Arrghh Matey! Have you heard of the Captain Kidd furor? I’ve written before about the real, and supposed pirates of New Hampshire’s coast. The story of the search for Captain Kidd’s treasure in Antrim New Hampshire in 1823 is entirely a different matter.
Amid the pages of the “History of Antrim NH,” I learned an odd tale of digging for gold at a land-locked body of water called Rye Pond. According to the Antrim, New Hampshire town web site: “Rye Pond is approximately 13 acres in size with portions of the pond in the towns of Antrim, Nelson, and Stoddard. It is a warm water fishery with limited public access.”
Born William Kidd in 1645 in Greenock Scotland, the pirate died 1701 in London at Execution Dock. Prior to his arrest (in Boston MA) and transport to England, he lived for many years in New York.
Pirate fans, don’t get your hopes up! Read on before you jump to any conclusions. “The Kidd furor…raged in this vicinity about 1823. This noted pirate was executed in London, May 24, 1701; and his plunder was seized, consisting of sixty-two pounds of gold, seventy-one pounds of silver; and various bags of diamonds and curiosities. But this was considered only a fraction of what he had, and he was said to have buried here and there immense treasures for future use. It was in 1698 that he returned to New York with his booty; and hence there had been ample time to obliterate all signs of the hiding-places of the pirate’s wealth. Some way the rumor got afloat that he had borne a part of the gold into New Hampshire, and buried it on the shores of Rye pond in Antrim! Somebody started this as a practical joke. But it was talked over, and taken up by fortune-tellers, till one and another went to hunt for the treasure. By and by they began to dig for it in various places, and for a short time there was considerable excitement, the bags of gold appearing to many willing imaginations. Hazel rods were used to detect the spot of concealment. Time and labor and money were freely spent. Rooty bog and rocky soil were dug over in vain. In this way the delusion soon wore itself out, and those who had been duped were glad to hear no more about it. It is pleasant to say that the citizens of Hancock and other towns shared in these Rye-pond adventures, and that to this day the shores of long Island Sound and the banks of the Hudson are occasionally explored in pursuit of the buried wealth.
Yet, that Kidd should come as far as Rye pond, all alone and on foot, and as early as 1700, and carrying fifty pounds of gold, beside gun and provisions, on his back, certainly would show a very great lack of hiding-places near New York!.”
Lets face it folks, digging for gold in Antrim New Hampshire is not more or less foolish than a Mr. Marble blasting away, with the hopes of a wealthy discovery, at Dungeon Rock in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1859. [26 Nov 1859 article in the Dover (NH) Gazette & Strafford Adviser].