Buried Treasures in North America Captain Kidd's Treasure

About buried treasure in North America, history of Captain Kidd's treasure in Gardiners Island, account of previous searches and locations.


Captain Kidd's Treasure

Popularly stereotyped as a hang-'em-from-the-yardarms pirate, Capt. William Kidd was actually not a pirate in the true sense of the word. He turned to piracy--out of desperation--for only a brief time. However, the extent of his crime was exaggerated by British government officials, and Kidd was hanged. (See "Footnote People in World History," Chap. 7.) He allegedly buried treasure in several places.

Gardiners Island

How It Got There: In 1699 Kidd was in the Caribbean, carrying a cargo of gold, jewels, and silks, when he heard that he had been declared an outlaw. He immediately went to Gardiners Island, off New York's Long Island, where he buried a box of gold and a chest of other treasure 1 mi. from the manor house on the eastern end of the island. Then he started negotiating with Lord Bellamont, governor of New York, offering this treasure, worth more than pound 50,000, in exchange for his life. Later, after negotiations had failed and Kidd was hanged, at least part of this treasure was recovered.

Previous Searches: Many people have tried to find treasure on the island, which is still owned by the Gardiners, but have found nothing. The swampy section, where divers once hunted for the treasure, is now fenced off with barbed wire for safety reasons.

How to Get There: The island, sometimes called the Isle of Birds for the ospreys which nest there, is about 7 mi. long and 3 1/2 mi. wide. It lies off Long Island's north shore, near East Hampton.

Deer Isle

How It Got There: Before he was hanged, Kidd supposedly gave his wife Sarah a piece of parchment on which was written 44-10-66-18, later interpreted as the latitude and longitude of Deer Isle, Me.

Previous Searches: No treasure has yet been found on Deer Isle.

How to Get There: Travel to Belfast or Rockland on Penobscot Bay in Maine, then go by boat to the island.

Other Places

Connecticut--Clarke's Island in the Connecticut River; Stratford Point in Fairfield County. New York--Rye Beach; Captain Kidd's cave on the Hudson River; Fishers Island on the north end of Long Island Sound. Rhode Island--Block Island (where some old coins have been found). Maine--Richmond Island; Squirrel Island; Jewell's Island.

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