The Plymouth Connection
by James A. McQuiston FSA Scot
I've uncovered answers to many mysteries surrounding Oak Island, Nova Scotia, but one I am particularly proud of is the connection between the people who were early settlers in the Plymouth Colony of New England, and the early settlers, and a few famous treasure seekers on Oak Island, Nova Scotia.
The British had claimed most of the east coast of North America under the name Virginia, in honor of the 'Virgin Queen," Queen Elizabeth.
Originally, there were to be two colonies, one in the north (from 38 degree latitude to 48 degrees) which would comprise part of present day Virginia up to Newfoundland. The other southern colony would be the land from the 38 parallel down into Georgia, or as far south as they could go, considering the Spanish and French were in the lower area of what became the United States.
We don’t often think of Sir Francis Bacon as having a hand in settling America. Even Sir William Alexander, about whom I’ve written much, does not get his fair share of credit for settling and naming Nova Scotia. His Nova Scotia land included New Brunswick and additional adjoining lands. He even was given Long Island, New York, and many of the earliest settlers there received their grants from him.
I have surmised, for a few years now, that Francis Bacon and William Alexander were close acquaintances and that there was no way Bacon could not be aware of Alexander’s attempt to settle Nova Scotia. But, up to this point, my conjecture was based on the many points of contact they had back in England, as members of the Privy Council, fellow authors and poets, holders of some of the highest offices in Britain, and both men being in some way connected to the plays of William Shakespeare.
Up to this point!
I now have evidence that virtually proves Bacon knew all about Alexander’s efforts to create Nova Scotia. This comes from the writings of another generally unrecognized colonizer of America – Sir Ferdinando Gorges.
Sir Ferdinando who?
I’ll get to him soon enough.
When we think of the European settlement of North America, we quickly think of the Italian Christopher Columbus ‘discovering” America in 1492, and of trips made by the likes of John Cabot (another Italian born Giovanni Caboto), along with early settlement attempts by Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel de Champlain, and many others who have gone down in history as great explorers.
The conquest and settlement of North America had many false starts, with many disasters and deaths, losses of fortunes, and gaps in the effort.
On March 25, 1584, Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a charter to Sir Walter Raleigh to search and discover ‘remote and heathen lands.’
In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh led expeditions to both North America and South America in order to found new settlements and find gold. Raleigh sent several shiploads of colonists to the east coast of North America, one of which settled on Roanoke Island, and he named the territory Virginia.
While Roanoke failed, other settlers slowly arrived to pick up the cause of settling the lower Virginia Colony.
With the death of Elizabeth, and the combining of Scotland, England and Ireland under King James I, peace came to these lands, and peace was also had with France and Spain, at least temporarily. In fact, the son of James, the future King Charles I, was initially to marry the daughter of a Spanish king, but instead married the daughter of a French king.
With the peace that came with King James, explorers began sailing along the coast of the expansive Virginia Colony. This has been explained in the fact that ‘men of action,’ who were generally engaged in war, had only two alternatives during this time of peace, and that was to hire out as mercenaries in smaller conflicts, or to become pirates. There would be no privateering since all the major players were at peace. Another new option was to become explorers in the New World.
The French liked to call this larger region of Virgina Arcadia or Acadia, which eventually became their name for the area that comprised Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and surrounds.
One of the English explorers of what are now the New England states was Captain George Weymouth, who returned from this area to England, in 1605, bringing with him several Native men that he had captured or enticed to come with him. Weymouth left three of these men with Ferdinando Gorges, who was then commander of Plymouth, England, a very strategic city on the western tip of Great Britain.
Despite his foreign sounding name, Ferdinando was 100% British. In 1587, Gorges was one of the ‘several eminent chieftains’ commanding the 800 soldiers sent to aid the Earl of Leicester’s attempt to relieve the Siege of Sluis laid by the Spanish Governor General of the Netherlands. It is unknown whether he was captured during that engagement or later, but by September 1588 he was listed as a prisoner, for his name is among those English prisoners who friends in England petitioned to have Spanish prisoners exchanged for.
In 1589, Gorges was wounded at the Siege of Paris. He was knighted at the Siege of Rouen, in Normandy, in 1591. He was rewarded for his services with the post of Governor of the Fort at Plymouth, England, which he held for many years. It is from Plymouth, England, that the Plymouth Colony in America got its name.
