Lost Treasures of Massachusetts

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Cory Haasnoot

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Massachusetts is a historically interesting state, to say the least. The Pilgrims landed here on Plymouth Rock in 1620. Less than 100 years later the infamous Salem Witch Trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Massachusetts become an important shipping port for whalers that would stay in Massachusetts and sail from here.

With all of Massachusett’s long and colorful history, it’s no wonder that there are many fascinating lost treasures of Massachusetts. Many of these stories and tales are legends passed down through the written and spoken word for generations.

So sit back and enjoy as I take you on an interesting journey of the 18 lost treasures of Massachusetts. When you are done reading you will want to get your metal detector and shovel ready to go treasure hunting in this wonderful state. Let’s go!

18 Lost Treasures of Massachusetts

Tenney’s Grey Court Castle TreasureUnknown37 Pleasant Street in Methuen, Massachusetts
Hessian Mercenaries Buried TreasureSmall Cannon Barrel Full of ValuablesIn the woods near Dalton Massachusetts
A Blue Rock Marks Pirate Treasure on Chappaquiddick IslandTreasure ChestChappaquiddick Island near Cape Poge
Captain Kidd’s Buried Treasure On Gallops IslandUnknownGallops Island
Captain Kidd’s Treasure Near Turner FallsTreasure Chest Filled with Gold and JewelsTurner Falls on the Connecticut River in Franklin County Massachusetts
Islands That Hold Buried Treasure In Boston HarborUnknownOn Islands in the Boston Harbor
Pirate Cache of Gold BullionA cache of Gold BullionA cave near South Hadley in Hampshire County Massachusetts.
Captain John Quelch TreasureA treasure chest filled with silver and gold coinsSnake Island in the Isle of Shoals off of Cape Ann
Pirate Thomas Veale’s TreasureTreasure ChestIn a cave by Dungeon Rock near Lynn, Massachusetts
Pirate Treasure on Deer IslandCache of GoldDear Island
Coins Wash Ashore Between Short Beach and Grover’s CliffSpanish and British coinsThe beach area that stretches from Short Beach to Grover’s Cliff
Buried Treasure Chest on Kents Island$200,000 in gold and silver coinsNear Balance Rock on Kent Island
Treasure of the Shipwreck Whydah Gally4.5 to 5 tons of gold and silver500 feet from the shore of Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Lost Treasure in ChelseaUnknown Chelsea, Massachusetts
Coins Found on Peddocks IslandCoinsPeddocks Island in the Boston Harbor
British Coins Found On The Beach at Race PointBritish silver and gold coinsOn the beach at Race Point Light which is a lighthouse on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts
Patriots Buried ChestsTreasure Chests Filled with Gold and Silver CoinsMount Amos a few miles northeast of Cheshire, Massachusetts
Wagonloads of British TreasureThree Wagonloads of ValuablesThe hills near Dalton, Massachusetts

Tenney’s Grey Court Castle Treasure

Tenney Gatehouse

Tenney’s Grey Court Castle was originally a two-story stone farmhouse that was built in 1830 by Richard Whittier. Charles H. Tenney bought the house in 1882 and redesigned it into a Victorian-style mansion called Tenney’s Grey Court Castle.

Mr. Tenney was a wealthy merchant who started C.H. Tenney & Co. in which they made and sold hats and his brothers started another company simply called Tenney & Co. and they manufactured and sold shoes. So the family was very wealthy.

It is believed that Tenney buried part of his wealth on the grounds of Grey Court Castle. $20,000 in bonds was found under the castle towers in the 1930s. But no other treasure has been recovered.

Grey Court Castle fell into ruins over the years. The gatehouse is now the Methuen Museum of history. The original stock house and stables still remain and the estate is now called Greycourt Park. Metal detecting and digging is probably not permitted on the grounds so if there is a treasure here it may never be found.

Tenney’s old estate is located at 37 Pleasant Street in Methuen, Massachusetts. Although you might not get the treasure you can always visit the park and enjoy the museum.

Hessian Mercenaries Buried Treasure

Hessian Soldiers

Hessian mercenaries were German soldiers that helped the British Army during the Revolutionary War. This story takes place near Dalton Massachusetts. Legend has it that some Hessian mercenaries were traveling from Saratoga, New York to Boston, Massachusetts. On their way, they stopped near the town of Dalton.

At this point they were war-torn and townsfolk looked unfavorably upon them. The Hessians did manage to keep with them a small amount of jewels and some other valuables.

The men decided to put their valuables in a howitzer which is a short cannon barrel and bury that in the woods. Thinking it would be safe there and they would come back after the war and retrieve their treasure.

Legend has it that an Indian had followed them to the burial spot but he had no interest in the valuables they left there. The townspeople, knowing that the men buried something in the woods would keep watch whenever strangers came to town and if they would go out in the woods.

No strangers ever showed up to reclaim the treasure. Excavations were done in the woods near Dalton in the 1800s but nothing was ever found.

It’s presumed that the howitzer with the treasure in it is still buried in the woods near Dalton Massachusetts.

