Buried Treasure of Casco Bay_ A Guide for the Modern Hunter
BURIED TREASURE OF CASCO BAY:
A Guide For The Modern Hunter
B. F. KENNEDY, JR.
Forest City Printing Company
South Portland, Maine
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.
Copyright © 1963 by B. F. Kennedy, Jr.
To my father:
B. F. KENNEDY, Sr.
Casco Bay very much.
The following people helped me greatly in the compilationof this book.
Miss Jessie B. Trefethen
Peaks Island, Maine
Mr. Herbert G. Jones
Mr. Francis O’Brien
Mr. Martin Coombs
South Portland, Maine
This little endeavor of mine that follows, is a small effortin a literary way, to acquaint the reader with modernmethods and information on the art of treasure hunting andvarious facts and locations of same. The Author sincerelyhopes that you gather some information and entertainmentfrom the reading of this book.
THE AUTHORApril 14, 1962
- How Treasure was Buried 19
- Fort Gorges 21
- Fort Scammell 23
- Peaks Island 25
- Cushing’s Island 27
- Willard Beach 29
- Portland Head Light 31
- Cliff Island 33
- Richmond’s Island 35
- Turner’s Island 37
- Eastern Shore Line, Portland 39
- Cape Elizabeth Shore Line 41
- Mackworth’s Island 43
- Jewell’s Island 45
- Great Chebeague Island 47
- Great Diamond Island 49
- Pond Island 51
- Fort Preble 53
- French’s Island 55
- Bailey’s Island 57
- Orr’s Island 59
- Harpswell Neck 63
- Shelter Island 67
- Long Island 69
- Pettengill Island 71
- Sebascodegan or Great Island 73
- Treasure Hunting Equipment 75
- Bibliography 77
About the Author
— Retired in 1976 —
Now City Historian for South Portland, Maine
B. F. Kennedy, Jr. was born in Portland, Maine in 1916 andhas spent most of his life in this area, attending grammar schooland high school in Portland. Mr. Kennedy has also worked as aship chandler and a drugstore clerk. A collector by nature, hisfavorite hobbies besides treasure-hunting are bottle collectingand mineralogy.
The author has done extensive research on buried and sunkentreasure locales. Working on information furnished by Mr. Kennedy,scuba divers located three brass Revolutionary War cannonsjust off Portland Head light. Mr. Kennedy has personally locatedold coins, an Indian axe circa 1640, and other valuable artifacts,often traveling as far from Portland as Key West, Florida. Onhis days off or on his vacations, the author can usually be foundwith his trusty metal detector scouting for more treasure.
Mr. Kennedy is married, with no children.
The locations given in this book do not guarantee that youwill find treasure there, or anywhere in Casco Bay. Theselocations are places where history took place, maybe you willfind treasure and maybe not.
The Author does not want to mislead you into thinking,that if you dig at any of these locations; you will find buriedtreasure.
BURIED TREASURE OF CASCO BAY:
A Guide For The Modern Hunter
HOW TREASURE WAS BURIED
The word, “treasure,” has excited people the worldover for centuries. When we were mere children we readabout hidden treasure being buried on lonely isles, by bandsof cutthroat pirates, also the burying of caches of money bythe outlaws and bandits of the old West.
The early settlers were always hiding their money from theIndians and bandits, and the best place to put their moneywas, of course, in the ground, as they had no bank vaults inwhich to keep it safe.
So down through the years thousands of dollars in coinwas hidden in this fashion. Many of these caches are beingdiscovered today in the back yards of rustic old houses, inold wells, along the stone walls of century-old homesteads, in20fact almost anywhere around the property.
The many islands in Casco Bay were choice locations forthe early settlers; to settle on an island was one way to slowup the advance of Indian raiding parties. The Indians, ofcourse, would raid some of the islands; but it was notconvenient for them because of the trip across the openwater in order to reach their destination; therefore manytreasures that were buried on these islands still remain to bediscovered by the modern day treasure hunter. A good manyof these hidden caches were buried in old iron kettles, toughbags made of animal hides, old iron chests and almostanything that would keep the coins from getting too wet andcorroded in the ground.
Now for some treasure hunting locations for the modernhunter armed with his metal detector. First, we will go to anold fort in Casco Bay, Maine, namely, “Fort Gorges,” we willcall this location number one on our list.
Fort Gorges is on Hog Island, Portland Harbor, CascoBay, it is a stone fort in a commanding position on a reef,guarding the entrances to the upper harbor as well as to theship channel. Although designed to complete the harbordefense, it was not built until much later than the earlierforts, Preble and Scammell. It was commenced in 1858 butwas not completed until 1864 or 1865. It was built under thedirection of Captain Casey, of the United States EngineeringCorps, and in bomb-proofs and barbette, was designed toreceive 195 guns. Although a formidable looking fortress itwas designed for short range guns, so the introduction ofmodern heavy ordnance made its period of usefulness a briefone. Fort Gorges may be reached by boat from Portland or22Cushings Island.
The parade ground inside the fort is a dirt one, anybodyseeking buried treasure there, might find such articles asbuttons, shoe buckles, coins, bayonets and other propertiescarried by the soldiers who were stationed there at the end ofthe Civil War. The buried artifacts would not be too deep,maybe one or two feet for an average. This fort would be oneof the ideal locations for the modern treasure hunter and hismetal detector. I’m sure your time would not be wasted in atwo or three hour search there. If you decide to visit the oldfort, do not forget to take a box lunch, as the salt air willcreate a wonderful appetite.
