A Lively Experiment

Notes on collections at the RIHS

Pirate Treasure!

As promised, here is the first of the summer’s pirate-related blog posts, and we’re starting with a pleasant thought in a time of economic difficulty: pirate treasure!

The following was printed in the October, 1949 issue of the Society’s quarterly journal, Rhode Island History (vol. 8, no. 4, p. 111). It transcribes a set of directions found in the Society’s collections (Shepley Collection, v. 14, p. 161) that pointed the way to pirate treasure. The author of the note in Rhode Island History estimates that the document was drawn up sometime in the early 1700s by “a buccaneering Greene or Arnold from East Greenwich.” Get out those shovels:

at J L att B O at the S E side of the Bay there is a Creek and on the South side of the Bay: 50: yds from the waters side there is a Large hollow oake Tree with one Limbe Cut of 11 yds from the Tree their is a Rock and from the Rock N W: 7: yds and from the tree: 14 yds the within sum is hid:


  • 20 Barrs of
  • 20 Wedges of
  • 8 Jacobesus
  • 11 Plain Rings
  • 4 Dubel D Loons*
  • 1 Brasel


  • 1 Silver Plat
  • 1 Silver Candlestick
  • 2200 Pieces of Eight
  • 3 Dimonds
  • 1 Ruby

*According to the Oxford English Dictionary (subscription required), “doubloon” derives from the Spanish doblon (“double”), because it was originally twice the value of a pistole. It’s not clear how this particular pirate ended up with “Dubel D Loons”.


4 comments on “Pirate Treasure!

  1. ancestors
    21 July 2009

    Good to see that people still know what they are talking about. So much BS around these days!

  2. Larry Cebula
    5 September 2009

    The treasure will be mine!

  3. rihswebsite
    8 September 2009

    Best of Luck! (I’m sure you’d consider donating a portion of the haul….)

  4. Gregg L
    14 February 2020

    Was this transcribed verbatim?

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This entry was posted on 15 July 2009 by in Collection Notes and tagged .

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