This has been a current and ongoing expedition to recovery the valuable cargo of early American shipwreck gold coins of US merchant vessel, the Elizabeth City, which sank in the early 1800’s. This is a valuable early American shipwreck. The vessel was in route to a city along the Southeast coast of the United States. Unfortunately, the vessel encountered a very powerful Northeaster storm while in route which damaged the vessel and she was unable to make her port of destination. and was blown south.
Because of the storm, the Elizabeth City was blown south and tried to reach an alternate port in Georgia. However, because of the damage sustained from the storm it was hard to navigate the vessel. Unfortunately, while attempting entry into the port of Brunswick, Georgia, the vessel foundered on an offshore breaker during another storm, where it suffered more damage and upon clearing the breaker the Elizabeth City sank quickly in the channel. The Elizabeth City went to the bottom of the channel and took with her the cargo of early American gold coins. The research for this project was provided to me in a joint venture of Dr. Lyon and his protégé, Mark Allender. Dr. Lyon, who has since passed away, was arguably one of the best archival researchers. I had known Dr. Lyon for over 20 years was sad at his passing.
Based on our initial review of the research it was believed that the Elizabeth City sank about 10 miles offshore in around 30 feet of water, which made it a great project because we would be working in Federal waters instead of State waters. I hired Rick Horgan to do remotes sensing of our primary search area using his cesium magnetometer. Rick is recognized as one of the leaders in remote sensing and was responsible for finding pieces of the wreckage of the space shuttle, the infamous TWA flight and John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane. We located some interesting targets and I had a great recovery vessel, the Sea Hunt, brought up to Georgia and we dove on and explored many of the interesting targets and found ship wreckage and debris but not from the vessel we were looking for, the Elizabeth City shipwreck.
As with all my expeditions, yes it’s great to find treasure, but I also enjoy “solving the mystery”, such as where did the vessel actually sink, and where is the treasure. This project has had many interesting turn of events. It all started when we were up there and I heard rumors of a local who would find early American gold coins from an area where they would put the sediment from whenever they dredged the shipping channel. As I mentioned, initially it was believed that the vessel came to rest away from where the current shipping channel is and further out to sea. However, we are about to solve this mystery and share where this vessel actually came to rest and the location of the treasure – check back for all the exciting and interesting updates and information.
This is a photo of me with Dr. Eugene Lyon at his home when he shared with me about the Elizabeth City shipwreck. Dr. Lyon is recognized as one of the best archival researchers. Sadly, he passed away a little while after this photo was taken.