Gorges found his ‘Indian’ friends to be very interesting and more civil than many Englishmen he had known. He decided that he would begin to finance explorers to go to the northern half of the Virginia Colony.
Beginning in 1606, he financed many failed attempts, due either to poor judgement on the part of the captains, to bad turns of the weather, or to other causes, until finally he established a tenuous foothold in America.
The southern expanded Virginia was to be settled by the London Company of Virginia, whereas Gorges led the Plymouth Company of Virginia in exploring the upper half of the east coast.
Jamestown, Virginia, was established in 1607. Only a few months later, Gorges established the Popham Colony, near what is now Phippsburg, Maine.
Phippsburg was much later named for the family of Sir William Phips, a treasure hunter who found the Concepion treasure shipwreck, and who became Governor of New England, which, at the time, included Nova Scotia. He later went to Nova Scotia, and according to his own writings, searched for plunder at sea, on land, and underground. A medallion was discovered at New Ross, Nova Scotia, that I revealed the true nature of, along with the theory that it was lost there by William Phips, in his search for plunder that the settlers of Sir William Alexander unintentionally had to leave behind on Oak Island.
It may not be any coincidence at all that William Phips was born just a short distance from Phippsburg, as I believe his father may have been James Philp, private secretary to Sir William Alexander. James Philp sold his land in Britain in 1640, the year William Alexander died. James Phips purchased his land in New England, near Gorges’ settlement, in 1646. When James Phips wife remarried, she gave her name as Phillips, not Phips, and both Philp and Phips are simply contractions of the name Phillips. I think William Phips learned of the William Alexander treasure through his father.
Ferdinando Gorges continued his efforts to settle the northern part of the expanded colony of Virginia. As tough as that was, he would receive additional challenges from Captain James Smith of the Jamestown Colony, who had grown bored with life there, and decided that there might be something to gain by moving north.
Smith, himself, encountered many problems in trying to even get to the northern reaches of Virginia, but his intentions prompted Ferdinando Gorges to gain a better charter to his land. And this is where Francis Bacon and William Alexander enter the picture.
Gorges petitioned for a new charter to include the land from the 40th parallel (approximately where Philadelphia is now located) north to Newfoundland. He felt this way he would not infringe on the southern portion of the Virginia Colony, but would no longer be in competition or a threat to them, nor they to him.
On July 23, 1620, several months before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, in New England, Gorges was able to get a directive written and signed by some very illustrious people.
The directive read:
“To Sir Thomas Coventry, Knight, his Majesty’s Solicitor General: Whereas it is thought fit that a Patent of Incorporation be granted to the adventurers of the Northern Colony in Virginia, to contain the like liberties, privileges, power, authorities, lands and all other things within their limits, namely, between the degrees of forty and forty-eight… this new Company is to be free of custom and subsidy for the like term of years, and of impositions after so long time as his Majesty shall please to grant unto them. This shall be therefore to will and require you to prepare a Patent ready for his Majesty’s royal signature to the purpose aforesaid, leaving a blank for the time of freedom from impositions to be supplied and put in by his Majesty; for which this shall be your warrant. Dated 23d July, 1620"
This “new Company” was the Plymouth Colony, named after Gorges' home port of Plymouth, England.
The signatures were general in nature and included nine men who signed this way:
Lord Privy Seal
Earl of Arundell
Mr. Secretary Calvert
Master of the Rolls
Mr. Secretary Naunton
Master of the Wards
And guess who was Lord Chancellor in 1620 - Sir Francis Bacon, the very first man to sign this request to create the Plymouth Colony. And one of the investors in the Plymouth Colony was none other than William Alexander.
Sir Francis Bacon was Lord Chancellor from March 7, 1617, until 1621, when he was brought up on false charges and imprisoned by his enemies. The Lord Chancellor position is the highest ranking among the Great Officers of State who are appointed regularly in the United Kingdom, nominally or technically outranking even the Prime Minister.
Bacon essentially was the next most powerful man to King James, when he signed this 1620 directive to create the Plymouth Colony. William Alexander, at the time, was also highly placed in the court of King James. Bacon and Alexander also were both serving on the Privy Council of King James at the time. In my books I have already drawn many parallels in the lives of these two men, but the current subject shows an even closer connection.
