Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
VERMONT LIFE, Fall 1952, pages 46-49 THE LOST TREASURE of ST.
FRANCIS by Robert E. Pike.

Priceless treasure seized almost two centuries ago in a famed Indian
Raid by Rogers' Rangers, still may lie buried in northern Vermont & New
Here is one version of what occurred in that incredible raid & retreat
of 1759.

At the "Little Forks", Rogers divided his 140 men into several small
parties...and promising those who should take the old Indian Trail (by
Island Pond) and down the Nulhegn that he would send them provisions and
aid at the mouth of the Upper Ammonoosuc river, where, four years
earlier, he had built a stockade called "Fort Wentworth."

~Robert Pomeroy, a Ranger, and eight other rangers...The old settlers of
Warren, N.H., used to tell this story about one party of the starving
Rangers that came down the Passumpsic and camped on the Lower Cohos
waiting for Rogers to come with provisions as he had promised

~Old Jackson Perry [aka Jack], who was born on a Vermont farm opposite
the mouth of the brook in 1820, and lived there until he died in 1913,
used to say that when he was a boy a man came and dug for the treasure.
Tradition says that part of the treasure was buried at the mouth of Cow
Brook, in North Littleton, N.H., where that stream falls into the
Connecticut. But Jack believed the brook had changed its
course (a phenomenon he had himself observed occurred several times in
his long life) so that when the man was digging on the present
south-side, he was really on the original north bank.

~Lt. Stevens It is at the mouth of the Passumpsic, at Barnet, Vt., that
the cowardly, Lt. Stevens came with provisions by canoe to meet the
starving Rangers, but fled even as they approached, imagining they were
the enemy.

~St. Francis had been a center of Indian activities for about
three-quarters of a century. The French had had a mission there for
three generations, and the Indians, who were composed largely of broken
remnants of tribes from the English colonies...were Catholics.


Originally published: Sherbooke Daily Record, March 20, 1987

"Wabo Madahondo- the white devil", was the name given by the Abenakis of St. Francis of the Lake to Major Robert Rogers. Sir General Jeffrey Amherst (*) ordered the latter to go on an avenging expedition against the Indians.

On the 4th or 5th of October, 1759, heading 142 colonial soldiers called the "Rangers" (ancestors to the Commandos) he attacked an indian encampment, taking the occupants by surprise.

Early in the morning, the "Rangers" attacked the St. Francis of the Lake village with incredible brutality. Three hours after they arrived, 200 men, women and children laid dead amongst the smoking ruins of their homes, of their Church and of the small Jesuits' Convent.

As they arrived at night before the Rangers discovered 600 to 700 scalps displayed on stakes as trophies for everyone to see. This surely did not attract their pity.

After this raid, the Rangers carrying the loot, returned up the St. Francis River in order to reach the Magog River. Their main goal was to reach Fort no. 4 located on the East bank of the Connecticut River in Charlestown. After walking for eight days, they found themselves on Lake Memphremagog. Their provisions were diminishing fast. Were they carrying with them the famous treasure which was to be hidden on the banks of Lake Memphremagog or its surroundings?

In his journal dated December 24, 1759, General Amherst wrote "A small group returned loaded with "wampum" (objects made of shells and used as ornaments) and lovely things brought back from St. Francis of the Lake. Father Maurault who later served there as a missionary mentioned in a book written in 1866. "The portion of Rogers's booty is estimated at $933.00 and consists mainly of "wampum" and provisions.

Father Charland in his book, History of St. François du Lac (1942), states: "The objects seized by the Rangers were silver plated copper chandeliers, a small statue of Our Lady of Chartres and valuable objects. "Father Gravel in his book Suagothel (name of Major Rogers' expedition) mentions on page 14: "The Church was ransacked and burned; the Rangers took valuable objects, namely a relic containing a gold case, a solid sterling statuette of Our Lady of Chartres and sterling plated chandeliers."

Around 1816, a journal published that: "Two golden candlesticks worth $1,000.00 were found in the woods in Hatley, East Canada" (taken from the Stanstead Journal, March 3, 1949).

On the 15th of November 1869, a letter written in Magog by Mr. Harrington was sent to Mr. Louis Gill, mentioning: "In 1827, an incense vessel, believed to have been left by one of Roger's men, was found on an island in the Watopeka river where it empties into the St. Francis, at Windsor Mills, Quebec, and in 1838, one Robert Orme, of Vermont, found a large image of a saint at the mouth of the Magog river, and gave it to a priest then living in Sherbrooke", "Could this have been part of Rogers' loot?"

In 1862, a farmer, Dennison Brown, while ploughing his land on the banks of Lake Memphremagog, found a hatchet at the very spot where 3 Rangers are presumed to have been captured by the Indians as they returned from their expedition.

In 1800, a bayonnette was found by James Bodwell on the bank of the Tomifobia River, near Stanstead.

It is believed that the hatchet would have belonged to one of the Rangers. You can find these two objects at the Knowlton Museum, source: volume 11 published in 1910, pages 93 to 102.

Around 1880, Mr. B.F.D. Carpenter in his history of Derby, talks a lot about the Rangers' treasures which are presumably buried on Nathaniel Sevrens's farm located on the banks of Lake Memphremagog. Mr. Sevrens is pioneer who arrived from New Hampshire in 1832. He discovered a 5 foot copper rod rising above a hillock in the middle of a man made clearing. It is believed that the Rangers would have buried their treasures in this very same spot.

