Legend – Manzanita, OR

“The Clatsop Indian legends speak of two ships that came to Manzanita, one that wrecked on Nehalem Beach with a cargo of beeswax, and a second ship that attempted to anchored offshore of Neahkahnie Mountain but ended up crashing on the point, forcing the crew on land. The landing party from the ship buried a treasure chest on the slopes of Neahkahnie, marking the spot with an inscribed rock., yet it is still unfound to this day. Many believe that to this day the ghost of a black man who was killed and buried along with the treasure guards it. Also, in another twist, the skeleton of a Negro giant was unearthed near the mouth of the Salmon River several years ago, and the remains of a ship are said to lie in the estuary. What is interesting about this and adds more mystery to the issue is the fact that the skeletal remains mysteriously disappeared afterward.”

As a kid, we always thought that the treasure was buried on our beach house property up in the cliffs of Manzantia. My sister recalls that these agencies would come and do excavations on the beach and in the mountains in hopes of finding the treasure without any luck. This legitimized our claim that the treasure could be buried underneath our cabin. This legend has been passed down through the family ever since we built a family beach house in Manzanita and is a favorite to be told around the fire while playing cards at the beach. My mother and aunts and uncles grew up learning about the buried treasure and my grandparents would send them on treasure hunts as kids. In our beach house, we have artifacts that we believe are from the shipwreck such as glass balls and large chunks of wax. Over all the years there have been several groups that have tried to find the treasure. Just two years ago, my sister remembers all us being down at the beach when they were filming a documentary on the treasure. Also, my sister made an appearance in a film on the treasure in Manzanita created by a close family friend, Jane Hall. My Grandparents have told us that the treasure was buried underneath the house so many times that we are all starting to believe it and that maybe one-day we will be rich.

From the research that I have done into the legend, I found that it originated with the Indian people passing the story of the ships crashing at the point to the settlers of the area. From there, the hype around the story has taken off and is very well known by the majority of the residents in the area. What is even more intriguing is that my grandparents have collected artifacts while on the beach, which they believe are the washed up remains of the ships. I personally believe the legend and my cousins and I talk of making an expedition to try and find the hidden treasure up in the mountain.

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