On House Island, Casco Bay, you will find FortScammell. This fort was built in 1808, under the direction ofMr. H.A.S. Dearborn, who under authorization of the WarDepartment, purchased for twelve hundred dollars, all thesouthwest part of House Island containing twelve acres moreor less. On the highest point of this island an octagonalblock-house of timber was erected, with a porthole and a gunon each side. The upper story projecting over the lower, twoor three feet; contained the battery. On the low uprightcenter timbers of the roof, was a carved wooden eagle withextended wings. Fort Scammell, like its sister, Fort Preble,was named for a Revolutionary officer, Colonel Alexander24Scammell. Fort Scammell was never so extensive a fortificationas Fort Preble.
It was enlarged at the time of the Civil War, until itsequipment called for seventy-one pieces. Fort Scammell maybe reached by boat from either Portland or South Portland.
The treasure hunter, here too, will have a great time withhis detector. There should be, hidden out of sight, a numberof old relics that could be located with a good metaldetector. The date of the fort being as I mentioned 1808,therefore the artifacts that might be found here, would reallyhave some value. Don’t forget to secure permission beforeyou hunt on any property. The owner will like you better forthis.
The Island of Peaks is located in Casco Bay and isapproximately three miles due east from Portland. It onlytakes a fifteen minute boat ride to arrive at Peaks.
There are several good locations here for the treasureseeker, especially if he or she is armed with a good metaldetector.
The first location that I shall mention is located on thenortherly end of the island. It is about three-quarters of amile from the boat landing.
A few years ago construction of an addition to the Islandschool house was begun; during the excavating, two silvercoins were dug up. These coins were identified as pieces-of-eight,or Spanish silver dollars. Where they came from or whoburied them, or lost them there; still remains a mystery. If26one could secure permission to go over the remaining part ofthe yard, there is no telling what might be discovered.
Another spot worth checking out, is located on the backside of the island at a place called “Picnic Rocks” or“Whaleback”. Here, near the roadway, stands; or stood; ahuge elm tree. This tree was approximately eight feet indiameter. A few years ago a fire broke out in this section ofthe island, and nobody seems to know whether or not thelonely elm was burned. If it was, the huge charred stumpshould still be there. The Author has not checked thissituation as yet; but intends to shortly.
On the ground surrounding this immense tree, there areseveral mounds, believed to be Indian graves. A real goodsearch of the area, might be well worth one’s time.
Last, but not least, the beaches on the back side of theisland, (or north-easterly side) should be gone over verycarefully with the metal detector.
Pirates were in this area around 1726, and most anythingmight be buried along these sandy strips. Not only buried,but who knows what might have been dropped or lost bythese cutthroats of long ago. The Boston Pirate, EdwardLow, was said to have plied these waters, in and aroundCasco Bay about 1726 or 1727.
Who knows what beach he might have landed on, in one ofhis longboats?
I most certainly would give this island a darn good checkwith my detector, especially the beaches and the bankingsleading up from them.
One of our next stops should include this island ofCasco Bay. It is located just across the channel from WillardBeach, South Portland; in an easterly direction from WillardBeach.
First of all, why do we wish to treasure hunt here? A littlehistory at this point might help the modern hunter, just a bit.We will go back in history to the year 1632. The first pirateever heard of in the annals of piracy, was called; “DixieBull”. This pirate was believed to be of English descent. Herobbed and sacked Pemaquid, Maine, in 1632; then set sail forRichmonds Island, which was next on his list to be robbed.
However, as the story goes, a storm came up with veryhigh winds, this pirate galleon was just entering the channelbetween South Portland and Cushing’s Island, so “Dixie28Bull” decided to put into a cove on Cushing’s to wait out thestorm.
It is said that he put ashore and buried some of the loottaken from Pemaquid. There are several coves facing thechannel. Which one was the exact location of his landing?
Your guess is as good as mine, but I most certainly wouldgo over these coves, beaches, and bankings very carefully. Ifanything was located here, you can bet it will be a real find.
The year 1632 was a long time ago, and any artifactuncovered here would be worth its weight in gold, not onlyas an antique but as a real historical piece.
Any article found here and checked as to relationship to“Dixie Bull” and proved authentic; would be priceless.
The history of Cushing’s Island dates back to the year1623, when Captain Levett came over from the old country.He was looking for a likely spot to settle and Cushing’s Islandturned out to be that spot.
Captain Levett was the first white man to settle in CascoBay. He traded with the Indians and did not try to cheatthem. He traded cheap jewelry for beaver and otter skins andgot along famously with the whole tribe. Levett built hishouse near Cellar Point.
The Island of Cushing’s has had many names, among thesebeing Andrews, Portland, Fort Island and Bangs Island.Ezekiel Cushing took the island over in 1762 and it has beencalled Cushing’s Island ever since.
If any of you readers are skin diving enthusiasts, you mighttry a few dives in and around the channel between Cushing’sIsland and Willard Beach, South Portland, as a number ofcannon were dumped overboard during the War of 1812, andare probably still lying on the bottom of this channel.
All sides of the island should