90ft Stone

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History[edit]

There are many different theories about the meaning of the inscription on the 90ft stone. The problem is that the location of the stone is no longer known, and no pictures, tracings, or illustrations of any kind have ever been found of the 90 Foot Stone, so we have no detailed idea of what the stone actually looked like.

90ft stone.png

Depending on whose discovery account you follow the stone was found at either 80ft or 90ft, and it may or may not have been what caused the flood system to be activated. Even the size of the stone is a source of debate. Regardless of the details, the basic story goes that the stone was discovered facedown in the pit around 90ft. It was likely moved to the side based solely on the weight of the stone and the difficulty with which it would be removed.

[1] "About seven years afterward [7 yrs after initial money-pit discovery], Simeon Lynds, of Onslow, went down to Chester, and happening to stop with Mr. Vaughn, he was informed of what had taken place. He then agreed to get up a company, which he did, of about 25 or 30 men, and they commenced where the first left off, and sunk the pit 93 feet, finding a mark every ten feet. Some of them were charcoal, some putty, and one at 80 feet was a stone cut square, two feet long and about a foot thick, with several characters on it." 

The above account doesn't actually talk about how and when the stone was removed from the pit, but it is believed that the Onslow company did remove it at some point, but did not do anything to document it. 

The first Public knowledge of the stone came in 1862 in a letter written by McCully, who was responding to criticisms on the treasure hunt being performed at that time on Oak Island. A local paper had written an article entitled, "The Oak Island Folly", to which McCully responded with his letter relating why those involved in the current attempt had faith in their endeavor. The stone was mentioned as one piece of evidence for their conviction.

[2]“at 80 feet was a stone cut square, two feet long and about a foot thick, with several characters on it. “

Although it was believed to be important the fact that no one really knew what it said made it more of a novelty than a treasure. Most accounts agree that John Smith used the stone as part of his chimney in the house he built on Oak Island. [3]The following letter transcripts were reported by Doug Crowell of BlockHouse Investigations

“Sir,     An interesting sketch of the Oak Island enterprise appears in the “Colonist” newspaper of this morning, and of which I believe you are the author.  You mention a flagstone bearing an inscription was found and as it was preserved in the family of Mr. Smith ‘it may be seen by the curious at the present day.’  May I beg, in the name of the society, to be favored with the name of the person in whose possession the stone is, as, if authentic, it cannot fail to be important as a historical object.  I have the honor to be Sir, Your most obedient servant   J. Hunter Duvar   Corr. Sec.

- Source:  1864 January 2 – Letter written by John Hunter Duvar to George Cooke
“On my return I found your letter of the 2nd instant, desiring information respecting the flag-stone bearing an inscription taken out of the Old Pit on Oak Island, awaiting me…  The stone in question was saved by Mr. Smith, who owned the place.  About 40 years ago, at a time when nothing was doing at the island & when the prospects of the treasure seekers appeared altogether hopeless.  Mr. Smith built, what was then called, his new house.  In building it, he found that this interesting stone would suit admirably a corner in the back part of his chimney, and as he began to consider it of no value to himself or to any one else, on account of the operations at the island having ceased, he unfortunately put it into the chimney, the flat side out.  Fourteen years ago Mr. Smith pointed out the stone, then & I believe still in the chimney, and assured me that it was the identical stone taken out of the “Money Pit” on the Island, in his presence.  Mr. Smith has since died & the property has passed into other hands.  Mr. Graves now owns the property & building is occupied by the present Oak Island Association.  I am not aware whether Mr. Graves knows anything about the stone being in the Chimney.  On making inquiries since receipt of you letter, I find that the chimney has been boxed round by a wood partition, and that a flight of stairs goes up near where the stone is inserted.  I was not aware of this before.  This may prevent the stone from being got at without trouble, and perhaps, expense, but as it is very important for the interests of the “Oak Island Association” if for no other object that the inscription on the stone should be deciphered, its position in the chimney ought not to ___ be an insuperable barrier to the attempt to decipher it being made.  At the time I saw the stone I noticed that there were some rudely cut letters, figures or characters upon it.  I cannot recollect which, but they appear as if they had been scraped out by a blunt instrument, rather than cut with a sharp one.  I have the honor to be sir, Your Most Obedient Servant   George Cooke

In 1863 or 1864 it was removed by Jotham McCully (charged with destruction), and taken to his house in Truro. The stone was then moved to a window display in the shop of A. and H. Creighton in Halifax in 1865 in an effort to draw interest back to the treasure hunt and raise needed capital for the ongoing search efforts. A.O retired in 1879 and a new book binding firm owned by Edward Marshal and Creighton continued operation in to the same location. It was Edward's son, Harry Marshall who recalled in a sworn statement to F.L. Blair that he recalled seeing the stone in his father's shop as late as 1919. 

