State Treasures - New York

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the January, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Note: I received an e-mail from Lost Treasure reader Charles M. Deyoe, Jr. of Au Sable Forks, New York. Charles wrote… "I was wondering if you have ever done a state tale for my area? I think an article from the Adirondack Mountains would be nice." Sounds good to me Charles, so here you go… The Follensby TreasureFRANKLIN COUNTY – Moses Follensby arrived in the extreme north-central region of New York’s Adirondack Mountains during the mid-1700’s. He was known as a recluse, but the locals picked up enough from his speech to tell he was an Englishmen. On occasion, a few trappers passing near his remote cabin would drop by and check on the lonely hermit. Though he never revealed anything, the trappers seemed to agree that Follensby acted like a man who was being hunted by someone. He continued living the hermit’s life from his isolated old cabin for many years until his death. During that time, it was observed that Follensby would take secret trips to the north, but where he went and for what reason was never learned. With more people moving into the area, Follensby is said to have withdrawn further to himself. Two men fishing in the area are said to have discovered Follensby near death not far from his cabin. They took him home and laid him in bed. A short time later, Follensby called the men and told them he’d buried a chest under a large stone. In the chest, they’d find a package of letters, a British uniform coat, a gold scabbard decorated with jewels and impressed with a coronet, and two pistols mounted in silver, along with other gems and gold toiletry items.Upon investigating his claim, the two fishermen did locate the chest under a large stone right where he said it would be. Next he told them that approximately $400,000 was buried in a second cache hole near his cabin, but he died before he could tell them where. No doubt the treasure was thoroughly sought after, but nothing was ever found. Documents found in Follensby’s cabin in the days following his death revealed he was an English nobleman of substantial wealth. Why he opted for a life of lonely solitude was never learned. His old cabin quickly fell into despair until no trace of it could be found. Follensby was buried near his cabin, the location of which has been lost to time, but researchers have gathered some clues.Follensby’s cabin is said to have been next to the small lake that still bears his name, Follensby’s Pond. Another location is said to be on Follensby Road, two miles southeast of Tupper Lake near the junction of Highways 3 and 30. From Follensby genealogy research, I found this description for his cabin site:Moses Follensby’s cabin sat at the north end of Follensby Pond near where… "Follensby Branch enters the small lake in the rear of the blunt headland," supposedly by the Brooks entrance today. Adirondacks Treasure Cave ESSEX COUNTY – I have little on this almost unknown treasure site so with some local research and fieldwork one ambitious treasure hunter could get lucky. Mount Discovery is in northeast Essex County about 1.6 miles southeast of the hamlet of Lewis at the intersection of Lewis-Wadhams Road and Ray Woods Road.Mount Discovery is said to have taken its name, during the French and Indian War of the mid- 1700’s, after a British soldier posted at the summit’s lookout tower discovered French troops advancing from Lake Champlain and sounded the alarm. According to local legend, a hunter was out searching for game when he discovered a cave. Inside he found what was described as a "golden treasure." Being far from home, the man decided to return later for the treasure. When he returned he failed to re-locate the cave he believed was near the summit of Mount Discovery. Some have speculated that the lookout tower at the summit, which was built at the time of the war, served a dual purpose - first as a lookout and second as a guard post to protect a treasure hidden inside a cave nearby. If that’s the case, then the party hiding the treasure somehow became separated from it so that the hunter discovered it many years later. The Legend of the Hanging Tree TreasureDUTCHESS COUNTY – Pawling, New York, is a charming hamlet in southeast Dutchess County just four miles west of the Connecticut state line. In an area rich in early American history is the home of patriot turned loyalist John Kane. Kane’s home was seized by the state and converted into Washington’s Headquarters in September 1778, and occupied by him when the Continental Army wintered in Pawling.But for all the fascinating history that unfolded on this soil, there is one tale from the time of the Revolutionary War the locals don’t like hear told. It involves a British officer who got his neck stretched from the limb of the only standing tree in a Pawling meadow. Sadly there are few details to further research this story, so local research is needed. The legend claims the British officer carried a bag stuffed full of gold and silver coins he’d stolen. He was apprehended in a Pawling meadow where one single tree stood. He was hung from that tree and a search for the freebooted treasure he carried was a bust. No recovery was ever made. This little known tale appears in Lost Treasure for the first time, though the story of the Hanging Tree Treasure has been repeated by generations of locals in Pawling for more then 200 years.  Peekskill’s Lost Fortunes WESTCHESTER COUNTY – During the Revolutionary War, Peekskill, New York, was a critical link in Washington’s chain of defense along the Hudson River. Due to its strategic location, which offered the Americans a commanding view of the Hudson River and the main land route, the Albany Post Road, Peekskill soon became known as the "gateway into the highlands." The main camp of the Continental Army was located here, which served as the main depot for the army and for moving American troops between New England, New York and New Jersey. Fort Hill, the American stronghold at Peekskill, was roughly 300 feet above the Hudson overlooking the town.Early Sunday morning, March 23, 1777, a dozen British ships and one warship sailed from New York along the Hudson River. The fleet anchored off Peekskill and unloaded artillery, horses, 500 infantry and 300 sailors. The British set up four cannons on top of Drum Hill, about 1/2 mile south of Fort Hill and proceeded to bombard American forces.The battle for Fort Hill raged for days before retreating American forces torched much of the fort and withdrew to Continental Village. According to legend, many Tories who fled their Peekskill homes stopped long enough to bury family fortunes. Many of these caches were reported lost and never recovered. Sources:Henson, Michael Paul, America’s Lost Treasures, 1984, South Bend, Indiana, Jayco Publishing Company, p. 84-85Ahnert, Gerald T, "Adirondack Mountain Treasure," October 1976, Lost Treasure, p. 24Vance, Tom, "Gold of the Antelope Hills," September 1997, Lost Treasure, P. 50.