A Blue Rock Marks Pirate Treasure on Chappaquiddick Island

Cape Poge

Legend has it that there is pirate treasure buried on Chappaquiddick island near Cape Poge that is marked by a mysterious blue rock. In 1824 a farmer on the island named James Roland Cooke overheard some pirates that had landed on the island about a treasure that they had buried there.

Once the pirates left Cooke found the spot where they had buried the treasure chest and a blue rock was covering the spot. Cooke left the area to get the constable of the island. When he returned he couldn’t find the spot where the blue rock was because the sands had shifted on the island because of a wind storm.

The blue rock and the treasure underneath it has never been located and could still be buried under the sand on the island of Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts!

Lost Pirate Treasures in Massachusetts

Ancient silver coins, treasure, money

With Massachusetts being on the east coast of the United States there are many buried pirate treasures stories that have fascinated treasure seekers for generations. In the following, I will explain some of these stories and where the presumed treasures are buried.

Captain Kidd’s Buried Treasure On Gallops Island

Captain Kidd was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1699 before he was sent to London to face trial for piracy and murder. He ended up being executed for his wrongful deeds. But before he was captured legend has it that Kidd buried some of his treasure on Gallops Island.

Captain Kidd’s Treasure Near Turner Falls

Kidd sure does get around! There is a rumor that Kidd buried a treasure chest filled with gold and jewels near Turner Falls on the Connecticut River in Franklin County Massachusetts.

Islands That Hold Buried Treasure In Boston Harbor

The following is a list of islands in the Boston Harbor area that are said to hold buried pirate loot.

  • Castle Island
  • Grape Island
  • Little and Great Brewster Island
  • Hog Island 
  • Swans Island

Pirate treasure is also said to be buried on the South shore of Boston Harbor at Nantasket Beach. Pirates are known to have frequented these areas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and there could very well be some artifacts or treasure to find here.

A pirate named Avery is said to have buried a chest full of diamonds and gold coins on Gallops Island near the entrance to the Boston Harbor.

Pirate Cache of Gold Bullion

A cache of gold bullion is said to be hidden in a cave near South Hadley in Hampshire County Massachusetts.

Captain John Quelch Treasure

John Quelch was an English pirate who spent his last days in Boston Massachusetts when he was hung on June 30, 1704. But before he was sentenced and hanged it is said that he buried a treasure chest filled with silver and gold coins on Snake Island in the Isle of Shoals off of Cape Ann.

Pirate Thomas Veale’s Treasure

Hiram Marble's excavation of Veale's treasure at Dungeon Rock (Lynn, MA), from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, August 1878)

Thomas Veale was a pirate in the seventeenth century. This story states that Veale and three other pirates sailed up the Saugus River around 1650. They set anchor near Lynn, Massachusetts. The area is now known as Dungeon Rock or Pirates’ Rock.

The four pirates were seen carrying a treasure chest when they left the ship. They are said to have bought some shovels and other supplies from a shop near there and they disappeared for a while.

The pirates set up camp and built a shelter but soon after the camp was raided by the authorities and three of them were sent back to England and hanged. Thomas Veale escaped capture. He proceeded to live in a cave there for a few years. It is said that he worked in the area as a shoemaker during that time.

As the story goes an earthquake had struck the area where he lived. The cave in which he presumably held the pirate booty had collapsed trapping Veale and his treasure inside. A man named Hiram Marble purchased that land the cave was on in 1852. He spent years searching for Veale’s treasure but never found it.

Dungeon Rock is now a tourist area and the lost treasure of Thomas Veale has never been found and could still be buried in that cave along with the bones of Thomas Veale!

Pirate Treasure on Deer Island

Pirates are said to have stored their treasure’s on Deer Island near what is now called Money Bluff. In 1824 Captain Tewksbury, Rev. Brown, and Captain Crooker are said to have started digging for the treasure on the island for a cache of pirate gold.

The three men were unsuccessful in their search. Deer Island would be a great place to do some pirate treasure hunting with a metal detector something they did not have back in the 1800s. Although it might not be the most pleasant island to visit since two-thirds of the island is a wastewater plant now.

Coins Wash Ashore Between Short Beach and Grover’s Cliff

Grover's Cliff
Grover’s Cliff

If you are ever in Massachusetts you might want to check out the beach area that stretches from Short Beach to Grover’s Cliff. This beach is said to have Spanish and British coins wash ashore from time to time. There have been numerous shipwrecks over the years in the north end of Boston Harbor and that’s probably where these coins are coming from. You could probably find other artifacts as well as coins here.

Buried Treasure Chest on Kents Island

This lost treasure story takes place on Kent’s Island near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Legend has it that two men, a lawyer, and his friend stole $200,000 in gold and silver coins that were in two treasure chests in the late 1700s. The treasure that they stole was from pirates who frequented Kent Island.

The two men buried the treasure chests near a mysterious rock that’s now called Balance Rock and it still stands today. They marked a letter A on the rock because they were going to come back later to retrieve the treasure chests. The two men never did return.

