consisting of areas no less than 500 acres of contiguous land, were to be forever devoted to “reforestation and the establishment and maintenance of forests for watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, and for recreation and other kindred purposes” (Article 9, Title 5 and 7, Environmental Conservation Law). The New Deal, State Reforestation Law and Hewitt Amendment paved the way for the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933. The CCC enabled young men to be employed in various road building and forestry programs. Camp S-125 planted between 400,000 and 600,000 Scotch pine, European larch, Norway spruce, red pine, white pine, jack pine, red oak and Austrian pine seedlings in Yellow Barn State Forest.
West Osceola State Forest (Oswego) As with the majority of other state forests, the land that now encompasses West Osceola State Forest was originally purchased for reforestation by the State of New York during the 1930s. Prior to this, the landscape was comprised of a diverse matrix of crop lands, open fields, forest, meadows and homesteads. Unfortunately, the upland soils of the Tug Hill Plateau are characteristically rocky, highly acidic, and steep. Combined with intense winters common to the region, the fact that many farmers abandoned their properties in pursuit better lands in the midWest is understandable. The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 provided legislation which authorized the Department of Conservation to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation areas. These State Forests, consisting of no less than 500 acres of contiguous land, were to be “forever devoted to reforestation and the establishment and maintenance thereon of forests for watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, and kindred purposes” (Article 9, Title 5, Environmental Conservation Law). West Osceola State Forest was purchased during the 1930’s under this program and has been intensely managed to promote forest health, timber production, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. Through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who planted thousands of softwood tree seedlings on the newly acquired state lands, the landscape in West Osceola State Forest has been restored to thick woodland; it provides a myriad of economic, ecological and recreational services to hundreds of people each year.
Turkey Hill State Forest (Tioga) Most of the land encompassing what is today known as Turkey Hill State Forest was purchased during the 1930s. Prior to this point, the land had been cleared of the natural vegetation and used for agriculture by early European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. However, soils common in the area have major limitations for intensive crop production, including a seasonally high water table, low fertility, moderate to high acidity, and erodibility on steep slopes. Early farmers quickly learned that the combination of long, harsh winters and thin, fine textured upland soils would not support intensive agriculture. As such, many of the farmlands were abandoned as farmers sought more fertile land in the Midwest. Fortunately, the State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 set forth the legislation that authorized the Conservation Department (predecessor to the Department of Environmental Conservation) to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation areas. These state forests, consisting of no less than 500 acres of contiguous land outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, were to be “forever devoted to reforestation and the establishment and maintenance thereon.” Management is defined as including watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes. (Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, Environmental Conservation Law)
Trout Brook State Forest (Oswego) The land that is now known as Trout Brook State Forest originally was used by the Iroquois for hunting and fishing. However, as is the case with many of the lands that have since become managed by the state, the land was later cleared for farm land and timber by Revolutionary War Veterans and early settlers. Unfortunately, the upland soils of the Tug Hill Plateau are characteristically rocky, highly acidic, and not highly fertile. Combined with intense winters common to the region, the fact that many farmers abandoned their properties in pursuit better lands in the mid-West is understandable. The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 provided legislation which authorized the Department of Conservation to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation areas. These State Forests, consisting of no less than 500 acres of contiguous land, were to be “forever devoted to reforestation and the establishment and maintenance thereon of forests for watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, and kindred purposes” (Article 9, Title 5, Environmental Conservation Law). Trout Brook State Forest was purchased by New York State during the 1930s for reforestation purposes under this program. During this period, lands that had once been almost completely cleared for agricultural practices were restored to forests. This practice reduced the problem of soil erosion, protected water quality, and provided forest products and recreational opportunities. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted thousands of conifer seedlings on the newly acquired lands. Red pine, white pine, white spruce, Norway spruce, and European and Japanese larch decorate the landscape and give witness to the tremendous planting efforts made not so long ago.