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Title: Buried Treasure of Casco Bay
       A Guide for the Modern Hunter

Author: Bernett Faulkner Kennedy, Jr.

Release Date: January 4, 2019 [EBook #58609]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed
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Buried Treasure of Casco Bay: A Guide For The Modern Hunter

A Guide For The Modern Hunter


Forest City Printing Company
South Portland, Maine


All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.

Copyright © 1963 by B. F. Kennedy, Jr.

To my father:
who loved
Casco Bay very much.
B. K.



The following people helped me greatly in the compilation of this book.

The Author

Miss Jessie B. Trefethen
Peaks Island, Maine

Mr. Herbert G. Jones
Portland, Maine

Mr. Francis O’Brien
Portland, Maine

Mr. Martin Coombs
South Portland, Maine



This little endeavor of mine that follows, is a small effort in a literary way, to acquaint the reader with modern methods and information on the art of treasure hunting and various facts and locations of same. The Author sincerely hopes that you gather some information and entertainment from the reading of this book.

THE AUTHOR April 14, 1962



How Treasure was Buried 19
Fort Gorges 21
Fort Scammell 23
Peaks Island 25
Cushing’s Island 27
Willard Beach 29
Portland Head Light 31
Cliff Island 33
Richmond’s Island 35
Turner’s Island 37
Eastern Shore Line, Portland 39
Cape Elizabeth Shore Line 41
Mackworth’s Island 43
Jewell’s Island 45
Great Chebeague Island 47
Great Diamond Island 49
Pond Island 51
Fort Preble 53
French’s Island 55
Bailey’s Island 57
Orr’s Island 59
Harpswell Neck 63
Shelter Island 67
Long Island 69
Pettengill Island 71
Sebascodegan or Great Island 73
Treasure Hunting Equipment 75
Bibliography 77

About the Author
— Retired in 1976 —
Now City Historian for South Portland, Maine

B. F. Kennedy, Jr. was born in Portland, Maine in 1916 and has spent most of his life in this area, attending grammar school and high school in Portland. Mr. Kennedy has also worked as a ship chandler and a drugstore clerk. A collector by nature, his favorite hobbies besides treasure-hunting are bottle collecting and mineralogy.

The author has done extensive research on buried and sunken treasure locales. Working on information furnished by Mr. Kennedy, scuba divers located three brass Revolutionary War cannons just off Portland Head light. Mr. Kennedy has personally located old coins, an Indian axe circa 1640, and other valuable artifacts, often traveling as far from Portland as Key West, Florida. On his days off or on his vacations, the author can usually be found with his trusty metal detector scouting for more treasure.

Mr. Kennedy is married, with no children.



The locations given in this book do not guarantee that you will find treasure there, or anywhere in Casco Bay. These locations are places where history took place, maybe you will find treasure and maybe not.

The Author does not want to mislead you into thinking, that if you dig at any of these locations; you will find buried treasure.



A Guide For The Modern Hunter



The word, “treasure,” has excited people the world over for centuries. When we were mere children we read about hidden treasure being buried on lonely isles, by bands of cutthroat pirates, also the burying of caches of money by the outlaws and bandits of the old West.

The early settlers were always hiding their money from the Indians and bandits, and the best place to put their money was, of course, in the ground, as they had no bank vaults in which to keep it safe.

So down through the years thousands of dollars in coin was hidden in this fashion. Many of these caches are being discovered today in the back yards of rustic old houses, in old wells, along the stone walls of century-old homesteads, in 20 fact almost anywhere around the property.

The many islands in Casco Bay were choice locations for the early settlers; to settle on an island was one way to slow up the advance of Indian raiding parties. The Indians, of course, would raid some of the islands; but it was not convenient for them because of the trip across the open water in order to reach their destination; therefore many treasures that were buried on these islands still remain to be discovered by the modern day treasure hunter. A good many of these hidden caches were buried in old iron kettles, tough bags made of animal hides, old iron chests and almost anything that would keep the coins from getting too wet and corroded in the ground.

Now for some treasure hunting locations for the modern hunter armed with his metal detector. First, we will go to an old fort in Casco Bay, Maine, namely, “Fort Gorges,” we will call this location number one on our list.



Fort Gorges is on Hog Island, Portland Harbor, Casco Bay, it is a stone fort in a commanding position on a reef, guarding the entrances to the upper harbor as well as to the ship channel. Although designed to complete the harbor defense, it was not built until much later than the earlier forts, Preble and Scammell. It was commenced in 1858 but was not completed until 1864 or 1865. It was built under the direction of Captain Casey, of the United States Engineering Corps, and in bomb-proofs and barbette, was designed to receive 195 guns. Although a formidable looking fortress it was designed for short range guns, so the introduction of modern heavy ordnance made its period of usefulness a brief one. Fort Gorges may be reached by boat from Portland or 22 Cushings Island.

The parade ground inside the fort is a dirt one, anybody seeking buried treasure there, might find such articles as buttons, shoe buckles, coins, bayonets and other properties carried by the soldiers who were stationed there at the end of the Civil War. The buried artifacts would not be too deep, maybe one or two feet for an average. This fort would be one of the ideal locations for the modern treasure hunter and his metal detector. I’m sure your time would not be wasted in a two or three hour search there. If you decide to visit the old fort, do not forget to take a box lunch, as the salt air will create a wonderful appetite.



On House Island, Casco Bay, you will find Fort Scammell. This fort was built in 1808, under the direction of Mr. H.A.S. Dearborn, who under authorization of the War Department, purchased for twelve hundred dollars, all the southwest part of House Island containing twelve acres more or less. On the highest point of this island an octagonal block-house of timber was erected, with a porthole and a gun on each side. The upper story projecting over the lower, two or three feet; contained the battery. On the low upright center timbers of the roof, was a carved wooden eagle with extended wings. Fort Scammell, like its sister, Fort Preble, was named for a Revolutionary officer, Colonel Alexander 24 Scammell. Fort Scammell was never so extensive a fortification as Fort Preble.

