BURIED TREASURE AT TUCKER'S ISLAND
Just off the coast of the southernmost point of Long Beach Island stood Tucker's Island. Tucker's Island was the first resort on the Jersey Shore, and was a thriving community of year-round residents and seasonal visitors when our story takes place in the late 1800's. This area surrounding the island has long been rumored as the burying place of numerous pirate treasures, but although Spanish gold coins occasionally washed ashore, no treasure trove was ever uncovered. At least officially, that is.
The crew of the Life Saving Station on the island were enjoying a quiet night when their peace was disturbed by the arrival of a small sloop on the shore. A few minutes later two unsavory seafarers arrived at the door inquiring as to the location of two old cedar trees that were regarded as landmarks on the island. Unsure of the visitors' motives, but seeing no harm in assisting them, the crew pointed them in the right direction and watched as the men departed for their boat, apparently to bed down for the night.
The men at the station continued to watch the boat for activity, and later that evening they spied the two men moving in the direction of the cedar trees they had inquired of. They lost sight of them as they disappeared into the darkness beyond the dunes. A few hours later they were again spotted, this time dragging a large object towards their vessel. The Life Station crew was unsure of what it was they struggled with on the beach. Believing it could be stolen goods, or even a dead body, they raised the alarm. The struggling sailors heard the noise and activity and quickened their pace. They had just finished loading their boat and pushing off into the ocean when the islanders and lifesavers arrived. They escaped in the nick of time.
As daylight broke, the assembled throng made their way to the landmark cedars. What they found there astounded them. Near the trees they discovered a gaping hole with an old wooden trunk beside it. On the ground nearby they spotted a few gold Spanish coins, a tattered map and a rusted cutlass from a bygone era.
Tucker's Island soon followed the missing pirate treasure and began
to disappear early in the 20th century, caused by the shifting tides
and sands. In 1927, the lighthouse and
life saving station fell into the ocean, and the island slowly
vanished. Today only a shoal reminds us of its location. The story of
the pirate treasure could easily be dismissed as unfounded legend,
except for one fact. Unlike Tucker's Island, the Spanish cutlass
found after the mysterious visit still exists. It can be found at the
Long Beach Historical Association in Beach Haven.
Down the Jersey Shore
Legends of Long Beach Island
The Lure of Long Beach
New Jersey's Coastal Heritage
Six Miles at Sea - A Pictorial History of Long Beach Island, NJ
SPECIAL THANKS TO
The Long Beach Island Historical Association