13 Lost Treasures of New Hampshire

In the lost treasures of New Hampshire, we explore 13 lost and buried treasures that have eluded treasure seekers for over a hundred years! New Hampshire has a fascinating history. New Hampshire was the 9th state to be admitted to the Union on June 21, 1788. During those early years in America, many treasures were buried up and down the east coast of the U.S. Tensions ran high in those days and many didn’t trust others and the lack of a banking system led many to bury their wealth.

Even before New Hampshire became a state pirates are said to have frequented many states along the east coast and with those pirates, you get tales of murder, pillaging, and buried treasure. The following are some of New Hampshire’s lost treasures that are still hidden and waiting for discovery. Enjoy!


13 Lost Treasures of New Hampshire

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
Pirate John Cliftons Buried BootyUnknownNear the town of Durham in Strafford County, New Hampshire near the mouth of the Oyster River in Great Bay
John Cromwell’s Buried TreasureUnknownNear the west side of Merrimack River near Merrimack, New Hampshire
John L. Woods Buried TreasureUnknownNear an old sawmill in the town of Woodsville, NH
Governor John Wentworth’s Buried TreasureSix chests full of silver and gold plate and a strongbox with $25,000 in gold and silver coins and some silverware. Between Portsmouth and Smithtown, New Hampshire
Coins on Seabrook BeachEnglish and Spanish Coins From The Mid-1700sSeabrook Beach is located close to Hampton, New Hampshire in Rockingham County.
Blackbeard’s TreasureUnknownLondoner (Lunging)  and Smuttynose Island
Lost Spanish ShipUnknownSmuttynose Island
Pirate John Quelch’s Buried Treasure9 pounds of gold & 190 pounds of silverOn the west side of Appledore Island
Wreck of King EdwardGold and silver coinsStar Island
Sunken British Warship TreasureSilver Bullion and CoinsEastside of Appledore Island
Buried Plunder on Appledore IslandUnknown Appledore Island
Pirate Captain Sandy Gordon’s Buried BootyUnknownWhite Island
Buried Pirate Plunder on White IslandUnknownWhite Island

Pirate John Cliftons Buried Booty

Oyster River, Durham, New Hampshire
Oyster River, Durham, New Hampshire

In 1716 a pirate named John Clifton is said to have buried a large treasure that he acquired from doing years of piracy in the Caribbean somewhere in the town of Durham in Strafford County, New Hampshire near the mouth of the Oyster River in Great Bay. Clifton died not long after burying the treasure and it’s presumed still buried there.


John Cromwell’s Buried Treasure

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Merrimack, NH
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Merrimack, NH

John Cromwell was a fur trader in the 1650s who would trade with the Penacook Indians that were in the area. It is said that Cromwell would cheat the Indians on trades. So eventually the Indians decided to get even with Cromwell and kill him. He became wise to what they were going to do so Cromwell decided to bury the large fortune that he made in the trading business near his trading post.

Soon after Cromwell buried the treasure the Indians came calling but Cromwell had already left for Tyngsborough, Massachusetts where he eventually died in 1661. The Indians burned down his trading post. By all accounts, Cromwell never returned for his fortune and the treasure is presumed still buried near the west side of Merrimack River near Merrimack, New Hampshire. This is about two miles above the Pennichuck Brook which is now known as Cromwell Falls.

The land that Cromwell had his house and post is now owned by Anheuser-Busch and any searching for his lost treasure is prohibited. There is now a plaque in the town of Merrimack commemorating John Cromwell as the first resident of the town.


John L. Woods Buried Treasure

Woodsville, NH
Woodsville, NH

John L. Woods was a sawmill owner in 1829. He made quite a bit of money from the proceeds of the mill. It is said that Woods buried his fortune somewhere near his sawmill in the town of Woodsville which the town was named after.

Woodsville is close to the town of Haverhill which lies at the confluence of the Connecticut and Ammonoosuc Rivers. If you can find the old sawmill in the area that Woods owned then you will be hot on the trail of a possible fortune in treasure!


Governor John Wentworth’s Buried Treasure

Governor Sir John Wentworth
Sir John Wentworth – By Hantsheroes Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sir John Wentworth was the 1st Baronet and British Colonial Governor of the Province of New Hampshire during the Revolutionary War. His lineage stretched back over a hundred years in New Hampshire. His family was well known for their involvement in politics starting with William Wentworth who was considered an “elder” and was one of the first settlers of New Hampshire.