The second signature on the directive was that of Edward Somerset, the Earl Marshal of England, the top law enforcement officer. His predecessor in the position of Lord Privy Seal had been jailed as an accomplice in a killing, and the lawyer who tried him was none other than Sir Francis Bacon. So Somerset owed his position as Lord Privy Seal to Bacon.
The third signature, the Earl of Arundel, was of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel. Howard was on the New England Plantations Committee, in 1620. The following year Howard presided over the House of Lords Committee in April 1621 for investigating the charges against Bacon, whom he defended from degradation from the peerage (loss of his titles), and at whose fall or demise he was appointed a commissioner of the great seal, essentially a committee to handle some of the Lord Chancellor duties until a new one could be appointed to follow Bacon.
Also on the commission that replaced Bacon was the the fifth signature on this directive, that of Master of Rolls, whose real name was Julius Caesar (no really!), who also went by the name of Julius Adelmare. Obviously, he was not the famous Julius Caesar who lived long before him, but he did come from Italy and had connections on his father and mother’s sides of the family to Italian royalty.
I have identified the true identity of all of these men who signed the document, and they all had powerful positions in King James’ government, alongside Francis Bacon and William Alexander.
Bacon was charged with bribery for accepting gifts from some of the people he was trying before the court. This was a common practice and part of his defense was that he often convicted them, despite their gifts. It is thought that Bacon’s enemies set him up because of his revolutionary ideas, particularly that humans should not look at God as being similar to their appearance or nature, but as something beyond human comprehension. He also preached that people were too ready to accept beliefs, especially those foisted on them by government, without extensive investigation and proof.
He was arrested in the year that Sir William Alexander received Nova Scotia, and he died in 1626, one year after the Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia were created, and two years before the first large Alexander fleet of settlers headed to Nova Scotia.
Ferdinando Gorges wrote a short booklet on his experiences with the Plymouth Colony. He speaks of when the Mayflower Pilgrims landed. He also tells how the granting of Nova Scotia to William Alexander came about.
It is usually said that Alexander was asked by King James to chase the French out of Acadia, due to pressure from Ferdinando Gorges and the Plymouth Colony settlers.
King James announced Sir William’s proposal to settled a New Scotland in a royal letter dated August 5, 1621, which reads, in part, “we have the more willingly harkened to a motion made unto us by our trusty and well beloved Counsellour Sir William Alexander, Knight; who hath a purpose to procure a foreign plantation of the lands lying between New England and Newfoundland.”
Alexander states that he was asked to carry out the effort to oust the French and “Being much encouraged hereunto by Ferdinando Gorges and some others of the undertakers for New England, I showed them that my countrymen would never adventure in such an enterprise, unless it were, as there was a New France, a New Spain, and a New England, that they might likewise have a New Scotland.”
The directive Francis Bacon signed was on July 23, 1620. The Pilgrims landed in the Mayflower about November 1620, and were greeted warmly by the Natives. Originally bound for the southern Virginia Colony, they decided to stay in New England instead.
The following year, twenty three charges were read out to Sir Francis Bacon on May 3, 1621, and by May 31st, he was imprisoned, some say for one day, others for four days, when King James affected his release.
By August 5, 1621, William Alexander was accepted as the new owner/adventurer of Nova Scotia, by King James.
By September 10, 1621, the actual charter was issued for Nova Scotia.
Ferdinando Gorges offers a closer view into the dealings that brought Nova Scotia to William Alexander’s doorstep.
He writes (the parentheses are mine):
“Captain John Mason was himself a man of action, and had been some time Governor of a Plantation in the New- found-land. His time being expired there, he returned into England, where he met with Sir William Alexander, who was Master of Requests to his Majesty for the realm of Scotland, later Earl of Stirling, who, hearing of Captain Mason’s late coming out of the New-found-land, was desirous to be acquainted with him. To that end he invited him to his house, and after he had thoroughly informed himself of the estate of that country, he declared his affection to plantation, and wished the Captain to be a means to procure him a grant of the Planters thereof for a portion of land with them; who effected what he desired.
“The Captain, understanding how far forth I (Ferdinando Gorges) had proceeded in the business of New-England, advised him to deal with me for a part of what we might conveniently spare, without our prejudice, within the bounds of our grant (which at the time included the land that became Nova Scotia). Sir William Alexander, intending to make himself sure of his purpose, procured his Majesty, to send to me to assign him a part of our territories.
