State Treasures - Virginia

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 50 of the January, 2013 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2013 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Treasure Lost on Snow Hill Farm
FAQUIER COUNTY - Scotsman William Kirk is reputed to have been a pirate in his early years.
During the late 1760's, Kirk retired from his seafaring life and purchased the Snow Hill Farm, a tract of almost 400 acres roughly one mile south of New Baltimore.
Kirk and his wife took residence in their home amidst local rumors that Kirk had been a pirate and had buried $60,000 in silver and gold somewhere on his property.
In 1779, Kirk died without telling his wife where his fortune was buried.
Having failed to locate the cache ,and unable to run the farm alone, Mrs. Kirk sold the farm to Colonel William Edmonds.
For almost a century nothing more was learned of the lost treasure until one day in the 1870's when a tenant farmer was plowing his field on the old Snow Hill Farm property.
The farmer hit a solid object and stopped work to remove what he thought was a rock.
But, once he stepped forward to investigate, he was stunned to see a crock full of ancient specie.
The farmer sent his son to the home of the grandson of Col. Edmonds, who now owned the property.
Edmonds arrived on the scene from his home in Warrenton.
By that time the tenant farmer had secreted the majority of the find elsewhere.
The farmer took him to the scene and showed him the crock and a handful of silver coins with a few Spanish pieces-of-eight.
Edmonds took a few coins as souvenirs and told the farmer to keep the rest, never realizing just how large the original find was.
Soon after the poor tenant farmer purchased a large farm for $8,000 cash.
He then spent another $2,000 for new equipment to run his farm.
It’s clear the farmer had found at least $10,000 of Kirk’s lost treasure.
Kirk had filed his will on May 31, 1779, at the Fauquier County Courthouse in Warrenton.
According to his will, Kirk listed the farm property and $60,000 in currency be left to his wife.
It’s still believed that another $50,000 (face value in 1779) still remains buried somewhere on the old Snow Hill Farm today.

Jefferson’s Lost Gold Strike
EASTERN VIRGINIA - In 1782, our third president, Thomas Jefferson, discovered a rich gold vein along the Rappahannock River.
Being an educated man, Jefferson recognized a four pound piece of gold filled quartz as he traveled from Washington, D.C. to his Monticello home.
According to history, Jefferson wasn’t able to return to the site and we only know of the incident from a brief mention found in the National Archives.
The President had left Washington for Monticello when news that Martha was in failing health reached him. It appears that he traveled alone.
Jefferson, weary from a day’s ride,said he had been following a weathered outcropping that glinted with gold in the late afternoon sun.
When he stopped to water his horse, he closely examined a piece of quartz filled with stringers of gold and pocketed a piece for later examination before resuming his trip.
Under the circumstances, Martha was dying and the demands of his office made it impossible for the wealthy statesman and loving husband to exploit a chance find of gold.
Following his wife’s death, Jefferson became inundated with the time consuming affairs of the new government of the United States.
Though others have searched for this rich outcropping, it is said to have eluded all efforts to relocate it.
The key to locating this site would be to research the route Jefferson would’ve traveled from Washington to Monticello, and where that route would’ve crossed the Rappahannock River.
According to my map research, using a Map of Middle British Colonies in America commissioned by R. Sayer & J. Bennett on 15 October, 1776, Jefferson had few options to cross the Rappahannock where he could still proceed to Monticello at best speed.
That should narrow down the search area. With a good detector and checking outcroppings along this route, it's possible one day Jefferson’s gold strike will be found.

