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Lover's Leap in Kimble County Flora Eckert 163 

The Waiting Woman John R. Craddock 167 

Lover's Leap at Santa Anna Austin Callan 169 

Antonette's Leap: The Legend of Mount Bonnell 

/. Frank Dobie 171 


From Sunset in August: Galveston Beach Stanley E. Babb 179 

Life and Legends of Lafitte the Pirate E. G. Littlejohn 179 

I. Jean Lafitte: Man and Pirate 
II. Credence in the Lafitte Legend 

III. The Horror Guarded Treasure of the Neches 

IV. Pirates and Their Sacks of Gold 
V. Lafitte's Treasure Vault 

The Uneasy Ghost of Lafitte Julia Beazley 185 

Lafitte Lore J. O. Webb 189 

The Pirate Ship of the San Bernard : A Legend of Theodosia 

Burr Allston /. W. Morris 191 



An Indian Legend of the Blue Bonnet Mrs. Bruce Reid 197 

How the Water Lilies Came to the San Marcos River 

Bella French Swisher 200 

The Legend of Eagle Lake 201 

The Holy Spring of Father Margil at Nacogdoches 

E. G. Littlejohn 204 

Indian Bluff on Canadian River L. W. Payne, Jr. 205 

How Medicine Mounds of Hardeman County Got Their Name 

L. W. Payne, Jr. 207 

The Naming of Metheglin Creek Alex. Dienst 208 

How Dead Horse Canyon Got Its Name Victor J. Smith 209 

How the Brazos River Got Its Name J. Frank Dobie 209 

I. The Miraculous Escape 
II. How Perishing Seamen Named the River 

III. The Great Drouth and the Waters at Waco 

IV. A Miraculous Swim 

V. Arms Avenging and Saving 

How the Brazos and the Colorado Originated-!?. G. Littlejohn 218 



The White Steed of the Prairies W. P. Webb 223 

The Legend of Sam Bass W. P. Webb 226 

The Horn Worshipers L. D. Bertillion 230 

The Cave of Montezuma J. Leeper Gay 233 

The First Corn Crop in Texas A. W. Eddins 236 

La Casa del Santa Anna A. W. Eddins 237 

Lost Canyon of the Big Bend Country /. Frank Dobie 238 

A Tradition of La Salle's Expedition into Texas 

Alex. Dienst 241 

Big Foot and Little Foot Mrs. S. J. Wright 242 

The Wild Woman of the Navidad Martin M. Kenney 242 

Bibliography of Texas Legends 255 

Contributors 261 

Proceedings of the Texas Folk-Lore Society 263 

Members of the Texas Folk-Lore Society 264 

Index 271 


The Magic Circle : A Chart of the Blanco Mine 25 

The Spider Rock 73 

Stampede Mesa 113 

Lover's Leap: Junction, Kimble County 164 






of the 



Number III 


Copyright, 1924, by J.Frank Dobie, Secretary of the Texas Folk-Lore Society 

All rights reserved 

RD1123 OEHbfl 

University of Texas Press 




The assembling of the legends of my own state has been with 
me no light matter, though it has been a joyful business. Might 
I as editor spend as much of the next three years as I have spent 
of the last three in talking with people, in riding on horseback into 
remote places, in writing letters, in searching through Texas ma- 
terial, the result would no doubt be more satisfactory. The sat- 
isfaction, however, would not lie in an increased number of leg- 
ends, nor in an added variety or worth, for all the widely known 
legends of Texas are, I think, here presented, and the swelling 
size of this volume has already ruled out many legends as repre- 
sentative and as interesting as some of those included. The in- 
creased satisfaction resulting from further research would lie 
in the establishment of relationships, in the tracing out of origins, 
and, most of all, in the fullness of the bibliography. Files of 
Texas newspapers would come first as a printed source for addi- 
tional legendary material. These I have but dipped into, my re- 
moval to a place in which they are altogether inaccessible having 
cut short the investigation of them that I had planned. Consid- 
erable new material might be gained from original Spanish and 
Mexican documents. Texas magazines and Texas books of fic- 
tion, history, biography, and travel have been fairly well exam- 
ined. The chief source of legend in a virgin field of folk-lore 
like that of Texas is the folk themselves ; that field is not likely to 
be exhausted soon. 

No attempt has been made at comparing the legends of Texas 
with those of other lands. An attempt has been made to relate 
the legends to each other and to the life and history of the state. 
In the grouping of them, logic has been plainly violated. The 
groups overlap. They would overlap in any other manner of ar- 
rangement, even a geographical one. With few exceptions, and 
those important for their relationships, all legends not residing 
among Texans of white skin and English speech have been ex- 
cluded. Thus certain negro tales, certain Mexican legends un- 
assimilated by English speaking Texans, certain Indian legends 
have been ruled out. Of course, a vast majority of the legends 
transmitted by white settlers in Texas are derived from folk 
of other races. 


Various factors have combined to determine just what legends 
should be included. A few legends have been printed on account 
of their geographic interest. The legends of buried treasure and 
lost mines are arranged according to place. The geographic 
center of such legends in Texas is the Llano and San Saba coun- 
try. Hence the legends of that region have been put first; then 
come in order those to the south as far as Brownsville, those of 
the west clear to the Guadalupe Mountains, those of the north 
against Red River, those of the eastern part of the state, and 
finally those of the south-central and east. My own intimacy 
with the southwestern part of Texas has probably led to the 
inclusion of an undue proportion of treasure legends from that 
section; I can only plead that I have excluded almost as many 
as are included. A considerable number of excellent legends of 
Texas are available in recent books and newspapers and have, 
therefore, not been reprinted. The legends of the Alamo and 
other missions of San Antonio are first in importance among 
legends of the state. They are not included in this volume be- 
cause happily they have been preserved in at least three local 
histories. 1 

If the ballads of a nation are as important as its laws, its leg- 
ends are almost as important as its ballads. Here I must con- 
fess a great hope that some man or woman who understands will 
seize upon these legends and use them as Irving used the legends 
of the Hudson and the Catskills, as Whittier used the legends of 
New England. People of Texas soil still have a vast body of 
folk-lore, and whoever will write of them with fidelity must rec- 
ognize that lore as surely as Shakespeare recognized the lore of 
his folk, as surely as Mr. Thomas Hardy has recognized the lore 
of Wessex. 

The names of nearly two score contributors to this volume tes- 
tify to the eagerness with which people from every quarter of 
the state have joined in the enterprise of gathering together their 
legends. Many whose names are unsigned have contributed with 
equal sympathy and intelligence. As editor, I desire to express 
gratitude to all who have helped. First I must record the eager 

^History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions in and around 
San Antonio, by Adina De Zavala, San Antonio, 1917; San Antonio de Bexar, 
Historical, Traditional, Legendary, by Mrs. S. J. Wright, Austin, 1916; 
Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes, by Charles Merritt Barnes, 
San Antonio, 1910. The last named of the three books is now very scarce; 
the other two are obtainable at reasonable prices. 


sympathy and aid of many former students of mine at the Uni- 
versity of Texas. I owe much to the encouragement and coun- 
sel of Dr. L. W. Payne, Jr., Professor of English at the Univer- 
sity of Texas. Mrs. Adele B. Looscan of Houston has time after 
time contributed invaluable information. Mr. E. G. Littlejohn 
of Galveston has for years kept clippings of legends that appeared 
in Texas newspapers, and he has put his collection at the disposal 
of the editor. Miss Elizabeth H. West of the Texas State Library 
and Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher, Mr. E. W. Winkler, and Miss 
Annie Campbell Hill, all of the Library of the University of Texas, 
have given generously of their time and information. Since my 
removal from Austin seven months ago, Mr. W. P. Webb, Adjunct 
Professor of History at the University of Texas, and Miss Louise 
von Blittersdorf and Mr. Hartman Dignowity, students, have 
often verified certain references or run down certain information 
not procurable elsewhere than in the libraries of Texas material 
at Austin. My wife, Bertha McKee Dobie, has "o'er look'd each 
line" of manuscript and proof, and the debt to her cannot be set 
down. Mr. A. C. Wright, Manager of the University of Texas 
Press, has done far more than a mere business obligation required. 
The list grows too long. It is impossible to extend it to include 
the names of all those who have assisted. 

More Legends Wanted 

Finally, let it not be thought that this volume will conclude the 
collection and publication of Texas legends. I make an appeal 
at once personal and official: it is for more legends, new or 
variant, to add to the ripening second volume that I trust may 
come forth at no very remote date. 

Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, 
Stillwater, Oklahoma, 
April, 1924. 



An Inquiry into the Sources of Treasure Legends of Texas 

J. Frank Dobie 3 

The Legend of the San Saba or Bowie Mine _ _/. Frank Dobie 12 

Lost Gold of the Llano Country E. G. Littlejohn 20 

I. The Brook of Gold Discovered by Lost Rangers 
II. The Smelter on the Little Llano 

Lost Mines of the Llano and San Saba Julia Estill 24 

I. A Legend of the Blanco Mine 
II. The Mythical Bowie Mine 

Treasure Legends of McMullen County J. Frank Dobie 28 

I. The Rock Pens 
II. A Week Too Late at the Laredo-San Antonio Crossing 

III. The Chest at Rock Crossing on the Nueces 

IV. San Caja Mountain Legends 
V. The Mines 

VI. Loma de Siete Piedras 

VII. The Metate Rocks of Loma Alta 

VIII. When Two Parallel Lines Intersected 

IX. A Lucky Post Hole 

Legendary Spanish Forts Down the Nueces J. Frank Dobie 43 

I. Fort Ramirez on the Ramirena 
II. The Legend of Casa Blanca 
III. Lutzer's Find at Fort Planticlan 

Treasure Chest on the Nueces Mary A. Sutherland 49 

The Battlefields of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma 

J. Frank Dobie 51 

How Dollars Turned into Bumble Bees and Other Legends 

J. Frank Dobie 52 

Native Treasure Talk up the Frio Fannie Ratchford 57 

The Silver Ledge on the Frio /. Frank Dobie 60 

Lost Mine Near Sabinal Edgar B. Kincaid 62 

I. The Quicksilver Mine of the Rangers 
II. Lost Lead Mine 

The Nigger Gold Mine of the Big Bend /. Frank Dobie 64 

Mysterious Gold Mine of the Guadalupe Mountains 

J. Marvin Hunter 67 

Lost Copper Mines and Spanish Gold, Haskell County 

- R. E. Sherrill 72 

Lost Lead Mine on the Brazos, King County 

L. D. Bertillion 11 

The Accursed Gold in the Santa Anna Mountains 

J. Deeper Gay 78 


The Hole of Gold Near Wichita Falls J. Frank Dobie 80 

Buried Treasure Legends of Cooke County Lillian Gunter 81 

The Treasure Cannon of the Neches Roscoe Martin 84 

The Dream Woman and the White Rose Bush 

Mary A. Sutherland 89 

Steinheimer's Millions L. D. Bertillion 91 

The Snively Legend J. Frank Dobie 95 

Buried Treasure Legends of Milam County 

Louise von Blittersdorf 99 

I. The San Gabriel Mission in Legend 
II. The Gold Protected by Snively's Ghost 
III. Pope's Ghost at the Gap 

The Wagon-Load of Silver in Clear Fork Creek 

L. W. Payne, Jr. 103 

Moro's Gold Fannie Ratchford 104 


The Legend of Stampede Mesa John R. Craddock 111 

The Woman of the Western Star : A Legend of the Rangers 

Adele B. Looscan 115 

The Devil and Strap Buckner N. A. Taylor 118 

The Legend of Cheetwah Edith C. Lane 130 

The Mysterious Woman in Blue Charles H. Heimsath 132 

The Headless Squatter John R. Craddock 135 

Mysterious Music in the San Bernard River 

Bertha McKee Dobie 137 

The Death Bell of the Brazos Bertha McKee Dobie 141 

The Legend of the Salt Marshes Bertha McKee Dobie 143 

Rhymes of Galveston Bay John P. Sjolander 143 

I. The Boat That Never Sailed 
II. The Padre's Beacon 

III. Baffle Point 

IV. Point Sesenta 
V. Gumman Gro 


The Enchanted Rock in Llano County Julia Estill 153 

Francesca : A Legend of Old Fort Stockton.__.L. W. Payne, Jr. 157 
Lover's Retreat and Lovers' Retreat, Palo Pinto.__.J. S. Spratt 159 






I ks *~-^' - - - ling, 


By J. Frank Dobie 

However many legends of other kinds there may be, the buried 
treasure or lost mine legend is the typical legend of Texas. Just 
how representative it is is demonstrated by the varied exam- 
ples in this section of "Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost 
Mines." The McMullen County group well illustrates how nu- 
merous are the legends. The group is by no means unique in 
either number or variety. Pertaining to the country up the 
Colorado and its western tributaries, there are literally hundreds 
of lost treasure legends. Scarcely fewer legends cluster around 
the old Fort Stockton-Fort Lancaster country, around the Victo- 
ria-Refugio-Goliad country, around the Big Bend country, and 
along certain sections of the Red River country. In lumber 
mills of East Texas buried treasure is the frequent subject of tale 
and speculation. The Nacogdoches country, the San Jacinto 
country, the San Augustine country, the country all along the 
Brazos from head to mouth, to mention only a few other localities, 
are replete with buried treasure legends. Moreover, instead of 
diminishing in number, these legends are constantly increasing. 

The people who tell these legends represent many standards and 
strata of life, but the ultimate source of their legendary gold and 
their tales is common — Mexican or Spanish. In some of the 
legends the pioneer Texan, the Indian, or the negro plays a part, 
but in nearly all the Spaniard and the Mexican enter as both 
actors and transmitters. The native Texan frequently makes no 
distinction between "Spaniard" and "Mexican"; the wealth of 
legend, however, is generally Spanish. And that wealth would 
fade the actual riches of Potosi into paltriness. Now, how 
comes it that illimitable wealth is so popularly ascribed to the long 
Spanish dominion in Texas and to the brief Mexican occupation 
that intervened between the downfall of Spanish sovereignty and 
the achievement of Texas independence ? Were the Spanish great 
gainers in Texas? Did Santa Anna's armies mark their trail 
with gold? 

4 Legends of Texas 

The facts are that the Spanish in Texas were always hard up, 
that the occupation of the territory was a financial loss, that 
Texas was occupied as a buffer, 1 first against the French in 
Louisiana and then against the United States, with but little at- 
tempt at mineral exploitation and always with a drain on the 
treasury. The Spanish soldiers and settlers often led a wretched 
existence, even on occasions having to root in the ground for 
starches and to hunt wild berries for sugars. According to Mrs. 
Mattie Austin Hatcher, one old San Antonio Mexican did write 
that the Spanish soldiers there were rolling in wealth. "They 
will spend a hundred reales for a dinner," said he, "as easily as 
we spend a centavo for a glass of beer." But he was a revolu- 
tionist inflamed with hatred of Spanish tyranny. So far as we 
know from the records — and again I quote Mrs. Hatcher for au- 
thority — only one cargo of money ever came to Texas from south 
of the Rio Grande; that was during the Mexican Revolution, in 
1811. An expedition of revolutionists set forth from Coahuila 
to San Antonio, seeking escape to the United States. They had 
with them a considerable amount of bullion and money belonging 
to the revolutionary party. They were caught in Texas and 
hanged, and nobody knows what became of their wealth. 

According to authenticated history, the Spanish worked but one 
mine in what before 1836 was the state of Texas. 2 That was 
Los Almagres on the San Saba River, opened about 1757. 
Though the history of the San Saba mission and of the San Saba 
presidio is clear and sufficiently full, little is known of the history 
of the mine. It is doubtful if it ever paid much. Certainly, 
captains and commanders were always urging the Spanish viceroy 
to equip a large presidio on the San Saba to protect the mines. 
A certain Captain Villareal, too, is reported to have sent an ur- 
gent plea to the viceroy for more troops to protect a mine "two 
days' ride from Corpus Christi," which, he said, had been taken by 
Indians. 3 But such advice from the Spanish commanders must 
not be taken too seriously. Many of them were notorious graft- 

!See Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, p. 4. I am 
indebted also to Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher, Archivist in History at the 
University of Texas, for information in her unpublished (1923) book on 
The Opening of Texas to Foreign Settlement, particularly Chaps. II and V. 

2 Brewster County, in which mines were worked, was not in the old Mexican 
state of Texas and Coahuila. 

3 Sutherland, Mary A., The Story of Corpus Christi, Houston, 1916, pp. 
2-3. Mrs. Sutherland does not give her authority. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 5 

ers, paying their men in goods with enormous profit to them- 
selves, and frequently carrying on their payrolls the names of 
men whom they had enlisted only to discharge, or whom they 
had not enlisted at all. Their meat was more men. 4 Yet these 
old reports have furnished "documentary evidence" to many a 
treasure hunter. 

Santa Anna's army, although it was well furnished when it 
crossed over into Texas from Mexico, and although it provided 
some fair plunder to the Texans at San Jacinto, 5 could not, thinks 
Dr. E. C. Barker, Professor of American History in the Univer- 
sity of Texas, have dropped off any chests of money in Texas. 
According to Dr. Barker, the Mexican troops in Texas, especially 
garrison troops, were often poorly paid. 

If we turn from the Spanish and Mexicans to the early Ameri- 
can colonists of Texas, we find that the prospect of mineral riches 
had little part in motivating their colonization. Though Stephen 
F. Austin "denounced" a mine — perhaps coal — on the upper 
Trinity, 6 and though the Bowie brothers, with a small band of 
men, staked their lives on the chance of gaining silver ore from 
the San Saba country, 7 thereby giving basis to the most remark- 
able of all Texas legends, nevertheless, the pioneer settlers of 

4 Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, p. 9; Priestley, 
H. I., Jose de Galvez (University of California Publications in History, 
1916), p. 288. According to Priestley, some presidios were established by the 
Spanish in America to protect the special interests of large landholders. 

Don Pedro de Terreros, banker and wealthy mine owner of Mexico, who 
advanced the money for the establishment of the Mission of San Saba, may 
not have been so altruistic as Bancroft, Dr. Dunn, and Dr. Bolton have all 
implied. The government must bear the cost of military protection for 
the mission. With government protection and Indian labor, the mines at San 
Saba, which Miranda had in his famous reports made so promising, would 
richly pay any individual working them. Don Pedro had an interest in the 
mines. The Terreros records, if extant, might throw a great deal of light 
on the subject. 

5 About $11 around for each man in the Texas army, besides $3000 that 
was voted to the Texas navy. There was $11,000 in specie in Santa Anna's 
military chest. His "finery and silver" were auctioned off at $1600 and his 
rich saddle at $800. See "An Account of the Battle of San Jacinto," by 
J. Washington Winters, Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. 
VI, pp. 139-144; "Memoirs of Major George Bernard Erath," by Lucy A. 
Erath, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, pp. 266-269. 

6 Austin Papers in University of Texas archives. Information given by 
Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher, Archivist. 

7 See "The Legend of the San Saba, or Bowie, Mine." 

6 Legends of Texas 

Texas came hither to plough and herd, to trade and labor, not 
to prospect. 8 


If the Spanish, then, occupied Texas for military and not pe- 
cuniary reasons, at large expense; if the brief Mexican regime 
meant nothing more than the maintenance of costly armies; if 
the original Texas colonists came without a dream of Spanish 
treasure — whence now among their descendants the amazing 
wealth of legends about lost mines and secreted treasures pertain- 
ing to the Spanish-Mexican eras? The full answer can be found 
in no one factor, but it can be largely found in the Spanish genius 
as it expressed itself in America. The answer involves a review 
of early Spanish wealth in America, real and imaginary, and an 
understanding of the influence of the Spanish genius upon Anglo- 
Saxons in the Southwest. The Spanish found immense wealth 
in America. They became credulous of mythical wealth. Later 
ages and folk, failing to inherit their wealth, inherited their 

For treasure the Spanish explored and ransacked the whole of 
one continent and the half of another. And treasure they found. 
The indeterminate lake of Tezcuco is yet uneasy with the wealth 
of Montezuma lost in it by the overwhelmed army of Cortez. 9 
The ransom of Atahualpa, head inca of Peru, promised in golden 
vessels to Pizarro at Andamarca, was to fill a room twenty-two by 
seventeen feet to a height of nine feet above the floor. 10 And 
most of that ransom was actually delivered! Quesada did 
not find El Dorado, but in the country of Bogota he piled up 
golden booty in a courtyard so high "that a rider on horseback 
might hide behind it." 11 For four centuries the silver mines of 

8 Dr. Barker, in treating of "Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas 
Revolution," Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. X, p. 76 ff., 
ignores all idea that reputed mineral riches had anything to do with the 
land speculation. 

An unfounded but popular view to the contrary is offered by Captain 
Marryat, who says: "The dismemberment of Texas from Mexico was affected 
by the reports of extensive gold mines, diamonds, etc., which were to be 
found there." — Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet 
in California, Sonora, and Western Texas, Leipzig, 1843, p. 147. 

9 Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, Book V, Chapter III. I am aware of the 
fact that some historians question the loss of any great treasure. 

10 Prescott, Conquest of Peru, Philadelphia, 1874, I, pp. 420-422; 453 ff. 
Also, Bandelier, A. F., The Gilded Man, p. 19. 

"Bandelier, p. 26. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 7 

South America have been the richest in the world. What wonder 
that the Spanish dreamed of wealth wherever the unknown 
stretched, and that buoyantly they followed their dreams! Led 
by rumor, they found in some places what they had come to 
America to find; thus they came to expect to find it wherever 
rumor pointed. The assertion of a naked Indian led Balboa to 
gaze first of all Europeans upon the great "South Sea." An 
Indian told Pizarro of the vast nations of the Incas and of the 
fabulous treasures of Cuzco. Indians with their tales of the 
wealth of the Aztecs and the Muiscas "guided Cortez to the rich 
capital of Montezuma, and Quesada to the opulent plateau of 
Cundinamarca. ,,12 

What wonder then that Sebastian de Benalcazar listened to a 
lone Indian tell the tale of the Gilded King, El Dorado, 13 in 1535, 
and that in that puissant age of energy, exploration, and imag- 
ination, the tale was echoed in the camps of soldiers under the 
Andes, by the hearths of peasants in Navarre, on the smacks of 
Devonshire fishermen, in the counting-houses of Augsburg bankers, 
and in the council chamber of Queen Elizabeth as well as in the 
courts of a century of Spanish monarchs? To seek El Dorado, 
the conquistador es for a hundred years and more marched and 
countermarched from one extremity of half of the western hemi- 
sphere to the other, spending the lives of tens of thousands of 
men and the wealth of prodigal treasuries, enduring starvation, 
fever, cold, thirst, the pests of swamps and the pitilessness of 
deserts — all with an intrepidity that comes now in our tame 
"Safety First" age like a stirring cup brewed by the giants. At 
first a man, El Dorado came to mean a place somewhere in the 
western part of what is now Colombia, then in any, every direc- 
tion. At sixty-three Great Raleigh came out of twelve years of 
imprisonment to fare forth a second time on the quest. And two 
centuries after he had died the same quest was occupying whole 
bodies of men ; and even yet it is the tale, so it is said, of sanguine 
souls scattered over all South America. 

When the seekers did not find it, always the treasure was 

12 Zahm, J. A. (H. J. Mozans), Through South America's Southland, New 
York, 1916, p. 361. 

13 For full accounts of the El Dorado history and legends, see Adolphe F. 
Bandelier's The Gilded Man, New York, 1893, and Z. A. Zahm's (H. J. 
Mozans) The Quest of El Dorado, New York, 1917. Both are readable and 
distinguish well between history and legend. Bandelier is the more scholarly 
of the two writers. 

8 Legends of Texas 

mas alia, on beyond. The search for La Ciudad Encantada de los 
Cesares, 14 inspired by the fabrication of an Indian, was but the 
duplication of the sublime and ridiculous El Dorado error. And 
so was Cabeza de Vaca's quest for the legended wealth of Flor- 
ida 15 — a quest that had its ironic conclusion on the other side of 
the continent in Coronado's expedition. So, too, were the fabled 
Palace of Cubanacan in Cuba ; 16 the mythical wealth of the myth- 
ical Amazons ; 17 the Laguna de Oro in New Mexico ; 18 the Pueblos 
del Rey Coronado of the West; 19 the Cerro de la Plata, 20 which was 
perhaps Los Almagres of Texas ; 21 the Concho River, bedded with 
pearls richer than those of the Indies or of the Gulf of Califor- 
nia; 22 the "Peak of Gold," 23 in either Texas or New Mexico; the 
nebulous treasures of a Casa del Sol; 24 and the Gran Paytiti, or 
Gran Moxo, 25 again in South America. Always beyond and be- 
yond, lured by the talk of whatever chance savage, the Spanish 
quested. Thus the tale of a captive Indian, who wanted to get 
back eastward, led Coronado' from the empty pueblos of the Zuni 
in Arizona, whither he had been guided by an ignorant negro in 
search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, to make his astounding 
march on eastward all the way to Kansas in quest of the Gran 
Quivira 26 — a place that never existed, a people that wandered 
naked at the heels of the drifting buffalo. 

14 Zahm, J. A. (Mozans), Through South America's Southland, pp. 353- 

15 Bandelier, The Gilded Man, "The Seven Cities," p. 125 ff. 

1G Skinner, Chas. M., Myths and Legends of Our New Possessions, Phila- 
delphia, 1902, p. 103. 

17 Bandelier, The Gilded Man, "The Amazons," p. 113 ff. 

18 Bolton, H. E. (Editor), Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, New 
York, 1916, pp. 130, 156, 184, 186. 

19 Ibid., p. 130. 

2 °Ibid., pp. 283-284. 

21 Bancroft identifies the "mountain of silver" with "the famous iron 
mountain near the city of Durango." — History of the North Mexican States 
and Texas, I, p. 100. 

22 Bolton, Spanish Explorations, pp. 313-317. 

23 Lummis, Chas. F., The Enchanted Burro, p. 161 ff. 

24 Zahm, J. A., The Quest of El Dorado, p. 6. 

25 Ibid., pp. 197-200. 

2 6Bandelier, The Gilded Man, "Quivira," p. 223 ff. 

Dr. Bolton points out that the Spanish searched in Texas for "the King- 
dom of Gran Quivira, where 'everyone had their ordinary dishes made of 
wrought plate, and the jugs and bowls were of gold'"; also "for the Seven 
Hills of the Aijados, or Aixaos, where gold was so plentiful that 'the 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 9 

The imagination of simple-lived folk abhors failure, and the 
poorest in circumstances are the richest in legend of treasure. 
A remote disaster becomes a hope for present success. "I have 
remarked," says Washington Irving, 27 "that the stories of treasure 
buried by the Moors which prevail throughout Spain are most 
current among the poorest people. It is thus kind nature con- 
soles with shadows for the want of substantial. " When Coro- 
nado told his men the truth of his barren search, they deserted 
him unbelieving. Following his expedition in 1542, a mission 
was established in southeastern New Mexico. For a hundred 
years explorers continued to search east and west for the Quivira. 
Finally the poor little mission was destroyed, and then the mixed- 
blooded descendants of the Spanish fortune hunters came to be- 
lieve that it had been a rich cathedral in which was hoarded illim- 
itable wealth. 28 The dreamer may die, but the dream of treasure 
lives on. 

When the Texas pioneers inherited the Spanish sitios and 
porciones of land, the leagues and labors, marked off by varas 
and pasos, they inherited too from the Spaniard and his Mexi- 
can successor something of the lure of ungained treasure. The 
imagination that images a cave in the Llano hills filled with five 
hundred jack loads of silver bullion is hardly so audacious as that 
which pictured the Seven Cities shining with their jeweled por- 
tals in the sun and peopled mostly by goldsmiths; but it is the 
same imagination, different only in degree, tempered by race 
and by temporal environment. The maletas of doubloons, the 
chests and stuffed cannon of Mexican army money, the caves 
bursting with Spanish bullion and plundered jewels — the very 
stuff of Texas treasure legends — are directly derived from the 
Spanish who made the multiform story of El Dorado immortal. 
I do not mean to say that the treasure legend is peculiar to the 
Spanish-tempered Southwest; I do mean to assert that the treas- 
ure legends of this Southwest are peculiarly of Spanish origin. 
It would, indeed, be interesting to contrast the treasure legends 
of the world before the Spanish discovered American wealth with 
those that have taken form since. 

natives not knowing any of the other metals, make of it everything they 
need, such as vessels and the tips of arrows and lances.' " — "The Spanish 
Occupation of Texas, 1519-1690," by Herbert E. Bolton, Southwestern His- 
torical Quarterly, Vol. XVI, pp. 1-2. 

27 The Alhambra, "The Journey." 

28 Bandelier, The Gilded Man, p. 223 ff. 

10 Legends of Texas 


One cannot neglect the immense effect on the imaginations of 
North America made by the discovery of gold in California and 
later in Alaska. Snively's wild goose expedition up the Rio 
Grande in 1867 29 could hardly have been supported by the settlers 
of Texas before '49. There is evidence to show that popular 
interest in, and therefore legends of, Texas lost mines blazed up 
synchronically with the California gold excitement of 1848-1850. 
In 1849 Charles W. Webber published a novel that makes much 
of the San Saba tradition. 30 In the early fifties, Texas newspa- 
pers carried items on "Gold" as well as on "Cotton," etc., and 
there was a mining rush up the Colorado and its western tribu- 
taries. 31 The time afforded occasion for the revival of Spanish- 
Mexican and Indian traditions concerning Spanish mining opera- 
tions in Texas. Note should be made of the fact that the ma- 
jority of Texas buried treasure legends presuppose rich mines. 


Two kindred qualities of man, hope and credulity, remain to be 
considered among the sources of treasure legend in Texas. 
These qualities are not coordinate with the historical forces; 
rather, they have been acted upon by the historical forces. Yet 
they have a certain localized source like the legends themselves. 
For as the tradition of modern treasure goes back to El Dorado, 
so the Mexicans who lure Americans into the quest of treasure 
are direct descendants of the Indians who lured the early Spanish. 
These Indians often pointed the eager Spanish on beyond in order 
to get rid of them; so the modern Mexican frequently inspires 
credulity in American treasure hunters in order to gain a small 

There seems to be a more or less regular traffic in charts — 
platas — to buried treasure. One Mexican paid for medicine at a 

29 See "The Snively Legend," infra. 

30 Webber, Chas. W., The Gold Mines of the Gila, New York, 1849, especially 
pages 189-191 and 196-197. Webber concludes the book with an actual pro- 
posal to readers to join him in an expedition after the treasure. He had 
been a ranger with Jack Hays a short time and he claims to have gotten 
his information about the San Saba deposits from the talk of men in camp. 
Use is made of the same legendary material in Webber's Old Hicks the Guide, 

31 Galveston Weekly Journal, May 13, June 6, June 16, 1853. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 11 

drug store with his chart and story; another got pasturage for 
his burros at the same price; a third parted with his directive 
legend, which he believed in, to a white man for befriending him 
in sickness. Some of the platas purporting to be a century old 
are written with pencil on the cheapest of modern paper. The 
late John Warren Hunter asserted that at one time the chart 
business was a regular industry in San Antonio. 32 Only recently 
a man was indicted in Fort Worth for fraudulently obtaining 
money on pretense of organizing an expedition to seek $5,000,000 
in gold nuggets in a cave in Mexico. 33 How the nuggets got in 
the cave involved a long story around an Indian, General Custer, 
Jesse James, and Pancho Villa. It was a good story! 34 

However, it would be grossly wronging the chief purveyors of 
treasure charts and legends to ascribe their action even primarily 
to avarice. It is as easy to promise gold as it is to promise rain, 
and in a country in which neither is plentiful the Mexican shows 
his desire to please by predicting both. Many a treasure legend 
has originated in motives as innocent as those of Uncle Remus. 

Where there is so much smoke there must be some fire, many 
people familiar with the great body of treasure legend will say. 
I have no disposition to refute the argument. According to leg- 
end, much money has been found. I myself know of a few small 
finds. I know of eight hundred Mexican dollars having been 
found under a mesquite tree in Atascosa County many years ago ; 
I know of about four hundred dollars in Mexican coin that were 
rooted up by hogs in Frio County forty years ago. Doubtless 
other actual finds over the country could be recorded. Whatever 
the facts, few men of imagination can listen to the enthusiasm 
of the true treasure hunter without becoming infected with his 

After all, one need not patronize or pity these modern seekers 
of El Dorado. The law of compensation always works. At least 

32 "The Hunt for the Bowie Mine in Menard," in Frontier Times, Bandera, 
Texas, October, 1923, pp. 24-26. The article is full of concrete evidence 
not to be questioned. 

33 San Antonio Express, October 21, 1923, p. 1. 

34 For good satire on Texan credulity in Mexican mines, see On A Mexican 
Mustang Through Texas, by Alex E. Sweet and J. Armory Knox, Rand, 
McNally and Co., New York, 1892, pp. 439-452. 

12 Legends of Texas 

they have kept alive that "knack of hoping" that made Oliver 
Goldsmith so charming. They have something in them as precious 
perhaps as the "ditches of footnotes" that authorize this treatise 
on them. They have dreamed something of the dream of Great 
Raleigh; and when one has known them as I have known them, 
he comes to respect something rightly simple and sincere in their 
lives, as there is, indeed, something rightly simple and sincere 
in their legends. 

In some towns and back in certain unproductive hill dis- 
tricts of Southwest Texas, a considerable number of people 
live to hunt treasure. With them treasure hunting is a high 
passion. Others — and among them mingle people of some means 
— "dig" occasionally. However, few ranch and farm people of 
the Southwest make a practice of hunting lost treasure, and the 
majority even laugh at folk who do; yet most of them sometimes 
tell these legends, and nearly every man, under the sanguine 
spell of realistic circumstance, has at some time or another taken 
stock in one or two of them. Thus the legends in a large way, 
not easily defined, express the genius of the people to whose soil 
they pertain. 


By J. Frank Dobie 


The epic legend of Texas is the legend of the San Saba, or 
Bowie, Mine. In Spanish chronicles it is known as La Mina de 
Los Almagres, or simply Los Almagres; also as Las Amarillas; 
sometimes as La Mina de las Iguanas, or Lizard Mine, from the 
fact that the ore was said to be found in chunks called iguanas 
(lizards). Almagre means red earth. 

