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Explore Virginia Treasure Stories

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General Braddock's Buried Gold

John Crismo's Gold Loot Cache

Seven Corners Lost Treasure

Treasures of Old House Woods Legend tell that the heavily forested Old House Woods, often referred to as Haunted Woods or the Black Forest by hunters, is the hiding place of several lost treasures worth millions of dollars.  

Old House Woods Photo 

Old House Woods is a 50-acre patch of pine woods and marshlands on the east side of the tiny crossroads of Diggs in Mathews County northeast of Gloucester separated from the Chesapeake Bay by Whites Creek.  The area was originally called Werowocomico by the Chiskiake Indians, and later Piankatank, bordered on the north by the Piankatank River, and was home to bustling seaports from the pre-Revolutionary through the Civil War era.  There have been an extremely high number of reports of paranormal activity around Old House Woods and the surrounding creek waters, said to be one of the most haunted places in Virginia, with ghostly figures of ships, pirates, cavaliers, and witches, noises, and assaults on persons and vehicles, with the wind howling, trees bending and creaking, and the forest being very dark at night as the trees are so thick they virtually obscure any visible moon or stars. According to one of the treasure tales, a band of pirates buried their treasure in the woods on the banks of Whites Creek, and set out to acquire more, but were killed in a storm before they could ever retrieve it.  It is thought that perhaps theirs is the phantom ship that is reputedly seen both hovering above the woods and in Whites Creek.  Another well-known treasure story relating to the area tells of chests of treasure being sent to Jamestown from England by Charles II following the Battle of Worcester in 1651 in case he had to flee the country and go into exile.  Due to stormy weather, the crew mistakenly went up the wrong creek and ended up instead at Whites Creek where they were attacked by bandits while unloading the chests.  The robbers got away with some of the treasure, and the remainder was said to have been buried by the crew in the woods who planned to return for it, but their ship capsized in the storm and they were all lost.  The advance party upon returning to report to the King what happened were put to death.  Many have reported seeing in the woods ghost diggers with their lanterns ablaze at night in the vicinity, and attribute this to the story of the lost English treasure.  Yet a third treasure story dates to later following the Revolutionary War in 1781 when a large cache of patriot plunder consisting of gold and silver coins, jewelry, and other valuables was buried in four large cannons at a graveyard near the mouth of Whites Creek in the Haunted Woods by soldiers under British General Cornwallis.  This may be true as there is at least one old cemetery nearby, and Cornwallis likely passed through the vicinity on his flight from Greensboro to Wilmington, N.C., and to Yorktown, Virginia.  Cornwallis and his men surrendered later that year with only 2,000 silver coins in a trunk found in their possession, and were held as prisoners until a prisoner exchange could be worked out.  They were never permitted to return to reclaim any treasure.  The area is named after an old house that was once located in the center of these haunted woods.  It apparently caught fire once and put itself out, and then caught fire again later and burned to the ground.  If you follow Old House Woods Road, or Rt. 704, going east, the road starts out paved with homes, and appears to end at the woods, but a dirt road continues into the woods all the way to Whites Creek, and this is still part of Old House Woods Road, riddled with potholes at last report.

Old House Woods Road, Diggs, Virginia.  Along the Chesapeake Bay.  (Road Map)  (Aerial View)   (Topographical Map)

Miscellaneous other comments related to Old House Woods:

Mathews was originally called Werowocomico by the Chiskiake Indians. This tribe originated in present day York County. After the 1622 and 1644 rebellions, they were given a reservation on the southern bank of the Piankatank River.  The area known as Mathews was once Kingston Parish, part of Gloucester County.  The county was once covered with forests of Live Oak trees, the wood of which is very well suited to ship construction. The Continental Navy built many of its ships in Mathews during the American Revolution. Nearby haunted nursing home/boys home within 5 minute walk of the woods.

There have been tales of a strange light that can be seen hovering over the trees, just before the shoreline of Haven Beach. Stories of a ghostly woman, in a tattered white dress, emerging from the waves and walking down the beach. There is a haunted lighthouse. The foundations of the old house that caught fire, put it's self out, and then later burned down to the bedrock. Old House Woods is only about forty square acres. Not big at all. But there are at least four accounts on record of people going off into the woods, and never being heard from again.

