Finder of sunken ship says no treasure

Nov. 14, 2012 at 5:34 PM

MANITOU PASSAGE, Mich., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The man who located the Westmoreland, which sank in Lake Michigan in 1854, says he never found the treasure of gold and whiskey it was reputed to have held.

After more than a century of searches by various treasure hunters, diver and historian Ross Richardson of Grand Rapids, Mich., found the ship in July 2010 at the bottom of Platte Bay, near Traverse City in the state's Lower Peninsula. Legends, circulated by the survivors of the shipwreck, suggested $100,000 in gold coins and 280 barrels of whiskey were aboard when the ship went down in a blizzard, 3 miles from shore, The Grand Rapids Press said Wednesday.

"It's probably one of the most well-preserved shipwrecks from the 1850s on the planet," said Richardson. It's in amazing condition."

It was his second attempt to find the ship after years of exhaustive research, the newspaper said.

Richardson, who will present his findings Thursday at the Grand Rapids Public Library, said he found no gold -- "Not for lack of looking," he noted -- and said the whiskey, if any, was stored in a part of the ship he has not yet been able to access.

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