While building the first great lighthouse at Egmont Key in 1848, builder’s discovered what appeared to be a cache of silver coins that were dug up near the foundation. A group of around 50 construction workers were split from the main group and forced to start digging for treasure presumed to be the lost treasure of Blackbeard or Tobias Grimm. Digging began in earnest which was highly dangerous in the shifting sands of the Tampa Bay area.
A cave was discovered not far from the site and the men were sent into the cave to continue their digging. The 50 men would bring up the occasional trinket so they were left to dig while the lighthouse was built. When the Great Gale of 1849 came and destroyed the lighthouse it also collapsed the entrance to the cave.. It took several days to clear the entrance. When cleared only one of the miners had survived, Ezekiel Fitch.
There were some questions as to his survival while all the others had perished. Some think he had killed the others to hide the treasure for himself. Others believe he performed unspeakable acts of cannibalism on his fellow miners after only being down there a short time.
Ezekiel Fitch went on to found the Fitch and Sons Funeral Parlor which was one of the first funeral homes in Tampa Bay that stayed in business for several generations. Ezekiel was often spotted around Egmont Key with a shovel still looking for the lost treasure.