It was enlarged at the time of the Civil War, until its equipment called for seventy-one pieces. Fort Scammell may be reached by boat from either Portland or South Portland.

The treasure hunter, here too, will have a great time with his detector. There should be, hidden out of sight, a number of old relics that could be located with a good metal detector. The date of the fort being as I mentioned 1808, therefore the artifacts that might be found here, would really have some value. Don’t forget to secure permission before you hunt on any property. The owner will like you better for this.



The Island of Peaks is located in Casco Bay and is approximately three miles due east from Portland. It only takes a fifteen minute boat ride to arrive at Peaks.

There are several good locations here for the treasure seeker, especially if he or she is armed with a good metal detector.

The first location that I shall mention is located on the northerly end of the island. It is about three-quarters of a mile from the boat landing.

A few years ago construction of an addition to the Island school house was begun; during the excavating, two silver coins were dug up. These coins were identified as pieces-of-eight, or Spanish silver dollars. Where they came from or who buried them, or lost them there; still remains a mystery. If 26 one could secure permission to go over the remaining part of the yard, there is no telling what might be discovered.

Another spot worth checking out, is located on the back side of the island at a place called “Picnic Rocks” or “Whaleback”. Here, near the roadway, stands; or stood; a huge elm tree. This tree was approximately eight feet in diameter. A few years ago a fire broke out in this section of the island, and nobody seems to know whether or not the lonely elm was burned. If it was, the huge charred stump should still be there. The Author has not checked this situation as yet; but intends to shortly.

On the ground surrounding this immense tree, there are several mounds, believed to be Indian graves. A real good search of the area, might be well worth one’s time.

Last, but not least, the beaches on the back side of the island, (or north-easterly side) should be gone over very carefully with the metal detector.

Pirates were in this area around 1726, and most anything might be buried along these sandy strips. Not only buried, but who knows what might have been dropped or lost by these cutthroats of long ago. The Boston Pirate, Edward Low, was said to have plied these waters, in and around Casco Bay about 1726 or 1727.

Who knows what beach he might have landed on, in one of his longboats?

I most certainly would give this island a darn good check with my detector, especially the beaches and the bankings leading up from them.



One of our next stops should include this island of Casco Bay. It is located just across the channel from Willard Beach, South Portland; in an easterly direction from Willard Beach.

First of all, why do we wish to treasure hunt here? A little history at this point might help the modern hunter, just a bit. We will go back in history to the year 1632. The first pirate ever heard of in the annals of piracy, was called; “Dixie Bull”. This pirate was believed to be of English descent. He robbed and sacked Pemaquid, Maine, in 1632; then set sail for Richmonds Island, which was next on his list to be robbed.

However, as the story goes, a storm came up with very high winds, this pirate galleon was just entering the channel between South Portland and Cushing’s Island, so “Dixie 28 Bull” decided to put into a cove on Cushing’s to wait out the storm.

It is said that he put ashore and buried some of the loot taken from Pemaquid. There are several coves facing the channel. Which one was the exact location of his landing?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I most certainly would go over these coves, beaches, and bankings very carefully. If anything was located here, you can bet it will be a real find.

The year 1632 was a long time ago, and any artifact uncovered here would be worth its weight in gold, not only as an antique but as a real historical piece.

Any article found here and checked as to relationship to “Dixie Bull” and proved authentic; would be priceless.

The history of Cushing’s Island dates back to the year 1623, when Captain Levett came over from the old country. He was looking for a likely spot to settle and Cushing’s Island turned out to be that spot.

Captain Levett was the first white man to settle in Casco Bay. He traded with the Indians and did not try to cheat them. He traded cheap jewelry for beaver and otter skins and got along famously with the whole tribe. Levett built his house near Cellar Point.

The Island of Cushing’s has had many names, among these being Andrews, Portland, Fort Island and Bangs Island. Ezekiel Cushing took the island over in 1762 and it has been called Cushing’s Island ever since.

If any of you readers are skin diving enthusiasts, you might try a few dives in and around the channel between Cushing’s Island and Willard Beach, South Portland, as a number of cannon were dumped overboard during the War of 1812, and are probably still lying on the bottom of this channel.

All sides of the island should receive a good going-over with your detector, as this island is steeped in history of the bygone era of sails.


So. Portland

This cove located on the easterly end of South Portland facing Casco Bay is the scene of early settlers to this part of the Cape, (Elizabeth).

Today the cove is known as Willard Beach. It was named for Captain Ben Willard, who was born there in 1828. Ben was a fisherman, pilot, and stevedore.

This beach was used by the early settlers, of about 1813 as a landing spot for their fishing boats. Many little homesteads sprung up in this area in the early 1800’s.


The old houses, of course, are gone now, but who can tell what might still be hidden along the beach or in the vicinity of the beach and cove.

Around the old point, that is on the south side of the beach, would be a likely area for the metal detector. The old fishing shacks that were there have vanished now, but many a cash deal was made on this old point of land. There may be still, some loose coins lying around with a few feet of dirt on top of them.

A few blocks to the rear of the beach was an old tavern that the stage coaches stopped at years ago. This old house is still standing. You probably will not be able to secure permission to go over the property as the house is occupied. I told you about this old place, just to convince you that this entire area is a fine one to look over.

If stage coaches came and went from this locality you can bet that this would be an ideal location in which to hunt. Go over the beach, then try the land, but for goodness sake, be sure to get permission from any property owner before you hunt on his property. We do not want you to get arrested and land in court.



