State Treasure - Texas

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 29 of the June, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Paris Gold
LAMAR COUNTY - Somewhere near the town of Paris, Texas, a fortune in gold lies buried that has never been found.
The story goes that, in 1882, vanguard feminist Frances Willard (1839–1898), the highly touted American educator, temperance reformer, and women’s suffragist activist, founded the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Paris.
History remembers Willard fondly as a dynamic woman who was ahead of her time. But her efforts to rid Paris of liquor backfired, thereby castrating the local economy. Of course she was doing the Lord’s work and that must’ve made it easy for her to ignore the families whose lives she’d devastated.
Paris cowboys chuckled at the idea of prohibition, “Won’t never work. She might as well try ‘n dry up the Red River,” commented one grizzled cowpoke. But as Paris wives and women joined the movement, local ranch hands began to feel the squeeze. One Saturday night, the Paris cowboys rode into town to spend an evening as they always had - drinking, carousing, playing cards, dancing with the ladies and raising hell.
But this Saturday night the boys were shocked to find the doors to their usual hangouts heavily chained, padlocked and closed for business. The final blow came when the frustrated cowboys returned to their bunkhouses to find their personal stashes of spirits had been spirited away by the wives of local ranchers, only to be smashed on rocks or emptied onto the ground.
A pleasing victory for Willard and the Temperance movement, but over the next few days the cowboys and ranch hands packed up their belongings, drew their pay and moved on. Paris businesses and ranches now sat idle; newcomers looking for work quickly moved on when they heard that Paris was now dry. But the event did spark an impromptu treasure hunt.
Many of the departing cowboys took the Great Spanish Road to Red River, where half-a-century earlier Indians had massacred a trader’s caravan. Only three survived the massacre and some of the cowboys recalled hearing that the trader’s caravan had buried all their gold before the attack for safekeeping. They couldn’t agree, however, on how much was buried; some had heard it was $25,000, others thought it was $75,000. Regardless, some of the boys decided they’d poke around for a few days to see if they could locate the hoard.
Over the next couple of days, roughly 50 men got caught up in the excitement and set up camp alongside the trail. Nothing was found and the cowboys moved on. Some believe the fortune hunters dug at the wrong site or on the wrong side of the trail. Either way, the treasure is still there. Local research may help better locate the massacre site.

Thorndale Treasure
MILAM COUNTY – There are two tales from Milam County that sound very similar. Both involve a group of Mexicans who are trying to protect their gold. Both events are said to have occurred in the vicinity of Thorndale, and both involve the murder of an uninvolved third party whose corpse is buried with the treasure so that its restless spirit can guard the hoard.
The best account involves an old timer named Snively who owned a large tract of land along the San Gabriel River. One night a group of Mexicans with nine jack loads of freebooted gold passed the Snively home, heading south for Mexico. At river’s edge, the Mexicans decided to bury the treasure since the road ahead had been plagued by highwaymen and Indians in recent months.
They dug a hole and deposited the hoard inside, covering it over with isinglass to prevent a mineral rod from discovering it. Believing the only way to truly protect the gold was to bury a man with the treasure, they returned to the Snively home and kidnapped him.
Snively was forced to ride to the cache site where he was murdered and his lifeless corpse tossed into the hole.
The excavation was then camouflaged and marked by the Mexicans, who then continued onto Mexico. Their plan was to recover the gold at a safer time, however, nothing more was ever heard of them.
In the second account, a priest is killed and buried with the treasure. Whenever anyone approaches the cache site the apparition of an angry bull appears with fire exploding from its nostrils chasing away any would-be fortune hunters.

