State Treasures - New Jersey

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 18 of the March, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Ancient Treasure
Found at Mantoloking
OCEAN COUNTY – On October 9, 1949, the New York Times ran a story about ancient treasure being found along the beach near Mantoloking. The treasure recovered included “eighteenth century coins plus some ancient articles of jewelry.”
Recoveries occurred on the sands along the beach and, while the origin of the treasure was unknown, it is assumed that an ancient shipwreck was the source.
Since annual storms are known to resupply the beach every year with flotsam from the ocean floor, this would be a good place to work with a detector after large storms.
The story goes on to say… “The forty-two mile expanse of beach from Mantoloking south to Beach Haven Inlet was at one time the graveyard of the Atlantic.” According to the Times, over 205 shipwrecks have been recorded along this stretch of beach. Local research may help further locate other sites where treasure has washed ashore.
Always check local and state laws before detecting and digging on the beach.A Haunted Treasure
BURLINGTON COUNTY – According to legend, the pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach was one of roughly 1,500 pirates who frequented Burlington during the 1700’s.
Around 1717, Blackbeard is reported to have buried a cache of treasure at the base of a black walnut tree on Wood Street.
He left a Spaniard nearby to keep an eye on his cache, but he was shot and killed. His killer is said to have shot him with a “charmed bullet,” which required the Spaniard to be buried in an upright position.
Blackbeard soon departed Burlington without recovering his cache. Since then, the site is said to be haunted by the ghost of the murdered Spaniard.Lost and Forgotten
Forts of New Jersey
Camp Vredenburg - (MONMOUTH COUNTY) – An American Civil War training camp located near Freehold that existed in the 1860’s.
Tom’s River Blockhouse - (OCEAN COUNTY) – Erected in 1776 as a Patriot blockhouse at Tom’s River, it was destroyed by Loyalists in 1782.
Perth Amboy Barracks - (MIDDLESEX COUNTY) – This was a British post of 300 men, which was occupied by Hessian troops in 1776. The barracks operated from 1758-1777 and was located at Perth Amboy.
Knox’s Artillery Park - (SOMERSET COUNTY) – Located near Pluckemin on Second Watchung Mountain from 1778-1779, this was the location of General Knox’s winter camp for the Continental Artillery. Some trace remains can still be seen at the site.
Samuel Brink’s Fort (SUSSEX COUNTY) – The location of this fort has been lost to time. It existed from the 1750’s – 1780’s and may have been known as Shipeconk Fort in 1756.
It was a fortified wooden house 50 by 24 feet surrounded by a 59-square foot palisade.
Originally built as a settler’s fort, it may have later been used as a New Jersey colonial militia fort located in the vicinity of Montague Township or possibly on Mashipacong Island.
Fortress of t’Schickte-wacki - (SUSSEX COUNTY) - Also located in the vicinity of Montague Township, possibly on or near Minisink Island, this Native American fort has been lost to history. It is legendary in historic accounts, but when it existed is also unknown.
Carmer’s Fort (SUSSEX COUNTY) – This was a British settler’s fort located near the ghost town of Bevens, south of Montague Township. It existed in 1758 and is thought to have been located in the vicinity of Dingman’s Ferry, Pennsylvania, about half-a-mile southeast of the bridge at Bevens Road and Old Mine Road on the New Jersey side.
Col. Abraham Van Campen’s Fort (WARREN COUNTY) - Established in 1756 as a British colonial militia fort on Van Campen’s Brook near Calno. The fort consisted of a 20-foot square blockhouse, a stone house, and log house within a 65-foot palisade.
New Fort (WARREN COUNTY) – Established in 1758, New Fort is lost, but thought to have been located near Columbia. It was a British colonial militia fort.