The history book tells us that many of the old sailing vessels came to grief in this area. Portland Head Light is located on the government reservation of Fort Williams and you definitely can not search here; but the area outside of the Fort should receive your attention. If you proceed in a southeasterly direction along the shoreline, going away from the Fort there is no telling what you might find. The ships that were wrecked in this area of the bay, carried all kinds of cargo; such as silks, silverware, jewelry, tools, money, tea, coffee, guns, pottery, glassware, etc., just to mention a few.

Many of these articles washed ashore from the wrecked ships. It is my guess that there still remains, buried in the sand of the many inlets and coves; relics of a bygone era.

One of the wrecked ships in this area was the Annie C. 32 Maguire. She came ashore in 1886 and went to pieces on Portland Head Light Reef.

One of the earlier shipwrecks was that of the “Bohemian.” She came to grief on Alden’s Rock; located about three miles off the Cape Elizabeth shore. The year was 1864. She had sailed from Liverpool, England; her destination being Portland, Maine. Many of the Cape Elizabeth residents still have articles in their possession that came from the “Bohemian”. (The Author has a silver plated spoon from this wrecked ship, that will rest in the Cape Historical Society.)

The days that followed the disaster were busy ones for the people along the shores of the mainland, as well as the islands of Casco Bay. They were salvaging the bolts of silk cloth, along with many other items that were washed ashore. The story goes; that the ladies of the area soon were seen wearing new dresses made out of the cloth from the “Bohemian”.



The location of this island will take us down the bay beyond Peaks Island, and about three miles due east from Long Island.

Many stories have been written about Cliff Island. Some were fact and others were legendary. We will try to stay with the facts as close as possible. First a little about the geography of Cliff Island. It has great coves, low sand bars, and many lush pine groves; a nicer haven for the artist, scholar, or traveler, has not been found. The Island has not always been known as Cliff; for it originally was called, “Crotch” Island, named after a curious “H” shaped chasm that was hewn out of the solid ledge on the southeastern side of the island. On each side of the “crotch”, are great coves 34 which should be given your undivided attention, as to metal detection.

Near Gravelly Cove, there once stood an old house, built in the early 1700’s. Its walls were constructed of hand-hewn wooden planks, stood on end. It was termed a “piggin”, a type of dwelling very uncommon in Maine, there being only one other like it built at Kittery Point, about 1630. It is said to have been erected by John Merriman, one of the earliest settlers.

One of the Indian battle grounds was the field above the old wharf at Strouts Point. Here many of the early settlers met their death at the hands of the savages.

On May 2, 1780, a party of Colonial soldiers camped on the island for several days, while on their way to the eastward in search of British cruisers.

There is one prominent legend of the island that the natives keep alive. It concerns the notorious, “Captain Kief”, who was believed to be a smuggler and one-time pirate. He lived alone in a hut and during the stormy weather, would fasten a lighted lantern to his horse’s neck; riding up and down the narrow stretch of the island, in the hope of luring passing vessels to their doom on the treacherous reefs. Unsuspecting pilots soon found their ships pounded to pieces and their cargoes salvaged and confiscated by this island ghoul. He got rich out of the spoils.

Today the islanders hate to point out to the curious, the “Captain’s” own private graveyard, a pretty, grassy meadow which ever since has been known as “Kief’s Garden”, and where his innocent victims are said to sleep their last long sleep.

Now the reader should understand, that by reading the preceding tale, you have a good location here on Cliff, for a real treasure hunt. The Author wishes you good hunting.



Here we have one of the earliest settlements in the Casco Bay area. In 1604, Champlain, the great explorer, landed here on Richmond’s Island. This was, of course, sixteen years before the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. In other words, this island has a real old history in the annals of time.

The first trader or shop keeper to settle here was Walter Bagnall. He traded with the Indians and got along fine until he started to cheat them. That was his undoing, as they found it out and later killed him. This island was “the” trading post of the area. People came by boat and overland to trade here.

Richmond’s Island today is rather a deserted place compared to the old days. There used to be thirty-five or 36 forty houses here, plus two or three churches.

The leading industry of the island was the curing and drying of salt fish that were caught just off shore. You can walk around the entire shoreline of this island in about an hour and a half. A metal detector should react here to something buried long ago. The island, being a trading post, should reveal some treasures of the bygone era. The island has a wonderful beach on the westerly side. If you also happen to be interested in shells you will find many “sand dollars” here. A “sand dollar” is a shell fish shaped like a silver dollar. They are very interesting to study.

There is a breakwater from the mainland out to this island and you can cross over at low tide, but the walking is pretty rugged due to the large granite blocks used in construction. These blocks were placed at various angles so it is hard to walk over them. The best way to the island is by boat, either from Breakwater Point or from Crescent Beach, Cape Elizabeth. A small rowboat is all you need, as the inlet that you cross is not very wide.

Richmond’s Island is owned by a gentleman who lives on the mainland. I would most certainly get his permission before landing on the island. We treasure hunters want to live up to our good reputation, so don’t spoil it by trespassing without the owner’s O.K.



This small island was settled by Ralph Turner in 1659. He was a farmer who kept his cows and garden on this island. He, however, did not live on the island, but had a house on the mainland of the Cape. The river on which the island was located was called Casco River. It is now called Fore River and is a part of Casco Bay, or an inlet from the Bay.

Turner’s house was located near Barbeery Creek, which now is industrial property in South Portland.

I mention this location because of its early settlement. If this area was screened carefully some mighty interesting relics could be revealed.

To reach this area you proceed to South Portland, then on to the Pleasantdale area. Anyone there can tell you how to 38 get to Turner’s Island. Of course the island is not an island any longer, as the gap between the island and mainland has been filled in and today the island appears to be part of the mainland. You can see with careful study that the terrain still resembles the little island of 1659.

This area should have something hidden along the shoreline that would make a metal detector sing.