The Fitzhugh Treasure
KING GEORGE COUNTY - Colonist William Fitzhugh (1725 - 1791) was an important figure in Colonial Virginia.
Fitzhugh rose to become a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, like his father and grandfather.
In 1764, Fitzhugh presented his Resolution against the Stamp Act; in 1766, William entertained Thomas Jefferson at his Marmion Estate.
And that estate property is at the center of this legend of lost treasure. According to Thomas P. Terry’s, U.S. Treasure Atlas - Volume 10, Fitzhugh built his Marmion estate in 1764 between two springs in King George County.
He served during the Revolutionary War during which time it is reputed that he buried a chest of the family’s money and other valuables somewhere near the mansion that was never recovered.
There is a dispute over the date Marmion was built and if Fitzhugh was in fact the architect who erected the well known mansion.
Regardless, Marmion was Fitzhugh’s home when the Revolutionary War began.
There is no explanation for why Fitzhugh never recovered the family’s hoard.
Perhaps that question will be answered during research.
Marmion still stands today 2.3 miles west of King George, east of Fredericksburg.
The original drawing room from Marmion can be found today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The estate is privately owned and not open to the public, so you must obtain the owner's permission before detecting.

Lost Virginia Forts
Fort George / British (LOUDOUN COUNTY) From a vague mention in historic records, Ft. George was operating in 1753 in the vicinity of Leesburg.
It is said to have been built near the tavern operated by Nicholas Minor. Nothing more is known.

Fort Tanxsnitania/
Native American (c. 1600) (FAUQUIER COUNTY) This was a major Native American settlement and fort of the Manahoac Indians. It is unknown if the site was palisaded.
The Manahoac Indians living here relocated to Manakin Town on the James River in 1654 due to constant raids by Northern Iroquois Indians.
The likely site for Tanxsnitania is along the river at the bend just upstream from the Springs Road Bridge on Route 802.
The site is shown on John Smith’s map of 1608.

Brent Town Fort / British (FAUQUIER COUNTY) A blockhouse located on the south-side of Town Run at the Brent Town (also known as Brenton) settlement founded by George Brent around 1687.
Brent died in 1694 and the settlement died soon after. This site is believed to be near rural Sowego.   

Rappahannock River Fort / British (FREDERICKSBURG) This was a settler’s stockaded fort around 1703.
It was attacked and burned by Manahoac Indians. Exact location unknown.  

Hassinunga Indian Village / Fort (c. 1600) (CULPEPPER COUNTY) This was a major Indian village on the south bank of the Rappahannock River roughly one mile upriver from the Rapidan River confluence in the vicinity Richards Ferry.
Appears on John Smith’s map of 1608.
The Indians disappeared from this area by 1670.
Unknown if palisaded.

Stegara Indian Village / Fort (c. 1600) (ORANGE COUNTY) Another major Manahoac Indian village that appears on John Smith’s 1608 map.
Excavated in 1958, 1980 and 1988, the Rapidan Mound located on the south bank of the Rapidan River disappeared during a flood in 1995.
The actual town-site has never been found and was abandoned by 1700. Unknown if palisaded.
It is believed the town was located in the Scuffletown area.

Massinacack Indian
Village / Fort (c. 1600) (POWHATAN COUNTY) This was a major Monacan Indian town on the James River downstream from the confluence of Mohawk Creek.
Noted on John Smith’s map of 1608, and visited by explorer John Lederer in 1670.
Actual site unknown - thought to be near Michaux.

Rochdale Hundred
Palisade / English (1613) (CHESTERFIELD COUNTY) This was an English settlement on Jones Neck that served as a livestock grazing area.
A four-mile long palisade surrounded the settlement.
The site is believed to be in the Meadowville area.

Roger Tillman’s Fort (1670's?) This was an early settler’s fort of an unknown type.
It was located on the south bank of the Appomattox River near Monk’s Head.
It is thought this site was in the vicinity of Hopewell.
Hopewell today is covered over with modern Fredericksburg and existed in the area of W. Randolph Road and N. Main Street.

Sources:
Duffy, Howard, M., “Snow Hill Pirate Trove,” November 1976, Lost Treasure, p. 31
Anderson, Eugene R., “Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Virginia Gold Strike,” August 1975, Lost Treasure, p. 56
Terry, Thomas P., “U.S. Treasure Atlas - Vol. 10,” 1985, La Crosse, WI, Specialty Publishing Company, p. 1053
History of Marmion: http://www2.muw.edu/~bparker/fitzhughh
omes.html
North American Forts: http://www.northamericanforts.com/East/va.html