Sunken Craft Still Visible
Hull of Large Boat Can Be Seen in St. Lawrence Below Rock Island
The Observer in "On the St. Lawrence," Clayton, has the following:
There is a mystery of the deep, that is located near the black buoy shoal, a half mile down river from Rock Island lighthouse. It is the hull of a large boat, its forward end being in about 28 feet of water, its outlines being but dimly visible in calm weather in October, when the waters are always clearest.
The early settlers of this region had never heard known anything of how or when the boat became sunken there. A natural supposition was that it had struck the shoal to slide back and sink, but there were other reasons suggested. It is known and recorded in history that during the War of 1812 there were several naval skirmishes along the immediate frontier, so therefore the sunken craft might have been crippled by cannon shot and left to sink. In the early settlement of this locality, the story went the rounds for many years after that at the close of the War of 1812 a part of the British fleet on its way up or down river, came to anchor during a calm in a bay near Vanderbilt Island, near to where the sunken vessel now lies. The paymasters' ship was with the fleet, with gold money in oaken boxes to pay off the soldiers and sailors.
One night two of the watchmen got possession of one of the boxes, lowered it over the side with rope, and in one of the ship's boats started for the main land, then an impenetrable wilderness. When half way to land their absence became known. They were fired upon by all sorts of guns, great and small, but reached the shore, leaving the boat to drift, and fled to the forests. The boxes of gold has never since been seen, it probably having been thrown overboard to sink to remain forever in several feet of soft mud.
As good reason for belief that such an exciting adventure actually occurred, there has since been plowed up by a farmer named Tusaw, who resided many years on the main land nearby, a half dozen big cannon balls, a couple of quarts of grape shot, and some leaden bullets. Mr. Tusaw kept for many years the missiles of destruction lying in rows on the sill of his woodshed, where many of the present day residents remember of having seen them.