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Articles and stories about the island and its treasure
Search for Money at Hobson’s Nose From History of the County of Lunenburg By: Mather Byles DesBrisay Postscript by Danny Hennigar In or about 1830, a party of pleasure went from Lunenburg to Heckman’s Island, where they were told by Mrs. Heckman that a strange vessel had anchored off the island a few days before, that the crew had landed at Hobson’s Nose, and that she could see them at work with crowbars, as if searching for a place in which treasure had been previously been deposited. After examining several spots, they left a crowbar standing in the ground near a broken tree, and walked around the point out of sight. Shortly afterwards they returned on board, and in the course of the day landed at Heckman’s Island, made various enquiries of Mrs. Heckman about different parts of it, and went again on board. In the night they revisited Hobson’s Nose, and commenced to dig at the place where they had left the crowbar, then went round to the point with lanterns and were again hid from view. They left the bay about daylight the next morning. The islanders then examined the place, and saw blocks and ropes left in the trees, and underneath a hole which has been described by others as sixteen inches in depth, lined with paving stones from the beach. There were indisputable marks of the removal of a box or cask. On the point before referred to was found a second hole, from which a pot or vessel of some kind has been taken. Mrs. Heckman was a person of undoubted veracity, and the visit of the strangers is corroborated by an old island inhabitant, who told the writer that he, with his father and brothers, were on board their vessel off Long Island when the schooner referred to passed close along - side, and they saw the crew land at Hobson’‘s Nose and walk up the beach, as described by Mrs. Heckman; that they visited the island after the strangers left, and saw the holes above mentioned. If the treasure seekers at Oak Island had made Hobson’s Nose their centre of operations, they might perhaps have there discovered what they have searched for in vain at the former place. I think you will agree, this is a great story, but is it just that, a story with little to no veracity? I am not in a position to say one way or another as time and tide has not only made the story difficult to confirm, but that very tide I mentioned has all but removed Hobson’s Nose. Is it possible another treasure island almost within sight of Oak Island off to the north, was the scene of a successful treasure hunt and recovery? On a warm and calm day in the late summer of 2009, a small party of adventurers set out from the beautiful Town of Mahone Bay in their sturdy Nova Scotia made Cape Island boat to investigate this and other stories that abound in the waters off that famous town. The fist visit was to Covey Island scene of a horrible clash on May 8, 1756 between the family of Louis Payzant and Natives resulting in the death of Mr. Payzant, an eight year old boy from near by Rous’ Island, Payzant’s servant woman and her young baby. Mrs. Payzant and her four children were kidnapped and forced to flee with the Native party to present day Fredericton (then known as St. Annes) in New Brunswick, then to Quebec City. Today, the tranquil forests and beaches of Covey Island bear little evidence of that tragedy, but remnants of old fields, wharves, unusual groves of trees, buildings and foundations bear witness to subsequent settlement. It is said that when Payzant died he clutched at a granite stone on the beach with his bloodied hand and that imprint remains visible to this very day. Ok, I agree, that is a bunch of nonsense, but you have to agree, it is a great story isn’t it? The bloody hand print of Louis Payzant on Covey Island, or so the story goes. The approach to Hobson’s Nose is to be taken with great care as there are many shoals and rocks on the landward side but our venerable craft was light and navigation among the rocks and shallows was easy especially at a slow idle and careful observation. The first patch of exposed ground we encountered was a broad lump of gravel and small rocks sticking out of the water that the chart indicated was an unnamed ledge. Fat Seals and curious sea birds watched our progress as we made our way past the ledge toward our ultimate goal of Hobson’s Nose. In the near distance, Hobson’s Nose hove into view under a light ocean swell. I was hoping for more, but Hobson’s Nose has been eroded into a nothing more than a pile of stones that at high tide, only the highest rocks, bleached white by the sun, reach to the sky like so many broken teeth. Just beyond Hobson’s, the water is   deep enough that even the largest ships can approach this lonely land mass with ease thus confirming the part of the story that vessels had been able to anchor off it’s shore. Landing was not contemplated as there simply was no beach to rest our keel upon and no wharf to tie up to so the best view that day was to venture in as close as we dared to the rocky bottom. No discernable features of any settlement, lighthouse, wharves, treasure or homes could be seen, all washed away by mother nature’s fury and relentless attention. Sea birds such as Cormorants, Seagulls and Terns have stained some of the rocks with their deposits and I am informed that Seals sometimes use it to rest between meals of delicious fish they pursue daily. Within easy view is Long Island where the "old island inhabitant" saw the strange schooner as it "passed close along - side." An early photograph from April 1,1937, shows Hobson’s as a barren but high island complete with wharf, a lighthouse, buildings and neat stacks of Lobster traps piled on the wharf. More incredible than that, the island evidently had enough land mass that a party of people could easily have "walked around the point out of sight" as Mrs. Heckman was said to have witnessed. Being one of the last drumlins in the bay to succumb to the Atlantic Ocean’s harsh forces, it’s almost total destruction took with it any possible evidence of early settlement. As for the "blocks and ropes left in the trees" and "a hole which has been described by others as sixteen inches in depth, lined with paving stones from the beach," we will never know how true the story is. Some the story, particularly the "blocks and ropes left in the trees" part is reminiscent of the early stories associated with Oak Island. Conversely, the part of the story suggesting "There were indisputable marks of the removal of a box or cask. On the point before referred to was found a second hole, from which a pot or vessel of some kind has been taken," is also reminiscent of a much later story told by Oak Island writers and marks found by treasure hunter Fred Nolan.  With little wave action, a very slight wind and the warm sun above, visibility was perfect and the bottom just ten feet below us was crafted by nature from hard veins of bedrock that was littered with comical looking crabs and sea grass waving dreamily in the light ocean swell. We turned our tiny craft to the north and motored across the glassy bay toward another interesting island while mysterious Hobson’s Nose quickly disappeared astern. Schools of immature Mackerel jumped from our wake as we skimmed across the waters and off to our next adventure. Perhaps someday, a document will turn up corroborate the tale, or a ships log or diary entry, until then we will pass this story along as another tale of treasure along Nova Scotia’s vast and interesting shoreline.