A Letter from Edward Kuszmar

Editor's Note: Edward Kuszmar is a resident of Boca Raton, Florida, who collects old currency and coins. His letter is dated 26 November 2004.

Gentlemen:

Enclosed is a scan of the very rare Dungeon Rock Bond (Serial Number 44), from Lynn, issued in 1854, by Hiram Marble, that I have just acquired. Over the past forty or so years, since I became aware of the existence of these notes, I have been able to acquire three pieces, and to the best of my knowledge there are only five or six pieces known to exist. I thought you might want to share this great piece of local history, and very rare piece of United States Obsolete Currency, with all the members of the Friends of Lynn Woods.

While this issue could technically be considered a "bond", it is generally recognized to be Obsolete Currency (private issue) that circulated as money before the United States Government started issuing its own Legal Tender Currency in 1861. Around 1866 the United States Government basically outlawed this type of currency from being issued, to force everyone to only accept the new "greenbacks" which were Legal Tender of the United States. Obsolete Currency was used extensively as "money" in the United States from the late 1700's to about 1873.

Research has shown that Hiram Marble considered himself to be a clairvoyant, and had received "visions" of buried pirate treasure from Tom Veal and Captain Harris, who in the 1650's, along with two Spanish ladies (Clorinda and Arabel), took up residence by hiding in a cave in what is now Lynn Woods. They were being pursued by the King's ships for piracy. Supposedly Captain Harris and the two Spanish ladies were captured, leaving only Tom Veal free with his treasure. The cave that they used (which had an advantageous view of the harbor) was not far from the Saugus Iron Works, and early Saugus Iron Works records made mention of receiving a note pinned to their door, asking to have shackles and hatchets placed by tree and once that was done payment would [be] left the next day. The workers at the Saugus Iron works [sic] complied with this strange request and the next day found their silver as the note said it would be. Sometime after that a large earthquake reportedly buried Tom Veal and his treasure in the cave, and created the legend of the buried pirate treasure. The legend has some credence, both with the Saugus Iron Works records, and the fact that the piece of granite at the Dungeon Rock site is split in two, which probably would take a major earthquake to accomplish this on such a large piece of granite.

In the 1850's, Hiram Marble, started digging under this large piece of granite, at the present day site of Dungeon Rock, as he was receiving visions from the dead pirates as to where the pirate treasure could be found. When Hiram Marble ran out of funds for his quest for buried pirate treasure, he issued the $1.00 Dungeon Rock Bonds and sold them to the townspeople of Lynn and Saugus to help finance his digging. It is reported that anyone who bought the bonds were also allowed to picnic on his property on Sundays. The statement "I promise to pay the bearer, One Dollar with interest, when able" is probably unique on any piece of Obsolete Currency, and most likely reflects the financial condition that years of digging (without success) had on Hiram Marble.

As a youngster, who spent many summers in Lynn Woods, and in and around Dungeon Rock, I was astonished to find a piece of Obsolete Currency (which I buy and sell on a regular basis as a part of my business) from this very obscure site, which is part of my youth. My Dungeon Rock Bonds remain some of my most prized possessions.

Very Sincerely,

Edward Kuszmar

Dungeon Rock Day bond

See Also

Dungeon Rock

A Brief History of Dungeon Rock

Dungeon Rock, Lynn, Mass.

Picture of Dungeon Rock

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