State Treasure - Pennsylvania

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 52 of the October, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

Treasures of the
Buck County Traitors
BUCK COUNTY – During the time of the American Revolution, a band of outlaws known as the Doan Brothers, (sometimes spelled Doane) wreaked terror and suffering on the inhabitants of Philadelphia and New York.
The brothers became the most notorious outlaws and traitors in the Colonies. After they were arrested or killed, it was learned they had buried their loot at several locations, none of which has ever been found.
The Doan gang, which consisted entirely of the five Doan brothers, and Abraham, their first cousin, was lead by Moses Doan, the eldest brother.
Their legend is one steeped in colonial history, espionage, and myth. To those who remained loyal to the Crown, the Doan boys were modern-day Robin Hoods. To patriots, the Doans were traitors and demons.
From a historic perspective it appears the Doan boys were opportunists.
Joseph Doan, Sr. and his wife, Hester, worked hard on the family farm in Plumstead, Pennsylvania, and raised their five sons, Moses, Aaron, Levi, Mahlon, and Joseph, in the Quaker faith.
Their faith prohibited them from war, which may have played a role in their father’s decision to remain loyal to England, if for no other reason than it was the colonies who spoke of secession from England, and secession of the colonies would almost certainly guarantee war.
They were among friends since much of Buck County, like the rest of Pennsylvania, though outraged at the Crown, remained skeptical about war and severing ties with England.
The Doan boys reached manhood at the time of the Revolutionary War (1775-1783).
So what could’ve made these devout Quakers, the sons of Joseph Doan, Sr., turn to a life of brutality and crime?
One explanation is provided by Etta Holloway, a descendant of Joseph Doan Sr., and the great granddaughter of Joseph Doan Jr. Holloway …
“They were all of the Quaker faith and did not believe in war. The new government levied a tax upon Joseph, Sr., the father of the Tory Doan boys, confiscated his farm, threw his wife, three daughters and youngest son off of the land, jailed Joseph Sr. for non payment of taxes and branded him on his hand as a criminal.
This was the given reason for the start of the notorious group known as the Tory Doans.” In 1774, Moses gathered his brothers and their cousin, Abraham Doan, and laid plans to work as Tory guerrilla fighters as war loomed between the colonies and England.
To their credit, in July 1776, Moses and Levi met with General William Howe and offered their services as spies, which earned Moses the moniker “Eagle Spy.”
Moses informed Howe of the unprotected Jamaica Pass which left General George Washington’s army exposed on Long Island. Holding a line near Flatbush, Washington’s army was outflanked when British troops moved through Jamaica Pass.
In the Battle of Long Island (August 27-30, 1776) Washington was defeated and forced to fall back to Manhattan.
Moses charged heavily for information and is believed to have provided the British with intelligence on several Revolutionary campaigns.During the Philadelphia Campaign (1777-1778), the Doan gang joined British forces during the occupation of Philadelphia.
Through their various criminal exploits, they provided the enemy with over 200 stolen horses, food, grain and other provisions, for which they were paid well.
General Howe said of the Doan brothers, “The Doan robbers? The most devil-daring fellows that ever lived! Hell itself can’t match them!”
The Doan gang engaged in robbing Whig tax collectors, espionage, horse stealing, burglary, robbing local government treasuries, and murder. Over the years, legend claims they accumulated and may have cached as much as $2 million in treasure.
Folks in and around Buck County claimed that the Doan boys had accumulated so much wealth that, after the war, they simply robbed for the sport of it.
After the war, whatever respect the Tories felt for the Doan’s faded as the boys simply became notorious for their cruelty as they continued to engage in crime. One by one the Doan brothers fell, either shot or hunted down by the law.
Moses had a cache site along the Delaware River in a cave near Point Pleasant.
On September 1, 1783, Moses and two brothers arrived at a small cabin near the cave in order to get food. A posse surprised them and Moses was shot dead.
In the excitement the two brothers escaped into Canada. Moses was the only one who knew the exact location of the gang’s caches and when he died he took the secrets to his grave.
Two other known cache sites are connected to the Doan gang.
A hoard of silver is said to be buried “along the wall of a Potter’s Field just outside the city limits of colonial Philadelphia, on the Schuylkill River.” Also, a metal box containing gold coins is said to have been buried by Moses on the Delaware River near Frenchtown, New Jersey.

Forest County’s
Lost Cave of Silver
FOREST COUNTY – I have little on this treasure lead, so local research will be necessary.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) h2g2 website, there is a cave of silver that was found and lost during the late 1700’s in Forest County.
In researching this story for Lost Treasure, I discovered that a number of other websites have used the BBC story, but offer nothing new in terms of hard data, except for one.
This is the first time this lead has been published in Lost Treasure.
The BBC version states that a white settler named Hill became lost in the present-day Allegheny National Forest west of Tionesta, Pennsylvania.
The event occurred in the late 1700’s and Hill discovered a cave while seeking shelter for the night.
Inside the cave Hill found veins of silver running through the walls and ceiling.
A “great pit filled with pure silver” was also found on the cave’s floor. The next day Hill found his way home, but all future efforts to relocate the cave failed.
Hill’s story, according to the BBC h2g2 website, was supported by an early trader who provided the local Indians with liquor in exchange for furs and silver.
When he asked where they got all their silver, the trader was blindfolded and taken to a cave that closely matched the one in Hill’s story.
The end of the story offered a clue…
"Pure silver was found in Indian burial grounds near Irvine, Warren County – approximately 15 miles upstream from Tionesta.
"However, the Cave of Silver has never been found."
The second version of this story is almost verbatim to the BBC version, but it sounds like a different source may have been used.
This account does not mention the great pit of pure silver, or the trader. It also provides a second, much more precise location for the cave.
Unfortunately the source is anonymous and uses the screen name “ablmu65.”
The second version identifies the cave site as a “lost silver and lead mine” once mined by local Indians who used the silver for “making ornaments and symbols.”
The writer states that Hill was “a member of a pioneer family named Hill.”
This could be important for genealogy research on this story.
He goes on to say that Hill sought shelter from a storm in a cave, and the writer gives us a specific location for the cave, “About one mile north of where the Allegheny River passes Tionesta.”
His description of the cave’s interior isn’t as grand as the BBC’s account, stating…
“Inside he [Hill] found veins of silver and lumps of silver littered the floor.”
By adding up all the clues in both versions, there is strong evidence to support the theory that the Indians were mining silver in large quantities during the mid to late 1700’s in the Tionesta Valley.
As to the where a bouts of the Lost Cave of Silver?
The BBC account simply states Hill became lost and found the cave west of Tionesta in the Allegheny National Forest.
The second version places the cave about one mile north of where the Allegheny River passes Tionesta.
As the crow flies, that would put the cave on the west side of the Allegheny in the timber almost directly across from the picnic area of the State Fish Hatchery.
The hatchery is located on the east bank of the Allegheny, just north of Tionesta.

Loper, John J., “Treasure of the Doane Brothers,” December 1967, True Treasure magazine, p. 31
Wikipedia research: Doan Outlaws
Jimi X, Lost Treasures of Pennsylvania, USA, April 2001, BBC h2g2,
Screen name ablmu65, Legends of Lost Treasures Pennsylvania, Experience,