New Mexico

By Anthony J. Pallante
From page 39 of the September, 1999 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 1999 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Doa Tulas Treasures - Davey Crockett died in the streets of Cimarron in 1876 not Davey Crockett the hero of the Alamo, but Davey Crockett the outlaw, killed by Sheriff Joe Holbrook. Crockett is just one of the many bandits rumored to have hidden caches in the hills outside of town. Doa Tula #1 - When beautiful Santa Fe prostitute Doa Tula became the mistress of New Mexicos governor, Don Manuel Armija, she gained a free license to operate her lavish Los Tulas bordello and gaming hall as well as access to the halls of power in Old New Mexico. In 1846, as Phil Kearnys troops were approaching Santa Fe, Doa Tula helped American agent James Magofin convince Don Manuel to abandon the garrison without a fight. This saved a lot of lives and, not coincidentally, Doa Tulas bordello. When Mexican agents later approached her with plans to retake the city by stealth, she agreed to help. While the Americans hit the monte tables and bid for the affections of the girls at Las Tulas, Doa Tulas collected funds and set up a plan of operation for the re-taking of the garrison. However, someone tipped the Americans to the plan,and all the conspirators save Doa Tula were arrested on the very eve of the planned rebellion. There is little doubt who that someone was. The great service the betrayer of the rebellion had done the Americans was not forgotten, and Doa Tula was allowed to operate Las Tulas with impunity despite the protest of officers wives. Over the years her wealth and power grew and she became the richest, most feared woman in the southwest. She died suddenly in 1851. Within a quarter hour of her death a detachment of soldiers seized Las Tulas, evicted the working girls, and conducted one of the most methodical searches in Western history. Floor boards were raised, paper was peeled from walls, furniture, carpets, and paintings were ransacked all without apparent success. What were they looking for? Secrets, of course secrets gleaned in the upper floors, keys to power more valuable than all of her wealth, but wealth as well. Other than the $7,000 or $8,000 spent on her funeral, there is no record of any estate left by the woman who must have had hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars squirreled away. In spite of the massive funeral, no one knows for sure where she is buried or if there was even a headstone marking the place. There is still disagreement in Santa Fe as to where Las Tulas was located. The secrets of Las Tulas have never been revealed. Doa Tula #2 - The second treasure associated with Doa Tula dates back to the Spanish regime in the late 1830's. In late 1838 or early 1839, Doa Tula was already anticipating the eventual American take-over of New Mexico and sought to secure her fortune by transferring $150,000 worth of gold dust and coins to a New York bank. Shipments of this kind were fairly common on the Santa Fe Trail at the time. Naturally, this type of activity attracted the attention of outlaws. Doa Tula had her gold placed into 25 leather pouches which were surreptitiously loaded on to a mule train bound for Independence, Missouri. Somehow word of the treasure must have leaked out, because, four days out of Santa Fe, the train was attacked by a very determined gang of Mexican bandits. The siege of the treasure train went on for several days during which the gold was buried beneath the campfire. This was a common practice among travelers at the time, and it is surprising that the bandits werent aware of it. However, according to the sole survivor, the mule train surrendered and the bandits searched everywhere, but under the campfire. They found no gold and vented their anger on the prisoners. All of the packers and one of the traders were killed. The remaining trader, a man named Cortez, was taken hostage, but escaped while en route back to Mexico. He arrived at Santa Fe several months later in very bad shape and died a few days later. Before passing on, he managed to tell his story and make a crude map of the cache site which was supposed to be marked by three large rocks, one of which was half as large as a house (presumably an adobe house). An expedition dispatched to recover the treasure fell afoul of an even worse danger along the Santa Fe Trail - Indians. They were found stripped and scalped and the treasure map, which had not been copied, was lost forever. The numerous subsequent searches for this treasure, though not as deadly, have been equally futile. It is estimated that a three or four-day trek by mule train would have carried Doa Tula's treasure as far as somewhere between present day Ute Park and Cimarron. Aztec treasure Stories of the conquest of Mexico rarely bring to light the fact that the Aztecs were viewed as hated tyrants by all of the less powerful tribes in Mexico. When Cortez arrived at the causeway leading to Montezumas capitol, he had with him 5,000 Indian allies who considered the Spaniards their liberators. The Aztecs had already seen how the lavish gifts they sent out to the approaching column only increased the Conquistadors greed. Therefore, long before the Spanish reached their capitol, they decided to send part of their treasure into hiding. Since their neighbors would gladly inform the Spanish of any local treasure train, the Aztecs knew they had to send the treasure far beyond the reach of the subjugated tribes if they hoped to keep its whereabouts a secret. The treasure was taken north out of Mexico and hidden in a cave somewhere in the American southwest. The memory of the location of that cave was destroyed by the real conqueror of Mexico disease. Smallpox brought ashore by a slave of Cortez rival, Narvarez, spread rapidly and killed far more Indians than the Conquistadors including, it is said, the survivors of Montezumas treasure train. Ever since, the Aztec treasure cave has been reported found and lost at a dozens of locations throughout the southwest. In New Mexico, the treasure is said to be hidden in one of three locations; however, the most commonly mentioned location, Gran Quivira National Monument, is completely off limits to treasure hunting. Of the other two locations, a hidden cave or concealed tunnel north of Taos is most frequently mentioned. Actual details are sketchy, but there is a claim that this cave was located in the vicinity of Taos peak. Other sources place this hoard somewhere in the Captain Mountains in Lincoln County. As this treasure is also reportedly hidden in numerous locations in Arizona and Texas, and at varied sites as far north as Colorado, the obvious conclusion is that no one really had a clue where or even if the treasure was hidden. However, it is equally possible that all (or most) of these listings refer to real treasure which over the years have been mistakenly labeled as Aztec treasures. For instance, records indicate that the Spanish hid a very large treasure in the area of Gran Quivera at the outset of the 1680 Indian Rebellion, and this might be the source of the numerous references to Aztec gold hidden there. If this is the case in one location, it might be the case in others and, from the treasure hunters point of view, it really doesnt matter as much who lost the treasure as it does how much and where. The other Montezuma's treasure In "Coronado's Children," J. Frank Dobie writes of a treasure hidden by a different Montezuma. This Montezuma was a chief among the Pueblo Indians who feared what might happen to his people if the Spanish discovered he had amassed a large cache of gold. Therefore, when Montezuma was dying he ordered that his gold be buried in a large hole near his village. When his orders were accomplished, the old chief climbed down into the hole and stayed there until he died. The Indians then filled in the hole and placed a large white rock marked with a cross on top of it. Dobie claims that the legend existed throughout the southwest, but it was most predominant in the area around Pecos Village, New Mexico. The gravesite is supposed to be somewhere close to the Old Spanish Road to Santa Fe. The gold is buried seven feet deep. Please Note: It is the responsibility of the treasure hunter to gain permission before detecting. Sources: DeVoto, Bernard, "The Year of Decision: 1846," Little, Brown, 1943.Dobie, Frank J., "Coronado's Children," Grosset & Dunlap, 1930.Henson, Michael Paul.,  "Lost Treasures of New Mexico," Lost Treasure magazine, June, 1994.