According to The Mystery of the Oak Island Treasure: Two Hundred Years of Hope and Despair by Mark Reynolds and The Curse of Oak Island by Randall Sullivan claim that when the book bindery closed in 1919, the stone was given to Thomas Forhan. There is also a claim that the residence and businesses associated with Forhan were searched resulting in nothing of significance. I think the Forhan connection probably still warrants further investigation.

There is another account that states the stone was taken to the Halifax historical society when A.O. retired, which implies that Harry may have seen a stone, but not the stone. What makes the story more confusing is that in 1909 Colonel Henry Bowdoin wrote an article in Collier's that stated he had seen the stone, but there was no inscription- only someone's initials "JW, or JN" carved in the corner. Harry Marshall also recounts the initials in the stone. My belief is that when Mr Bowdoin came looking for the stone he merely asked those that were there if they had a recollection of a stone with the approximate dimensions that was once in the window. Whoever was there had no knowledge of the inscribed stone, but did know of the binding stone as so claimed it was one in the same. Once that account was recorded it became (like so many other theories) fact. The story was then passed down through the years. Of note, the Lagina team did find the JW stone during a search of the book bindery basement in 2016, and after having it examined by a laser scanner was unable to find any remnant of carvings. While it is possible that the inscriptions had been worn off as they claimed, I find it unlikely that all traces of the carving were removed from the entire surface. 

The theory about it moving to the historical society was first presented to Reverend Kempton when searching for the retired teacher that had provided the first translation. Kempton inquired at the historical society and found nothing. This lead appeared to be dead until the funeral for Dan Blankenship, when Rick Lagina was approached by an employee of the historical society claiming that he had personal knowledge of the stone in the back yard for years. The Lagina group has since excavated the yard where it was believed to have been and could not find anything- so that trail is cold at least for now. 

The same is true for the set of symbols that it is said to have carved upon one side. However, a set of symbols, forming a simple substitution cipher, was revealed in 1949, and said to represent the characters that were on the stone.

 

Description[edit]

Even the physical description of the stone changes based on whose account you read 

  • “at 80 feet was a stone cut square, two feet long and about a foot thick, with several characters on it. “- J.B. McCully of Truro on June 2 1862
  • [4]"further down was a flag stone one foot by two with some rudely cut letters and figures upon it"- Staff Corresondent New York Herald, Sept 2, 1866

Stone Translations[edit]

Every time you think you know something to be fact the skin can be pulled back one more layer to expose new information. The following are all known translations/interpretations of the 90ft stone carvings. 

  • Forty feet below, 2 million pounds are buried
  • Ten feet below, 2 million pounds lie buried 
  • Twenty-Five Feet below, 2 million pounds are buried
  • Under me is two million pounds
  • At eighty guide maize or millet [into] estuary or drain F.
  • Kevin Knight Theory
  • Keith Ranville’s theory

Forty feet below, 2 million pounds are buried[edit]

This is, of course, the most common translation and was made by a simple substitution cipher by a retired school teacher in the Mahone Bay area.

Kempton cipher.png

The translation was provided to Reverand A.T. Kempton who then provided it to Edward Rowe Snow in 1949 for the 1951 publication of his book “True Tales of Buried Treasure”. The problem I (and others) have with this or the second translation is that there would be no reason to announce the presence of treasure, especially since it couldn’t be read until the stone had been flipped over. Even if it was used to initiate the flood tunnel is still doesn’t make sense to have the inscription face down- by the time you removed the stone, it would be too late.

The reason so many people prescribe to this theory though is that it seems to match with all the unknowns. There are many accounts that believe the actual treasure is around 130ft. 

