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A Story of Buried Treasure At Cape Broyle
There was a story or tradition of buried treasure on Seal Point in Fairy Pond at the Riverhead of Cape Broyle (Seal Point was always named Siles Point by the older people). It is not known how the tradition started, there may be treasure buried and taken up afterwards as there was nothing found there to show of any treasure being buried there. When the old people would talk of the treasure on Seal Point they would refer to it as pirate gold or pirate treasure. I will tell of this incident that occurred on the account of the buries treasure on seal point. It happened around the 1830s as that was the time those people were living there. First John Dalton who came from Ireland to Cape Broyle in the 1820s, also, William Lahey and his son, Michael. Richard Furlong and his son, Patrick, and also some men from the riverhead of the harbour. Around the middle of November in 1830 as the fishery was over for the year and there were a little slack up on work, and the tradition of the treasure was fresh in their minds, and they decided that they would go and dig for the pirate treasure as they named it. As the men got together trying with an iron bar they thought they struck a suitable place to dig, they were just about to start digging, when there lived at Fairypond or Seal Point at that time a Mrs. Mary Dalton, wife of John Dalton. Her maiden name was Mary Grant. She was born at Cape Broyle but her mother was a native of Tipperary, Ireland. As we know the people of Tipperary were always noted for their courage and determination for to carry out what they believed to be right. Mrs. Mary Dalton, wife of John, was the great-grandmother of Rev. Father Chafe of Scarboro Missions. When Mary Dalton saw the men starting to dig she went down and asked them “what are you going at now?”. One of the men replied “we are going to dig for some pirate gold”. Mrs. Mary Dalton said to the men “give up your digging for pirate gold or treasure for if you find any treasure, it will bring you trouble and bad luck, and the Almighty God never willed for you to live on pirate treasure but to earn your living by honest work”. The men gave up the work and went to their homes joking and pleased by the way that the hunt for the pirate treasure was happily and peacefully settled and ended for all their time anyway. That was the spirit of the people of Cape Broyle at that time. There was no digging for gold since that time, but all Seal Point is after being dug over for wells, foundations of houses, cellars but no trace of treasure was found. There may be treasure buried at Seal Point some 2 or 3 hundred years ago. It may be taken by those people who owned it. So much for the pirate treasure on Seal Point!
TAR COVE TREASURE
There is a story or tradition of some kind of treasure at Tar Cove. This Cove is on the north side of Cape Broyle Harbour inside of Golden Cove Point. This story may start from those unknown graves 6 or 7 mounds, there are no record of who they are or when they were buried. Some 65 years ago 2 men from St. John’s came to Island Cove, they had a horse and express cart as they named it. They hired 2 men from Island Cove to go and help them find some treasure that was hidden in or near Tar Cove. Those men that were employed worked for 4 or 5 days, dug up the ground in many places, overturned rocks but found nothing of any value. The men took a sample of rock and paid the men for their work. The name Tar Cove is derived from navy men or sailors, in those days they were named “Tars”, so the graves in Tar Cove may be navy men. Nothing is being known of the Tar Cove treasure since that time.
CHURCH COVE TREASURE
Here is the story of the treasure that was buried at Church Cove on the south side of Cape Broyle. The first part of this story of buried treasure at Church Cove came to light when two men from Cape Broyle (one named O’Brien) were talking to an English Captain near a merchant’s wharf by the name of Stabb -Ewen Stabb was the owner of the wharf. This English Captain knew that these two men were Cape Broyle men as they were dealing with this merchant, Ewen Stabb & Co. In their conversation the English Captain said to the men “Why don’t ye go hunt up that treasure that is buried at Church Cove on the southside of your harbour?” It is true as a man told me, a sailor, but he is now dead. He died in South America a few years ago. This man said he had nothing to do with the treasure, he never saw Church Cove, but he said he was told by someone who knew where it was buried. He told this English Captain that a large tree was a landmark, but he did not known in what direction the tree was from the treasure.
This story was told in the 1850s but it was not thought much about for over 20 years afterwards, when a crew of men from Cape Broyle got together and said they would have a try for the treasure in Church Cove, the skipper of the crew was John Dalton, about 40 years old.
When it was settled for to have a try at it, John Dalton said to the men “I must tell Father Clancey what we are going at to see what he will say”? Father Clancey was the parish priest at Ferryland and Cape Broyle from 1874-1884, when he heard of it he said “sure, go ahead, and can I go with you as a sort of adventure or holiday?” all hands were delighted that Father Clancey was going to accompany them on the hunt for the treasure. It was up in Church Cove on the top of the hills and it was a nice fine day with smooth water.
John Dalton with his crew of men and Rev Fr. Clancey set out to recover the hidden treasure, after climbing the hill at the west end of the cove they started to walk east and began to dig. They were all in high spirits as Father Clancey was with them. At last they came to a place where they saw plainly that there was some treasure buried. The men dug up from the earth 4 or 5 pieces of small silver-like something broken from Sacred Vessels, but they were small, but the finding of those small pieces of silver proved that a treasure was at one time buried at Church Cove and that treasure was taken at nighttime as some pieces of silver was broken. The treasure may have been taken from Church Cove over 150 years or more before 1878, since that year nothing has been said of the Church Cove treasure.
Apart from the treasure of Church Cove it is not easy for to give any true account of the value that Church Cove alone gave to the economy of Cape Broyle and other countries also. Take into account the thousands of quintals of fish that was taken from Church Cove. There is rock or point on the eastern side of Church Cove about half way between the bill of the Cape and Church Cove beach. It was known as the hauling rock - great hauls of fish were made near this rock in the cod seine time in 1860 before the cod trap came into use. The 1000’s of dory loads of caplin used by the Americans and Nova Scotians and all other vessels down through the years - the 100,000s of squid caught and sold for bait - all the herring caught in Church Cove. It was the most valuable cove in Cape Broyle harbour.
Transcribed by Enid O'Brien (February, 2002)
Page Revised: February - 2003 (Don Tate)
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