Blackbeard, the famous pirate captain supposedly brought some of his treasure here to hide it. He forced several of his men to dig the hole at gunpoint. And then, he shot them, and threw their bodies in the pit with his takings. This is an old pirate superstition that is supposed to protect his treasure from thieves and other adventurers. And some have claimed to have seen men, madly digging in the night, while another person supervises with his pistol in hand. Others have seen a great ghost ship in a creeping fog, complete with lanterns and accompanied by ethereal chanting and organ music.

From Cricket Hill, which overlooks Gwynn's Island, Continental cannons drove the last of Virginia's Royal Governors, Lord Dunmore from Virginia's shores in 1776.

According to the Mathews County Historical Society, the area was named after an old house named "Roxbury," also known as the Stoakes plantation, that was built in the center of the woods, the remains of which lies along Old House Woods Road, also referred to as Rt. 704.   According to legend, one of the early owners of "Roxbury" shot silver bullets made from spoons into the chimney to keep the witches out, and the chimney brickwork has a witch's head carved into it with a date of 1699.  It is in the Stutts Creek Watershed area./Milford Haven area.  Haven Beach.  William's Wharf original customs house port of entry.  There is public access to state waters in the area are Whites Canal Landing, Haven Landing, and Haven Beach.

Lists Stoakes near Billups, and a Diggs servant.  Piankatank River named by Chief Powhatan.  to the north is Stokes (Stoakes) Creek, and to the northwest is Billups Creek (all early families who lived in the old house and adjoining house).  Roxbury had Callis, Lilly, Billups, etc. Stoakes Plantation.

Christopher Stokes emigrated from his native Stanshawes, Gloucestershire, England to Jamestown, Virginia in 1624.  He afterwards settled a plantation called "Stokes Neck" in Charles River County which later became York County, where he died before 1646, leaving a will and issue.

Haven Beach Rd. is to the right, it goes around the woods and ends at a public beach.  There are stories about Haven Beach too. Franklin Stokes born 1835 on 1870 census in Piankatank, living by Billups and Diggs.  In 1860 many Billups in Magisterial District No. 2 of Matthews County, living by many Diggs, Stoakes, Lilly, and Callis.  In 1930, Walter R. Stoakes age 82 lived in East Part of Westville District, and listed as in Westville in 1910 at age 63, and in 1880.  Garden Creek Road and Lilles Jack Road.  Billups, Diggs, and Lilley listed in first in area in 1810 with "no township listed," and just Mathews County.  Mathews County originally part of Gloucester County.  There is a glow on the aerial map at the Stoakes inlet.

Roxbury sits at the end of a long dirt drive at a bend of State Route 644 (Lilly's Neck Rd) on 62.7 acres of flat, rural farmland bordered by Stoakes Creek on the northeast and Route 644 on the west.  Although the water is not visible from the house, it can be reached by traveling down an obscure grassy path bordered on both sides by pines and low vegetation.  At the end of the path, the trees open up to reveal a breathtaking view of the waters of Stoakes and Whites Creeks, with Hole-in-the-Wall off to the northeast.  Portions of Lilly's Neck, Tick Island, and Rigby Island are visible in the distance.

It was in the attic at "Roxbury" that Mrs. Walter R. Stoakes found a collection of old documents now known as the "Lilly, Billups, Stoakes Family Papers," held in the collection of the Earl Gregg Swem Library of the College of William and Mary.  The papers contain portions of records relating to early Mathews, including fragments of the will of George Billups, dated 1673.  "Roxbury" itself, and the nearby home called "Watcombe Manor," are located on property that was once part of the original patent of 1200 acres to George Billups.  Society member Gordon Keith researched the property and noted that the parcels containing both houses were combined as recently as the 1980's.  The parcels were joined in the 1600's until the 19th century, split, rejoined, and then split again.  The Watcombe house, which is larger and grander, contains the cemetery and is associated with the Hudgins and Stoakes families.  The Roxbury property is associated with the families of Billups, Lilly, Callis, and Stoakes or Stokes.  The "Roxbury" house is described in records at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

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Bring Your Child's Party to Life with Our Fun & Unique Printable Themed Treasure Hunt Party Clue Games

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NEW! SPOOKY HUNT
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10 Themed Clues per Game. Only $7.99! 

(ages 5-9)

Fun and spooky kids Halloween, holiday, dress up, or costume birthday party clue solving treasure hunt for young kids children all ages parties plan exciting interactive ice breaker scary creepy clues riddles reality team games party supplies

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(Clues lead to a bat, spider, pumpkin, broom, skeleton, bandages (mummy), black cat, witch, apple (poison), and a bed fssheet (ghost))

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