16 Lost Treasures of North Carolina

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Cory Haasnoot

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North Carolina, was one of the first 13 colonies to be admitted to the Union on November 21, 1789. From that time and even before there have been many lost and buried treasure tales to tell about this fascinating state. In the article 16 lost treasures of North Carolina, we will be discussing some of these stories that have been passed down through the generations.

You will learn about lost Revolutionary and Civil war treasure, hidden plantation treasure, buried pirate booty, and much more. Read on to learn more detail on these lost treasures that are hidden away in the great state of North Carolina!


16 Lost Treasures of North Carolina

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
Revolutionary War Treasure Near Bell’s MillUnknownOn Muddy Creek near a mill called Bell’s Mill close to Deep River which was about two miles northwest of Randleman, NC.
Deep River PlunderUnknownIn a cave close to Deep River in Randolph County near Guilford, NC.
Orton Plantation Treasure75,000 pounds sterlingOrton Plantation is located near Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Southport, NC.
Indian Treasure Legend of EtchoeGolden idolsFranklin, NC
Robert E. Lee’s Lost, Golden SwordGold and Jeweled Sword worth $42,000 In the waters of Cape Fear near Wrightsville Beach.
Cape Lookout Treasure200,000 silver and gold pesos and bullionWaters off of Cape Lookout which is about 15 miles southeast of Morehead City, NC.
Julius Benjamin’s CacheA large cache of gold coins and jewelryOn a farm a mile north of Mt. Pleasant, NC.
Lost Bag of Gems50lb bag of precious gemsBy a bridge at Caler Fork which is located about 10 miles north of Franklin, NC.
Treasure Hoards Hidden in Charlotte$100,000 in gold coinsWhere the Little Sugar Creek Greenway passes under Morehead Street.
Lost Treasure of Cornwallis At Abbott’s CreekA barrel filled with gold coinsAbbott’s Creek east of Lexington, NC.
Gaston Bullock Means Buried Fortune$500,000Somewhere on his estate that’s located at 138 North Union Street in Concord, NC
Blackbeard’s Booty Cache’sUnknownSouth bank of Pasquotank River close to the ruins of an old colonial dwelling there about three miles north of Elizabeth City.
Pirates of Plum PointUnknownPlum Point is on Pamlico Sound near Bath, NC.
Pirate Stede Bonnet’s Buried BootyUnknownSomewhere near the banks of Cape Fear River which was close to Buccaneer Point about four miles north of Wilmington, NC.
Pirate Treasures of Ocracoke InletUnknownOcracoke Inlet is located on the southern end of Ocracoke Island which lies between Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic.
Female Pirate Anne Bonney’s Buried CacheGold bullion and silver coinsFort Caswell was located a couple of miles south of Southport, NC near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

Revolutionary War Treasure Near Bell’s Mill

In 1781 a group of British Loyalists was looting the countryside in Randolph County NC. After they had stolen a considerable amount of plunder from the residents in the area they decided to bury their gains on Muddy Creek near a mill called Bell’s Mill close to Deep River which was about two miles northwest of Randleman, NC.

The Tories were all killed in battle before they could recover their treasure. The unfortunate part of this treasure is that it is now underwater because a reservoir was constructed here. So if you plan on searching for this treasure you will need to know how to dive and get yourself an underwater metal detector.


Deep River Plunder

Deep River
Deep River

David Fanning a murder and thieve led his group of men while they wreaked havoc in Randolph County near Guilford, NC during the Revolutionary War. It is said that they looted and murdered hundreds of people in the area during their reign of terror.

In 1787 they were being pursued by a huge group of vigilantes so they decided to take off for Nova Scotia. Before they left they hid a large cache of treasure in a cave close to Deep River. They never returned and their treasure has not been found.


Orton Plantation Treasure

Orton Plantation House
Orton Plantation House By AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The Orton Plantation is located near Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Southport NC. This plantation has a rich history because it was one of the first plantations in Brunswick County. Orton was first built in 1725 by Roger Moore who was the son of Governor James Moore.

The building was soon destroyed by Indians and rebuilt in 1735. Over the next 150 years, the plantation changed hands many times. After the battle of Fort Fisher in 1865 the plantation was confiscated from Thomas C. Miller who was a confederate owner at the time. After the Civil War Orton was abandoned for years.

Then in 1884, Orton was purchased by former confederate officer Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison. For the next 100 years, it changed hands many more times. Currently, Louis Moore Bacon privately owns the property. Bacon is a direct descendant of Roger Moore the original builder of Orton.

