Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of TreasureBeachesReport.blogspot.com.
Earlier today I posted about Hurricane Matthew, but recently I've been posting some old finds from Treasure Coast wrecks and camps, especially those found by Darrel S., who hoped that others would also submit their finds so that a more complete record would be obtained to add to our knowledge of the Treasure Coast wrecks. I know we all like to see finds, but the purpose of posting finds is the larger one of contributing to our knowledge of Treasure Coast history.
Recently I posted a few personal experiences concerning the Jupiter wreck, which is generally accepted to be the San Miguel Archangel. Subsequently I received some emails related to that subject. Today I'll post what one archaeologist, Southern Digger, who did a lot of archaeological work around Jupiter, had to say about seeking the Jupiter Wreck in the 1970s.
S. Digger said, After college, I became certified (NASDS) in 1975, and with some research attempted to dive and seek the Jupiter Wreck in 1977. That is when I told the lifeguard about its existence somewhere near the Inlet and he indicated to me that he was planning to search and find it....
S. Digger continued, I was stopped from diving and seeking the wreck in 1977 and was directed to Bessie Dubois who explained it was protected under the Jupiter Inlet Commission and that her husband was on the board. Well she showed me a pile of 4 and 8 Reales and noted when the inlet is dredged and tailings dumped on land,they close the beach and search for cobs.
[I've speculated in this blog about officials closing beaches for private hunting in the past. TreasureGuide.]
After realizing I would not be allowed to dive and search for the wreck, I was approached by Bessie of the Dubois Historical Society; and the President of Loxahatchee Historical Society; asking if I would help them locate the accurate site of Ft. Jupiter. I was involved in that project for 6 1/2 years, including digs at the battlefield.
Also, between 1979 and 1981 I was considered the archaeologist for their community and was often called off the fort site to assist in investigating other significant archaeological sites in the Jupiter area--some in Dubois Park and near to the lighthouse.
When Hurricane David passed thru Jupiter area in 1979, I inspected the Dragoon camp site which required me to re-clear numerous paths which were initially cut thru the palmettos and scrub oaks with machetes. Then I went to search Jupiter Beach which incidentally, was completely washed out down to hard pan. I found a 10kt gold wedding band, then lost my detector because the saw palmettos at the fort site had sliced into the coaxial wire and at the beach saltwater or rainwater caused the detector to ground out.. Although the instrument box was wrapped and protected, the damaged coil wire caused it to ground out. That was my only reliable beach detector then (Whites Coinmaster VLF Supreme) and I had to send it out for repair. During my brief search at the beach after Hurricane David, I saw no other person with a detector--just surf fishermen.
However, a bit south near the beach restroom, the beach was tunneled and washed out. In the beach was the brown-stained top of a ship-stain from rotted wood and disintegrated iron nails. After further research, I discovered that was the location of the old inlet and a pioneer's schooner was overloaded, grounded and sunk in the inlet sometime during the early 1840's. That is why the Florida Volunteers dug a new inlet at the present location--because the old inlet was no longer passable and it closed up around the foundered schooner. I mentioned this story in my History book on Fort Jupiter.
I'll add here what Darrel S. said.
As for Jupiter, I go way back and we (surfers) knew of that wreck before the lifeguard story. I know where fill dirt was pulled from dredging in late 1940s to 50s and have found good stuff on properties with permission. Tiger Beach has tons of stuff, but people ignore it...
You can find a history of the Jupiter Inlet on the Loxahatchee River History web site (link below). Here are a few important dates long after Juan Ponce de Leon visited the area in 1513.
1913 to 1922 - The Jupiter Inlet slowly moved to its present location; which is approximately 1250 feet North of its original location. The inlet would naturally open and close periodically due to the effects of hurricanes and strong storm surge activity over time.
1921 - The Jupiter Inlet District was formed to oversee maintenance, dredging operations, and jetty construction in the Jupiter Inlet.
1922 - The "natural" shoreline of the Jupiter Inlet was changed forever as the Jupiter Inlet District dredged a channel and installed two man-made jetties.
Here is the link for a more complete history.
My earlier post of today covered Hurricane Matthew and the big surf that is predicted for us next week.