By Doug Crowell- Blockhouse Investigations-Nova Scotia
I built a gay-roofed little house upon a sunny isle
Where Heaven is very close to Earth and all the world’s a-smile
It took my savings, every cent, although the cost was small
But, oh, the lovely things I bought and paid for not at all!
The crystal waters that below in sun and shadow lie,
The oaks that sprawl across the point and climb to meet the sky,
Stray winds that sing of other things than those our eyes may see,
Blue wisps of fog and raveling clouds that, fleeing, beckon me.
White suns of mad glad April, Octobers wine to quaff
On crystal Autumn mornings my hearth stones crackling laugh,
The silent stars that march at night so close above my head
The sound of rain-drops on the roof, when I am snug in bed
For joist and beam and shingles grey, I spent my savings small
But on the lovely things God gave, He put no price at all.
When financial burdens leading into World War II forced Hedden to give up financing his own hands-on quest to solve the mystery of Oak Island, he still retained ownership of the island. In an often contentious alliance with Frederick L. Blair, who owned the treasure trove license, he continued to seek out others to pursue the quest in his stead. Through those years, property taxes were often paid late, as he continued to struggle financially, until he finally sold the island to another treasure hunter named John Whitney Lewis on May 26, 1950. Hedden had this to say in correspondence to R.V. Harris, author of the 1958 book The Oak Island Mystery, after relating the above poem:
“I think really that that is what Oak meant and means to me. I am deeply sorry I ever lost it.”
In reviewing and copying papers from the R.V. Harris Collection, at the Nova Scotia Archives, we found correspondence written by Hedden to Harris, offering feedback and proofing for Harris’ book on the Oak Island mystery. Here at Blockhouse Investigations, we thought you may be interested in reading the reflections of a treasure hunter who spent 16 years trying to solve the riddles of the island, and the knowledge and insights he gained from those efforts.
Hedden on the Putty
“In putting down my shaft, adjacent to the Chappell shaft, we passed through a vein or layer of putty-like clay, my recollection is that it was at about 60 feet. A large quantity was removed. It could be worked with the hands exactly like a good putty and was somewhat oily in texture. We used some to putty the windows of the various shacks we erect and of my cabin and it worked very well. As I recall it the vein was about 20 inches deep, extended across the shaft and was about eight feet wide. It was solid and was not mixed with stones or debris.”
“I would use the resemblance to putty, only. Some of it was used to putty the windows of my shack. Cannot subscribe to talc or pumice as it had absolutely no resemblance to either substance.”
Hedden on the Parchment Fragment
“Chappell Sr. At an interview in 1937 I was very much impressed with his character. He stated to me at that time that he was in charge of the drill when the bit of parchment was recovered. He stated that he firmly believed that he saw traces of gold or yellow metal on the bit, though he had never made that statement public. He said that he had been induced to return in 1931, because of his earlier experiences and because of the enthusiasm of his son.”
Hedden on the Boatswain’s Whistle
“Miss Stewart has in her possession bone bosin’s whistle found at the shore on Oak. I have a photograph and it is quite ancient. I believe it was found in dirt excavated by Chappell at the center point above the Coffer Dam. According to local gossip, Talbot spent most of Miss Stewart’s money on local females and liquor.”
Hedden on the Efforts made by Treasure Hunters
“In the semi-circular tunnel my recollection is that some of the timber was oak. I would suggest that you indicate that that it entered my shaft on one end and went out at the far end to one side. It was collapsed in that the left side and bottom (looking North) had fallen away from the top and right side.”
“In our excavation of the Chappell pit and my own adjoining pit, we noted an inflow of water from the Smith’s cove side at 98 feet and from the other side at about 105 feet. There was no evidence of water inflow at any lower depth. If you are so informed I believe that your informer is mistaken. I was in the pits all the time and carefully examined and recorded the data. The inflow from the Smith’s Cove side was a bit the stronger.”
“There is no evidence that the original pit was 155 feet. Suggest you use 100 feet. Later collapse may have carried cache to 155 feet but early statements locate it at 100.”
Hedden on the Stone Triangle
“The Triangle was ten feet to the side with a pointer line directed to True North intersecting the base just off of center dividing the base line about 4” and 6#. There was also a curved line about three feet below the base connecting both base points and the pointer line went through the base line to end at the curved line. I have been told that this forms an ancient symbol for “life” or “eternity”. It is very significant that the pointer line was to True North rather than the magnetic North which at this point shows a wide and varying deviation. Whoever laid it out wanted it to remain unchanging. A triangle 7x8x4 fitted into the unclosed ends of the lay-out and the line 8 passed almost directly through the Treasure Pit location as near as we could determine.”
“The pointer line of the triangle is True North. True North can be determined but it is quite a job to do so though I am told any good navigator could do so. It is strange that the pointer line should actually be True North. I had hoped to find it just off North as I had hoped to determine its date of origin by tracing the probable declination at the time.”
Hedden on Captain Kidd
“My only conclusion is that Kidd in his wanderings, learned of a very valuable cache, but he was uncertain as to its exact location or description. To my mind the various charts are originals by Kidd or copies by some-one else. I thought the one with the triangle mentioned was the most authentic. I also believe Kidd and his followers searched for the island but failed to locate it.”
Hedden on the Coconut Fibre
“I disagree with Hamilton in that I found fibre at the depth of six feet at Smith’s cove in fair quantity and had it identified as cocoanut fibre. Hemlock’s bark under salt water will deteriorate rather quickly. Cocoanut fibre will remain intact almost indefinitely or at least for an established period of over 200 years. I am thoroughly convinced the original fibre used to construct the beach was cocoanut cut in pieces of about five inches. I was also convinced from my interview with Captain Vaughan who was present as a water-boy when the beach was excavated. He stated to me that there were tons of it removed at that time. His recollection was that it was in a layer about two feet thick over most of the area. He of course did not know just what the fibre was. There was no evidence of hemlock bark in any I recovered. It was all quite fibrous and I am familiar with cocoanut fibre having seen it numerous times when in Florida. I never found any evidence of the fibre in the main pits. I am just as familiar with hemlock outer bark and can see no resemblance, so add me in as disagreeing with Hamilton.”
Hedden on the Ring Bolt
“Unless you have actually seen it yourself I would be very dubious about its existence as I was very familiar with every foot of the island shore-line at high and low tide and I know of no such bolt.”
Hedden on the Original Works
“Cannot agree that your conclusion of piratical origin is correct. I believe there are manuscripts included in the cache and I cannot conceive of a pirate leaving that identity with his loot. Nor can I conceive of a pirate who would bury his loot beyond any chance of contemporary recovery or exert such engineering skill for an unselfish objective.”
“I believe and maintain that the original work could be duplicated in another part of the island today, using the same tools then available, and that it could be done with a force of 100 men in four months time, given favorable weather. Block and Fall, pail, tub, wheelbarrow, shovel, pick, rope, axe, hammer and saw were then in use, even as early as 1600, and there was no water interference until they made it. No cribbing would be needed, or very little.”
“I cannot agree that there is any evidence that the original work went to 175 feet. All real evidence points to 100 feet the other is pure conjecture and fantasy. The same applies to the thought that there was a permanent vault at the bottom or 175 feet. I know it is based on drilling reports and evidence of disturbed earth at those depths but still contend that it is pure conjecture or wishful thinking. If, as we have reason to believe, the original cache was in several containers, all filled with bullion or coin, it is obvious that the weight of those containers was somewhere in the neighborhood of nine or ten tons. Bear in mind that a ton of gold is only a 14 inch cube. When the bottom floor of the cache was undermined and the vault collapsed, the nine or ten tons had to go somewhere. With the ground underneath in a very soft and puddled state it could have sunk quite a distance over the years and in fact may still be sinking. Remember that the water in the pits in that area is not in a static condition but is constantly in motion induced by the tides. The tide motion plus the enormous suction caused by the various pumping efforts of many of the expeditions, including mine, have constantly stirred up the ground and have aided further settlement of the cache. With the countless tools lost, and drill pipes abandoned by various groups, it is not at all surprising that iron could be detected at almost any depth. In fact we found a ten foot section of drill pipe seven feet below the end of the Chappell shaft when we drove it down that far in 1936.”
“Believe the tunnels were purely for flooding purposes and that they were small. I also believe that the shore end at Smith’s Cove is still in place somewhere near the center of this beach.”
“Unfortunately I could not complete my solution either way, though I believe given two years time and sufficient funds I could have cracked it one way or the other. I was never convinced from my research that there was or ever had been any real treasure. I WAS convinced that at some time, for some purpose, somebody had done a highly complicated bit of engineering at the site and I wanted to find out why. In all of my association with the project I have been convinced of only three facts: 1. The truth of the story of the recovery of the parchment; 2. The truth of the story of the work found on the beach; 3. The Truth of the cocoanut fibre found in quantity at the beach. All the rest is legendary or speculation. However I am convinced that some-one did an enormous amount of work there at a very early date for some unknown purpose.”
In bringing today’s article to an end, we want to direct your attention to one final quote made by Gilbert Hedden in regards to his much-loved island that he simply referred to as “Oak”.
“I might set you right on my connection with the mystery. I think I was never governed by lust of treasure recovery myself. I was more interested in a solution to the mystery. Did it have some basis of fact; I thought it did. Or was it purely a figment of the imagination and a monstrous hoax? I did not and do not think so.”
If we hadn't told you that these were Hedden's sentiments regarding Oak Island, we think you could easily believe it a quote from Rick Lagina.
