Jean Lafitte’s Treasure

Hey, Readers! Earlier this month I wrote about the legend behind Don Franciso’s buried treasure. This week, I’ll share another story about rumored buried riches.

Jean Lafitte (born c. 1780, died c. 1823) was a French pirate and privateer who operated in the Gulf of Mexico during the 1800s. He operated a warehouse in New Orleans to assist in the distribution of goods by his brother Pierre. After the government passed the Embargo Act of 1807, the Lafittes moved their operation to an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. By 1810 the operation was quite successful and the brothers had a profitable smuggling trade. They also engaged in piracy.

In late 1815 and early 1816, the Lafitte brothers acted as spies for Spain. Jean was sent to Galveston, Texas. He essentially developed Galveston Island as another smuggling base.

Aboard the Bolivar Ferry near Galveston Island

In February 1823, while cruising near Omoa Honduras on his schooner General Santander when he engaged in battle with two Spanish merchant vessels. A battle ensued and Lafitte was wounded. He is believed to have died on the morning of February 5, 1823. However, his legacy and legends involving his buried treasure live on.

I read about one such legend in the book Texas Myths and Legends by Donna Ingham. The story goes like this.

On a cold February night in the 1880s, an elderly war veteran rode through the area of LaPorte, Texas. Twilight came, and he looked for a place where he could shelter for the night. He supposedly saw the silhouette of a house and a stable in the light of the rising moon.

He knocked at the door. No one answered and the place was locked, but he managed to crawl through a window. The room had a fireplace and a stack of wood, and soon the old traveler was warm and cozy. Using his saddle as a pillow, and the blanket for a pallet, he soon fell asleep.

Sometime during the night by a “presence” in the room. By the light of the fire, he saw a man who beckoned to him. He followed the ghostly figure into the next room, and then into a third one.

“It is here,” the apparition said. “It is here that more gold lies buried than is good for any man. You have but to dig, and it is yours.”

Before vanishing, the spirit went on to say that gold must be used only for good purposes and not one penny spent for evil or selfish reasons.

The old veteran returned to his makeshift bed and soon fell asleep, only to be awakened once more. He followed the specter into the room. This time he swore he could see great quantities of gold and jewels. “Do not force me to come again.” With those words, the ghost was gone.

Troubled by the words, “More gold than is good for any man,” the traveler left the house, saddled his horse, and rode away.

This is one such story about Lafitte’s supposed buried treasure. Tales of haunted houses related to Lafitte and other supposed locations abound. Some claim to have found a small amount of treasure, but when they return to the place, they are unable to locate it. Rumor has it Lafitte buried much of his treasure on Galveston Island

In numerous places along the gulf coast, people come in search of the treasure. To date, no one has discovered the loot, but that doesn’t stop others from trying.