11 Lost Treasures of South Carolina (Buried War Treasure Awaits)

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Cory Haasnoot

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South Carolina is one of the original 13 colonies and is the 8th state to be admitted to the Union on May 23, 1788. In this article the 11 lost treasures of South Carolina we will be digging into the rich history that this state has to offer. You will also learn about the many Revolutionary and Civil War treasures that are lost and buried or underwater in some circumstances in this state.

I will introduce you to some of the plantations that seem to blanket South Carolina. You will also hear about a pirate treasure that may be awaiting discovery here. As well as six tons of buried Spanish Silver Bullion. So if history and buried treasure fascinate you “like it probably does otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this” then keep reading as I bring you 11 lost treasures of South Carolina!


11 Lost Treasures of South Carolina

TREASUREAMOUNTLOCATION
Buried Spoils of War On The Williamson PlantationUnknownOn the Williamson Plantation about 4 miles east of McConnel, SC.
Lost Union Payroll Near St. Stephen$100,000 to $200,000 in gold coinsNear St. Stephen, South Carolina on the Santee River.
Buried Treasure Chest Near The Hampton Plantation$63,000 in gold and silver coinsOn the Hampton Plantation close to McClellanville, SC.
Buried Treasure on the Walnut Grove PlantationAn unknown amount of coins and silverwareOn the Walnut Grove Plantation is located in Spartanburg, SC along the Tyger River.
Lost British Payroll Near Hunts BluffBritish Payroll – Unknown AmountBottom of the Great Pee Dee River near Hunts Bluff, SC.
Confederate Supplies & Gold At The Bottom of The Congaree River$125,000 in gold coins & Civil War artifactsBottom of the Congaree River.
Captain Jack Murrell’s Buried BootyUnknownMurrells Inlet 13 miles south of Myrtle Beach, SC
Buried Indian Treasure at The Mulberry PlantationA large amount of jewelry and gold coinsMulberry Plantation along the Copper River between Moncks Corner and Charleston SC in Berkeley County.
Buried Treasure on North IslandA large amount of gold and silverNorth Island at the mouth of Winyah Bay.
Lost Spanish Treasure at Cape Romain
A large amount of goldOn Cape Romain which lies between Georgetown and Charleston South Carolina.
Lost Confederate Silver in the Saluda RiverSix tons of silver bullionBottom of the Saluda River ten miles northeast of Greenwood, South Carolina.

Buried Spoils of War On The Williamson Plantation

British Legion Threatening Martha Bratton
British Legion Threatening Martha Bratton

The battle of Williamson’s Plantation also known as Hucks Defeat took place on July 12, 1780, about four miles east of McConnel, South Carolina. This battle was the beginning of the end of British rule in America.

Captain Christian Huck was a Philadelphia lawyer and captain of Tarleton’s British Legion. Huck and his men of tories had been raiding homes, looting, executing, and murdering those who would not pledge allegiance to the King of Britain.

On July 11, 1780, Huck and about 115 of his men were camped at a plantation owned by James Williamson a British Whig while looking for Colonel William Bratton whose wife Martha would not give up his whereabouts. They had five prisoners with them that they held in a corncrib there. The prisoners were to be executed the next day.

Patriots from a nearby town heard of the whereabouts of Huck and his men they quickly formed a militia to attack the Williamson Plantation the next day. So on July 12, 1780, the patriot militia of about 150 men surprised Huck and his soldiers by attacking from three sides. Captain Huck was quickly shot in the head by John Carrol and the patriots defeated the British and released the prisoners.

Buried Treasure

Rumor has it that Captain Huck and his men had accumulated quite a bit of treasure over a time when they were looting the countryside of South Carolina. It is said that they buried a lot of their spoils of war in various places on the Williamson Plantation.

According to my research, the buildings on the Williamson Plantation which consisted of a log house, corncrib, and possibly other buildings are now long gone and the area was used for agricultural purposes. Part of the battlefield including where the plantation house once stood is owned by York County of South Carolina and is located on historic Brattonsville in the southeastern part of York County.