"To discover a rumored Silver Hill (Cerro de la Plata) some- 
where to the north, several attempts were made before 1650 from 
both Nuevo Leon and Nueva Vizcaya, but were frustrated by 
Indian hostilities." 1 

"Sir, . . . the principal vein is more than two square bars thick, 
and from a distance the upper part of it looks to be more than 

1 Bolton, H. E., Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, pp. 283-284. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 13 

thirty bars wide. . . . We met Indians who assured us that on 
beyond the almagres were still larger and richer . . . and that 
there we might find an abundance not only of ore but of pure 
silver . . . But the mines of Cerro del Almagre are so numerous 
. . . that I pledge myself to give the inhabitants of the province of 
Texas one each, without any man's being prejudiced in the 
measurements." Thus reported Bernardo de Miranda as a result 
of his prospecting tour for minerals in the Llano country in 1756. 2 
And partly "because an opulence and abundance of silver and 
gold was the principal foundation upon which the kingdom of 
Spain rested" ("por que la riqueza y ahundancia de plata, y oro, 
es el fundo principal de que resuelta los reinos de Espana"), 3 
as the royal viceroy of Mexico took occasion to remind his sub- 
ordinates, an immediate establishment of mission and presidio on 
the San Saba River was undertaken and the mining enterprise 
presumably launched. 

Thus the rumor of the Hill of Silver developed into the epic 
legend of Texas. History has recorded clearly the foundation 
and the failure of the San Saba mission and presidio, and 
there is no occasion for repeating the story here. 4 It has been 
singularly reticent on the subject of the mines. Dr. Dunn says 
nothing on it. Dr. Bolton tells of having "identified the mine 
opened by Miranda with the Boyd Shaft" on Honey Creek, fifty 
or sixty miles from the mission and presidio that were near what 
is now Menard on the San Saba. 5 The fullest essay yet made at 
treating the debatable subject of the mines is to be found in a 
pamphlet by the late John Warren Hunter, entitled "Rise and 
Fall of the Mission San Saba," to which is appended "A Brief 
History of the Bowie or Almagres Mine." 6 The implication from 

2 "Miranda's Expedition to Los Almagres and Plans for Developing the 
Mines," a Spanish transcript from original documents in the archives of 
Mexico, now in the history archives of the University of Texas, "1755-1756, 
A. G. I. Mejico, 92-6-22, N' 16A." See also another transcript from original 
sources: "Report on Disposition of San Saba," listed "1767, A. G. I., Guad., 
104-6, 13." 

3 "Miranda's Expedition to Los Almagres," etc. Vide ante. 

4 For a succinct history, see Dunn, William E., "The Apache Mission of the 
San Saba River," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVII, 379-414; also, 
Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 78-93. 

5 Bolton, supra, p. 83. 

6 This is an interesting but somewhat confusing document. It was printed 
in 1905 and is already so rare as to be almost unobtainable. It is in neither 

14 Legends of Texas 

history is that the mines were closed with the abandonment of the 
San Saba presidio, 1769. However, inasmuch as the nearest mil- 
itary protection was more than fifty miles away and was unable 
to hold its own against the Comanches and other hostile tribes, 
it is doubtful whether the mines were ever worked to any extent. 
Hunter finds, on doubtful evidence, that they were still being 
operated in 1812. 7 Again, it is claimed that Mexico was prepar- 
ing to reopen the mines when Iturbide fell in 1823. 8 

But with the evidence at hand it would be idle to go further 
into the history of the mines. All that I myself know is what I 
have read in and of Miranda's reports; and these reports were 
the propaganda of an ambitious promotion seeker, made before, 
not after, practical exploitation. The mines may have been 
worked consistently for a while. They may have paid. Accord- 
ing to one report in the Miranda documents, the ore assayed eleven 
ounces to the pound. 9 Hunter says that a report made in 1812 
by Dojq Ignacio Obregon, who signed himself "Inspector Real de 
las Minas," announced an analysis of $1680 to the ton ; 10 but this 
Don Ignacio's reports of assays have been only a little less ubiquit- 
ous than peddled charts. 11 According to a recent United States 
Government report, the Llano country shows no evidence of gold 
or silver in paying quantities. 12 

the Texas State Library nor the Library of the University of Texas. I am 
indebted to Mr. E. W. Winkler for use of his presentation copy. Mr. Hunter 
was living at Mason when he issued the pamphlet and had a rare first-hand 
knowledge of the ground and of traditions as well as access to some original 

7 Op. tit., p. 47. 

8 History of San Antonio and the Early Days of Texas, compiled by Robert 
Sturmberg, San Antonio, 1920, Chap. III. 

9 "Report on Disposition of San Saba." Vide ante. 

10 Op. cit., p. 48. 

"See, for instance, "The Lost Gold Mines of Texas May Be Found," by 
W. D. Hornaday in the Dallas News, January 7, 1923. 

12 U. S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 450, "Mineral Resources of the Llano- 
Burnet Region, Texas," by Sidney Page, Washington, Government Printing 
Office, 1911. 

But note the following dispatch in the San Antonio Express, February 26, 
1924, p. 5: 

"AUSTIN, Tex., Feb. 25 — Sam Young, Llano banker, was in Austin Monday and re- 
ports much activity in that region in the mineral line. Young says experts think they 
have found gold in paying quantity, also graphite, and that capital now is being interested 
in the deposits with the early prospects of real mining and shipping of valuable ores and 
probably the refined products. Many small deposits of precious metals have been found 
near Llano in recent years, but the new finds are said to be large enough to warrant 
exploitation and give that section a new and valuable industry." 

Thus history never tires of repeating itself; thus the dream of treasure 
once dreamed lives on. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 15 

It is true that Miranda was ordered to take thirty mule loads of 
ore to Mexico to be carefully assayed. According to some tra- 
ditions, all the ore of Texas mines was transported to Mexico to 
be smelted ; on the other hand, the ruins of sundry smelters have 
been reported by hunters for the mines. The point is that a great 
many legends about "seventeen," "thirty," or "forty jack loads" 
of buried bullion may have been derived from the actual trans- 
portation of a pack train of crude ore. 


Where history is doubtful, legend is assured; and a volume of 
the most engrossing narratives might easily be compiled on the 
Almagres Mine. The legend, in its color, variety, and luxuriance, 
has reached into the literature of England and continental 
Europe, 13 reverted with thousand-fold increase to the Mexican 
land of its birth, and flourished in the camps, households, and 
offices of a century of American cowboys, ranp""^, miners, 
farmers, bankers, lawyers, preachers, and ne ^spaper writers of 
the Southwest; entering, on one hand, into professed fiction, 14 
and on the other hand, leading hundreds of men into the grave 
business of disemboweling mountains, draining lakes, and turning 
rivers out of their courses. 

13 Fournel, Henri, Coup oV oeil . . . sur le Texas, Paris, 1841, p. 23, speaks 
"des richesses metalliques depuis longtemps signalees par les Espagnoles." 
I am unable now to verify the reference, but I am sure that Gustave Aimard 
introduces the subject in one of his romances, probably The Freebooters. 

Of course the rumor of the mines had a wide vogue in Spain, where the 
viceroy's reports went direct. 

An English novel published in 1843 has this sentence: "The Comanches 
have a great profusion of gold, which they obtain from the neighborhood of 
the San Seba [sic] hills, and work it themselves into bracelets, armlets, 
diadems, as well as bits for their horses, and ornaments to their saddles." — 
Marryat, Captain, Monsieur Violet, etc., p. 175. 

14 As examples of fictional uses of the legend in America, see Webber, 
Charles W., The Gold Mines of the Gila, New York, 1849, pp. 189-191; Web- 
ber, Old Hicks the Guide, New York, 1848. In this last named book, the use 
is so vague and general that no particular pages can be cited. Other ex- 
amples are "The Llano Treasure Cave," by Dick Naylor, The Texas Maga- 
zine, Vol. Ill, pp. 195-204, reprinted in the Dallas Semi-Weekly Farm News, 
with T. B. Baldwin as the name of the author, July 11 and July 14, 1922; 
The Three Adventurers, by J. S. (K. Lamity) Bonner, Austin, (no date 
given) . 

16 Legends of Texas 

It is a great pity for the sake of romance that we have no biog- 
raphy of Bowie such as we have of Crockett. James Bowie must 
have been a colorful and spirited soldier of fortune as well as 
free-hearted patriot. We know that he was a successful slave 
runner. We know that in the early twenties he and his brother 
Kezin P. Bowie came to San Antonio and that from the beginning 
he had one eye open for a quick fortune. According to Sowell, 
he prospected for gold and silver on the Frio River. 15 He must 
have been rather credulous, as is natural to men with untrained 
imagination and bounding lust for adventure. Witness his pre- 
cipitate action in the so-called "Grass Fight." 16 While he was in 
hot-headed quest of the San Saba Mine, he engaged in one of the 
most brilliant Indian fights of early days. 17 Thousands of men 
have believed and yet believe that he knew where untold riches 
lie. He died in the Alamo, carrying with him a secret as potent 
to render him immortal as his brave part in achieving the inde- 
pendence of Texas. 

I shall nov' briefly sketch Colonel Bowie's connection with the 
mine that bears L s name. My information is based somewhat 
on Hunter's pamphlet, but I have heard the legend in a dozen dif- 
ferent forms and shall attempt nothing more than an amalgama- 

"In the first place," says West Burton of Austin, a most persis- 
tent seeker for the mine, "never be fooled into thinking that there 
is any such thing as the Bowie Mine. You can follow a lead if 
you hit it and locate any mine, but there is not any lead to the 
so-called Bowie Mine. That wasn't a mine at all, but a storage 
for bullion taken from the San Saba or Los Almagres mines 

15 Sowell, A. J., Early Settlers and Indian Fighters of Texas, pp. 405-408. 

16 "Several days previous to the fight it was currently reported in Camp 
that there was a quantity of silver coming from Mexico on pack mules to 
pay off the soldiers of General Cos. Our scouts kept a close watch, to give 
the news as soon as the convoy should be espied, so that we might intercept 
the treasure. On the morning of the 26th, Colonel Bowie was out in the 
direction of the Medina, with a company, and discovered some mules with 
packs approaching. Supposing this to be the expected train, he sent a mes- 
senger for reinforcements." — Baker, D. W. C, Texas Scrap Book, p. 92. 

17 The Battle of Calf Creek, 1831, in which eleven Texans fought one hun- 
dred and sixty-four Indians under the leadership of Chief Tresmanos of the 
Lipans. Only one of Bowie's men was killed. Rezin P. Bowie wrote an 
account of the battle that has often been quoted in Texas histories. The 
account by James Bowie seems not so well known. It is to be found in John 
Henry Brown's History of Texas, Vol. I, pp. 170-175. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 17 

proper. Remember that the Spanish fort on the San Saba was 
destroyed three times and that the Indians were on the warpath 
constantly. Under such conditions, a strong and secure place 
had to be found for storing the bullion as it was smelted out. 
That place was somewhere on the Llano. In it were stored five 
hundred jack loads of silver bullion when the Indians ran the 
Spanish out the last time and destroyed the mines. It was that 
storage that the Lipans showed to Bowie and that he tried to get." 
Over the Llano region roamed and ruled a band of Lipans. 
Their chief was named Xolic, and for a long time he was in the 
habit of leading his people down to San Antonio every year to 
trade off some of the bullion they had captured from the Span- 
iards. They never took much at a time, for their wants were 
simple. The Spaniards and Mexicans in San Antonio thought 
that the ore had been chipped off some rich vein; there was a 
little gold in it. Of course they tried to learn the source of such 
wealth, but the Indians had a tribal understanding that whoever 
should reveal the place of the mineral should be bound and tortured 
to death. No Lipan broke his agreement. At length the people 
of San Antonio grew accustomed to the silver-bearing Lipans 
and ceased to try to enter their secret. Then came the curious 

Bowie laid his plans carefully. He at once began to cultivate 
the friendship of the Lipans. He sent back East for a fine rifle 
plated with silver. When it came he presented it to old Chief 
Xolic. A powwow was held and Bowie was invited to join the 
tribe. Formally, by the San Pedro Springs, he was adopted into 
it. Now followed months of life with the savages. Bowie was 
expert at shooting the buffalo ; he was foremost in fighting against 
the enemies of the Lipans ; some say that he married the chief's 
daughter. He became so thoroughly a Lipan and was so useful a 
warrior that his adopted brothers finally showed him the source 
of their precious mineral. He had expected much but he had 
hardly expected to see millions. The sight seemed to overthrow 
all caution and judgment. Almost immediately he deserted the 
Indians and returned to San Antonio to raise a force for seizing 
the treasure. 

He was between two fires. He did not want too large a body 
of men to share with ; he must have a considerable body to force 
the Indians. He took some time in arranging the campaign. 

18 Legends of Texas 

Meanwhile old Chief Xolic died, and a young warrior named Tre&- 
manos succeeded to his position. Soon afterwards he came with 
his people to San Antonio on their annual bartering trip. There 
he saw Bowie, accused him of treachery, and came near being 
killed for his insolence. The time was at hand for Bowie to start 
on his campaign. Thirty-four men had promised to accompany 
him. In actuality, only ten put in their appearance, among whom 
were his brother Rezin P. Bowie and a negro slave. The fewness 
of numbers, however, did not deter him. He was determined to 
reach the site of the mineral — whether smelted bullion or natural 
veins of crude ore legend does not agree — and to establish a 
stockade there and proceed with exploitation. 

Some distance north of San Antonio in the hills he met a 
friendly band of Indians who warned him that Tresmanos was on 
the warpath against him and his rumored invasion. Bowie 
pressed on. November 21, 1831, near Calf Creek, in what is now 
McCulloch County, the little party was attacked at sunrise by 
164 Indians. The Texans had one man killed and two wounded 
and all their horses lost ; the Indians, according to their own sub- 
sequent report, had eighty men killed besides a great number 
wounded. In 1905, Hunter described the remains of the bar- 
ricade hastily constructed by the Bowie party as being "still trace- 
able," and added that the barricade "would be almost intact but 
for the hand of the impious treasure seeker." 

It is generally said that the battle of Calf Creek marked Bowie's 
last attempt to get to the San Saba Mine, and that the remaining 
few years of his life were taken up with the duties of a patriot. 
According to one legend current in the San Saba country, on the 
word of Mr. Carlos Ashley, a native, Bowie was seeking the San 
Saba treasure in order to finance the Texas army. This is the 
patriotic theme also of a Texas novel in which Bowie is the hero : 
William 0. Stoddard's The Lost Gold of the Montezuma® — A 
Story of the Alamo. Mr. Matt Bradley, editor and publisher of 
Border Wars of Texas, says that only three months before Bowie 
fell in the Alamo he was trying again to reach the riches of which 
he alone among white men knew the secret. 18 Some years ago a 
man named Longworth, who is now in Kansas, paid a Mexican in 
San Antonio $500 for a document purporting to have been taken 

18 A signed article on the Calf Creek fight in the Dallas News, January 28, 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 19 

off Bowie's body by a Mexican lieutenant who entered the Alamo 
immediately after the last defender had been silenced. The Mex- 
ican who sold the document claimed that lieutenant as a paternal 
ancestor. He swore that it gave directions to the mine, but some- 
how Longworth could not follow them. 

Thus we see that, in fact, Bowie had nothing more to do with 
the mine than to hunt it. But because he was its greatest hunter 
and because he is presumed to have found it, his name has come 
to be linked with it. However, this linking is of a comparatively 
recent time. I doubt if the name "Bowie Mine" was used at all 
until after the Civil War. All the earlier histories and books of 
travel that mention the mines — and they are many — refer to 
them as the San Saba Mines. "Bowie Mine" is a popular coinage 
of the last half century, and now the legend of the mine is living 
to no small extent by virtue of the legend of the man. 


We have seen that the San Saba presidio was fifty miles or more 
away from the mines it is supposed to have protected. Not all 
lost mine hunters, by any means, have agreed with Dr. Bolton in 
locating the mine, or mines, on Honey Creek. It has been located 
now on the Llano, now on the San Saba, up and down, across and 
beyond. Many hunters assert that numerous mines were scat- 
tered over a wide belt extending in a general way from the Colo- 
rado westward along the courses of the Llano and San Saba to 
the Nueces canyon, El Canon, as the Spanish called it. 19 A vast 
part of the bullion buried in Texas legends is supposed to have 
come from the mines in this area. 

Some of the early Texas writers credulous of mineral deposits 
in the state have had an immense influence on hunters for the 
San Saba Mines, who are often readers of old and out of the way 
books. These hunters argue that as the early writers were nearer 
the sources of history than their skeptical successors, they must 
be more reliable. 

An article from the now stilled pen of John Warren Hunter 
recently appeared in the Frontier Times (Bandera, Texas), de- 

19 "Command El Canon and Los Almagres to deliver up their known 
treasures," wrote De Mezieres in an effort to stimulate Spanish activity il 
Texas. — Bolton, H. E., Athanase de Mezieres, II, 297. 

20 Legends of Texas 

tailing a few of the enterprises that have been undertaken to re- 
cover the San Saba Mine. I quote from the article: 20 

"The poor, credulous tramp prospector has not been alone led 
off by the lure of the Lost Mine. . . . Ben F. Gooch, a one-time 
wealthy stockman at Mason, was so sure that he had found 
the Bowie Mine that he spent $1500 sinking a shaft that is 
yet pointed out as 'Gooch's Folly/ A judge of the Supreme 
Court spent $500 in another hole near Menard. W. T. 
Burnum invested $1500 in machinery with which he pumped 
out a cave on the divide north of the old mission. Failing to 
find the coveted mine at this place, he moved the machinery 
and pumped out a small artificial lake just above the town of 
Menard. . . . The Spanish had created this lake for a purpose. 
. . . The Almagres Mine entrance was at the bottom of the 
lake, which had been flooded by the Spaniards at the last 


By E. G. Littlejohn 

The first of these two legends is adapted from an account signed 
"S. S. P." that appeared in the Galveston News years ago. It is 
attributed to one of the rangers who made the find. The second 
legend appeared in the Galveston News also, signed by Nancy 
Evans Bower, of Cherokee, Texas, who got it direct from Medlin. 

The Brook of Gold Discovered by Lost Rangers 

Back in the early '40's the main camp of McCulloch's rangers 
was located in Hamilton's Valley on the Colorado. From this 
point they scouted far and wide against hostile Indians. While 
two of the rangers were out on one such scouting expedition, their 
horses got away during the night, and in attempting to find them 
next morning they got lost themselves in a dense fog that envel- 
oped the hills and valleys. They wandered all day in a vain at- 
tempt to regain their camp. It was hot summer, in a time of long 

20 Vol. I, No. I, October, 1923, p. 25. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 21 

drouth, and they were in a region utterly devoid of water. When 
night came they lay down, suffering from hunger and thirst. The 
next morning they struck out early, hoping to "find themselves" 
before the heat of the day came on, or at least to find some water. 
But though they climbed many rugged hills to view the land, every 
prospect was desolate and unfamiliar. 

At length, from the summit of a low range of hills, they dis- 
covered a narrow green valley, and down it, by a line of green 
trees, they traced the course of a mountain brook. Descending, 
they soon stood on the banks of a stream of clear water, which 
danced over a pebbly bottom of fine, almost pure white gravel, 
with here and there shallow pools sparkling under the noon-day 
sun. Here they rested and refreshed themselves, lying flat upon 
the margin and taking long draughts of the crystal waters. 

As one of the rangers, after the first pangs of his thirst were 
satisfied, lay looking into the sparkling waters, he was startled to 
discover that the entire bottom was strewn with minute shining 
particles. Calling to his companion, he said : "We have lost our 
horses, saddles, and guns, but here is something better. Here is 
gold, gold, world without end!" The particles, which were as 
thick among the sand and gravel as if sown by the handful, were 
yellow like gold and of the size of very coarse corn bran. 

Before leaving the place, the rangers gathered a quantity of the 
yellow particles and tied them up in a handkerchief. On their 
way out they stopped to rest high up on the western shoulder of a 
long, rugged hill. Here they discovered in the fork of a stunted 
live oak tree an ancient rust-eaten pick, it's handle gone, and one 
end so encased in the growth of the tree that the pick could not be 
removed. The other end pointed toward the head of the little 
stream they had left. Then they realized that they were not the 
first to have discovered the gold mine, but that some prospector, 
overtaken perhaps by sudden death, had left his mark. Late in 
the afternoon the scouts saw looming in the distance Packsaddle 
Mountain on the Llano, and from this well-known landmark they 
found their bearings and were soon safely back in McCulloch's 
camp at Hamilton's Valley. 

Later they exhibited their bandana of gold in the village of San 
Marcos. A man there versed in the subject of minerals pro- 
nounced it virgin gold and said that it was what miners knew as 
"drift gold," which had been washed downstream from a mother 
lode. That mother lode, he said, might be miles away, but wher- 

22 Legends of Texas 

ever it was it must be exceedingly rich. On many a long tramp 
and ride in after years the rangers sought the golden pool, but 
they never found it again. The mute finger of the old pick on the 
mountain side perhaps still points to the spot where the lost mine 
may be found, and the grim hills of the Llano country still stand 
silent guard over the secret of their hidden wealth. 


The Smelter on the Little Llano 

In the early part of the last century mining parties composed 
principally of Mexicans, but usually led by two or more white 
men, were quite common in the mineral belt of Texas. The min- 
ing was carried on under great difficulties and in a crude way. 
The country was a wilderness inhabited only by roving bands of 
hostile Indians and wild animals. The only means of transporta- 
tion were the small Mexican burros. Panniers made of cowhide 
and packed with provisions, tools, and other necessaries of the 
miners, were strapped to the backs of these patient, docile little 
animals. After the furnace was constructed, the burros conveyed 
ore from the mine to the furnace. 

The mineral was buried as it came from the smelter, for no one 
knew at what moment the Indians might sweep down. It was 
also a rule among the miners, when moving or returning to the 
settlements, to bury their mineral treasure at night and build 
their campfire over it, thus having it securely hidden in case of 
an attack by the Indians. 

In the year 1865 an ancient man came to San Saba County in 
search of an old furnace. After searching for it alone for sev- 
eral days, he confided to some ranchmen in the vicinity that in 
1834 he and another white man and thirty-five Mexicans were 
engaged in mining near the Little Llano River. They had found, 
he said, a rich mine and had taken out 1200 pounds of gold and 
silver, which they buried together with $500 in Mexican silver 
coin. It was their custom to conceal the opening to the mine after 
conveying a month's supply to the furnace. They had just com- 
pleted a month's run and were preparing to return to the mine for 
another supply when the Indians swooped down upon them, kill- 
ing all except the two white men and a Mexican girl, who were 
at the spring some distance from the furnace. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 23 

The stranger went on to say that the treasure was buried 
on a high hill half a mile due north from the furnace ; that seventy- 
five yards from the furnace, in a direct line between the furnace 
and the spot where the treasure was buried, stood a pin oak tree, 
in a knot hole of which a rock had been driven. He offered 
$500 to anyone who would guide him to the furnace. Some 
half-dozen men turned out to assist in the search, but it proved 
fruitless. He then informed the ranchmen that he and his 
partner and the Mexican girl, after their escape from the 
Indians, made their way to Mexico, where they filed a chart of 
the mine in the Mexican archives, as was required by the laws of 
Mexico, of which Texas was at that time a part. A copy of the 
chart was retained by his partner, who was then (1865) living in 
St. Louis, he having married the Mexican girl. The old man 
then started on a long overland ride to St. Louis to induce his 
partner to aid him in the search for the treasure buried in 1834. 
A short time afterwards it was learned that while he was mount- 
ing his horse in Williamson County, his gun was accidentally 
discharged, killing him instantly. 

No further attempt was made to locate the furnace till 1878, 
when a man named Medlin, hearing the story, engaged to herd 
sheep for a ranchman whose ranch was situated in that section 
of the country. Every day while herding sheep he prosecuted his 
search for the furnace. Within the year his search was rewarded 
with success. He found the ruins of the old furnace, the spring, 
the tree with the rock in the knot hole, and also the high hill half 
a mile due north, but he did not find the treasure. 

He did find, however, on digging into the furnace, the skeleton 
of a man, and by its side a "miner's spoon" made of burnt soap- 
stone, used for amalgamating minerals with quicksilver. Nancy 
Evans Bower, who told this story in the News, says that Medlin, 
while showing her the spoon, told her the story substantially as 
related above. Shortly afterwards Medlin left for South Amer- 
ica. She, too, from Medlin's description, found the furnace and 
the tree with the rock in the knot hole. She believes that the 
story is true; that the treasure is there; and that anyone who 
will take the trouble to procure a copy of the chart from the 
archives of Mexico can easily find it. 

24 Legends of Texas 


By Julia Estill 

A Legend of the Blanco Mine 

r ■- 

[There seems to be some dispute as to whether or not the famed Blanco 
really existed. Tradition has it that the Blanco River was named for him. 
However, Z. T. Fulmore in his History and Geography of Texas as Told in 
County Names, page 270, says that the name Blanco, which means white, 
"was given to that stream" because it flows "almost its entire length through 
a white, chalky limestone region." Almost the same story as that related 
here is told concerning the Bowie Mine. One treasure hunter told me of 
"the magic circle," which is reproduced herewith, as belonging to the Bowie 
Mine, and in my possession are copies of letters from the R. J. Roland re- 
ferred to by Miss Estill, describing the site of the Bowie Mine. — Editor.] 

Some time before the Mexican War, a Mexican, Blanco by name, 
discovered a silver and lead mine somewhere in the Llano country, 
so the story goes. My grandfather, J. W. Wiley, a pioneer of this 
section of Texas, now an old gentleman of eighty-four, declares 
that he has been on the verge of discovering the lost mine several 
times. Even now, he is certain, were he in the hill country and 
given leave by his "tyrannical relatives" to climb Packsaddle 
Mountain alone, he could go to the very spot where the richest 
vein of silver and lead ore in Texas lies hidden. 

Packsaddle Mountain is in Llano County near Kingsland, close 
to the junction of the Colorado and the Llano rivers in the red 
granite section of Texas. The mine is said to be in a cave some- 
where on or near Packsaddle. 

Many years ago, a man by the name of R. J. Roland found 
the mine, but in order to conceal its whereabouts he placed a huge 
flat stone over the entrance and covered the stone with loose soil, 
which in time became so overgrown with grass that no one has 
been able to locate it. Roland, however, was careful to leave his 
own marks so that at any time he might return to take from his 
treasure cave all the ore he wanted. 

One day he did return with a pal named Chaney, who was so 
anxious to locate the mine that he offered Roland one thousand 
dollars if he would disclose the secret. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 



Fpom woi/th OF THIS 

CAN BE 5E&^< 

^ \n rwcr 




WITH Pick 
hovel + 


:-ȣ f LAT ROCK 

with RJR CUT 



An imagimary Circus is drawn wit>iw the circumference or 

Lost Bianco MINE. 

26 Legends of Texas 

It was agreed. The two men wandered over Packsaddle search- 
ing in vain. Finally, Chaney, becoming weary and impatient, 
told Roland emphatically that he was "tired of foolin' " ; and his 
wary companion answered, "Show me the money, and I'll show 
you the mine I" 

Chaney, however, refused to produce the price unless he was 
shown the whereabouts of the mine; whereupon Roland turned 
shortly on his heel, and saying tersely, "Go to hell !" strode angrily 
down the mountain trail. 

That night Roland spent with Mr. Wyatt, on old pioneer living 
in a cabin surrounded by cedars in a gap at the foot of Packsaddle. 
Of course, the guest related the incident to his host that evening 
as they smoked their pipes by the huge fireplace. And when it 
was time to "turn in," Roland rose nonchalantly from his seat by 
the dying embers and, wearily stretching his arms to their full 
length while yawning portentously, drawled: "And do ye know, 
Mr. Wyatt, at the very time I tole Chaney to hand me over them 
thousand dollars, I was a-standin' right on top uv that there 
mine !" 

A day or so after the stranger's departure, Mr. Wyatt climbed 
Packsaddle. In his explorations he found a cave with a wild 
animal skin upon the floor. In the center of the cave on the skin 
lay a huge nugget of silver. 

Needless to say, mining enthusiasts who were let into the secret 
came from far and near to search for the lost mine; but, to this 
day, no one has discovered the hidden vein of metal. 


The Mythical Bowie Mine 

In the fall of 1876, when my father, J. T. Estill, and a lawyer 
friend, D. Y. Portis, who had both been attending district court 
in Mason, were on their way in a two-horse buggy to court in 
Menardville, Mr. Portis related to my father "the true story" of 
the fabulous Bowie Mine. Mr. Portis, an elderly man of perhaps 
seventy years, was a typical old Southland planter who owned a 
large farm in Brazoria County. He was a learned man and 
splendid at repartee; so the two companions, jogging slowly 
along the long trail to Menard, kept up a lively conversation; 
while now and then the woods resounded with their hearty 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 27 

About fifteen miles from Mason, the soil suddenly changes 
from a light color to a deep red ; and, as the travelers approached 
this "divide," father remarked: "This is the beginning of the 
Red Hill region of the San Saba. We must be in the neighbor- 
hood of the old Bowie Mine." 

Quick as a flash his companion answered : "The Bowie Mine is 
all a myth. I was personally acquainted with a man who, I knew, 
had been with Bowie on his expedition into the San Saba hills. 
One evening when a crowd of us young fellows were smoking our 
pipes around the fire, this old adventurer related unusually 
marvelous tales of the Bowie Mine and its rich silver ore, which, 
he said, could just be 'hacked off with a hatchet/ The entire 
crowd became wild with enthusiasm in consequence of his tales, 
and immediately resolved to fit out an expedition to search for 
the lost mine. Wagons, teams, and supplies to last several months 
were gathered, guards were hired to protect us from the Indians, 
and we set out confidently to seek the mine." 

About this time my father and Mr. Portis reached a place on 
the road overlooking the valley of the San Saba River ; whereupon 
Mr. Portis expressed surprise that the country had changed so 
little and pointed out several places where the searching party 
had camped. Presently he continued: "The old guide would tell 
our party where to camp; and when camp had been pitched, he 
would go out into the woods, sometimes remaining all day, pre- 
sumably hunting for the lost mine. Then we would move and 
the search would begin all over again. 

"Thus the search continued for four or five days without any 
results. Finally, the party concluded either that the old man 
knew nothing whatever of the Bowie Mine, or that he would not 
tell. So the leaders of the expedition took him aside and forcibly 
expressed their opinions to him, saying that now if he knew where 
the mine was located, he must tell them — or hang. 

"The old guide then broke down and cried : There is no Bowie 
Mine ! It is true that I was with Bowie on his expedition into the 
hill country, but, candidly, we found no mine. The Indians at- 
tacked our party, and I was one of the few that escaped. Then 
I commenced telling the story of the fabulous mine. And I've 
told it so often that I have actually got to believing it myself. 
Gentlemen, I have told you the truth. Hang me if you will.' 

"Needless to say, the foolish young silver seekers returned to 
the Brazos bottom, disappointed, yet determined never to tell of 
their failure to find the famous Bowie Mine." 

23 Legends of Texas 

By J. Frank Dobie 

Here are some sixteen legends out of a comparatively small 
section of one county. They will illustrate the fertility in buried 
treasure legend of all that stretch of Texas, for the most part yet 
unploughed, lying towards the Rio Grande and populated by Mex- 
icans and by Texans of frontier stock. McMullen County itself 
has as yet neither railroad nor bank. The people are as yet un- 
hackneyed by the plow or commercial secretary. They still 
talk a language seasoned with Mexican idiom and honest with 
the soil's honesty ; they have their old-time dances ; they welcome 
heartily any decent stranger. On the whole, they are as enlight- 
ened as the populations that have their ideals molded by real 
estate agents. Just now oil boomers and railroad promoters 
threaten to bring their "progress." Until they bring it, the people 
will remain individual. 

The Rock Pens 

Excepting the Bowie Mine and the Nigger Gold Mine, no other 
purported lost treasure in Southwest Texas has caused so much 
discussion or enticed so many seekers as that of the "Rock Pens." 
These "Pens" are variously placed in Live Oak, La Salle, and Mc- 
Mullen counties, generally in McMullen. The "way-bill" quoted 
below was given me by Mr. E. M. Dubose of Mathis, Texas, who 
has spent months, perhaps years, in trying to follow out its direc- 
tions. Many of the details as I give them are also due to him, 
but the legend has been so familiar to me from my childhood up 
that I can hardly say to whom I owe it. 

The story is that thirty-one mule loads of silver bullion, to- 
gether with various fine images and other precious articles, were 
being brought from the mountains of Mexico by Texas bandits 
who had made a great robbery. They had crossed the Rio Grande 
in safety and were proceeding north to their rendezvous at San 
Antonio when they found that the Indians were closing in on 
them in the rough country west or south — for the river often 
changes its course — of the Nueces. They knew that an attack 
was imminent, and they picked the best place they could find in 
which to make their stand. It was by a small ravine in which 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 29 

was a spring of water, and here they threw up some crude breast- 
works in the form of two rock pens. In one of the pens they 
buried the bullion, and then, in order to hide all signs of their 
secret work, they ran the mules around and around over the dis- 
turbed earth. The fight soon followed, and in it all of the Texans 
but one are supposed to have been killed. He, Daniel Dunham, 
on his deathbed in Austin, fifty-one years ago, dictated the fol- 
lowing "way-bill." 

Austin Texas 
April 17th 1873 

About six or seven miles below the Laredo Crossing, on 
the west side of the Nueces River near the hills, there is 
or was a tree in the prairie, due west from that tree at 
the foot of the hills at the mouth of a ravine there is a large 
rock under the rock, there was a small spring of water 

coming from under the rock, due east from that rock there 
is a rock pen or rocks laid around like a pen and due east 
a few yards there is another pen of rocks, in that pen is 
the spoils of thirty one mule loads 


This remarkable document was at his death, which occurred 
during the eighties, in the possession of a man named X. He 
had shown it to his sons a few times, but there was an accompany- 
ing paper that he had never shown. This accompanying paper 
he destroyed shortly before his death, or else his wife destroyed 
it immediately thereafter. One of his own sons conjectured, and 
certain circumstances have led others to conjecture, that X him- 
self was one of the Texas bandits who invaded the Mexican mines 
and robbed a rich Mexican church. It is known that X held the 
way-bill as peculiarly veracious but that he had an overwhelm- 
ing feeling against undertaking to follow out its directions. 

