I've always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt - Part 64 - The Ormiston’s from the papers

Here’s the thing...


Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.


I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.


But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.


Once again there's a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.



The Ormiston story, and that of the thousand or so acres between the sea and the mountains now known as Patterson’s reach, but once called The Grove, began in 1865 when the original Henrich Ormiston arrived from Germany.

Originally intending to go to Australia to grow grapes in South Australia, instead, his fate turned West to the Americas, and, eventually, this part of Florida.  He started out with the intention of growing grapes, but when that failed to materialise, he moved on to Oranges, hence the name, The Grove.

He had married before leaving Germany and had two children, Marta and Gunter before leaving, and Friedrich after he arrived in 1866.  That Friedrich died, according to the gravestone, in 1924.  Neither Marta nor Gunter stayed, leaving Friedrich to carry on the business, and have an only child which he named after his father, Heinrich, born in 1899 and who died in 1976.  He in turn had a single son, which he named Friedrich, the infamous person with who Boggs father had a tempestuous business relationship.

Friedrich was born in 1932, during the depression, and it was about that time that the notion there might be buried treasure, somewhere along that coastal area of Florida, was floated by a university professor, Emil Stravinsky, who specialised in old pirates.  He had published a book that basically speculated where treasure might be found, and one of those areas was right smack bang in the middle of The Grove.

This information was plucked from the paper’s births, death and marriages column around the specified dates, the death notices giving some light on the respective Ormiston’s life and toils on their land.

Heinrich, Friedrich’s father, fell for the story hook line and sinker, and with a promise to share the proceeds of an estimated multimillion-dollar trove, invested a fair chunk of the savings he’d amassed over the years in the first of many treasure hunts.  The name Stravinsky rang a bell in my head.

A quick look forward to the most recent editions showed it was the man who had died on Rico’s boat, who was in fact third generation relative of the original professor, an archaeologist in his own right, and digging a bit further into the story, the paper had published a dozen or so extracts from the professor’s book, hinting their subject matter had been derived from a particular pirate’s log, and from notes made over the years of research by the professor.  It sounded like there was a diary.

I was going to have to find a copy of the professor’s book, which, if it had been published nearly 90 years ago, would now be out of print.

When the father, Heinrich had failed to locate the treasure, the son Friedrich continued the search, only he put more time and effort into more meticulous research rather than take the professor’s word of its whereabouts.

This was about the time Boggs’s father came into the picture.

He had lived and worked in the Caribbean and discovered quite by chance when a storm had blown his boat way off course on a weekend sailing run, the ruins of an encampment and hidden inlet on an uninhabited island where he believed the pirate had operated from.

While waiting to be rescued, the storm having damaged his boat, he took the time to explore, and although he hadn’t told anyone at the time of his rescue, he had discovered a box buried near where a building had once stood containing a map, several coins, a sextant, and a flag.  The news of those discoveries came some years later when it was revealed he’s struck a deal with Ormiston to renew the search for the treasure.

When the result of that expedition came to nothing, each of the partners blamed the other for the lack of success, with Ormiston all but telling anyone who would listen that Boggs had created the map himself for the purpose of extorting money under false pretences.

Boggs then had to produce the map, where it was authenticated as a map that had been created at the time of the pirate’s reign, but no one could say whether it was just an invention of someone at the time, or it was real.  The fact nothing was found suggested the latter, and it marked to start of the feud between Boggs and Ormiston.

The question in my mind was whether Boggs had that particular map, and had he shown it briefly to me?  Certainly, one of the maps he had was quite old, but there were so many variations, and they all looked equally as old, it was hard to tell.

One point I was quite certain on, none of the maps I’d seen showed the treasure’s final resting place as being in a cave, and I got the impression just before when I’d run into Boggs, that it was exactly where he was going.

Had that been the clue his father had referred to?  Even with the so-called original map, if it showed the treasure hidden in a cave why did Boggs need Ormiston’s help?

Had Ormiston known that might be the final resting place of the treasure?

I would soon find out.  My next stop was the library.


© Charles Heath 2022


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