Ten feet below, 2 million pounds lie buried [edit]

The first alternate translation is printed in many newspapers starting in 1894 with the [5]Morning News of Savannah, GA, [6][7]Portland Daily Press, and the [8]Indianapolis Journal, July 7 1897. This translation is credited to James Liechti (a professor of linguistics at the Dahousie College in Halifax). Liechti and Kempton seem to be fairly well inter-twined in their involvement though. It is believed that Kempton may have known Liechti (as a lingusitics teacher) and aksed him to take a look at it. 

KemptonDescription.jpg

[9]Doug Crowell of Blockhouse Investigations published an article with specific details about the legitamacy of the Kempton / Liechti translations, inlcuding this letter from this 949 Letter to Frederick Blair from At. T. Kempton, as found in the R.V. Harris fonds at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia. The intriguing thing is the hand-written date of 1909 describing when the translation was provided. Interestingly, though there is an article in the [10]Portland Daily Press in Jan 1784 (credited to the Chicago Times) with the same translation. This leads me to believe that the translation (if provided by Liechti or Kempton) was actually provided much earlier than initially believed. So, why is Liechti credited with a translation of 10ft below, and Kempton credited with 40ft below? That is certainly another Oak Island Mystery yet to be resolved.

Twenty-Five Feet below, 2 million pounds are buried[edit]

[11]Probably just poor research led to this translation, as it so far has only been found one place. 21 Aug 1898 in and article in "The Sun"

Under me is two million pounds[edit]

[12]Published in Western Kansas world. [volume], December 16, 1920- and [13]Brattleboro daily reformer Dec 29, 1920- these are the only known reference to this translation. Based on the fact that this article is written after both of the other known translations (Kempton & Liechti) It is my belief that this translation is merely the reporter's own derivation, and not any actual new understanding of the symbols. 

At eighty guide maize or millet [into] estuary or drain F.[edit]

Proposed by economics professor Ross Wilhelm of University of Michigan in 1970, this translation is based on a similiar cipher disk used by Giovanni Battista (a sixteenth-century Italian cryptologist). This translation is intriguing to me in that it seems plausible that if one knew where to pour the maize in order to plug the flood system it would be good information for the searcher. I guess my reticence to believe this translation is that I don’t believe the treasure was ever intended to be removed directly up and out of the money pit- so if you knew how to access the treasure from the alternate access you wouldn’t have to plug the flood tunnel.

 

Kevin Knight Theory[edit]

Cipher-keys orig.jpg

Doug Crowell of Blockhouse Investigations has a very detailed description of how the "LaFormule" cipher was used to obtain the below translation. 

Halt. Do not burrow/dig to 
Forty foot with an angle of forty
five 'degree' the shaft of five hundred
twenty two foot you enter the
corridor of one thousand sixty-five foot
reach the chamber

Kevin Knight, a linguistics professor at USC, bases his translation on the assumption that the stone must be used with the LaFormule Cipher and the assumption that it is intended to be translated in French. This translation seems to be more reasonable to me as it fits with my belief that the treasure is not located any further down, but over to the side at a much shallower depth. It would seem odd that you have to excavate all the way down to that level to find the instructions, but it could be assumed that the instructions were only required if you hadn’t found the shallower entrance. 

The other problem I have with the fourth translation is that it depends on the LaFormule Cipher, which is rather controversial. I do like the idea of using a cipher to decode it, but not a cipher that is under so much scrutiny. 

Keith Ranville’s theory[edit]

RanvilleStone.jpg

A completely new theory that I've only recently seen is this theory that the symbols mean something rather than letters. I don't know that anyone associated with the treasure hunting has done an validation of this theory. 

 

Complete Timeline[edit]

Oak Island Compendium has created the following table of all known written accounts of the stone by year. Read Full article here.

Date Source Details
Oct 1862 Liverpool Transcript (Newspaper)

Published a statement made by Jotham McCully, from a letter he is purported to have written in Truro on June 2nd 1862.

