The Lost Silver Madonna
The loss of a silver statue of the Madonna in the White Hills of New England in the 1750s is quite a mystery. The monetary worth of the silver statue is not particularly great, as treasures go, but it has extremely high intrinsic value.
The story of the silver Madonna began in the days of the French and Indian war, when the border conflict between the French Canadians and the British colonists was at its highest pitch. Raids by the French and their Indian allies against small settlements in New York and New England had aroused the ire of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, commander of the British forces at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Determined to put a halt to these border attacks, he summoned Major Rogers with orders to field an expedition of his famous rangers against the Indian village of St. Francis in Quebec, a well known jumping-off place for raids against the Colonies.
Rogers’ band of 200 picked men first rowed by whaleboats to the northern end of Lake Champlain, moving only under cover of darkness to successfully evade patrolling French vessels. Finally, Major Rogers called a halt one evening 22 days out of Crown Point. Their destination, the Indian village of St. Francis was only a few miles distant. After a battle a group of rangers rushed into a chapel, stripping the altar of its gold chalice, two heavy gold candlesticks, a cross, and a large silver statue of the virgin.
There is sufficient historical documentation to affirm that the silver Madonna was carried by that part of Rogers’ band which fled toward the Connecticut River. Also it is certain that the treasure was never found.