In 1930 one of the chests was found by locals but the second chest still remains unclaimed somewhere near Balance Rock on Kent Island. Where the treasure is supposed to be buried is now on a Massachusetts State Park called Balance Rock. The good news for detectorists, metal detecting is allowed in most Massachusetts parks but you might be limited to certain areas of the park. So make sure you ask a park official before digging.

Treasure of the Shipwreck Whydah Gally

The Whydah Gally Bell
Bell recovered from The Whydah Gally CC BY 2.0, Link

This lost treasure story is documented and is one lost treasure that is real!  The Whydah Gally was a ship was a pirate ship captained by pirate Samuel Bellamy a black English pirate who operated in the late 1700s.

The Whydah Gally is the only pirate ship to be found off the east coast of the United States. She was found in 14 feet of water and 5 feet of sand 500 feet from the shore of Wellfleet, Massachusetts in 1984. The Whydah while sailing Cape Cod got caught up in a strong noreaster and sank on April 26, 1717.

At the time of the sinking, she was carrying 4.5 to 5 tons of plunder on her that went straight to the bottom. Included in the cargo of the Whydah Gally at the time of her sinking was ivory, indigo, 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of sterling, gold, silver, and other artifacts.

Colonial Documents Reveal More Treasure

Recently documents from the time show that the Whydah had boarded two ships right before she sank and stole $400,000 in gold coins from them. These gold coins have not been recovered and are presumed still on the ocean floor around the shipwreck.

Barry Clifford who discovered the wreck of Whydah Gally was able to retrieve over 200,000 artifacts from her including cannons, the ship’s bell, swords, gold truncates, and more. There is much more to be recovered from this shipwreck. 

They even found some human remains near the wreck that they thought were the remains of Bellamy himself because they were near a gun with his markings on it. But it turned out through DNA testing that it was not the pirate Bellamy but one of his crew. Out of 146 people on board, only two men survived. Samual Bellamy meet his doom that day in 1717.

The Whydah Pirate Museum

There is an actual museum that you can visit in Massachusetts that houses thousands of artifacts recovered from the Whydah Gally. Doors are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to the last entry at 3 pm. You can check out the museum’s website here.

To learn more of Samual Bellamy’s buried treasure check out my other article entitled 16 Lost Treasures of Maine.

Lost Treasure in Chelsea

Chelsea, Massachusetts after the fire of 1908
Chelsea, Massachusetts after the fire of 1908

Half of the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts burned to the ground on April 12, 1908, leaving 18,000 people homeless many of whom were very wealthy before the fire. Much of the population left after this great fire leaving lost valuables behind.

In 1921 a man found $50,000 in gold coins and some silverware near one of the burned down buildings. This leaves one to speculate how much more lost valuables are still waiting to be discovered around the town of Chelsea. 

Chelsea was soon rebuilt and laid out differently than it was before the fire but there still might be areas that weren’t built over that could hold lost valuables from the people who once lived in Chelsea.

Coins Found on Peddocks Island

Treasure seekers are finding coins in between the rocks on Peddocks Island in the Boston Harbor. In the late 1800s, a fisherman found a treasure chest on this island. There could still be more treasure to be found!

British Coins Found On The Beach at Race Point

In 1973 a large amount of British silver and gold coins were found on the beach at Race Point Light which is a lighthouse on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Ever since then people have been finding these coins scattered on the beach some in plain sight. Armed with a good metal detector and sand scoop might make you a fortune on this beach.

Lost Revolutionary War Treasure

There are many stories of buried treasure from the Revolutionary War days. Many times when armies were on the run and had a lot of coins on them they would bury the treasure so it wouldn’t get into the hands of the enemy. In the following, I will tell you about two lost treasure tales that date from this period of time. One of the treasures was buried by the Patriots and the other by the British.

Patriots Buried Chests

Some Patriots of the American Revolution came upon a band of Hessian soldiers and attacked them. They got away with several chests filled with gold and silver coins. They are said to have buried these chests on Mount Amos a few miles northeast of Cheshire, Massachusetts.

By all accounts, the soldiers later died in battle and were unable to come back and claim the treasure chests. They are presumed to still be buried on Mount Amos.

Wagonloads of British Treasure

In 1777 it is said that British soldiers spent several months pillaging and plundering villages in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. They also stole and pillaged in Vermont and New York during that time. The British soldiers ended up with three wagonloads of stolen valuables.

A group of Patriots went after them and right before they were captured it is said that they buried the three wagon loads of loot in the hills near Dalton, Massachusetts. If that treasure is still there it would be worth millions.

Lost Treasures of Massachusetts Conclusion

What a great state Massachusetts is! There is so much fascinating history from the pirate’s days, pilgrims up through the Revolutionary War and beyond. The stories I have just told are a few of the many lost treasures that await discovery in Massachusetts. I hope you enjoyed this article and maybe you will someday find your own lost treasure in Massachusetts.

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you just type them below in the comments section. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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