Many attempts were made by money diggers in order to recuperate the treasures. Cabalistic formulas, ceremonials and plots were used for this purpose. The result was that one day as they were digging and pounding with an iron bar, the sound of a metallic box was heard (tradition said that the treasures were kept in a metallic box), a voice was raised and the box disappeared never to be found again.

A 1867 publishing about Magoon's Point, South of Georgeville, relates that: "An unexplored cavern exists in this locality, and it has been believed that a large amount of treasure stolen from a Roman Catholic Cathedral was secreted there. Indeed, there are persons who claim to have seen two massive gold candlesticks which were found buried in the road near the cave" (1)

Having reached Lake Memphremagog, Rogers cites in his report to General Amherst: "Rogers broke his detachment up into small companies". Everything leads us to believe that part of his men passed on the West of the Lake while the others went to the East side. We know for sure that they split at the head of the lake. (Where Newport is today)

Leonard Auger, our local historian, published a very well documented article relating this event in 1939. This article was also published by the Vermont Historical Society in volume 27, no. 4, pages 287 to 304.

Metro Goldwym Meyer, a Hollywood film Company, inspired by Kenneth Rogers' romantic novel of Northwest Passage, made a coloured film in 1959. Part of the action takes place on Lake Memphremagog. The shooting of the film was done in a corner of the Idaho State. The great Spencer Tracy portrayed Major Rogers. Father Gravel does not give this book much historical value.

Tradition was preserved and we often hear people recalling that some of their relatives were saying that they knew where the treasures were buried.

Twenty five (35) years ago I was even approached by a Cherry River resident who asked for $5,000.00 payable in advance, to tell me on which farm the treasure was buried. I did not have that kind of money at the time and he later told me the name of the farmer who happened to own more than 700 acres. Good thing I did not take him seriously for I, in all probability, would still be digging....

An intensive study should be made on this subject because according to Mr. Auger, Rogers' attack means the extermination of the Abenakis. We find a similar conclusion: "The abenakis were eliminated as a danger to frontier settlements for ever". (2) In 1985, around 60 people only who can understand and speak Abenakis, still remain. We owe all these beautiful names: Memphremagog, Massawippi, Coaticook, etc. to this enchanting language.

Rogers returned to England in 1782. He was jailed upon arrival for his numerous debts. Half his salary was given to pay his creditors during the years 1784 to 1794. He died in Borough on May 18, 1795 and was buried during a rain-fall in the church yard which later became the Elephant Hotel and Castle.

"Finis Coronat Opus" (the end crowns the work).
(*) We are referring to Jeffrey Baron Amherst, 1717-1797, English general in French and Indian War; appointed governor general of British North America. (Funk and Wagnalls- New Practical Standard Dictionary- J. G. Ferguson, Publishing Company.)

(1) Burt's illustrated Guide: 1867- page: 196
(2) Page 30- The Queen's York Rangers by Stewart H. Bull. - courtesy of Mr Ralph Plaskett- Toronto
Jacques Boisvert, crypto-dracontologue - crypto dracontologist
Societe internationale de dracontologie du lac Memphremagog
Société d'histoire du lac Memphremagog, Magog, Québec, Canada
Situé dans les Cantons de l'Est-situated in the Eastern Townships
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Treasure Hunters Still Ascend Mountains in Search of Artifacts
Loot stolen from a raid on a Jesuit mission in Quebec in 1759 is said to be scattered in the rugged terrain of New Hampshire.
August 01, 2004|Wilson Ring , Associated Press WriterRANDOLPH, N.H. —

Almon Farrar, 88, has heard stories all his life about missing treasure in the White Mountains where he grew up.

His uncle, a game warden who crisscrossed the mountains through much of the first half of the 20th century, always kept an eye out for it while he pursued poachers.

"Everybody's hunted for it," Farrar said as he took a break from cutting firewood in the yard of his home in the Cascade and Castle ravines. "I tell you it's rough up there."

Up there, not far from Farrar's house, is some of the most rugged terrain in the Northeast. That's where eight rangers from an elite force of frontiersmen attached to the British army during the French and Indian War perished, supposedly while carrying a silver statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ child.

The rangers are believed to have taken the 10-pound statue, a ruby ring, a gold calf and other priceless artifacts during a 1759 raid on a Jesuit mission at an Indian settlement in Quebec. Much of the treasure is still lost today somewhere on the north side of 6,288-foot Mt. Washington.

Throughout the 19th century, treasure hunters prowled the mountains of New Hampshire, and some still come.

Last summer two men sought information about the rangers' path from the Lancaster Historical Society. The pair planned to use a metal detector to hunt the statue.

Father Jacques Monet, director of the Jesuit archives in Toronto, can find no record of the missing artifacts but says it is plausible that they would have been housed at the mission.

"They had these benefactors in Europe who would send these things to the missions," he said.

Forty years of mission records were destroyed in the raid on St. Francis by rangers under the command of Maj. Robert Rogers, who in 1756 formed a 600-man contingent that came to be known as Rogers' Rangers. About 140 Colonial soldiers and a handful of British regulars went up Lake Champlain and crossed the broad plains of the St. Lawrence Valley before attacking the Abenaki village of St. Francis near present-day Pierreville, Quebec.

The raid at dawn on Oct. 4, 1759, was revenge for a series of attacks by the Indians on the Colonies.

Rogers later claimed to have killed about 200 Indians, but French and Abenaki records put the number much lower -- perhaps 30, including 20 women and children.

During the raid, Rogers' men stumbled across the Jesuit mission and helped themselves to gold and silver, including the replica of the seated Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus on her lap

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