The Lost Treasure of Neahkahnie Mountain
Is there pirate gold on Neahkahnie Mountain? Local native legends tell of Spanish pirates burying a treasure at Neahkahnie Mountain. One story relates that the crew of a shipwrecked Manila galleon salvaged its cargo of gold and beeswax (a valuable commodity in trade with Asia) by burying it in the side of the mountain. To deter Indians from the site, the pirates killed a black man and buried him on top of the cargo.
While this account taken from native histories has never been substantiated, a piece of crudely inscribed beeswax retrieved from the Neahkahnie region carbon-dated A.D. 1500–1700 (on display at Tillamook’s Pioneer Museum) keeps speculation alive.
Further intrigue was added by the 1993 discovery of an ancient wooden rigging block. Found in the mud at the mouth of the Nehalem River, it was determined by a Spanish maritime expert to have been from a Manila galleon during that same time period.
Lewis and Clark’s 1805 reports of a Chinook Indian with red hair, and similar accounts from the Vancouver Expedition’s 1792 encounter with a redheaded native who claimed his late father had been a shipwrecked Spanish sailor, would tend to corroborate the shipwreck and treasure stories passed down in native oral histories.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel