Tales of Vast Buried Treasure

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Tales of Vast Buried Treasure


This brief article gives a very good, concise account of the Esperanza legend, and offers plausible dates for the events it describes. It also posits the Esperanza as the ship which survived the battle fought with another vessel, something other accounts have reversed.

This article is also one of the earliest published accounts, especially of those published outside Hawaiian newspapers.




Professional World Newspaper



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Tells of a Vast Buried Treasure: Hidden on Palmyra Island by Spaniards

Buried somewhere beneath the sands of Palmyra Island, off the coast of South America, is a fortune awaiting the man who wants to go after it. Captain F. D. Walker, a retired sea captain of Honolulu, says he knows the location of a million and a half of Spanish pesos in bar silver, and contrary to the custom of the usual possessors of such secrets he is willing to share It with all the world. Walker is an old man and he wants someone to go after the silver before it is too late. He has maps showing the exact location of the treasure, which he has made public without any conditions. Walker is out of a job at present, and it is probably his wish that he be placed at the head of the expedition which he hopes to organize to hunt for the buried silver.

Walkers story of the lost treasure Is romantic. He says he obtained it from an old sailor who was the death bed attendant of the last of the survivors of the ship's crew that buried the silver. Whether the money is there or not, Walker's story is interesting.

"In the year 1816 the Spanish ship Esperanza sailed from Peru with a cargo of bullion for the Spanish East Indies," says he. "The silver bullion was valued at a million and a half pesos, and the ship also carried gold of the same value. The fourth day after leaving Peru the ship was attacked by an independent cruiser and captured. The engagement was severe on both sides, and the cruiser had to be abandoned, the crew taking possession of the Esperanza. Her course was then shaped toward Macao, the crew of the Spanish vessel joining the pirates. On the 43rd day after leaving the Peruvian coast the vessel struck on a sunken coral, and daybreak found her helpless in the centre of a reef three miles long and three miles wide.

"There were hillocks of land about one mile to the eastward. On clearing away the wreck it was found impossible to proceed further, and she was warped close to the beach of one island and dismantled. The treasure was taken out and divided among the crews of both vessels. From the wreck a small vessel was constructed and 80 of the 90 survivors of the engagement departed upon her, leaving ten men to guard the remaining silver treasure, the gold bullion being taken along. This vessel was never heard of afterward, and no vessel ever re-turned for the men left to guard the treasure. Finally, after a tiresome wait of over a year, the men decided to build a small craft and attempt to make their way to the mainland. They drew lots as to who should go, as four were to remain behind to guard the silver hoard. On the 13th day after leaving a storm washed four of the six from the vessel, carrying away the mast as well. Their provisions also were spoiled, and death seemed imminent for the remaining two men, when providentially an American whaler came in sight and, answering their signals, took them off.

"One of the men died on the voyage, the other was taken to Mission City (now San Francisco) on the whaler. He was placed in the Mission hospital and died soon afterward. Previous to his death he confided to the attendant the particulars of the loss of the Esperanza, giving the latitude and longitude of the place and a description of the spot where the silver was buried. The dead man's name was Edwards and he was said to have been well educated in England. It was from the attendant, an old sailor named Connors, that I learned the story.”

Walker himself has had many experiences and as captain of a vessel which first discovered Midway Island. He was cast away upon the place In 1888 and remained there for 14 mouths with little food until taken away by a sailing vessel. He was supposed at that time to have stolen the vessel and become a pirate and a large reward had been offered for his capture.

Original Format



“Tales of Vast Buried Treasure,” Palmyra Archive, accessed August 8, 2020, http://www.palmyraarchive.org/items/show/116.