Whether any attempts to find the Rock Pens were made before 
his death I do not know. A fact is that not long after his death an 
expedition, of which one of his sons was a member, set out to 
find the pens. Other "gold hunters" are known to have gone on 
the search. Therefore it must be that there were other directions 
in existence than those left by X. Men yet living claim to have 
seen the pens years and years ago before they knew that there 
was any significance to them, but though various old rock heaps 

30 Legends of Texas 

have been found since, none has ever been found to answer to 
Daniel Dunham's description. 

The Laredo Crossing mentioned in the way-bill is supposed to be 
the Nueces crossing on the old San Antonio-Laredo road. That 
is generally conceded to be on the Henry Shiner Ranch in Mc- 
Mullen County. Nearly all the land in that part of the country is 
still in large pastures. Much of it is rough, the San Caja, Las 
Chuzas, and other so-called mountains being in the vicinity. 
Where it was once open, the country during the last fifty years 
has grown up in brush so that no man can be sure the pens do not 
exist until thousands and thousands of acres of uneven land cov- 
ered with prickly pear, mesquite, black chaparral, "gran haney," 
and other thorned brush have been combed. The rocks were 
never piled high. They have been scattered, perhaps covered 
over with soil washed down from the hillside. In time of drouth 
it is a desolate country, and many a tale tells of early travelers 
perishing in it of thirst. Before the advent of the automobile 
one treasure-seeking expedition lived for days on jack rabbit 
meat, so remote were they in that region from supplies. 

Sixty or seventy years ago Pate McNeill was coming from Til- 
den, or Dog Town as it was then called, down to Lagarto with his 
young wife. They were in a buggy, leading a horse, saddled. 
Somewhere in the Shiner country they saw a fine looking mav- 
erick cow. McNeill got out of the buggy, jumped on his horse, 
and took after her. When he had roped her and tied her, he 
looked around and saw that he was right in a kind of pen of 
rocks. At that time he did not know that great riches appertained 
to rock pens; so he calmly ran his famous brand of P A T E on 
the cow and went on down the country. Years later when the 
story of the Rock Pens came out, he went back and tried to locate 
the rocks, but the country had changed so much with brush and 
"washes" that he could never find anything. 

"Uncle" Ben Adkins, a veteran of Beeville who guarded the 
western frontier during the Civil War days to keep cow thieves 
from driving cattle off to California, tells of a hunter who once 
stumbled into the pens and thought that he was in a deserted goat 
camp. Like others, he did not know at the time how close he was 
to millions. 

Pete Staples, an old negro trail driver, tells how, when he was 
once hunting wild turkeys with Judge Lowe of McMullen County, 
they stumbled into some curiously placed rocks. "Huh, what's 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 31 

this?" he said. "Looks mighty funny to me for rocks in this 
place. Where'd they all cum from and how cum this way? Ain't 
no other rocks like thesen for a mile." 

"Natural rocks all right," said Judge Lowe, "but this is an 
old pen." Judge Lowe died something more than a year ago. I 
have heard that he afterwards tried to find the pens, but failed. 
Pete, having a firm conviction that it is dangerous to "monkey" 
with money that some man now dead buried, has never been 
back to look for the pens, though he declares that men have tried 
to hire him as a guide and that he could find them, but "ain't 
a-guine to." The pens, according to Pete, are in the Guidan 
Pasture, which joins the Shiner and comprises some twenty or 
thirty thousand acres of land. 

Another time, a good many years earlier, says Pete, a Mexican 
who was being chased by an Indian in the Las Chuzas country 
leaped over a spring of water and as he leaped saw a bar of silver 
shining in it. Later he went back and hunted for six months 
without ever finding the spring, much less the silver. It does 
look, as Pete expresses it, as if that money "ain't meant" for any 
of the people who have looked for it. When the man comes along 
for whom it is "meant," he will just naturally find it without even 
trying. Nevertheless, some people are still trying. 

The cheering thing about looking for the Rock Pens is that even 
though the search for them be fruitless, one may stumble upon 
some other treasure at almost any time, for the whole San Caja 
Mountain country is rich in lost and buried treasure. Some of 
the legends follow. For much of the material I am indebted to 
that interesting tale-teller and one-time eager treasure-hunter, 
Mr. E. M. Dubose, of Mathis, already referred to. For material 
not derived from him I try to give specific sources. However, 
some of it is such common talk in the country and has for so long 
been a part of me that I cannot always cite exact sources. 

A Week Too Late at the Laredo-San Antonio Crossing 

Neal Russell was out with two other cowpunchers on the Nueces 
River. They had extra mounts and a pack outfit and were well 
supplied. One day while they were hunting cattle they came up 
on two very old Mexicans. The Mexicans looked scared and 
acted peculiarly, but they were so old and worn and thin that 
Russell paid little attention to their secret manner. Finding that 

32 Legends of Texas 

they were out of something to eat, he told them where camp was 
and invited them up for a fill and a rest. 

Well, after Russell and his men had come in and waited around 
a while, the Mexicans appeared. They ate and then, evidently 
feeling at ease with the Texans, who were talking Mexican like 
natives, they asked if anyone knew where the old San Antonio 
and Laredo crossing was. 

"Why, yes," replied Russell, "it is not two hundred yards from 
here, right down the river. I'll show it to you in the morning." 

The Mexicans now seemed to think that they had as well take 
the Texans into confidence, and what seemed the older of the two 
made this explanation. "I was through this country the last 
time in 1836. I was with a small detachment of the Mexican 
army taking a load of money to San Antonio to pay off General 
Cos's men. We had gotten a day's ride north of here when we 
heard by courier of Santa Anna's defeat. We knew that it was 
foolish to go on and so turned back, expecting at any hour to hear 
the Texans coming up on us. Just before we reached the east 
side of the Nueces, the front axle of our wagon broke square in 
two. There wasn't anything to do but to cut a tree down and 
from a post hew into shape another axle. We managed to pull 
out of the road a little way, and set to work. 

"As I told you, we were expecting the Texans at any time. As 
a precaution against their coming we dug a hole right beside the 
wagon. Then we went off a way and cut two posts, in case one 
turned out bad. After we had got them back to the wagon and 
were at work, we all at once heard a galloping as if a whole troop 
of cavalry was coming down the hills. Pronto, pronto (quickly, 
quickly) , we threw the new logs into the pit we had dug, spread a 
few skins down, piled the load of coin into them, covered the 
pit up, turned the wagon upside down over the fresh dirt, and set 
fire to it. It blazed up; we mounted our horses and rode west- 
ward. I don't know whether what we heard was Texas cavalry 
or not. I am inclined to think now that it must have been a herd 
of mustangs. Anyway, we left confident that signs of our dig- 
ging would be wiped out by the fire and that the Texans would 
think we had burned our baggage to keep it from falling into 
their hands. 

"So far as I know, I am the only survivor of that escort of Mex- 
icans. I know that no Mexican has ever been back to get the 
money. I am come now with my old compadre to get it. You 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 33 

see how we are. We started out poorly prepared. Now we are 
afoot and without provisions. If you will help us, we will share 
with you." 

The next morning, according to Russell, all five of the men 
started out with the camp ax and spade. They went to the old 
crossing, then out a few rods down the river. The old Mexican 
led them to a row of three little mounds — the knolls common in 
that country along the river valley. Beyond those three knolls 
was a stump, and beyond the stump was another knoll. 

"That is the place," whispered the ancient Mexican. He was 
so eager that he was panting for every word. 

The white men rode on slowly, for the Mexicans were on foot 
and the older was walking in a kind of stumble. When they got 
fairly around the mound, they saw a pile of fresh dirt. Pitched 
across it were two old logs. Mesquite lasts a long time, you know, 
when it is under ground. The men looked down into the hole. 
It was not very deep and apparently it had not been dug a week. 
The prints of the coins were yet plain on some of the dirt, and 
a few tags of rotted skins were about. 

Russell said that the Mexicans did not say anything. They 
were a week too late. When he last saw them they were totter- 
ing back to Mexico with what provisions the cowboys could spare. 

The Chest at Rock Crossing on the Nueces 

General Santa Anna was going from Laredo to Goliad. 1 While 
he was fording the Nueces at the old Rock Crossing in the Chalk 
Bluff Pasture, once a part of the George West Ranch, the Rock 
Crossing being about twelve miles below the Shiner Crossing, his 
"pay cart" broke down and a very heavy iron chest filled with 
gold fell into the river. The river was up; Santa Anna was in 
great haste to reach Goliad ; there was little travel in the country. 
He decided to leave the chest in the river; so he had it chained 
to a tree, intending to get it on the way back, for he expected to 
make short work of subduing the insurgent Texans. 

In after years, Pate McNeill, the same man that tied down the 

1 Santa Anna, according to Brown, did cross into Texas at Laredo, but he 
went to San Antonio, not Goliad. See Brown, John Henry, History of Texas, 
Vol. I, p. 569 ff. Another Santa Anna chest is said to have been dropped 
off near Lockhart on the road to Nacogdoches. Of course, Santa Anna never 
went from San Antonio to Nacogdoches. 

34 Legends of Texas 

maverick heifer in one of the Rock Pens, found a piece of chain 
tied around an elm tree on the east bank of the river. Still later 
Dubose found the tree bearing the marks of a chain, but the chain 
itself was gone. Encouraged by the markings, he, with Stone- 
wall Jackson Wright and Wright's brother-in-law, Albert Dinn, 
went to Beeville, about fifty miles distant, and got a four-horse 
load of tongue-and-groove lumber. They sank a shaft about 
eighteen feet deep in the middle of the river, a little below the 
crossing itself, accounting for the push of water. They were 
able to wall out the water but made poor way with the boiling 

The first night after the shaft had been started, Stonewall 
Jackson Wright and Dinn got to arguing as to what disposition 
should be made of the chest. Wright was in favor of taking it 
to his ranch, twenty or thirty miles down the country, before 
opening it. Dinn declared that he would open it at once and that 
the prize should be divided then and there. The argument waxed 
so hot that only Dubose's reminder that they had not yet found 
the chest prevented a collision. 

There is a possibility, some claim, that a part of Santa Anna's 
army may have passed back over the same route and have taken 
the chest with them. However, there is in existence a Mexican 
way-bill to the treasure. Mr. Whitley of McMullen County says 
that the chest was buried on the bank under a tree that had a 
limb straight out over the water, and that the chain around the 
tree trunk was a piece of log chain from an ox cart. But the 
tree caved in long ago, the water changed its course, and now 
there is no sign to go by, though doubtless the chest is some- 
where in the vicinity of what is still known as Rock Crossing, a 
mere name, for it has been decades since a road ran that way. 

San Caja Mountain Legends 

The name "San Caja" is significant, though its meaning is in 
dispute. Some people who should know say that it means Holy, 
or Sainted, Box ; that the word caja, meaning box, alludes to the 
chest, or chests, of treasure hid in the mountain. But a white 
man who is native to the San Caja country told me that a very 
old Mexican once told him that the name was originally Sin Caja, 
sin meaning without, and caja also meaning coffin ; hence, Without 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 35 

Coffin. 2 According to the Mexican, the name was derived from 
the fact that a man had once been buried on or in the mountain 
without a coffin, perhaps not buried at all but left out in the open. 
Either interpretation is appropriate to the legends of the moun- 

Under the mountain is a cave, the entrance to which is on the 
west side halfway up the mountain. Mexican bandits who preyed 
on the wagon and mule trains that traveled the San Antonio- 
Laredo road were accustomed to ride their horses into that en- 
trance. They had a great room underground that they used for 
a stable. Back of it was their treasure room, "el aparto [apar- 
tado] del tesoro," in which were heaps of gold and silver coins, 
Spanish doubloons and old Mexican square dollars, golden candle- 
sticks, silver-mounted and jewel-studded saddles, bits and spurs 
of precious workmanship, plated firearms, all manner of costly 
plunder meant for the grandees and the cathedrals, as well as the 
bullion of mines near at hand — for there were rich mines in that 
country in the old days of the Spanish. 

According to Mexican tradition, after the bandidos had ac- 
cumulated all this treasure, a terrible dragon came and killed 
some of them and ran the others away. The dragon had a spiked 
tail and two heads, and at night one might see fire flashing out 
of his nostrils. He came to be called el celador del tesoro — the 
warden of the treasure ; and there are Mexicans today who would 
not think of violating the premises that he still guards. 

An addition to the legend was told me by Mr. Whitley. Years 
ago, as he had heard the story, a certain white man who bore the 
marks of a borderer was visiting the penitentiary at Huntsville 
when he suddenly heard himself called in Mexican. He paused. 
At his side appeared a Mexican, begging to talk to him. The 
guard consented, and then in his own language the Mexican poured 
out his tale. 3 He was serving a life sentence in the penitentiary, 
the sole survivor of a band of murdering brigands. All their 
booty was still in a cave to the south of the San Caja. If the 

2 This latter explanation is more probable. The feminine Santa is never 
apocopated in Spanish, and caja is feminine. 

3 A tale common to both legend and roguery. I have a copy of a letter 
written in 1911 by a prisoner in Madrid to an American at Aguas Calientes, 
Mexico, in which the prisoner offered to share $273,000 concealed on the 
American's land, provided the American would send funds for passage of 
the prisoner and his wife. 

36 Legends of Texas 

white man would get it, he might have half, using the other half 
to free the prisoner. He gave directions about as follows: Go 
to the southeast side of the mountain; thence go about a mile to 
two little knobs, then on down a kind of ravine about the same 
distance, where an opening will be found that enters into the booty 
hall. The white man set out to follow directions, but he was al- 
ready old, and death overtook him before he could search out the 

"There are," says Mr. Whitley, "two knobs on the southeast 
side of the mountain, but two miles down instead of one, which 
shows that a Mexican has no sense of distance. In giving direc- 
tions he always says un (s)pedacito — a little piece — which may 
mean a half mile or five miles." Anyhow, the country does not 
seem to fit the Mexican's measurements. 

To the northwest of the San Caja are the San Cajitas (Little 
San Cajas)* where, according to Mr. Whitley, is another robbers' 
cave stored with fine saddles and other plunder left by Mexican 
bandidos. In it are ladders that were used to descend a hundred 
feet to the treasure floor. But no man has since the days of the 
bandits been down into this cave. It is said to be "alive" with 

While Joe Newberry was bossing a ranch "down in the Sands" 
twenty-five years ago, an old Mexican who was headed west to 
hunt for the Rock Pens gave him a chart to nine jack loads of 
silver bullion buried on top of the San Caja, a certain number of 
pasos west of a chapote, or persimmon tree, and covered over with 
a great rock. The Mexicans who buried it were on their way to 
to the City of Mexico from up the Nueces canyon, where the 
Spanish operated mines long since lost. It was during a terrible 
drouth; the Nueces had dried up, and the travelers had missed 
finding the lakes that they had vaguely heard of; they and their" 
animals were perishing of thirst, and they realized that their 
nearest water was the Rio Grande seventy miles away across a 
desert of rocks and sands. To reach it they must lighten their 
loads as much as possible. Their mistake was in not having buried 
the bullion earlier, for they were so exhausted and the way 
was so hard that all but one man perished in the attempt to 
reach the Great River. This solitary survivor for some reason 
did not return, but he made out a chart, which must have been 
fairly well circulated, for another Mexican coming north in 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 37 

search of the famed Casa Blanca cache also had directions to this 
San Caja treasure. 

Dubose and his fellow explorers blasted a certain likely look- 
ing rock off and found under it a tinaja (rock hole) six feet deep, 
but no bullion in it. 

According to "Uncle" Ben Adkins of Beeville, the San Caja 
treasure consists of money that was buried by Mexicans who 
were on their way to San Antonio. Just as they got to the Rock 
Crossing they heard that the Mexican army was being slaughtered 
in the Alamo and turned back in such haste that they left their 
precious freight on top of the loneliest "mountain" in Southwest 
Texas. A Mexican in Austin told me something like the same 
tale. He said that a detachment reached the river in winter 
time when a big rise was on, were unable to swim their treasure- 
laden mules across the flood, and while they were waiting for the 
waters to go down, heard that a band of Texans was close on their 
heels. They hastily took their freight to the mountain and left 
it there. 

On the south side of the San Caja are said to be two cowhides 
of gold doubloons. Travelers out of the City of Mexico headed for 
the San Antonio missions lost their road and, perishing of thirst, 
began to look for water in the Una j as and crevices of the rocks. 
They found a little, enough for themselves, but not any for their 
poor beasts, which were in greater need than the men, for the 
men had had canteens of water for a day or two this side of their 
last watering. The party really had not traveled a great dis- 
tance in coming from the Rio Grande, but they had been wander- 
ing lost over a rough country for days, keeping no general direc- 
tion. The burros finally played out and the Spaniards hid their 
cowhides of doubloons in a crevice and placed over them a flat 
rock on which they marked with pear-apple juice a red cross. 
Over that they placed a second rock. Joe Newberry got the 
facts as to this treasure from a Mexican bandit on the Rio Grande 
who had come over on this side in hiding. Dubose actually 
found two flat rocks stacked up as if by hand, and under the first 
he found an Indian arrow-head, but nothing more. 

The Mines 

Five or six miles to the southwest of the San Caja, the Spanish 
are believed to have operated a silver mine by the name of Las 

38 Legends of Texas 

Chuzas, called so from its proximity to Las Chuzas Mountains. 
In later times Texas pioneers found that Indian bullets lodged in 
the spokes and felloes of their wagons were almost pure silver, 
and the Indians are supposed to have got their material for bul- 
lets from the Chuzas ore. The Indians would never tell where 
they got it. While Dubose and a man named Wallace McNeill 
were riding the country in quest of the Rock Pens they found the 
shaft of the mine at the foot of one of the Chuzas Mountains. 
That shaft is said to be lined with silver bars covered over with 
clay, but as the men were looking for the "thirty-one mule loads" 
and fully expected to find them, they did not investigate the shaft. 

Some ten miles away, in the Guidan Pasture, and about six 
miles from the Nueces River, is what is known as the Devil's 
Water Hole, and there the smelter is supposed to have been located. 
Burnt rocks to this day evidence its existence. In the vicinity 
of White Creek, in the foothills below the Devil's Water Hole, 
were some other silver mines that used the same smelter. 

Somewhere between the old Las Chuzas Mine and the Nueces 
River there is said to be a pile of silver bullion, crude, unformed, 
in the very hue and shape of the rocks around. How it came 
there or why, nobody knows. It just came there, so the Mexicans 
still say. 

Fifteen or twenty miles beyond the San Caja in a westerly direc- 
tion on what is now known as Los Picachos (The Peaks) Ranch, 
an early settler named Crier, according to John Murphy, a ranch- 
man of the vicinity, actually used to operate a silver mine that 
yielded about twenty dollars to the ton of ore. 


In the same general direction from the San Caja as Los Picachos 
is the Loma de Siete Piedras, or Seven Rocks Hill, on which the 
Mills Ranch is located. Near this hill, as I have the tale from Mr. 
Whitley, the Mills boys unearthed some human bones while dig- 
ging post holes. They themselves had never dug for treasure, for 
though they had always heard that there was treasure stored 
away somewhere in their country, they had never been able to get 
the details that would guide them to it. 

Naturally they talked of the rather unusual find, and not long 
after the event a gang of eleven or twelve Mexicans rode up to 
the Mills Ranch. Now, the San Caja country is in all ways a 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 39 

border country, and in many places one can cross the Rio Grande 
without meeting a river guard or seeing a customs officer ; now- 
adays it is the rendezvous of tequilleros and mescaleros with their 
smuggled liquor from the other side. When the Mills boys saw 
the horses that the Mexican gang were riding, they knew at once 
from the brands that they were smuggled ; and the saddles, ropes, 
bits, and other paraphernalia showed that the riders were fresh 
from old Mexico. 

The spokesman of the band began by saying that one of their 
number was a descendant of a Mexican who, with his entire party, 
had been killed by Indians in that vicinity years ago. Their mu- 
tilated skeletons, scattered by the coyotes and buzzards, were 
known to have been buried months later by a Mexican freighter 
who came across them while he was hunting a mule that had 
broken away. The freighter had put a cross of mesquite sticks 
over the bones, but the cross was doubtless rotted away a long 
time ago, and now these men were come to put up another, if, by 
the will of God, they could find the place where the bones lay. 
Could anyone in the country give them the necessary information ? 

From the number, equipment, and general looks of the Mex- 
icans, it appeared to the Mills boys that the mission of the gang 
might not be so altogether pious. They smelled a nigger in the 
woodpile, and told the Mexicans as much. 

The Mexicans beat around the bush a while longer and consulted 
with each other for a few hours while their horses picked up 
mesquite beans down in the hollow. Then their leader came back 
to the Mills boys and let out that they were looking for the bones 
of men who had been killed while they were escorting seven jack 
loads of silver bullion from above — de arriba — to Mexico. If 
they could find the battle ground marked by the bones, they had a 
plata (plat) that would take them to the treasure. 

At that the Mills brothers offered to show the bones provided 
they should get half the find. True to their nature, the Mexicans 
refused to go in on halves, and they left, trusting no doubt to 
come back some manana and find the bones and bullion. 

The Metate Rocks of Loma Alta 

Just west of the Hill of Seven Rocks towers in primeval rough- 
ness Loma Alta, the highest point of the whole country. John 
Murphy told me this story connected with it. An early settler 

40 Legends of Texas 

named Drummond had a squat near the foot of the mountain. 
One time an old Mexican came to him looking for some bullion that 
he claimed had been buried in the vicinity by ancient parientes 
(kinsmen) in flight from the Indians. His plata called for a 
mesquite tree on the southeast slope of Loma Alta marked by a 
certain sign. Murphy thinks that the sign was a cross but does 
not well remember. The plata called also for a line of smooth, 
oblong rocks that bore a resemblance to the stones used for grind- 
ing corn on the metate. They had been culled from the hillside 
and laid to point to the hidden bullion. Drummond and the Mex- 
ican found the tree but rode around for days without being able 
to find the rocks. They finally decided that generations of horses 
and cattle had scattered them so that they could no longer be 
recognized as forming a line, and gave up the search. 

The Mexican left, Drummond died, and years passed. Then 
one day while Murphy was holding down a wormy calf out in the 
pasture to doctor it, he raised his eyes and saw three or four of 
the metate-like rocks lined up in some thick chaparral. He was 
down on his knees, so that he could see under the brush. He 
thought of the tale that Drummond had told him, and looking 
about further, he found, badly scattered, yet preserving a kind of 
line, other such rocks. But he could never settle on a place to 
dig, and so far as he knows no one has ever dug on that side of 
Loma Alta. 

When Two Parallel Lines Intersected 

An old-timer of McMullen County, Kenney by name, tells of a 
fellow county-man, named Snowden, who was led by a negro to 
believe that a certain boulder out on a plain ten or fifteen miles 
from the San Caja marked the site of buried money. In the first 
place, the boulder really did look to have been placed where it 
was by human agency, for there was not another rock of its kind 
within miles. Snowden went to San Antonio to consult a fortune 
teller. The fortune teller, without ever having seen the country, 
drew up a chart of the whole territory, marking down on it the 
position of the boulder. He told Snowden to draw two parallel 
lines from the northwest and southeast corners of the boulder, 
respectively, and to dig at the intersection of the lines. Snowden 
paid a nice fee for the information and came back to Tilden and 
organized an expedition. 

When they came to draw the parallel lines, they found that they 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 41 

would not meet and sent back the chart for correction. But it 
was not returned, and becoming impatient for the treasure, the 
gold diggers twisted about the directions somehow so that the 
"parallel" lines would intersect. There they dug and dug. 
Finally, one of the party in disgust swore that he would sell out 
his interest "for two-bits' worth of Bull Durham tobacco." 
Snowden took him up. Presently all the other members had sold 
out on the same terms, leaving Snowden to pay the expenses of 
the whole work. 

A Lucky Post Hole 

Tilden (old Dog Town) is, remember, the county seat of Mc- 
Mullen County. Not far from it is what is still known as the 
"old Tolbert Ranch," though a man named Berry bought it years 
ago. I have heard the following story so many times in so many 
places that I have halfway come to believe it true. 

Tolbert was a miser in early days when men kept their money 
about them. It is said that he would never kill a maverick no 
matter how hungry he was but would always brand it. He never 
bought sugar or molasses; bacon was a rare luxury; he and his 
men lived principally on jerked venison and javelin meat. When 
he "worked" and had an outfit to feed, he always told the cocinero 
to cook the bread early so that it would be cold and hard before 
the hands got to it. When he died none of his money could be 
found. So, even till this day, people dig for it around the old 
ranch house. One man who was working on the place some 
fifteen years ago saw two men in a wagon go down a ravine that 
runs near the ranch. He thought that they were hunters; but 
when the strangers passed him on their way out the next morn- 
ing, he noted that one of them had a shotgun across his knees. 
When the ranch hand rode down into the ravine a few days later, 
he found that the wagon tracks led from a fresh hole under a live 
oak tree and that near the hole were pieces of old steel hinges 
that looked as if they had been cut off with a cold chisel. How- 
ever, not many people think that the two strangers got Tolbert's 

Berry got that, and he never hunted for it either. He had 
moved on to the ranch when he bought it and a number of years 
had passed. One day when he had nothing else for his Mexican 
to do, he told him to put some new posts in the old corral fence, 

42 Legends of Texas 

which was made of pickets that were rotting down. The Mexican 
worked along digging post holes and putting in new posts until 
about ten o'clock. Then at about the third post from the south 
gate he struck something so hard that it turned the edge of his 
spade. He was used to digging post holes with a crowbar and 
a tin can, and so he went to a mesquite tree where the tools were 
kept and got the crowbar. 

But the crowbar would no more dig into the hard substance 
than the spade would. The sun was mighty hot, anyhow; so the 
Mexican went up to the house where el Senor Berry was whittling 
sticks on his gallery, and told him that he couldn't dig any more, 
that at the third post hole from the south gate it looked as if the 
devil himself had humped up into a rock that nothing could get 
through. Berry snorted around considerably at first, but directly 
he seemed to think of something and told his man, very well, not 
to dig any more but to saddle up and go out and bring in the main 
remuda. Now, only the day before they had had the main remuda 
in the pen and had caught out fresh mounts to keep in the litttle 
horse pasture. By this time the other horses would be scattered 
clear away on the back side of the pasture. The Mexican won- 
dered what the patron wanted the remuda for again. But it was 
none of his business. Well, the ride would take him all the rest 
of the day, and at least he would not have to dig any more post 
holes before manana. 

After the Mexican had saddled his horse and drunk a cafecita 
for lunch and fooled away half an hour putting in new stirrup 
leather strings and finally got out of sight, Berry slouched down 
to the pens. He came back to his shade on the gallery and whit- 
tled for an hour or two longer until everything around the jacal, 
even the Mexican's wife, was taking a siesta. Then he pulled off 
his spurs, which always dragged with a big clink when he walked, 
and went down to the pen again. The spade and the crowbar 
were where the Mexican had let them fall. Berry punched the 
crowbar down into the half -made hole. It almost bounced out of 
his hand, and he heard a kind of metallic thud. No, it was not 
flint-rock that had stopped the digging. 

Berry went around back of the water trough to the huisache 
where his horse was tied and led him into the pen. Then he 
started to work. He began digging two or three feet out to one 
side of the hole. The dry ground was packed from the tramp of 
thousands of cattle and horses. He had to use the crowbar to 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 43 

loosen the soil. But it was no great task to get out a patch of 
earth two or three feet square and eighteen or twenty inches 
deep. Berry knew what he was about, and as he scraped the 
loosened earth out with his spade he could feel a flat metal surface 
that seemed to have rivets in it. It was the lid of a chest, and 
when he had uncovered it, Berry drew up one of the firm, new 
posts to use as a fulcrum for the crowbar. With that he levered 
up the end of the chest. As he suspected, it was too heavy and 
too tightly wedged for him to lift out. He kicked a chunk under 
the raised edge and then looped a stout rope about the exposed 
end. He had dragged cows out of the bog on his horse, and he 
knew that the chest was not so heavy as a cow. He had but fifty 
yards to drag it, and that down grade, before he was in the brush, 
where he could prize the lid off. 

When the Mexican got back that night his mujer told him that 
Senor Berry had gone to San Antonio in the buckboard, and that 
he had left word for the remuda to be turned back into the big 
pasture and for the repair of the corrals to be continued. "They 
say" that the deposit that Berry made at the Frost National Bank 
was a clean $17,000, nearly all in silver. 


By J. Frank Dobie 

Many people of pioneer stock in Southwest Texas speak of "a 
string of old Spanish forts" that extended from a fortification 
near Point Isabel in Cameron County to another near what is 
now "Old" Pleasanton in Atascosa. The names of these two ex- 
treme "forts" I cannot recall, but southward toward Laredo from 
the Pleasanton location was Fort Ewell, on the Nueces River, in 
La Salle County. Fifty miles to the east as the crow flies, but 
double that distance as the river runs, was El Fortin, otherwise 
known as Fort Merrill; next, not more than twelve miles to the 
south, and some five or six miles off the river, came Fort Ramirez, 
on the Ramirena Creek; sixteen miles southward, again on the 
Nueces, was Casa Blanca ; near it on the Bluntzer Ranch was Fort 
Planticlan ; next, due south, Petronita ; then, Las Animas ; last, the 
"fort" near Point Isabel. In such a string: the first three so- 

44 Legends of Texas 

called forts made a kind of crescent, and the remainder a long, 
almost straight, line, the whole figure resembling an old-fashioned 
wagon axle-wrench, or gancho. History, so far as I have read, 
has nothing to say about this fine "string of old Spanish forts," 
but its existence is often a premise to legends connected with the 
several stations. Of the forts in the string Casa Blanca and 
Ramirez seem to be the most fertile in legend. As best I can 
gather from oral tradition, Fort Ewell and Fort Merrill were 
built about 1840 and used by the early settlers and rangers for 
protection against the Indians and Mexicans. Both places are 
mentioned by the historian Brown, though he has nothing definite 
on the origin of either. 1 Other not well identified ruins in South- 
west Texas are frequently pointed out as the sites of old Spanish 
missions or presidios. 2 

Fort Ramirez on the Ramirena 

Fort Ramirez is in the southern part of Live Oak County on 
my father's ranch. When I was a boy some of the old rock walls 
were ten or twelve feet high, though they were crumbling. As 
far back as I can remember or have heard men tell, there were 
holes that had been made by treasure seekers all along the walls, 
inside the room, and for hundreds of yards out from the place. 
When I revisited the location last summer, I found the walls all 
down, most of the rock lugged to one side, and indeed a large part 
of the foundation dug out. Some of the excavated stones weighed, 
I dare say, two hundred pounds. The ruins are on the point of a 
hill that overlooks the immense but dry bed of Ramirena Creek, 
which, nevertheless, back in the days of the open range was 
nearly always running, men of that time say. A deep but short 
gorge called Ramirez Hollow runs up near the hill. 

There are two distinct legends about the old place : in one it is 

lU The company, being six months' men, were discharged at Fort Merrill 
on the Nueces, on the 4th day of May, 1851, but reorganized as a new com- 
pany for another six months the next day." — Brown, John Henry, History 
of Texas, Vol. II, p. 356. See a report to the Secretary of War: Sen. Ex. 
Doc. 1, 32d Cong., 1st Session, Serial 611. 

2 See, for instance, "The Mission de Los Olmos, near Falfurrias," by 
Marshall Monroe, reprinted from the Houston Chronicle, in Frontier Times, 
January, 1924, pp. 44-45. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 45 

a fort ; in the other, an old sheep ranch. Of later years, the fort 
idea seems to have gained ground. Mr. E. M. Dubose of Mathis 
says that he first got "the straight" of the matter from an old 
Mexican who was looking for the Casa Blanca site. According 
to this Mexican, a band of bandidos had in early days captured 
the fort from Spanish priests who were using it as a kind of un- 
garrisoned mission. The bandits pillaged the place of a cross of 
precious metal, golden candle-sticks, and other costly parapher- 
nalia, and took up their headquarters in a secret cave a short dis- 
tance east of the building. Later they were run out of the country 
by the Texans, leaving in the cave all their churchly plunder as 
well as much money that they had robbed from freighters and 
ranchmen. The problem with treasure seekers has been to locate 
the cave, of which there is now no sign. 

In trying to make the location, Dubose and his party used at 
first a "gold monkey," or mineral rod. This "monkey" was sup- 
posed to oscillate towards rich mineral until it got over it, then 
to halt. It oscillated all right, and under its guidance the 
treasure seekers dug two holes, both to the west of the fort. 

Then Dubose went to Victoria to consult a famous mulatto 
fortune teller. The fortune teller described Fort Ramirez satis- 
factorily and said that he could and would locate a buried chest 
of money near the place for $500. The agreement was made, and 
one dark night Dubose drove the mulatto to the fort. The fortune 
teller led at once to the north corner and, walking thence east a 
few paces, planted his foot down and said: "Here it is. With 
this spot as the center, dig a round hole ten feet in diameter." 
The two went back to Wade's Switch that night, and when they 
got there the negro demanded his $500. Dubose told him that 
he would have to wait until the money was dug up, and offered to 
allow him to be present at the ceremony, but he refused to stay. 
He declared that unless he was paid his fee at once, "spirits would 
move the box" and that it would be useless for anyone to try to 
find it. 

He was not paid at once, but in spite of the threatened futility 
of digging, a few days later two white men, aided by two or three 
Mexican laborers, were digging a great hole circumscribing the 
point marked by the fortune teller. When they had got down 
six or seven feet, they came upon a loose soil that was different in 
color from the contiguous earth. It appeared to be "the filling" 
in some old hole. Hopes became feverish, but after about a barrel 

46 Legends of Texas 

of the extraneous earth had been removed, the foreign matter 
petered out, and at the depth of twelve feet the men quit digging. 