The Orton Plantation was also featured in 23 films and 34 television series and movies including:

Legend has it that the original owner Roger Moore buried a treasure worth more than 75,000 pounds sterling 100 paces from the house there. If the treasure is still there although I think it would have been found by now you will need to seek permission before going on to the property.


Indian Treasure Legend of Etchoe

Main Street, Franklin, NC
By Warren LeMay Main Street, Franklin, NC, CC0, Link

The Cherokee Nation was a prominent group of Native Americans that lived and thrived in North Carolina. One of their very important settlements was called Etchoe. This settlement was destroyed two times by white settlers in the early 1800s. The Indians finally left the area in 1819 after the white settlers finally overtook their land.

Legend has it that the Cherokee people buried golden idols in this area. The town of Franklin now sits on this historic spot once known as Etchoe. This would be an interesting town to visit if you are ever in the area. Although any golden idols that were buried there are probably now on private property so you will need permission before metal detecting here.


Robert E. Lee’s Lost, Golden Sword

Robert Edward Lee
Robert Edward Lee

A golden and jeweled sword was lost off the shore of Wrightsville Beach on a ship called the Fanny and Jenny that sunk in the Cape Fear waters in early 1864. The sword was to be presented to Robert E. Lee and came from English noblemen that were in favor of the Confederate cause.

While trying to get into another boat as the ship was sinking the Captain of the Fanny and Jenny lost the sword overboard. The sword is said to have been worth $2500 at the time which would be worth about $42,000 today.

Maybe someday the sword will wash ashore for some lucky beachcomber to find. Until then it is presumed still lost to the waters of Cape Fear known as the “Graveyard of the Atlanticâ€. Gold coins are also sometimes found near a fishing pier on the Wrightsville beach that is probably coming from the thousands of shipwrecks off the coast here.


Cape Lookout Treasure

Cape Lookout
Cape Lookout

In 1750 a Spanish Galleon went down in the water off of Cape Lookout which is about 15 miles southeast of Morehead City, NC. Four members of the crew made it to shore alive and they carried with them 200,000 silver and gold pesos and bullion. They went up to the highest point they could find and buried the treasure. They were soon rescued by local fishermen in the area.

After some time had passed they finally got permission from the British to return for their buried treasure. But when they got to the location of the treasure they couldn’t find it because a huge hurricane had altered the landscape. The treasure has never been located it could have possibly been washed out to sea.


Julius Benjamin’s Cache

During the Civil War, Julius Benjamin had a farm that was located a mile north of Mt. Pleasant, NC. He is said to have buried a large cache of jewelry and gold coins on his farm. Julius ended up being killed in the war and his family was unable to find the spot where he buried the treasure.


Lost Bag of Gems

A man who was prospecting for gems is said to have hidden a 50-pound bag of precious gems between two rocks by a bridge at Caler Fork which is located about 10 miles north of Franklin, NC. The man soon after was hit by a car and on his death bed, he told about the hidden gems. This would be a valuable find indeed!


Treasure Hoards Hidden in Charlotte

Little Sugar Creek Greenway
Little Sugar Creek Greenway

There are a few hidden treasure stories about Charlotte, NC. The first story suggests that a cache of gold coins was buried under the ruins of a house at the corner of Hawthorne Lane and Elizabeth Street.

The other story says that $100,000 in gold coins were buried where the Little Sugar Creek Greenway passes under Morehead Street. Many of these treasure hoards are said to have been placed in this town during the time of the Civil War when the threat of theft was high.


Lost Treasure of Cornwallis At Abbott’s Creek

Abbotts Creek
Abbotts Creek

In February of 1781 British Commander Cornwallis was leading his troops of over 2,000 north through North Carolina. A few battles took place along the way and the fact that the weather was bad was leaving his troops tired. They needed to leave some of the treasure that they had accumulated behind before they pushed forward going after Patriot General Nathanael Green. They were trying to capture North Carolina for the British.

Cornwallis and his troops decided to camp at Abbott’s Creek that had a horseshoe look to it east of Lexington, NC. While camping there they had a barrel filled with gold coins that they dumped into Abbott’s Creek for safekeeping. Some stories suggest that they also left 20 chests and kegs of gold and silver and also silver plates and some jewelry somewhere near the creek.

Rumors have it that the British blew up the area with gunpowder and caused a landslide that buried treasure so that the Patriots could not find it. These stories have been passed down through the generations so who knows what the truth is.

According to one article which you can read here. Someone supposedly found the Cornwallis treasure in Abbott’s Creek in 1987. But after doing further research that was the only newspaper article on the internet and they didn’t say who the person was that allegedly found the treasure. You would think if it was found there would have been a media circus about it. So was it found or was it even there to begin with. Nobody knows for sure. The creek has since changed course and it no longer looks like a horseshoe so maybe the treasure is buried in a dry area where the creek once flowed.

