By Doug Crowell - Blockhouse Investigations
Many people are likely aware of the theories that connect Shakespeare, the prolific English poet, playwright, and author, known as The Bard of Avon, to Oak Island in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia. What some people may not know is that starting in 1971, David J. Hansen, Director of The De Vere Foundation, researched the possibility that Edward DeVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, may be buried in a sarcophagus five fathoms deep on Oak Island. He believed that Oak Island is not only the site of Shakespeare's tomb, but the hiding place of his
original manuscripts, and other treasures. In the course of investigating and formulating his theory, Mr. Hansen talked with Robert Dunfield, a former Oak Island treasure hunter in the 1960s, and also with Daniel Blankenship, who is still hunting for treasure on Oak Island after fifty plus years. For the historical significance of insight from a former treasure hunter, a current treasure hunter, and Oak Island artifacts that help support this theory, we feel that the following letter that Hansen wrote to the mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto, may be of interest to Oak Island enthusiasts. This letter comes to us from the research papers of Oak Island researcher and author Les MacPhie , and represents the start of our endeavor to provide Mr. MacPhie's body of research to the public. You can access the Les MacPhie Archives from our home page on the oakislandcompendium.ca.
Sorry that the photos in the Exhibit pages are no of very good reproduction quality. We present them as is. We hope that this letter gave you some additional insight into the history of the treasure hunt on this small island in Nova Scotia.
Thanks for reading, and goodnight from The Blockhouse!
by Doug Crowell - Blockhouse Investigations
This article is just to quickly relate an observation made from perusing the Parish Registers of Nova Scotia. A link to these archives was recently shared with the Oak Island Facebook Community by member Diana Young Gregory. This an excellent digital resource hosted online by Canadiana.org, which you can access by clicking here. You can find all the familiar family names listed within this register of births, marriages, and deaths, which have had a connection to Oak Island, such as Smith, McInnis, Vaughan, Ball, and others, from the earliest days of British settlement. Thanks for sharing it with us Diana!
One family name was unfamiliar to me, as I had never heard of it before, and I have been living in Nova Scotia all my life. Templeman is the surname I took note of while scrolling through the pages of the register. I did a quick phone directory search and could not find any Templemans currently listed in Nova Scotia, but they were here, living in Chester, near Oak Island, as early as 1787. Samuel Templeman was born in Chester, to Thomas and Mary Templeman, on March 21st, 1787.
The Templeman name caught my interest, of course, because of the various theories that involve purported Templar activities on Oak Island in the dim past. Could the Templeman surname be connected to the Knights Templar? Surprisingly yes. Check out this excerpt from The Internet Surname Database:
This name is occupational in origin and was given to one who was employed at, or who lived in one of the houses (temples) maintained by the Crusading order, the Knights Templar - so called because of their claimed association with the site of the old temple in Jerusalem. The surname was particularly associated with Cambridgeshire where the Templars had manors at Isleham and Duxford. Alternate forms of the name were 'serviens Templariorum' (1277) and 'de Templo' (1248)... The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Templeman, which was dated 1240, in the Fine Court Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as the Frenchman 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Templeman
Now we are not suggesting that this is evidence of Templar activity in Chester, or on Oak Island. It is simply one of those amusing and interesting connections that sometimes occur when researching a topic, and we thought we would share it with you, along with the superb genealogical resource brought to our attention by Diana.
Though someone really interested in Templar research may want to backtrack this family for their own interests.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
Scotia from which you can still buy these maps. If you would like to read our article on the Dry-Dock Theory, click here.
Sarah provided photos of the map index, which we will provide here with her permission, as Mr. Bates created many more historical maps than just those for Oak Island. You may be interested in some of the others. Sarah pointed out that the pricing listed on the index may not be the current prices for each map.