Gilbert Hedden passed away in September of 1974. We like to think he is up there, keenly following the current efforts on his beloved, Oak.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
Kel Hancock- Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
with files from the late, Paul Wroclawski
Much has been written about the alleged Masonic symbolism in the Oak Island Mystery. Theorists are prone to see these signs in everything from a letter G carved on a stone, a supposed skull shaped boulder, to stone triangles and crosses, the 90 Foot Stone, and even in a fragment of a simple colonial carpenter's square. By assuming that all of these items are connected and have a Masonic significance, writers have produced volumes of speculation that the Oak Island treasure was deposited in time immemorial by Freemasons, the Rosicrucians or even the Knights Templar. All this, of course, is still just conjecture.
But were actual Freemasons ever really associated with Oak Island? The answer is, yes.
Many treasure-hunters who have dug on Oak Island have been Freemasons. In a list with almost too many members to count we can name, McCully, Archibald, and Pitblado in the 19th century, to Blair, Roosevelt, Hedden and the Chappells in the 20th. Aside from actual searchers many Freemasons have been investors or enthusiasts- the most famous being the likes of John Wayne and Errol Flynn.
But aside from treasure-hunters, were there Masons connected to Oak Island in other ways? The answer, once again, is yes. Some of the island's earliest landowners and residents were Freemasons. Let's have a look at a couple.
Dr. Jonathan Prescott
Jonathan Prescott was a Captain of Engineers in the British Army and was also Under-Surgeon to the Surgeon-General during the Siege of Louisbourg in 1748 He was made a Mason in Boston on January 14, 1746 and settled in Halifax in 1751. Prescott owned Oak Island Lot Nos. 8 and 22 from 1765 to 1784. As a highly successful businessman, he distilled rum in Halifax when rum was an accepted currency in the colonies. He also operated a fleet of fishing boats and was able to set the government's price for fish. He filled many government contracts for supplies, then branched out into lumber and lime and operated a lumber mill near the Chester during the French and Indian Wars. He eventually quarried lime and set up a kiln in the area as well. An original grantee of the Shoreham Grant (Chester), he became a major landowner on both the mainland and the islands directly opposite Chester. Prescott was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Chester in 1778 after his friend, Timothy Houghton, forfeited the office by getting himself convicted of sedition during the American Revolution. Although he was a Captain of the Chester Militia, it seems Prescott fully supported the American cause. In fact, the good doctor enjoyed tea in Chester with rebel privateer Captain Noah Stoddard, the day before Stoddard proceeded to sack the nearby town of Liverpool on July 1st, 1782. Prescott's son, Jonathan, joined Washington's Continental Army as a surgeon and was a founding member of The Order of Cincinnati.
Alexander Pattillo was born in Scotland and arrived in Chester in 1785. He was a major grantee in the Shoreham Grant.
Pattillo quickly established himself as a stone-mason in the area and made bricks, in addition to operating a lime kiln and quarry. As well as being an operative mason he was also a speculative Freemason and is listed as Secretary of the Lodge in Chester in 1786. He was an Assistant Poll Tax Collector from 1792-1794. In February 1785 Pattillo bought Oak Island Lot No. 1 which he sold to Daniel McGinnis (Donald MacInnes) in September of 1794. He later purchased Lot No. 27 in 1786; also sold to McGinnis.
As the team here at Blockhouse Investigations continues to sift through files and conduct new research we are sure to find new connections that we will share with you in upcoming articles. You might want to check in with us when we publish an upcoming piece that examines the Masonic symbolism itself; and the origins of the elements within the Legend of Oak Island which lead many theorists to believe that the islands history and treasure is somehow related to Freemasonry.
For our readers here in Atlantic Canada, hunkering down under another Nor' Easter, we wish you a safe and warm night.
And, as always, to everyone Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
This article is dedicated to the memory of my friend and renowned Oak Island researcher,
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Joseph Edward Wroclawski, 1966-2014
Kel Hancock- Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
The other day someone asked me about the legends that say people associated with Oak Island in the late 18th and early 19th century were reportedly seen spending Spanish coins. The best known of these tales says that Oak Island resident Anthony Graves was seen spending Spanish coins in the nearby township of Chester. We're not sure of the origin of this story, but it's oft been repeated by many writers and researchers as some sort of clue or evidence that implies he must have found some treasure on the island- presumably Spanish treasure. So tonight, we'd like to share some information with you that takes some of the 'mystique' and significance out of these legends.
First of all, it's very likely that Anthony Graves did spend Spanish coin in Chester. In fact it is highly probable that all the residents of Oak Island did likewise. History actually tells us that we should be very surprised if they didn't! What is being overlooked is the historical fact that Spanish dollars were a very common form of currency in colonial Nova Scotia and there are a couple reasons why.
In Nova Scotia during the latter part of the 18th century the primary English coin in circulation was the Guinea. That was great for the Halifax Merchants and the rich, but in places like Falmouth, Liverpool, Lunenburg, and Chester the Guinea was far too large of a denomination of currency for practical use among the settlers. Many of the settlers didn't deal in minted currency for the most part anyway. But when they did, the Spanish dollar was the coinage of choice. It was legal tender, completely acceptable, and it was very common.
'Until the middle of the nineteenth century, each British colony in North America regulated the use of currency in its own jurisdiction. Although pounds, shillings, and pence (the currency system used in Great Britain) were used for bookkeeping (i.e., as the unit of account), each colony decided for itself the value, or “rating,” of a wide variety of coins used in transactions or to settle debts.These included not only English and French coins, but also coins from Portugal, Spain, and the Spanish colonies in Latin America—notably Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. Once rated, coins became legal tender.Ratings were based on the amount of gold or silver contained in the coins and varied widely from colony to colony but were always higher than the rating used in Great Britain. For example, in the mid-eighteenth century, a Spanish silver dollar, “the principal measure of exchange and the basis of pecuniary contracts” in North America, was appraised at 4 shillings and 6 pence in London, 5 shillings in Halifax, 6 shillings in New England...'- The Bank of Canada
Another reason why Spanish currency was in abundance was because ships from our coastal communities carried on a brisk and regular trade with the West Indies. In addition to coming home laden with traded goods from those islands (even perhaps coconut fibre), they came home with chests and purses full of Spanish coin. So, if Anthony Graves was seen buying things in Chester with Spanish 'pieces of eight", guess what? No big deal.
Somehow legend-spinners made it into something mysterious and curious.
But once again, the facts tell us that this just isn't true.
We hope you had a great weekend and Goodnight from the Blockhouse!
Kel Hancock-Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
Ask just about anyone from Nova Scotia to name a place where gold may be buried, other than Oak Island, and they’ll be sure to rhyme off a few spots. Nova Scotian culture is steeped in legends of buried treasure and hidden gold. And it’s not just the old salts that believe this. Today’s generation seems to have a great passion for these tales and an energetic compulsion to go out and explore some of the province’s most mysterious places. Undoubtedly this passion has been further fueled by the success of The History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island. But what some “come from away” viewers might not realize is that although The Oak Island Mystery is the most famous of all Maritime treasure tales, it’s just one of many.
Nova Scotia’s colonial era naturally lent itself as a breeding ground of treasure lore. And most of us grew up hearing yarns about lost Acadian gold, missing payrolls, stashed smugglers’ hordes, and the purposeful otherworldly protection of loot from pirates and privateers. The rich maritime and sea-farin’ history of this little province was the perfect Petri dish for such legends to breed and grow. And out of our little harbours and coves they grew indeed!
Take for instance, Ile Haute situated in the Bay of Fundy that captured the interest of American adventurer and treasure-hunter Edward Rowe Snowe. Or how about Plum Island, Canso, Noel, Pictou, Black Hole Cove, Shad Bay, Grand Pre, Pisiquid, Annapolis Royal, Jolicure, Masstown, Ship Harbour Lakes? Yes, all locations in Nova Scotia related to tales of buried treasure and, in fact, only a small sampling. The list could go on and on and on.
What is significant to us at Blockhouse Investigations is that the current generation of Oak Island enthusiast is faced with being terribly misinformed by the myopic perspectives of so-called theorists and self-styled researchers who failed to take the time to learn about Nova Scotia's culture and history. Unfortunately, they see no value in the legends and tales of our region unless they related directly to Oak Island, and discard them as foolish misguided stories- mainly because they don't support their more fantastic theories.
The fad of the last three decades or so, reaching an almost intolerable crescendo in the present day, is to balk at information related to smugglers, pirates and privateers in favour of far-fetched 'theories' based on global conspiracies, secret cabals, Holy Relics, and such truck.
That's a big mistake, in our opinion. We're not saying that one of those theories might not be the answer.
But what we are saying is that, side-by-side, assertions of what may have happened are quickly out-stacked by what history tells us did happen here in Nova Scotia. What verifiable historical evidence does show took place in our region was, piracy, smuggling and privateering. And that is also borne out by our legends, tales and even superstitions!
We won't go into the subject of superstitions in this article, although here in The Maritimes treasure and superstition go hand-in-hand. In a future story we'll bring you lots of information on that interesting and engaging topic. And we won't overwhelm you with scads of historical evidence indicating the level and extent of illicit activities such as smuggling and quasi-legal privateering here in Nova Scotia. There is plenty of information available to the reader in books and archives- much has been written on this subject. What we do intend to show are few examples of other treasure mysteries that made headlines in Nova Scotia, as well as some examples of treasure lore in the media. We invite you to scroll through the images below. Most of these headlines caught the eye of Reginald V. Harris and we found many in a collection of clippings from his personal papers held at the Nova Scotia Archives in Halifax.
We could write volumes about the treasure-lore of Nova Scotia, but who better to do the talking than the experts themselves? And in this case we find no better than Dr. Helen Creighton. Creighton was one of Canada's most celebrated and famed folklorists and left behind a legacy of writings and recordings that are true treasures for researchers and enthusiasts. She wrote two very significant books on the subject of Nova Scotia superstition and lore, Bluenose Ghosts in 1957, and Bluenose Magic in 1968. Both works reflect decades of research collected by Creighton in communities all over Nova Scotia.
Below, we invite you to peruse a selection of treasure related excerpts taken from her writings.
