Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gold Near Coney Island and Pirates - 1840

Here's another article about the pirate gold on Coney Island (I first mentioned it here).

From the N.Y. Herald.

By the arrival of Mr. James Bennett, of Arlington House, Long Island, who came expressly to give us the news, we learn that a large portion of the money stolen from the brig Vineyard, in Nov. 1830, by Gibbs, the pirate, and his associates, Wansley and others, has been found upon a small island, called Plumb Island, lying between the east end of Coney Island and the west side of Barren Island, on the Long Island coast.

The first discovery of this money took place on New Year's day, immediately after the late heavy blow. On that day three fishermen, or wreckers, took a boat, above three islands for pieces of wrecks, or whatever 'plunder' the sea might throw in their way.

When they landed on the south side of Plumb Island they saw the Mexican dollars strewing on the beach from the edge of the water up to a high sand bank, about a rod from high water mark. It was in this bank that Gibbs, Wansley, awes, and Brownrig, buried all the specie they took on shore from the brig Vineyard; and mistaking Plumb Island for Barren Island, when they went, afterwards, to show the officers where the money was buried, they could not find the spot. After a lapse of nine years, the sea has laid the treasure bare. The sand bank in which they buried the money, is, as we have stated, about a rod from high water mark ; and the sea never reaches it except in unusually severe gales, as in the present instance. During the recent high tides, the sea washed away the sand, washed off some of the canvass bags in which they were buried, and strewed dollares all along the beach, besides reburying some in the sand again. The greater part, however, were not disturbed, but lay in the original grave on the top of the bank like a ridge ((?--paper is folded)) of potatoes.--From this spot to the water's edge, the three first finders saw the dollars lay like sea-shells along the shore. For two days they had the picking all to themselves.--Since then, all the clamboys, wreckers, and oafters from the neighboring villages have turned out and dug in the sand with various success. Some would find $20 in a lump ; others $300 in a spot ; and so in proportion. One man found a pair of suspenders sewed full of dollars, that had belonged to Atwill, the pirate, who was drowned going ashore. The search still continues ; at least 300 people are on Plumb Island, raking and scratching ; and they have established a ferry from the east end of Coney Island, where they charge 25 cents for a passage to the lucky spot….

--Burlington Free Press, Vermont, Friday, February 7, 1840

If you want to read more about the pirates, including Gibb's hanging (!), follow the link to the story or check my previous entry.

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