History

The Mystery of Oak Island

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Oak Island covers 140-acre patch of land located in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Legend has it that a pirate, Captain William Kidd, lived on the island between 1645 and 1701 and left treasure that is now buried in a money pit. Since the pirate died, infinite time and financial investments have been channeled towards searching for the treasure. However, no treasure has ever been found. People are still trying to solve this mystery, as evidenced by the “Curse of Oak Island” show on the History Channel.

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About Oak Island
The village of Chester is the nearest large community to the island. French fishermen came in 1750s and built houses in the area that was later to become Chester. The British authorities of Nova Scotia later encouraged settlers to occupy the area by making land available during the French and Indian war.

In 1761, the first group of settlers arrived from Massachusetts. In 1762, the island was surveyed and subdivided. Later, during the British settlement, the island was later named after an early settler named Edward Smith, earning the name Smith’s Island.

It was after some more time that the island got to be known as Oak Island among the locals. In 1784, additional land was availed for soldiers to come and settle. This included some parts of the island. Some of the earliest residents of the island were Edward Smith who came in the 1760s and Anthony Vaughn Sr. who arrived in the 1770s.
Today, Oak Island is jointly owned by Oak Island Tours together with a number of private parties.

The lay of the land
Investigations and excavations on the island have spanned more than 200 years. Many theories suggest that there could be huge deposits of treasure on the island. Some of the areas of interest are the Money Pit, Nolan’s Cross, Smith’s Cove and a swamp in the shape of a triangle. However, a good number of critics have put forward the argument that the Money Pit is a naturally occurring phenomenon and that there are no treasures buried on the island.

Early accounts of the Money Pit
Although there is no physical evidence of early excavations, there are a number of accounts on the history of Oak Island.
As early as 1857, newspaper reports indicated that a group was searching for treasure on the island. In 1862, J.B McCully wrote that early settlers had related a story of a dying sailor, a former member of Captain Kidd’s crew, who had claimed that 2 million pounds worth of treasure were buried on the island. McCully further claimed that a Mr. McGinnis had stumbled upon a depression while scouting for farmland.

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There have been conflicting stories as to how the depression came about, but no treasure has ever been found.

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