May 04, 2007, 10:00 PM
Merrimack, new hampshire
SOURCE: Manchester Union Leader, September 6, 1969
BURIED TREASURE TALE REVIVED IN MERRIMACK
by Carl Wentworth
MERRIMACK--There's a lot of local history and speculation of buried
treasure in the vicinity of the Anheuser-Busch Company construction
project, now in its final stage of completion.
History says there is a hoard of gold coins buried near the site. The
coins are supposed to have belonged to John Cromwell of Tyngsboro,
who established a fur trading outpost in Merrimack about 1665, near
a rocky stretch of the Merrimack River, now called Cromwell's Falls.
History also says that Cromwell was not above doing a "little
cheating" of the Indians on the side, and as a result, they decided
to give him the modern day "one way ticket to Hades." However,
Cromwell found out about it and "took off for parts unknown." Not,
however, before he had buried his treasure.
The Indians were somewhat "put out" by this villain who obstructed
their justice and burned his home to the ground. About two
centuries later, that is the 1800's rumor had it that Cromwell's
shovel and tongs were dug up near the falls, as was a stone with his
name on it. The rumors started. Several farmers told of finding
buried treasure but not finds were actually recorded.
It is in this general area, where the new brewery is being erected,
that a lock and channel were made to permit boats to navigate around
Cromwell's Falls. The lock and channel were an extension of the
Middlesex Canal, which linked the Merrimack River by means of the
The canal was commenced in 1794 and completed in 1803. This enabled
boats to travel from Lowell to Haymarket Square in Boston by means
of a series of locks, canals, aqueducts, culverst and tow lines.
The Cromwell's Falls lock was one of the several locks built on the
Merrimack and is believed to have been completed in 1814.
However, the railroads came along and the locks and river fell into
disuse. At the present time, if you look sharp from the Litchfield
side of the Merrimack, you can see one of the remaining walls of the
Cromwell's Falls lock. It is pretty well obstructed by bushes and
shrubs, but it can be made out.
The falls and locks got a shot in the arm by Thoreau who recalled
that "from Bedford and Merrimack have been boated the bricks of which
Lowell was made."
The river boats resembled huge rafts and were capable of carrying
about 16 cords of wood and about 1,000 bricks. Thoreau said "There
were several canal boats at Cromwell's Falls, passing through the
locks, for which he waited."
Whether the Anheuser-Busch firm intends to develop this spot as a
tourist attraction is not known at thie time, however, the legend is
there and the spot could prove attractive.
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