I see at least three maps in the index about Oak Island that I will be adding to my Oak Island collection. Here is the contact information if you would like to purchase one of these maps for yourself or a fellow enthusiast:
Carrefour Atlantique Emporium
Location: Inside the Historic Properties (Privateers Warf) Market Mall
Address: Historic Properties, 1869 Upper Water St, Halifax, NS B3J 1S9
Phone: (902) 423-2940
Province: Nova Scotia
Thanks for sharing with us Sarah, and goodnight from The Blockhouse!
by Doug Crowell and Kel Hancock - Blockhouse Investigations
There have been questions posed in the past as to whether or not there was a Windmill on Oak Island. I had never heard of one, nor had I found historical mention of one, but I have now. It appears as if the idea of a windmill was proposed by George Bates, a gentleman perhaps best known for having surveyed parts of Oak Island. He created a series of Oak Island maps, laid out as blueprints, back in the 1970s. In this map, he presents his theory that the works discovered on Oak Island, in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, are more in line with known dry-docks in the West Indies, in use in early days. So there is no historic proof of a windmill on the island. It exists as a theory, but an interesting theory none the less.
The following narratives are numbered to match the red numbers we have added to the map so that readers can easily match the text below to the text in the labels on the map by George Bates.
Is this the Secret of Oak Island?
Is the famous "Money Pit" part of a pumping station for a former and quite possibly pirates drydock?
The mouth of the La Have river was the headquarters of pirates who resorted there in great numbers at the invitation of the French Governor Brouillon, for about twenty years, beginning in the early 1690's.
Shown above is the method of operation of a drydock as used in the early days. Many of the known facts and findings on Oak Island tend to support the theory. At the same time, however, it should be pointed out that tide water level in the Money Pit was found to be 32 feet below ground level, while the top of the upper chamber is about 98 feet below ground level. Two tunnels are known to have been constructed from the sea to the Money Pit. The first actually discovered in 1897, but known to exist fifty years before that, is about 320 feet long. It enters the pit at the 110 foot level and is 3 feet high by 2 feet 6 inches wide. the second tunnel, larger in size, but only about 275 feet long to the south shore of the island, enters the pit at the 150 foot level. A third tunnel is suspected at the 135 feet level. At least one large chamber, of cement-like construction, is known to exist at the bottom of the Pit. The remains of a "skidway", built long before the coffer dam of 1865 in the Cove, was found in 1937-38. What is the secret of Oak Island? George Bates 1970.
Method of Operation:
Windmill (or windlass) pumps lower chamber dry. Vessel enters drydock, and seaward locks are closed. Water gate to Tunnel No. 1 is then opened. Water in dock flows down the tunnel to the lower chamber, leaving the drydock void of water. Windmill continues pumping water into the upper chamber, from which in similar drydocks in the West Indies, it flows by gravity through Tunnel No. 2 to the sea. Pumping continues so long as there is water in the lower chamber.
Both of the chambers on Oak Island appear to be about 40 Feet high, of unknown length and width as yet. The drydock, if this theory is valid, was probably located on the eastern coast of the island in Smuggler's Cove (also known as Pirate's Cove and Smith's Cove), as Tunnel No. 1 is known to have a definite downward slope from the sea, westerly to the main shaft and lower chamber.
The principle aim, and especially so with pirates, is to get the water out of the drydock so that work on the vessel might proceed immediately.
In view of the known fact that pirates in great numbers made their headquarters in nearby La Have for a period of about 20 years and possibly for much longer than that, the extent and nature of the works so far found at Oak Island appear to be more compatible with the drydock or shipyard theory than that of hidden pirate or even other treasure. This may be the first shipyard in North America.
Section - Oak Pump Casing. Detail No. 1. Iron Band.
Shaft discovered in 1965
Tunnel No. 2
The "Money Pit"
Thick Oak Timber
Windmill - removed, demolished, or destroyed prior to 1795
Main Shaft - discovered 1795
Platform every 10 feet. Supports pump casing.
Upper Chamber - discovered in 1937 but known before then
Tunnel No. 1
Shaft Discovered in 1878
Smuggler's, Smith, or Pirate's Cove.