Here at Blockhouse we don't like to draw too many conclusions unless firm evidence supports them, nor do we wish to present our own personal theories in our blog unless we clearly state so at the outset of the piece. What we are committed to doing is providing readers with plenty of information about Oak Island, particularly a lot that is being both inadvertently and intentionally overlooked by current day theorists and writers. This is information which initially drew treasure-hunters to the region. And that, we feel, is important. We truly hope that information we publish is of interest and use to enthusiasts and researchers alike. In the case of today's article we leave it for the reader to ponder and decide for themselves how, when, and why a shift occurred in from the more obvious possibilities in the Oak Island Mystery to the more fantastic and sometimes downright outrageous theories that are being put forth today.
Have a great weekend from all of us here at The Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell
Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
Although the advent of photography brought with it pictorial evidence of drilling for treasure on Oak Island, there is precious little evidence to prove that the 1795 discovery of the Money Pit, or any other treasure hunting was carried out on Oak Island before 1848. We only have stories, starting in 1862, which tell of the early years of the treasure hunt. And, as we shared with you in an article yesterday, the McGinnis family story of the gold cross also has the potential to be evidence of early treasure hunting, if it can be verified or corroborated.
For decades researchers have been hunting for documentary evidence that the Onslow Company really existed and conducted their dig in 1803. Even the date of the Money Pit discovery is in doubt among serious investigators. Some accounts set the date at 1799. Some accounts say Sam Ball was one of the three discoverers, leaving out John Smith. Only one thing is certain among authors and researchers alike, and that is that nothing is certain about the early years.
The Onslow Company, it is said, was comprised of Simeon Lynds of Truro, Colonel Robert Archibald, Sheriff Thomas Harris of Pictou, Captain David Archibald and the three discoverers. No one has ever found, or brought forth publicly, any stock certificates, bills of sale, company ledgers, or letters to support that this company existed. We're not saying that it didn't exist. We're simply putting emphasis on how little can be proven at this point in time.
Blockhouse Investigations recently talked with Dr. Allan Marble, Past President of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society (1978-1982), current board member of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, and the founder and President of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia. We sought out Dr. Marble, not because of those impressive credentials, but because, as author of ten books on various historical topics in Nova Scotia and the Maritime region, we knew that one of those books was about the Archibald Family. In 2008, Dr. Marble's in-depth research on this family was published in the book The Archibald Family of Nova Scotia. A very gracious Dr. Marble answered the burning question we desired an answer to; in all of his research for his book on the Archibald family, did he ever encounter any evidence that any members of the family were involved in treasure hunting on Oak Island prior to 1848? The answer was no, none.
We've examined all of the archived paperwork that we have found so far for the Archibalds and Sheriff Harris of Pictou (and his son, and grandson, who all held the same position of sheriff, one after the other) and have found no documentary evidence for the Onslow Company or their activities on Oak Island. Again, this doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that physical evidence is wanting.
So after years of searching, what have we found to support truth in the legend prior to 1848?
The answer is that we've found only one solitary printed mention of treasure.
Between December 28th 1822 and March 29th 1823, Thomas McCulloch, founder and principal of Pictou Academy wrote a series of satirical letters to the Acadian Recorder newspaper that related events in his town and province. In the fourth letter we found the following passage:
"...and not do like the Chester folks, who once dug for money, but got so deep at last, that they arrived in the other world; and falling in with the devil, were glad to get away with the loss of all their tools."
This mention of treasure hunting in the Chester area is thought provoking on several accounts:
While all these points can be related to the Oak Island Story, the mention of lost tools is of particular note, because many decades later, tools were indeed found below ground in the area of suspected old workings.
So there you have it. To date, we have one piece of published evidence, from 1823, that suggests that the story of Oak Island, as first related in 1862, may have merit. We continue to dig deeper, and haven`t given up on our quest to find the facts within the legend. Until then, at least a mysterious gold cross may give lustre to legend.
Good night from The Blockhouse!
Missing! An investigative report into Oak Island's long-lost 90 Foot Stone (Part 1 in a special series)
By Doug Crowell and Thomas Kingston Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
For those who are not familiar with the Oak Island 90 Foot Stone, also referred to as The Inscribed Stone, we can tell you that it is one of the most intriguing purported artifacts found during the 221 year old hunt for treasure on Oak Island, in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, and it is missing! Yes, missing! Like so many other artifacts from the island, the stone has joined the ranks of the misplaced or lost.
Many may be new to the Oak Island Mystery, having discovered it through watching the History Channel’s Curse of Oak Island television show, while others have likely been following this mystery most of their lives. A few of you might even be researchers of this mystery involving a legendary treasure of uncertain origin, placed on an island by unknown persons. Regardless of how you've come to be reading this article, we think you will enjoy reviewing our compiled history of the stone, and hopefully be better informed about this captivating mystery-within- a mystery.
In June of 1795, John Smith, the son of a Loyalist settler, purchased Oak Island Lot No. 18 from Casper Wollenhaupt of Lunenburg. On this 4 acre plot of land he, and two other settlers, Daniel McGinnis and Anthony Vaughan, reportedly discovered a depression in the ground under an old oak tree. It is said that a block and tackle pulley hung from a transom set between a forked limb of the tree. According to legend, the three men became excited at the prospect of buried treasure, and set out to dig it up. About two feet down they encountered a layer of flagstones and set them aside. At ten feet down they came upon a layer of logs that formed a platform. They removed these logs, likely believing that they had reached the treasure they hoped for. Instead, they were greeted by more soil, which had settled somewhat. Not discouraged, the three men continued to dig, finding a second log platform set ten more feet below the first one. Certain that they had reached the treasure, the determined diggers removed the second layer of logs, and found more loosely packed soil. It's generally believed that they dug down about thirty to thirty-five feet before being overwhelmed by the effort. The story states that they approached the people of their community for help, but everyone was afraid by the idea of ghostly guardians of treasure and strange lights seen on the island. Unable to continue on their own, they set aside dreams of treasure, and they went back to earning money in the more traditional and mundane ways.
In 1803, it's said that Simeon Lynds of Onslow Nova Scotia, upon learning of the efforts of these three men, and their stalled attempt to dig up the treasure in that same year, formed a company of interested men and partnered with the three original discoverers. They reopened the pit and dug a shaft that would become known as the Money Pit.
What did the 90FT Stone look like?
No pictures, tracings, or illustrations of any kind have ever been found of the 90 Foot Stone, so we have no detailed idea of what the stone actually looked like. The same is true for the set of symbols that it is said to have carved upon one side. However, a set of symbols, forming a simple substitution cipher, was revealed in 1949, and said to represent the characters that were on the stone.
Reverend A. T. Kempton provided this cipher to treasure hunter and author, Edward Rowe Snow, for use in his 1951 book entitled, “True Tales of Buried Treasure”. Kempton had, in turn, received it from a retired school teacher from the Mahone Bay area. Kempton was born and raised in Nova Scotia's pastoral and picturesque Annapolis Valley. He was educated at Wolfville's Acadia University, and took up the ministry of a Baptist church in Massachusetts. He was also an avid historian and gave lectures and slideshow presentations in the New England states, mostly about his favorite topics, which were Acadians and the Mi’kmaq. In 1909 he asked a fellow clergyman from the Mahone Bay area to find someone to write up the story of Oak Island, with the intention of putting it into a book. This he never got around to doing, but we are fortunate that he provided this information to Snow many years later, as it is the source of all current depictions of the symbols on illustrations and replicas of the 90 Foot Stone today. You can read our article on Rev. Kempton and the cipher he revealed here.
The above illustration is an artist’s concept of what the 90 Foot Stone may have looked like. It's one of the most well-known depictions of the inscribed stone. It first appeared as part of an article entitled, “The Secrets of Oak Island” by Joe Nickell, published in a 2000 issue of The Skeptical Enquirer. It reflects the Kempton Cipher as interpreted by Edward Rowe Snow. This illustration of the stone was drawn in 1999.
There's some misunderstanding that this image accurately portrays the actual stone and can be used to read the symbols in a "plough" fashion or bi-directional manner. Having learned the origin of the image, we contacted the very busy Mr. Nickell, and he graciously gave us the following clarification:
Dear Doug Crowell,
The drawing of the stone you refer to is my artist’s concept, an original work, produced as part of the “treasure map” illustration I drew in 1999. Of course I did not invent the representation of the cipher (which I adapted from William S. Crooker’s 1993 Oak Island Gold, p. 23), but simply copied it as it might hypothetically have appeared on the stone, according to my imagination.
This should clear up any misconceptions that this image can be used to read the symbols in a bi-directional plough manner, or that the image can be taken as a factual depiction of the stone itself. In regards to the latter, it clearly isn't.
The best description of the 90 Foot Stone comes to us from Harry Marshall, son of Edward Marshall, of Creighton & Marshall Stationers, in Halifax. Harry recounted his memories of seeing the stone in his father's shop prior to 1919. You see, the 90 Foot Stone was reportedly rediscovered by Jotham McCully and his crew on Oak Island about seven years after the death of John Smith. It's said that John used the stone as part of the fireplace in a new farmhouse he built on the island. And there it sat, for all to see, for years, until McCully's crew supposedly removed it from the fireplace as they wrapped up operations on the island. From there they allegedly took it to Halifax where it was displayed in a shop window at A.O. Creighton's Bookbindery at 64 Upper Water Street, a location that has since given way to urban renewal. This was done to promote the sale of shares for a new attempt on the treasure. When A.O. Creighton passed away, his son merged the business with Edward Marshall and formed Creighton & Marshall Stationers (It's important to note that A.O. Creighton was also a shareholder in McCully's treasure venture).
