You know those stories you see on the news sometimes about an everyday person who stumbled upon a treasure hoard right in their own backyard? Don’t you wish that kind of thing could happen to
you? Well, maybe it’s time to put on some sturdy shoes, grab a headlamp, and set out exploring. You’ll have an edge on the competition once you read about these fascinating Massachusetts treasure legends. Get ready for eccentric castle-owners, sneaky Hessian soldiers, and LOTS of pirates.
1. Buried Chests at Balance Rock, Pittsfield
According to legend, in the late 18th century a lawyer and a friend of his stole two chests containing about $200,000 in gold and silver pieces from a pirate and buried them near a strange boulder on Kents Island. The men supposedly marked the boulder by carving what appears to be the letter "A" on it which still is visible today. The story claims that the pair were planning on returning in five years to retrieve the treasure, but locals reported that they never returned. One chest was supposedly found in the 1930's, which leaves one still undiscovered.
2. The Town of Chelsea
In the 1900s Chelsea was a rich town inhabited by the very wealthy. In 1908, Chelsea experienced a terrible fire that destroyed most of the town (the aftermath is shown above). Many valuables were lost and never found, or presumed destroyed. This area is a potential treasure trove of hidden artifacts. In 1921, a local worker discovered approximately $50,000 in gold coins and silverware in a field near a building that had burned in the great fire.
3. Dungeon Rock Cave, Lynn
In 1658, pirate Thomas Veale supposedly buried several chests of gold and silver coins near or inside the cave. Stories say that Veale lived within the cave until an earthquake struck and took his life. In 1852, a man named Hiram Marble bought the cave and built a house and outbuildings on the spot. He moved his wife and son to the area and then excavated a new cave to find the treasure. Marble believed he was receiving directions to the treasure from the ghost of Thomas Veale himself. If you're interested in checking out the place for yourself, the iron gate leading into the cave is open for a few hours a day or by request to the Lynn Woods Reservation.
4. Treasure of Tenney's Grey Court Castle
There is a rumored treasure cache hidden on the Charles H. Tenney estate, adjacent to the Searles castle ruins in the hills of Methuen. The castle's story is long and complicated (highlights include a feud between the Tenney brothers over a woman, a suicidal monk, a drug rehabilitation center, and a haunted gate house), part of the Tenney fortune is hidden somewhere on the grounds of the estate. $20,000 in bonds was supposedly found in the cellar beneath one of the castle towers in the 1930s but there have been no other discoveries...yet.
5. Sunken Treasure Of The Whydah
In 1717, the pirate vessel Whydah sank off the coast of Wellfleet with plunder from 50 ships on board. Explorer Barry Clifford discovered the wreck site in 1984 and has since pulled up 200,000 artifacts, including gold ornaments, sword handles, even a boy's leg. It is the only authenticated pirate shipwreck in America. However, recently discovered Colonial-era documents suggest that the Whydah raided two vessels in the weeks before it sank and that 400,000 gold coins are still unaccounted for. Recent expeditions have revealed evidence of gold matter in the area, but the trove has not been discovered yet.
6. Short Beach and Grover’s Cliff, Winthrop
Many Spanish and British coins dating from the eighteenth century have been found on the beach between Short Beach and Grover’s Cliff. The coins are probably from the many vessels that have wrecked along the north side of Boston Harbor. Who knows how many hidden coins (and other treasures) are still buried in the sands?
7. Gallops Island
The infamous Captain Kidd was imprisoned in Boston after his capture in 1699 before being shipped to London, where he was tried and executed. Gallops Island is said to be one of the three possible islands where Kidd’s hidden treasure is buried. The pirate “Long Ben” Avery supposedly buried diamonds on Gallops Island that have yet to be found.
8. Mysterious Blue Rock at Cape Poge on Chappaquiddick Island
Details on this one are murky, but the general gist of the legend is that there is a blue rock somewhere on Chappaquiddick Island (probably around Cape Poge) that marks the location of a pirate treasure. The story goes that one night in 1824, James Roland Cooke, a farmer from the area, overheard men (presumably pirates) discussing the location of a buried chest. Upon finding a spot near an odd blue rock that appeared to be a freshly dug and refilled hole, Cooke left to find a constable. Upon returning to the blue rock, however, the winds had smoothed over the exact location of the hole and Cooke was never able to locate the possible hoard again.
9. Money Bluff on Deer Island
People have been searching for treasure on Deer Island since 1824, when a Captain Tewksbury, Rev. Brown, and Captain Crooker began digging (unsuccessfully) at Money Bluff in hopes of locating a lost hoard of gold. The island was said to be a storage location used by plundering pirates.
10. Hessian Loot in Dalton
Loot buried by Hessian mercenary soldiers during the American Revolution is said to be buried in Dalton. The legend goes that on reaching Dalton, Massachusetts,
the Hessians agreed among themselves to put their valuables into a
howitzer, which they buried in the woods, intending that some of them should come back at the close of the war and recover it. As is so often the case in these stories, the Hessians never returned. The treasure is assumed to be hidden in the surrounding woodlands.
Are you inspired to set off on an expedition of your own? Know anyone who has found a hidden treasure (or maybe just a cool piece of junk) in Massachusetts? Share and let us know in the comments.