“at 80 feet was a stone cut square, two feet long and about a foot thick, with several characters on it. “

19 Feb 1863 Yarmouth Herald (Newspaper) “…and the eighty feet mark was a stone about two feet long, cut square, which is yet to be seen in the chimney of an old house near the pit.”
2 Jan 1864 THE COLONIST. Tri-weekly Edition. Halifax N.S. Saturday Morning (Newspaper)

“On their arrival they were joined by the three first treasure seekers, with whom they made arrangements to commence operations. During the time that had intervened since the leaving off work by the resident diggers, the pit had caved in and formed the shape of a sugar loaf resting on its apex; and besides, from the action of the rain and weather, a great quantity of mud had settled at the bottom. It gave them some trouble to clear this all out, but when they had done so they came across the sticks sank in the mud by the first diggers, on the termination of their work. They then felt satisfied that the place had not been interfered with since. They had not got far into the work that was new to Vaund and his former associates, when they struck a second tier of logs, corresponding with the first. Ten feet lower down they found a tier of charcoal, and ten feet further a tier of putty. Further down was a flag stone about two feet long and one wide, with a number of rudely cut letters and figures upon it. They were in hopes the inscription would throw some valuable light on their search, but unfortunately they could not decipher it, as it was either too badly cut or did not appear to be in their own vernacular. 

20 Dec 1863 Letter written in Truro This remarkable stone was pretty far down in the pit, laying in the centre with the engraved side down.  As it was preserved in the family of Mr. Smith it may be seen by the curious at the present day.  “
2 Jan 1864 Letter written by John Hunter Duvar to George Cooke “Sir, An interesting sketch of the Oak Island enterprise appears in the “Colonist” newspaper of this morning, and of which I believe you are the author. You mention a flagstone bearing an inscription was found and as it was preserved in the family of Mr. Smith ‘it may be seen by the curious at the present day.’ May I beg, in the name of the society, to be favored with the name of the person in whose possession the stone is, as, if authentic, it cannot fail to be important as a historical object. I have the honor to be Sir, Your most obedient servant J. Hunter Duvar Corr. Sec.
27 Jan 1864 Letter written by George Cooke to John Hunter-Duvar [Eyewitness Account] “On my return I found your letter of the 2nd instant, desiring information respecting the flag-stone bearing an inscription taken out of the Old Pit on Oak Island, awaiting me… The stone in question was saved by Mr. Smith, who owned the place. About 40 years ago, at a time when nothing was doing at the island & when the prospects of the treasure seekers appeared altogether hopeless. Mr. Smith built, what was then called, his new house. In building it, he found that this interesting stone would suit admirably a corner in the back part of his chimney, and as he began to consider it of no value to himself or to any one else, on account of the operations at the island having ceased, he unfortunately put it into the chimney, the flat side out. Fourteen years ago Mr. Smith pointed out the stone, then & I believe still in the chimney, and assured me that it was the identical stone taken out of the “Money Pit” on the Island, in his presence. Mr. Smith has since died & the property has passed into other hands. Mr. Graves now owns the property & building is occupied by the present Oak Island Association. I am not aware whether Mr. Graves knows anything about the stone being in the Chimney. On making inquiries since receipt of you letter, I find that the chimney has been boxed round by a wood partition, and that a flight of stairs goes up near where the stone is inserted. I was not aware of this before. This may prevent the stone from being got at without trouble, and perhaps, expense, but as it is very important for the interests of the “Oak Island Association” if for no other object that the inscription on the stone should be deciphered, its position in the chimney ought not to ___ be an insuperable barrier to the attempt to decipher it being made. At the time I saw the stone I noticed that there were some rudely cut letters, figures or characters upon it. I cannot recollect which, but they appear as if they had been scraped out by a blunt instrument, rather than cut with a sharp one. I have the honor to be sir, Your Most Obedient Servant George Cooke
22 Sep 1866 Scotsman (Newspaper) “Further down was a flagstone one foot by two, with some rudely cut letters and figures upon it. They hoped this inscription would assist in solving the mystery, but they were unable to decipher it.”
1873 Treasure of the Seas (Book) by Thomas De Mille “They went to work and dug away for a little distance, when they came to something hard. It was a stone hewn, - not very smooth, - a kind of sandstone, and on this they saw some marks that looked like strange letters. They were ignorant men, but they knew the alphabet, and they knew that this was no kind of English letters at all; but it seemed to them that they might be letters of some strange alphabet. They took this stone away, and it has been preserved ever since, and it is there yet on the island, built into the wall of a cottage there for safe keeping. That’s what I mean when I say I’ve seen the traces of Captain Kidd, for it’s my solemn conviction that he cut that inscription on the stone in some foreign letters, or perhaps some secret cipher.” “Then there’s that stone with the mysterious inscription. It’s been seen by hundreds. No one has ever been found yet who can make out what it means. As I said before, it is either some foreign language, or else, as is quite probable, it is some secret cipher, known only to Kidd himself.” “They have the impudence to say that it isn’t an inscription at all. Actually, because no one can decipher it, they say it ain’t an inscription! They say it’s only some accidental scratches! Now, I allow,” continued the landlord, “that the marks are rather faint, and irregular; but how can any man look at them, and say they are not an inscription – how can any man look at them and say that they’re accidental scratches – is a thing that makes me fairly dumb with amazement.”
8 Aug 1873 Columbus Bartholomew Democrat (Newspaper) “…and strange inscriptions on stone”
1895 2nd Edition – History of Lunenburg County (Book) by Judge Mather Byles Desbrisay “…and farther down to a flag-stone about two feet long and one foot wide, with rudely cut letters and figures they could not decipher. The engraved side was downwards.”
14 Jun 1897 Beautiful Nova Scotia, the ideal summer land (Book) “finally they reached a depth of ninety feet, and came upon a broad , flat stone with curious marks thereon, which – with minds all prepared for what might lie beneath – it was not difficult for them to translate into the following: ‘Ten feet below are two million pounds buried.”
15 Jun 1897 Birtle Eye Witness (Newspaper)

