David Ramsay’s lost gold of Long Point
David Ramsay was a Scottish immigrant who first arrived in Canada in Quebec, where he worked on a transport ship as a boy. Not much is known about his early years, however after the British defeated the French in 1763 and expanded the fur trade, he settled near the Mohawk River. Ramsay worked for the Northwest Fur Company until his younger brother arrived from Scotland and he decided to break off from the company and trade with the natives on his own.
An account from The Royal Society of Canada:
“After serving the Northwest Fur Company of Montreal for some time on the Upper Lakes, he returned to the Mohawk, where he was soon joined by his brother George from Scotland. ‘Having the assistance of this lad,’ Ramsay states, ‘I thought of trading with the Indians on my own account, and for that purpose purchased a large battoe at Skennectity, and procured credit to the amount of 150 pounds York currency’s worth of goods.’ With these he proceeded via Wood Creek, Oswego and Lake Ontario to Niagara. He adds; ‘Carried my battoe and goods across the portage to Lake Erie; from thence to the river Sold Year’ (which is Ramsay or Campbell’s phonetic transformation of Chaudiere) ‘or Kettle Creek, and proceeded up that river for sixty miles, where we met tribes of different nations of Indians encamped for the purpose of hunting, and informed them of my intention of residing among them during the winter, and erected a sufficient house of logs.’ Here he bartered goods for furs until towards January, 1772, when trouble began with the Ojibwa, Mississaugaand Ottawa nations.
The account goes on to tell recount of Ramsay being attacked in the night by three members of the Ottawa nation and after being plundered, furnishing the attackers with rum and eventually killing them after they became intoxicated. Ramsay and his brother left their encampment when the ice broke up, taking with them deerskins and what remained of their goods. They were headed for Niagara when they were forced to go ashore at Long Point and make camp because of the ice. It was on Long Point where the natives eventually caught up with the brothers, tied and bound their hands behind their back and apparently made them sit by the fire while they indulged in Ramsay’s remaining rum. Unfortunately for the capturers, Ramsay and his brother managed to free themselves and murdered the incapacitated men. Upon Ramsay’s return to Niagara he was arrested and served 15 months in jail before being acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence and belief that he committed the crimes in self-defense.
It was on Long Point where Ramsay was said to have buried chest of gold in fear of being followed by the natives and losing it.
An account of a Mr. Simpson McCall, published by the Royal Society of Canada:
“One Ramsay, before and after the Revolution, traded with the Indians of this region up to Detroit, &c. Dr. Troyer believed in magic, and had a mineral rod, by which he divined where gold was buried. About 1790, when Ramsay was coming from Detroit with two men and his boat loaded with furs and gold, he had a dispute with Indians living at Port Stanley where they had large corn fields, over his refusal to furnish them with liquor. They followed him from the land down to Port Burwell and the carrying place, and Long Point to the end of the peninsula, and prevented him doing any further trade. At the portage he buried his money in an iron chest and killed a black dog and buried it over the chest as a protection. This was Ramsay’s last trip. About 1817 Dr. Troyer and his son, Michael, having found out by his divining rod where the treasure was, went out towards evening to dig it up. I saw them going out in the boat. My father was the only one I know about that they had consulted, but he was an unbeliever, and would not go. The Doctor afterwards told me that they dug down to the box. The Doctor wasa Tunkard. He held a Bible open and a lighted candle to keep away the Evil One. Michael dug and tried to pry the chest out of the ground, when a big black dog rose up beside the chest — grew right up bigger and bigger, until the light went out, and then they took to their boat and went home.
“Doctor Troyer had a stone, which he covered with a hat, and when one of the Pick girls put her head under the hat, she could see everything” that was hidden — stolen money, and goods. Many things were recovered in this way, amongst others some things stolen from my Uncle, Ephraim C. Mitchell.”
My final thought on this is, if Ramsay had actually buried his gold on the Long Point Portage (which is right before the new park and by the Old Cut lighthouse), it would be long gone by now. Sure, it may have been found and dug up, perhaps even by Ramsay himselfBut in the 200 or so years since Ramsay purportedly buried the gold,there have been two “cuts” in that area and it most likely would have been washed away, maybe never to be found.