When Creighton and Marshall's closed down in 1919, the stone was nowhere to be found. Extensive searches conducted by Fred Blair, R.V. Harris, and countless other researchers and treasure hunters over the decades since 1919 have so far failed to find the stone. Even the Laginas and other members of the Oak Island Tours Incorporated have invested time and energy in the hunt, at one point enlisting the aid of Blockhouse Investigations partner, Kel Hancock to assist with the search.
Below is our synopsis of the description Harry Marshall gave to Frederick L. Blair and R.V. Harris in 1935. (you can read the full statement here)
We ask the reader to take special note of the physical description of the stone as related by Marshall because in Part 2 of this report we'll take a closer look at all the known descriptions of the 90 Foot Stone, and compare Harry Marshall's memories to the other descriptions we've found. Some rather significant discrepancies exist and we'll tell you why these so important in the hunt for this missing stone. Through this series of installments you'll be able to follow along as we recount the details, and findings, of an in-depth investigation conducted by Blockhouse Investigations right here in Nova Scotia which uncovered clues and real historical evidence that may help solve the mystery of the missing 90 Foot Stone- or stones!
Thank you for joining us again and from the whole team, Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell -Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
The Curse of Oak Island’s Season 3 finale aired last night, bringing some disappointment regarding Borehole 10X, but presenting an interesting story of found treasure. McGinnis descendants Joan, Jean, and Joyce (all sisters) recounted a family story of Daniel McGinnis, John Smith, and Anthony Vaughan discovering the Money Pit on Oak Island. Here is where their story differs from tradition though. According to family legend three treasure chests were actually found in 1795, with each of the three men taking a chest for their own. The sisters went on to explain that a gold cross, which they displayed to those gathered in the War Room, was a part of the treasure held by the McGinnis family- handed down from father to son.
This story has been told before, by Oak Island historian Dan Hennigar, who interviewed one of the sisters a few years ago for a 2007 article that can be read in its entirety here.
In his article, Mr. Hennigar writes:
“Ms. McGinnis informed through family legend that three boxes of treasure came out of the ground back in 1795 or thereabouts and that each family member, McGinnis (spelled several ways), Smith and Vaughan each took a box. The three discoverers reportedly were sworn to secrecy and eventually the story got buried very deeply, if you will excuse the pun. The tale continues that the McGinnis’ were “swindled out of their rights” and eventually that part of the family, remnants of treasure in hand, ended up in America to pursue a life free of Oak Island and prying eyes.”
It's very easy to believe that they found treasure buried not so deep (less than 35 feet), in their first attempt in 1795. And it's reasonable to assume that they would not want it generally known that they had suddenly acquired considerable wealth. Telling a story of digging for treasure, but being forced to give up, is better than letting it be known that they held great wealth, which would certainly attract the attention of every thief and brigand for miles around. To claim that you found nothing would be a prudent thing in 1795 for the safety of yourselves and your families. That would be the end of the story but then along comes someone in 1803 that has heard about your failed attempt and wants a chance to pursue it. Do you confess, or do you allow them to proceed, maybe even hoping that there is more to find. Either way, it is not easy to step forward and tell the truth at this point.
So what can be confirmed about this story?
We do know that a John McGinnis, descendant of Daniel states that the family lost claim to any future treasure found in the Money Pit -we assume he refers to the Money Pit and not Oak Island as a whole, as his own land would be his to do with what he wished in that era. Charles B. Driscoll wrote a story entitled The Oak Island Treasure, which was printed in the June 1929 edition of The North American Review, in which he recounts a discussion he had with John.
I recently spoke with a former Kings County resident, George McInnes, who is a direct descendant from the Daniel McGinnis of Oak Island. We talked about Oak Island, which is something we never got around to doing before he moved out of province. I was fascinated to learn that my friend’s father and grandfather firmly believed that there was treasure there. His grandfather had even dug on the island in pursuit of treasure. His grandfather was born in 1881 and passed away in 1956, so he was likely digging for treasure on Oak Island in the same general era as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Oak Island treasure hunting days in 1909. Of even greater interest was learning that George’s grandfather had an old treasure map that had been passed down in his family through the years. Imagine being able to look at an old Oak Island treasure map! I was very dismayed to learn that the map was lost in a house fire long ago. George says that they tried to recreate the map but never succeeded because “everything changed” and the landmarks were gone. This information may be supported by early accounts of the Money Pit discovery such as,"A Search for Pirate Gold" written in 1899 by James Clarence Hyde, which specifically mentions that Daniel McGinnis had been in possession of a treasure map.
Also a point of interest is that the family also had several really old coins from the island, which were also lost in the house fire. George and I intend to do some metal detecting this summer, when he is home!
Yet another story that supports the idea that treasure was found by the three men in 1795, comes to us from Diana Young Gregory. Diana is a relative of the Vaughan family and very interested in the Oak Island Mystery. Her research uncovered a newspaper article from September 9th, 1991, in which a Carl Mosher states:
In or around 1925, his grandmother showed him a wooden trunk containing about 25 heavy white canvas bags of gold. His grandmother was Lucy Vaughan, relative of Anthony Vaughan, one of the diggers of 1795. The trunk was said to have come from Oak Island. At some point, Uncle Edward Vaughan took the trunk, and disappeared, leaving his property, business, wife, and family.
More Oak Island treasure lost… another win for the island.
So, there you have it. Two of the original families have stories of treasure having been in their possession. What of the Smith family? Circumstantial evidence regarding the Smith family shows us that after 1795, John Smith went on to buy up most of Oak Island, all of nearby Frog Island, part of Birch Island, and partnered with the McGinnis family to buy Long Island. Not bad for a poor farmer and “failed” treasure hunter. There just may be some truth in the family folklore. It's also very intriguing to note that famed Oak Island treasure hunter Fred Nolan, claims he found three old empty oak chests when digging in the swamp in the early 1980's.
This evening Kel Hancock spoke with the daughter of Jean McGinnis from her home in the US Virgin Islands. He's been in contact with his American cousins for several months but, due to an non-disclosure agreement with the producers of The Curse of Oak Island, they were not able to comment on the gold cross until now. Some preliminary information we can share based on this conversation is that the gold cross wasn't the only item handed down in that branch of the family. There was also reportedly, a gold nugget, a gold chain and, a gold coin, recovered from the same treasure trove.
Kel will have more information on this story in an upcoming report and would like to thank his McGinnis relatives for contacting us. We also extend many kind thanks to noted Oak Island historian, Dan Hennigar, for allowing us to use images and quotes from his great story.
Thanks for joining us and until our next report, Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
Coconut Fiber was used as an ingredient in caulking for sealing hulls of wooden ships. It first had to be softened for use. This was done by the use of Rhetting Pits. These pits were built by the shoreline, where daily tides could wash over the fibers. The fibers were either buried under the gravel on the beach, to keep the fibers from being washed away, or put into pits that included drains to allow the dirty water to be let out before the next high tide. The rising tide would flood the pit from the top, filtering through the gravel. The fibers would soak while the tide receded, and after low tide was over and the next high tide was on its way in, the gate or stone that blocked the drain was removed, so that the dirty water could be drained from the pit. This process took many weeks, and at the end of the rhetting, the fibers were washed in fresh water in a nearby pond, lake, or swamp.
Coir rhetting is a documented process in the East Indies, where it was very common to use coconut fiber for marine purposes. This is because it's durable and does not rot as fast as using moss or hemp as a binding agent in caulking, or hemp for ropes. As coconut fiber was a common packing material to stabilize cargos in ships back in the days of sail, it is not impossible that this dunnage was repurposed for marine use here on our coast, using the same techniques as they would have observed during trading voyages.
We leave you to ponder this, and we'll follow up with more detail in an upcoming article about Smith's Cove.
Until then, Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
How did Smith find his way to the island? Short answer is that he didn’t. He was led there by circumstance. Born in Boston Massachusetts on August 20th 1775 to parents Duncan Smith and Margaret Smith (nee MacLean), he was the second of two children -an older brother did not survive infancy. Duncan Smith was from Dumbarton, Scotland and moved to Boston as a young man, where he worked as a blacksmith. We know this because of copies of old letters that were written in Scotland to members of their family in North America. One letter, in particular, written by Margaret Smith's brother, Robert McLean, dated August 22 1775, was addressed to:
Duncan Smith - Hammerman
in Boston, New England
To the care Mr. Paddock
Couch maker there
We also know, from another letter written by Duncan’s brother William, that the Smith family had moved to Halifax Nova Scotia by August 8th 1777.
In the first letter, Duncan is referred to as a hammerman, and in the second letter, a blacksmith. They can both mean the same thing, but the term hammerman can include a wider scope of work. Similar letters written on May 6th 1780 and Sept 28th 1782 show us that Duncan was still working as a blacksmith in Halifax up until at least 1782.
So what took the Smith’s to Chester?
According to a statement made in 1888 by Susannah Laurilliard, the daughter of our John Smith, “Duncan Smith was a blacksmith and while in Halifax used to forge handcuffs for the British Government, and finally the soldiers threatened his life so he moved to Lunenburg County Nova Scotia.”
It appears that Duncan was granted land in Chester, a town lot and a lot on Oak Island. We know this because of Deeds of Sale for these land grants. Duncan sold town Lot No. 125 in Chester on September 3rd, 1784 to James Sharp for £6. Then he sold Lot No. 24 on Oak Island to Ambrose Allen on February 24th 1785 for £10. The work of a Smith family genealogist in 1955, surmised that Duncan Smith died around this time, when John would have been 9 years old. Blockhouse Investigations could find no evidence that Duncan Smith's family lived on their Oak Island lot and the Deed of Sale does not make specific mention of any structures on the lot.
How did John come to live on Oak Island?
Did he move there after buying Lot No. 18 (the Money-Pit lot) in June of 1795, the same summer the three men discovered the Money-Pit? No, John moved to Oak Island in 1788 at the age of 11 or 12, when his mother remarried to Neil McMullen. We're not sure which lot, or lots, Neil McMullen owned at the time he married Margaret Smith. But we know that in 1827 he sold lots 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 to John’s son Neal McMullen Smith. We've not been able to find records that he ever purchased a lot on Oak Island, so it appears as if they were part of a land grant. Our investigation continues into this.
