Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Treasure on Lake Superior: the Hermit Island Caches (Part 1)

(Wisconsin's Apostle Islands.)

Brownstone Was Hermit's Primary Bounty

Historically, Wisconsin's Hermit Island was not noted for treasures of gold, silver, or precious gems. Like other islands in the Apostle Islands chain, Hermit Island's primary bounty came in the form of brownstone, which was quarried and used in the building trades from 1860-1890.You can find Hermit Island and the remainder of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, not far offshore from communities like Bayfield and Cornucopia, Wisconsin.

Get Rugged. Visit OutdoorPros.com Today!

But before I begin this 2-part tale of treasure caches on Hermit Island, let me forewarn you. All of the Apostle Islands, including Hermit Island, are now part of the Apostle Islands National Seashore Park. Although I could not find any information to the contrary at the Park's website (http://www.nps.gov/apis), I suspect that any overt (that's the keyword here) treasure hunting activities on Hermit would be frowned upon.

3 Treasure Caches

At any rate, I will cover 3 treasure caches that are said to exist on Hermit Island. Two of the three are reasonably well documented and probably hold water in terms of their probable existence. However, the third would probably be best classified as a "maybe."

If you are are at all interested in pursuing these caches further, I suggest some more extensive research on all three and while doing so, you would be well served in finding out, if possible, whether any overt (or again, covert) treasure hunting has occurred on Hermit Island over the years. In most aspects of treasure hunting, as in many other pursuits, prior knowledge is power.

Treasure Hunting

Here is the first of Hermit Island's 3 treasure caches:

The Prentice Cache(s)

Until his death, Frederick Prentice owned and operated brownstone quarries on Hermit, Bass, and Stockton Islands from 1868 until 1890. By the time Prentice ceased his quarrying operations he had amassed a large fortune, usually estimated to be anywhere from $250,000 to over $1,000,000.

As best I can determine, Prentice lived alone (that is, without a wife or family) on Hermit Island in a home he had built which the locals called "Cedar Bark Lodge." Like many of his generation Prentice did not trust banks and never held an account of any sort, nor did he bequeath his riches to anyone prior to his death.

P&S Fishing Tackle

Prentice's Vast Wealth Hidden on Hermit Island?

So it is generally assumed that Prentice hid his vast wealth in a cache (or caches) somewhere on Hermit Island, perhaps near the site of "Cedar Bark Lodge." Although it's difficult to turn up specifics on what the composition of the Prentice Cache (or caches) may be, I doubt if paper money is involved.

Why do I say this? Well, if we take a close look at Prentice's dislike of banks, his lack of family, and his overall reclusiveness, chances are his wealth was accumulated in the form of gold and silver coin and bullion.


A guy like Prentice would only be interested in the "real goods," not potentially worthless stocks, bonds, or paper currency. That's my read anyway.

I'll discuss Hermit Island's other 2 caches in my next post. Until then, good hunting to one and all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Confederate Treasury Caches in South Carolina (Part 2)"


(c) J.R. 2009

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com