With the Revolution in full swing, Wentworth became less and less popular with the revolutionaries in his province. He became worried for his safety and asked for armed guards but he was given none. He was also worried about losing his fortune at the hands of the Revolutionaries so he decided to bury it.

Supposedly Wentworth buried six chests full of silver and gold plate and a strongbox with $25,000 in gold and silver coins and some silverware between Portsmouth and Smithtown, New Hampshire. On June 13, 1775, an armed mob came to his house to arrest him. John was able to flee with his family and sought refuge at Fort Williams and Mary. He eventually was able to send his family back to England and he became Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

Wentworth reportedly never returned for his treasure and it’s presumed still buried in the woods between Portsmouth and Smithtown, New Hampshire.


Coins on Seabrook Beach

Eastman's Fishing Fleet, Seabrook Beach NH
By John PhelanOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Eastman’s Fishing Fleet, Seabrook Beach NH

Seabrook Beach is located close to Hampton, New Hampshire in Rockingham County. Beachcombers have been finding English and Spanish coins on Seabrook Beach for years when huge storms from the sea wash them ashore. The coins are probably coming from some of the numerous wrecks that have happened over the centuries in the Atlantic Ocean. The coins have been dated to the mid-1700s. Seabrook beach would be a prime spot to do some metal detecting!


Treasures of The Isles of Shoals

Isles of Shoals Map
Isles of Shoals MapBy Shoaler at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The Isle of Shoals is a group of seven islands ten miles southeast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. People have lived worked and thrived on these islands for over 400 years. With that length of history, there are many buried treasure stories to tell from pirate treasure to sunken ships. The following are some of these stories.


Blackbeard’s Treasure

Smuttynose Island
Smuttynose Island

Edward Teach also known as the famous Pirate Blackbeard is said to have spent some time on Londoner (Lunging)  and Smuttynose Island and that he buried a large treasure cache on both islands. In 1880 four large silver bars were found on Smuttynose Island. Could they have been part of Blackbeard’s treasure?


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Lost Spanish Ship

In 1813 a Spanish Brig the Sagunto sunk in the waters around the Isle of Shoals. Worried that the American government would steal their treasure the crew that survived buried a large treasure on Smuttynose Island. The treasure is supposedly still there waiting to be dug up.


Pirate John Quelch’s Buried Treasure

Captain John Quelch

John Quelch was a pirate in the late 1600s. It is said that he buried a large treasure consisting of nine pounds of gold and 190 pounds of silver on the west side of Appledore Island. Some accounts say he buried it on Star Island. Well, who knows these are pirate tales and should be taken with a grain of salt! But there is evidence that Quelch and his men spent time on the isle of Shoals.


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Wreck of King Edward

King Edward was a British merchant ship that wrecked on a spot called Miss Underhills Chair off of Star Island. A large amount of gold and silver was dumped into the waters there and coins wash ashore on Star Island to this day. Star Island would be a great place to bring a metal detector to. You might come away with some valuable gold or silver coins.


Sunken British Warship Treasure

On the east side of Appledore Island, a British Warship sunk in the eighteenth century. The ship was carrying silver bullion and coins which wash ashore on Appledore Island from time to time.


Buried Plunder on Appledore Island

Appledore Island From The West

An unknown pirate is said to have buried a large cache of booty on Appledore Island in 1718. The plunder was stolen from Spanish Ships.


Pirate Captain Sandy Gordon’s Buried Booty

Sandy Gordon was a pirate who is said to have buried a large cache of plunder on White Island between 1715 and 1718.


Buried Pirate Plunder on White Island

Lighthouse On White Island NHBy Nancy Lighthouse on the Rock, CC BY 2.0, Link

A number of pirates are said to have buried many treasures on White Island. There might be some truth to this because in 1867 a fisherman discovered and dug up 100 pounds of gold bullion and numerous silver and gold coins on White Island.


Conclusion – Lost Treasures of New Hampshire

As you can see there are plenty of places to search for treasure in New Hampshire. Going to some of the beaches in the Isles of Shoals would be a great excursion and could be very lucrative for any metal detectorist and treasure seeker. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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