Rumors of Buried Treasure in South Sea Island Revive

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Rumors of Buried Treasure in South Sea Island Revive


Brief article about the then upcoming voyage of the Luka to Palmyra, carrying its owner at the time Judge Cooper who would be visiting for the first time. Feature 2 great images of the crew and the ship, and mentions the carrying of supplies to plant non-native wildlife and build shelters.



Honolulu Advertiser




Public Domain





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Photo Caption:
Upper - Showing officers and “crew” of Luka. Reading from left to right, they are: J.F. Rock, Judge Henry E. Cooper, Montague Cooke and Capt. George E. Piltz. Lower - Schooner Luka preparing to start on voyage to Palmyra.

“Skipper” Cooper Shrouds Voyage in Mystery

With forty empty barrels in the hold, a large supply of food and many packages, the latter containing plants and seeds to be planted on the barren island of Palmyra and other islets to the south of the Hawaiian Islands, the American schooner Luka, departed at three o’clock yesterday afternoon for Palmyra. Judge Henry E. Cooper of the circuit court of Hawaii, stood upon the after deck, owner and master, although Captain George E. Piltz a navigating officer was also aboard.

Standing with “Skipper” Cooper watching the hoisting of the sails were J.F. Rock, the botanist, and Montague Cooke, a scientist of the Bishop Museum. Gerrit Wilder, who had at first intended making the voyage, did not leave, but watched the vessel sail away.

A number of people were on the wharf near the foot of Fort street to watch the Luka go, for all the cruises planned in recent years that of the Luka is the one which has been surrounded by an air of the mystery which has made the Robert Louis Stevenson stories the classics of the Pacific. Palmyra is as yet a mysterious coral islet, seldom visited by mariners, located about 600 miles south of Honolulu. It was bought about four years ago by Judge Cooper for about $600 and he has never before visited his domain. He started once, but the schooner met with adverse weather and was compelled to put back to port.

There are rumors that pirate treasure is buried on Palmyra and that the forty empty barrels are being taken along to be filled with the golden wealth said to be cached there. Others of more practical minds allege that the barrels are only being taken to put into hold on the island and into these Oahu soil which is being take along in the Luka’s holds, will be placed. The these will be planted the seeds and shrubs.

Juge Cooper stated before leaving that he believed the trip to Palmyra could be made in eight days with favorable winds. The vessel is fitted with an auxiliary power engine for cruising near islands without the use of sails. The vessel is handled by a crew of seven men.

Judge Cooper expects to erect a few dwelling houses on Palmyra and is taking milled lumber along for that purpose.

Original Format



“Rumors of Buried Treasure in South Sea Island Revive,” Palmyra Archive, accessed October 31, 2020,


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