The legend that I grew up knowing was that the "fort" had 
been the ranch of a Mexican or Spaniard named Ramirez who 
became immensely wealthy raising sheep. He is supposed to have 
lived there more than a hundred years ago. Ramirez had a tun- 
nel connecting his house with the creek. One time the Indians 
surrounded him. After withstanding the siege for days until he 
saw that he must leave or starve, he buried his money somewhere 
within the rock walls, and left by the tunnel. He was cautious 
and left in the night, but the next day he was captured, together 
with his small household, and all were put to death, leaving the 
place of his hidden thousands a secret. 

Some people will tell you that it is useless to hunt for the 
treasure any longer. They say that fifty years ago Tol McNeill, 
who owns a fair-sized ranch adjoining the pasture in which the 
fort is situated, found $40,000 there and with the money bought 
and stocked his land. But I am sure that hunters for riches 
around the place are increasing in number. 

Years ago I remember that a white man with a Mexican beside 
him drove up to our house in a buckboard. He had come from 
Runge, seventy miles northeast. He told my father what he was 
after and asked permission to dig at the fort, which was readily 
granted. His Mexican claimed to have been digging at the south 
wall some ten years before when all of a sudden, just as he was 
sure that his telache had struck the lid of a chest, he heard an 
unearthly yell behind him. He did have enough presence of mind 
to kick a few clods back into the hole, which was a small one ; but 
he had been too much frightened ever to return to the scene or 
even to tell anyone of his experience before he found the patron 
that was with him now. I guided the buckboard through the 
prickly pear to the fort ; when the Mexican got there he appeared 
never to have seen it before. 

A field was put in near the place and a Mexican jacal built about 
half a mile down the creek. The Mexicans living there tell of 
seeing lights play around the hill at night, and to them, as to 
folk of other races, the lights are a sign of precious metal under 
the ground. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 47 

Last summer a Mexican, named Genardo del Bosque, who has 
been on the ranch for a quarter of a century, gave me consider- 
able information about "la casa de Ramirez." Antonio de la 
Fuente, now dead, came to the country years and years ago as a 
child with his parents. They had a little money and as land was 
then very cheap and as the old fort was yet in tolerable condition, 
the walls all standing, and all that it needed to make it habitable 
being a roof of thatched beargrass, they considered buying it. 
One day while they were approaching it, a white lion, or perhaps 
it was a white panther, leaped out, and when they came within 
Antonio saw many and various coins on the walls and on the 
floor. But he was afraid and so were his parents to touch the 
coins, and of course they would no longer consider a purchase. 
The white animal was the soul of the dead owner of the treasure 
there to watch over it. 

However, it is rather strange that Antonio and his parents took 
none of the money, for a white object (un bulto bianco) is a good 
spirit, and a white cat, a white calf, a white dog, or a white mule, 
or a woman dressed all in white may appear to people to lead them 
to buried treasure. But if un bulto negro appears, let them look 
out! The established Spanish custom in old times was to bury 
the treasure first and then over it a dead man. If this dead 
guardian was not the owner, then often the spirits of the two 
are in conflict. Hence, if a man digs close to the treasure, he is 
usually frightened away by outlandish noises heard behind him. 
The noises are generally as of many chains (cadenas) rattling 
and clanking. Since Antonio saw the white panther so long ago, 
no strange animals have been observed near the fort, only lights, 
lights, always between the fort and the creek, never at the fort 

The Legend of Casa Blanca 

Old Casa Blanca, which is several miles from the railroad 
switch by that name, is on the Nueces River in what is now Jim 
Wells, but was a part of Nueces, County. "Of the history of this 
old ruin," says Mrs. Sutherland, 3 "no one knows a word." The 
record of it is preserved in legend alone, and of legends there are 
many. Mrs. Sutherland links the place with a certain purported 
silver mine and recalls a tale of "a find" made there in 1868. 

Sutherland, Mary A., The Story of Corpus Christi, Houston, 1916, pp. 2-3. 

48 Legends of Texas 

In its past, Casa Blanca was both Spanish fort and mission. 
So runs the legend told by Mr. E. M. Dubose. After the priests 
left it, it was occupied by a Mexican sheepman who prospered 
mightily. Finally he sold out his sheep and land for cash, but 
stayed on a while at Casa Blanca to wind up his affairs. Now 
the fact that he had thousands and that he kept them within the 
walls of the building was corroborated to Mr. Dubose by a man 
named Reems, who once lived in Pearsall. Reems stayed with the 
old sheepman three or four days just before the latter was killed 
and got a hint as to the location of the money. After the murder, 
he returned to Casa Blanca and found a worn hole in the very spot 
that he had "figured out'' to be the hiding place. 

Not long after it became known that the sheepman had acquired 
his cash, some Mexicans captured him and tortured him until he 
told where the money was, whereupon they put an end to his 
life. At this juncture, they found that they were being spied 
on by a second set of robbers. Under the concealment of night 
they hid their booty in a kind of rock pen near the fort, throw- 
ing the body of the murdered sheepman on top of it. They spent 
the night under protection of the walls, hoping to fight their way 
out the next morning. 

The battle began at daybreak. The besiegers far outnumbered 
the besieged, and in desperation the latter scattered into the brush. 
There one of them named Carbal was cut off, and as he fell from 
a deadly shot he saw his own younger brother bend over him. It 
was the brother whom years ago he had taught the first lessons 
of outlaw life, and now that brother in ironic ignorance had paid 
for the lesson. Carbal understood the ignorance and with his 
dying words told where the loot was hid. Even as he told, the 
last of his companions was killed. 

But the victorious desperadoes were never to reap the golden 
harvest of their victory. In the fight they had suffered losses, 
and now upon their heels came the terrible Texas Rangers. Re- 
treating towards the Rio Grande, they were all "naturalized" 4 on 
Texas soil but one or two who managed to reach the security of 
Mexico. From that one or two has come down to us, in confused 
form, the story of the rich sheepman, his lost money, and the 
blood spilled over it. Ed Dubose got the story, together with a 

4 A euphemism of the Texas Rangers. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 49 

chart, from an old Mexican whom he made drunk on tequilla. 
Later he tried to find the "kind of rock pen" near Casa Blanca, 
but could locate no trace of it. 

Lutzer's Find at Fort Planticlan 

About fifteen miles below Casa Blanca, in Nueces County, not 
very far from the Nueces River, and near a huisache lake, are the 
remains of what is known as the Planticlan Fort. In a great 
Indian uprising the Spanish were forced to evacuate it, and when 
they did, they left everything but their guns, including three jack 
loads of silver bullion. The retreating Spanish were taken by 
the Indians and butchered, with the exception of one man who 
survived long enough to reach his people and tell them about the 
abandoned treasure on the Nueces. 

More than half a century ago three Mexicans came with a 
chart to seek that hidden silver. After digging an immense hole, 
they found it, and there on the brink of the excavation they were 
polishing some of the blackened silver bars when Nick Lutzer 
happened upon them. (Lutzer is not the real name.) He was 
riding after cattle and, hearing low voices in the brush, he at once 
suspected cow thieves. He dismounted and, rifle in hand, crept 
through the bushes. He had often heard of the riches supposed 
to lie in the neighborhood, and so he was not surprised at the sight 
that greeted his eyes. The Mexicans were too intent on their 
business to sense his presence. Lutzer was a true and quick shot. 
He killed two of the Mexicans with his rifle and then drew his 
six-shooter in deadly fire on the other. In a minute he rolled all 
three of the dead men into the freshly dug pit and covered them. 

Later he went to New Orleans, sold the silver ore, and came 
back and bought and stocked an immense ranch, which still goes 
by the name of the Lutzer Ranch. 


By Mary A. Sutherland 

Riverside Ranch is in Nueces County on the Nueces River. 
Fifty years ago while the owner was putting up a house near a 

50 Legends of Texas 

ford, said to have been used by Indians of the most remote times, 
a Mexican with three pack burros came into camp. He and his 
beasts were travel worn and he asked permission to camp and 
rest his stock. The permission was readily granted, and true to 
class the Mexican hobbled his burros and then lay up in the sun 
and took life easy for several days. 

Then the men working on the house noticed that he was ap- 
parently hunting after various herbs and plants and making a 
close study of the ground. After he had investigated for about 
two weeks in his solitary manner, the Mexican seemed very much 
depressed. One night he came to the camp of the Texans and 
asked for the owner of the land. Then he told his story. He 
and his burros had come over the long trail from the interior of 
Mexico to seek a buried chest of treasure. His trail had ended ; 
he had not found the treasure. The history of that treasure he 
gave thus : 

"When my father was a boy, he left home to go with a party of 
Spaniards to the seacoast. They had three big wagons and a 
grand carriage, the carriage for the captain, one wagon for the 
cook, and two wagons for the guard. They started at midnight 
from a mine belonging to the captain, and as they set forth they 
made a great show to the stars. They traveled to and across 
the Rio Grande without trouble, and then, senor, the sands, 1 the 
terrible desert. They were days getting across, and then, with 
the tough Spanish mules worn to the bone, they camped in the 
nearest spot where there was water. 

"They prepared to rest for a week, but in the night the Indians 
charged, killed one man, and got off with two mules. The party 
started again at dawn, the Indians following. The Spanish cap- 
tain decided to leave one wagon ; so he took out the heavy boxes 
and put them in the carriage with himself. Thus the pobrecitos 
traveled till they came to the Nueces, on this very trail, and here 
on this bank they camped. That night they got out the heavy 
boxes, and the captain and three men dug a great hole and buried 
them, while the rest of the party stood guard. 

"At dawn they crossed the river at the ford, hoping somehow 
to escape and make it back to Mexico for more guards. Five 
days later the Indians came on with a great whoop and every soul 

^Id-timers still call much of the "Magic Rio Grande Valley" by nothing 
else than The Sands. — Editor. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 51 

was killed except the boy, my father. He slid out into the tall 
grass, and after many months got back home. Now he is muy, 
muy vie jo (very, very old), and he has sent me to get as much of 
the gold as I could pack on three burros. They buried the gold, 
he says, at the foot of a tree and put some stones above it. But 
the tree is gone and there are stones everywhere. I go tomorrow. 
If you find the Spanish gold, it is yours. Adios!" 

Needless to say, for a few days the woods were full of treasure 
hunters, but so far as is known not one was successful. Yet the 
story that there is a chest of gold buried on Riverside Ranch has 
held from those early days to this time. 



By J. Frank Dobie 

The Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma were fought 
May 8 and 9, respectively, 1846. The battlefield of the latter is 
about three miles from old Fort Brown on the Rio Grande. 

According to John Lewis, who was boss on the Collins Ranch, 
in Cameron County, on which is the site of the battle of Palo Alto, 
seven cartloads of pay money for the Mexican army were buried 
on the battlefield. In proof of the claim, he found a part of an 
old-fashioned Mexican cart while he was digging on Agua Dulce 
Creek, which runs close to the battlefield. 

A Mexican named Santiago in Austin claims that one of his 
ancestors helped bury seven cartloads of army money on Palo Alto 
battlefield. Taylor's army was pressing the Mexicans. To save 
time the Mexicans had to lighten baggage. The officer in charge 
of the pay-carts had orders to bury the money. He told off his 
detail and ordered them to dig a trench by a gully or little creek 
lined with mesquite brush. When the trench was made, the officer 
ordered the money transferred to it from the carts. While the 
last cartload was being put in the trench, Santiago's ancestor ran, 
for he knew that the men who made the trench would have to f ol- 

52 Legends of Texas 

low the treasure. He had no more than got out of sight in the 
mesquites when he heard shots that told very plainly he had acted 
prudently in leaving. 


This account was given to me by Mr. Bob Nutt of Sabinal, who 
got it from an old ferryman named Ramon down on the Rio 
Grande. Ramon claimed to have been ferryman when the Mex- 
ican troops crossed over into Texas at the beginning of the war 
between the United States and Mexico. 

"It took me three days to get the army over," Ramon would tell, 
"crossing and crossing back, day and night. And, oh senor, I 
had muchas ganas (many desires) to go with the troops. There 
was musica, oh, so lively, and there were the bander as (flags) all 
bright in the air, and the men were all happy and singing. But 
I did not go, and in three days more here they were back, but with- 
out any musica or banderas and not needing any ferry boat. They 
came in flocks, running and crawling like tortugas (turtles), and 
they fell into the water flat on all fours like tortugas and never 
stopped till they were into Mexico. 

"They had been at the fight of what we call La Resaca de La 
Palma, and I was very glad that I had not been with them. 
They did not have time even to bring back the senor general's 
chest of money or any of the silver platas that he ate out of. 
There was a great bulto of it, and it was left in La Resaca de La 
Palma. There three tall palms make a triangle and in the middle 
of that triangle it is buried. They dug a hole and put the chest 
and the silverware and a golden cross in it, and then filled up the 
hole and made a great fire on top of it so that it would look as if 
some military stores had been burned. And then they came back 
here into the river like so many tortugas and los Americanos were 
so bravos that no one of those who helped hide away the tesoro 
ever would go back to it. Besides, most of them were killed at 



By J. Frank Dobie 

This group of legends came to me from an old darkey named 
Pete Staples. In them may be seen the blended elements of negro, 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 53 

Mexican, and pioneer Texan lore. Pete was brought to Texas 
from Mississippi before the Civil War. He was raised in the 
border country among the Mexicans and drove cattle up the 
trail to Kansas. He married a Mexican woman and lived for 
some time in Mexico. When he told me these stories in 1922 he 
was cooking for a Mexican cow camp in Live Oak County. The 
other hands had "unrolled their blankets" early, and Pete's tones 
were confidential as we talked by the burnt-out campfire. 

"One time there was a white man who had got wind of a lot of 
Mexican dollars buried down below Roma. He had the place all 
located, and was so sure of hisself that he brung in an outfit of 
mules and scrapers to dig away the dirt. He was making a reg'lar 
tank digging down to that money when a Mexican living down 
there what I've knowed all my life corned along. 

"This Mexican, when he come along clost to the tank that the 
white man was digging, stopped a minute under a mesquite tree 
to sorter cool oif, and when he did he saw a hoe laying down on 
the ground half covered up in the dirt. He reached down to pick 
it up and then he saw a whole maleta of coins. A maleta, you 
know, is a kind of bag made out of hide. This maleta was old and 
rotten, and when he turned it over with the hoe it broke open and 
the gold money jest rolled out in the dirt. 

"D'reckly, the Mexican went over to where the white man was 
bossing the teams, and he asked him what he was doing. The 
white man told him that he was digging up some buried money. 

" 'Well, you's digging where it ain't no use to dig,' said the 
Mexican. 'The money ain't there; hit's over here. If you want 
to see it, come along and I'll show it to you.' 

"The white man laughed like he didn't believe what the Mexican 
was telling him, but he come along. When they got to the mes- 
quite there wa'n't no money in sight, but there was a hole down at 
the root of the tree kinder like a badger hole and bumble bees was 
going in and out making a roaring sound and the dirt was fairly 
alive with great big bugs, maybe tumble bugs, only they was hum- 
ming and making a sizzling noise and working around awful like. 

"'Huh, is this what you call money?' says the white man, 
stamping down on the tumble bugs. 'I'll eat all the gold what 
they roll up.' 

54 Legends of Texas 

" 'That's all right/ says the Mexican. 'There was dollars of 
gold and silver too here. But there ain't now, I admit, 'cause 
them dollars's evidently not intinded for you. White man dicfrr*t 
hide that money and it ain't meant for white man to find it. No 
matter how much you dig or where now, you won't find nothing.' 

"Shore enough, the man kept on digging and he didn't get noth- 
ing. One time I asked the Mexican why he didn't go back and 
take out the money. 

" 'I didn't want none of it,' he said. 'I never put it in the 
ground. 'Twa'n't mine any more'n that white man's.' 

"A few days after he saw the money, though, he went back and 
scratched around in the dirt a little and picked up an old Mexican 
square dollar. He brung it to Roma and bought some flour and 
some coffee and some candy, and give some of the candy to my 
wife. She was living down there and knowed the man well and 
she's told me many a time how she et some of the candy that the 
Mexican bought with that old square Mexican dollar. I always 
have thought that that money was intinded for him, but you 
know how some people are, and I can't say as I blame him for not 
teching what he hadn't a right to. If buried money like that is 
intinded for a human, he'll come by it jest easy and nach'ral. If 
it's not, he won't come by it, no matter how much he hunts. 
Even if he did find it and it wa'n't intinded for him, it ud prove 
a curse. I'd be afraid of it myself. 


"One time over in East Texas two young fellers was going along 
when they met a man. He looked perfeckly nach'ral, and they 
was clost to a tree. 

" 'Dig there,' said the man to them, like he knowed that they 
was looking for something, which they was. 'Dig there,' was all 
he said, and when he said that he pointed to the root of the tree. 

"They swung down their grubbing hoes and hadn't more'n 
scraped the crust off 'n the ground when a great big bulldog come 
right out of the earth. He jest fairly appeared like out of no- 
where, 'cept that he come out of the ground. He was monstrous 
big and sorter white looking, but he didn't growl nor nothing. 
And those fellers never even went back to get their grubbing 


"Something like the same thing happened down at the old 
Carmel place below Lagarto. You know it's only about two or 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 55 

three miles north of Casa Blanca, what they tell so much about. 
I don't know what the truth is about that Carmel place, but as 
sure as you're bawn, things has happened there. Some says that 
Spanish priests buried money there what they was trying to get 
back to Mexico with. And Mr. Ed Dubose, once when I was 
cooking for him and some other gentlemens that was looking for 
buried money, said that he saw the print of an iron box in a hole 
close by. The rust was still on the ground all 'round the hole where 
the box used to be, and they was jest a day late getting down 
there. Some other feller had beat 'em to it — but it's a good thing, 
I speck. There's an old grave made out of rock and cement at 
that Carmel place. 

"Some says that there's a mine for silver or gold down there 
too what the Spanish used to work, but now it's hid so nobody 
can't find it. 

"Some says that there was a man drug to death what was 
traveling through with both saddlebags full of money. He was 
sleeping on his saddle for a piller and the Mexicans supprised 
him and roped him and drug him to death. Old Captain Cox 
used to have a house close down there, you know, and sometimes 
he'd wake up in the middle of the night hearing what sounded 
like a wagon rumbling. He'd get up and go to the door and 
couldn't hear nothing. Then maybe he'd hear d'reckly sounds 
like somebody galloping on horses and dragging an old dry cow- 
hide. Sometimes this dragging and rumbling would go on all 
night so he couldn't sleep. Some Mexican cotton-pickers that 
was camped there heard that hide being drug all around their 
camp one night, and next day they left. 

"Old man Miller was always projecking round trying to get his 
hands on that money. He tried to get his pastor what kept a 
herd of goats down on the south side of the ranch next to the 
Carmel place to look out for signs. One time that pastor dis- 
covered that he'd lost a big billy goat outen his herd. He set out 
to look for him, and he tramped around for three days before he 
corned across ary a track. Then one evening nigh about sun- 
down he saw the old billy goat standing off on one side of a ravine 
and nibbling grass jest as nach'ral as life. He set out to where 
the goat was, but when he got there, there wa'n't nothing but two 
dead hackberry trees. It was a nach'ral clearing and there wa'n't 
no other hackberry trees in a mile. He said he knowed those 

56 Legends of Texas 

trees was not there when he started. And he couldn't find not 
even a sign of the billy goat, not even a track." 

IV 1 

"Down there sommers below Realitos there's an old dug well 
with six jack loads of Mexican silver in it, and nobody ain't never 
going to get it neither. How it come there was this way. Six 
Mexicans was making for the Rio Grande with it when they was 
overtaken and killed. But the bandits that killed them was being 
followed likewise and didn't have time to get away with the 
silver. The fight had been right by this old well, and what the 
bandits did was to shoot the jacks that was not shot already and 
to pitch dead Mexicans, jacks, silver and all right into the well. 
In the fight that followed, the bandits was cleared out. The 
men after them was rangers, I guess. Anyway, one of them 
found out somehow about the six jack loads of silver. 

"Well, when everything had quieted down like, he went and 
bought the land on which the well was placed and set a bunch of 
Mexicans to clean it out. Of course, the well had got filled up 
with dirt and so on from caving in. After they'd dug a while 
the Mexicans struck bones. They hollered up to the white man 
that they had struck bones and that all they lacked now was to 
pull up the goods. The white man, he hollered down to them 
that they needn't do any more digging and for them to come on 
up so as to let him down. Nach'rally, being as they had struck 
them bones, the Mexicans wasn't very slow about getting out. 

"When the white man got down there, the first thing he done 
was to grab hold of a corner of an old maleta what he seen stick- 
ing out among the bones. He jerked it out and it had the dollars 
in it all right. Then he looked up and yelled to the Mexicans to 
pull. He hadn't more'n got the words outen his mouth when he 
seen a tall skileton standing alongside the wall of that well. Its 
feet was close to him and it must have been twenty, maybe forty, 
feet tall. It reached clear up to the top, and its face away up 
there was a-looking down at the white man. He couldn't take his 
eyes offen it, and all the way up while those Mexicans was a- 
pulling him slow and jerky he had to look that skileton in the face. 

ir rhis last legend was printed in the Dallas Times-Herald, October 22, 
1922, and in other papers over the state about the same time, I having given 
it to the press in the hope of creating a wider interest in legends. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 57 

He forgot all about that maleta of money and dropped it back, and 
when he dumb out he was so weak that they had to help him on 
his horse. They managed to get him home and put him in bed, 
and that night he died. And there ain't nobody what I know of 
as has undertook to get out them six jack loads of silver since." 

By Fannie Ratchford 

His name was Zeno, but he answered with equal indifference 
and slowness to Bruno, Juno, and Zero. He was a goat-herder 
who had been hired to help with the fall shearing, and though he 
was not more than fourteen years of age, long following after 
flocks of goats along dusty roads had given him the slow, 
shambling gait of an old man and fixed on his small, wizened 
face an expression not unlike that of the patriarchs of the flocks 
he drove. 

One night at the supper table my cousin expressed disgust that 
a certain Mexican, upon whom he had been depending for help 
with the shearing, had seen some sort of supernatural light on 
the mountains, and had betaken himself off to hunt for the buried 
treasure that such a light indicates. As the conversation turned 
upon the subject of this superstition, I saw Zeno's face light up 
with an expression of interest and intelligence altogether new to 
it. But he said nothing. Indeed, I think, up to that time I had 
never heard him speak. 

After supper, when he and a small boy who lived on the ranch 
had withdrawn to the darkness of the lawn, I heard a thin, shrill, 
defiant voice saying, "That's the truth, and anybody can laf that 
wants to." 

Scenting an interesting story, I joined the boys on the grass, 
and asked, "What's true, Zeno? Tell me the story that you were 
telling Wayne." 

" 'Tain't no story, hit's the gospel truth, and if you'll take me 
up there, I'll show yer," was the defiant answer. 

After several more questions, I got this story. Near the head 
of the Frio River, between Leakey and Concan, there is a moun- 
tain with a rather steep, bald face. Anyone who has the temer- 

58 Legends of Texas 

ity to linger in the vicinity until night begins to fall will see the 
tall, willowy figure of a woman all in white moving slowly down 
the mountain-side, carrying a lighted torch in one hand, while 
with the other she strikes about her with a rod or switch. 

"Where does she come from," I asked, "from behind the moun- 
tain or from out of the top?" 

"She don't come from nowhere," was the indignant reply. 
"She just— just— " 

"Just appears," I suggested. 

"Yeh, just 'pears," Zeno agreed. 

"But what is she striking at?" I persisted. 

"At ever'thing, and if she hits yer, you don't feel no lick. Yer 
just have a shivery feeling like a puff of cold, wet wind had 
struck yer." 

"What is she doing there?" I insisted. "Was there a murder 
committed there?" 

"She's a-watching all the money that's buried in that there 
mountain, of course," was the pitying reply. "Once on a time 
some Spaniards were going along there with a lot of money packed 
on mules, when the Indians came along, and they had a big fight, 
and they wus all killed, but first they had buried their money, and 
nobody hain't ever been able to find it, 'cause they is always a 
spirit guarding it. Grandma Christmas, she can tell yer all about 
it ; she's 'most a hundred years old, and she's lived up there 'most 
since the time of the fight. 

"Paw and me, we found some arrerheads up there, and Paw, he's 
seen the spirit with the light and ever'thing." 

"Has your father ever dug for the money?" I asked. 

"No, he ain't never dug on that mountain, but he's dug in an- 
other place, I ain't saying where, but not more'n a hundred miles 
from there," he answered mysteriously. 

"My uncle, he first seen a light in this here place where Paw 
dug — a funny sort of light that didn' burn anything up — " 

"Like Moses and the burning bush," I suggested, but he ignored 
my interruption, and went on. 

" — and he first shot through it with his pistol, and then he tried 
to touch it with his hand, but he never could get near enough to it. 
It always moved away as he went toward it. 

"But anyway him and Paw found the right place to dig. They 
knowed it was the right place, 'cause they found two machete 
knives stuck way down in the ground. They found a funny sort 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 59 

of place, like a well all walled up with rocks that had been filled 
in with dirt, and had grass and ever'thing all grown over it. 

"Paw and my uncle taken time about digging and watching, 
and once when Paw was digging, he come to the bottom of the 
well. The bottom was covered with pieces of flat rock like pieces 
of pie with their points together in the middle. Paw started to 
prize one of these pieces up, when a bright light flashed right in 
his face, and he heard a terrible noise like a hundred men a-run- 
ning on horses, and fighting, too. He got out of there quick as he 
could, but it took him a long time to catch up with my uncle, who 
had heard the noise first. 

"No, he never did go back there, but he told another man, who 
did go, and found the place too, but the man what owned the place 
run him away. 

"Not long after that, Paw went to a fortune teller, and he told 
him that they was a whole lot of money right there in that hole, 
an' if he had just lifted the rock on the other side he would a 
found it, but it wouldn't do him any good to go back, for the 
spirits were watching that money, and they wusn't no man on the 
green earth that could get it until he could lay them spirits/' 

Zeno was now thoroughly warmed up to his subject, and as soon 
as this last story had had time to soak in, he started again. 

"They's another place, too, up on the Frio where they's money 
buried. Ever'body knows hit's there, but nobody ain't ever been 
able to find it. My uncle was hunting up there once, when he 
found a funny piece of old, old iron chain, and after a while he 
saw some rocks with the funniest kind of marks on them, that 
wusn't put there by no white man, either. He come back to get 
Paw, and they hunted and hunted for the place, but they never 
could find the rocks ner the marks ner nothing. The fortune 
teller told Paw that the spirits always turned them away just 
when they were about to find the right place." 

"I am sorry you can't tell me exactly where those places are, 
Zeno. Do you suppose your father could tell me?" I asked. 

"He kin tell yer all right if he wants to," was the canny an- 
swer. "He knows where just about all the money in Texas is 
buried, I guess." 

Needless to say, I took occasion to go to Paw's place of business 
not long after, but found to my disappointment that Paw had gone 
to California to pick grapes. 

60 Legends of Texas 

By J. Frank Dobie 

This legend and others were given me in the summer of 1922 
by Mr. Whitley, a small ranchman of McMuilen County. At 
that time, he was more than seventy years old, though he was 
still an eager and agile horseman. From his front gallery one 
could see the San Caja Mountain, which his land ran against. 
We began talking on the subject of buried treasure a little after 
dark, and it was long after midnight before he suggested that 
we "unroll our blankets." When I think of the place, the time, 
the man, his tones — the whole environment in which these as 
well as other legends were told, I realize that the most faithful 
transcription of the words can give hardly more than a shadow 
of the original effect. 

"When I was a young man I got to know an old, old Mexican 
at Refugio, who had been raised by the Indians. His name was 
Benito. They had captured him down in the Rio Grande country 
when he was a boy and taken him north with them. In those 
days the Indians were friendly with the Mexicans at San Antonio, 
and every year they would come down from the upper country 
and trade, but when they got in the vicinity of the San Antonio 
settlement they always hid their Mexican captive, keeping him 
back with the squaws. 

"The main thing that these Indians brought in to trade off to 
the Mexicans and Spanish was silver and lead. Benito said he 
knew that they were getting it from somewhere about the head 
of the Frio, but for years did not know just where, for he was 
never allowed to go to the mine. The attempts of Mexican 
prospectors to get on to the whereabouts of the mineral made 
the Indians very particular. Finally, though, they trusted their 
captive with the location. He found that there was a vein of 
ore. It seemed to be a lead and silver compound almost solid. 
From it the Indians simply chopped off bars to be used in trading 
or in moulding bullets. 

"Now, as old Benito used to tell, after he was grown he slipped 
away from the Indians, and with two or three Mexicans that 
he took in as partners went back and tried to get the ore himself. 
The Indians got on his trail, though, and killed his companions 
before the party ever got to the ore. He alone escaped, and 
for years and years he was afraid to go back. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 61 

"When I knew him he was over a hundred years old, I am 
pretty sure, and he would tell me often about the rich silver 
vein. I wanted to go in search of it, and he thought that he 
could make the trip in spite of his feebleness if we fixed it so 
that he could ride in a hack. He knew that he could find the 
mine if he ever got up the Frio Canyon, but he would not go unless 
a good-sized party went. He said that he would pick six Mexi- 
cans to go and that I could pick six white men. 

"Well, we got everything about ready, wagons, provisions, and 
so forth, when the man in our party who was bearing most of the 
fitting-out expense up and took down sick. So we naturally had 
to put the trip off. The man got well, and a while after that 
we got ready to go again. But luck seemed to be against us, 
and the old Mexican guide was taken down. It was out of the 
question for him to go. He was dying. He gave us, though, the 
clearest directions he could and thought that we could follow 
them. From what he said, the vein of silver could not be got 
to horseback. It was in the south bank of one of three arroyos 
that ran into the Frio close together. At it the creek made a 
sharp turn, and a man would have to get down and go afoot 
along the bank. No doubt it was concealed, for the Indians 
always covered it up well after they had hacked off what they 
wanted. The old Mexican said that if he could only get one sight 
of the lay of the land, he could tell which one of the three arroyos 
the vein was in. But he never got that sight; so he gave the 
best way-bill he could and died. 

"The treasure hunting party broke up and things rocked along 
for years without me doing anything. Meanwhile a brother-in- 
law of mine had moved into the upper Frio country. I decided 
to go up and visit him and my sister, and to find the ore at the 
same time. I took my dogs along, and the first thing we struck 
the very first morning that we rode out to look up those three 
creeks was a bear. Well, sir, I got to hunting bear, and we never 
did get to hunting that silver, and to this day I know good and 
well that if I had left my dogs at home, I'd a had it. 

"I say I know, because my brother-in-law found it after I left. 
I gave him the directions and he agreed to notify me if he made 
the find. Well, he made it and was leaving his place to come 
down the country to tell me, when he was murdered in cold blood. 
But that is another matter. He had confided to his wife about 
finding the silver and told her the purpose of his trip, warning 

62 Legends of Texas 

her not to tell anybody. Of course, after his death she told me 
all that she knew; he had never told her, though, where he had 
located the vein. 

"You see I have known two living witnesses to that treasure. 
There is enough of it to make anybody rich. If I just had time, 
I believe that I could go and find it yet." 

By Edgar B. Kincaid 

The Quicksilver Mine of the Rangers 

When the Sabinal country was just settling up, a company of 
rangers camped for some time about four miles north of Sabinal 
on the Sabinal River. They often practiced shooting, and some 
of the men from ranches round about practiced with them. Then 
the rangers were ordered on. 

Thirty or more years passed. One day one of the old rangers 
showed up in Sabinal in search of their former camp. He looked 
around for a while, took no one into his confidence, and quietly 
left. Within a short time he returned with another member of 
his all but forgotten company. They secured the help of some of 
the oldest settlers and definitely located the old camp site. Next, 
the former rangers drew up a contract with the owner of the 
land allowing them to mine quicksilver. Then they told their 

When they were camped in the Sabinal country in the early 
seventies, one of the members of the company shot a ground squir- 
rel on the edge of its hole. On picking up the dead squirrel, he 
bent so that he could see into the hole. The sun was shining at 
just the right angle to throw a light down it; it must not have 
been very deep. Anyway, what the ranger saw in the bottom 
of the hole was quicksilver. He got a can, dipped up some of it, 
and passed it around for his comrades to examine. Some of 
them rubbed their guns with it. 

The old rangers started to work and dug many trenches about 
the former camp site, but they could never find a sign of what 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 63 

they were after. That site is near a great fault that has exposed 
millions of tons of igneous rock. It is said that quicksilver is 
sometimes found under just such conditions; but to this day 
the quicksilver once glimpsed by the rangers has not been found, 
and their story has passed into the tradition of the country. 


Lost Lead Mine 

North of Sabinal in early days lived a ranchman named Hoff- 
man. He had come from California, and he used to sell lead 
to occasional settlers who went to his cabin to buy it. One day 
Will and High Thompson, brothers, were helping Hoffman brand 
calves on his ranch, now known as the Nixon Ranch, when they 
said something about needing lead to mould into bullets. Hoff- 
man said that he had plenty and that if they would keep on work- 
ing he would get them all that they wanted. The Thompson 
boys kept on working; Hoffman rode away, and in about two 
hours returned with the lead. He said that he had got it out 
of his mine and that just as soon as he could sell his cattle he 
was going to work the mine. He did sell his cattle soon after- 
wards, but almost immediately was killed by the Indians. 

The Thompson brothers then began to hunt for the mine. 
One day while they were searching, High called out to Will to 
come and see "this great, big, blue cow chip." The cow chip 
proved to be lead. They were at the mine. Very shortly after- 
wards, Will, who was always leader, was killed either by Indians 
or by robbers. The mine was forgotten for a time, and the land 
passed into hands of people who would not allow any but their 
own kin to hunt for the lead. 

In after years Henry Taylor, a brother-in-law of the land- 
owner, got High Thompson to try to locate the mine again. He 
made a location and sank several shafts, but never found any 
lead. The mine is still a lost mine, talked about by many and 
perhaps even searched for by some. 

