[The Acadian, le 14 mai 1886, p. 2]

Early settlements of the Acadians - Buried treasure and who dug for it - Some of the traditions

The general opinion is that at the time of the expulsion of the French Acadians from Horton there was a large village at what is now know as Grand Pre, and that few resided elsewhere in Horton. It is true there that was a few French houses in that locality, and to-day there may be found perhaps a dozen old cellars which are said to be of French origin ; some two or three old French roads may be found leading towards the marshes, by the sides of which are yet growing willows imported from France by this people ; the site of an old smith's forge not far from Grand Pre station may yet be recognized by cinders and scraps of old iron ; and some persons pretend to be able to point out the site of which formerly stood a French chapel with a burying ground adjacent, and also the spot where was a mill on the small brook which crosses the road a little below the Crane barn ; but the evidence of there ever being a French village at that place is obscure and uncertain. Evidences of French settlements are not wanting from the eastern to the western extremities of the township of Horton and as far south as the Gaspareau River. The French were evidently an industrious and frugal people, and some believe they had large amounts of ready cash which they buried previous to their leaving the Province, in anticipation of their being able to return and remove it at a future time. Much speculation has been made as to the whereabouts of this hidden treasure, and many a party has spent time and money in searching for it ; and there are not a few who may be started to dig for it in the most improbable places, basing their faith on nothing more reliable than a dream or some gypsy's predictions. We can find such even in Wolfville and to them a mineral-rod or a Spanish needle has charms unsurpassed. That money has been found in small quantities, on several occasions is quite probable - in fact evidence is not wanting to prove it. Some years ago two strangers were seen at what was then called the "Town", now Grand Pre, making a careful examination of an old barn which stood near "Horton Corner". They asked permission to spend the night in it which was granted, they preferring to stay there rather than in the house - to which they had been invited. In the morning, it was discovered that they had cut a hole in the top of the roof and taken out a crock, which they left behind them, and taking the contents which was undoubtedly coin. A similar circumstances occurred about the same time at Gaspereau, only on this occasion a hillock was opened and a crock taken which was found by some persons the next day under an elm tree, which is yet standing, near a spring of water together with an old French coin they had doubtless dropped there. Others are said to have accidentally found hidden treasures when cultivating their lands. Be this as it may, it is a fact that several persons owning French farms have suddenly emerged from a state of indigence to that of comparative affluence with no perceptible cause for the change. The French Acadians were not ignorant of the value of the rich marshes lying contiguous to the basin of Minas and the rivers and creeks running into it ; neither were they of the valuable intervals on either side of the Gaspereau river at some distance from its mouth, as many valuable farms were cultivated by them there. In a line directly south of the eastern part of Wolfville there may be found today on an old French farm the remains of an old orchard containing now over one hundred trees, vigorous and productive, which is probably the largest of the old French orchards now to be found in this Province, the area of which could not have been less than six to ten acres. This farm was without doubt a place of considerable note. It was upon it that the first mill was erected on the Gaspereau river, and it was probably the first ever built in Horton. It was also upon this farm that the old French battery was located, and was the principal headquarters for those engaged in the fur trade, as there they found a ready purchaser for all the fur they could bring. A part of this farm has been in possession of the Coldwell family for more than 100 years. It was here that some 60 years ago two brass kettles were unearthed, the circumstances of which were as follows : Mr. Coldwell and his son were ploughing with an ox-team not far from the river, when one of the oxen broke through into what seemed to be loose earth. It being the noon hour, the team was taken to the barn and put up to feed. After diner some six or seven men and boys repaired to the spot and began to dig out the loose earth. They soon came to two brass kettles, one of them of the capacity of two bushels, the other smaller. In one of these kettles was found a human skull covered with long black hair, which on exposure to the air immediately began to disappear, leaving the skull completely bare and white. One of the parties placed it upon his head, which it fitted as a cap. There were also found in these kettles one dozen dagger knives and three axes. One of the axes is now in the possession of Obed Coldwell, a grandson of the then proprietor ; and one of the kettles, we are told, is in the museum of Acadia College, and the other is still in use. Whether any money was found or not is a secret, and will remain so ; yet it is believed by many that there was. During the time they were engaged in digging out these kettles, a singular circumstance occurred. Two king birds came and lighted, - the one on the east side of the hole, the other on the west, - and it was with difficulty that they could be kept away from the place. The day was very fine, not a cloud to be seen in the heavens, when suddenly there came up a terrific thunder storm, the rain falling in torrents, which drove them to the house for shelter. The storm ceased almost as soon as they reached the house, and they returned to the digging, the birds having disappeared during the storm and were not seen again. Such in substance is the account as given by members of the Coldwell family, who distinctly recalled the story as told them by their parents.