The largest city in Maine offers the modern treasure seeker good hunting grounds, especially the eastern side of town. This area is called the east-end bathing beach. The shore line here was the scene of Indian attacks and burning of houses back in the year 1775 when Portland was known as Falmouth Neck. The British Admiral, Mowatt, attacked and destroyed by shell fire the area from the Eastern Promenade to Monument Square, and included the waterfront in this destruction.

If you think about this attack you will come to the conclusion that many historical artifacts were lost in the ruins of the fire. Some of them are probably still in the area, 40 buried under three or four feet of dirt, or maybe deeper. Of course the shoreline is built up now, but you still have a good chance of finding something along the beach, the banking near the railroad tracks, and some of the surrounding area. As I have mentioned continually throughout this book, don’t under any circumstances dig without securing the property owner’s permission.

Portland was founded by George Cleeves in 1633, so you see that any article found that dates back to this era would be a real find. The Portland area as a whole is steeped in history, the first settlers arriving only thirteen years after the Pilgrims themselves.

A particularly nice spot for the detector to do its work is the foot of Fort Allen Park along the railroad tracks and shoreline at the base of the hill.

Many of the old windjammers used to anchor in the channel just off this point. Therefore, the longboats or small boats from the mother ship would land on the beach, while their occupants went ashore to complete business dealings with the shopkeepers concerning cargoes, etc.



When starting out to check this shoreline a good starting point in my estimation would be at the “Two Lights” section of the Cape. Go along the shore checking as you proceed; all spots, both among the rocks, sand, and higher water line. A short walk will bring you to the State of Maine Park. Here you will not be able to use your instruments as there are restrictions, but go beyond the park in a westerly direction and this will lead you around the point to Crescent Beach.

In years past there have been a number of articles washed up on the beach. Just above the beach is a salt-grass area that comes between the beach and woods just beyond. I would most certainly check this section, then proceed along 42 to the field that lies about a thousand feet distant, also in a westerly direction. There is no telling just what might be buried here. A good method to use in this area, with your detector, is the “grid pattern”; that is, walk up and down for awhile then reverse direction and go across your own path. The design you will be making will look like the plate on a waffle iron. This method is employed by most of the professional treasure hunters, and is most effective.

The history of the Cape shoreline goes back to the year 1604, when Champlain, the great explorer, was in this neighborhood. He landed first on Richmond’s Island, then explored quite a bit of the mainland. He could have landed or walked from Richmond’s to the mainland. Maybe some of his belongings lie buried in this historical locality. Treasure seeking demands that you don’t give up too easily, keep trying, and remember these hidden objects will not let you know where they are, you have to find them. Faint heart ne’er won fair lady, so get in there and really search.



Mackworth’s Island has an unusual and interesting background. According to historians, the Indian Sagamore of Casco, known as Cocawesco, made his home here. On an old English chart it is called Macken’s Island. The island was named for Arthur Mackworth, who came to this country in 1631. He died in 1657 and was buried on the island.

The State of Maine School for the Deaf is located on this island, which may be reached from the mainland via a causeway. Please get permission before trespassing on this property. Go to the administration building and ask if they mind if you search along the outer shoreline. An area such as this could reveal many nice finds because of the fact that both our Indian chief and the first white settler here, lived on the island a good many years. There seems as though there 44 must be artifacts lying around hidden from view just waiting to be discovered.

To reach Mackworth’s Island take Route 1 north from Portland, cross Martin Point Bridge, and you will see the island to your right as you are crossing this bridge. The first road to the right after leaving the bridge should take you to the causeway leading over to the island. You could also row over to the island from the mainland as it is a very short trip.



Now here is an island that fairly reeks with legend and treasure lore. Certainly no island in the Bay so ideally lends itself to piratical practices with its deep landlocked harbor, hidden coves and thick woods that even today shelter all observation from the sea. All of which lends credence to staunch belief that at one time in its history it was the favorite haunt of smugglers and pirates. Jewell is only a little island of but two hundred and twenty-one acres, one of the outer islands that fringe the boundaries of Casco Bay. Being out of the beaten path of tourist travel, it has not received the attention that its natural beauties merit.

George Jewell, from whom the island is said to have taken its name, came from Saco, Maine, and is presumed to have purchased the island from the Indians in 1637.


From earliest times it has been traditional in the history of Jewell Island that a pirate’s treasure lies hidden somewhere on its shores.

Jewell Island has several so-called “treasure markers.” These “markers” are a pile of flat stones lain one on the other, until the marker reaches a height of about four or five feet. It is near these markers that treasure was supposed to have been buried. How near, or just where, is a question that might be answered by your metal detector. I most certainly would give the shore and beaches a good going over.

This island can be reached by the tourist boats that go to almost all the islands in Casco Bay. If the boat does not stop at Jewell Island, you can go to Cliff and cross over to Jewell by rowboat. The trip across the channel is a short one.



Here we have one of the largest islands in Casco Bay. The name is pronounced “Shar-Big.” This name in Indian language means “land of many springs.” The Indians used this large island as a gathering place for their outings and feasts. Many Indian families would come to Chebeague Island and spend the day boating, fishing and eating. The Indians were the forerunners of the modern day tourist.

On Chebeague you will find large shell heaps still visible after hundreds of years. These piles of shells are the debris of countless feasts held by the Indians.

Numerous relics of these Indian days have been found, and as late as 1935 crude implements of warfare, some household utensils, Indian skulls, and a curious stone pipe were unearthed.


The first legal document pertaining to Chebeague was a transfer of ownership dated 1650, so this island also dates back to a period of seventeenth-century history. Chebeague has many large and small coves which should command your attention. When you land on Chebeague ask about the old homes there. In the old days there were many homesteads on this island and some of them still remain. The area surrounding these structures should have a number of hidden relics buried around the yard. Don’t forget to ask the owner for his O.K. before you start any excavating.

