Friday, April 8, 2011

Will part of a treasure do?

Do you ever find yourself in New Castle County Delaware? Will having just part of a treasure make you happy or do you need the whole thing?


Well if you need the whole thing then you are just S.O.L. If you can be happy with just part of a treasure, the good part I might add, then this just may be the ticket for you.

During the revolutionary war the Brits were headed towards a spot known as Cooch’s Bridge. Thomas Cooch operated a mill at the bridge and when he heard the British were coming he gathered up all of his family’s valuables including silver and jewelry, placed them in an iron chest and took them to an area called Purgatory Woods located between White Clay Creek and St. George’s Creek. Purgatory Woods was adjacent to Cooch’s Bridge so Thomas Cooch didn’t have to go far to get to where he was going.

Once in the woods Thomas Cooch buried the iron chest in one spot and then buried an iron pot in another spot in the woods. The iron pot contained a “peck” of gold coins.


How much is a “peck” of gold coins? According to the imperial standard a peck is the equivalent of TWO GALLONS of “dry volume”. Two gallons of gold coins is going to be a pretty good size pot of gold!

As luck would have it the British did arrive at Cooch’s mill and made themselves at home. Once they decided to leave they set fire to the mill and burned it to the ground. The fire from the mill also burned down the majority of Purgatory Woods.


Once Thomas Cooch returned to the area to retrieve his valuables he ran into the problem of not having the trees to use as landmarks. This made it difficult for him to find what he had buried. Luck was with Thomas Cooch, at least partially, because he was able to find and retrieve the iron chest with his silver and jewels and other valuables. His luck didn’t hold for finding the iron pot of gold coins and although he searched for a long time, it was never found.


So that leaves you looking for an iron pot somewhere along the old road running between Newark and Cooch’s Bridge. Keep in mind that it was in the woods at one time so I wouldn’t think it would be too close to the road. The good news is an iron pot should be really easy to find with a detector.

The bad news is, Purgatory Woods was described as a “wooded, marshy area”. There is a chance that the iron pot has settled or sank deeper into the “marshy” ground over the years so it could be a lot deeper than it started out as.

Good luck!

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