an account of a fisherman from Blue Rocks Lunenburg County relating a story his grandfather told of working on the Money Pit when the stone was found.

“At 90 feet there was a big flat round stone with more marks upon it “

25 Jun 1897 Fort Wayne News (Newspaper) “The ninety-foot mark was a flat stone 3 feet long and 16 inches wide, marked with some queer characters. This was brought here and an attempt was made to decipher the markings. One man translated the inscription to mean: ‘Ten feet below are two million pounds buried.’ But not much faith was placed in this reading of the stone.”
Jul 1899 Ainslee’s Magazine “At this level a flat stone three feet long and sixteen inches wide was unearthed. On the stone, in almost undecipherable hand-print, was inscribed: ‘TEN FEET BELOW TWO MILLION POUNDS ARE BURIED’.“
29 Apr 1909 Fairbanks Daily News Miner (Newspaper)

“’The quaintly carven stone’ is on exhibition at present in Creighton’s Book Store, in Halifax, but the inscriptions were erased long ago after the stone had endured the blows from a bookbinder’s mallet. But at the time of the discovery of the stone the inscriptions were translated to read: ‘Ten feet below, 2,000,000 pounds lie buried.’”

1 Aug 1909 Galveston Daily News (Newspaper) “At the ninety-foot mark a flat stone two feet long and fourteen inches wide was discovered. On it were cut characters which an expert read as follows: ‘Ten feet below are two million pounds buried.’”
1911 The Book of Buried Treasure (book) by Ralph D. Paine “Ninety feet below the surface, the laborers found a large flat stone or quarried slab, three feet long and sixteen inches wide, upon which was chiseled the traces of an inscription. This stone was used in the jamb of a fireplace of a new house belonging to Smith, and was later taken to Halifax in the hope of having the mysterious inscription deciphered. On wise man declared that the letters read, ‘Ten feet below two million pounds lie buried.” But this verdict was mostly guess-work. The stone is still in Halifax, where it was used for beating leather in a book-binder’s shop until the inscription had been worn away.”
19 Aug 1911 Collier’s Magazine [H.L. Bowdoin’s Eyewitness Account] “…and at ninety feet a large flat stone was found, upon which was a curious inscription. The stone was taken to Halifax, and one expert declared the characters read as follows: ‘Ten feet below two million pounds lie buried.’” –Page 19 “I have seen the rock found in the Money Pit, which is now in Creighton’s bookbindery in Halifax.” –Page 20 “While in Halifax we examined the stone found in the Money Pit, the characters on which were supposed to mean: “Ten feet below two million pounds lie buried.” The rock is of a basalt type hard and fine-grained.” –Page 20 “Sixth – There never were any characters on the rock found in the Money Pit. Because: (a) The rock, being hard, they could not wear off. (b) There are a few scratches, etc., made by Creighton’s employees, as they acknowledged, but there is not, and never was, a system of characters carved on the stone.” –Page 20
27 Oct 1920 Galveston Tribune (Newspaper)