The immediate shoreline would be the next location to receive a treatment from your metal detector. As I have mentioned, the Indians had their outings along the beaches and shoreline. The metal detector, of course, is very valuable on a treasure hunt, but don’t forget to use your eyes also. Some of the artifacts you may discover will not be made of metal, but could be stone, wood or even leather. Articles such as these, of course, would not register on your instrument, but nevertheless they would qualify as historical treasure.

Even up to the present day some of these Indian relics are being found and preserved by local residents. The Maine Historical Society has a nice collection for your examination. The Society is located next to the Longfellow House on Congress Street, Portland. You will be most welcome; go in and browse a bit. It is worth the time, as many interesting pieces are on display, and it will give you an idea of what you might uncover yourself.

To reach Great Chebeague Island you take a boat from Custom House Wharf, Portland. Most anyone can tell you how to get to the wharf. The boat trip takes only a short time to reach this island of the Indian days.



The history of this island, located just across the channel in a northerly direction from Peaks Island, dates back to the year 1635 when a lease was given to George Cleeves and Richard Tucker by Sir Fernando Gorges, the King of England’s Representative. Diamond Island is one of the earliest settled parts of our state. There is an old chart dated 1760 that shows farm buildings on the south side of the island. One can still see the remains of an old graveyard with unmarked stones. The deep water near Diamond Cove was believed to be the area in which Captain Christopher Levett, the first white man to explore Casco Bay, anchored his vessel in 1623.

Sir William Phips, the greatest treasure hunter of all time, 50 also anchored at Great Diamond before going to the Louisburg campaign.

There is a particular area that should be examined carefully. This spot is almost directly across the channel from Trefethen’s Landing of Peaks Island. Here you will find an old abandoned ruin of a farmhouse cellar. This old cellar belonged to one of the oldest farms on the island. I most certainly would check this area very thoroughly, as articles of real interest may still be in the vicinity. Check the old brick walls then the inside area, after which proceed to go over the grounds surrounding the cellar. Some of the ancient tools and implements may be waiting for your metal detector to bring them to light.

At the beginning of this chapter I mentioned George Cleeves and Richard Tucker. They were the founders of Portland, Maine, so this section of Casco Bay is a hub of the wheel of history in this bay and the state itself. The south shore is the side towards Peaks Island and the metal detector should be used along the beaches and high ground on this side of the island. Don’t forget to check around any large trees that stand alone, as the Indians liked to bury their dead in these areas. Stone clubs, tomahawks and grain grinding tools might be in the immediate vicinity.

Looking back over the history of this island it wouldn’t be too far fetched to imagine the landing here of pirates, maybe to take on fresh water and lumber. Speaking of pirates, I would check the south-easterly end of the island, as this section is the closest to the open sea, a good landing spot for a longboat coming from the old galleon itself anchored a few hundred yards from shore. It could be a locality where a little pirate loot may be buried, who knows?



In the vicinity of Harpswell you will find a small island that became one of the most treasure explored islands in Casco Bay. Here we find, if we check our legends of the islands, the spot of land in our island studded bay that is said to be the location of the Boston Pirate Low’s hidden treasure chest. To tell you a little about this I will go back to the year 1726. At this time Pirate Low was sailing in and around Casco Bay as he was preying on the northern shipping lanes.

A Spanish galleon named “Don Pedro Del Montclova” left South America with a treasure of gold and jewels bound for Spain. She sailed up from South America and reached the Florida Keys, then just as she started to cross the Atlantic, a British gunboat gave chase.

The galleon swung off her course and headed north along 52 the Atlantic Coast until she finally outran the gunboat. She was now at the entrance of Casco Bay and her Captain thought that this would be a good location in which to hide among the many islands. What he did not know, however, was that Pirate Low was anchored in Casco Bay and saw the Spanish galleon coming around the point.

Low boarded the galleon, killing the crew and sinking the ship. He then knew from talking to the Spanish crew previous to their killing, that the British gunboat was on its way to the bay. Low decided to hide the treasure as fast as he could. He landed on Pond Island and threw the chest of gold and jewels into the fresh water pond that is there. He knew the location of the pond because he had been there before to fill his water casks.

After hiding the treasure he immediately left the vicinity ahead of the gunboat. He was later captured and hung, so he never came back to claim his hidden booty.

Many treasure hunters have gone over this island and land surrounding the old pond, but to my knowledge nobody has located this cache of gold and jewels. The pond itself is now dry, I understand. Maybe the treasure is deeper than average; instead of four or five feet deep, this one could be fifteen or twenty feet deep. It is a problem in geology, just how the wind and rain change the terrain in so long a time.

I would say that a pretty sensitive detector should be used in this area in order to reach real depth.

This preceding tale is mostly legend passed down through the years, but who knows whether or not it is all legend?

I would give this island a very careful examination with my instrument if I were you. There’s just no telling what is there.



Here we have a fort that was started in 1808 and finished about 1812, just before the War of 1812. It was named for Commodore Preble, prominent in the Revolutionary Navy. At the time of the Civil War it was enlarged and had a complement of 72 guns. The early fortress was of whitewashed brick ramparts which faced the channel.

On the site of this fort a log meeting house once stood, a gathering place for the earliest settlers of this area. This location may be reached by going to South Portland and proceeding to the Maine Vocational Technical Institute on Fort Road. This school now occupies the Fort Preble grounds. The old fortifications are in the rear of the grounds at the water’s edge.

When you arrive at the fort, go to the Administration Building and secure permission to check the old ramparts.