“His Majesty’s gracious message as to me was a command agreeing with his pleasure to have it so. Whereupon an instrument was presently drawn for the bounding thereof, which was to be called New Scotland, which afterwards was granted him (Sir William Alexander) by the King under the seal of Scotland. Thus much I thought fit to insert by the way, that posterity might know the ground from whence business of that nature had their original (origin).”
So Gorges implies that William Alexander made the original proposal to be given part of Gorges’s grant of the 40th to the 48th parallel, to become Nova Scotia, in contrast to Sir William’s statement of ”Being much encouraged hereunto by Ferdinando Gorges…”
Even the king seems to agree with Gorges when he states, “we have the more willingly harkened to a motion made unto us by our trusty and well beloved Counsellour Sir William Alexander…”
Either way, William Alexander ended up with Nova Scotia, naming the colony, and settling Scots there from 1628 through 1632, at which time they were forced out by treaty, in April, at which time I believe the Oak Island mystery actually begins.
•Bacon died in 1626, a great author and scientist, but a shamed politician (guilty or not).
•Alexander died in 1640, a great author and colonizer, but a shamed politician (likely guilty of too much ambition).
•Gorges died in or around 1645, at the hands of Oliver Cromwell, who went on to behead the king.
Towards the end of 1642, the City of Bristol had not yet taken sides between the King and Cromwell. Gorges was appointed to try to encourage the Mayor of Bristol to join with the King. Soon, a large force of the King’s men took the city by force. In 1645, Cromwell recaptured Bristol by assault and it is stated by Josselyn, a contemporary writer, that Sir Ferdinando was ‘plundered and thrown into prison.’
It is probable that he died soon after, for in the same year the following order was adopted by the court in his Province of Maine: “It is ordered, that Richard Vines shall have power to take into his possession the goods and chattels of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and to pay such debts” as owed by him.
Nothing more is heard of Ferdinando Gorges after 1645.
Bacon, Gorges and Alexander, the same three men who had helped establish both the Plymouth Colony and ultimately Nova Scotia, in 1620-21, were all dead within 25 years, with all of them dying a less than “natural” death. In some cases they were betrayed by the very men with whom they had served in the King’s court, but such was the order of the day.
Considering this series of events, it would be impossible for Sir Francis Bacon to not know of Sir William Alexander’s efforts in Nova Scotia. How deep this friendship and perhaps partnership went is yet to be proven, but their connections to each other were extensive in the court of the King, as well as in the early settlement of North America.
With the help of John Makidon, whose mother was Mary Alice Crandall, I think I have made another important discovery about Oak Island, based, once again, on family connections.
John sent me a link to a Crandall family history book from 1881, which had several interesting connections in it.
I was always a fan of family connections within my own family’s history, and I have learned to be this way about Oak Island history, lately, especially after the research I did for my book ‘Oak Island Endgame,’ which showed many early landowners and searcher on Oak Island being related in one way or another to the Knights Baronet settlement attempt of Nova Scotia, ending in 1632, and to the Plymouth Colony, whose members precipitated William Alexander's grant for Nova Scotia.
As we know, the point where one leaves the mainland for Oak Island is called Crandall’s Point. A good share of the Crandall family in North America considers John Crandall, known as ‘Elder John,’ as their progenitor in America.
John was a resident of the Plymouth Colony around 1634, though his family moved over to Rhode Island, and some eventually to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
As I’ve shown in my books, it was the Plymouth Colony residents who initiated King James giving Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander in 1621.
I have connected Warren Delano Jr. and his grandson Franklin Delano Roosevelt both to Oak Island, as treasure seekers, and to the Plymouth Colony through four families, including three who signed the Mayflower Compact.
It was through family legends and traditions that I believe they knew something about Oak Island. This has been said by historians long before I ever said it, but I provided the path in which they might have known about Oak Island.
Many of those who have heard of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, also know that FDR was an investor in the Old Gold Salvage Group search at the Money Pit, and worked there at least in 1909. Other records show he may have worked there for up to two years.
What a lot of people don’t know is that FDR was continuing a mission his grandfather, Warren Delano, Jr., had started, as an investor in the Truro Company, which also searched Oak Island, beginning in 1849.
In the book Strange Stories, Amazing Facts, I learned that two of the original men who had helped dig the Money Pit, in 1795, although then in their seventies, returned to the island, in 1849, to assist the Truro Company in its renewed efforts to solve the mystery.