Ellison’s Fort - (WARREN COUNTY) – Ellison’s Fort (also spelled Allison) was a British colonial militia fort established in 1756. It still exists and is located about 200 yards from the river near Delaware. It is a fortified settler’s two-story stone house erected in 1750.The Mulliner Treasure
ATLANTIC COUNTY – Joe Mulliner, known as the Robin Hood of the Pine Barrens, and his outlaw gang, said to have numbered around 100 men, are legendary in New Jersey history. So many times have his exploits been told that it is now difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Regardless, the Mulliner gang for seven years robbed and stole the riches and wealth from New Jersey residents living in the Mullica River area, with an estimated loss exceeding $1 million in gold, silver, jewelry, and other valuables, of which very little was ever recovered.
Little is known of Mulliner’s early life. It’s believed he was born in South Jersey during the 1740’s. He reportedly came from a good family and was well educated for his time. As a grown man, he stood well over six-feet tall, and is remembered for his “booming” voice and laughter.
Mulliner loved women, loved to party and loved to dance. He is described as having an “aggressive friendliness and good humor” that seemed to naturally draw people to him.
Though his legend claims he was known for “looting and killing almost at will,” and that he and his men “ravaged and terrorized” the New Jersey countryside, it appears to be more myth than fact.
As a young man, he married a woman he met at a party and they settled on a farm overlooking the Mullica River near present-day Pleasant Mills. Until the time of the Revolutionary War, the couple lived a quiet life, but the war changed all that. Both of his brothers joined the American forces, while he opted to remain loyal to the King of England.
His decision was unpopular with his pro-independence neighbors and, in 1779, Mulliner was forced to flee his home to avoid arrest. In cases of “known and unrepentant Tories,” the Colonial government authorized the seizure of property.
It’s not known why Mulliner’s farm was never taken, but his wife remained and tended the farm for the duration of the war.
Mulliner, now a fugitive, hid out at “The Forks,” an island in the middle of the Mullica River about a half-mile from his home. Other refugees numbering about 40 were also hiding out there; many were outlaws and others were political refugees like Mulliner.
His physical size and strength made him a natural leader and, before long, the Mulliner gang was born.
They robbed stagecoaches, homes, and taverns in the area, but it is said he and his gang never killed or seriously injured anyone.
Mulliner was known to engage his victims in good conversation and frequently joked with them. Some considered it an honor to have been robbed by the famous Joe Mulliner. It was his friendliness and compassion for not robbing the poor that earned him the Robin Hood reputation.
While attending a party at the Indian Cabin Mill Inn, a man recognized the fugitive and went to the home of Captain Baylin of the local militia. He immediately raised a posse and surrounded the Inn. Mulliner surrendered without a fight.
The New Jersey Gazette, on August 8, 1781, reported that Mulliner had been tried in a Burlington court and convicted for high treason and was scheduled to hang that very day.
Mulliner was transported to nearby Gallows Hill that afternoon sitting next to his own coffin. At the appropriate time, he was hanged and his body returned to his wife, where it was buried on their farm.
As for the over $1 million in treasure, historians believe much of it was buried at Mordecai Swamp, Cold Springs Swamp, and Hemlock Swamp.
In Washington Township, a cache of silver plate worth $30,000 was unearthed in 1847. A farmer digging a foundation near Nesco unearthed a cache of gold coins from the Revolutionary period in 1906. And, in 1970, a treasure hunter using a metal detector discovered a small weapons cache of three swords, one with an ornate silver hilt, in the Pine Barrens; all three are believed to have been Mulliner caches.Sources:
The New York Times, “Treasure Seekers – Booty From Old Wrecks Found on Jersey Shore,” New York, N.Y., October 9, 1949, p. X18
Belli, Anthony M., New Jersey Leads, 2008, unpublished manuscript.
American Forts East, New Jersey, http://www.northamericanforts.com/East/nj.html
Terry, Thomas P., U.S. Treasure Atlas, Vol. 6, 1985, La Crosse, WI, Specialty Publishing Company, p. 663, 666
New Jersey History’s Mysteries, Joe Mulliner – The Robin Hood of the Pine Barrens, http://www.njhm.com/mulliner.htm