Here you will find many old gun emplacements. These should be given your undivided attention; use your metal detector very carefully as many artifacts and relics must still be lying about. Don’t forget to check the beach area in front of the old ramparts. The ground inside the granite walls should be another interesting spot for the metal detector. One of the earliest cemeteries in the entire Cape is located on this point of land. It is called the “Thrasher” burying ground. The Thrashers were the early settlers of this area. They had a large farm on the point back in the 1600’s.

Much trading with the Indians took place on Fort Point where Preble was erected, so I would definitely not miss this location on my treasure hunting expedition.

As I mentioned earlier the Civil War was in progress when the fort was enlarged. There are probably many articles of this period still in the compounds of old Fort Preble, so go over the area and see what you can come up with. I’m sure your time will not be wasted.

This is one of the easiest locations to reach, as it is on the mainland, and a short ride from Portland either by bus or taxi. There is a restaurant within hailing distance of the fort, so you can get a lunch and keep right on with your search.



Considerable Indian interest is attached to French’s Island in the lower bay. An Indian skull was found under three feet of clam shells and it was figured that the skull was three or four centuries old.

French’s Island is located between Great Chebeague and Goose Island and to the south of Bustin’s Island. To reach this island you proceed to Flying Point, Freeport, then by boat to Bustin’s Island, then over to French’s. It is a short trip from the mainland. You will have to hire someone with a motorboat to take you across the bay. This island is privately owned, so permission must be secured before you land and start your treasure hunt. I believe a Portland resident owns this island. A check of the records will no doubt reveal the owner’s name and address.

The finding of an Indian skull proves that if there were Indians on French’s Island there could have been early 56 settlers, and also pirates on this small island. In days gone by some of the pirates preferred small islands on which to hide their ill-gotten gains.

When going over this island I would give special attention to the beaches. The pirates sometimes buried their treasure in a hurry, as a government boat would be coming up fast in pursuit. It has been mentioned in the history books that this island was a headquarters for an Indian Sagamore, or Chief. Some of their trinkets and relics of the early settlers may still be hidden from view awaiting your detection.

Many of these small islands had clear fresh water springs that attracted the seafarer. The longboats would put in and fill their casks with fresh water for the coming voyage, so a check in this area for a spring might pay off.

Again I say, please be sure to get permission from the property owners before you proceed with your expedition.



Here history tells us that the first settlers arrived about 1743. This island is one of the larger islands of Casco Bay and there are still many of the old homesteads there. A definite link with this early period still standing on Bailey Island is the so-called “Gardiner” house built in 1818. It stands back from the road at the northern end of the island and in the rear is an ancient well. The timber came from the ruins of a log house built by Deacon Timothy Bailey, for whom the island was named.

Another interesting house on the island is one called the “Captain Jot” homestead. As the name implies, this house belonged to a sea captain. It dates from 1763, an interesting location for the treasure seeker. Your detector should be able to locate something of interest in this vicinity.


There are many spots to be checked on this island. A good idea is to ask the natives where these old houses are.

I have found that the inhabitants of a particular locale can tell you the history of various points of interest, as most of the older folk have this information at their finger tips. It usually pleases them, the fact that you are asking questions about their own backyard. They will point out many facts and locations that the history books have overlooked.

This island may be reached from the mainland. From Portland take the highway leading to Brunswick, Maine. There you will find signs directing you to Bailey’s Island. It is a beautiful trip to the island. The road is bordered by tall Maine pines, rolling meadows, streams, old farms and neat modern homes. To me the trip down to the island is one of lasting memory.

During your treasure hunting time on the island, don’t forget to have some tasty Maine lobster for lunch. You can purchase these delicious morsels right on the island all cooked. There are tables and benches at which you may sit while enjoying one of Maine’s famous lobster dinners.

The beaches that face the open sea should be checked carefully with your detector, as many landings have taken place here from 1763 until today. Who knows what might be buried along these shores? This island should be one of the finest on your check list, as it is so easy to reach. The author wishes you the best of luck here.



One of America’s famous authors, Harriet Beecher Stowe, made this island stand out in the annals of Casco Bay by writing her popular story, “The Pearl of Orr’s Island.” This story was published in 1862 when the island itself was practically isolated and unknown. The appearance of this story was a literary event for thousands of Mrs. Stowe’s readers.

The island takes its name from two brothers; namely, Clement and John Orr, who in 1748 bought the greater part of the island for two shillings an acre. The brothers originally came from the north of Ireland.

Here on Orr’s the treasure hunter will find at the north end of Long Cove a small cove that is known as “Smuggler’s Cove.” Orr’s Island is probably the best known island in 60 Casco Bay. In the old days a rickety old wooden bridge was built by the settlers to connect the island with the mainland, and it was really living dangerously to go over this ancient structure. This old bridge has now been replaced by a modern causeway.

On the Island of Orr’s many Indian attacks were repulsed by the early inhabitants. If you are real careful when searching with your detector, you should find Indian relics or artifacts that were buried by the sea-going population of the 1700’s. Many a three- and six-masted schooner sailed in and out of the harbor at Orr’s Island. Who knows what pirate ship visited this area in the dark of night with maybe a contraband cargo?

In this area I think that I would check every little cove and inlet very carefully. Most anything might be found hidden along the shores and, also, near some of the old dwelling sites. A good check along the roadway to and from the island might reveal a hidden article. Especially check both sides of the roadway and work back a ways from the edge of the road about twenty or thirty feet. The old road did quite a bit of curving as it wound its way to the island. These curves have been eliminated to a great extent with the building of the new road. As I mentioned, if you grid the area well back from the road, you have an excellent chance of discovering some by-gone article. It could be a pewter mug, buckles from shoes, gold coins and who knows what else?

Take your metal detector and ply the ocean side of the island. This section seems most likely to have been populated by the seaman, smuggler, pirate or what have you. It may be, that during trading and making business deals with each other, the seaman could have lost some coins in the dirt to be buried over and lost for hundreds of years. Also many of the natives, no doubt, kept their savings in the private caches buried from sight at the rear of their cabins.