64 Legends of Texas 

By J. Frank Dobie 

Wherever men talk of the Bowie Mine, of the Rock Pens, of 
lost mines of the West, they tell of the Nigger Gold Mine. The 
site of Reagan Canyon varies from south of Dryden in Terrell 
County to a hundred and seventy-five miles west in Brewster 
County, in some accounts being identified with Maravillas Canyon, 
Likewise, the gold lead shifts from one side of the Rio Grande 
to the other. Mr. Carl Raht has put into print an account of the 
Nigger Gold Mine 2 but he has not stressed the legendary features. 
For material I am indebted to R. R. ("Railroad") Smith of 
Jourdanton, who got his information from Tex O'Reilly and others 
who know Campbell, the railroad conductor; also to Edgar Kin- 
caid of Sabinal and West Burton of Austin. I tell the legend 
as it is told, not as history would sift it. 

The Reagan brothers were camped down close to the Rio 
Grande in the Big Bend country on a canyon that now bears 
their name. Reagan Canyon opens into the Rio Grande, afford- 
ing an excellent passage for stock, and the Reagans used it to 
smuggle stolen cattle and horses back and forth between Mexico 
and the United States. Some say that they were in partnership 
with a gang of horse thieves that operated "a chain" all the way 
to the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma. 

One time when one of the Reagan boys was in Valentine he 
came across a negro tramp. He picked him up in his spring 
wagon and brought him back to camp and put him to work. Not 
long afterwards a horse got loose with a saddle on — some say with 
merely a drag-rope — and the men in camp scattered out to 
find him. When night came and the men returned, nobody had 

1 The mine is often referred to as the "Nigger Ben Mine." I have not 
been able to learn why, but I have a guess. In the early seventies a half- 
breed negro-Mexican named Ben Hodges, but known as "Nigger Ben," went 
up the trail to Kansas with a herd of Texas cattle. "Nigger Ben" remained 
in the vicinity of Dodge City and became a notorious, almost legendary, 
fraud. He claimed to possess a Spanish grant to lands on the Rio Grande 
on which were located wonderfully rich mines. It would be very much in 
the manner of legend to blend "Nigger Ben's mine" with another mine on 
the Rio Grande claimed by another negro. For an account of "Nigger 
Ben," see Wright, Robert M., Dodge City the Cowboy Capital, Wichita, 
Kansas, 1913, pp. 273-280. 

2 Raht, Carl, The Romance of Davis Mountains, El Paso, 1919, pp. 331-334. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 65 

found the horse, but the negro rode in with a morral full of some- 
thing heavy, and calling off one of the Reagan men, he said, 
"Mr. Reagan, jes' looky here; Fse found a brass mine." 

"Damn your brass mine," said Reagan as he scattered the con- 
tents of the morral with a kick. "I'm not feeding you to hunt 
brass mines. Why in the hell didn't you find that horse? He's 
got a new saddle on him worth three brass mines." 

With that the negro kept still, and next morning early all 
hands turned out again to hunt the lost horse. About six or 
seven miles out from camp the same Reagan brother who had 
kicked the morral met the negro circling towards him. They 
exchanged observations ; neither had found any sign of the horse. 
"But, Mr. Ben," went on the negro, "we'se right over here now 
clost to that brass mine. Lemme show you." 

It was along late in the afternoon and Reagan was fretted and 
hungry. "I told you once," he blurted out, "that I didn't care 
anything about your mine. What I want is that horse, and 
I'm a damn sight hungrier for some frijoles than I am for brass 

The two horse hunters parted, and when the negro got into 
camp that night the cook called him off and told him that "Mr. 
Ben" was "on the warpath." And here the story prongs. Ac- 
cording to one version, the Reagans saw that they had antag- 
onized the negro and that he was going to leave. Their pasture 
was full of stolen stock at the time and they did not want the 
negro to talk ; so they forthwith shot him and pitched him into the 
Rio Grande. Mr. J. M. Kincaid of San Antonio, who years ago 
ranched in the Big Bend, says that this is a confusion of stories, 
that a negro was pitched into the Rio Grande all right, but that 
some train robbers drowned him because he would not go in 
with them as he had promised to do. 

According to the more prevalent version, the negro culled a 
stray horse from the Reagan remuda — some say a fine Reagan 
stallion — and made back east or else into Mexico. After he was 
gone and the Reagans had cooled down, they began to think about 
the "brass" and picked up some of the ore that had spilled out 
of the morral. They saw that it was rich in gold. Then they 
tried to get the negro back, spending and offering large sums 
in the attempt. The negro heard of the efforts and hid out the 
farther. He thought that the white men were after him for 
taking the horse. The Reagan boys searched in every direction 

66 Legends of Texas 

for the gold deposit, meantime continuing their stealing and 
smuggling. Later the Rangers came down into the Big Bend 
and broke up the gang. They killed one of the boys, one died, 
one went to Mexico, where he now lives with the Yaqui Indians. 

But when he left, the negro had held on to his samples of ore. 
He knew that he had something valuable. He sent specimens to 
be assayed at El Paso and Denver. The analysis showed either 
ninety-two per cent gold or else $92,000 gold to the ton, the 
figures vary. No matter how rich the ore, however, he was afraid 
to go back into the Big Bend. He disappeared. Other people 
than the Reagans had heard of the negro and his "mine" and they 
set to searching for both. It is estimated by some men that fully 
$20,000 have been spent in trying to find the negro. Some say 
that he died in Louisiana; some, that he is still in Mexico. I 
know one man who claims to have known him in Monterrey a 
good many years ago. There the negro went by the name of 
Pablo, had a peculiar scar on his face, was a noted drinker and 
gambler, rode a fine horse often at full speed down the street, 
whooping and shooting. He always had plenty of money, and 
it was claimed that he loaded two pack horses every three months 
with ore from his secret mine. 

But the real story of the Nigger Mine is forever linked with 
the name of Campbell. Campbell was a conductor on the South- 
ern Pacific Railroad. He is yet living in San Antonio and may 
enjoy in life the legendary fame that only a few men attain to in 
death. Before the negro left Texas, he gave Campbell some of 
his ore. Campbell had it assayed, with the same rich results 
that the negro's assays had shown. He quit work to go out and 
see the mine. Then he discovered that the negro had stolen a 
horse and run away. He tried to find the mine himself and 
failed. All that he knew was that it was within seven or eight 
miles of the old Reagan camp. He spread abroad offers of a 
high reward for information that would lead him to the negro. 
Thus the whole country came to know about the mine and to 
search for it. 

Then the excitement gradually died down and people had begun 
to talk about ordinary subjects when a miner by the name of 
Fink who had taken up the search found, or claimed to have 
found, the mine. He confided his success to some friends, who 
decided to take the mine for themselves. Under the guise of 
friendship they went with him to El Paso to help him file his 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 67 

mineral claim. As yet he had told no one of the exact location 
of the deposit, and their plan was to get him drunk enough to 
talk and then to double-cross him. They gave him all the whis- 
key that he could drink and he had "a high old time." He drank 
too much whiskey to talk at all. In fact, he drank so much 
whiskey that it killed him, and with him died his secret. 

But Campbell had not given up. He alone of all the searchers 
has been consistent and persistent. Others have searched far 
and near, now on one side of the Rio Grande and now on the 
other. He has kept to his eight mile radius. He grub-staked 
an old Dutch prospector to search, giving him a pair of burros 
and telling him that he might go away from camp as far as a 
burro might take him out and back in a day. Solitary, often 
not seeing a human being for months, the old Dutchman examined 
ledge after ledge, rock after rock. He was looking for a kind of 
blue rock. Then one day he found it! He put some of the ore 
on his pack burro, loaded on his bed and a little "grub," and 
started for Valentine. On the road he got sick. He was feeble 
anyhow. When he reached Valentine he was too sick to talk. 
Only the ore in his pack told his tale. He died before he could 
give directions to his find. Campbell has had other men search- 
ing since. All he knows to tell them is that they may search as 
far as a burro will walk out and back in a day. But who knows 
that the old Dutchman did not tire of his tether and wander out 
in the mountains, camping where night overtook him, and that 
he did not make his discovery far out? 

Some say that there never has been a mine, that the negro 
merely stumbled on some ore that a certain old California pros- 
pector with a sense of humor had "salted out." Some say that 
the negro found a lead under a cliff that later caved down and 
covered it up. Who knows? What does it all mean? Romance. 



By Marvin Hunter 1 

Twenty years ago, an old Mexican, of Tularosa, who had been 
captured by the Mescalero Apaches when five years old, related 

x In Hunter's Frontier Magazine, October, 1916, I, 6, 177-179. Further 
testimony to the existence of "the Sublett Mine," given by an old buffalo 
hunter and prospector named Dixon, is printed in Frontier Times, March, 
1924, Vol. I, No. 6, pp. 1-3. Dixon heard of the mine in 1879 from his 
sweetheart, daughter of a Mescalero Apache chief. 

68 Legends of Texas 

that his captors took him along on a hunting trip to Guadalupe 
Mountains and that while there he saw them gathering nuggets 
of gold in a gulch. 

A Mescalero Apache informed the late G. W. Wood, of El Paso, 
for whom he worked in the Jarilla mines, that if he sought gold, 
he should go to the mountains called "Smoky" over the line in 
Texas, where . . . his people used to go and gather gold. 

Another story is that of John Kilgore, a Texan and a man of 
undoubted veracity, who said that an old Mexican once told him 
that he was captured by the Indians when he was about fourteen 
years old. One day, the Indian who kept him in his wigwam in 
the Guadalupes called him to his side, blindfolded him, and led 
him into the fastness of the mountains, telling him to sit down 
on a flat rock and wait for his return, which he did. The Indian 
went away and in a short time returned with a buckskin sack 
filled with gold. This he handed to the Mexican boy, gave him 
a pony, and told him to go back to his people. The Mexican said 
he afterward tried to locate the place shown him but could never 
do so. 

Green Ussery, a rich cattleman of West Texas, was walking 
along a gulch near the Chico Ranch in the Guadalupes when he 
saw Lee Church, a friend who was with him, pick up a gold nug- 
get from the ground, worth $20. 

Several years ago, Cicero Stewart, under sheriff of Eddy 
County, New Mexico, was up in the mountains hunting for the 
lost mine. He relates that "Grizzly Bill," a cowboy, was in camp 
in the Russell Hills of the Guadalupe Mountains, and came across 
a gold deposit. He abandoned his cattle and went to Pecos, where 
he had a great spree, displaying his gold. While trying to ride 
a wild horse he was thrown off, breaking his neck. 

F. H. Hardesty, residing in El Paso, was induced to relate his 
own experience as follows: 

"About a year and a half ago, Lucius Arthur stopped at my 
place to get water for himself and pack animal, and remained 
over night. Becoming confidential, he divulged to me the secret 
that he was making a trip to a mountain range, three days' 
journey due east, for the purpose of trailing two Mexicans who 
left Ysleta the night before. 

"He said he had followed them at other times nearly to the 
mountain, but had been compelled to return before reaching it 
for want of 'grub' and water. He was known as Trenchy' in 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 69 

Ysleta, being a native of France. He had been professor of 
athletics in Austin, Texas, and while there heard a story about 
these two Mexicans, and had come to find the gold mine they 

"One Mexican, he said, would come from down in Mexico, and 
meet the other (his brother-in-law) in Ysleta, and start out in the 
dead of night horseback. The one from Mexico belonged to a 
wealthy old family who had known for generations about the 
mine and had kept the location a secret. But some member of 
the family would go every year and bring back gold. 

"I told Arthur he ought to be better equipped for the journey, 
and offered to stake him with all funds needed. He accepted my 
offer and agreed to take me as a partner. He left with two 
months' supplies and good equipment. After an absence of a 
month and a half, he returned, saying that he had at last found 
the hidden mine, and brought me as a proof plenty of rich gold 
quartz broken off the ledge near the brink of a chasm, which he 
could not descend into, because its walls were perpendicular. He 
stayed with me a few days, and providing himself with a strong 
rope, set out for the mine. This chasm was 80 feet long, east 
and west, by 40 feet wide, he said. 

"From his place of concealment, he said, he saw one of the 
Mexicans descend by a rope, and bring out several filled sacks. 
After their departure he slipped down to the place and saw a 
large opening like a cave in the vein, 60 feet down. The chasm 
appeared to have widened to 100 feet at that point. Loose 
broken rock in front of the cave showed that work had been done 
lately. He was unquestionably at the place where the Mexicans 
had for generations got their yellow gold. 

"Frenchy never returned to me/' concluded Mr. Hardesty. 

But the most realistic and marvelous story of gold, in com- 
parison with which the stories of the lost "Cabin Mine" and 
"Nigger Ben Mine" and similar legendary mines pale into insig- 
nificance, is one familiar to nearly every one in Roswell and 
Carlsbad, New Mexico, and told by cowboys and ranchmen in 
the winter nights around their camp fires in the Guadalupe 
Mountain country. 

It is the story of a mystery — that of a lost gold mine in the 
highest and most precipitous, canyon-rent, and rugged mountains 
in the Southwest, rising 5000 feet above the plains. The lost 
mine in the fastness of this range is a gold mine (as the story 

70 Legends of Texas 

goes) that is fairly bristling with the precious metal; its value is 
estimated at millions, and it is known in Texas and New Mexico 
as the "Lost Sublett Mine." 

Two men now living have actually seen this famous mine, but 
neither now remembers its exact location. One is Ross Sublett, 
son of the original discoverer, who is a prominent business man 
of Roswell, New Mexico. The other is Mike Wilson, a former 
crony of "old man Sublett," who is believed to be on his death 
bed in a little hut in the Guadalupe Mountains, vainly trying to 
remember the location of probably one of the richest gold mines 
in the world. 

"Old Ben Sublett" was a native of Missouri, and belonged to an 
old family of that name in St. Louis. In early life the "call of 
the wild" and the lure of gold led him to go to the Rocky Moun- 
tains with his young wife and three babies, whom he took on all 
prospecting trips. For years luck never favored him, and while 
others found mines and grew rich, he continued poor. He was 
in rags, and his wife and children were hungry. They passed 
through the Guadalupes and finally settled in Odessa, Texas. 
Here they made their home in a little hut. Mrs. Sublett did 
washing and sewing to support the children, while Sublett worked 
on a ranch just long enough to get money to buy a "rickety old 
buckboard and a bony horse." 

He spent most of his time in the Guadalupes. He had the 
"hunch" that in its labyrinthine solitudes he would find gold. 
Occasionally he brought in a little nugget, hardly of value enough 
to buy grub for his return trip. His wife vainly begged him 
to quit the mountains, to settle down to some vocation in which 
was a sure living; he was stubborn, taking no advice from any- 

Although the mountains were then filled with the bloodthirsty 
Mescalero Apaches, ever ready to kill the lonely prospector or 
trapper, Sublett never carried arms, and by some strange fate 
was never molested. The old prospector laughed at those who 
warned him and advised him to be careful. These trips con- 
tinued ; and every time he returned, his return was a surprise to 
the people of the town. They scoffed at his crazy mode of life. 

One day the old man drove up to Abe Williams' saloon and 
strode boldly to the bar, inviting everybody present to "join" him. 
They thought that he was joking, as he was supposed to be penni- 
less, but when Old Ben threw down a buckskin sack filled with 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 71 

nuggets and said that he had found a rich gold mine and could 
buy out the whole town and have plenty left, the crowd was wild 
with excitement. He went out to his buckboard and dragged in 
a canvas sack filled with gold so pure, it is said, that a jeweler 
could hammer it out. "My friends, have all the drinks you want," 
he said, "for I have at last found the richest gold mine in the 
world. I can buy Texas and make a backyard out of it for my 
children to play in." 

After that Sublett would frequently slip out to the mountains 
and return in less than ten days with about $1500 worth of gold. 
He built a fine home for his family, and of course made many 
"prosperity" friends. All tried to get him to show them the 
location of his mine, but he would shake his head and say: 
"If anyone wants my mine, let him go and hunt for it like I did. 
I hunted twenty-four years and wasted the best part of my life 
at it. The valley of the Pecos and the peaks of the Guadalupes 
are my home; I want to be buried there when I die, and I am 
going to carry this secret to the other world, so that for years 
and years people will remember me and talk about the rich gold 
mine 'that old man Sublett found.' I will give them something 
to talk about." 

His son, Ross Sublett, who has made several attempts to find 
the mine, says: "I have a faint recollection of it. I was only 
a small boy when my father took me there. We drove out in an 
old buckboard. I know the mine was about six miles from a 
spring. The spring is in what is known as the Russell Hills of 
the Guadalupes. I paid no attention at the time as to where 
we went, and was always glad when my father was ready to 
return home. Father got the gold out of a hole or cave, but it 
seems that it was in plain sight on the ground outside of the cave. 
When my father was on his death bed I tried to get him to tell 
me how to go back, but he said it would be useless, that I could 
never find it." 

Sublett once described the mine to Mike Wilson, who afterward 
went out to the Guadalupes and found the mine. He emptied his 
sack of provisions, and put in as much gold as he could carry 
and began the journey back home. Without recuperating from 
the effects of the hard trip, Mike went on a spree for three weeks, 
and when again he tried to go to the mine he became bewildered 
and lost his bearings. 

72 Legends of Texas 

Old Ben Sublett just laughed at Wilson's bewilderment, and re- 
fused to direct him again. He refused to tell anyone else where 
it was. "If anybody wants it, let him go and hunt for it like I 
did," was all he would say. Later Sublett died and carried the 
secret with him. This was eighteen years ago. 


By R. E. Sherrill 

[Haskell, King, and Stonewall counties all corner near the junction of 
the main forks of the Brazos, and this legend told by Mr. Sherrill should be 
read in conjunction with the one immediately following told by Mr. Ber- 
tillion. It makes no difference that one legend has to do with a copper 
mine and the other with a lead mine. One could probably find another 
that has to do with a silver mine in the same vicinity. I must think that 
both legends go back to the same tradition. And the tradition of a mine — 
some kind of a mine — up the Brazos is very old. It began with Spanish 
credence in an Indian story; the earliest American settlers in Texas carried 
it on. In 1774, years after Los Almagres mines were abandoned, De Mezieres 
reported men gone in search of mines which Indians said were "in the di- 
rection of the Brazos de Dios." 1 In 1823 Daniel Shipman and two other 
men, guided by "an old Red River hunter," went up the Brazos River to 
Flint Creek (which I have been unable to identify) on the west side in 
search of "an inexhaustible silver mine." 2 It proved to be red clay. In 
1836 the Reverend David B. Edward was strong in his belief in a mountain 
of iron on the headwaters of the Brazos — as well as in an abundance of 
gold and silver on the branches of the Colorado. 3 — Editor.] 

As far back as the first settlement of white men in this part 
of the state, a tradition has been floating around through the 
country that at some indefinitely early date Spanish prospectors 
worked copper mines a little above the junction of the two main 
branches of the Brazos River, the Salt Fork and the Double 
Mountain Fork, in what was formerly a part of Haskell County 
but is now included in Stonewall County. Furthermore, they 
are supposed to have had, and left here, a vast quantity of gold. 

Various people have come from unknown parts hunting this 
supposed treasure, but no special headway was made until, in 

iBolton, H. E., Athanase de Mezieres, II, 33-34; see also p. 47; also, Vol. I, 
p. 104. 

2 Shipman, Daniel, Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas, 1879, pp. 23-26. 
3 Edward, David B., History of Texas, Cincinnati, 1836, pp. 44-45. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 




The "Spider Rock" (or "Plat Rock") was found eight or ten inches under 
soil, on a small hill south of the Salt Fork of the Brazos River, in 1907 or 
1908. The diagram as reproduced above was cut into the rock, except as 
indicated. The shaded center of the diagram represents a copper plate, on 
top of which lay a copper key pointing north and south. The circle with 
a dot in it at the lower left represents a hole plugged up with a kind of 
stopper rock, in the top of which was scooped a depression about the size 
of a cherry. The diamond shaped figure to the lower right represents a 
copper plate fitted and cemented into the rock. The letter H almost above 
the copper diamond was the letter that the Mexican goat herder said would 
lead him to the treasure after the "Plat Rock" had been found. The 
angular lane of little circles to the lower right, however, gave the finders 
of the rock the most concern. They interpreted it as representing a tunnel 
that led to the treasure sought. Each one of the little circles as drawn on 
the diagram is for a depression in the rock filled with some kind of substance : 
one depression had in it charcoal, one red dirt or clay, one yellow shale, and 
on through varying kinds of earth substance. Various other figures on the 
rock are not given here. 

74 Legends of Texas 

1907 or 1908, a large old gentleman, whose name I cannot now 
recall, suddenly appeared in our sleepy little town from some- 
where on the Mexican border and quietly began inquiring about 
the topography of the country and the tradition of Spanish 
treasure. Having learned all that he could, he took into his con- 
fidence a few select men and explained to them that he had gath- 
ered certain definite information from reliable Mexicans on the 
Rio Grande, and that he proposed to search for the key to the 
hidden wealth. 

Adding his own information to what he heard from the native 
people, the stranger gradually let out a tale that ran somewhat 
as follows. At an early date, when Spanish miners were gath- 
ering great quantities of gold in Mexico, a company of them, 
in search of further treasure, had wandered far to the north- 
west, taking with them a large store of the precious metal. In 
their wanderings, directed by some Indian or by their own keen 
instinct for such things, the Spanish had located the copper mines 
on the Brazos and had proceeded to work them. In some way 
they aroused the hostility of the native Indians and were in 
danger of massacre. They hastily hid their treasure and escaped 
for their lives. Before leaving they made a plat of the country, 
carefully noting directions and distances from prominent points 
of nature. This plat they took with them, but the Indians con- 
tinued so hostile that they could never return to take away their 
gold. Amidst the turmoil and dangers of Mexico at that time, 
the plat was delivered for safe-keeping to a faithful Mexican 
convert who was attached to the Spanish party. It remained 
in his hands until the old man, approaching death, delivered it to 
some friend or to a member of his family as a passport to im- 
mense wealth. Thus the plat passed along for two or three gen- 
erations until Texas fell into the hands of the hated gringos and 
it became certain that no poor Mexican could ever get possession 
of the treasure. Finally, for some small favors and a little money, 
a Mexican turned the plat over to the American who had now 
come with it and its tale to Haskell County. 

Here he organized a small company to assist him in locating 
and digging up the treasure. The plat was guarded most care- 
fully and its information kept most secret. But the detailed in- 
tricacy of that information was very confusing to the possessors 
of it. The map covered a large territory, including the two 
branches of the Brazos, Kiowa Peak, and numerous minor features 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 75 

of the vicinity. It called for many specified rocks and many 
marked trees. The rocks had been covered with soil or the mark- 
ings on them had been weathered away. Most of the trees had 
perished in fires long years past. An explanation was given to 
some of the signs, but the meaning of more had to be guessed at. 

The search was thorough and long continued, and a deal of 
money was spent in digging. Most of the prospecting was right 
along the river, and a Mexican who was herding sheep in the 
neighborhood began to enter into the counsels of the treasure 
hunters. He said that the Mexican government knew all about 
this treasure, that it knew, too, of five or six very rich mines in 
Texas, some of them the richest in the world, but that it would 
never reveal these secrets to Americans. He added that certain 
priests in Mexico could locate this treasure that was being sought 
on the Brazos. 

Thus the Mexican pastor convinced the treasure seekers that 
he knew something about the matter, and to use his information 
they made him a partner. As soon as he was made a partner, 
he announced that if a certain rock was found with a certain 
letter on it, the picture of which he drew, he could find the gold. 
Only a few days after this, the party did uncover, about eight 
or ten inches under the surface of the soil, a rock that they called 
the "Spider Rock." 

The rock had many curious markings on it, among them the 
letter H, in curious old Spanish chirography, as the Mexican had 
called for. He pretended to explain the markings on the rock. 
He said that the little hill on which the Spider Rock was found 
was underlaid with the "base rock"; that underneath the "base 
rock" were buried a great many bodies; and that nineteen steps 
to the west of the dead bodies would be found buried a large bone 
of some prehistoric animal. He said that in excavating the dig- 
gers would find a kind of wall, as if a trench had been dug and 
then filled in with a much harder substance. 

Fired with hope, the treasure hunters set to digging for the 
"base rock." They did find a wall of very firm substance, wider 
at the top and narrower at the base, as if a trench had been filled 
in. When they had got down some fifteen or nineteen feet, they 
were met by such a stench that they could hardly work. They 
found a great many decayed bodies and many relics of various 
kinds. Furthermore, at the specified distance, they found the 

76 Legends of Texas 

bone of the prehistoric animal. It was of about the thickness of 
a man's body and very porous. 

The Mexican now directed that the diggers go to the bluff a 
little farther to the west. He said that there they would find 
under a rock a great bone like the first and other things buried 
by the Spaniards. The bone was found, and with it were an 
old-fashioned sword, some copper ornaments thought to be epau- 
lets, some silver ornaments also, about forty-two gold buttons, 
and a great number of beads. 

But here ended the findings. A majority of the relics found 
were placed in Doctor Terrell's drug store at Haskell, and were 
lost in a fire about 1909. The treasure hunting expedition is said 
to have turned up more than an acre of ground, the depth of the 
excavations varying from a slight distance to nineteen or twenty 
feet. The diggers dispersed to their farms, the large man from 
the border left, and after remaining around a few weeks the 
Mexican disappeared. Many men think that he knew more than 
he would tell. Not long after he vanished, a skeleton was found 
several miles to the east across the river, in the opposite direction 
from that in which the Mexican had led the Americans. Near 
the skeleton were two small, heavy copper pots, one shaped oblong 
somewhat in the form of a canoe, the other round and of the 
capacity of a gallon and a half, built much stronger than any 
vessel now made for commerce and capable of holding itself full 
of the heaviest metal. The popular conclusion is that the Mex- 
ican took from these copper vessels at least a part of the vast 
Spanish treasure. A man in Haskell now is trying to organize an 
expedition to seek the remaining part of the treasure and to 
gather more relics. 

Nearly every man of that searching party of seventeen years 
ago was a friend of mine. I wish to give an illustration of the 
sanguine nature of these treasure seeking folk. At one time 
the party believed that they were within a foot or two of their 
treasure, but they feared to uncover it before they had made ar- 
rangements to take care of it. They were afraid, so one of them 
confided to me, to put much of the money in local banks, lest the 
banks be robbed; they wished, he said, to entrust it to our pri- 
vate vault, where no one would suspect its presence. I agreed 
to take care of the money and was to be notified a little after mid- 
night. The amount to be deposited was $60,000 in gold. I was 
never called to open the vault. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 77 

Regarding the copper mines that the Spanish are said to have 
worked in this country, I can add little. It is known that a 
company of wealthy men, principally from Baltimore and Wash- 
ington, came out near Kiowa Peak in 1872 to locate a copper 
mine. H. H. McConnell, "Late Sixth U. S. Cavalry," in a book 
published in 1889, Five Years a Cavalryman, page 294, gives a 
concise account of the expedition. It consisted, he says, of 
about sixty men and was almost luxuriously provided for. Its 
distinguishing feature was the character of its "bosses," ranging 
as they did from a Virginia congressman of ante bellum days to 
an orientalist named Kellog, and including Professor Roessler, 
"sometime State Geologist of Texas." According to McConnell, 
who was with the party, it did little but travel leisurely and "lo- 
cate ten or twelve sections of land" near Kiowa Peak. The 
clue on which it set forth was a report of copper deposits on the 
Wichita and Brazos rivers made by some prospectors who had 
been driven back by Indians before the Civil War. 


By L. D. Bertillion 

Thirty-five years ago, at some horse corrals on Chickamauga 
Creek, just west of Dalton, Georgia, I heard Thomas Longest 
tell of having discovered a ledge of lead on the Salt Fork of the 
Brazos. I do not know whether this story is popularly told or 
not. Longest did not, I think, leave a way-bill to the mine. 

In 1886, Thomas Longest of New York City decided to travel 
southwestward in search of a basis for horse dealing. He set- 
tled in Dalton, Georgia, forming a partnership with Luke Cal- 
laway, and established a livery, feed, and sale stable. In 1887, 
horses went up in price, and the partners came to Texas to buy 
five carloads of horses. They bought the horses ; and then Long- 
est remained to look over the country. 

On the east side of the Brazos River at a point where the 
Double Mountain Fork intersects with the Salt Fork, Longest 
saw a steer with a very fancy head of horns. He desired to 
have the horns removed from the animal that he might send them 
to a friend in New York. Upon learning what he wanted, how- 
ever, the cowboy who was with him told him that these horns 

78 Legends of Texas 

were little compared to what might be found a day's ride to the 
northwest. Longest promptly set out to make the ride, the cow- 
boy going with him only far enough to show him a crossing safe 
from the quicksands, and telling him the general direction of trails 
to what he designated as the Croton Creek. 

After he had ridden a good many hours, a storm came up, and 
Longest took shelter in a break of a very rough and desolate 
looking country. Here, back under the bank of a canyon, he 
noticed a rusty piece of iron. Upon closer investigation, he found 
it to be an old pick. With it he prized around in the dirt and un- 
covered the remains of a shovel. Longest kept on investigating 
and presently discovered a ledge of ore. From it he broke off 
a piece weighing about four and one half pounds. He was sure 
that it was silver and returned to Georgia at once. 

As soon as he had disposed of his horses in the East, he sent the 
ore to New York to be assayed. To his great disappointment, it 
was pronounced lead, but seventy per cent pure — a valuable find. 

Longest at once set about interesting a mining company in 
the ore and by the spring of 1888 had arranged to show its repre- 
sentative the mine. However, during his trip the year before 
he had contracted a severe cold, which developed into tuberculosis. 
He put off the trip in the hope of getting better, but in a few 
months he was dead. 

Thus became a second time lost what is perhaps one of the 
richest lead mines in America. From the descriptions and di- 
rections given by Longest, it would appear that it is located in 
either Stonewall or King County, more likely in the latter. 



By J. Leeper Gay 

[I have little doubt that the negro who figures in this legend is a sur- 
vival of the Moor, "Black Stephen," who preceded Coronado's gold seeking 
expedition of 1541, though the real "Black Stephen" never returned to 
Mexico to tell his tale. — Editor.] 

This story was told me by a Mexican who said that he heard 
it from his grandfather in Sonora, Mexico. It well represents 
the many legends that cluster around the so-called Santa Anna 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 79 

Mountains and are believed in by various inhabitants of that 
region. It is a tradition of the country that the mountains and 
town are erroneously named; that they should be called Santana 
instead of Santa Anna, it being believed that the Indian chief 
often referred to as Santa Anna was really named Santana. He 
is supposed to lie buried among the mountains in a cave stuffed 
with gold from the San Saba mines. The Spanish had started 
with a few cart loads of it on their way to St. Louis, when 
they were overtaken in a certain mountain pass. This pass was 
frequently used by the Spanish at San Saba, according to legend, 
in order to communicate with another fort at what is now Colo- 
rado, Texas. 

Years and years past while Mexico was still under Spanish 
rule, stories came sifting down far into Mexico that somewhere 
in Colorado was a great tribe of Indians with many sacks of 
gold in their tepees. Finally a troop of cavalry was fitted out 
and sent north to explore, and if there was gold to bring it back. 
Hardened raiders as they were, even they had fear of such a 
long and wild adventure. At last they came into the region 
where the tepees of gold were believed to be situated. They 
made a swift attack, which was fiercely resisted, but all they 
found was about fifty pounds of gold dust and gold nuggets. 

The repulsed Indians rallied and made a counter attack. The 
Spanish were driven back. They retreated slowly, in good order, 
steadily followed by the Indians. At each attack upon their 
rear, the Indians became fiercer, bolder, and stronger in numbers. 
The exhausted Spaniards were losing hope of ever reaching the 
Rio Grande with their lives, much less their treasure. A month 
after their assault on the Indian village, they were camped for 
the night on a little creek not far from what are now called the 
Santa Anna Mountains in Coleman County. A lookout who had 
been dispatched in the late afternoon to make observation from 
the nearest mountain had not returned. At dark all fires were 
extinguished and the camp waited. Some time before midnight 
the lookout dashed in to report that a large band of Indians was 
advancing within a few miles. The commander of the expedition 
ordered his men to entrench themselves as best they could and 
to maintain silence. With them was a very strong negro who had 
acted as a kind of guide. He was well able to dig a hole for the 
gold, and he was detailed with some of the exhausted Spaniards 
to hide the treasure. They buried it on top of a hill, under a flat 

80 Legends of Texas 

rock on which they carved three M's. It is estimated that pure 
ore to the value of about ten thousand pesos was buried. 

The detail had barely returned to camp when the Indians 
began their attack. They rushed the camp in overwhelming 
numbers. Only three prisoners were taken, two Spaniards and 
the negro guide. The Spaniards were burned at the stake at 
once. The negro was kept as a slave. He alone lived to tell the 

Some years after his capture, broken and crazed from con- 
tinual cruelty, he escaped into Mexico. There he seemed always 
thinking of the death of his troop, and the Mexicans shunned 
him as bad company except when some raider wanted to get his 
tale of buried gold. He refused many times to guide parties 
back to it. According to him, there was a curse on the gold 
for whoever should find it. No one has ever found it, and if it 
ever was buried in the Santa Anna Mountains, it is buried there 

By J. Frank Dobie 

I am indebted for this legend to Mr. Bob Nutt of Sabinal. 
Once in the early days a band of men who were going across the 
Plains to trade in New Mexico were attacked by Indians some- 
where near the present town of Wichita Falls. They made a 
corral of their wagons and fought off the Indians as long as they 
could, but when night came they were so thinned in numbers 
and the Indians were so strong that they decided to break for 
their lives. They broke, and all but one man were speedily over- 
taken, killed, and scalped. 

The man who escaped saved his life by stumbling into a hole 
that lay concealed near a little ravine. It was a kind of pothole 
with rounded pebbles at the bottom; among them the man soon 
noticed what looked like gold. He was in a hole of gold nuggets ! 
He remained there for three days, and during all that time he 
was sorting the nuggets from the rocks, digging out the 
gravelly bottom with his bare hands. He said afterward that 
there must have been a barrel of the nuggets. Finally, when he 
could no longer hear Indians, he peeped out. Seeing that the 
way was clear, he bundled up what nuggets he could carry and 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 81 

set out for a distant fort. The Indians had burned all the sup- 
plies, with the wagons, and on his way to the fort he nearly 
starved. He had his gun but he was afraid to disclose his where- 
abouts by shooting at game. At length he grew so weak that he 
had to throw away all the gold but two or three specimen nug- 
gets. He was hardly conscious of the loss when at last he stag- 
gered into the army walls. 

