"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

13 September 2018

❖ GOLD DISCOVERED AND UNDISCOVERED (Updated)


As I write about gold diggers on the
Olympic Peninsula of Washington State ...
GOLD was discovered, perhaps worth millions in Euros,
by digging at the site of a historic theatre,
Cuomo, Itlay. (Above & below.)

Reported 16 September 2018
Just discovered but not on the Olympic Peninsula.
These two photos from the Italian Ministry of Culture
It seems every pioneer community has a story of gold, perhaps not quite as exciting as these Roman coins in Italy. Often the legend is as buried as the hidden treasure. Once in the hands of successful miners, thieving pirates, or train robbers––here is a story of three Seattle businessmen who were digging for gold, turning the earth near Port Townsend, WA., in one of man's loftiest dreams––the search for buried treasure.


L-R: Leo Wendland, Dan Thumbert,
Philip W. Bailey and George G. Albert
Low res scan of an original photo from the
archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      "Bright in the minds of the searchers was a vision of $60,000 in gold sovereigns supposedly buried over 100 years ago on property later occupied by Chevy Chase Inn on Discovery Bay, six miles west of Port Townsend.

      Shirts open at the throat and perspiring in the warm July day, the Seattle men labored with picks and shovels.
      Finding the treasure will entail more muscle work, for it would weigh about 265 pounds.
      Natives learned of the treasure hunt, although the optimistic searchers have made every effort to keep their toil a secret during the past week.
      They also tried––unsuccessfully to hide their identities, but too many curious persons found out that the three were:
      Leo Wendland, Dan Thumbert, and George G. Albert, all Seattle men, and all indefatigable nearby residents could not find out if Wendland, Albert, and Thumbert had occupations.
      "All we know," said the natives, "is that their business is finding gold––or at least looking for it."
But if mystery shrouded some of the activity, there was no secret about the story of the buried gold.
      Perhaps legendary, perhaps factual, the tale is included in several histories of Washington State.
      Chevy Chase Inn is owned by Phillip W. Bailey, president of a shingle company in Ballard, who gave the searchers sole rights for exploring the property.
      Mary Chase, who operated the Inn for a half century, heard the story from her stepfather, A. F. Tukey, who homesteaded the property in 1851.
      Thirteen years later, a paymaster for a railroad being built in British Columbia absconded with the monthly payroll, all in gold English sovereigns. He hired Indians from a village near Victoria to row him across the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Discovery Bay and put him ashore on the Tukey land.
      Presently the paymaster went to the Tukey farmhouse, asked for a horse to ride into Port Townsend and galloped away. At Pt. T. he boarded the night boat for Seattle.
      BC authorities meantime sent a fast cutter to Pt. Townsend and offered a reward for catching the paymaster. The Seattle-bound vessel's captain guessing he had the man aboard, headed for Victoria instead of Seattle and in no time the paymaster was in the custody of Canadian officials.
      The man died in a jail cell, never telling what became of the gold.
      A detachment of Canadian soldiers went to Discovery Bay, searched the property but found none of the treasure. 
      Throughout the years, there have been several hunts for the gold. The diligent Seattle men started excavations on the Chevy Chase golf course, worked with detecting devices and knowledge gained from history books. They are not only certain they'll find the gold, they're certain their rainbow is close at hand."
Text from The Seattle Times. 2 July 1944.



      

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