Another likely area to check out would be the area where the old ferry used to dock. The ferry ran from Orr’s Island to Bailey’s Island. If you wanted to take the trip you signaled 61 the ferryman by lowering the flag that was flying high on the tall flagpole. The ferry would proceed across the narrow passage of water known as Will’s Gut. The fare was fifteen cents to Bailey’s Island, but to return to Orr’s Island, it would cost you twenty-five cents.

The sea trip from Portland to Orr’s Island by the island steamers of Casco Bay is a journey to remember. You, of course, can reach Orr’s Island by automobile via a road that swings down to Orr’s from Brunswick, Maine. When you reach Brunswick just follow the signs and soon you will be on the “Island of the Pearl.” Good hunting to you.



This long neck of scenic beauty is a close neighbor of Orr’s Island. It lies to the north, northwest and can be reached by auto via the rotary traffic circle at Brunswick, Maine.

Many stories and tales have been written about Harpswell, some fact and others legend. Each has its own place in American literature. Located on the east side of the Harpswells is the site of the Skolfield Shipyard. This yard was the birthplace of many rugged sea-going vessels. Some were three masted and others six. These full-rigged ships sailed into practically every seaport along the Atlantic Coast. A visit to this site will be worth your time. The next stop on our 64 tour of Harpswell might be the old meeting house where the early settlers held their town meetings and discussed the Indian problem. The area near the meeting house would be a good hunting ground for your detector, but please don’t forget to secure trespassing rights before you proceed with your search.

One of the phantom legends of Harpswell, and perhaps one of the best, was put into poetry by one of America’s best known poets; namely, John Greenleaf Whittier. His poem was called, “The Dead Ship of Harpswell.” It was written in 1866 and was inspired by the legendary tale told to the younger set by their grandfathers and grandmothers. I suppose a few great-grandmothers and grandfathers also told the ghostly tale. The preceding words of phantom legend will give you a bit of atmosphere when you arrive on Harpswell.

As you go down this peninsula check all coves and inlets with your instrument. Leave nothing uninvestigated, as this area is one of several that was abandoned in the late 1600’s due to Indian uprisings.

I would give my special attention to Pott’s Point; this point is located on the very end of the neck and a good place for pirates or smugglers to land and hide a chest of doubloons, pieces-of-eight or other booty taken from some poor unfortunate vessel that came into their grasp. Check the beach area, then go into the interior of the “Point.” Many treasures have been buried under a large tree or boulder that was a thousand yards from the shore. If you see a rocky cave or large boulder check them for mysterious markings, such as crosses, circles, arrows and such, carved or cut into the rocky surface. Some of these hidden treasures have been located by following a crude direction sign left by a cut-throat on a rocky ledge or in a rocky cave.

Use your probing rods as you check with the detector. The exact center of the location of any buried object can be determined much more easily with the probe. Your camera also is a much needed piece of equipment. You can record 65 your treasure hunting progress on film for viewing by your interested treasure-seeking friends. Study your movies or still pictures with your associates. Maybe some suggestions by them would be of real help to you on your next treasure expedition.



“Shelter Island,” as you pronounce the name, it sounds almost like “Treasure Island” of Robert Louis Stevenson fame. It not only sounds like it, but this island comes as close to “Treasure Island” as any island in the entire bay. We don’t seem to read or hear too much about this small island in the very middle of Casco Bay. It is more or less hidden from the open sea and was a perfect hiding place for the smuggler and privateer who plied these waters while trying to escape and hide from the revenue cutters.

What I have just mentioned in the preceding paragraph should make a treasure hunter’s ears stand up. This island was not a refuge for smugglers and pirates only; it also was a refuge for the early settlers of Mere Point on the mainland. 68 The settlers would be driven from the mainland by vicious attacks from the Indians, and they would flee to their blockhouse on Shelter Island. This blockhouse was built for this exact purpose, so you can imagine what you might find on this island in the way of buried treasure; not only artifacts from the early settler days, but also relics from the old days of smuggling and privateering.

The location of Shelter Island is as follows: Take the Harpswell road from Brunswick on Route 1 and proceed about half way down the Harpswell Neck, then go to the northern side of the shoreline. There you will see Shelter Island just off shore. The Author has never been over to the island, but has seen it from a distance. It looks very inviting as a spot to do some real down-to-earth treasure hunting.

On my trip to Harpswell, I think that I would inquire as to the ownership of this little island, and try to include it in my tour of treasure hunting locations. Here is a nice area for the metal detector and probe to do their work. I think, with any luck at all, you should locate something of treasure value here.

Please check as to trespassing rights before you land here. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I most certainly would check the coves and beaches very carefully, especially any good landing place for a longboat.



On our way down the bay we will find Long Island nestled in between Peaks and Great Chebeague Islands, but don’t sell this island short, as it has a history going back to the sixteen hundreds. The first settlers were here around 1640, so you see we have a background of real early history on Long Island.

The Indians gave special attention to Long Island because of its many fresh water springs. It was, and still is, a delightful place to put on an old fashioned shore dinner. The early settlers and Indians would join together and have a mammoth outdoor shore dinner on this island to celebrate some new trading deal between each other.

There are several nice beaches that should receive your attention when checking with the detector, but, by all means, 70 don’t forget to check the areas surrounding the fresh water springs. The areas leading back from the beaches should be gone over with the thought in mind to watch for the sunken ground locations that could have been the site of old log cabins or vegetable cellars. Many a treasure has been uncovered in a locale such as this.