We know that John Smith was aged 18 in 1795, when he bought Lot No. 18- certainly a man by the standards of that day and age. But perhaps writers of the Oak Island mystery can be forgiven for describing him as a teenager in some versions of the story told after 1900. Those that described him as a boy were simply wrong.
Other notable events in John’s life that we should acknowledge are:
By the time that the first account of the Money Pit discovery was being told, both John Smith and Daniel McGinnis (whose story you can read about here ) had passed on from worldly matters and could not tell a first-hand account of their story. This was, and remains, unfortunate.
Thanks for reading our research on John Smith. We hope it helps to connect the name to the actual life of this non-fictional character who holds a prominent role in the story of the Oak Island Mystery.
Stay tuned because we have further information to impart regarding the activities of the parties involved in discovering the Money-Pit, their families, and a more in-depth examination of the discovery story.
Good night from The Blockhouse!
What occurred next has been the stuff of myth, legend, and speculation for the past 220 years- the trio allegedly discovered Oak Island's fabled Money Pit. The aim here is not to tell any one version of what we call The Discovery Legend, and we could fill volumes discussing the many variations and discrepancies found in the multitude of versions that have appeared in print. But we will point out, that the story was not actually put in writing until a full 62 years after the event took place. So the reader can likely see how easily the facts and circumstances of the tale could be confused in the re-telling. From the best information available, it seems that the discovery took place sometime in June of 1795 on land owned by John Smith, recently purchased from the German Protestant merchant, Caspar Wollenhaupt. And we can tell you that the discovery was made by two men and a teenager, not by three "boys", as the most popular versions of the tale tend to state. McGinnis and Smith were both grown men and Anthony Vaughan was in his teens.
As we have previously pointed out, Daniel McGinnis was properly named, Donald MacInnes, and in 1795 another significant event occurred in his life when he married Maria Barbara Seiler, the daughter of a German Protestant. The Seilers, also known as Siler and Sawler, lived adjacent to Oak Island in Western Shore and their descendants still live there to this day. The couple continued to live on Oak Island and had a typical family of the period consisting of nine children:
Accounts vary as to how long Daniel McGinnis remained involved in the Oak Island Treasure Hunt. We do know, however, that he died in 1827, in his 69th year, and his estate was modestly typical of a yeoman of the time. Daniel left half of his estate to his first son, John who had earlier struck out on his own on the mainland, eventually settling in Greenfield, Kings County. To Catherine, Mary, Margaret, and Nancy, he left the other half. The remainder of his estate was left to second-born Donald, with provisions for daughters still living at home. Henry is not mentioned in the will and it's presumed that he died prior to 1827, possibly killed in a pit collapse during the treasure hunt. McGinnis was also predeceased by his wife.
This brings us to the end of the life of Oak Island's legendary Daniel McGinnis. Please check in on our Compendium page where we'll soon have a more detailed section devoted to him. It's hoped that present-day descendants of McGinnis may see this article and have information to help us fill in the missing pieces of the life and times of this fascinating man.
Good day from the Blockhouse!
The two brothers we write about today began their quest in a more unusual way, as told to us in a newspaper article in the Aug 26th 1948 issue of the Lawton Constitution. Nevertheless, like Rick and Marty Lagina, they too invested money into the treasure hunt. Here, is the rest of their story:
"Their spirit correspondent said that the treasure had belonged to the Pervuian Incas.Ghostly go"ssip had it that a group of Spaniards left behind by the conquistador Pizzaro, had persuaded their native friends that it would be much healthier and more profitable to pack their gold and silver belongings and take it on the lam while their boss was back in Spain. They had plenty of time, for the round trip took Pizzaro from 1528 to 1531. They went up the Isthmus of Panama, according to the invisible deponent, and built some ships. But instead of sailing to the West Indies, as they had planned, they got hit by a series of autumn storms that drove them all the way to Nova Scotia. On the strength of this tip-off the brothers invested 1,000 hard and unspiritual American dollars in the digging venture in progress at the time."
It intrigues us here at Blockhouse Investigations that so many people interested in the Oak Island Treasure hail from Michigan. Besides the two sets of brothers already mentioned, we can also point to Craig Tester, Alan J. Kostrzewa, and Professor Ross Wilhelm (died 1983), among others. Wilhelm was Associate Professor of Business Economics at the University of Michigan and wrote, The Spanish in Nova Scotia in the XVI Century, a Hint in the Oak Island Treasure Mystery.
Thank you for joining us again.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
After researching the Oak Island mystery for a few years, you can't help but take note
of the same story elements repeated in many, if not most, of the accounts of the history of Oak Island.
Every once in a while though, a new an intriguing piece of information or folklore reveals itself.
This was the case when reading through some old newspaper articles about Oak Island, which Blockhouse Investigations recently acquired. In an article printed in the January 17th 1897 issue of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Sun, we find mention of a fort existing on Oak Island in days gone by.
"Its come down from father to son. Years ago when the country was new and few settlers here, two rakish-looking brigs dropped anchor one May day in the bay, sent men and stores ashore, and took the Island..."
A fort? On Oak Island? Could it be true?
That's something we may never know. Over two hundred and twenty years of treasure hunting has
disturbed so much of the ground in the area of the famed Money Pit, that there is little chance any evidence of a fort may be found.
"...they built quarters, raised a fort, and tunneled passages under it, connecting with the sea for holding their treasure."
What's intriguing is that a fort makes perfect sense if you consider the amount of time that the purported man-made constructions on the island would have taken to build - the Money-Pit, the tunnels, and the so-called artificial beach in Smith’s Cove, to name a few of the features thought to exist. The builders of these structures might have need for protection and shelter during their operations on the island. Surround the Money Pit with a fort, and you can work in private behind the same walls that also provide protection. This seems reasonable, and apparently verbal evidence of such was passed down in local folklore until at least the late 1800s, when it was printed in the article that you can read at the link below.
We hope you found this Oak Island story as thought provoking as we did.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse.
This was no different on Oak Island, as evidenced by the following news stories published in 1897, shortly after the death of Maynard Kaiser, as reported here . After Maynard Kaiser's untimely death on Oak Island, work halted when reason gave way to fear that the vengeful spirit of Captain Kidd would claim even more lives.
While this is not the first, or the last, purported supernatural happening on Oak Island, it is one that had material world consequences for the company heading the current recovery effort. Blockhouse Investigations will recount more of these stories soon.
Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
Donald MacInnes, United Empire Loyalist
The term "Loyalists" refers to American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown. Many of them served under the British during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Loyalists settled in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario.
-Library and Archives Canada
Historical records in Nova Scotia's provincial archives tell us that Donald MacInnes of Anson County, North Carolina served as a captain in the Loyalist Militia during the American Revolution. They also tell us, that by remaining loyal to the British Crown he lost everything he owned and at the end of the conflict he was forced to emigrate to Nova Scotia as an evacuee from the newly formed United States of America.
An extract from the Memorial of Donald MacInnes, United Empire Loyalist, attesting to his service to the Crown and the losses he suffered because of it during the American Revolution. A 'memorial' is a statement of facts as part of a petition. In modern terms it's roughly equivalent to a compensation claim. Loyalist Claims AO Vol 101 p.181, McInnes, Donald, Nova Scotia Archives
At this time, we are not exactly sure of where in the former Thirteen Colonies MacInnes was evacuated from but we pick up his trail again in 1783 among the discharged British regiments at Port Roseway (now Shelburne), Nova Scotia.
In 1784, we find a Donald McGinnas purchasing a town lot in Shelburne. Also in 1784 we see a Donagh McEnnis as part of the Chester Grant. In 1785 a Donald McInnis is granted 200 acres of land in the Port Hebert Grant. At this point in our investigations we feel that we are dealing with the same man whose name was spelled differently, as was common at the time. Regardless of some ambiguity caused by spelling and some dodgy record-keeping, which can be reasonably expected during an exodus, we are led to conclude that Donald MacInnes entered Nova Scotia through Port Roseway in 1783. We are continuing to research and investigate to clear things up the best we can.
Nonetheless, we do know for certain that on , March 3rd 1788, Donald MacInnes purchased Lot No. 27 on Oak Island from James Sharpe for £7 5s. On the 4th of May 1790 he paid £7 for Lot No. 23 from Hector McLean, an uncle of John Smith. The next May in 1791 he bought Lot No. 27 from Alexander Pattillo, for £6 .
In the 1791 Poll Tax he is listed as a farmer on Oak Island. Three years later, in September of 1794 he bought Lot No.1 from Alexander Pattillo, for £6. The same year he is once again listed on Poll Tax records as living on Oak Island as a farmer.
In tracing the steps of Donald MacInnes from his boyhood on the Isle of Skye, his coming of age during the turbulent times of the American Revolution, and his arrival here in Nova Scotia as a Loyalist refugee, we now find him living on Oak Island in 1794- the year before the "Discovery of the Money Pit". And that's where we'll stop for today. In the next installment we'll look at the 1795 discovery and Donald's life after the event that would make him a figure in legend and fable for over 200 years.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Donald MacInnes and seeing for yourself primary source documents that are normally locked away in dusty archives.
Be sure to come visit us again.
Until then, good day from the Blockhouse!
Maynard Kaiser was born sometime in 1847 to parents David Keizer and Anna Elizabeth (Eliza) Borgelt (Borgal), who were married in 1845. He had a brother, Nelson (born 1846), who is interred at Oak Grove Cemetery near Kentville, Nova Scotia. Sometime around 1876, Maynard Kaiser married Annie McDade. Together, they parented up to 7 children. It is reported that one child died from scarlet fever during a voyage from Scotland to Nova Scotia and was buried at sea. Originally from the Gold River area, at the time of his death, Maynard Kaiser was said to have left behind a wife and 5 children at their home in Indian Point, near Oak Island.
