26: Terry Armstrong Interview

Terry ArmstrongIn 2014 I listened to Florida Frontiers Radio Program #204. I was astonished to learn that Relic Hunters in Cape Canaveral found the archeological site now known as the “Armstrong Site”. The Armstrong Site was part of the amazing story of our national origins rooted directly in the battle between the French and Spanish for possession of Florida in the year 1565. I became very excited to learn as much as I could about the story of the Metal Detectorists and the Armstrong Site.

After over two years I finally put this podcast together thanks to Terry Armstrong. Terry Armstrong runs the publishing house of Signum Ops, and he has produced an array of titles dealing with treasure, salvage, and shipwrecks. This is the place to do your serious treasure hunting research. I have five of his books so far and will invest in more. Here are two of my favorites so far.

Signum Ops is the publisher of French Castaways at Old Cape Canaveral which is by Douglas R. Armstrong (Terry and Doug are not related). Douglas R. Armstrong is the person the Armstrong Site is named after. The book’s description is as follows… Wrecked on a foreign shore, hunted like animals by the Spanish and hostile Indians alike, a small group of French Huguenots managed to exist for an undetermined period in the wilds of present-day Cape Canaveral. ‘French Castaways at Old Cape Canaveral’ is a candid and very plausible account of those long lost adventurers, who would otherwise remain unknown in Florida’s documented history. This book is a brief recollection of the events leading up to the heinous Matanzas massacre, followed by the investigative report of what may have happened to the few Frenchmen who escaped the Spanish death trap. More than four hundred years later, the author, in cooperation with the N.P.S. and S.E.A.C. , revisits the ‘Armstrong’ site. A controlled excavation reveals evidence of a Surruque Indian settlement where these castaways lived with the native people. Fully indexed with bibliography, the book contains detailed photos of coins and artifacts recovered during the investigation along with scanned reproductions of the manifests for a number of the French vessels involved in the wreck disaster along the Florida coast in 1565.

Terry Armstrong wrote West Of The Bull: A Brief Romance With Forbidden Treasure. Prior to the acquisition of properties on Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island by the federal government for the Air Force Eastern Test Range and the Kennedy Space Center, residents in the vicinity were aware of the many shipwrecks along the coast from Edgewater southward to present-day Port Canaveral, an area now known in Florida as the Space Coast. As the Kennedy Space Center was being developed, a number of treasure hunters combed the area, making remarkable finds dating from ancient times throughout the first contact period between Florida natives and Europeans. Before the creation of the Canaveral National Seashore and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, some of these treasure hunters managed salvage leases all along the Cape Canaveral area, awarded to them by the State of Florida. This is the story of one such venture, the New Channel Historical Survey Group’s Exploratory Lease E5A. T. L. Armstrong and Randy Andrews worked for the New Channel Historical Survey Group, headed up by Bill and Florence Andrews. E5A was situated along the southern extent of Klondike Beach, perhaps so named for the booty found there in the past. West Of The Bull contains many previously unpublished treasure recovery maps of the area produced by Bill Andrews, Lou Ullian, and Robert F. Marx, as well as a number of aerial charts especially prepared by the author. Personal notes of Robert F. Marx dealing with shipwrecks around the Cape are included, along with a summary of archaeological sites recorded by George A. Long for NASA in 1965.