Treasure in Cannon in St Joe River...Michigan

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
12,686
327
Ozarks
When I was a little girl ,we lived on the banks of the St Joe River in Niles MI. My father an avid treasure hunter, would tell me stories of how there used to be a old fort on Bond Street. Believing they were going to be attacked,, the settlers placed all of their money and valuables into a cannon,sealed iot and plunged it into the St Joe. It was never recovered . Now that I am all grown up , I would like to check this out for myself. Since my father has passed way ,along with most of the old timers in that area, I wonder if this story was real, or if any of you have heard of this. I know the artea well, know wherethe fort was and plan on exploribng the area more when I go back down there next summer. Thanks for any info....
Gypsy Heart
 

StickShift

Full Member
Dec 1, 2005
164
3
USA
Hello gypsyheart, that sounds like an interesting story not to be dismissed since you heard it from your father. I don't believe there is a father out there that would lead his daughter to believe such treasure really existed if he wasn't pretty sure it did. I know if I were to relate to my children of a cache I would want to be fairly certain it existed. I would try to check all the history of that area I possibly could and if you visit the area check all the historical archives you can that are in the area.
Court House, Tax office, museum, library. Sometimes you may be surprised what local librarians
can come up with. One other thing an iron cannon sunk in a river is going to be sunk under possibly several feet of dirt and mud several tons of weight. If found needed for recovery will diving gear and some type of strong hoist to hoist it out of the muck. You could most likely rent a barge that has the proper hoisting equiptment for recovery once found and ready to be taken up. Wish I could help more.
Good luck
SS
 
OP
Gypsy Heart

Gypsy Heart

Gold Member
Nov 29, 2005
12,686
327
Ozarks
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While the cannon legend has been retold for years and could very possibly be just that ...a story , it still remains that that many people have dived for that cannon for years......The St Joe River is pretty wide through here and prone to flooding, so who knows where that cannon is. My guess is under generations of silt,close to the bank . Plus the fact that if a bunch of settlers pushed that cannon in...they would probally have gone back after yet. One thing that always bothered me about this story is...if I was under attack, would I push my weapon into the river???Hahah

Neverless this entire area is a gold mine for treasure hunters...from coins and artifacts to Indian beads and weapons...to early history!
Fort St. Joseph
The French fort built here in 1691 controlled southern Michigan's principal Indian trade routes. Missionaries and fur traders were here already. The fort became a British outpost in 1761. Two years later it was one of the forts seized by Indians during the uprising of Chief Pontiac. Still later, traders made it their headquarters. In 1781 Spanish raiders ran up the flag of Spain at the fort for a few hours....,The Potawatomi capture Fort St. Joseph at present-day Niles on 25 May; the Chippewa take Fort Michilimackinac on 2 June.1763.....

Since 1832, Michigan has had an active antislavery society. Quakers in Cass County, Laura Haviland in Adrian and former slave Sojourner Truth in Battle Creek are only a few of the many Michiganians working on the Underground Railroad

.

The Fort St. Joseph site itself is now partly covered by the backwaters of the Niles dam and partly by six feet of landfill.

http://www.michiganhistorymagazine.com/extra/pdfs/stjoefound.pdf

This entire area was covered by a dump when I was growing up, except for a small area where the Boulder was placed as a marker. An interesting note is that in earlier maps...The ST Joseph river was called the Miami River...
Now the dump is gone, but this is still on a dirt road following the river curves with plenty of open TD space that you can follow for about five mile stretches.
For those of you who dint know, This is in the southern most corner of Michigan, Berrien County .
 

ac385

Full Member
Jul 26, 2005
110
1
Ga
Michigan claims everything underwater as an underwater preserve. So if you do find it don't let anyone know that you have it. Of course you could always let "us" know that you found it and we would just assume that you left it where it is. :)
 

sadsack

Jr. Member
Dec 1, 2008
29
12
Benton Harbor,MI
Hi,
I been diving in the st.joe. river for more than 50 years. I have found some stuff. The story I got was they all put it in the well of the fort. this is the first time I heard it was a cannon.
renny
 

rc2125

Sr. Member
Feb 15, 2010
452
358
Indiana/Michigan border
Detector(s) used
~ Minelab Equinox 900
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Thanks for resurrecting this post, couldn't help but notice "Treasure" & "St.Joe river", I never heard about the cannon deal, very neat, and very close to home.
 

Ignorance Denied

Full Member
Aug 20, 2013
134
37
Utah
Primary Interest:
Cache Hunting
Grew up in St. Joe, and heard alot of stories myself.

Fort Miami? as it was once called was on the banks and on the shore. But that doesnt seem relevant I know.

I always was interested in finding King Ben's treasure, and still remember a few nice spots that I traversed as a teen.
 

TheDude1978

Greenie
Mar 14, 2017
11
8
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I know this is an old post, but I thought I would chime in. I grew up in Niles, and know a lot about the area. Close to that part of the river is where the french paper mill dam is. The dam has changed the flow of the river, so it is possible that where the river was then is not where the river is now. Its possible that this burried cannon could be burried on dry land now.
 

sadsack

Jr. Member
Dec 1, 2008
29
12
Benton Harbor,MI
Hey, if you are around St. Joe and want to go metal detecting, I am looking for a partner. Been detecting here for over 60 years.
Let me know.
 

MiddenMonster

Bronze Member
Dec 29, 2004
1,097
1,357
Down in the pit
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In considering this, at first glance I would say that it is more logical that any valuables were hidden in the well, rather than the cannon. If you believed you were going to be attacked, why take yourself down a cannon, seal it (and possibly ruining it) and sink it in the river where it can't protect you? The well is a central location all the residents would know about, the search area is by definition small, with depth the only variable to consider. If you research this, I would also suggest finding out what happened with the expected attack. If the attack went down and the fort fell, there is a good chance the treasure is still there. If the attack didn't happen or was repelled, chances are that the residents got their loot back.
 

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