I also have to mention that over the years people have experienced ghostly apparitions and have heard splashed in the water like a barrel rolling into the water. People have also claimed that their dogs would go crazy near Abbott’s creek and they would chase something that would go up a tree put when they looked up the tree nothing would be there.

Could there be a treasure waiting for discovery in or near Abbott’s Creek? Who knows but it is an interesting lost treasure story nonetheless!


Gaston Bullock Means Buried Fortune

Gaston Bullock Means
Gaston Bullock Means

Gaston Bullock Means was a colorful con artist, blackmailer, private detective, and member of the Ohio gang who had ties with the Warren Harding administration. Means was also involved with the Lindbergh kidnapping of 1932. He extorted money from the Lindbergh family saying he knew the whereabouts of their kidnapped son Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.

In reality, Means had no idea where the baby was. He ended up extorting more than $100,000 from the Lindbergh family. Authorities finally got wise to his exploits and arrested Means and he was found guilty of grand larceny. He ended up dying in Leavenworth prison in 1938.

Gaston Bullock Means was a wealthy man even before he made his money from blackmailing and conning others. It is said that he buried $500,000 somewhere on his estate that’s located at 138 North Union Street in Concord, NC. The estate is still owned by the Means family and they are been searching for the treasure on the property for years with no luck.

This is one treasure that you probably will not get permission to search for but you can always ask the family for permission. But you would think if the family has been looking for the treasure all these years that it would have been found by now.


Pirate Treasures of North Carolina

We can’t forget about the many pirate treasures that dot the shorelines of North Carolina. Pirates were numerous in numbers all along the east coast of the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. The following are the stories of some of those pirates who frequented North Carolina and buried some of their treasure here.


Blackbeard’s Booty Cache’s

The famous Blackbeard “Edward Teach†spent a considerable amount of time in North Carolina. He even had one of his bases near Elizabeth City, NC. He is said to have buried many treasures in the area. One is on the south bank of Pasquotank River close to the ruins of an old colonial dwelling there about three miles north of Elizabeth City.

Gold and silver coins have been found in this area and are believed to be part of Blackbeard’s treasure. There could be more waiting to be discovered!


Digging Deeper: Lost Treasures of New Hampshire


Pirates of Plum Point

Legend has it that a number of pirates used Plum Point as their base of operations which is near Bath, NC. Plum Point is on Pamlico Sound. In this area, there are the ruins of a colonial site here that is said to contain buried pirate treasure. $10,000 in coins and artifacts have been found near an old brick building’s foundation. There could be much more to find in and around these ruins.


Pirate Stede Bonnet’s Buried Booty

Pirate Stede Bonny
Pirate Stede Bonny

Stede Bonnet was a pirate who lived from 1688-1718 when he was eventually hanged for piracy in Charleston, North Carolina on November 10, 1718. Before his death, he teamed up with Blackbeard as they committed piracy up and down the east coast of the U.S.

It is said that Bonnet buried a large treasure somewhere near the banks of Cape Fear River which was close to Buccaneer Point about four miles north of Wilmington, NC. As a matter of fact, a boy is said to have dug up a small number of gold coins in that area in 1930 while he was digging for worms. There is possibly much more waiting to be found! 


Pirate Treasures of Ocracoke Inlet

Many pirates are said to have used Ocracoke Inlet as a base for their operations. It is believed that many of them buried some of their booty here. Ocracoke Inlet is located on the southern end of Ocracoke Island which lies between Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic.


Female Pirate Anne Bonney’s Buried Cache

Anne Bonney
Anne Bonney

Anne Bonney was one of only a handful of pirates that wreaked havoc on the seas in the pirate days. Legend has it that Bonny spent some time near Fort Caswell near Cape Fear Rivers opening. It is said that she buried a treasure consisting of gold bullion and silver coins here.

Fort Caswell was located a couple of miles south of Southport, NC. Other pirates are said to have buried numerous treasures here as well. Anne Bonney disappeared from history never to be heard of again.


Conclusion – Lost Treasures of North Carolina

There you have it 16 lost treasures of North Carolina! I hope these stories have tantalized your intellectual tastebuds for lost treasures. There are many more of these stories about this state and all of the states of the Union. If you are ever in NC or maybe you even live in this history-rich state I suggest maybe asking the locals in the area and they can probably tell you in more detail about these lost treasures. And maybe one day you might get lucky and find one of these treasures that are awaiting discovery!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. 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.

2 thoughts on “16 Lost Treasures of North Carolina”

  1. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this issue here on your web page.

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