Spanish Hill

by | Aug 7, 2017 | Treasure Stories | 0 comments

Spanish Hill or Carantouan is first mentioned in writing in 1614 on a Dutch map. In 1795 a Frenchman, Don de Rochefoucould-Lian-Court, on a visit to the junction of the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers wrote, “Four or five miles to the north, I saw a mountain in the shape of a sugar loaf, upon which are to be found the remains of some entrenchment’s. The local inhabitants call them the Spanish Ramparts.” In the 1840’s a medal was found that was proved to have been made in 1550. Later a Spanish sword, crucifix and a black waterlogged boat were found.

Local tradition say the hill was used by Mound Builders, early French, Iroquois Indians, and by three soldiers from a Swedish boat that was blown off course. All of this is theory. The evidence and most oft repeated stories, say the ramparts were built by the Spanish about 1550. The early Indians told men in iron hats came to the mountain to escape other men that were after them. The Indians called the mountain “Espana” or “Hispan” and said that none of their ancestors would visit the place. The men were supposed to have carried large chests full of round discs (coins) with them to the mountain and buried the chests in a cave. Both parties of Spanish were attacked by Indians and all were killed.

In 1810 Alpheus Harris, a surveyor with a party of men sent to define the New York-Pennsylvania boundary line, told of talking to the few Indians still living in the area. They would not approach Carantouan and said the spirits of the dead men guarded the money chests.

In the 1820s Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormon Church) is known to have searched Carantouan for the money chests with a divining rod, without success. Others have searched unsuccessfully.