“Ninety feet from the top was discovered a great flat stone on which an inscription had been cut. This stone was raised and for a time used as part of a fireplace in a newly built house. Later it was sent on to Halifax that the lettering might be read. It must have fallen into the hands of shoemakers instead of scholars, for as many different men as tried to read it, that many different translations there were, the most generally accepted one being: ‘Ten feet below me 2 million pounds lie buried.’”

17 Nov 1920 Waterloo Evening Courier (Newspaper) “At 95 feet they came across a stone, with an inscription chiseled into its surface. The stone was taken to Truro where people said they could read on it: ‘Ten feet below $10,000,000 lies buried.”
15 Dec 1920 Wabash Daily Plain Dealer (Newspaper) “…with machines and tools got down to 90 feet where they found a rock bearing the words “under me is two million pounds.”
15 Aug 1922 Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) “At a depth of eighteen feet they struck a large stone, and their hopes ran high. There were letters, rudely cut, upon this slab, and these when cleaned out reads as follows: ‘Ten Feet Below This Stone Two Million Pounds are Buried’. “
Jun 1929 The Oak Island Treasure by Charles B. Driscoll (Book) “At ninety feet, the diggers unearthed a thin flat stone, about three feet long and sixteen inches wide. On one face it bore peculiar characters which nobody could decipher. The searchers felt, however, that the treasure hunt was getting hot. The stone was shown to everyone who visited the Island in those days. Smith built this stone into his fireplace, with the strange characters outermost, so that visitors might see and admire it. Many years after his death, the stone was removed from the fireplace and taken to Halifax, where the local savants were unable to translate the inscription. It was then taken to the home of J. B. McCulley in Truro, where it was exhibited to hundreds of friends of the McCulleys, who became interested in a later treasure company. Somehow the stone fell into the hands of a bookbinder, who used it as a base upon which to beat leather for many years. A generation later, with the inscription nearly worn away, the stone found its way to a book store in Halifax, and what happened to it after that I was unable to learn. But there are plenty of people living who have seen the stone. Nobody, however, ever seriously pretended to translate the inscription.”
1931 Oregon Standard Examiner (Newspaper) At ninety feet they found a flat stone, bearing certain inscriptions which were never deciphered. “
19 Dec 1933 Letter from F.L. Blair to Thomas Nixon [Second hand Account] “Am sorry that the stone you refer to, cannot be located. Several attempts have been made to trace it, but without success. The last authentic word I had of this stone, was from Jefferson McDonald, who told me in 1894, that some thirty years before that, he helped to take down a partition at the rear of a fire-place in which the stone was used as a back, with the cut characters at the rear. The Partition was torn down for the purpose of examining and reading, if possible, the characters. He said the characters were easily discernible, but no person present could decipher them. The house and stone have long since disappeared, and no trace of the later has ever been obtained. This is most unfortunate, but it is just one more illustration of the great neglect of all connected with this project in the early days, to the historical features of this most interesting island.”
27 Mar 1935 Statement of Harry W. Marshall to R.V. Harris and Fred L. Blair [Eyewitness Account] “The business of ‘A. & H. Creighton’ bookbinders, 64 Upper Water Street, Halifax, was established in 1844 and lasted until 1879 when A. Creighton either died or retired, and Herbert Creighton and Edward Marshall my father, formed the firm of ‘Creighton & Marshall’. I was born in 1879. One of the Creighton’s was interested in the Oak Island Treasure Co. and had brought to the city a stone which I well remember seeing as a boy, and until the business was merged in 1919 in the present firm of Phillips & Marshall. The stone was about 2 feet long, 15 inches wide, and 10 inches thick, and weighed about 175 pounds. It had two smooth surfaces, with rough sides with traces of cement attached to them. Tradition said that it had been part of two fireplaces. The corners were not squared but somewhat rounded. The block resembled dark Swedish granite or fine grained porphyry, very hard, and with an olive tinge, and did not resemble any local stone. Tradition said that it had been found originally in the mouth of the “Money Pit”. While in Creighton’s possession some lad had cut his initials ‘J.M.” on one corner, but apart from this there was no evidence of any inscription either cut or painted on the stone. Creighton used the stone for a beating stone and weight. When the business was closed in 1919, Thos. Forhan, since deceased, asked for the stone, the history of which seems to have been generally known. When Marshall left the premises in 1919, the stone was left behind, but Forhan does not seem to have taken it. Search at Forhan’s business premises and residence two years ago disclosed no stone. The full history of the stone was written up in ‘the Suburban” about 1903 or 1904. Alfred Tregunno of the Halifax Seed Company stated to Messrs. Blair and Harris that S.R. Cossey & Co. occupied the premises 64 Upper Water Street from 1919 to 1927. The premises were remodeled and occupied by the firm in 1919. In 1927 the premises was taken over by the Halifax Seed Store. About 6 mos. After being occupied, enquiry was made of the premises but failed to locate the stone. Blair, Harris, and Tregunno made a thorough search of the premises and basement today and found no trace of the stone. Mr. Laing and Mr. Tracey of the Brookfield Construction Company states that that Company remodeled the premises 64 Upper Water Street in 1919. Laing does not remember the stone, but says that it is possible that it would have been taken to their storeyards on Smith Street, or mill-yard on Mitchell Street, to be used in construction if suitable. The yards are now covered in snow, but a search will be made at an early date.
20 Jul 1937 Brandon Daily (Newspaper) “…upon a stone mysteriously inscribed… The stone has since been lost but the present syndicate revealed that it was known to have been in Halifax in 1928, and search is still being made for it.”
4 Feb 1938 Southern Cayuga Tribune (Newspaper) “The second group of treasure hunters came upon stone, mysteriously inscribed at a depth of 90 feet. This has since been thought to be a warning to those who knew the secret, that the next oak floor contained a tide trap which would flood the workings; for when searchers bored through this floor, the water immediately rose to 60 feet.”
27 Aug 1939 Oakland Tribune (Newspaper)