It was several years before he could get back into the Wichita 
country. Meanwhile, day and night, he never ceased to think 
of the hole of gold nuggets. The country around it was pictured 
clear in his memory. The exact spot would be located by the 
irons of the burned wagons. For a long time the man was afraid 
to tell his secret. At last he returned, but no hill or draw of 
the region seemed familiar, and he could never come upon the 
wagon irons or the pothole of nuggets. Some years ago he died 
in Wichita Falls, leaving his descendants a few nuggets that 
bore testimony to the truth of his often told tale. 


By Lillian Gunter 

[In 1759 Parrilla marched from San Antonio with a force of about six 
hundred men and attacked the Taovayas villages on Red River somewhere 
in the vicinity of what is now Montague County, Dr. Herbert E. Bolton 
says near the present Ringgold. Parrilla found the Indians "intrenched 
behind a strong stockade with breastworks, flying a French flag, and 
skillfully using French weapons and tactics." A sanguinary battle followed;, 
resulting in heavy loss on both sides. The Spanish withdrew, leaving 
"two cannon and extra baggage behind." 1 Seventeen years later the 
cannon were recovered. 2 In my mind there is no doubt that the long un- 
explained "Old Spanish Fort" of Miss Gunter's legend was the fortifica- 
tion attacked by Parrilla. 3 The source of the relics mentioned by Miss 
Gunter is accounted for also. 

Thus is seen again how legend has preserved in a vague way what history 
long ignored but eventually established. Comparison should be made with 
"The San Gabriel Mission in Legend." 4 Again, "Old Spanish Fort" was 

1 See Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 89-90, 
for an account of the Parrilla Expedition. 

Hbid., 129, 414. See also Bolton's De Mezieres, II, 187-238. 

3 After having written the above, I was informed by Mr. Joseph B. Thoburn, 
secretary of the Oklahoma Historical Society, that he had received a letter 
from Dr. Bolton identifying "Old Spanish Fort" with the fortification at- 
tacked by Parrilla. 

4 See page 99. 

82 Legends of Texas 

the name given by Westerners to the ruins of the San Saba presidio before 
the history of the site became generally known. 5 The deduction need not 
be made that legend is always correct in anticipating history! — Editor.] 

The buried treasure legends of Cooke County, so far as I have 
been able to investigate, center around two localities. The first 
legend with its variants is current in the Cross Timbers and 
relates to that part of the county immediately northwest of 
Burns City, extending to within a few miles of Gainesville. An 
outcropping of the legend persists also in the Cross Timbers near 
Dexter. The descendants of the first settlers, some of whom 
still live in the country, tell of many hunts for buried treasure 
made by different people who were guided by maps or oral direc- 
tions furnished by Mexicans. 

Marks of fish, turtles, serpents, and other easily drawn animals 
were once found on trees and stones; but no master mind, such 
as reveals itself in Poe's "Gold Bug," came to deduce their true 
meaning. So the treasure has never been found, although an 
effort was made to locate it quite recently. Most of these marks 
have long since been removed or destroyed ; however, it has been 
the writer's fortune to see the outline of a crudely cut fish upon 
the side of a large boulder, probably the only mark of its kind 
left in the county. 

It may interest Texas readers to know that in support of the 
claim that this part of what is now Cooke County was visited 
by Spanish explorers, there now repose in the Cooke County 
museum, which is a part of the county library, ,a one-pound 
brass cannon ball, picked up one mile northwest of Burns City, 
and a brass spear-head, found in a gravel drift near Dexter. 
Brass cannon balls went out of date long before Americans ever 
reached this part of Texas; and, as an old Texas ranger has 
pointed out, the only metal that the Indians used for their spear 
and arrow heads was iron — not brass. 


By far the most widespread and generally known legend of 
Cooke County and vicinity deals with the Red River front; i. e., 

5 See Roberts, Capt. Dan W., Rangers and Sovereignty, San Antonio, 1914, 
pp. 185-186. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 83 

that part of it extending from Spanish Fort Bend on the west 
nearly to Preston Bend on the east, thus extending into both 
Montague and Grayson counties. 

Mr. Pete Davidson, who came to Cooke County about 1856 
to live with his two uncles, Captain Rowland of the Texas Ran- 
gers, and Doctor Davidson, proprietor of the first station west 
of Gainesville for the Overland Stage Route, his station having 
been located on Blocker Creek, relates that he made his first trip 
to Spanish Fort in 1857. "At that time," he says, "the earth- 
works were still plainly discernible and would hide a cow or horse 
from observation from the outside. Good-sized trees were then 
growing from the top of the earthworks, showing that a long 
time had elapsed since they were thrown up. The country was 
still virgin prairie, and every once in a while you could see the 
bleached bones of a human skeleton, showing that some sort of 
battle had been fought there; but some of the skeletons were so 
small that they must have been of women or children who were 
among either the Indians or the soldiers of the fort." Just be- 
fore his death in 1922, Mr. Davidson told me that he had recently 
made a trip to Spanish Fort Bend, though not to the fort itself, 
with a man who was seeking to trace the locations on an old 
Mexican map that called for a tree on a bluff where the river 
touched and turned south. This tree, so the man claimed, was 
the location of the long sought buried treasure; and, indeed, the 
old Mexican map and the lone tree on a bluff skirted by the water 
are essentials of all the Red River legends of buried treasure. 

For years an old fellow dug for treasure on the Oklahoma side, 
just across from Sivill's Bend where the river turns south to make 
in a twenty-mile sweep the biggest bend in its whole course. 
West of Dexter, near Walnut Bend, tradition calls for another 
location of similar marks, but here the treasure is said to be 
buried on the Texas side. 


It is noticeable that none of these legends refer to gold and 
silver but always to treasure. As I have been able to piece it 
together, the legend is this. 

In a very early day a Spanish exploring party passed through 
this country, going in a northeasterly direction. As was the cus- 
tom, the expedition included a large number of monks and priests 
with all the holy vessels and rich paraphernalia necessary to ad- 

84 Legends of Texas 

minister to the spiritual needs of the party itself and to convert 
the heathen Indians according to the ritual of the Catholic church. 
Unfortunately the aborigines proved unfriendly and disputed the 
way to such an extent that the ranks of the Spaniards were deci- 
mated, and the remnant saw that they were going to be hard 
put to it to make an escape. Rather than have their holy vessels, 
valuable in a material way, but more precious spiritually, dese- 
crated by savage touch, they decided to bury them. In selecting 
a suitable place for this operation they bore in mind that it must 
be stable, above the reach of the mighty river or the changes 
made by the hand of man under ordinary conditions; so they 
selected a bold promontory on the river, as stated above. 

When the treasure was buried, not one, but several rude maps 
of the location were undoubtedly made, probably each by a differ- 
ent person. These maps were in the nature of things ambiguous, 
and the legends touching them furnish much food for speculation. 

By Roscoe Martin 

[The treasure rammed cannon is more or less common to Texas legends. 
The early Spanish in Texas sometimes buried cannon on account of military 
expediency, 1 and it may be that the modern tradition connects back with 
such disposition of artillery, although the tradition is doubtless wide- 
spread. 2 A Spanish cannon stuffed with treasure is supposed to lie deep 
buried in a lake near Carrizo Springs, Dimmit County. 3 On the banks of 
the Big Sandy (or "Sandies") of Lavaca County, legend has buried a third 
cannon. Mr. Whitley of McMullen County told me the story connected with 
it. He heard it half a century ago from a veteran of the "Mexican War" 
(War of Texas Independence) in the Refugio country. The veteran was 
named White, as I remember. 

1 Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 114, 391; 
Cf., also, pp. 90, 414. 

2 According to Charles M. Skinner, Myths and Legends of Our Own Land, 
Vol. II, pp. 279-280, the Hessian troops, after the surrender of Burgoyne, 
packed their plate, pay, and jewels into a howitzer and buried it some- 
where near Dalton, Massachusetts. 

3 I have never heard the details of the legend, though I have heard of it 
from several sources. Mr. E. G. Littlejohn sends in a legend clipped from 
the Galveston News of 1909, in which a Spanish prince, besieged by Indians 
about the year of 1700, cast a great quantity of "gold, silver, and jewels" 
into Brand Rock Water Hole, of Pena Creek in Dimmit County. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 85 

When the Mexicans were retreating from San Jacinto towards Goliad, 
White was in the pursuing party of Texans. The Texans camped for the 
night on the eastern bank of the Big Sandies, and the next morning when 
White walked out to gather some firewood, he discovered that the Mexicans 
had been at the same site twenty-four hours before. Besides the usual 
camp signs, there was the trail of something that had been dragged to a 
motte of trees and buried. The marks of the digging were as plain as 
daylight. White supposed that one of the wounded Mexicans had died and 
been buried. 

Years later he fell in with an old Mexican who turned out to have been 
in the retreat from San Jacinto. Naturally the two veterans reviewed 
their march. 

"There is one thing I have often thought about, though it seemed simple 
to me at the time," said White one day to the Mexican. "That is the drag- 
trail I saw at you-all's camp east of the Big Sandies. What made it, 

Then the Mexican told how he had helped to drag a small cannon plugged 
full of rings, jewels, and money, and had seen it buried. The Mexicans 
intended to come back for it very soon, he said; they were bent at the time 
on getting away with their bare lives. But when it was known that Texas 
had won her independence and that the country was settling up with men 
bitter towards Mexico, the scattered men who buried the cannon were afraid 
to come back. 

The upshot of the Mexican's explanation was that he and White went to 
the Big Sandies in search of the precious cannon. They found the country 
cut up by fences and fields and grown up in timber so that they could not 
locate a single landmark. 

It will not harm Mr. Martin's vivid narrative to remark that after the 
battle of San Jacinto, Burleson with a detachment of troops followed the 
Mexicans westward across the Brazos and San Bernard, instead of going 
northward. At the time of the battle, General Ganoa, with a small number 
of Mexican troops, was at Fort Bend on the Brazos with orders to proceed 
to Nacogdoches; but immediately after the battle he received orders to 
retreat to Mexico and he joined in the general retirement. 4 — Editor.] 

In the fall of 1920 I was one of a hunting party that 
camped for about two weeks in Tyler County on the Neches 
River. Our guide for the trip was "Uncle Jimmy" Clanton, 
a typical old hunter and pioneer, whose head was full of stories 
of Indians and buried treasure. Some of these stories were 
obviously concoctions of his own mind, but others were based 
on historical facts, with, of course, touches of glamour and ro- 
mance which had grown into the story gradually through con- 
stant telling and retelling. His best-loved story, one which I took 
great delight in listening to more than once during those two 
weeks and which was common chatter among the backwoodsmen 

4 Wooten's Comprehensive History of Texas, Vol. I, p. 292; Brown, John 
Henry, History of Texas, Vol. II, pp. 46, 66, 67. 

86 Legends of Texas 

of the locality, is related below. It was, I think, on the second 
night of our camp that he lighted his pipe, settled down with his 
back to a tree, and told us the following tale. 

"My father was in the Texas Revolution of 1836. He was in 
all the earlier fights and skirmishes of the war, and was one of 
the men who helped capture Santa Anna at San Jacinto. After 
the treaty of peace was signed, or maybe it was just before the 
war ended, he was sent to Nacogdoches in a company under 
Burleson to drive out the Mexicans that held the fort there. 
This is really where my story begins. You-all have likely read 
some of this in history, but I'll tell you some things that never 
got in history at all. 

"Burleson's bunch got to Nacogdoches late one evening and 
decided to wait till morning to storm the fort. They camped 
for the night a mile or so away, and bright and early next morn- 
ing they marched on the fort. They were some surprised at not 
getting fired at, and still more surprised when they got up close 
enough to see that there wasn't a soul stirring in or about the 
fort. Burleson ordered a grand charge, and his army of about 
fifty men charged, only to find nobody there to receive them. 
The men nosed around a little, found the Mexicans' trail leading 
due south, and determined to follow them. The trail was fresh 
and the Mexes were traveling with wagons; so they figgered 
they could come up on them before dark. You see, the men had 
been hearing stories about the bunches of gold the Mexicans 
had; so they were pretty keen to catch up with them wagons. 

"Well, they pulled out down the trail, traveling full speed 
ahead and making good time. They rode all that day without 
seeing the enemy, but they knew they were getting close because 
the trail was getting fresher. They camped that night about 
fifty miles from Nacogdoches, and hit the trail agin early next 
morning. About ten o'clock they come upon a couple of wagons, 
and figgered that the dagoes were getting scared and leaving all 
unnecessary junk behind. They pushed on without stopping for 
dinner, and about three o'clock sighted the Mexicans trying to 
cross the river at Boone's Ferry. That ferry is about two mile 
up the river. I can show it to you in the morning. 

"As soon as the Texans saw the Mexicans, they made a dash, 
hoping to get a fight before they had time to cross the river. 
Just as they got up within shooting distance, the ferry-boat landed 
on the opposite side of the river with a wagon and three Mexi- 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 87 

cans. The wagon drove off, but the Texans were too busy at the 
time to notice any details. The Mexes took to the timber and 
there was a right lively little scrap. Paw was lying behind a 
log firing away, when he looked up in time to see three men on 
the other side rolling a cannon along toward the river. They 
rolled it up to a high bluff and dumped it right off into the deepest 
hole in ten miles. He said he wondered at the time what the idea 
was, but was more interested in number one than in cannons; 
so he didn't take time to investigate. 

"To make a long story short, about fifteen of the Mexicans were 
killed and the rest captured. That is, they were all captured 
except the three men that got across the river. A detachment 
was sent after them, but they got away. The wagon, empty as a 
last year's bird's nest, and one dead Mexican, were found about 
a mile and a half away from the river, but the other two had 
disappeared completely. Burleson rounded up his bunch and his 
prisoners, and found that he had lost only one man, who had 
drowned when he got chased off the bluff into the river. He re- 
ported to Houston with his prisoners, and that was the end of the 

"As soon as Paw got out of the army, he come back up into this 
country and settled. His old homestead is about eight mile from 
here. He used to take me up the river often and show me where 
the battle took place, where the ferry-boat used to land, and 
where the cannon was pushed into the river. He used to talk 
a whole lot about that cannon, and to wonder what the idea was 
in dumping it into the river. He also wondered a good bit about 
what was in that wagon that the Mexicans had been so anxious 
to get across the river with. We never could quite decide why 
they were so bent on crossing the river with an empty wagon. 

"Well, the things that happened in the next few years won't 
interest you any. Paw died when I was ten years old, but I 
remembered all he had ever told me about the fight. When the 
Civil War broke out, I joined the Confederate Army, fought 
through the war, then come back to my folks here. About 1875 
things begin to happen that made me remember everything I had 
ever heard about the fight at Boone's Ferry. 

"In or about that year, a slick-haired young Mexican come into 
the neighborhood and begin nosing around. He didn't appear to 
have any particular business here, but seemed to be just looking 
around for somebody or something. After he'd been here for a 

88 Legends of Texas 

month or two he come to me one day and says that, as I was the 
oldest man in these parts, he'd like to make me a proposition. 
I didn't get the connection between my age and his proposition, 
but agreed to listen ; so we got down to what he wanted. He had 
a map that he claimed he got in an old monastery in Mexico, and 
that map proved to be right interesting. It outlined a piece of 
country beginning at Nacogdoches and coming due south. The 
end of the trail marked off was just about a mile and a half across 
the river, and the crossing was marked 'Boone's Ferry.' I be- 
come all eyes and ears at once, specially when he started his story. 
He asked me if I knew where Boone's Ferry was, and I says, 
'Sure.' Then he opened up: 

" 'My grandfather was with the Mexican band that was de- 
feated by Burleson at this ferry. He was one of the two men 
that got away. Are you by any chance acquainted with the de- 
tails of the battle ?' 

"And I says, 'Some. My paw was in the fight, and has told 
me about it many a time.' 

" 'Did he ever tell you about seeing a cannon shoved off in the 

" 'Many a time,' says I. 

" 'Mr. Clanton, did it ever occur to you to wonder just why that 
cannon was thrown into the river?' 

" 'Well,' I says, 'I've wondered about it lots of times.' 

" 'I'll tell you why,' he says, getting kinder excited, but lowering 
his voice. 'It was filled from end to end with gold!' 

" 'Gold!' I whistled. 'So that's it.' 

" 'Yes, that's it,' he says. 'Not only that, but I have in my 
pocket another map giving the exact location of more gold, be- 
ginning with the ferry as a center. You see, the wagon that 
crossed the river carried a chest of money. The three men that 
were with it went on till they became afraid of being overtaken ; 
then they buried it. They had a quarrel over it, and one of them 
shot another to shut him up. Then he and my grandfather took 
down some landmarks on a crude map, and pulled for Mexico. 
On the way the other Mexican died, leaving my grandfather with 
the map. He died before he could come back and get the money. 
My father was killed by bandits; so I was left with the one and 
original map of the buried treasure. With your help, your knowl- 
edge of the country around here, and so forth, we should be able 
to locate that chest and the cannon easy. Now, I propose to 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 89 

give you half of whatever we find. If we don't find anything, 
you don't get anything. What do you say?' 

"You-all can easily guess that I jumped right on his offer. 
He showed me the other map, and I located the landmarks as 
near as I could on the map ; we got our tools together, and started 
our treasure hunt. We looked for the cannon first, because I 
knew exactly where it should be. We dredged and dredged and 
fished and fished for that thing, but never could locate it. You 
see, it took about a forty-foot jump off into the river and it had 
had about forty years to settle ; so I guess it must have been sev- 
eral feet deep in river mud when we were hunting it. We finally 
gave up hopes of finding it and went to hunting the chest. The 
map called for three landmarks all an equal distance apart. The 
chest was supposed to be buried in the center of the triangle made 
by these points. We found the first one, a big rock in a funny 
shape, without any trouble at all. The others were big pine trees, 
but all the trees in that country had been cut down and rafted 
down the river since the map was made ; so we couldn't ever find 
the other two marks. We sighted off places by every tree-stump 
in that neighborhood and dug down at the points we found, but 
must not ever have sighted by the right stumps. Anyhow, we 
hunted gold for about two months and never found a cent of 
anything. The Mexican finally got discouraged and went home, 
but I got a copy of his map and have been looking for that money 
off and on ever since. 

"And I guess that's about all there is to it. If any of you-all 
want to see where the ferry was and where the cannon was rolled 
off into the river, we'll go up there in the morning and look 

By Mary A. Sutherland 

This story, or legend, or what you will, was told me by an ex- 
Confederate soldier, an intelligent man. 

"After the war I got back to Texas broke, as were all my 
people, but I bought a little farm in Leon County on credit, mar- 
ried, and began to build a home. I was progressing fairly well 
when one summer I had a dream, or vision. I was sleeping on 
the gallery, my wife and two small children occupying the bed 
just inside the door. 

90 Legends of Texas 

"I saw a woman come into the yard through the gate, a strange 
looking woman with strange headgear and queer dress, and I 
marveled that my fierce watch dogs did not attack her. She 
came to the side of the gallery and said in a clear voice: 'Dig 
in your little pasture and you will find treasure.' 

"I sat up and watched her go out of the gate, just as she had 
come, and could hardly persuade myself that what I saw was a 
dream. The next morning I told my wife of the dream — and then 
forgot it. Now the little pasture was a few fenced acres near the 
house where we kept our milk calves. It was drouth stricken; 
the soil was hard and dry and had no growth except a few 

"Not many nights later while I lay as before, the same woman 
came again. I saw her plainly in the moonlight. She spoke, 
very quietly but distinctly, the same words: 'Dig in your little 
pasture. Dig beneath the white rose/ 

"Now I knew that there was no growth in the little pasture 
excepting the few brambles I have mentioned. But on my telling 
my wife of seeing the woman again in a dream, she said : 'Come 
on; let's look for roses.' And catching my hand, she laughingly 
dragged me to the pasture. There, as sure as I am a Reb, we 
found a rose bush with two white flowers on it. Then we got 
busy, but, after digging down about two feet, I found a large 
rock and quit. 

"The story got out and I became the butt of many jokes. A 
few months afterward my brother-in-law offered me a fancy price 
for the place and I quit farming. Later on in the year I noticed 
that the little pasture had been plowed — the only mark of im- 
provement noticeable. About the same time I noticed my brother- 
in-law buying property, including a fine family carriage, sending 
his daughter to boarding school, and getting himself elected to 
the state legislature. Maybe there was something under the 

After the "Reb" had told me the foregoing story, I heard from 
his wife that a legend about their farm was current in the settle- 
ment. According to the commonly told account, three men camped 
one night in the vicinity of the "little pasture." In the morning 
one of them went to a settler's cabin nearby to borrow tools, 
saying that one of their party had died during the night from 
wounds received in an Indian fight a few days before. The man 
declined all offer of help from the wife and daughter of the settler 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 91 

— the settler himself being absent — but after the campers had de- 
parted, the women went out, smoothing the ground over the 
mound and placing a stone above it. 

Now what they buried or why no one knows to this day, but, 
as was remarked at the time, their horses bore marks of long 
travel. The women of the cabin saw three men arrive; they 
saw the mound ; they saw three men depart. If a dying comrade 
was with them, they asked no aid. 

It only remains to be said that, though a fine man, Mr. H — , 
the teller of this story, was the kind of man who would miss a 
chance at wealth rather than incur the ridicule of neighbors or 
exert himself in raising a stone. 

By L. D. Bertillion 

It seems that almost all of the people in the rural districts of 
Bell, Falls, and Williamson counties must know something of 
Steinheimer's ten jack loads of hidden treasure, for it is con- 
tinually being searched for and has been searched for over a long 
period of years. The search has extended to many places, the 
locations varying as much as seven miles. Some claim that the 
treasure is buried at Reed's Lake; others, at Bugess Lake; but 
the general opinion is that it is buried at what is known as the 
Three Forks. All of these places are in Bell County. The Stein- 
heimer map is believed to be in the hands of persons residing in 
old Mexico, but how it got to Mexico no one seems to know. 
However, Mexicans searching for the treasure have claimed to 
have the map or a duplicate of it. Various white men have 
worked with these maps; others have used "gold rods" and 
similar instruments. 

My own version of the story I secured from a man named 
Frank Ellis. He secured his information from a man named 
Nalley Jones, who, in turn, got his account from three Mexicans 
who spent three months searching for the treasure. There are 
forty other versions in and around Bell County. Some people will 
give you the exact amount of the treasure in dollars, but the 
consensus of opinion is that it was what could be carried on ten 

92 Legends of Texas 

Mexican jacks. I have termed the treasure "millions" and con- 
sider my version of the story as nearly correct as any. 

According to legendary information, Karl Steinheimer was 
born near Speyer, Germany, in 1793. At the age of eleven he ran 
away from home, became a sailor, and, in spite of his limited 
school attendance, acquired the fluent use of seven languages and 
a fair knowledge of three other languages. While yet in his teens 
he took a prominent part in several piratical expeditions, and by 
the time he had reached the age of twenty-one, captains com- 
manding pirate vessels frequently sought his advice, for which 
he was liberally paid. 

Among the pirate captains who came to Steinheimer was Louis 
Aury, 1 who sought counsel relative to traffic in negro slaves be- 
tween Cuba and America. Steinheimer gave his advice and 
ended by furnishing a considerable amount of capital to the 
enterprise. Later, when Aury visited the Island of Galveston, 
which Steinheimer had recommended as a rendezvous, he was so 
well pleased with Steinheimer's ability that he and others con- 
cerned unanimously made him dictator over the gang of slave 
dealers and sea terrors. However, on account of a broken leg, 
Steinheimer left the island but once during his dictatorship. 
That was when he made a run to Cuba in 1817. This hugging 
of a land berth by Steinheimer brought about a break with Aury, 
which resulted in a dissolution of partnership and the abandon- 
ment of the island by the slave smugglers. 

Soon after the break, Steinheimer went far into the mountain- 
ous interior of Mexico and became interested in mining opera- 
tions. In March, 1827, news reached him that Hayden Edwards, 
the noted Texas empresario, had started a revolution for the pur- 
pose of freeing Texas from Mexico, and had established the 
Republic of Fredonia. 2 Thereupon Steinheimer, in the hope of 
becoming dictator to a new country, decided to make his way 
to Edwards' forces and to offer his assistance in person and in 

1 In 1816, Luis de Aury, well known in Texas history as a slave smuggler 
and privateer, was, by the incipient republic of Mexico, made civil and 
military governor of the province of Texas. He stationed himself on Gal- 
veston Island and among other acts made an alliance with the romantic 
Colonel Perry. See Bancroft, H. H., History of the North Mexican States 
and Texas, Vol. II, 34-39. Dyer, J. O., The Early History of Galveston, 
Galveston, Texas, 1916, pp. 4-9, has a rather detailed account of Aury. — 

2 The Republic of Fredonia was announced December 16, 1826. — Editor. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 93 

money. However, when he reached Monterrey he learned that the 
revolt had been put down and that Edwards and his followers had 
fled to the United States. Thus disappointed in his plans, Stein- 
heimer returned to his mines in Mexico. Here he was prosperous 
and contented until the latter part of 1838, when he suddenly 
learned something that turned all his plans upside down and 
eventually brought about his death. 

He learned that a sweetheart of his boyhood days in Europe 
was living in St. Louis, and was as yet unmarried. Immediately 
he arranged to leave for St. Louis. His affairs closed, he found 
that his fortune amounted to ten jack loads of silver and gold. 
His purpose was to carry the entire fortune with him, and he 
picked two men to aid him. 

When Steinheimer got to Matamoras, he found that, notwith- 
standing Santa Anna's defeat nearly three years before, Mexico 
still hoped to repossess Texas. As a preliminary to conquest, one 
Manuel Flores with a few warriors was preparing to start from 
Matamoros early in 1839 for Nacogdoches, his mission being to 
instigate an Indian uprising in Texas. Learning further that 
the Apaches were both numerous and hostile north of the San 
Antonio road, Steinheimer decided to wait for Flores and his 
party. He waited until early spring and then the entire com- 
pany set out. When they reached the Colorado River, they were 
dismayed to learn that General Burleson was advancing on them 
and that an engagement was only a matter of hours. Here we 
may safely presume that there was a secret compact between 
Flores and Steinheimer. At any rate, the adventurer was per- 
mitted to slightly out-distance Flores and to switch his men and 
burros some miles north. Consequently, when Flores met his 
doom, 3 Steinheimer was unknown to the Texans. 

After a complete rest for his men and animals, he cautiously 
picked his way across prairies and canyons, avoiding all trails, 
until he reached a place where three streams intersect and com- 
bine into one. Here he decided to bury all of his fortune but one 
small package of gold that might be needed for immediate use. 
Accordingly, he unpacked the burros and concealed their freight. 

3 Manuel Flores, Mexico-Indian agent, with a party of twenty-five men, 
was met by Lieutenant James O. Rice, with seventeen men, near Austin, 
May 14, 1839, and Flores was killed. Burleson shortly afterward met and 
defeated Vicente Cordova, Flores' aid. See Yoakum, History of Texas, 
Vol. II, 257-261.— Editor. 

94 Legends of Texas 

The only mark made to designate the spot of concealment was a 
large brass spike driven into an oak tree some forty or sixty 
feet away, the spike being of the type used to take the place of 
bolts in early boat construction. The animals that had so faith- 
fully borne the treasure over mountains and deserts were now 
liberated, and with his two trusted men Steinheimer took a south- 
eastern direction. 

When they had traveled, as he judged, some twelve or fourteen 
miles, they came to what, in his meager descriptions that have 
come down to us, he terms "a bunch of knobs on the prairie," 
from the tops of which they could see a great valley skirted with 
timber some ten miles east. While they were getting their bear- 
ings from these knobs, the party was* attacked by the Indians. 
Steinheimer's two aids were both killed outright, and he escaped 
badly wounded. He hid himself on the center hill of the group, 
and here it was that he buried his remaining gold, with the ex- 
ception of six Spanish coins, the place of deposit not marked. 
In the encounter he had lost his mount and supplies, though he 
still had gun and some ammunition. 

He set out afoot, choosing a northern direction, subsisting as 
best he could off roots and water, for he was afraid to shoot at 
game until he was out of the vicinity of the Indians. Finally 
he got to where he could kill meat. But now his wounds were 
growing more painful, and at the juncture when he thought that 
gangrene was setting up in them, he fell into the hands of some 

Realizing the threat of immediate death, he made a crude map 
as best he could of the region of his buried millions and wrote 
to his early sweetheart a concise account of his fortunes and mis- 
fortunes, informing her of the critical condition in which he was 
writing. He explained that the strangers to whom he was en- 
trusting this message knew nothing of his name or history and 
would get nothing of his but the six Spanish coins. Finally, he 
requested that she keep his message secret for three months. 
If he recovered, he would, he explained, reach St. Louis by the 
expiration of that time; if he did not arrive, she was to under- 
stand that he was dead and that his fortune was hers. These 
are the last tidings of Steinheimer; it is, therefore, to be pre- 
sumed that death was quite as near as he had supposed. 

In the course of time the letter reached its destination, but a 
number of years passed before conditions in Texas were such 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 95 

that the relatives of the lady felt that they could look for the 
treasure with any degree of safety. Then after months of search 
and inquiry they were convinced that the three streams referred 
to in the directions were the Nolan, the Lampasas, and the Leon, 
which unite not far from the present town of Belton to form 
what is now called Little River. Here must lie the vast for- 
tune. In consequence, it is deduced that the small parcel of gold 
could not be over two or three miles from the town of Rogers, 
in Bell County also, as near it are what are, indeed, still called 
the Knobs, a small bunch of hills lying between the Santa Fe 
and "Katy" railroads, at about the charted distance from the 
Three Forks. 

While, as I said in the beginning, the history of Steinheimer's 
buried wealth is at present known to many persons, there is no 
evidence that any part of it has ever been found, despite the great 
amount of time and money that have been spent in quest of it. 
Alike unknown is the place of the death and burial of the man 
Steinheimer, though he was once notorious both on land and sea. 
Unknown is he, too, to the histories of the several countries in 
which he lived. The relatives who came to Texas in search of 
the vast fortune bequeathed to the lady in such a strange manner 
were careful never to reveal her name. And this is perhaps 
the first time that the name of Steinheimer has appeared before 
the general public. 4 

By J. Frank Dobie 

Major, or Colonel, Jacob Snively (also spelled Schnively) led 
the kind of life that inspires legend. 1 In 1843 he headed an ex- 

4 According to his own statement, Mr. J. O. Webb of Alvin, Texas, who is 
writing a history of Galveston, has never met the name of Steinheimer in his 
researches. — Editor. 

1 For a history of his first expedition, see any Texas history, but par- 
ticularly "The Last Stage of Texan Military Operations Against Mexico, 
1843," by William Campbell Binkley, in the Southwestern Historical 
Quarterly, Vol. XXII, pp. 260-271. Perhaps a juster estimate of the motives 
of Snively is to be found in J. W. Wilbarger's Indian Depredations in Texas, 
Austin, 1889, pp. 51-58. 

An excellent account of the highly romantic second expedition is "Remin- 
iscences of the Schnively Expedition of 1867," by A. Whitehurst, Texas State 
Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. VIII, pp. 267-271. 

96 Legends of Texas 

pedition to capture a great Mexican wagon train on its way 
from St. Louis to Santa Fe; but he was balked in his design 
by United States troops, and his men were disarmed in New 
Mexico and sent back to Texas. A quarter of a century later, 
in 1867, he aided in raising a second expedition of about one 
hundred men to go up the Rio Grande in search of gold re- 
puted to be inestimably plentiful. His base of organization 
was Williamson County, and one would fain identify this 
Snively with the Snively of Miss von Blittersdorf's legend of 
Milam County, which adjoins Williamson. It is known that 
Snively was at one time looking for the old San Gabriel Mission, 
cornering on which he claimed thirty leagues of land. 2 If he 
found the ruins, his nature would certainly have provoked him 
to do a little treasure hunting. However, Colonel Snively is said 
to have died in Arizona, a citizen of California. 3 A little personal 
investigation among the records and oldest inhabitants of Wil- 
liamson and Milam counties would no doubt disclose interesting 
information about Colonel Snively and probably establish a close 
relationship between him and the Snively of Miss von Blitters- 
dorf's legend. I regret that I have been unable to conduct such 

From a veteran, more than eighty years old, of the Texas 
Rangers and of the Civil War, the elder Mr. Burton of Austin, 
two legends connected with Snively's two respective expeditions 
have come to me. 


When Snively's men were disbanded in New Mexico in 1843, 
they came back to the Texas settlements more eager than ever 
for Mexican prey. About the time of their return a Mexican 
train was going across the Republic with a cargo of money for 
St. Louis. By agreement with the Texas authorities it was ac- 
companied by a detachment of Texas Rangers, who traveled 
nearly a day's ride behind. The Mexicans distrusted them; yet 
they wanted them, for they were afraid of the Snively gang. 
At Red River they expected to be met by United States troops, 
who could not cross into Texas. When the advance scout of the 

2 Smithwick, Noah, The Evolution of a State, p. 267. 

3 Brown, John Henry, History of Texas from 1685 to 1892, St. Louis, 
Vol. II, p. 291. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 97 

train came in sight of Red River, he saw two men riding towards 
him, and at once concluded that they were Snively bandits. He 
galloped back and reported them as such to the train. The 
Mexicans at once began a retreat and a safe disposition of their 
precious cargo. 

On a hill about a mile south of a cottonwood tree that grew on 
the bank of Red River, four or five hundred yards below an old 
Spanish crossing, they buried five hundred dollars. On the top of 
the next hill south of that they buried five hundred more. These 
two deposits were to be markers and were buried in shallow holes. 
On the third hill they buried the remainder of their money, many 
thousands. Then they destroyed their wagons and beat back 
towards the Rio Grande as best they could. They had become 
convinced that their escort, even though kept a day's ride behind, 
was in collusion with the supposed Snively gang. Very shortly 
after this event the Mexican War broke out, and by the time it 
was over and affairs had settled down in Texas so that Mexicans 
could travel inland with security, most of the little band of gold 
transporters had died or had been killed in battle. The remnant 
had forgotten the location of the money. Men, though, still 
look for the tree on Red River bank, below an old crossing, with 
a line of three hills to the south. 