You will need permission before doing any treasure hunting on this property. But in 2010 archeology was done on some of the property near the old homestead site and as far as I know, no treasure of significance was found except for artifacts like musket parts and musket balls as well as pottery shards. I’m sure the whole 300 acres that made up the Williamson Plantation has not been searched and there might be treasure still awaiting discovery!


Lost Union Payroll Near St. Stephen

Welcome Sign at the Entrance of St. Stephen, SC
Welcome Sign at the Entrance of St. Stephen, SC By Efy96001 Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Near the small town of St. Stephen, South Carolina on the Santee River and nearby Lake Moultrie lies a treasure worth $100,000 to $200,000 in gold. This treasure is said to have been stolen from the Union by the Confederates during the Civil War. The gold was to be used as payroll for Union soldiers.

Legend has it that after the Confederates stole the payroll they buried it somewhere near the Santee river close to the town of St. Stephen. The Confederates were killed or captured soon after burying the treasure and it has never been recovered. So there could be Union gold waiting to be discovered on the banks of the Santee River. The gold coins from the Civil War era would be worth more than a million dollars in today’s economy.


Buried Treasure Chest Near The Hampton Plantation

Hampton Plantation Main House
Hampton Plantation – By Brian Stansberry Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Hampton Plantation has a long and interesting history. The two-and-a-half-story wood-framed Georgian-style house was built in 1735 and still stands today on the Hampton Plantation Historic Site.

Some of the Hampton Plantations’ interesting history includes that George Washington ate breakfast here when he stopped here along his American Tour and Edgar Allen Poe wrote one of his short stories “The Gold Bug” here as well. The plantation consisting of 300 acres is now almost completely wooded with swamps but the main house and some outbuildings are kept up and the Hampton House is a museum that can be toured.

It is said that during the Revolutionary War $63,000 in gold and silver coins were buried somewhere on the Hampton Plantation. Some say it was near the main house. If the treasure is there it would be worth a considerable amount of more than $63,000. The treasure may never be found because the property is now owned by the State of South Carolina and is a National Historic Landmark so metal detecting and digging is probably not allowed.

The Hampton Plantation would be an interesting place to visit nonetheless especially if you are interested in Revolutionary War history!


Buried Treasure on the Walnut Grove Plantation

Walnut Grove Plantation House
Walnut Grove Plantation House

The Walnut Grove Plantation is located in Spartanburg, SC along the Tyger River. This plantation came about by a land grant from King George III and the buildings were built in 1765. The name comes from the grove of black walnut trees that were planted on the property by Kate Barry an important female figure of the Revolutionary War who was a scout for General Daniel Morgan during the Battle of Cowpens.

In 1864 when General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union brigade was sweeping its way through South Carolina that the family that lived on the plantation at the time buried their valuables of coins and silverware somewhere on the property. One of the stories suggests that they put the valuables in a well on the property and filled it in with dirt.

The Walnut Grove Plantation is now on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. Tours are conducted of the main house and other buildings on the property. Metal detecting and digging are probably strictly prohibited. The property was 3,000 so you might beagle to access other areas of the property but make sure to get permission before doing so.


Digging Deeper: Lost Treasure of North Carolina


Lost British Payroll Near Hunts Bluff

According to unconfirmed accounts, a barge of British supplies was overturned when it was sailing on the Great Pee Dee River near Hunt’s Bluff, South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. It is said that a considerable payroll meant for the British troops was onboard at the time.

The payroll has never been recovered and if the story is true it could still be lying at the bottom of the Great Pee Dee River near Hunts Bluff, SC.


Confederate Supplies & Gold At The Bottom of The Congaree River

Congaree River
Congaree River – By Dr. Blazer Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

On December 12, 1864, it is said that a couple of Confederate supply boats were ambushed by Union troops when they were afloat on the Congaree River. One of the boats contained $125,000 in gold coins that were lost to the waters of the Congaree River.

The gold could still be at the bottom of the Congaree river waiting to be found. Another interesting note about the Congaree river is that when Union troops led by General Sherman after they had burned part of the city of Columbia, SC down they dumped some of the Confederate supplies that they had seized such as cannons and rifles in the Congaree River.