Stone walls also are a source of buried monies and household valuables. A small metal detector would be just the instrument to use when checking out cellars, walls, floors, old wells, etc. The six-inch loop detector would be perfect for this type of hunting. These small detectors are much more sensitive than the larger ones when seeking small objects. Some of these smaller detectors also will detect through salt water where the larger detector will work only through fresh water. The larger detector, of course, will give you greater depth. I have read where some of these larger instruments will detect a metal object that is five feet long at a depth of twenty feet. This is a super job of metal detection. The type of detector used, of course, has a lot to do with the size of the object that you are searching for. Personally, if I were a novice at treasure hunting, I would purchase a small detector and learn how to operate it before purchasing a larger one. Of course, if you know how to operate a detector, the size will make no difference whatsoever. The Author has a small detector and is now thinking about the purchase of a larger model. The choice of size is strictly up to you. Happy Hunting!



To locate this small island we will follow Route 1 north from Portland until we reach Freeport Village. Here we will make a right turn at the yellow blinker light and follow the signs to Flying Point. When we reach Flying Point we will look offshore across the small bay and there we will see Pettengill Island. There are no inhabitants on this island although I believe it is privately owned.

The Author rowed over to Pettengill and landed on the rocky southwest point. Here I discovered an old iron cleat that had been sunk into a large boulder. The hole in the rock had been hand drilled to accommodate the cleat. Whoever drilled this socket in the hard rock surely worked hard, as I 72 could see it would take a person three or four hours to drill a hole this deep with a hand drill. What type of boat was moored to this cleat would be anyone’s guess. The cleat was checked as to age and was believed to be about a hundred years old.

There are several open areas in the thick pine groves that could easily be locations for buried treasure. On the easterly side of the island you will find a small cove and perfect beach for landing. Maybe some band of pirates also thought that this cove was a good spot to land and hide a bit of loot. I would go over this cove area very carefully, and as I mentioned, don’t forget the southwest point of the island. I still think you could come up with something at either location. Your iron probe would serve you in good stead, as most of the clearings are covered with pine needles. The probe will push easily through the needles until you reach harder ground. Most of the islands are very rocky, so anything that was buried would not be too deep due to the rocky condition, probably two or three feet deep in the ground.



This large island lies between Orr’s Island and the mainland. You will cross this island on your way to Orr’s Island and Bailey’s Island. It seems to be part of the mainland but actually is not. The name “Sebascodegan” in Indian language means “marshy place and a place for gun-firing.” Thus, the interpretation would mean “a good place for hunting water fowl.”

To reach Sebascodegan proceed the same way as though you were going to Orr’s Island. That is, go to Brunswick and follow the signs to Orr’s and Bailey’s. On the way down the neck you will notice several historic old churches with the old burying ground nearby. Many of the old gravestones have some really interesting epitaphs. It is worth a short stop just to read a few of these.


The first settlers to reach Sebascodegan arrived in the year 1639. The first bridge to the mainland was built in 1839, so you see, you also have some real old history connected with this area of the bay.

Near the end of the Revolutionary War several British privateers were preying on the shipping lanes in and around Casco Bay. One of the most notorious of these sea-going bandits was a “Captain Linnacum.” He was of Scotch descent and commanded a schooner called the “Picaroon.” This pirate captured many luckless coasting boats, and it is said, he buried several caches of loot in and around Sebascodegan Island. Nobody seems to know just where the treasures might be hidden. The many caves and inlets should command your attention. I also would not forget to check the inland areas. In the old days this island was criss-crossed with Indian trails, so you see, anything might be unearthed along some of these old trails. Of course, the trails have long since disappeared, but I would use my detector in general directions leading from the coves to the forests. I would give special attention to river banks and brooks. There has been many a rich find located in the vicinity of a river or stream.

The Brunswick Chamber of Commerce used to put out a regional map of the Brunswick area. This map was a very good job, and it showed many of the islands in the Brunswick area. You might stop and check at the Chamber of Commerce. They may still be able to help you.

Cundy’s Harbor is located on the very end of this island and it would be a likely spot for any pirate to anchor to come ashore. I would not forget to go over this area very carefully with my detector. You could ask some of the natives where the schooners used to land in the old days. I am sure they would be pleased to help you with some information on the subject.

Sailing ship


Some of the treasure hunters that I know really load themselves down with all sorts of equipment. They remind me of a pack mule. You do not have to have a truck load of this hardware on your back. Here I will mention the essential articles you should take along on your next treasure hunting expedition.

First, I would put down on my list a metal detector, of course. Next, I would take a folding Army trench shovel. These can be purchased in almost all Army surplus stores. Next, I would take along my camera, movie or still, and several rolls of film. A permanent record on film can be enjoyed in years to come. The next article to be brought along should be an iron probing bar. You could make your own or purchase one from the metal detector dealer. They are very inexpensive and very valuable on a treasure hunt. If you decide to make your own, just obtain a five-foot length of ¼-inch rolled steel. This may be purchased from any steel manufacturing plant.


Next on the list should be old clothes. Never go on a treasure hunt with your best clothes on. You may have to wade along a breakwater, cross a brook, and who knows what else. I know I got caught by the in-coming tide one day and had to walk along a breakwater up to my hips in the cold Atlantic. Wear a pair of old shoes or canvas loafers. Something you don’t care about and then it will make no difference if they get a salt bath or covered with mud.

Last, but by no means least, take along plenty of lunch, or be sure that the area in which you intend to hunt contains a store or a Maine lobster shop. This Maine sea air will create a terrific appetite.

Best of luck to all my readers.




William Willis’ History of Portland
Vol. I & II
Bailey and Noyes
Portland, Maine

Forts of Maine
Henry E. Dunnack
State of Maine Librarian

Isles of Casco Bay
Herbert G. Jones

Transcriber’s Notes

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Buried Treasure of Casco Bay, by 
Bernett Faulkner Kennedy, Jr.


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