Mr. Tom L. Walker of Montague County, which fronts on 
Red River, has supplied me a legend somewhat similar to the 
foregoing. He says that it is current in the county. About 1856 
four white men and six Mexicans were transporting a wagon 
load of gold bullion across Texas from Mexico to St. Louis. Near 
the Illinois Bend of Red River they were set on by Comanches, 
and dumped their gold into a lake. Only one of them, a Mexican 
named Gonzales, survived the attack. He would never return to 
the site of his terrible experience. In 1890 some men went from 
Montague County to Mexico City to interview the old man. They 
found him, but he was blind, crippled, and feeble. He could only 
tell them that the gold was "on the south side of the largest of the 
lakes." Time had so shifted the positions of the lakes, however, 
that the men who got the information could never determine where 
to make a thorough excavation. 


Snively's second expedition belongs in a large way to lost treas- 
ure lore. In Hunter's Magazine for January, 1911, page 5, John 

98 Legends of Texas 

Warren Hunter has an article on "The Schnively Expedition," in 
which he quotes "Bud" (W. H.) Robinson's account of the two 
gold hunting expeditions that Snively and Colonel William C. 
Dalrymple, of Williamson County, organized in 1867 and 1868. 
The first was made up of only sixteen men and was turned back 
by the Indians; the second, much larger, was able to ward off 
the Indians, but it could not locate the gold that had been so 
luringly promised by Snively. 

"From the Pecos," says Robinson as quoted by Hunter, "the 
expedition went forward and finally reached Eagle Springs, not 
a great distance from the Rio Grande. This was to be our camp- 
ing place, as Mr. Schnively had told us that the gold mine was in 
the vicinity of the springs. He said he had first received in- 
formation from a dying soldier touching the existence of gold in 
the region and later he had prospected and found the mine. He 
knew right where to go to point out the location, he said." 

But evidently Snively did not know. His men came to be- 
lieve that he had never before visited the place but had raised 
the expedition in order to have protection in his prospecting. 
In anger and in disappointment the expedition broke up, the men 
scattering to the four winds. And here my informant, the old 
Texas Ranger, takes up the tale. Some of the men, he says, came 
back home; some went on to California and to Colorado; some 
continued prospecting in a westerly direction. Three of them 
got lost in the desert, and while trying to make their way to the 
Rio Grande came into what must have been the Apache Canyon. 

In that canyon they stumbled upon two Mexican carts loaded 
with gold bullion. About were the bleached skeletons of men and 
oxen, the remains of some old Spanish gold plundering expedition 
that had perished in the desert. Some men used to say that 
Coronado's men must have started back with this gold. The 
three Texans loaded themselves with the precious metal, but 
before very long they had to cast it away in their struggle to 
reach water. Fortunately, they did reach water and were saved. 
Later they equipped themselves and went back into the desert to 
take the immense wealth. They could never find it. Landmarks 
are scarce in that country. Very likely, too, the shifting sands 
of the desert had covered the wagons with their freight of gold. 
They may be uncovered some day; if so, it will likely be for only 
a day or an hour, and the man who sees them will probably be 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 99 

perishing for water, so that the sight of them and the white bones 
near will strike him as a terrible prophecy rather than as a life- 
time of hope realized. 


By Louise von Blittersdorf 

These legends were told me by Mr. Mike Welch, an old gentle- 
man living near Thorndale. 


The San Gabriel Mission in Legend 

[Although up to ten years ago Texas history had hardly recognized the 
existence of the San Gabriel missions, legend had kept the fact and the 
place green for generations. In April, 1914, an article by Dr. Herbert E. 
Bolton, on "The Founding of the Missions on the San Gabriel River, 1745- 
1749," appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. The next year 
Dr. Bolton's book entitled Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century was 
issued by the University of California Press; in it pages 135-278 treat of 
"The San Xavier Missions." These are the main and almost only accessible 
sources for whoever would know the history of the San Gabriel missions. 
There were three missions, the principal and most enduring one being the 
Mission San Francisco Xavier de Horcasitas (1748-1755). The name San 
Xavier was later corrupted into San Gabriel. 1 The San Gabriel missions 
had trouble with the Indians, and it is a fact that a priest, Father Ganzabal, 
as in the legend, was killed by them. 2 

Before the mission was abandoned in 1755, legend had seized upon it; 
and when Dr. Bolton discovered the site hardly a dozen years ago, he found 
that legend had kept treasure hunters familiar with the grounds and ruins. 3 
He quotes Father Mariano, 4 priest of the time, on legendary causes that 
contributed to the final abandonment of the mission: "The sacrilegious homi- 
cides having been perpetrated, the elements at once conspired, declaring 
divine justice provoked; for in the sky appeared a ball of fire so horrible 
that all were terrified, and with so notable a circumstance that it circled 
from the presidio to the mission of the Occisos [Orcoquiza], and returned 
to the same presidio, when it exploded with a noise as loud as could be 
made by a heavily loaded cannon. The river ceased to run, and its waters 
became so corrupt that they were extremely noxious and intolerable to the 
smell. The air became so infected that all who went to the place, even 
though merely passing, became infected by the pest, which became so ma- 

iBolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 140-141. 
Vbid., 260-261. 
mid., 138, 227. 
±Ibid., 268-269. 

100 Legends of Texas 

licious that many of the inhabitants died, and we all found ourselves in the 
last extremes of life. Finally, the land became so accursed that what had 
been a beautiful plain became converted into a thicket, in which opened 
horrible crevices that caused terror. And the inhabitants became so put 
to it, in order to escape the complete extermination that threatened them, 
that they moved more than thirty leagues away, with no other permission 
than that granted them by the natural right to save their own lives." 

We learn how rich was the San Gabriel Mission, for whose cross of solid 
gold men have blithely sought, when we read that the total properties trans- 
ported from it and its two sister missions, including six bells, were inven- 
toried at $1804.50. 5 — Editor.] 

In the early days of Texas, when the missionaries were bring- 
ing old world civilization to the new world, there stood a mission 
on the San Gabriel River between what are now the towns of 
San Gabriel and Rockdale. The mission was a thriving one, and 
before many months a large rock church had been built. The 
crowning glory of this church was a solid gold cross on the steeple. 

Many converts were made to the new religion, and the small 
community soon became so powerful that the Indians began to 
fear it and decided to put an end to it. Accordingly, they mur- 
dered the priest there. The surviving Spaniards decided to 
abandon the mission at once. First, they buried the body of the 
murdered priest ; then they took the cross from the steeple of the 
church and buried it, together with some gold found in the priest's 
possession, until they should have time to return for it and carry 
it away. By covering the gold with charcoal and ashes, they 
took precautions that no mineral rod should locate it. 

Many years later a church was being built in Mexico, and an 
old Mexican who had heard from his ancestors the story of the 
buried cross and treasure, came to the priest and prevailed upon 
him to go to the San Gabriel River and try to find the gold cross 
to put on the new church. During the journey the Mexican died, 
leaving with his companion directions for finding the cross. 
Duties back home were urging the priest's return, and when he 
met a young Irishman named Mike Welch, he entrusted him with 
the secret and obtained his promise to carry on the search. With 
two men to help him, Mr. Welch went to the site of the old mis- 
sion. Digging a certain distance from a specified tree, the men 
unearthed the skeleton of the priest together with a small crucifix. 
Then, according to directions, they measured the distance from 
the grave to the nearest corner of the church and began to dig 

Hbid., 275-276. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 101 

again. They came at last to some charcoal and ashes and knew 
that they were near the object of their search. One of Mr. 
Welch's men took sick, however, and, as it was nearly dark, they 
decided to postpone further digging until morning. That night 
the other man slipped away from camp. As soon as Mr. Welch 
discovered next morning that one of his helpers was missing, he 
went to the unfinished hole. There he saw where a large pot had 
been taken out. It is well understood that the gold cross and 
other treasures were found and stolen away. The thief left that 
part of the country and has never been heard of since. Mr. Welch 
kept the crucifix until a few years ago, when it was lost. 


The Gold Protected by Snively's Ghost 

An old man by the name of Snively once lived near what is now 
Thorndale in Milam County. He owned a great deal of property 
along the San Gabriel River. One night some Mexicans with nine 
jack loads of stolen gold passed near Snively's house. The times 
were troublesome, and traveling was beset with dangers. When 
the Mexicans neared the river, they decided that it would be well 
to bury their cargo here and wait for more peaceful times to 
carry it on into Mexico. After they had put it in the ground and 
covered it over with isinglass to prevent its being discovered by 
a mineral rod, they realized that the only sure and safe protection 
would be to bury a man with the gold. No one of them seemed 
willing to give his life to such a cause; so in search of a victim 
they rode back to the house they had passed. They found Snively 
alone. They made him swear to protect the gold, then killed him 
and buried him with it. Then they marked the site and went on 
their way — never to return. 

Many have searched for the treasure since but have failed to 
find it. Snively has taken care of that. Mr. Welch claims that 
he once found the place where it was buried, but that before he 
could dig for it, a flood came down the river and covered the 
place. When the water subsided, it left no trace of where the 
gold was buried. Snively will always have the help of the ele- 
ments, if necessary, to protect the gold. 

On dull, rainy nights a light may be seen going across the field. 
It is not carried by anyone, but moves of itself. People say that 

102 Legends of Texas 

the light leads to Snively's grave and the nine jack loads of gold, 
but, because of the rain perhaps, no one has ever followed the 
light and it is still a mystery. 

Another story in the Thorndale neighborhood very much like this 
one asserts that some Mexicans, wishing to protect buried gold, 
killed a priest and buried him with it, and that whenever anyone 
starts to dig where the gold is buried, he is run away by an angry 
bull that has fire coming out of its nostrils. 6 


Pope's Ghost at the Gap 

Pope was a man who lived in the post oak grove near what is 
now Thorndale. He lived entirely alone, and, as that part of 
the country was then newly settled, there was not a house within 
miles of Pope's log hut. It would, therefore, be easy to attack 
him some night as he came along the road, kill him, and steal his 
hoard of gold. The murder could be committed, and the mur- 
derer could escape into Mexico and live in luxury on the stolen 
money, with nothing to fear save his own conscience. Such must 
have been the idea of the villain who murdered Pope one dark 
night just as Pope turned into the gap to go to his hut. Perhaps 
the gold was hidden too well for the murderer to find it. No one 
knows. At any rate, after Pope's body was found and decently 
buried, his spirit was apparently not at rest; near the gap for a 
long time thereafter a strange dog was seen. It was undoubtedly 
the ghost of Pope, for no other dog would venture near it, much 
less fight it. Horses shied at it when they met it in the road. 
When a man hit it with a stone, it refused to move, and a bullet 
had not the slightest effect upon it. Some tried to touch the dog, 
but when they were about to lay hand upon it, it disappeared. 
Whoever rode by the gap at sunset was almost sure to see it; 

6 The legend may be compared with that of La Vaca de Lumbre (the Fiery 
Cow) of the City of Mexico, fabled to come forth at midnight from the 
Potrero de San Pablo and gallop through the streets like a blazing whirl- 
wind, breathing from her nostrils smoke and fire. Janvier connects the story 
of La Vaca de Lumbre with that of the goblin, El Belludo de Grenada, "who 
comes forth at midnight from the Siete Suelos Tower of the Alhambra and 
scours the streets pursued by hell-hounds." See Janvier, Thomas A., 
Legends of the City of Mexico, "La Vaca de Lumbre," Harper Brothers, 
New York, 1910.— Editor. 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 103 

often, however, if a party of several persons came by, it would 
be invisible to all save a particular individual. The ghost dog 
continued to appear for several years, but after a time he disap- 
peared forever. 7 The gate, however, that has taken the place of 
the gap near which Pope was killed, will not stay shut. No mat- 
ter how you close it, it will open of itself and remain open. 


By L. W. Payne, Jr. 

The following legend was written up at my suggestion by 
Mr. Tom Gambrell of Lockhart. He says that it is well known 
in the neighborhood of Lockhart, and that he has followed ac- 
curately the account as given by the two oldest inhabitants of 

The last trouble that the early settlers in Caldwell County had 
with the Indians was just before the great war between the states. 
At that time about twenty of the savages suddenly swept down 
from the north, plundering and devastating where they would. 
They had with them a wagon into which they put stolen valuables, 
and by the time they got to Lockhart it was pretty well filled 
with silver in various forms. Here they seized a white woman, 
and then turned to follow along the eastern bank of Clear Fork 
Creek, which runs directly south about two miles west of town. 

The whites hastily united to pursue the Indians and soon were 
close upon them, for the marauders could not flee very fast with 
their wagon-load of silver. As soon as they saw their peril, they 
unhitched the horses, emptied the silver into the creek, left their 
wagon on the bank, and continued their flight with the woman 
still their captive. The white men passed the wagon and con- 

7 Skinner tells a tale of two young men who were digging for a treasure 
chest supposed to have been lost by a Spanish galleon at New London, 
Connecticut, in 1753. "They had dug down to water-level when they reached 
an iron chest, and they stooped to lift it — but, to their amazement, the iron 
was too hot to handle! Now they heard deep growls, and a giant dog 
peered at them from the pit-mouth." — Chas. M. Skinner, Myths and Legends 
of Our Own Land, II, 282-283. 

See also Pete Staples' story of the ghost-dog as a guardian of treasure, 
page 54. — Editor. 

104 Legends of Texas 

tinned the chase. Nearer and nearer they drew on the Indians, 
who had now turned southwest and were approaching the steep 
hills and treacherous valleys that surround Round Top Mountain, 
some eight miles southwest of Lockhart. Here the Indians used 
to build their fires to call together their warriors. The whites 
were within half a mile of the redskins when the latter, beating 
their horses furiously and riding at full speed, entered this almost 
impenetrable region. The Indian who was carrying the woman 
in front of him realized that his horse was overburdened and that 
he himself would certainly be caught unless he lightened the load. 
Consequently he knocked the woman in the head with his toma- 
hawk, threw her off, and entered the border of the thicket at 
increased speed. When the whites reached the woman, she was 
dead. They pursued the brutes a little farther, but soon found 
out that the Indians were the better runners among the under- 
brush, and gave up the chase. 

On returning, the men took up the corpse and carried it close 
to town, where they buried it. Many years later, the Prairie 
Lea-Lockhart road was laid out. The grave, neatly arched with 
stones, lies close by the roadway, and can be seen by any one 
who will go from Lockhart about a mile and a half down that road. 

Owing to the death of the captive woman and to the near ap- 
proach of night, the whites did not search for the silver that 
evening. But next day they went to the creek and looked for the 
booty. They found none, but carried away the wagon. Since 
then others have sought in vain for the treasure. The creek 
has been dredged and seined, and its bottom gouged, but no silver 
has been found. Some say that the Indians returned that night 
and recovered it. Others believe that it has sunk into the boggy 
mire of the creek bottom. 

However this may be, the grave is still a visible evidence of the 
essential truth of the legend. A number of the pursuers of the 
Indians said that they saw the silver tumble into the water. 
And the two surviving pursuers, recognized as reliable and hon- 
orable men, insist that the whole story is based on fact. 


By Fannie E. Ratchford 

I heard the story of Moro's gold first, when a very small child, 
from my mother, who herself remembered it from her tenth year, 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 105 

and from my grandmother, who, except for its tragic outcome, 
would have forgotten the whole incident in her busy life as mis- 
tress of a large plantation. I heard it when several years older 
from my father, who knew it merely as a family and neighbor- 
hood legend, and I heard it again a few years ago from my 
mother's cousin, Judge W. P. McLean of Fort Worth, who as a 
young man was living in my grandfather's home at the time the 
incident occurred. The story as I give it here contains elements 
of all four slightly varying accounts. 

Before the Civil War, my grandfather, Preston R. Rose, lived 
on a large plantation, called Buena Vista, lying along the Guada- 
lupe River, seven miles from Victoria, near the Indianola road. 
Late one afternoon, two years before the Civil War began, he was 
sitting on the porch reading, when my mother, who was playing 
near, called his attention to the unusual sight of a stranger coming 
across the field from the direction of the river. The stranger was 
of small stature and dark complexion, evidently a Spaniard. When 
he had reached the porch, he addressed my grandfather in the 
easy, courteous manner of a gentleman and an equal, and re- 
quested hospitality for the night, explaining that his pack mule 
had gotten away from him and that he had exhausted himself 
in a fruitless search. 

His request was granted without question, and Moro took up 
his residence at Buena Vista, which on one pretext or another 
lasted for several months, in spite of the suspicious and dis- 
quieting circumstances that soon arose. The first of these was 
the report brought in by the negroes the next morning after 
Moro's arrival, that a mule with a pistol shot through his head 
had been found, partially buried in the river bottom. Another 
was the fact that Moro was never seen without a glove on his 
right hand, not even at meal time. The negro boy who waited 
on him in his room reported that he once saw him without the 
glove when he was washing his hand, and described a strange 
device on his wrist that was probably a tattoed figure. But the 
most disturbing circumstance connected with Moro was his eager- 
ness to get rid of money. He distributed gold coins (of what 
coinage, I never heard) among the household servants like 
copper pennies, until Grandfather rather sharply requested him 
to stop. 

Though there was not much to be bought in the little town of 
Victoria, Moro never came back from a trip to town without the 

106 Legends of Texas 

most expensive presents that could be bought for all the family 
in spite of the fact that they were invariably refused. My mother 
seems to have been particularly impressed by a large oil painting 
which he once bought from a local artist at an impossible price, 
as a present for my grandmother. When she refused to accept 
it, he asked permission to hang it in the library, and there it 
hung as long as the house was in possession of the family. 

Frequently Moro proposed the most extravagant things. Once 
he urged Grandfather to allow him to build a great stone house 
of feudal magnificence to replace the colonial frame house in 
which he lived. Again he proposed that he take the entire family 
to Europe at his expense, leaving the girls there to receive an 
elaborate education in the best schools to be found on the con- 

One day as Moro was walking about the plantation with 
Grandfather, the question of plantation debts came up, and Moro 
remarked in a significant tone that Grandfather was at that min- 
ute standing within fifty feet of enough gold to enable him to 
pay all the debts of the plantation and still be a rich man, even 
if he did not own an acre of land or a negro slave. Grandfather's 
anger prevented his continuing the disclosure that he was evi- 
dently eager to make. The only landmark of any kind near was 
a large fig tree about fifty feet away. 

In the meantime the negroes had caught the idea of buried 
treasures, and many were the tales they told of seeing Moro dig- 
ging about the place at night. 

A guest staying in the house one night reported that he had 
been drawn to the door of his room by an unusual noise, and had 
seen Moro painfully heaving a small chest up the stairway, step 
at a time. 

My grandfather was a man in whom the spirit of adventure 
was strong. He had left his plantation to the direction of his 
wife while he went adventuring into the California gold fields 
in '49. Consequently Moro was able to catch his interest by the 
story of buried treasures down on the Rio Grande, and Grand- 
father consented to go if he were allowed to make up his own 
party. The party as finally organized consisted of friends and 
neighbors, most of whom were well-to-do planters, but there was 
one man included somewhat out of the social class of the others, 
though well known and trusted throughout the neighborhood. 
To this man Moro objected strenuously, saying that he would 

Legends of Buried Treasure and Lost Mines 107 

either prevent their finding the treasure, or if it were found, 
would murder them all to get the whole for himself. Grand- 
father insisted, and the man went. 

Moro was nervous and sulky from the start, and so aroused the 
suspicions of the party that by the time they reached the Rio 
Grande, he was not allowed out of sight. But despite the close 
watch kept upon him, he finally made his escape by diving from 
one of the boats in which the party was crossing the Rio Grande 
to the point where he said the treasure was to be found. The 
man whom Moro feared would have shot him as he appeared above 
the surface of the water if Grandfather had not prevented. 

There was nothing left for the party to do but return home, for 
Moro had given them no map or directions that would enable them 
to make an independent search. But before setting out on the re- 
turn, Grandfather foolishly accepted a dare to swim the river in a 
very wide place, and in doing so caught a severe cold that devel- 
oped into "galloping consumption," from which he died a few 
months later. 

The rest of the story, so far as there is any, is confused and 
contradictory. A few weeks before Grandfather's death, some of 
the negroes on the place came to the house, begging for relief 
from Moro's ghost, which was seen almost nightly digging at 
various spots on the plantation, but most often near the big fig 
tree in the field. 

Grandfather was too ill to make any investigation for himself, 
but he questioned the negroes closely, and came to the conclusion 
that all the stories had grown out of one real incident — that Moro 
had probably come back to recover money that he had buried on 
the place. 

The man whom Moro feared went to Mexico to escape service 
in the Confederate Army, and his sudden rise to fortune, coupled 
with a wild story he told on his return of having met with Moro 
in Mexico, convinced my grandmother that he had in some way 
come into possession of the treasure. 

Judge McLean, who was a member of the original party, be- 
lieved the story of buried money on the Rio Grande to be nothing 
more than a ruse on the part of Moro, representing a band of 
border outlaws, to kidnap Grandfather and hold him for a ran- 
som. He was very positive that he saw Moro hanged as a Yankee 
spy during the Civil War, while he was stationed on the border 
near Rio Grande City. 

108 Legends of Texas 

The legend of buried money still lingers around the old plan- 
tation of Buena Vista. 1 About ten years after the Civil War, my 
father bought the part of the plantation on which the home was 
situated, and during the years that he lived there was much an- 
noyed by treasure seekers who begged permission to dig for 
"Moro's gold," or who came at night and dug without permission. 
In telling me the story, as he had heard it from various mem- 
bers of my mother's family and from the negroes on the place, he 
expressed his belief that Moro had at one time buried money 
there. He told me that one day as he was showing a "free 
negro" how to run a straight furrow in the field not far from the 
old fig tree, the horse stumbled and his right foreleg sank in the 
ground up to the shoulder. The thought of Moro's gold seems 
not to have entered my father's mind at the time, but later he 
remembered it, and said that he was convinced that if there had 
ever been any money buried on the plantation it was in that spot. 

1 For a brief account of "Moro's Gold," see Rose, Victor M., Some His- 
torical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of Victoria, Texas, Laredo [1883?], 
pp. 36-37.— Editor. 


By John R. Craddock 

[Of all the legends in this volume "The Legend of Stampede Mesa" shows 
most of native originality. Like all true legends, it has had a wide vogue, 
though I have never heard it in the cattle country of the border. A few 
years ago a young man from the Panhandle, named Roy Ainsworth, gave 
me this abbreviated variant of it. Back in the days when range men paid 
in coin rather than in checks, a certain cattle buyer on one of the big 
ranches of Northwest Texas is believed to have been murdered for his money 
and his body put away in a shack or dugout near the principal round-up 
grounds of the ranch. After the murder, whenever an outfit tried to hold a 
herd of cattle on these grounds at night, they were sure to have a stampede. 
Cowboys reported many times having seen the murdered man's ghost wan- 
dering about among the cattle in the darkness and, of course, stampeding 
them. Naturally, the place came to be avoided for night herding. — Editor.] 

Among cattle folk no subject for anecdote and speculation is 
more popular than the subject of stampedes. There has always 
been a certain mystery surrounding the stampeding of cattle. 
Sometimes they stampede without any man's having heard, seen, 
or smelled a possible cause. The following account of how Stam- 
pede Mesa got its name, together with the legend, told in many 
variations, of the phantom stampede, is current among the people 
of the Panhandle and New Mexico. I was a mere child when I 
heard it first, and I have since heard it many times. 

Stampede Mesa is in Crosby County, Texas, about eighteen 
miles from the cap rock of Blanco Canyon, wedged up between the 
forks of Catfish (sometimes called White or Blanco) River. The 
main stream skirts it on the west; to the south the bluffs of the 
mesa drop a sheer hundred feet down into McNeil Branch. The 
two hundred acre top of the mesa is underlaid with rocks that 
are scarcely covered by the soil, though grazing is nearly always 
good. Trail drivers all agree that a better place to hold a herd 
will never be found. A herd could be watered at the river late in 
the evening and then be driven up the gentle slope of the mesa 
and bedded down for the night. In the morning there was wafer 
at hand before the drive was resumed. The steep bluffs to the 
south made a natural barrier so that night guard could be reduced 
almost half. Nevertheless, few herd bosses of the West would 
now, if opportunity came, venture to hold their herds on Stampede 
Mesa. Yet it will never succumb to the plow. Scarred and high, 

112 Legends of Texas 

it will stand forever, a monument to the days that are gone, a 
wild bit of the old West to keep green the legend that has given 
to it the name, "Stampede Mesa." 

Early in the fall of '89 an old cowman named Sawyer came 
through with a trail herd of fifteen hundred head of steers, threes 
and fours. While he was driving across Dockum Flats one eve- 
ning, some six or seven miles east of the mesa, about forty-odd 
head of nester cows came bawling into the herd. Closely flanking 
them, came the nester, demanding that his cattle be cut out of 
the herd. Old Sawyer, who was "as hard as nails/' was driving 
short handed; he had come far; his steers were thin and he did 
not want them "ginned" about any more. Accordingly, he bluntly 
told the nester to go to hell. 

The nester was pretty nervy, and seeing that his little stock of 
cattle was being driven off, he flared up and told Sawyer that if 
he did not drop his cows out of the herd before dark he would 
stampede the whole bunch. 

At this Sawyer gave a kind of dry laugh, drew out his six 
shooter, and squinting down it at the nester, told him to 

Nightfall found the herd straggling up the east slope of what 
on the morrow would be christened by some cowboy Stampede 
Mesa. Midnight came, and with scarcely half the usual night 
guard on duty, the herd settled down in peace. 

But the peace was not to last. True to his threat, the nester, 
approaching from the north side, slipped through the watch, 
waved a blanket a few times, and shot his gun. He did his work 
well. All of the herd except about three hundred head stampeded 
over the bluff on the south side of the mesa, and two of the night 
herders, caught in front of the frantic cattle that they were trying 
to circle, went over with them. 

Sawyer said little, but at sunup he gave orders to bring in the 
nester alive, horse and all. The orders were carried out, and 
when the men rode up on the mesa with their prisoner, Sawyer 
was waiting. He tied the nester on his horse with a raw- 
hide lariat, blindfolded the horse, and then, seizing him by the 
bits, backed him off the cliff. There were plenty of hands to 
drive Sawyer's remnant now. Somewhere on the hillside they 
buried, in their simple way, the remains of their two comrades, 
but they left the nester to rot with the piles of dead steers in the 

ScAue. - I bivisioM ■ 

CATTLfe HfiLb 


The. A&ove. Is The. StcYU/vse- Of 
The Fb.oa\ The. ELAST- 

114 Legends of Texas 

And now old cowpunchers will tell you that if you chance to be 
about Stampede Mesa at night, you can hear the nester calling 
his cattle, and many assert that they have seen his murdered 
ghost, astride a blindfolded horse, sweeping over the headland, 
behind a stampeding herd of phantom steers. Herd bosses are 
afraid of those phantom steers, and it is said that every herd 
that has been held on the mesa since that night has stampeded, 
always from some unaccountable cause. 

I have a tale connected with two of these noted stampedes that 
I will relate here in the words of Poncho Burall, who told it to me. 

"It was in the fall of 1900. This country was just beginning 
to settle. I was working for old man Jeff Keister's outfit then, 
taking a herd through to New Mexico. We'd been on the trail 
some ten days, I guess, when we came to a ranch in a valley down 
on the Salt Fork. Keister says a friend of his lives there, and 
he rides off. After a while two boys ride up and tell us that they 
will herd the cattle while the outfit goes down to the ranch to 

"When we rode down to the house, Keister and an old man were 
sitting under a brush arbor that represented the front porch. 
First thing I noticed about the old man was that one of his arms 
is only about two-thirds as long as the other, and that he has to 
put it where he wants it with his other hand. We meets him 
and sets down to wait for dinner, not saying much but listening 

" 'You'll find a-plenty good places to hold 'em nights, Jeff, but 
about the third night out you will be some'ers near Stampede 
Mesa. Don't you try to hold them thar.' 

" 'I'm aimin' to hold them right there, Bill,' Keister says. 

" 'Now, Jeff, you ain't forgot that stampede in '91, have you? 
Well, maybe you have, but I hain't. I carry a little souvaneer 
that won't let me forget. There was phantom steers in that herd 
that night. You recollect as how them steers went over the 
steep side of the mesa, Jeff? I must a been a sight when you 
found me. It's right nigh onto twenty year now, and I ain't 
moved this old arm since.' 

"Well, the wife called dinner just then, and the old man got 
strung out on something else, but that stampede business jest 
stuck to my mind. 

"Along late one evenin' old Keister and I were riding the 

Legends of the Supernatural 115 

drag, when he puts the dogie he's been a-carryin' on his saddle 
down on the ground, and says, 'Taint fer now, yuh kin walk. 
We are campin' on Stampede Mesa, as they call it.' 

" 'I guess yuh noticed that feller's arm, back there in the 
valley,' says Keister, jerking his hand back toward the way we 

" 'Yes,' I said, waiting for him to go on. 

" 'Well, he got it up there on the south side of that mesa. Hoss 
went plumb crazy. Bill's allys said they wuz ghost steers in 
that herd that night. I think I seen 'em too. They jest came 
a-sailin' through the herd and right past your horse. I don't 
believe in hants, but it wuz scary.' 

"Well, we drove 'em up on the mesa and let 'em graze. A feller 
and me took first guard that night. The herd settled down pretty 
soon, but I couldn't get that stampede tale out of my mind ; every 
time a cow moved I thought something was going to happen. It 
was a mixed herd, and they lay as quiet as a bunch of dead sheep. 
It got so quiet that I could hear my pardner's saddle creak, away 
off to one side. The moon set, and it got darker. Just about 
then something passed me. It looked like a man on a horse, but 
it just seemed to float along. Then there was a roar, and the 
whole bunch stampeded straight for the bluffs. I rode in front of 
one critter like, and he jest passed right on, jest kinder floatin' 
past me. Then some old cow bellered and we milled 'em easy — 
but they wouldn't bed down again that night and it took every 
derned one of us to hold 'em." 

jfe *)c sic sfs sfe stc sts sic sfe 

There are some who say that the phantoms of this legend are 
tumble weeds, blown by the wind. But there are many honest 
men who will tell you of the weird calls of the phantom nester and 
of the galloping phantom steers. Knowing the story, you cannot 
look at the mesa, branded by the white scar of the old trail, with- 
out a strange emotion. 



By Adele B. Loose an 
(With apologies to the memory of Judge Hugh Duffy.) 

Judge Hugh C. Duffy, to whom I am indebted for this legend, 
was identified with the interests of Bandera County for fifty-four 

116 Legends of Texas 

years. As host of the Duffy Hotel, his genial gifts made friends 
of all who shared his hospitality. His acquaintance with the 
rangers enabled him to gather from them and others a rare col- 
lection of tales, which he related with convincing accuracy of 
detail. The Pioneer History of Bandera County, by J. Marvin 
Hunter, contains an appreciative sketch of his life and a tribute 
to his many fine qualities. 

I tell the tale now as it was told to me, when the moon was full 
and shone on a merry group of friends seated on the ground, in 
the neighborhood of Polly's Peak. The narrator began with these 
words: "It was on just such a night as this." Then followed the 
legend in the time-honored style sacred to legendary lore, im- 
possible for me to imitate. 

A more charming landscape cannot be found than the hills and 
dales of Bandera County. The Indians loved this country, and 
every year resorted thither, to fish in the waters of the Medina 
and to hunt deer and turkeys on the mountains. But their in- 
tentions were not always so peaceful, and Texas Rangers were 
not infrequently called upon to protect the few white settlers 
who were bold enough to call this region home. 

In the summer of 1844, there had been some fierce conflicts 
between the white and the red men; the latter had fled precipi- 
tately, showering their arrows behind them upon the rocky 
ground. The battle having ended with slight loss to the vic- 
torious rangers, they were taking their rest near the base of a 
conical eminence, afterwards known as Polly's Peak. 

The moon was at its full. The rangers lay at ease near their 
camp fire, whose glowing coals of red and yellow seemed to vie 
with the moon's glorious golden hue. The story-hour had come, 
and each in his turn told of his own or another's thrilling ex- 
perience or hairbreadth escape. A mocking bird, perched on the 
topmost bough of a gnarled oak, poured out the melodious meas- 
ures of comedy and tragedy that make up his wonderful reper- 
toire. The story tellers were forced to listen to him and inter- 
pret, as best they might, the infinitely varied notes of his song. 

Now it seemed a human voice, calling, "Come here ! Come here ! 
Come here!" Now, a cry of distress, as of a captive frog in the 
toils of a snake; again, household words pealed forth: "Tut! Tut! 
Tut! Chick! Chick! Chick! Mew! Mew! Mew!"; then came high 
pitched trills of bewildering sweetness, rivaling those of the most 
gifted prima donna, followed by a low, soothing, caressing lullaby. 

Legends of the Supernatural 117 

The song ceased suddenly and left as its echo an uncanny stillness. 
The breeze had entirely died away; the leaves on the near-by 
trees seemed to stand at attention, as if awaiting orders. From 
whom? A voiceless presence commanded an attitude of motion- 
less silence. 

The rangers felt its strange influence and looked inquiringly 
at each other; meanwhile not a word was uttered. The tense 
silence became painful. A cloud, veiling the face of the moon 
and dimming its light for a few moments, invited them to watch 
its passing, and, as they gazed upon its flitting shadows, there 
suddenly stood in their midst a tall, beautiful Indian woman. 

Her hair hung in long braids over her shoulders ; her brow was 
crowned by a circlet of sparkling crystal beads ; countless strings 
of colored beads and shells adorned her body; a skirt of a filmy 
blue fabric reached nearly to her ankles. She carried a bead- 
embroidered quiver at her side, and swung across her back was 
a bow of bois d'arc. The rangers arose and gazed in amazement 
at her majestic attitude, and several minutes elapsed before their 
captain controlled his voice to ask: "Where do you come from, 
and why are you here alone?" 