One of the Truro investors was none other than the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and one of the landowners, at the time, was a relative of a man (Al Strachan) who stole a massive, still missing treasure in Scotland, which I believe was later buried on Oak Island. His name was John Strachan and he owned what are now known as the Nolan Cross lots, from 1841 until January 1857.
Warren Delano, Jr., and his father, Warren Delano, Sr., gained their first name of Warren from the maternal side of their family, namely through a female descendant of Richard Warren, one of 102 passengers on the Mayflower ship that landed at Plymouth Rock, in 1620.
Another ancestor from Roosevelt’s maternal side, Philippe de la Noye (the original form of the name Delano) was meant to be a passenger on the sister ship to the Mayflower, named the Speedwell. However, that ship ran into complications and so Phillipe boarded the Fortune and arrived in New England the following year.
The Plymouth colonists signed a document called the Mayflower Compact. There is a direct family connection to John Howland, one of the signers of this compact, through Franklin Roosevelt’s own grandmother, Mary Rebecca Aspinwell, who was a Howland descendant, and who married Isaac Roosevelt, FDR’s grandfather.
Franklin’s great grandfather, James Roosevelt, was married three times. While FDR descended from his first marriage, the third marriage of James was to Harriet Howland, also a descendant of John Howland.
Franklin’s own father had first married a Howland woman, said to be his sixth cousin, but again Franklin was a product of his father’s second marriage to Sara Ann Delano, herself a descendant of Phillipe de la Noye.
John Howland was the thirteenth of the forty-one “principal” men to sign the compact. In fact, his name appears directly under Richard Warren (number 12), from whom FDR also descended, on his maternal side.
Phillipe de la Noye, or Delano, was related to, and lived with his uncle Francis Cooke, who also came on the Mayflower. While Phillipe didn’t sign the compact, Francis Cooke was, in fact, the seventeenth signer of the compact, indicating three direct ancestors of FDR as known signers of the Mayflower Compact. There may be even more signers, or at least Plymouth residents, related to him, if all marriages were thoroughly investigated.
Also, Thomas Embree was an early Oak Island landowner and his family came from the Plymouth Colony as well.
We now have a sixth family, in the Crandall family connection to the Plymouth Colony, and to the very last point of land on the mainland one touches before heading over to Oak Island – Crandall’s Point.
There are two strong connections of the Crandalls to the Halifax/Oak Island area. I admit, there is probably much more research to do on this subject, but I am just discovering this angle and wanted to share it right away.
The Crandall line widened considerably from the time of Elder John Crandall of the Plymouth Colony.
One branch was led by Wilbur Crandall who married Mary Vaughan. Their son, Peter Crandall, of Chester, NS, married another Vaughan woman, Rebecca Vaughan. The family lived at Mahone Bay and also at Digby, which is very near to where William Alexander’s original settlement was, near Port Royal, Nova Scotia. One of their descendants was the minister at Mahone Bay, as well as at Digby, and at a few other places in Nova Scotia.
These two locations (Mahone Bay and Digby) are of interest because of their connection to Sir William Alexander and to Oak Island.
So, at this point, we have another early family of the Plymouth Colony, named Crandall, now in Nova Scotia at both Mahone Bay, and the Annapolis Valley, and we have them marrying into the Vaughan family, with Anthony Vaughan being one of the first to dig at the Money Pit site.
We already had the connection of one of William Alexander’s best friends, William Vaughan (investor in Newfoundland), to a possible connection with Anthony Vaughan.
Ebenezer and Henry Crandall also came to Nova Scotia in 1874. They signed some legal agreements to build a ship, which eventually went nowhere, involving them in a lawsuit. Their company went by the name Crandall Brothers and eventually there was the Crandall Brothers Construction Company. This branch of the family was involved at Halifax, Nova Scotia, not far from Oak Island.
Obviously, Crandall’s Point got its name from a Crandall family, no doubt the families listed here.
This is where it REALLY gets interesting.
James Thomas Crandall lived in New Brunswick, as did many others from the original Elder John Crandall line. Among his children were daughters Flora and Lydia. Flora married William Chappell. Lydia married Renwick Chappell.