The Death of Maynard Kaiser
Since our research is ongoing, rather than offer speculation regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Maynard Kaiser at Oak Island, this article will simply share the information that we have collected through our own investigation into this interesting subject.
Chronology of events
Maynard Kaiser’s death at Oak Island took place during a period in which there was a dispute between federal and provincial authorities over the responsibility for record keeping. During this period, only limited records were kept, usually by the church or local authority. Despite exhaustive research, an official record of Maynard Kaiser’s death has never been found. There is, to date, no record of a grave site existing for Maynard Kaiser anywhere in Nova Scotia.
Some questions for the reader to ponder
Certainly, the death of Maynard Kaiser at Oak Island has raised some interesting questions. As we continue our research, we invite the reader to form their own questions. As new facts surrounding this story are revealed, we will continue to update you. Should the reader have some information they'd like to share to help answer some of these questions, please let us know. Until then, we hope that you’ve learned something about this little-known story.
As always, we bid you a good night from The Blockhouse.
Newspaper reports concerning the death of Maynard Kaiser
Every good treasure mystery starts out with a legend. In the case of Oak Island it's the tale of the 1795 discovery of the "Money Pit' by a trio of colonials named McGinnis, Smith and Vaughan. And as legends tend to do, this story has evolved and changed through the re-telling and addition of embellishments, to a point where it's increasingly hard to separate the fact from fiction. In fact, today it is very difficult for researchers and enthusiasts to tell how much of what I call, "The Discovery Legend" is true because so many people have told the story differently over the past 220 years.
The Discovery Legend in it's most basic and elemental form, generally includes these main motifs:
Today we're going to talk about the real Daniel McGinnis, historically and biographically. But in order to do that we must first address one very important aspect of the Discovery Legend that effects the entire story as we know it today in its most popular form; the "three boys" motif.
The most common versions of the Oak island tale most always mention specifically that the trio were, boys, lads, or teenagers at the time of discovery. But historical and genealogical records tell us that this is just not true. Even today's hit TV show, The Curse of Oak Island, produced by The History Channel, continues to proliferate this popular romanticized version of the story. But, in fact, both Smith and McGinnis were grown men in 1795 and Vaughan was likely in his later teens. And, interestingly enough, they actually lived and worked on the island.
So now that we've addressed that issue let's talk about "McGinnis". The surname itself is one of many spelling variations of the Scots, MacInnes. And the given name, Daniel, seems to be an Anglicization of the Scots Gaelic name, Domhnall ; which is also Anglicized as, Donald.
"Daniel McGinnis" was actually a man named Donald MacInnes and from historical documents and family records we have learned that he was born in 1758/59 on the Isle of Skye. We also know that in 1773 he emigrated to North Carolina with his parents when he was around 14 years of age. That would make him 37 years old in 1795, at the time of discovery.
extract from a 1785 document attesting to Donald's service in the North Carolina Loyalist Forces during the American Revolution and revealing information about his age and place of origin
From primary source documents, such as the one pictured above, and family records we are able to piece together the story of a young man who picked a side during the American war for independence and in doing so, lost everything he had.
When the American's won their freedom, Donald arrived in Nova Scotia among the thousands of Loyalist refugees that came to make a new home here.
And that's where I'll sign off for today readers. I'll bring you more on Donald MacInnes in two more installments.
So drop by the Blockhouse tomorrow for Part 2 when we'll discuss Donald's arrival in Nova Scotia and, his life up to the time of the 1795 beginning of The Legend of Oak Island.
So until then friends, good afternoon from the Blockhouse!
As much as we'd like to continue our work to bring you relevant, interesting and factual information about Nova Scotia's fascinating Oak Island Mystery, it seems that almost hourly another fantastic claim is made that requires our attention.
This time it seems that a rock on Oak Island contains carvings made by ancient Roman mariners when they allegedly visited the New World some 1,800 years ago.
Who is making this earth-shattering claim? Yep, you guessed it. Once again self-styled forensic-historian and expert-on-everything, J.Hutton Pulitzer. We're not going to analyse and discuss this latest history-changing snippet from Pulitzer's arsenal of flaccid facts which includes, a fake Roman sword, traditional logging tools and First Nations rock drawings. Anthropologist and blogger, Andy White, has done a fine job of debunking this latest debacle in a post on his blog earlier today.
In his blog the anthropologist and friend of Oak Island Compendium, reveals that an observant member of a popular Oak Island social media group decoded the symbols in Pulitzer's petroglyph by simply rotating the image by 180 degrees to reveal, quite clearly the name, Harold.
Among the various inscribed stones on Oak Island, which are said to contain cryptic clues to the treasure mystery, there are numerous examples of grafitti etched by former residents, treasure hunters and visitors over the mystery's 220 year history.
It seems that Pulitzer has stumbled upon an image of one of those stones and, in his hurry to gain recognition in his new-found role as a 'forensic historian', forgot to examine it from all angles. A common mistake for an amateur we are told, but one of monolithic proportions if you actually release your erroneous interpretation with much public fanfare- especially hot on the heels of a list of other forensic failures.
We don't know if ancient Romans ever made it to the New World. But one thing we do know is, HAROLD wuz here.
Good afternoon from the Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell
In 1949, Rev. A. T. Kempton sent Oak Island treasure hunter Frederick L. Blair a letter. That letter changed the landscape of the mystery, introducing what is purported to be the inscription that was etched on the Money Pit's 90 Foot Stone.
Every artist's conception of what the 90 Foot Stone looks like has drawn upon the 39 or 40 symbols as depicted in Kempton's letter. This set of symbols has become known as the Kempton Cipher, though he never claimed them as his own. He was also an historian who lectured, among other topics, on Nova Scotia history. In 1909 he asked a minister he knew to find him someone who could write a good account of the Oak Island Mystery, as he had intended to publish it in a book he wanted to write. The minister had found a teacher in the Mahone Bay area of Nova Scotia to write up a account of the story. Rev. Kempton paid the clergyman for this story.
Though most people will recognize the now famous symbols that were provided to Kempton in the account he commissioned, many have never read the narrative that accompanied the cipher symbols. The story given to Rev. Kempton is a variation of the Oak Island Story not often told. Here it is, with minor edits for readability (our grammar checker insisted), for your reading pleasure:
Of Oak Island, so far as I can learn from reliable sources, old records, and old people, these are the facts. The island lies close to the main land, on North West part of Mahone Bay, N.S., near the mouth of the Gold River. Some 16 miles from the inner run of vessels sailing along the coast. The bay is studded with islands, and Oak Island is nicely sheltered from outside view. It is not a half mile from the main land. One and a half miles long, three-fourths of a mile wide. The top is about 80 to 85 feet above the level of the Bay. Has still some fine oak trees on it and two good farms.
About 1792 some German people settled on the main land, near the island, and the beautiful island clothed with large oak trees soon attracted attention.
In 1795 one of these old settlers sauntering about the island came to a spot among the oaks on the highest part of the island where the ground showed plain signs of having been worked over for quite a space as all was level – no cradle hills, and in some places white clover was growing in profusion. Of course, this seemed strange to him and on his return to his home he mentioned it to his family, and a neighbor and they made a special visit to the island to examine more closely. While looking the ground over, one of his sons, a lad of 15 looked up and to the surprise of all, there suspended from a large limb of one of the giant oaks was a heavy block, such as are used for hoisting, and boy like, he went up to examine. But the block had evidently been there a long time, for as soon as he began to handle it, the ropes that held it to the limb fell into pieces and the block fell to the ground. This block and the condition of the ground, led the men to think that something must have been buried there, as the level ground and the white clover were unusual and oak trees do not generally bear such acorns and what could be buried there unless it was “some pirate’s money”.
This led to the first diggings for buried treasure in the summer of 1795. They found that the ground had been dug over 12 feet one way, and 8 feet the other and evidently filled in as when some 8 feet down they came to a broken shovel handle, and at 10 feet they found pieces of plank, and at 15 feet or 16 feet found an old hat, and at 20 feet some more plank. These things encouraged them on. But, as they had their farm work, and fishing to attend to they could only work occasionally, but during the summer and autumn, went down about 30 feet. and then found the work so heavy that they left off for the winter. During the winter one of the families moved away, one of the men died, the pit filled in somewhat, and nothing more was done until 1801 when a Dr. Lynds of Truro, N.S. became interested in the matter and formed a company. The old people say that Dr. Lynds became interested through a paper that was brought to light in a peculiar way. Somewhere in Virginia there lived a very old man, who on his sick bed, told his son, himself a man of 70, where in an old sea-chart, he would find a piece of paper that might reveal some buried treasure, on an island somewhere up north, that the old man’s father had helped to bury with many others, who had been compelled to work under armed guard, under the pirate Kid. This old man had joined Kidd’s Company to save his life and after working a long time the treasure was buried at great depth on an oak covered island. And when the hole was nearly filled up, he and another man, fearing they would be killed when the work was done, decided they would endeavor to escape. And one stormy night mid rain and a gale of wind they made their way to shore, swam to the main land, and wandered on and on. After sometime his companion took sick and died. But after weeks of suffering, he saw a small vessel and was taken on board and found his way down south. He drew as best he could a rough map of the island, and part of the bay, and wrote out some few particulars of the burying of a lot of treasure. The grandson of this oldest man found the paper, and after father’s death endeavored to interest some people in the matter, so as to help him look up an island such as the one marked on the old faded paper. In some way Dr. Lynds heard of this paper, and from some source got an outline of the old map, and found that Oak Island compared quite well to the rough sketch on the old paper. This Company formed by Dr. Lynds went down some 60 feet. and on the way down found pieces of broken tools, and pieces of plank and board. When about 60 feet down, one evening one of the men who had been using a crow bar when knocking off for the day went to drive the crow bar into the ground to let it remain for the night, and in driving it down struck something that gave a hollow sound. So they must know what that was, and hoe and shovel soon were busy and in a short time they dug out a strong iron hooped cask. This was treasure, as it was very heavy. Of course all was excitement. Instead of knocking out the end of the cask and taking its contents by the bucketful, in the excitement they sent the Boss and three others off to Chester 5 miles away for stronger rope so as to hoist it out in the morning. When morning came, those on the island were surprised that the other four had not returned with the rope, as they were not in the shanty. But when they went out to the pit, they found the new rope, the cask had been raised, rolled down to the shore, and by the marks on the sand they say it had been put in the boat and boat, cask, and the four men were gone. But after some thought of giving up, it was decided that all this hole had not been dug so deep merely to bury this one cask, and there must be further down, so they dug on. When down some 78 feet they found a piece of boar with the rough outline of something cut on it that looked like a calf or lamb, but no one seemed to know what it meant until one said “it looks like a young goat” and another said “why a young goat is a kid” and another said “That must mean Kidd the pirate”. So they concluded his treasure was below.