Now the area where the gold and supplies may lie is buried under tons of coal tar that was dumped into the Congaree River in the early 1900s from a couple of manufactured gas plants that had operations in the area at the time.

They did sonar of the River bed during the cleanup efforts and they did find something of significance that may be buried under all that coal tar. So these treasures are more than likely not going to be found.


Captain Jack Murrell’s Buried Booty

Murrells Inlet
Murrells Inlet – By Liz Mitchell from Myrtle Beach, United States -, CC BY 2.0, Link

Captain Jack Murrell was a pirate who by all accounts would raid merchant ships in the area which bears his name Murrells Inlet which is located about 13 miles south of Myrtle Beach, SC. Murrell and his pirate crew would lay in wait for these ships and then steal the treasure from them.

Legend has it that some of the stolen booty from these ships is buried around this area which is very marshy. This would be a mosquito haven, to say the least, so finding this treasure would be an uncomfortable endeavor. Some gold and silver Spanish coins have been found in this area so there might be more waiting to be found.


Buried Indian Treasure at The Mulberry Plantation

Mulberry Plantation House circa 1970
Mulberry Plantation House circa 1970

The Mulberry Plantation was built in 1714. The plantation was originally used as a fort for protection against Native American attacks during the early frontier days in the area. The plantation house and ten acres surrounding it are now a National Historic Landmark. The house was built on top of a cellar-type fort that was previously there.

Legend has it that during the Yamasee War the plantation was being used as a defense and that a group of Indian renegades who were caught and hung is said to have buried a huge amount of jewelry and gold coins somewhere on the property.

The Plantation was part of 800 acres of land and is located on the Copper River between Moncks Corner and Charleston South Carolina in Berkeley County. The treasure presumably could be buried anywhere on that 800 acres but like always get permission before digging or searching for this treasure.


Buried Treasure on North Island

Aerial View of North Inlet of Winyah Bay
Aerial View of North Inlet of Winyah Bay

In 1781 soldiers in the British Army would loot plantations around South Carolina. This group of soldiers is said to have used North Island that’s located at the mouth of Winyah Bay as a sort of headquarters because this bay is close to many river inlets and other waterways that come together near the Atlantic Ocean.

While on North Island it is said that these British soldiers buried a great deal of gold and silver on this island which was the plunder from the plantations in the area. The soldiers were later killed in action and were unable to return for their treasure. Some of this treasure has been found but there could still be more waiting for some lucky treasure hunter to come along and find it!


Lost Spanish Treasure at Cape Romain

Lighthouses on Cape Romain
Lighthouses on Cape Romain

According to legend, a Spanish ship was wrecked off the coast of Cape Romain in 1520. The ship was captained by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon. They camped on Cape Romain for several months before leaving. It is said that the crew headed south but before they left they buried a considerable amount of gold that they got in Mexico from soldiers of Cortez.

All but one of the 90 men survived the journey south. The lone survivor later headed back to Cape Romain to find the buried gold but he was unable to locate it and it’s still buried there somewhere on Cape Romain which lies between Georgetown and Charleston South Carolina.


Lost Confederate Silver in the Saluda River

Saluda River
Saluda River

It is reported that a Confederate wagon train that was hauling six tons of silver bullion from Arizona to South Carolina was ambushed by Union troops during the Civil War near the town of Saluca, SC.

The Union troops are said to have thrown the silver bullion in the Saluda River that was nearby so that the Confederates could recapture it. I personally find this hard to believe but it is one of the many lost treasures that come out of the Civil War. The area in question is located about ten miles northeast of Greenwood, South Carolina.

That’s a lot of silver that might be laying at the bottom of the Saluda River waiting to be brought to the surface. A good underwater metal detector would come in handy here!


Digging Deeper: Lost Treasures of Arizona


Conclusion – Lost Treasures of South Carolina

Well, that concludes our war stories and lost treasure tales of South Carolina. I hope you found the article as interesting as it was for me researching it. Along with these lost treasure stories, there are many more that can be found all over the United States! Thanks for reading and if you have any lost treasure stories of your own I would love to hear about them. You can leave them along with any comments in the section 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.

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