State Treasure - Connecticut

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the April, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Mystik Mystery – The
Town That Vanished
NEW LONDON COUNTY – Today, historic Mystic, Connecticut, is a tourist destination known for its fascinating Mystic Seaport, the world’s largest maritime museum, and the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration.
With its downtown lined with plenty of old-world shops and fine eateries throughout this picturesque village, one would find if hard not to be caught up in the tranquil New England charm of Mystic. But local legend claims Mystic has a mysterious past.
According to writer Pete Netzel, present-day Mystic is not the site of the original Mystik of the Colonial period. Netzel states, “Back in the Colonial days there was a village called Mystic; it would seem most likely to be on the Mystic River, probably close to the sea.
It is said no traces of the site have been found and where it was located remains a mystery. Apparently the modern day locations of Mystic, West Mystic and Old Mystic are not the site of the original colonial village.”
With modern day technology and archaeology, it’s not easy to lose a town, especially since original documents from the Colonial period included maps, deeds and more still exist. So with some local research and a little fieldwork, perhaps you could find this lost Colonial ghost town.
My own research may provide some clues.
The word Mystic, or Mistik as it was spelled during the Colonial era, is the English pronunciation of the Pequot word “missi-tuk” which describes a large river whose waters turn into waves by driving tides and wind.
At the start of the seventeenth century, Pequot Indians were the dominate culture throughout southeastern, Connecticut.
Their first village, Siccanemos, was built in 1665 overlooking the western bank of the Mystic River.
Present day Old Mystic was first named Mystik around 1665 and the town quickly developed in distinction as a significant shipbuilding center.
But the first recorded reference of a settlement there named Mystik dates to 1654, 11 years earlier and, at the same time, the Pequot settled at Siccanemos.
This settlement of Mystik, thought to have been first settled by Puritans some time before 1650 and as early as the late 1630’s, has eluded searchers for 360 years.

Connecticut Gold Strike
MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The first recorded occurrence of gold in Connecticut came in the summer of 1985 when 12 geologists and students from the University of Connecticut set out to survey a long abandoned cobalt mine in the state forest.
Striking gold in Connecticut was simply unheard of, but when the assay report returned no one expected that they’d struck “one of the richest concentrations of gold in North America.”
According to the New York Times, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) assayed small rock samples taken from the site, which contained 1.5 to 6 ounces of gold per ton – “100 times the amount usually found in North American mines” and more than 10 times as much as the richest 20th-century find in Europe, made in Northern Ireland in 1985.
Twenty-fives years ago, after this story broke, the site, which is located in the Meshomasic State Forest about 22.1 miles southeast of Hartford, was swarming with would-be prospectors.
But, like all things, the excitement was short-lived and the number of miners poking around soon declined.
It was reported that the gold was discovered sitting “in a canoe-shaped channel of quartzite, a form of sandstone, that runs north through Massachusetts and up into the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire,” added the Times.
The gold was found at an old cobalt mine that dates back to the late 1600’s and abuts a high peak named Great Hill.
Local research will help determine what has occurred in this region since gold was discovered there in 1985, and if gold has been found beyond the state forest boundaries on adjacent private land.

Roxbury Silver Mystery
LITCHFIELD COUNTY – The Roxbury Silver mystery is a tale that is well known in Connecticut, and it is a mystery that to date remains unsolved.
The question…Is there a substantial deposit of silver in the heights west of the Shepaug River at a location named Silver Hill, which historically was once also known as Mine Hill?
Historically, Mine Hill has been mined for its iron ore dating back to around 1724.
Silver in small quantities has been found there, but never enough to justify the expense of developing a mine.
But that all changed after a German speculator arrived in Roxbury one day and announced that his initial prospects of Mine Hill showed silver in good quantity.
The community celebrated the wonderful news and quickly accepted the newcomer as one of their own.
The German secured mining rights to his claim and opened an office in town, which quickly turned a handsome profit; potential investors including skeptics were easily won over after the German showed them his suitcase full of silver ingots.
For some time things at the mine were quickly developing and reports from the mine’s owner were better than promising.
Then one day while the German was displaying his suitcase of silver ingots to a prospective investor, said investor eyed that the silver on a few of the German’s bars has begun to peel away. The would-be investors cried foul and announced his discovery to the good citizens of Roxbury.
Outraged, local Roxbury investors stormed the German’s office none to willing to hear any lame explanations.
As the German was being unceremoniously dragged outside of Roxbury to experience local justice first hand, he dropped a valise containing hastily packed necessities including several metal bars.
Interestingly enough, when these metal bars were tested they proved to be 100% pure silver.
Since the German could no longer offer an explanation, the origin of these silver bars and the purpose of the fake silver bars have forever remained a mystery.