The Chappells were also in the construction business (as were the Randalls). Mel Chappell worked with his father William, and his uncle Renwick, in creating the Chappell Shaft near the Money Pit. You might also hear their name associated with the enigmatic Chappell Vault on Oak Island.
We now have six men with parts of their families originated in the Plymouth Colony all acting as searchers for treasure on Oak Island – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Warren Delano Jr, Anthony Vaughan Jr., William Chappell, Renwick Chappell, and Mel Chappell.
The Vaughan family also had a connection not only to William Alexander, but also to the Plymouth COlony, as I explain below.
So now you have a Plymouth Colony family (the Crandalls) marrying into an original Money Pit family (the Vaughans). who are also connected to our story through the Plymouth Colony and William Alexander, then marrying into a legendary Money Pit searcher family (the Chappells).
We have at least five dots connected here:
1) The Plymouth Colony, first American home to Elder John Crandall, and its connection to the chartering of Nova Scotia to William Alexander, along with the Embree and Vaughan families who also left the Plymouth Colony for Oak Island;
2) Crandalls later living at both Mahone Bay and Digby (two locations connected to William Alexander).
3) The naming of Crandall’s Point, jumping off point to Oak Island (David Crandall owned land on Oak Island);
4) Two marriages within the Crandall and Vaughan families, connected with Chester and Digby, NS, and to Oak Island, and to Anthony Vaughan Jr., who help originally dig the Money Pit;
5) Two marriages within the Crandall and Chappell families, also connected very directly to Oak Island and the Chappell Vault and Shaft.
I only wish I knew about this when I wrote ‘Oak Island Endgame’ to add it to the dozen or so other extremely significant family connections concerning Oak Island.
Meanwhile, I’ll just add Crandall, Chappell, and Vaughan, to the list of Maclean, McGinnis, Strachan, Embree, Monro, Roosevelt, Delano, Wallace, Marshall, Patillo, Philp/Phips, Ramsay (Lord Dalhousie), et al.
I have the connection of Anthony Vaughan, of the Money Pit, to William Vaughan, investor in Newfoundland and good friend of Sir William Alexander. Both Williams were involved in Rosicrucianism and both were invested in the New World.
Before I get to the family connections, it is interesting to note that William Vaughan’s brother, Henry, wrote an enigmatic line, shortly after the beheading of King Charles I, that reads, “Thus is the solemn temple sunk again into a pillar and concealed from men.”
One definition for the word pillar is “a shaft,” and a shaft is synonymous with a tunnel, passage, or pit, especially since Henry Vaughan wrote “SUNK again into a pillar.”
The connection I’ve made began with the information I received on the Crandall family from John Makidon, particularly that Mary Vaughan was wed to Wilbur Crandall, a descendant of Elder John Crandall, who originally came to America at the Plymouth Colony before moving to Rhode Island.
I have, for a long time, suspected that Anthony Vaughan Jr, of the Money Pit, was related to William Vaughan, friend to Sir William Alexander, who was the Scottish owner of Nova Scotia, and who actually named the place in 1621.
I now have the proof!!
The furthest back I could go was 24 March, 1599, to a pedigree created in Wales. Sir Roger Vaughan of Bredwwardyn, Wales, had several sons who also became knights. One of these was Watking Vaughan, father to Sir Walter Vaughan, and grandfather to Sir William Vaughan, the friend of Sir William Alexander.
This line would then be
Sir Roger Vaughan;
Sir Watking Vaughan;
Sir Walter Vaughan;
Sir William Vaughan.
Another one of these sons was Sir Thomas Vaughan, brother to Watking.
For Thomas on down we have the following line based on the Wales pedigree, but also based on later Vaughan family records in the Plymouth Colony and Rhode Island, in records from Blockhouse Investigations, from the Atlantic Canada Genealogy Project records, and from Chester, NS, records.
Sir Roger Vaughan;
Sir Thomas Vaughan, born Wales;
David Vaughan, born Wales;
John Vaughan, born Wales;
John Vaughan, born 1628, Rhode Island;
David Vaughan, born 1646 in Rhode Island;
John Vaughan, born 1671 in Rhode Island;
David Vaughan, born 1704 in Rhode Island;
Anthony Vaughan Sr., born 1751 Rhode Island;
Anthony Vaughan Jr., born 1782 in West Chester, Nova Scotia.