“At ninety feet down the excavators came upon a flat stone, three feet by sixteen inches, bearing a curious inscription. Nova Scotia was not without its universities and its linguists in 1801, yet the record says vaguely that one ’expert’ interpreted it, ‘Ten feet below two million pounds lies buried.’”

12 Jun 1947 Neosho Daily Democrat (Newspaper) “At 95 feet the diggers came upon a flat stone. It bore a curious inscription. Translators were pretty hard to find, but one guessed the inscription meant ’10 feet below two million pounds lie buried.’”
23 Jul 1947 Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times (Newspaper)

“At a depth of 90 feet, a flat quarried stone about 3 feet long was placed, which was covered with some peculiar undecipherable characters. This was believed to be the key to the mystery, but unfortunately it disappeared after it was found and no copy had been made of the inscription.”

19 Apr 1949 Kempton Letter to Frederick L. Blair contains Oak Island Story alleged to have been written in 1909

“In their digging they came to charcoal, planks, putty, and coca nut fibre. But the most important thing they found was when about 90 feet a stone 3 feet long, 16 inches wide with this inscription cut on it with much care, as the cutting was said to be very distinct and protected by pieces of board carefully laid over the inscription.”

Jun 1958 The Oak Island Mystery (Book) by Reginald Vanderbilt Harris “McNutt states: At forty feet a tier of charcoal; at fifty feet a tier of smooth stones from the beach, with figures and letters cut on them; at sixty feet a tier of manila grass and the rind of the coconut; at seventy feet a tier of putty; at eighty feet a stone three feet long and one foot square. With figures and letters cut on it, and it was freestone, being different than any on that coast.” -Page 15 “An Inscribed Stone The DesBrisay account says: Farther down was a flagstone about two feet long and one wide, with a number of rudely cut letters and figures upon it. They were in hopes this inscription would throw some valuable light on their search, but unfortunately they could not decipher it, as it was too badly cut, or did not appear to be in their own vernacular. This remarkable stone was pretty far down in the Pit, lying in the centre with the engraved side down. As it was preserved in the family of Mr. smith, it may be seen by the curious at the present day (1864).” –Page 19 & 20 “Other versions of the story of the inscribed stone differ as to the depth at which it was found, and respecting its dimensions. The stone was removed and later placed in the back of a fireplace in John smith’s house, which he was building near the site, and while there was seen by hundreds of people. About 1865-1866 the stone was removed and taken to Halifax. Among those who worked to remove the stone was one Jefferson W. MacDonald, who told Mr. F. L. Blair, in 1894, that the inscription was easily traced, but that no person present could decipher it. Apparently no photograph or rubbing was ever made.” –Page 20 “The stone was brought to Halifax by either A.O. or Herbert Creighton of A. & H. Creighton, bookbinders, 64 Upper Water Street, Halifax, a firm established in 1844. A.O. Creighton was Treasurer of the Oak island Association, formed in 1866, and it was exhibited in the shop window when the company was endeavouring to sell shares. It is said that James Liechti, a Professor of Languages (1866-1906) at Dalhousie College, expressed his opinion that the inscription meant “Ten feet below two million pounds lie buried” but most people were