State Treasures - Delaware

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 41 of the May, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Coin Beach, Delaware
SUSSEX COUNTY – For coinshooters who enjoy working the beach, Lewes Beach, Delaware, also known locally as “Coin Beach,” has always been a hotspot for recovering old copper coins, mostly English and Irish half-pence dating between 1740-1783.
Treasure hunter Alan Janowski in 1967 reported he had recovered more than 100 of these coins from this beach alone.
Janowski said he’d learned from local residents that bushels of these coins were found along the beach after northeastern storms had struck the region back in the late 1930’s up through around 1942.
Other artifacts found along this half-mile stretch of beach have included, old buttons, copper sheathing, shoe buckles and other personal effects thought to have been from the shipwreck of the Faithful Steward, which sunk in 1785 about 1,000 feet off shore.
The wreck of the vessel Three Brothers may also be contributing to the bonanza of coins and artifacts recovered here. It went down at about the same time and location as the Faithful Steward.
In 1973, local resident and treasure hunter Ellsworth Boyd reported large numbers of coins washing up on the beach here during the early 1930’s, adding, “For a while, coins were as plentiful as seashells. Small children were gathering treasure in their sand pails.”
And should you find any mutilated coins here Boyd offered an explanation as to why.
“This was probably an Irish gesture of rebellion,” he said, reporting that several of the coins recovered had the edges chipped off and a hole had been drilled through King George’s nose.
Other Sussex County beaches that have been hot spots for coinshooting are Cape Henlopen and Dewy Beach, where gold and silver coins have frequently been found after heavy storms.
Old French coins, English coppers and rose guineas have been recovered at Bethany Beach, and ancient coins of various nationalities have been found after big storms on Reedy Island and upriver from Delaware City.

New Castle Treasures
NEW CASTLE COUNTY – Today the City of New Castle is well populated and covered with modern-day development.
Located on the banks of the Delaware River just south of Wilmington, New Castle was first founded by Dutch settlers in 1651.
In 1654, the town was captured by Swedes and re-taken by the Dutch in 1655; then, in 1664, the English settled it. From 1704 until the Revolution the town served as the state capitol.
For relic hunters, some great finds from these early skirmishes and battles can likely be made on any bare land where a structure once sat, an empty field, or along its waterways.
A number of tales of buried pirate treasures have been linked to New Castle, so local research will help.
A band of pirates arriving from Madagascar are said to have buried a hoard of freebooted treasure in a deep well not far from the old New Castle jail.
They are reported to have buried a second cache in the vicinity of Taylor’s Bridge.
The pirate Blackbeard is reputed to have buried a cache of treasure on the banks of Blackbird Creek roughly 20.5 miles south of New Castle near Route 13 and Road 471.

The Millsboro Treasure
SUSSEX COUNTY – Legend claims the infamous pirate Captain William Kidd buried a fortune in stolen treasure near Millsboro in the Indian River Bay.
The cache is said to hold several chests of gold, uncut diamonds, precious stones and jewels.
Kidd is known to have buried several caches of looted treasure up and down the Atlantic coast, intending to recover the proceeds of his piracy later when he was ready to retire.
One day, in 1699, Kidd found himself piloting his ship into the calm waters of the Indian River Bay.
His ship was heavily laden with freebooted treasures; sitting low in the water, he was concerned about running aground in the shallow waters.
Suddenly one of his crewmen positioned on the bow signaled Kidd that he was very close to the bottom. Kidd ordered the anchor dropped and minutes later the ship was abuzz with activity.
Four chests were then loaded onto a longboat, whereupon Kidd with a few oarsmen paddled to the southern shore.
Kidd and his crewmen unloaded the chests from the longboat and dragged them up the bank to a large single oak tree.
As his crewmen hastily excavated a large enough hole for the hoard, Kidd unlocked each chest and briefly examined the contents.
One chest was full of gold British specie, a second contained gold taken from China, the third was filled with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and the fourth held uncut diamonds.
After locking each chest, Kidd ordered all four lowered into a hold dug six feet deep.
After covering the hole, Kidd carved a diamond into the trunk of the oak tree, then placed a cannonball directly over the filled in hole whereupon he and his men returned to his ship.
Weeks later, on July 6, 1699, Kidd was arrested in Boston and charged with piracy. He was later convicted for one count of murder and five counts of piracy.
On May 23, 1701, he was hanged at “Execution Dock” at Wapping, London.
He was never able to return and claim his hoard in the Indian River Bay, where it is believed to remain buried today.
Members of Kidd’s crew who knew the location of this and other of Kidd’s buried caches are not thought to have tried to recover them either.
Following Kidd’s arrest his lieutenants were quickly arrested or fled the Atlantic seaboard as wanted men.

Kelly Island Plunder
KENT COUNTY – According to legend, much which has been supported by historical documents, Capt. Kidd’s Millsboro treasure and his buried plunder of Kelly Island are linked.
Kidd held a legitimate privateering license issued by the King of England during England’s war with France.
While in London in 1695, Kidd was introduced to Richard, Earl of Bellomont, the new governor of New York and Massachusetts.
The two men developed a friendship and, at some point, Kidd entered into an agreement with Richard that would ultimately lead to Kidd’s arrest and conviction on charges of murder and piracy, and ending with Kidd’s execution.
Kidd received word while in Madagascar that the East India Company had branded him a pirate after he took the treasure laden Quedah Merchant. Kidd sailed to New York to meet with Richard, hoping for a King’s pardon once he and much of his crew learned that warrants had been issued for their arrest. While en-route to New York, Kidd reportedly buried large caches of treasure on the southern end of Indian River Bay, then at Kelly Island 45 miles to the north.
One of Kidd’s crewmen was James Gillian who was present when Kidd buried both treasures.
According to legend, after Kidd’s execution, Gillian let it be known that he intended to return to Kelly Island and dig up Kidd’s hoard. For reasons unknown, he never made it back to the island and the treasure has yet to be recovered. The only clue to the Kelly Island treasure is that the treasure was buried near two trees and a rock.

Sources:
Janowski, Alan, “Letters,” October 1967, True Treasure magazine, p. 63
Boyd, Ellsworth, “Bonanza at Coin Beach,” February 1973, True Treasure, p. 17
Pallante, Anthony J, “Delaware,” November 1997, Lost Treasure magazine, p. 60
Marx, Robert F, Buried Treasures You Can Find, 1993, Dallas, TX, Ram Publishing Co, p. 143
Jameson, W.C, Buried Treasures of the Mid-Atlantic States, 2000, Little Rock, AR, August House Publishers Inc, p. 25 – 29
The Pirate’s Realm, Captain William Kidd – Pirate Hunter turned Pirate,
http://www.thrpiratesrealm.com/Captain%20Kidd.html