Some of these men alternatively used the spelling Vaughn, or at least were recorded that way in official records, although Vaughan is the original spelling, at least back as far as Sir Roger Vaughan of Wales.
Anthony Vaughan Jr. was one of the Money Pit original searchers. His sister Mary wed Wilbur Crandall, whose family had also come to the Mahone Bay area from Rhode Island, but had originally come to America at the Plymouth Colony, as did at least four families of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his grandfather, Warren Delano Jr., two investors in the Money Pit dig.
So the family responsible for the name “Crandall’s Point,” was married into the family of Anthony Vaughn, Jr., who traces back as a relative of William Vaughan, good friend of Sir William Alexander, when Anthony’s sister Mary wed Wilbur Crandall.
Since it is certain that William and Henry Vaughan knew of their friend William Alexander’s attempt in Nova Scotia, and most likely of the burial of a treasure somewhere there “sunk into a pillar,” it is also at least possible (especially considering all the other family relationships of Knights Baronet families to early Oak Island landowners) that their distant relatives, Anthony Vaughan (both Sr. and Jr.) had heard of this family tradition.
We also have the Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia link to the early settlers.
John Smith’s uncle, Hector MacLean, was most likely a Knight Baronet himself, 7th in the Maclean line. I produced evidence for this in my ‘Oak Island Endgame’ book.
The McGinnis name was often spelled McInnis, and one of the earliest Knights Baronet was Sir Robert Innis of Innis. In fact, he was first to sign up after Sir William Alexander’s original partners.
We now have pretty solid evidence that the three original discoverers of the Money Pit depression were all related back to the Knights Baronet settlement attempt of Nova Scotia.
And, as I have previously pointed out, they were not alone among other early Oak Island landowners like John Strachan (related to Al Strachan, William Alexander’s partner), John Monro (related to William Alexander’s son-in-law, Robert Monro), and a host of others connected to this story.
It seems unlikely that Al Strachan, thief of a treasure that has never been accounted for, becomes a partner of William Alexander in the Nova Scotia adventure, and that they, and several men they knew, especially those named Maclean, Innis, and Vaughan, just happen to be related to future owners of land on Oak Island – men who showed a distinct interest in searching for treasure there.
Both the Vaughan and Crandall families came to Oak Island, having earlier lived in Rhode Island, which, itself, was part of the Plymouth Colony, until Rhode Island split off in 1636. So when we see Crandalls or Vaughans born in Rhode Island, they were still part of this diaspora of the Mayflower passengers, whether they came on a later ship or not.
William Alexander and his son were on the Plymouth Council and the elder William was invested in the colony. Another man who was invested in the Plymouth Colony was John Ramsay. After John got into some trouble back in Scotland, he turned all his titles and deeds over to his brother George Ramsay, Lord Dalhousie.
It was a later George Ramsay, Lord Dalhousie, who founded Dalhousie University in Halifax, an institution that we have found to be considerably involved with the Freemasons of Halifax, and with Oak Island.
This later George’s father, also named George, and his son James, joined him in leading the Scottish Freemasons, one after the other. The Freemason were also later led by his nephew Fox-Maule Ramsay, and it was in a book dedicated to this last Ramsay where the records of the first Freemasons and the stolen Strachan treasure were found.
David Ramsay was the fifth Freemason, joining William Alexander Jr, Anthony Alexander, Al Strachan, Henry Alexander, and others as the first seven Freemasons. Michael Andrew Ramsay created many of the higher degrees of Freemasonry, including Knights Templar.
With all the connections now made between the Plymouth Colony and Oak Island, there can be little doubt that these New Englanders moved up that way to look into the legend of the treasure William Alexander’s Knights Baronet settlers buried somewhere in that area.
We have Vaughan, Crandall, Embree, Ramsay, Alexander, Roosevelt, and Delano men – all associated with the Plymouth Colony – either purchasing land or searching for treasure on Oak Island.
We have Strachan, Monro, Wallace, Marshall, Maclean, and McInnis Knights Baronet families doing the same.
We have the Chappells marrying into the Crandall family and the Crandalls marrying into the Vaughan family.
Back in Scotland we have the Patillo family (early landowners on Oak Island) and the Kidd family (often associated with Oak Island) marrying into the Strachan family. And we have Sir William Phips, the likley son of William Alexander’s secretary, also in the area looking for treasure.