In their digging they came to charcoal, planks, putty, and coca nut fibre. But the most important thing they found was when about 90 feet a stone 3 feet long, 16 inches wide with this inscription cut on it with much care, as the cutting was said to be very distinct and protected by pieces of board carefully laid over the inscription.
The stone was taken to Halifax, and a number of people tried to read the puzzle. At last an old Irish School Master made this out of it.
This stone was kept in Halifax for years.
When down between 95 and 100 feet one morning on going down to work, 84 feet from the top the tub struck water and they found the pit was filled to within 84 feet of the top with salt water. So, of course, they concluded it came from the bay. They also found that it rose and fell with the tide outside, so they knew it was useless to try and bail it out, and after a time the thing was given up by Dr. Lynds and his company. Nothing more was done until 1849 when another company was formed, with quite a fund to work with. They dug down in a new place, as the old pit had caved in and was partly filled. Their plan was to go down to the depth indicated by the inscription on the stone, and then tunnel over towards where they thought the treasure lay. They went down more than 130 feet and tunneled over towards the treasure and then bored through the soil with a large auger, and after some time struck oak wood, and bored 8 inches through the wood, then struck sheet iron, and then struck gold. So they concluded that the treasure was enclosed in a case of 8 in. oak timber lined with sheet iron and having struck gold felt sure of success. But before they had tunneled through the water burst in upon them and this shaft or pit was abandoned, and in 1850 they sunk one on the other side of the old Dr. Lynds pit thinking that possibly the water would not trouble them there. But they met with the same discouraging results and gave it up.
In 1863 another Company was formed with improved apparatus, steam umps, etc., etc. They went down in a new place 136 feet and then tunneled over and struck the side of a box of 8 inch hewn oak wood bored through 8 inches of wood, struck iron and then gold. Great preparations were now made to take it out and word was sent to all the shareholders of the Company to come to the taking out of the treasure and the division of it. There was great stir and commotion when again the water filled in, rising to the same height in the new pit – 84 feet from the top. Thou there was sore disappointment, yet there was the certainty of treasure there, and that there must be an abundance of it. So the next thing to do was to find the drain that led from the bay to the treasure and admitted the salt water. A large amount was spent in digging at different parts of the island to find the drain and after a long search two men found down under the stone and gravel and sand – the accumulated was of years some cocoa nut fibre, and West India grass. This removed, there were large slabs of a blue slate stone such as old farmers used as hearths to their fire places and were only found away near the South west entrance to the bay 10 miles away. On raising some of these flat stone, there was a drain filled with water, some two feet wide, and more than two feet deep, nicely walled up on the sides, without question, the work of men’s hands. A chip cut from an old drift log lying near, marked with one man’s name with red chalk, and thrown in, was carried into the island, and in a short time was found floating in the water in the pit. The drain was found to lead from a small cover up into the island. The next thing to do was to close up the drain. Pump out the water and then take out the treasure! This all seemed the easy thing to do. The drain was carefully filled with clay at several places and soon the water ceased to flow in or out and soon the pumps lowered the water in the pit. The day was set when the treasure would be reached and taken out, when lo! from some other source the water rushed in again to the same level. Then the work was to find this new drain as the first one was found to be all closed. But after weeks of toll in all directions, the work was a failure and reluctantly the thing was given up.
Nothing more was done until 1896 when a new company was formed with a fund of $60,000.00. This company sank one pit 145 feet when water broke in and they sank another some distance away to the depth of 155 feet and were planning to tunnel over to the treasure when again the water rushed. In the meantime two other drains were found and closed. But from source the water in and the work was given up. This summer another company took up the work and are there now. I enclose some clippings from the late papers as you will see. H. L. Bowdoin of New York has charge of the work now."
- unknown school teacher
We hope that you enjoyed reading up on the origin of the symbols that make up the 90 Foot Stone Cipher, and the little known story variation that accompanied it.
If we accept that the widely referenced cipher symbols that originated from this story as correct, what weight, if any, should we give this story as a whole?
Stay tuned for more interesting and little-known information about A.T. Kempton and his connections to the Oak island mystery.
Goodnight from the Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell
This past Friday night, Blockhouse Investigations could be found in a little place called Smith's Cove, examining (ok, we admit we waved it around a little too) a Hercules hilted sword replica, almost identical to the sword shown in the Swordplay Season 3 Episode 11 of Curse of Oak Island (COOI). Before we go any further, we have to clarify for the record that the Smith's Cove that we visited was not the one on Oak Island, but the one found in Digby County, on the opposite coast from the island. David Cvet, president & founder of the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts had graciously allowed us to inspect the Hercules hilted replica in his collection.
David Cvet teaches Medieval Marital Arts in Digby Nova Scotia.
Interested in learning to sword fight? Check out the academy website at www.aemma.org
Mr. Cvet is very knowledgeable in medieval weaponary, and he tells us he bought his replica "Roman" sword during a visit to the Pompeii Museum 12 years ago. He could not recall if he bought his replica on the museum's premises, or outside of it, but he referred to the shop as a Craft shop, which is basically a type of gift and souvenir outlet. At the time of his visit to the Pompeii Museum, David tells us that he did not see an original version of this sword on display, however, most museums do not have room to display their full collections. We have an inquiry into the Pompeii Museum in Naples Italy, for which we are awaiting a reply at the time of this article. While we wait, let's consider a couple of possibilities regarding the origin of these replicas. We asked Mr. Cvet what features to look for in an original sword when compared to these replicas (like the sword shown on COOI S3 E11):
"Swordplay", the 11th episode of Curse of Oak Island's third season aired earlier tonight in Canada, and the Oak Island Tours Incorporated partners had their "Roman" sword tested and those tests returned results that identified it not as a Roman era sword, but a replica with a creation date of no earlier than 1880. Research is still being conducted to determine if these replicas fit into the first or second possible origin scenarios as stated above. Thanks to Mr. Cvet and the curator of the Middle East department at the Royal Ontario Museum, who pointed out a link to the replica sword that best matches the "Cvet" sword [ https://www.ancientsculpturegallery.com/gladiator-sword-from-pompeii-museum-replica.html ] we are that much closer to solving the mystery of the origins of these replicas. One thing has become clear after tonight's episode of Curse of Oak Island and the research being done by many individuals who care about spreading accurate history, the idea that the "Roman Sword" found in Nova Scotia, and presented on Curse of Oak Island tonight, is anything other than relic from the 1880s or newer is 100% laid to rest.
Cvet Sword Data
We weighed and measured the "Cvet" sword and have sent the data to anthropological archaeologist, Andy White, who has been diligently working at comparing multiple replicas of this sword in order to try and determine the origin of their design. You can follow Andy and his rebuttals to the Roman sword in Nova Scotia is 100% verified claims of self-styled history heretic J. Hutton Pulitzer at the following links:
The Cvet Sword as seen by Blockhouse Investigations in Smith's Cove, Digby County, Nova Scotia on Friday, Jan 22nd 2016.
Width of hilt (Hercules Club: 76mm (2.99 inches)
Length: 43.4975cm (17.13 inches)
Blade width: 40mm (1.57 inches)
Blade thickness: 4.8mm (0.19 inches)
Thickness at shoulder near the hilt: 8.6mm (0.34 inches)
Weight: 1.245kg (2.75 pounds)
Goodnight from the Blockhouse!
By Doug Crowell
In our last blog post on January 22, we revealed that the “crossbow bolts” found on Oak Island, embedded in a log, and purported to be of Roman origin by J. Hutton Pulitzer, are more likely to be logging pike points. Today Blockhouse Investigations hit the road bright and early on a trip to Liverpool Nova Scotia, a town a little further down the coastline from Oak Island. Along the way, we picked up George Johnston, who until recently was the communications director for Oak Island Tours Incorporated. Our goal was to obtain detailed photographs of an antique logging pike that we feel best illustrates the design of the pikes that were likely used on Oak Island.
Why would logging pikes be used on Oak Island? Great question! Simple answer.
A sawmill once operated on the island.
In 1944, Clarence James Beamish bought several lots on Oak island, including the properties of George and James McInnis (descendants of Money Pit Discoverer Donald Daniel McInnes). This gave Beamish ownership of most of the western end of the island, including the part were the Blankenships live now. Beamish established and operated a sawmill on the island, and also built several cabins that people could rent. Triton Alliance (predecessor to the partnership of the Laginas, Tester, and Blankenship) had this to say about the sawmill in a tourist pamphlet, “Welcome to Oak Island”, that they produced:
"Mr. Clarence Beamish built the saw mill in the early 1900's, using reinforced steel to strengthen the concrete pillars. As the bay is very deep, and wide enough to turn a ship around at the end of this island, it was ideal for large ships of the time to bring their cargo of logs to the island. The mill, however, was not popular with the local people who had to float their logs across the bay, then make arrangements to transport the cut lumber back to the mainland. The causeway, of course, did not exist at that time. Mr.Beamish and his family eventually left the island due to harsh winters and settled on the mainland.