Treasure of the
Great White - 1888
FAIRFIELD COUNTY – History recorded the event as the Great White Hurricane, or Great Blizzard of 1888.
On March 11, 1888, winds exceeding 70 mph struck the New England coast bringing record-breaking snowfalls, and extreme cold. The “velocity” of the storm was blamed for extensive damage and the loss of over 400 lives.
Three days after it started, on March 14, 1888, people began digging out. Snowfall in Connecticut measured from 35 to 50 inches.
But for Fairfield resident George Hawley and his wife, Mabel the damage to the beach caused by high winds became apparent a month or so after the storm when the couple was collecting driftwood on the beach not far from their home.
According to author Edward Rowe Snow in his book, True Tales of Buried Treasure (1951) the couple came upon human skeletons that had been exposed when high winds had cut the beach and removed tons of sand.
At the sight Mabel screamed and fainted and George carried her home.Curious about their find, the next day George returned to the site with digging tools.
He unearthed one skeleton before striking something solid below.
Further digging revealed the item to be an old clay pot; inside he discovered 70 pounds of gold specie.
The find paid for the couple’s new Fairfield home, but without modern day detecting equipment they never returned to the beach to look of more caches.
Who knows what still lies buried along the beach near Fairfield?

Sources:
Netzel, Pete, A Lost Colonial Location, November 5, 2008, Friendly Metal Detecting Forum, http://metal
detectingforum.com/showthread.php?p=417458
Wallace, Amy, “Gold Lures Geologist to Connecticut, New York,” N.Y, July 8, 1986, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/07/08/science/gold-lures-geologists-to-conne...
Phillips, David E, Silver Hill, 2001, Willimantic, Connecticut, Curbstone Press, http://www.curbstone.org/index.cfm?webpage=66
Snow, Edward Rowe, True Tales of Buried Treasure, 1951, New York, N.Y, Dodd, Mead and Company.

Treasure of the Great White - 1888
FAIRFIELD COUNTY – History recorded the event as the Great White Hurricane, or Great Blizzard of 1888. On March 11, 1888, winds exceeding 70 mph struck the New England coast bringing record-breaking snowfalls, and extreme cold. The “velocity” of the storm was blamed for extensive damage and the loss of over 400 lives.
Three days after it started, on March 14, 1888, people began digging out. Snowfall in Connecticut measured from 35 to 50 inches. But for Fairfield resident George Hawley and his wife, Mabel the damage to the beach caused by high winds became apparent a month or so after the storm when the couple was collecting driftwood on the beach not far from their home.
According to author Edward Rowe Snow in his book, True Tales of Buried Treasure (1951) the couple came upon human skeletons that had been exposed when high winds had cut the beach and removed tons of sand. At the sight Mabel screamed and fainted and George carried her home.
Curious about their find, the next day George returned to the site with digging tools. He unearthed one skeleton before striking something solid below. Further digging revealed the item to be an old clay pot; inside he discovered 70 pounds of gold specie. The find paid for the couple’s new Fairfield home, but without modern day detecting equipment they never returned to the beach to look of more caches. Who knows what still lies buried along the beach near Fairfield?

Sources:
Netzel, Pete, A Lost Colonial Location, November 5, 2008, Friendly Metal Detecting Forum, http://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?p=417458
Wallace, Amy, “Gold Lures Geologist to Connecticut, New York,” N.Y, July 8, 1986, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1986/07/08/science/gold-lures-geologists-to-conne...
Phillips, David E, Silver Hill, 2001, Willimantic, Connecticut, Curbstone Press, http://www.curbstone.org/index.cfm?webpage=66
Snow, Edward Rowe, True Tales of Buried Treasure, 1951, New York, N.Y, Dodd, Mead and Company.