Dead Man’s Hole Treasure
JEFF DAVIS COUNTY – El Muerte Springs, aka Dead Man’s Hole, is located about 27 miles northwest of Fort Davis, Texas, as the crow flies. The watering hole was a well-known frontier stage relay station along the El Paso-San Antonio Trail.
During the 19th century, death seemed to haunt this place and its reputation as an outlaw refuge was well known. It is also the site where a treasure in silver bars and other church treasures is said to be buried.
In 1879, Dead Man’s Hole was the site selected for a meeting between the Estrada gang and a group of four Americans. The Estrada gang consisted of 21 well-seasoned banditos; the Americans were Dr. John Neal, James Hughes, Zwing Hunt and Curly Red, aka Sandy King. Curly Red was the mastermind behind the plan to cross into Mexico for the purpose of robbing the mint at Monterey.
After outfitting themselves for the journey by attacking a military detachment from Fort Davis, the 25 men rode to the Presidio Crossing on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, 80 miles south of Dead Man’s Hole.
There several of the men filled their gunnysacks with bat guano from the bat caves below the crossing. Once this task was complete, the outlaws crossed into Mexico and rode onto Monterrey.
At Monterrey, several gang members made a strong showing as legitimate guano dealers offering their guano at $100 per ton. It was a great cover for the real reason they were there. Meanwhile, Red Curly, Hunt, Hughes, and Dr. Neal bought two kegs of tequila and set off for the Mexican mint.
At the mint the men started talking to a couple of the guards and pretty soon the tequila was being poured. Lighthearted conversation followed as a few more guards joined in. Eventually all 12 mint guards joined the party, then, without warning, the Americans swiftly murdered every one of them.
Immediately the four Americans set to clearing out the mint. An undisclosed number of silver bars were placed into panniers and loaded onto the mules. Once the mint had been emptied, the bad guys robbed a nearby 18th century cathedral of its church treasures.
Long before sunrise the outlaw pack train was well underway heading north. Their plan was to return to Dead Man’s Hole where they’d cache the treasure until the heat was off. They entered Texas through Reagan Canyon and worked their way northwest to the Davis Mountains.
On reaching Dead Man’s Hole, the final phase of the Americans’ plan was executed. All the Mexicans in the Estrada gang were murdered. The Americans moved quickly and divided up a small portion of the hoard for travel money and buried the rest in a 12-foot hole.
The Americans stopped in El Paso before continuing onto Tombstone, Arizona. They supported themselves by pulling a number of robberies and burglaries along the way.
In 1881, they decided to recover a portion of the hoard and move the cache site to another location. They enlisted the help of four Mexican miners they’d met on the road to Dead Man’s Hole.
The story goes that the eight men sunk an 85-foot-deep shaft into solid rock. The Monterrey plunder was then transferred to this hole and it filled in. The last few feet of the hole also served as a common grave for the four Mexican miners whom they’d murdered.
Some of the treasure was divided up among the Americans who then rode onto Silver City, New Mexico.
There they hooked up with a nefarious character known as Russian Bill. Their downfall came after one of the Americans shot and killed a man for refusing to drink with him. A Silver City posse ran the bunch out of town and continued to chase them over much of the Arizona Territory.
One by one the outlaws were run to ground and all were killed except for Hughes, who vanished for sometime. He later turned up tending bar in a saloon and was arrested and sent to prison for his crimes. He never returned to Dead Man’s Hole. To date this treasure remains missing.

Sources:
Villa, Benito, “Buried Gold Near Paris, Texas,” June 1977, Lost Treasure magazine, p. 25
Dobie, J. Frank, Legends of Texas – Volume I, 1924, Gretna, LA, Pelican Publishing Company,
p. 170-171
Carson, Xanthus, “Treasure At Dead Man’s Hole,” July 1975, Lost Treasure magazine, p. 18.



Comments

Brian B.'s picture

There have been a lot of

There have been a lot of stories about a pot of gold that can be found somewhere but hidden in your state. It was hidden perfectly so that it won't be discovered easily and only those deserving of the gold will be able to get it. Sounds interesting. Long Island Eye Doctor Brian B.

Braden's picture

A business card is careful as

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Thad Blake's picture

Looking for money or treasure

Just looking for something my family might have left me.

Thad Blake's picture

Looking for money or treasure

Just looking for something my family might have left me.

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