Several small cottages were built on the island by Mr. Beamish from logs sawn on Oak Island. Five or six of these cottages were hauled across the ice in the winter by horses and now comprise "Lockie's Cottages" in Mahone Bay.”
We can infer from this narrative that the sawmill was a busy spot, and had to handle many, many logs. Therefore it is not unrealistic to state that logging pikes were utilized on the island. In fact, it is highly unlikely that pikes weren’t used. Which brings us back to the road trip we took today. Arriving in Liverpool, we met up with Eugene and Bob Conrad, two brothers who had worked in their father’s saw mill growing up. Eugene stills owns a few of the logging pikes they used in the mill. It was quite educational discussing the pike with Eugene and Bob.
When asked what a logging pike is used for, Bob responded, “Push, pull, or roll a log”. Sure sounds like something useful around a saw mill.
Then for the question we really wanted an answer to; Are the “Roman” Crossbow Bolts found on Oak Island actually logging pike points? Eugene was quick to answer, “Without a doubt, it is a Peavey Point. The point stuck in the tree weathered better than the end, which likely corroded away from exposure.”
*Note: Peavey is a brand name, but is often used as a general descriptive term for logging pike points.
Eugene’s opinion that this Oak Island artifact is a Peavey Point, is in agreement with the Hants County woodsmen that brought it to our attention this week.
How likely is it that a Peavey Point would pull out of a Pike?
Do these pike points ever get stuck in a log and get pulled out of a pike? “I have personally seen points pull out of a pike”, said Eugene. “Pikes can dry out, allowing the point to become loose”, Bob explained.
In the image above, we take the pike that Eugene gave us (thank you!), and disassemble it so that you can get a better idea of how it is constructed. Note how the collar and bands apply pressure to the wooden handle that the pike point is inserted into. As long as the wood doesn’t dry out, the point is held firm, but if the pike happens to get too dry, there is not enough tension to keep the point from slipping out when the pike is pulled back, leaving the point stuck in the wood. Obviously, on Oak Island, they were moving logs in and out of the water as logs arrived to be milled.
It occurs to us that the pulley found by Rick Lagina and Jack Begley on the beach in the recent episode of Curse of Oak Island may also be from a logging operation.
Referred to as a Logging Skookum. Without seeing better images, or the actual pulley, it is impossible to say.
Bob Conrad made another interesting observation about the Oak Island point. When moving logs around with a pike, there is often repetitive prying motions, which can cause the shaft of the point to bend somewhat. When we examine the Conrad's antique pike, we see a bend in the point's shaft.
The Oak Island Point does indeed exhibit a bent shaft as seen below.
Joy Steele, author of the book “The Oak Island Mystery Solved”, was kind enough to allow us to use an image from her book, which originated from the same Tourist Pamphlet as the narrative about the sawmill earlier in our article. We have added a red circle around the site of the sawmill.
Does the Oak Island Point pre-date a 1940's Saw Mill?
Possibly, but there is a rich history of logging and log handling on Oak Island. Multiple attempts at finding treasure on the island, involved the sinking of many shafts, all of which required timber for cribbing. Work logs in the Nova Scotia Public Archives document trips to Frog Island to cut trees for use in constructing shafts on Oak Island. Vintage photos show logs stacked on the beach, waiting for use. In fact, two of the first settlers, Daniel and Anthony Vaughan (father of the Anthony who co-discovered the Money Pit) owned land on Oak Island and ran a lumber operation in the area. This excerpt from a license granted to Daniel and Anthony to cut trees is evidence of this:
We would like to point out that this document (circa the later 1700s) also exhibits the symbols used to mark trees for the King's use only. The broad arrow is a constant, while the other two symbols can vary. Do we find here a clue to the origin of the strange symbols found on the trees in one version of the Money Pit discovery story?
A Point to End On
Our investigation into the "Roman Crossbow Bolts" has led us to our conclusion that these points are nothing more than logging pike points (Peavey points). While it is easy to believe that they might be military in use (logging points, and points for military use do follow the same basic design), we have cause for logging points to have been in use on the island, with far greater probability than military points and these points exhibit the expected wear and damage experienced by used logging points. One final point. All grantees on Oak Island had to improve their lots in order to keep them. If they failed to make improvements, the land would be given to someone else. Valid improvements were quarrying of stone, infilling of swamp land, and clearing of forests. Every grantee landowner on Oak Island (and the mainland) was obligated to log their lots. Logging pikes were likely as common to find amongst their tools as a hammer or shovel.
Goodnight from the Blockhouse!
P.S. Our sincere appreciation and thanks for the gift of the pike Eugene!
Yesterday we brought you the details on some evidence that has come to light that casts serious doubts on the claims of former TV personality, J. Hutton Pulitzer, and the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society, that a tiny iron object fount on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, is an "ancient Roman crossbow bolt". We also showed you how it most likely has a more rational and logical identity as the point, or 'pick' of a handled tool used in forestry called a peavey.
We concede that, yes, it could easily be mistaken for the pointy end of a weapon or projectile, if that's what you really want it to be. In carrying out investigative methodology in support of our own assertions, we too found a number of close matches among the multitude of google images of weaponry available. But not surprisingly we also learned that another closely related tool used in logging, the 'pick-pole' or 'pike-pole' is a direct descendant of the millenia-spanning weapon also called, the pike.
Our little historical research team here at Blockhouse Investigations and Oak Island Compendium, is busy working on a report that we will bring you tomorrow showing all the evidence we have compiled in relation to forestry and agriculture on Oak Island that would explain the presence of peavey and pike pole picks. We will also bring you more exciting photos of peaveys that were used, and are being used right, here in Nova Scotia.
Peaveys are named after Maine blacksmith, Joseph Peavey, who invented the device in the 1850s as a modification to a traditional tool called the "cant hook". They are used to push, pull, roll and position logs both on land and in the water.
The province's forestry industry has a long history spanning centuries and was most productive during the Golden Age of Sail from the 1840's to the 1880's when thousands of wooden ships were built from Nova Scotia timber and ship's masts were in high demand. But even before that, timber from the region was used by both the French and English colonials for building and repair materials to keep their naval and merchant fleets afloat.
Nova Scotia's pulp and paper industry that spans a period from the 1800s to the present day, also meant that many local men and boys would head for the woods each day with a peavey on their shoulder.
Have a few astute Nova Scotia Woodsman halted the Roman Legion from storming the beaches of Oak Island with a casual observation that the "Roman Crossbow Bolts" as identified by J. Hutton Pulitzer are nothing more than common Peavey points, native to the North American logging industry?
Where else would you expect to find lost lumbering pike points than sticking in logs?
These photos were sent to us just hours ago by Nova Scotia resident, Eugene Conrad, of Liverpool. Thank you, Eugene. We appreciate your contribution.
If your daydreams are filled with Roman soldiers, I suppose you could trick yourself into believing these common tools are crossbow bolts fired by Roman Soldiers, but that doesn't get the wood in and ready for winter.
As if the epic debunking of the 'ancient Roman sword' wasn't enough, Blockhouse Investigations has learned that yet another piece of "history-rewriting evidence" put forth by former Texas TV personality, J. Hutton Pulitzer, may also not be what he says it is.
This morning a story broke, not in the mainstream media, but characteristicly for Pulitzer in yet another obscure web-based news site, The Epoch Times.
The article by blogger/ reporter, Tara MacIsaac, included photos and drawings of an object that Pulitzer claims to be an 'ancient crossbow bolt' from ancient Rome, found on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. We'll bring you more on the story itself later but for now let's just cut to the chase and deal with the object.
We can now tell you with a high degree of certainty that this object, the next which Pulitzer expects to 'rewrite history' is likely just a common and mundane part of our real history.
Yes folks the object, as a keenly observant Nova Scotia woodsman recently and casually remarked, is a "peavey point." The earth-shattering crossbow shot heard round the world has been muffled by the fact that Pulitzer's projectile may be no more than the removable point, or 'pick' of a hand-tool found in abundance in rural Nova Scotia, even to this day!
Boy is he gonna be "peaved".
Here is the best photo of the object that, to our knowledge, exists.
And here is a photo array of examples of a "peavey" which is a common device used in logging to push, roll and position logs. Take particular note of the removable "points" or "picks" embedded in the end of the device.
We can hear all the woodsmen and farmers go, "Aaaaaaah! Yup."
According to our initial research these points are also found on another common logging device called a 'pick-pole' and in parts of Nova Scotia similarly, a "pike-pole'.
It's late and we want to get cracking with further investigation into this matter.
Be sure to check back with us tomorrow as we develop this story and provide you with the best and most accurate details.
Good night from The Blockhouse.
Welcome to the launch of our new endeavour, with a mandate to be an informative website about the Oak Island Mystery and Treasure Hunt, past, present, and future.
We have invested thousands of research hours into collecting and studying the wealth of source materials archived in various museums, universities, public archives, media sources, and private collections from all over the world.
It is our wish, and our goal, to share our collection with you, in hopes that future researchers can benefit from, and build upon, the time that we have spent building a complete picture of the Oak Island Mystery. It is not so much our goal to assess or evaluate the theories pertaining to Oak Island, as it is to provide easy access to the fact and fiction pertaining to the island.
It will take many hours of work to migrate our collection onto this web site, so please visit as often as you like, to see how we are progressing. In the meantime, we will be blogging about our current investigations, insights, and discoveries as we go. There are many interesting developments to share with you!
It is our hope that you will enjoy our Oak Island adventure as much as we have.
Make sure to check out our Top Links to Oak Island information.
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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