State Treasure - Texas

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 41 of the November, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2011 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


The Devil’s Den Treasure
WISE COUNTY – Not much is known about this Texas legend, but here is what I have on it.
It was reported that $225,000 in gold ingots and specie were buried at Devil’s Den, located 9.6 miles due west of Bridgeport, Texas.
Who buried the cache is not known, but the story goes that a group traveling through the area was attacked by hostile Indians, resulting in a running gunfight.
The party under attack fled on horseback into the Devil’s Den to seek cover.
During a lull in the fighting the hunted men buried their gold to prevent it from being looted by the Indians.
The outcome of this battle is unknown, though many believe the men who cached their gold were likely all killed and their cache remains within the Devil’s Den today.Treasure at Rock Crossing
LIVE OAK COUNTY – The City of George West, Texas, sits on the former site of the George West Ranch of the 19th century.
Local research will be necessary to help identify several local place names in order to recover a lost iron chest full of gold once belonging to General Santa Ana.
The story goes that Santa Ana was traveling from Laredo to Goliad.
As his troops forded the Nueces River at the old Rock Crossing in the Chalk Bluff Pasture, once part of the George West Ranch roughly 12 miles below Shiner Crossing, Santa Ana’s pay-cart broke apart, sending the treasure chest to the bottom of the swollen river.
In a hurry to reach Goliad, where 303 Texans were due to be executed on his orders, Santa Ana had the chest chained to a nearby tree, intending to recover it later.
The Goliad Massacre occurred on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836; only 28 Texans escaped the slaughter.
Years later, Mr. Pate McNeil discovered a piece of chain wrapped around an Elm tree on the east bank of the Nueces River.
Not knowing the story, McNeil continued on his way, but always pondered the curiosity.
Later, a Mr. Dubose came upon the tree bearing the marks of a chain, but the chain was gone.
It’s not known if Dubose or his two companions, Stonewall Jackson Wright and his brother-in-law, Albert Dinn, knew of Santa Ana’s lost gold; regardless the three men were inspired by the markings.
They traveled to Beeville where they purchased a four-horse load of tongue-and-groove lumber.
Returning to the east bank, they went to work sinking an 18-foot shaft in the middle of the river just below the crossing.
They successfully managed to divert the water from the riverbed, but found boiling quicksand at the bottom, which ultimately defeated them from recovering the treasure.
Some believe Santa Ana may have sent men back to recover the gold, but that is not a matter of record. J. Frank Dobie interviewed a Mr. Whitney of McMullen County who apparently had obtained a Mexican waybill leading to the treasure.
Dobie claims Whitney stated the chest had been buried on the riverbank below a tree that had a limb extending out over the water.
Whitney said the chain around the tree trunk on the east bank was an old log chain and that the tree itself had fallen into the river after it naturally diverted from its original course.
Dobie interviewed Whitney in the early 1920’s; at that time Rock Crossing was still a known site on the old George West Ranch. The road used by Santa Ana fell into disuse more than a century ago, leaving the treasure buried somewhere on dry land.Lost & Forgotten Sites in Texas
GT: Tascosa – (OLDHAM COUNTY) – Tascosa is a true ghost; nothing remains except for the cemetery and the old courthouse, which serves as a museum today.
During its 40 years in existence it was certainly a Wild West town.
Notables such as Billy the Kid, Pat Garret, Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp all passed through here at some point.
The Boot Hill cemetery is said to contain more graves of murdered men than those who died of natural causes.
Historically, the site was a river ford used for centuries by Native Americans, Comacheros, buffalo hunters and cattlemen.
Legend tells of several buried caches at this site that were never reclaimed, likely as a result of Tascosa’s violent and turbulent history, and perhaps flooding.
Located along the Canadian River in northeast Oldham County below Boy’s Ranch just north of S.R. 385 and Ranch Road 1061.
GT: El Copano – (REFUGIO COUNTY) – El Copano, sometimes spelled, Copono, was located along the bluff north of the mouth of Mission Bay. Shellcrete houses and stores once lined the bluff northeast of present-day Bayside.
Founded in 1749 there are reports of several personal caches buried here by residents during the Mexican War who fled south into Mexico and never returned.
The town was devastated by a series of hurricanes in 1869, 1875, 1886 and 1887. Some ruins of the original shellcrete buildings are still visible today.
GT: Shafter – (PRESIDIO COUNTY) – John W. Spencer discovered silver ore near Shafter in 1880. Spencer gave a sample to Colonel William R. Shafter at Fort Davis who had it assayed.
Rich in silver, Shafter confided in two of his officers and convinced the state to sell them huge tracks of land surrounding the site that same year.
Spencer was made a partner, but the four men lacked the funds to mine the silver.
In 1882, they leased some of their holdings to a California mining company.
The Presidio Mining Company was formed and, after installing new equipment in 1884, the town of Shafter came into existence and a post office was granted in 1885.
Shafter was a company town that reached a peak population of around 110 in 1900. By 1943, Shafter’s population had grown to about 1,500. As of the 2000 U.S. Census the population was 11.
Located 18 miles north of Presidio on Highway 67, many old buildings remain. The town was the location used for shooting the 1968 movie, “The Andromeda Strain.”
Legend states Apache Indians hid a strongbox of gold dust near Shafter in a cave along Cibolo Creek.
The Lost Seminole Bill Gold Mine – (TERRELL COUNTY) – Discovered in 1887, gold ore from this mine assayed at $80,000 a ton. Little is known about the discovery or how the mine became lost.
It is said to be located in the remote country just north of the Mexican border, about 15 miles southwest of Dryden in southeast Terrell County.
Fort Lyday – (FANNIN COUNTY) – Fort Lyday, also known as Fort DeKalb or Isaac Lyday’s Fort, was a stockaded settler’s fort built for protection from Indians and used from 1836 through 1843.
The Texas Rangers were also posted here in 1838. Located on the north bank of the North Sulphur River, about 2-1/2 miles northwest of Pecan Gap near Dial.
Fort Mud – (RED RIVER COUNTY) – Fort Mud was a Confederate river fort located near Clarksville. Actual location undetermined.
Unnamed French Fort – (WOOD COUNTY) – This lost French fort or fortified trading post is said to have been located on the Sabine River or on Lake Fork Creek.
It existed during the 18th century and appears on an old map as “Le Dout.”
The Lost Spanish Fort Gold Mine – (MONTAGUE COUNTY) – Little is known of this lost mine. It is reported to be located “30 miles north of Bowie,” which would place it in southern Oklahoma.
Supposedly accessible from “County Road 59,” which does not exist, so it probably refers to Texas S.R. 59.
The ruins of an early French settlement and a number of mining camps were also located near the mine.Sources:
Vance, Tom, “Beach Hunting Requirements”, October 2000, Lost Treasure magazine, p. 58
Dobie, J. Frank, Legends of Texas-Volume 1, 1924, Austin, TX, Texas Folklore Society, p. 58-60
Marx, Robert F., Buried Treasures of the United States, 1978, New York, Bonanza Books, p. 331-333, 337, 339
Tabblo.com, Ghost Town of Tascosa, http://www.tabblo.com/studio/stories/view/281377/
Bayside Historical Society, El Copano, http://www.baysidehistoricalsociety.com/elcopano.html
Texasscapes.com, Shafter, Texas, http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasGhostTowns/ShafterTexas/ShafterTexas.htm
North American Forts.com, Texas, http://www.northamericanforts.com/West/tx.html