Welcome to Oak Island Theories - May you find what others have missed


Oak Island's treasure hunting story has enthralled readers since the 1860s. Thoughts of a treasure hunt have stirred reader's imaginations, but what is the island's real history and for that matter the treasure hunt's history?

This website provides a collection of primary source documents dating back to 1753 and result from an attempt to answer the above questions. Much of the information was gathered from the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management facilities in Halifax and is of unquestionable provenance. Additional sources of information come from newspapers, diaries, and journals. This investigation took an objective approach by relying upon documents and not upon tales, legends, embellishments, literary additions, or outright lies. 

The true historical record paints a completely different picture of the island's history by examining the folks connected to it. The 20th Century's popular tale of three young boys rowing out to a previously uninhabited island during 1795 is the furthest from the truth that one can get.

This very good collection of documents clearly illustrates an early history which went wisely unmentioned. Reading of these documents do show the following:

  1. The island was first granted in 1753 to John Gifford and Richard Smith, two fishing agents from New York.

  2. Oak Island is first mentioned by name during 1764 when it was first surveyed and divided by Josiah Marshall.

  3. Property ownership commenced in 1766.

  4. Robert Melvin and family would come to own the vast majority of the island well before 1795.

  5. The Vaughn family would own a good portion of the island including the property adjacent to the MP with a family member living on the island before 1791.

  6. John Smith's father was granted an Oak Island lot during 1785.

  7. Samuel Ball and Donald McGinnis bought property on the island during 1787/88.

  8. John Smith, his mother and step-father moved to the island in 1789

  9. The Poll Tax of 1791 shows Samuel Ball, Donald McGinnis, Martin Marshall and wife Ann (Vaughn), Neil McMullin and Margret (John Smith's mother), and John Munro all living on Oak Island.

  10. Most importantly, these documents will speak to a community who supported the American cause during the Revolution with a surprising number of politicians who owned island property and who were connected to smuggling activities. The folks of Chester and Onslow were openly supportive of the American cause with documents showing these two communities were in communication for this purpose.

The final aim of this website is to show how this story was initially crafted by James McNutt and Mr Cooke and how it evolved into the 20th Century version.

For your added reading pleasure, there is much new information on the inscribed stone, original letters questioning the authenticity of the parchment by the man operating the drill, drilling reports from 1867 which were kept secret, and finally a workbook of operations recorded by the superintendent of operation during 1862/63 that was also kept secret. The information contained in these two reports tell of much significant information and casts the treasure hunt into an entirely new light.

After studying the early documents at hand, one can draw a few conclusions of how this all started; however treasure hunting cannot reasonably be one of them.


Last Updated (Thursday, 25 August 2011 22:55)