The Jollicure Treasure Tale

Introduction

Another researcher found a reference to a legend with a startling resemblance to the Oak Island story, and mentioned it on the Oak Island Forum in late Summer, 2004. A copy of the book was obtained and the following tale was found. Many components are startlingly similar to the classic Oak Island tale.

Treasure has been found, and treasure has been lost in the long years. What has been referred to locally as the greatest treasure on the Aulac Ridge lies at Jollicure, which is a little community halfway across the Chignecto Isthmus. Even in recent times, efforts have been made to secure the buried treasure, which old timers believe must still be hidden in the earth.

The discovery of the so-called treasure spot was made by a local blacksmith in the early part of the 1800s. Looking from his forge to the pasture just behind, the blacksmith discovered that one of his cows was in trouble. Her hind-quarters were sunk into the earth, and in his effort to remove the animal, the blacksmith found that she had broken through the earth into a timbered pit. Keeping the knowledge strictly to himself, he set to work to uncover a ringed space, twenty-five feet in diameter. This was topped with logs over which had been placed two feet of soft earth. Still working alone, the blacksmith discovered that down below was a well constructed pit. But the labor got beyond his strength, and the neglect of his forge made the neighbours curious, so he was forced to take them into his confidence.

Night and day the blacksmith and his neighbours worked, until, twenty feet down the shaft, they uncovered a planked platform, upon which were some mysterious markings. These they ignored and ripped up the planks. Once more they were forced to discontinue their digging. At thirty feet they again came upon a heavy log platform, but at this point the water began to pour into their workings and, try as they might, they found no way to overcome the rush of water. The blacksmith and his neighbours exhausted their small capital and finally gave up. They tried to keep their secret against the day when funds would again be available and they could continue their search, but the secret leaked out, and the place was over-run with those seeking ways and means to secure what they believed was a buried treasure. But every effort failed. Then, many years later, a company was formed to continue that search, and word went about that it had been established that there was actually treasure down below, for a mineral auger, driven into the pit, had actually brought up pieces of gold, silver, and other metals. Hydraulic pumps were installed to overcome the water menace, but they, too, were unsuccessful.

[the author then mentions the similarity to Oak Island, but notes that the treasure there was said to have been left by pirates while the Jollicure pit is ascribed to Arcadians]

Quoted from The Brides’ Ships And Other Tales of the Unusual, by Roland H. Sherwood.

Analysis

The number of similar elements found here is astounding.

  • A cow sinking into the earth discloses the location of the fabled Pit. Compare this with the story of the 1878 “sink hole” on Oak Island, into which a farm animal was said to have fallen.
  • A round pit, “two feet of soft earth” atop the first layer of logs. On Oak Island the original diggers were said to have found a layer of flag stones 2 feet beneath the surface of the “sunken” pit area, and often variants of the O.I. tale mention that earth under the log platforms has settled and is much softer than the surrounding soils.
  • Platforms are discovered at regular distances underground in both legends
  • “Markings” are found on these platforms. In the Oak Island tale, we have both the “inscribed stone” and the “marks or signs” sometimes said to have been found when the original Pit was being excavated.
  • Water begins pouring in when a certain level is reached, and cannot be stopped using any means available to the diggers.
  • An auger is used to penetrate the flooded shaft, and brings up tantalizing bits of treasure.

The great question in respect to this tale is when it originated. The author, Sherwood, made no mention of its origin or when and where he collected it (he was not a scholar, but a teller of tales after all). Thus we have no idea whether this tale is older or newer than the Oak Island legend. More research into this question is in progress.

There are only a few possible explanations for the similarities seen between the two legends:

  1. At least two examples of a nearly identical and highly nefarious pit trap exist, but said design has never been recorded in history. If this is the case, then two large treasure troves lie un-recovered in Canadian soils.
  2. The Oak Island story is “true” (in some sense), is older, and the tale above was derived from it.
  3. Conversely, the above story is the older of the two, and Oak Island was derived from it.
  4. Neither story is true; they’re both pieces of folklore based on common “hidden treasure” motifs.

Note: Roland Sherwood was NOT a historian. He is cited as having no degree other than an honorary D.Litt (doctor of literature) from St. Francis Xavier university; all his writings were about pieces of local folklore and legends. He cites no sources for any of his stories, and the background material on the back cover states that “[his] inimitable mixture of good storytelling, fact and folklore shine throughout the present collection.”

Note: All material on these pages is © 2004 Richard E. Joltes. All rights reserved. Short excerpts may be used in other publications as long as proper credit is given.