skeptical respecting this version, because of the concurrent efforts being made to sell stock.” –Page 20 “The business of A. & H. Creighton continued until 1879, when Mr. A.O. Creighton either died or retired and Mr. Herbert Creighton and Edward Marshall formed the firm of “Creighton & Marshall” and carried on business at the old stand. Mr. Harry W. Marshall, son of Edward Marshall, was born in 1879, and entered the employ of the firm as a boy in 1890. In a statement made on March 27th, 1935, by him to Frederick L. Blair, and the writer, Mr. Marshall said: I well remember seeing it as a boy and until the business was merged in 1919 in the present firm of Phillips and Marshall. The stone was about two feet long, fifteen inches wide and ten inches thick, and weighed about 175 pounds. It had two smooth surfaces, with rough sides and traces of cement attached to them. Tradition said that it had been part of two fireplaces. The corners were not squared but somewhat rounded. The block resembled grained porphyry, very hard, and with an olive tinge, and did not resemble any local Nova Scotia stone. While in Creighton’s possession someone had cut his initials “J.M.” on one corner, but apart from this there was no evidence of any inscription either cut or painted on the stone. It had completely faded out. We used the stone for a beating stone and weight. When the business was closed, in 1919, Thomas Forhan, since deceased, asked for the stone, the history of which seems to have been generally known. When we left the premises in 1919 the stone was left behind, but Forhan does not seem to have taken it. Search at Forhan’s business premises and residence two years ago (1933) disclosed no stone.” –Page 20 & 21 “Thorough searches of the old premises in 1935, and of the stone yards of Brookfield Construction Company, on smith and Mitchell Streets, failed to discover the stone. Captain H. L. Bowdoin, mentioned in a later chapter, saw the stone in 1909. It was then at the Creighton book-bindery but no characters were found on the stone at that time.” –Page 21 “(6) There never were any characters on the rock found on the Money Pit.” –Page 118 “Sixth: The existence of an inscribed stone and the tradition respecting it were also matters in the same class as the ring-bolt. Its history was incontrovertible, and spoke for itself.”- Page 120 “…It should be recalled that no satisfactory explanation has yet been found regarding the untranslatable inscription on the porphyry stone” –Page 173
29 Nov 1972 Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper)

“Shortly after the shaft was discovered a team of sweaty excavators was supposed to have written (etched in flag-stone) announcement, left by the original diggers no doubt, which read: ‘Forty feet below two million pounds lie buried.’”

26 Nov 1981 Santa Ana Orange County Register (Newspaper) “At 93 feet down, they made the most astonishing discovery: a large flat stone on which was carved a mysterious inscription.”
25 Jul 1987 Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) “Just before the 90-foot level an inscribed stone was found. The stone was about two to three feet by 15 inches by 10 inches. They could not decipher the strange inscription. Unfortunately the stone disappeared about 1919 and its inscription was never positively translated.”
Jun 1988 Smithsonian – Vol 19 No 3 “At 90 feet they found something really exciting – a flat stone inscribed with mysterious figures.
11 Jul 1993 Altoona Mirror (Newspaper) “By the time they hit 90 feet, in 1802, they uncovered a stone etched with runic-looking inscriptions.”