The amount of evidence that this legacy is all tied to the Nova Scotia effort to settle that land with Scots, with many key families ending up on Oak Island as treasure seekers and/or landowners, is overwhelming.
I don’t believe there is another Oak Island theory that even comes close to presenting this much evidence.
Based on a photo of Franklin Delano Roosevelt posing with a work crew on Oak Island, we know that he was there, and we know from a number of letters and news articles that he had a lifelong interest in Oak Island.
Roosevelt was a Freemason (even becoming a Grand Master), as have been so many of the men who have financed searches on Oak Island.
One of those men was Gilbert Hedden. He was also a Freemason.
Hedden spent a lot of time and money diligently searching and researching Oak Island. In one of his letters to Roosevelt he mentions that he felt the Money Pit could have been constructed as early as 1635.
It pleased me to hear of this date, since I had independently and historically come up with the date of 1632 – a difference of only three years, in a treasure hunt that has lasted for hundreds of years.
I was equally pleased to read another letter from 1967, written by Gilbert Hedden, in which he sets 1630 as the approximate date for the Money Pit build. My 1632 date lands right in between the two dates of 1630 and 1635, proposed by an owner, researcher and searcher of Oak Island.
I put a lot of stock in family connections and histories because this is the most likely place for legends and traditions to be passed down through the centuries. There are many examples of this phenomenon, and most readers will probably know of some tradition in their own family that was passed from one generation to the next.
There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower, but only 99 made it there alive, in 1620. By the year 1621, 49 more people had died, leaving only 50 survivors. The Fortune brought another 35 settlers, meaning there were only 85 people living at the Plymouth colony at the time Nova Scotia was given to Sir William Alexander, in 1621.
Since it was their wish that someone should go to Nova Scotia to oust the French, it is likely that they paid close attention to the activities that took place there.
Three of these 85 Plymouth colonists were direct ancestors of Warren Delano, Jr., investor and searcher in the Truro Company, and four were direct ancestors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, investor and searcher in the Old Gold Salvage Group, both men searching for whatever treasure was buried on Oak Island.
To have these four families, which were tied to the Plymouth Colony that petitioned King James to convince someone (in this case, William Alexander) to go to Nova Scotia to oust the French, is quite remarkable, when you consider that Warren Delano, Jr., and Franklin Roosevelt were both searching for treasure that may have ended up on Oak Island directly because of William Alexander.
There is a slim chance that at least some of the Oak Island treasure was recovered during the Truro Company search, beginning about 1849, for the following reasons:
•This is when the pieces of gold chain were found;
•John Strachan owned the Nolan Cross lots from 1841 through 1857, and his Uncle William became one of the first investors and directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia (now Scotia Bank) about this time. It has been said that the first published note mentioning the Money Pit excavation appeared in print, also in 1857, being a short comment by a traveler who briefly visited the abandoned site and mentioned the debris he found there;
•Warren Delano, Jr., was part of the Truro Company. Despite heavy financial losses that Delano had recently incurred, he left millions of dollars to FDR’s mother.
Here are families that we now know were historically tied to the Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia settlement attempt through the Plymouth Colony episode. Both had an interest in Oak Island, and both ended up, one way or another, very rich.
FDR spent much of his youth at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, sailing in the Bay of Fundy. His father bought him his first sailboat when he was just 16 years of age. This island is located less than a day’s sail, across the Bay of Fundy, from Port Royal, where William Alexander’s settlers built their fort.
It is reasonable to conclude that both Warren Delano, Jr., and Franklin Delano Roosevelt heard family legends of some type of treasure buried by the settlers of Sir William Alexander, since their own ancestors had played such a vital role in Alexander receiving Nova Scotia.
I think this “family legend” phenomenon also held true for both Sir William Phips and Captain William Kidd, two more names often connected with Oak Island.
While there is room for more research and more organizing of this data, it is obvious that several families with ties to the Plymouth Colony ended up on Oak Island as landowners and/or treasure hunters.
They joined several families related to past Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia. In the case of one settlers, Hector Maclean, there is evidence that he actually was 7th in line of the Maclean Knights Baronet of Nova Scotia. He was the uncle of John Smith, one of the early diggers of the Money Pit, How much closer can you get than that!
I feel my exclusive research shows connections which go far beyond coincidence, and help prove my contention that many families knew a little about the Money Pit and a few families knew a lot.