Dirt and rock fill
Known water tunnel
Lower Chamber - discovered in 1965
Oak Pump Casing. Strenghtened with bands of iron - See Detail No. 1
Known water tunnel
Drydock - Seawall type, extended into the sea - Detail No. 2
Drydock - type recessed in the shore. Detail No. 3
Mr. Bates theory is an interesting one, and his connection to the island via the survey work he did there will likely mean that we will run into his name again. I particularly liked that he suggests a reason for the iron that was found below ground with his Oak Pump Casing reinforced with iron bands, along with the chambers, Oak platforms, flood tunnels, and slipway. What doesn't seem to fit, is the fingers drains. Would they have been deeper if they were used to help drain a drydock?
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell and Kel Hancock
Radiocarbon (C-14) dating is one of the most reliable of all the radiometric dating methods. It has been utilized to scientifically test organic Oak Island artifacts many times since 1967. The test uses carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that decays away at a steady rate. Organisms intake a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere while they are alive. By measuring the ratio of the radio isotope to non-radioactive carbon, the amount of carbon-14 decay can be determined, giving a fairly accurate age for the specimen.
Oak Island Compendium and Blockhouse Investigations is pleased to announce that Oak Island Researcher and author Les MacPhie has asked the Compendium to maintain his compilation of Oak Island Carbon Dating Reports for study by the public. We are honored to be able to do so. The index for those reports and an overview of the date results are displayed below. The collection of reports themselves are provided for download as a PDF file via a link at the bottom of this article. We invite you to dig in to the reports and see which carbon dates support your favorite theory, and which do not!
Thanks for visiting, and goodnight from The Blockhouse!
In 1570, Captain Francisco de Souza, governor of the island of Madeira, reported that Joao Alvares Fagundes was determined to create a settlement in the new land of the Cod Fish, and under license by King Manuel, had set sail some 45 to 50 years ago with several couples and families, mostly from the Azores. All contact with these intrepid settlers was lost. It wasn't until decades later that Basque fishermen brought back word that these settlers had created a colony in what is assumed to be Cape Breton, that existed at least until late into the 16th Century.
Are we sure that it was present day Cape Breton in which this colony was founded?
Governor Souza stated that in "Cape Britão, at the entrance of the north coast, in a beautiful bay, which had a settlement, with very precious things, and a lot of walnut, chestnut, grapes, and other fruits, where it seems to be the good land and so on this company were some couples from the Azores that they have taken as is notorious". What were the boundaries for this area known as Cape Britão? It is certainly one of the earliest names applied to this region of the North American coastline. In 1607, Samuel de Champlain identified the remains of a large, rotten, moss covered, wooden cross on the shores of the Minas Basin, in the Bay of Fundy (another place name given by the Portuguese). Another discovery in the Minas Basin area, directly North of Oak Island, and yet to be authenticated, is what seems to be an early Portuguese gravestone, known as the Ardoise Stone.
Local historian L.S. Loomer had the following to say:
"At the south extremity of Windsor township lies the high ground ofArdoise Hill. There about 1900 was discovered apparent evidence of other visitors to the area. It is a piece of slate, 12 inches long, six inches high, and a quarter inch thick. It bears a shield with a chevron and sword, an arrow, a skull and cross-bones, and the Latin inscription: 'C. Manulis, Hic Jacet, A.M.DLVIII.' Translated it appears to be 'Here lies C. Manulis 1558.' The rest is a mystery. He may have been one of a hunting party of Portuguese fishermen who died and was buried on Ardoise Hill. The stone, in private hands,would be the oldest known inscribed gravestone in Hants County." -"Windsor, Nova Scotia - A Journey In History," WHHS,1996, p. 25.
These two artifacts, the rotten wooden cross and the purported gravestone, were found not too far north of the "beautiful bay" known as Mahone Bay.
Hopefully, someday, more information will come to light about this early Portuguese Colony and their activities in the region.
For now though, this story emphasizes that the Portuguese should not be overlooked when considering early habitation along the shores of Atlantic Canada, and as potential visitors to Oak Island.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
From The Blockhouse
is published by Blockhouse Investigations and oakislandcompendium.ca
in Nova Scotia, Canada
Editors and Chief Correspondents
Kelly W. Hancock, CD
John Wonnacott, P. Eng.
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