by Doug Crowell - Blockhouse Investigations - Nova Scotia, Canada
On Saturday August 30th 1862 a schooner by the name of Good Intent arrived at Oak Island, carrying William Smith, superintendent of The Oak Island Association, and five others. One of the first tasks performed upon their arrival, was to send all hands to Frog Island for stuff to build a wharf. Frog Island is just under a half of a mile away from Smith's Cove on Oak Island. You have likely seen it in the background of many scenes from the History channel's Curse of Oak Island series. We didn't know that it has had a long standing connection with the Oak Island Mystery, until we reviewed the record of work kept during the Oak Island Association's attempt to recover treasure in 1862.
Throughout the work journal, it is noted that men and horses were at work on Frog Island, cutting timber to crib the various shafts being dug at the Money Pit area, and other structures, such as the aforementioned wharf. Why Frog Island though?
We knew that Anthony Graves, the man who is said to have bought his goods in Chester with Spanish money (see our article on that here), had leased the use of the land around the Money Pit to the treasure hunters. Could he also own Frog Island as well? To find the answer, we turned to the property records of the time. John Smith had died on September 29th 1857, and his property went to his heirs. Those heirs promptly sold the property, on December 5th of the same year, to a man by the name of Henry Stevens for the sum of four hundred and sixteen pounds. This included all of the Oak Island property, and all of Frog Island, so obviously John had bought up the lots on Frog Island at some point. Henry Stevens turned around and sold all of the Oak Island lots, and all of Frog Island, to Anthony Graves less than two months after buying the land. His selling price? Four hundred and sixteen pounds. This means Stevens made a total profit of zero on this sale. Odd. I saw this happen once in my lifetime. A local business owner was selling his shop and another local business man wanted to by it. They didn't like each other very much, and the one business man refused to sell to the other. The second business man hired an elderly couple to buy the business and once the paperwork was signed, he walked in and ordered the former owner off of the property. Was there friction between Graves and the Smiths? We don't know, but it is an interesting side note.
We do know that John Smith started out as a property owner by buying Lot 18 (the Money Pit lot) on Oak Island in the summer of 1795. When and how did John Smith acquire Frog Island?
This gave Smith total ownership of Frog Island, with at least two houses upon it. Did John Smith buy up this nearby island simply because opportunity presented itself (Smith had married Ann Floyd, and Mary Floyd may have been related to his wife), or did he buy it in further pursuit of treasure? Recorded history hasn't revealed his motivation as of yet, but is there any hint that treasure hunting took place on Frog Island?
In his book, The Oak Island Quest (Windsor, Nova Scotia: Lancelot Press, 1978), William S. Crooker speculated that any original builder with enough engineering experience to build the structures thought to be on Oak Island, would have no problem digging a tunnel over to Frog Island, and caching the treasure there, with no disturbed ground or workings on the surface of the island. An interesting thought indeed, especially knowing that Smith, one of the men who discovered the Money Pit on Oak Island, bothered to buy up the lots on Frog Island as well. While there is no known evidence to support such an idea, we do know that there is at least one site on Frog Island in which it seems as if treasure seekers invested some effort. On the North side of the island, there lies the remains of a pit.
We worked all of Frog I. in the years, 76, 77, 78, 79, 1983... There is strong evidence that suggests many men were housed on Frog I. during the period of Oak I. construction."
- Daniel J. Sullivan
Sullivan was one of the people who worked the pit on Frog Island down to a depth of 27 feet, at which point water became a problem. The story of his work on Frog Island can be read on Jo Atherton's Oak Island Treasure Blog here. It indicates that they thought the pit was a sinkhole, but that they had found manmade artifacts down as deep as 25 feet. So we can infer that a pit of some type existed there before they dug into it in the years between 1976 and 1983, be it a sink hole or the remains of a previous dig.
There also exists a copy of a map that suggests that Frog Island was the site of a landing by unidentified parties in 1347AD. Details of this map will be released by a researcher and author who is completing a book on a related treasure topic in the near future. We look forward to learning more about this mysterious map and the people/group behind the alleged fourteenth century visit.
So there you have it. Oak Island and Frog Island are long standing companions in an enduring mystery.
Thanks for reading and 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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