Quietly folding her arms, she replied: "My people are tired of 
fighting. So many of our braves have fallen, victims of your 
death-dealing weapons, that we are helpless. I come to ask that 
the path between my people and yours be again made white! I 
come alone, because I know not fear. The Great Spirit is my 

She laid three polished arrows at her feet and stood for a mo- 
ment looking up into the sky, while the moonlight glittered on her 
shining ornaments, and the blooming white yucca that surrounded 
her gleamed like silver. She turned toward the west and, point- 
ing to a star, wonderfully brilliant in spite of the moonlight, ex- 
claimed, "That star is my home ! I go there !" 

Her listeners, almost breathless from amazement, were men 
accustomed to danger; it was their daily duty to meet it. They 
now saw no threatening danger, no indication of a cowardly am- 
bush; but the silence, like that of the desert, created a feeling 
akin to awe, and acted like an admonition. But for a hasty sign 
of the cross, a slight movement of the lips on the part of a few, 
they stood as lifeless as a group of statuary. 

A dark cloud had been rapidly gathering about the summit of 
Polly's Peak, but the rangers, bewildered by the strangeness of 

118 Legends of Texas 

the situation, seemed transfixed as by some magic spell, and 
saw naught but the graceful figure and pointing finger of the 
woman. Their senses were dulled as in the mazes of a dream. 
The plaintive note of a whippoorwill began to tell his mournful 
tale, the piercing shriek of an owl startled the little company, and 
a blinding flash of lightning and crash of thunder broke the spell 
of their enchantment. 

They sprang to their stack of arms, seized their guns, and made 
ready to face an enemy. Some cursed, with wild unreason. 
Others cried: "Where is the woman, damned siren that she is, 
who made it her business to bewitch us men, while the red devils 
of her tribe prepare to attack and kill us ! Let's find and follow 
her! Look for the arrows she laid at her feet!" 

One swore he had seen her caught up into the black cloud as 
it opened to emit the thundering electric bolt — plain proof that 
she was an emissary of the devil. 

While confusion thus reigned, some tried in vain to find the 
arrows, which might give a clue. With the earliest dawn, a 
careful and persistent search failed to discover the arrows, or 
the presence of a single Indian within the radius of a hundred 

The presence and disappearance of the "Woman of the West- 
ern Star" must be classed as a mystery, and, like many another 
mystery, its influence was not only felt at the time, but had lasting 
beneficial effect. Henceforth the Indians came and went peace- 
fully, committing no depredations, and unmolested by the white 
men. At a certain season of each year, they placed flint arrow- 
heads and beads of many colors in the grave of their most noted 
chief and planted a peace feather at its head. In the long ago, 
he and his tribe had resisted the Spanish invasion and he had 
fallen, mortally wounded, in battle against them. On a high cliff 
overlooking Bandera Pass, his grave could still be seen thirty 
years ago. 

By N. A. Taylor 

[The legend of "The Devil and Strap Buckner" reprinted here in a much 
abridged form, through the courtesy of Mrs. Natalie Taylor Carlisle and 

1 Reprinted from The Coming Empire or Two Thousand Miles in Texas 
on Horseback, by H. F. McDanield and N. A. Taylor, A. S. Barnes and 
Company, New York, 1877, pp. 49-73. 

Legends of the Supernatural 119 

Miss Grace B. Taylor, of Houston, daughters of the deceased author, affords 
sufficient perplexity to the folk-lorist. There is no doubt that the legend 
as told is based on a pure folk tale; there is no doubt that the author in 
telling it took many liberties with it, much as Washington Irving took liber- 
ties with the legends of the Hudson; and there seems little doubt that the 
legend has perished from the folk among whom it once existed. The book 
in which it is preserved is very scarce, hardly procurable at any price. 

Colonel Nathaniel Alston Taylor came to Texas shortly before the Civil 
War and began his travels of "2000 miles on horseback," concluding them 
after the war was over. I should say that in addition to being the most 
delightful of all Texas books of travel, his book contains the most incisive 
information on the social conditions of pioneer Texans. According to Mrs. 
Carlisle, though the name of H. F. McDanield is printed as an associate 
author, he had absolutely nothing to do with the authorship. Mr. Taylor 
needed financial help to publish the book and McDanield gave it on the 
condition that his name should be used as joint author. Mr. Taylor left 
manuscript journals containing notes on his travels in which the legend 
is mentioned; and Mrs. Carlisle writes: 

"As told me by my father, the legend of Strap Buckner is really folk- 
lore. It was told to him in very simple form by a 'dapper young man' 
explaining why the creek was named Buckner's Creek. The young man 
said that Strap Buckner came to Texas with Austin's colony and gained 
his queer reputation for good naturedly knocking men down, and that he 
had several times knocked down the great Austin himself; he would not 
hesitate to knock down anything. My father remarked, 'He'd try to 
knock down a bull, wouldn't he?' Thereupon the young man said that it 
was related that Strap Buckner had tackled and put to flight, with his 
bare fists, a great black bull that occasionally made himself obnoxious in 
Austin's colony. But Strap became unpopular and betook himself to the 
La Grange vicinity, where he settled in a log cabin of his own construction 
near the creek. Here he 'tried to be good,' but finally again began knock- 
ing men down, and knocked down the Indians and even the chief and his 
'queen' and the chief's daughter. The Indian chief admired him so much 
that he presented him with the swiftest horse he had, a gray nag. This 
recognition of 'his genius' so aroused the spirits of Strap that he became 
gloriously drunk and declared himself 'the Champion of the World' and 
challenged any and everybody to fight — the whole Indian tribe, the Devil 
himself. At this point, a terrible tempest arose, during which the air was 
charged with brimstone, and the Devil appeared, and a dreadful fight took 
place, lasting all the day and night. The Devil conquered, and carried 
Strap and his gray nag away on a cloud of pale blue smoke that arose 
from the 'battle ground.' My father was so impressed by the tale that 
he added to it with the result to be read in his book." 

In hope of finding some survival of the legend in the La Grange neigh- 
borhood, I sent a copy of it to Mrs. W. H. Thomas, a member of the Texas 
Folk-Lore Society, who has long lived at La Grange. She and her son, 
Mr. Wright Thomas, circulated the legend widely without being able to 
get a surviving trace of it. Nevertheless, there is a large creek that emp- 
ties into the Colorado River near La Grange called "Buckner's Creek." 
The country up it "used to be considered wild and rough," says Mrs. 

120 Legends of Texas 

Thomas, "and when I was a child and we wanted to describe anyone as 
rough, rude, or illiterate, we would say that he must have come 'from 
high Buckner.' " 

Mr. Wright Thomas interviewed an old German woman known as "Aunt 
Vogt" who came to the settlement in 1840. She says that a carpenter 
named Buckner lived in the country before she came but that she never 
heard any legend connected with the name. 

The legend of a hero of superhuman strength is as old as the imagina- 
tion of man. In America it has thrived, particularly among the lumber 
camps of Maine and of the Northwest, in the myth of Paul Bunyan and 
his wonderful Blue Ox, "Babe," "seven ax-handles wide between the eyes" — 
some say, "forty-two ax-handles and a plug of chewing tobacco." In the 
Century Magazine for May, 1923, pages 23-33, Hubert Langerock has 
reported in detail, as from original folk sources, concerning "The Won- 
derful Life and Deeds of Paul Bunyan." In West Virginia, according to 
Margaret Prescott Montague, the performer of deeds of superhuman strength 
is known as Tony Beaver. See her article called "Up Eel River," in the 
Atlantic Monthly for May, 1923. The superhuman hero in the Southwest 
has thrived in the person of Pecos Bill, who really belongs in a large part 
to Texas. Those who would know of him are referred to "The Saga of 
Pecos Bill," by Edward O'Reilly in the Century Magazine for October, 
1923, pages 827-833. Thus we see that Strap Buckner, no matter what 
his derivation or what his lamentable death, is no alien to our soil. It is a 
pity, though, that he is not thriving like his brothers Paul Bunyan, Tony 
Beaver, and Pecos Bill. — Editor.] 

A mile above the ferry, I entered a charming valley leading 
from the west. It was a succession of farm after farm. The 
song of the plowman was merry in the air, and there was an 
odor of the newly-turned soil, which showed just a tint of the 
coloring matter of the Colorado, proving that the mighty river 
had invaded the valley with its back-water. Gentle slopes and 
eminences and detached groves of oak looked upon this pleasant 
valley from either side. Through the middle of it flowed a 
small stream known as Buckner's Creek. I had ridden a few 
miles up this attractive valley when a young horseman cantered 
up by my side, traveling the same direction with myself. I 
said involuntarily as he checked his prancing steed beside me 
and bowed politely: "A young gentleman and a scholar!" 

After an interchange of courtesies and some pleasant conver- 
sation, I asked why the sparkling brook was called Buckner's 
Creek, and why it had not been named for some water nymph, 
who, in the mythological days, must have chosen it for her 
haunt; or for some Indian princess with a musical name who 
had lived and loved on its banks? 

"Ah," said he, turning upon me with his beaming eyes, which 
grew larger and brighter, "and thereby hangs a tale — a tale of 

Legends of the Supernatural 121 

the olden time. And as I perceive that you are one who loves 
knowledge, I will tell it to you if you will have the patience to 
hear me." 

I thanked him and begged him to proceed. 

"You must know then," continued he, "that this vale in which 
you are riding is one that has witnessed strange company and 
remarkable events. In the olden time there came to Texas with 
Austin, who, you are aware, brought 'the first three hundred* 
Americans who founded this great commonwealth, a youth whose 
name was Strap Buckner. Where he was born, whence his line- 
age, or why he bore the name of Strap the records do not tell. 
Certain it is, he was of giant stature, and of the strength of ten 
lions, and he used it as ten lions. His hair was of the redness 
of flame, as robust as the mane of a charger, and his face — it was 
freckled. He was of a kindly nature, as most men of giant 
strength are, but he had a pride in his strength which grew un- 
governable. With no provocation whatever, he knocked men 
down with the kindest intentions and no purpose to harm them. 
He would enter a circle of gentlemen with a smiling visage, and 
knock them all down; and when any received bruised or broken 
limbs, he nursed them with more than the tenderness of a mother, 
and with a degree of enthusiasm, as if his whole heart was bent 
on restoring them to health as soon as practicable, in order that 
he might enjoy the pleasure of knocking them down again. His 
genius was to knock men down. He knocked down Austin's 
whole colony at least three times over, including the great and 
good Austin himself. 

"He could plant a blow with his fist so strongly that it was 
merry pastime with him to knock a yearling bull stark dead ; and 
even the frontlet of a full grown animal could not withstand 
him. In those days a huge black bull appeared mysteriously in 
Austin's colony, who by his ferocity became a terror to the settle- 
ment, and was known by the dread name of Noche. Strap chal- 
lenged this bull to single combat, and invited the colony to wit- 
ness the encounter. When the day came, the entire colony looked 
from their doors and windows, being afraid to go out, every one, 
probably, praying that both Strap and the bull would be slain. 
He threw a red blanket over his shoulder, and walked on the 
prairie with the air of a hero who goes forth to meet a mighty 
foeman. He bore no weapon whatever. When the bull per- 
ceived him, he tossed his tail, pawed the earth, and emitted a 

122 Legends of Texas 

roar of thunder. Strap imitated him, and pawed and roared 
also; which perceiving, the bull came toward him like a thunder- 
bolt clothed in tempest and terror. Strap received him with a 
blow on his frontlet from his bare fist, which sent him staggering 
back upon his haunches, and the blood flowed from his smoking 
nostrils. Recovering from his surprise, Noche, to the astonish- 
ment of all, turned his tail and fled away, bellowing. He was 
never more seen in those parts. 

"Strap's fame greatly arose, insomuch that men looked upon 
him in awe, and maidens and strong women pined in secret ad- 
miration. He became a great hunter, using no other weapon but 
his fist and an iron pestle, or mace. About this time also Strap 
became addicted to strong drink and grew boisterous, to such a 
degree that people shunned him in spite of his kindly nature. 
No man would meet him alone ; but when he was seen approach- 
ing, men would shut themselves up in their houses, or collect in 
knots, all with guns and pistols cocked. Strap now determined 
that he would seek other fields of glory. So, early on a bright 
spring morning he arose, and throwing his bundle of raiment 
over his left shoulder, and bearing his iron pestle in his right 
hand, he turned his back upon the unappreciative community. 

"He traveled west over the great plains. After days of won- 
ders Strap reached the site where La Grange now is, and to 
his surprise found a solitary trading house, where Bob Turket 
and Bill Smotherall exchanged beads and liquor with Indians 
for furs and skins, and for horses they might steal. He liked 
the country greatly, and whiskey being accessible, he determined 
to abide in these quarters. On the first day of his arrival, he 
knocked down both Bob Turket and Bill Smotherall, but so hand- 
somely and with such an air of unspeakable kindness that they 
could conceive no offense. Before a week had elapsed he had 
knocked down every Indian brave who dwelt within ten miles 
round; and finally he knocked down the great king himself, 
Tuleahcahoma. The Indians called him the Red Son of Blue 
Thunder. The great king held him in such reverence that he 
presented him with a gray horse with a bob-tail, which, though 
ugly and lank to look at, was famed as the swiftest horse known 
to all the Indians. 

"Now this great king and his powerful tribe dwelt in this fair 
valley in which you ride. Strap saw it, and he loved the beauti- 
ful land. He resolved to settle within it, and chose yon lovely 

Legends of the Supernatural 123 

site, and there built his residence of cedar posts. He procured 
a jug of whiskey and set up housekeeping, an object of great 
reverence to his neighbors. Daily he went forth and knocked 
down many Indians with great grace. At last they conceived 
that they did not like this, and they determined to abandon the 
vale. On a dark night they silently stole away, and next morn- 
ing Strap found himself alone. When he beheld the deserted 
valley, but yesterday teeming with braves and fair maidens, he 
wept in the kindness of his heart. 'Other friends/ said he, 'have 
left me before. Such is the common penalty of greatness.' 

"Two days he pondered on his greatness and his misery, and 
the struggle between his genius and his better spirit was terrible. 
He who hath genius hath a heaving ocean or a volcano in his 
breast. At length, a dark light gleamed in Strap's impatient 
eyes ; it was his genius startled and indignant. He arose with a 
proud air, admiringly gazed upon his enormous fists, and groaned 
deeply for the presence of some one whom he might knock down. 
His bosom heaved and swelled. And then a sweet gentleness 
stole into his eyes, as his better spirit spoke to him in a soft 
voice: 'Ah, Strap, hast thou not glory enough? Hast thou not 
knocked down many times nearly every man in Texas. . . . 
even the great Austin and the mighty king Tuleahcahoma ? 
Come, gentle Peace ; encircle thy pleasant arms about me and bathe 
my brow with kisses. My laurels are sufficient, and the great 
man shall have repose.' 

"He felt a thirst, and he reached forth his hand for his jug, 
but found it empty. 'Ah!' said he, 'this will not do.' He called 
his swift gray nag, and holding his jug in one hand and the rein 
in the other, hied away, his long red hair streaming like a meteor 
behind him. When he rose on the east bank of the Colorado, 
as fate would have it, he saw twenty-two Indian braves, who, 
having exchanged their skins for whiskey and trinkets, were 
having a gay dance under the boughs of an oak. Strap dis- 
mounted, and stepping lightly into the circle of braves, knocked 
them all down. He then turned to each one and bowed with 
exquisite grace, and the gentleness on his countenance was sweet. 
You see how treacherous genius is, and how feeble are the best 
efforts to withstand it. He that hath a genius must needs let it 
work. Lightly he stepped into the trading house, smiling as the 
dawn, carrying his clenched fists before him. He met Bob 
Turket at the door, and instantly knocked him down. His eyes 

124 Legends of Texas 

sparkled, his genius was aglow. Bill Smotherall, beholding the 
light of his countenance, essayed to escape, but a powerful blow 
overtook him between the shoulders and felled him face down- 
ward to the floor. Strap jumped upon the counter and flapped his 
elbows against his flanks, and crowed a crow which rang among 
the hills and forests of the Colorado. His genius for the first 
time had overcome his kindness of heart; for never before, in 
all his achievements, had he uttered a note of triumph. I fear 
me it was a mark of the decadence of his noble spirit. 

He Cometh! 

"But all of this perhaps had not been so bad had he not now 
resorted to whiskey. Calling for his jug, he ordered it filled, and 
seizing a quart measure, he drank at one draught all it would 
hold. Instantly, as might be supposed, his genius broke all 
bounds ; it raged. Filling the quart measure with water, he made 
with its contents a wet ring on the floor, in the center of which 
he leaped like a savage beast. He smote the air with his fists 
and exclaimed in a loud voice: 'Behold in me, Bob Turket, Bill 
Smotherall, and ye red men of the forest and prairie — behold in 
me the champion of the world ! I defy all that live. I wager my 
swift gray nag. I defy the veritable old Devil himself — him of 
the cloven hoof and tawny hide. Black imp of hell, thou Satanas, 
I defy thee!' 

"Scarcely had he uttered these words when a singular murmur- 
ing sound issued from the forests of the Colorado, which, growing 
louder and louder, at last seemed to quiver under the whole heav- 
ens. Bob Turket and Bill Smotherall looked at one another, 
speechless and pale. The braves gathered about the door stricken 
with terror. Said the great Medicine Man, sounding his big 
bongbooree: 'It is — it is — it is he! The Great Father of the 
Red Son of Blue Thunder has descended from the clouds. He 
cometh to aid his great son.' 

"Outspake Bob Turket : 'Mighty champion of the world, norate 
to us what is that!' 

"The champion of the world, still occupying the center of the 
ring, responded: 'It is not the Great Father of the Red Son of 
Blue Thunder. I know that familiar voice: it is Noche — it is 
dread Noche! I conquered him once before, and I will conquer 
him again. Black, dread Noche, I defy thee!' 

Legends of the Supernatural 125 

"The singular murmuring sound again issued from the deep 
forests of the Colorado, growing louder and louder, till the ever- 
lasting hills trembled with the reverberation, and the great oaks 
bowed their heads. It articulated distinctly, according to the 
true report of Bob Turket: 'Ah, Strap — ah, Strap! Remember, 
Strap, remember!' 

"The champion seized his jug by the handle, and pouring out 
a quart measure of the treacherous liquid, imbibed it at a single 
draught. He then mounted his swift gray nag and sped away 
with the fury of a whirlwind. Bob Turket and Bill Smotherall 
watched him as he passed out of view, and then listened to the 
rapid clatter of hoofs till they died away in the distance, but 
durst not venture out of their doors. . . . Strap entered his cabin. 

La Noche Triste 

"Night was rapidly falling, and rolling clouds involved the 
heavens in pitchy blackness. Fearful thunder resounded through 
the deserted vale. A storm of wind and rain burst upon the 
cabin with terrible fury. In the midst of it Strap proceeded to 
cook his supper of hoe-cake and fried bacon. The bacon sizzled 
deliciously, and the hoe-cake grew to a rich brown. When all was 
ready, he spread his table, and was invoking an earnest blessing 
on him who invented fried bacon and hoe-cake, when suddenly 
an impetuous blast of the tempest blew open one of his windows. 
Strap raised his eyes and saw two fiery balls, about four inches 
apart, staring at him through the open window. 'Ah/ said Strap, 
'Ocelot — wildcat — hast thou come to interview me? — or wouldst 
thou forget thy sorrows in a sip from my jolly jug? — or wouldst 
thou take a little fried bacon and hoe-cake? — or is the tempest 
too much for thy glossy skin that thou comest to implore refuge 
with me under my roof? Truly, I might accord thee of all these 
and feel myself blessed to do it, but thy glaring, infernal eyes 
betray thee, and say that thou wouldst return villainy for these 
mercies. Speed thee away! What! Starest still? Wouldst 
fight? Then take this !' 

"He plucked a stone from his hearth and threw it with all his 
might at the glaring balls, but it missed its mark and they did not 

" 'Ah, thou art brave/ said he, 'and my hand is unsteady. 
Wouldst beard me in my den? Then let me try thee with my 

126 Legends of Texas 

pestle!' With that he seized his iron mace and strode with it 
uplifted to the window. He drew back to plant the blow of a 
giant between the glaring balls. The blow fell, but it struck only 
against the window-sill, with such force that it sank half through 
the heart of oak. The balls disappeared in the outer darkness. 
Strap then barred the window more firmly than before, and sat 
down to sup. 

"He was chewing a lengthy piece of bacon, whose ends pro- 
truded from each corner of his mouth, when a blinding flash of 
lightning fell, accompanied with a burst of thunder. For a mo- 
ment Strap felt himself stunned with the flame and concussion. 
'Bless me,' said he, 'now has the Father given us enough of light- 
ning and dire thunder! But what, ye gods, is this?' 

"He beheld, dancing on the floor before him, a remarkable 
black figure, with insolent eyes of fiery redness. It was in the 
shape of a man, but was not three feet high, it had two red horns 
on its head, and its feet, which were large, were cloven like the 
hoofs of a bull. Its nose was prominent and hooked like the beak 
of an eagle, and its face was gaunt and thin. Though so small of 
stature, its visage was hard and wrinkled, and showed age and 
infinite villainy. As it danced before him, it placed the thumb 
of the right hand against its nose and made at Strap the insulting 
sign of derision; but it spake not. 

"Strap was amazed, but he was not overcome. He let the long 
piece of bacon drop from his mouth. The singular object ceased 
to dance, and stepping by Strap's side, took a seat unbid in a chair 
upon the hearth. As it did so, it commenced growing, and did 
not stop until it had grown to twice its original proportions. It 
drew from between its legs a long tail, with a hard pronged 
point, which Strap had not observed before, and twirled it over 
so that the point fell on Strap's knee. This disgusted Strap. He 
hastily pushed his chair away to the opposite corner of the hearth, 
and observed : 'Keep thy prolongation to thyself, strange visitor !' 

" 'Skin for skin,' said the figure. At the same time he twirled 
his tail over again with such force and accurate aim that the 
sharp point of it stuck deeply into the mantel-piece, and there 
it hung fixed. 

' 'What might thy name be,' said Strap, 'who visitest me at 
this unseemly hour? Speak! thy name and thy business!' 

! 'Sir,' said the object, rising from the chair, extracting its tail 
from the mantel-piece, and advancing a step toward Strap, 'men 

Legends of the Supernatural 127 

call me by many names. Thou hast called me "black imp of hell, 
thou Satanas!" So be it. Skin for skin! Thou hast thrice chal- 
lenged me to duel, and thrice have I accepted. I have come to 
meet thee now, or to fling thy challenge into thy teeth/ 

"He seized his tail in his right hand, and held it like a javelin 
about to be thrust. Strap gazed upon this singular instrument, 
and meditatively spake: 'Good Sir Devil, take a seat. Wouldst 
thou attack a gentleman in his cups? None but a thief and 
coward would do that. Put thy prolongation away, I prithee. 
Leave me to my sleep and restoration, and I will meet thee man 
to man. Tomorrow morning at nine o'clock will I meet thee.' 

"The Devil advanced again, saying: 'Give us thy hand, Strap 
Buckner; skin for skin: tomorrow morn at nine o'clock, under 
yon oaks that overlook thy dwelling from the south.' They shook 
hands heartily. 'Now,' said he, 'will I leave thee to sleep and 
restoration. Truly, he hath neither courage nor honor who would 
attack a gentleman in his cups.' 

"The Devil then stepped toward the door. Strap moved for- 
ward to unbar it and let him out, but the Devil made a bound 
for the key-hole, and passed through, tail and all, in the twinkling 
of an eye. As he did so he filled the room with a strong odor 
of brimstone. The champion burned a few cotton rags to de- 
odorize the room, and then sat quietly by his table and ate a 
hearty repast of hoe-cake and bacon. Afterward he walked his 
cabin an hour to promote digestion. 

The Day of Events 

"Day had dawned, but its light struggled almost in vain with 
the storm which held carnival in the valley. Strap arose re- 
freshed and vigorous. He breakfasted on the remnants of the 
hoe-cake and bacon of the night's repast. The merry jug stood 
near, but he turned away from it with a look of reproach. Don- 
ning his garment of buckskin, he said : 'The hour arrives !' Then 
taking his iron limb in his right hand, the only aid he asked from 
art, this matchless hero stepped out into the storm, called his 
swift nag, and rode away to war. 

"He had advanced but a few paces when the Infernal Fiend, 
in the form of a skinny, ugly dwarf, appeared before him, dancing 
a jig, but he did not make the insulting sign of derision. He 
bowed politely and said: 'Hail to thee, Strap Buckner! T see 

128 Legends of Texas 

that thou art a man of honor. Receive my obeisance to a man of 
courage ! I will lead and thou wilt follow.' 

" 'I dare follow where the Foul Fiend leadeth,' said Strap. 
And both moved onward through the storm, the Fiend in ad- 
vance. A white flame of lightning illuminated the valley, and 
when Strap looked again the Fiend had disappeared, but an 
enormous bull, black as night, strode before him. 'Ah/ said 
Strap, 'this is my old friend Noche, I perceive. How is thy 
frontlet, Noche? Hast thou had the screw worms picked out of 
thy wounds? Better betake thee to a pretty, protected nook, 
and eat cowslips and make calves for an honest milk-maid/ 
Again the blinding lightning came, and when Strap recovered 
his sight, Noche had departed; in his stead the Fiend in stately 
form marched before him. 

"They had now reached the foot of the upland that looks into 
the vale. Silently they ascended to a cluster of noble oaks. The 
green sward was rich and level around them. Rather seemed it 
a place for fairies to dance under the moonlight than for Fiend 
and hero to meet in the struggle of death. Strap dismounted and, 
turning his gray nag loose, said to him: "Charge thyself with 
grass, whilst I charge myself with the Devil. Prosper my work 
like thine !' The gray nag wagged his bobtail, and said, 'I charge/ 
Without the tremor of a nerve, without air of fear or air of boast, 
this matchless hero confronted the Fiend. As he did so, the latter 
meanly commenced to grow, and ceased not to grow till he had 
achieved such stature that his head was a hundred and ninety feet 
in the air, and he was eighty feet in girth. His tail grew in 
correspondence, till, seizing it, he gave it a twirl, and the point 
struck in the bosom of a black cloud. As he had a right to do, 
Strap complained of this injustice. Said he: 'Foul Fiend, thou 
art no fair man to ask me to fight with thee on unequal terms. 
If thou choosest such terms, I brand thee villainous coward/ 

"The Fiend looked down from his lofty stature, and with a 
voice that confused all living things within a vast circumfer- 
ence, said: Tut aside thy iron limb, thy mace, thy pestle, and I 
will accommodate me to thy size. Skin for skin!' Strap tossed 
his pestle aside, whereat the Fiend commenced shrinking, and 
ceased not to shrink till he had shrunken to Strap's size — all 
save his tail, which still remained hitched in the bosom of the 
cloud. He now took position before Strap in the attitude of a 
boxer, and Strap took position before him in the same attitude. 

Legends of the Supernatural 129 

He kept his eye on Strap, and Strap kept his eye on him, either 
guarding against any advantage or cheat by the other. The 
Fiend now drew back for a pass at Strap, but just at that mo- 
ment the black cloud in which his tail was hitched was rapidly 
passing beyond its length, and it drew the Devil backwards and 
upwards with great force, causing him exceeding great pain at 
the point of its juncture with the body. Now had Strap but used 
the advantage which offered itself to him, what infinite fame 
would be his. Instead of this, under a false sense of honor, and 
in the kindness of his heart, he proffered the Fiend assistance 
to unhitch his tail! The Devil leaped up in the air and rolled 
himself up in the coils of his tail till he had reached the cloud, 
and there, with the help of claws and hoofs and horns, suc- 
ceeded at last in unhitching it. Immediately, back he sprang, 
and stood before Strap in the attitude of a boxer. 

"The battle raged with varying fortunes all day, till the Devil 
grew again to monstrous size, and at last wore Strap out on the 
unequal terms, till the mighty champion sought quarter, crest- 
fallen and utterly overcome. The country for a great circuit 
round rang with the hideous noise of battle, and Bob Turket 
and Bill Smotherall and forty Indian braves stood on the bank 
of the river and hearkened to it, amazed. As night fell they 
saw a great gray horse riding through the air down the valley, 
with the dread form of a red monkey astride his back in front, 
and the form of an overpowered man dangling across him be- 
hind. The horse and riders lit on the top of yon cedar-covered 
mountain that looks down upon La Grange from the north, and 
then all disappeared in the forest. On the spot of the dread 
encounter no earth has ever accumulated, and no green grass 
or tree has ever grown there since; but it remains, and will 
forever remain, in black deformity. 

He Returns 

"Three months passed, and one morn as Bob Turket and Bill 
Smotherall were counting their skins, they were stricken with 
amazement to see Strap Buckner ride up before them on his 
swift gray nag. He dismounted and stood before them, and 
they were the more amazed. And he looked distant and sad 
and solemn, as if he were contemplating things afar off. He 
spake to them not; but they fell on their faces before him, and 

130 Legends of Texas 

said: 'Mighty champion of the world, depart hence!' He said 
simply: 'Skin for skin!' and sadly and slowly rode away. Bob 
Turket and Bill Smotherall watched him depart, and counted 
no more skins that day. 

"Three months he dwelt in his cabin, and thrice weekly he 
visited the trading house, where he walked about like one con- 
templating the dead, with a sad and distant air. He was a 
changed man. He would drink no whiskey, and would knock 
no man down. Finally, one night, a great blue flame rose far 
above the valley, and cast a pale, deathly light over the land. 
On the top of the blue flame appeared a great gray nag, and 
astride him sat the dread form of a red monkey, and behind 
the red monkey sat the form of a gigantic man waving a gi- 
gantic iron pestle, whereat the dread form of the red monkey 
seemed to cower. When morning arose, Strap's house was in 
ashes and cinders. 

"Evasit, abiit! Since that mysterious and perhaps fatal night, 
he has never been seen in his proper person as in the olden 
time. Yet often at night when the tempest howls and the thun- 
ders roar, his form, or shadow, or image, or whatever it be, is 
seen to stride this valley in which we ride, on his swift bob-tail 
nag. When a Buckner's Creek baby cries, whether from pure per- 
verseness or from colic, only say to him 'Strap Buckner' once, 
and he will forthwith scrooch up in his cradle, and you will hear 
no more from that baby for hours. Behold in him the titular 
divinity to whom all the cowboys lift up their emulation and 

"I perceive, sir," said I, "that thou art a true poet, and I thank 

"And I perceive, sir," said he, "that thou art a true epilogue, 
and I thank thee. This is the road which bids me depart from 
thee. Farewell !" 

He turned his horse and departed from me, as other friends 
had done before. 

By Edith C. Lane 

[To me, this legend sounds like some naive excuse invented by the Spanish 
to account for their great overthrow by the Indians of the Southwest in 
1680. Just as likely it is an Indian boast of that overthrow. An observa- 
tion recorded by the observant Josiah Gregg in 1844 seems to me luminous 

Legends of the Supernatural 131 

here. Gregg says that, according to tradition, numerous and productive 
mines were "in operation in New Mexico before the expulsion of the Span- 
iards in 1680; but that the Indians, seeing that the cupidity of the con- 
querors had been the cause of their former cruel oppressions, determined 
to conceal all the mines by filling them up, and obliterating as much as 
possible every trace of them. This was done so effectually, as is told, that 
after the second conquest (the Spaniards in the meantime not having turned 
their attention to mining pursuits for a series of years) succeeding genera- 
tions were never able to discover them again. Indeed it is now generally 
credited by the Spanish population, that the Pueblo Indians, up to the pres- 
ent day, are acquainted with the locales of a great number of these won- 
derful mines, of which they most sedulously preserve the secret. Rumor 
further asserts that the old men and sages of the Pueblos periodically lecture 
the youths on this subject, warning them against discovering the mines to 
the Spaniards, lest the cruelties of the original conquest be renewed towards 
them, and they be forced to toil and suffer in those mines as in days of yore." 
■ — Gregg, Josiah, Commerce of the Prairies, Philadelphia, 1855, Vol. I, pp 
162-163. — Editor.] 

Upon a northwestern peak of Mount Franklin, near El Paso, 
there stands out against the brilliant blue of a western sky the 
distinct outline of an Indian's head. It is plainly visible at almost 
any hour of the day and is an object of wonder and speculation 
to the majority of beholders. 

According to the legend told me many years ago by an old, old 
Indian, Cheetwah was the chief of an ancient tribe in New Mex- 
ico. He was accustomed to go into old Mexico every few years, 
and often at the point in the mountains where the Indian head 
now shows, he with his followers encountered hostile wanderers, 
whereupon followed battles short but fierce. 

Finally, after about two centuries of goings and encounters, 
Cheetwah came upon a band of another and a strange race, the 
Spaniards. With much pomposity, they commanded him and his 
people to surrender to them all their gold and silver and then to 
be gone. The order so incensed Cheetwah that, climbing to the 
top of the peak, he sent forth a great call to all the Indians in 
the spirit world to rally to his assistance and rout the haughty 
Spaniards forever from their usurped power in Mexico. 

After a battle in which the Indians seemed guided by some 
supernatural power, the Spaniards were vanquished. Then 
Cheetwah and his men vanished into the mountains, there to 
keep vigil through all the centuries that no alien should prosper 
from the mineral wealth of their land. Eventually the pale-faces 
came back, but it was further decreed by the Great Spirit that 
for all time the face of Cheetwah should remain upon the peak 

132 Legends of Texas 

whence he had issued his great call, a reminder that, though 
conquered outwardly for a time, the Indian shall yet come back 
into his own and rule the mighty country that his ancestors pos- 
sessed in freedom. Thus stands Cheetwah today, aloof and ma- 
jestic, biding his time. 

By Charles H. Heimsath 

So far as I know, the first mention of the legend of the "Blue 
Lady" is in the Memorial of Fray Alonso de Benavides, 1630. 
Benavides was (1621-1629) Father Custodian of the province of 
New Mexico, and his Memorial was written to present Philip IV 
of Spain an account of the "treasures spiritual and temporal" 
which that remote province contained. In the course of this 
highly entertaining document Benavides recounts at length, and 
with pious zeal, the miraculous conversion of the Jumano tribe 
of Indians. Benavides was at that time (probably 1629) some- 
where in the upper Rio Grande valley. In this region, he states, 
the Jumano Indians had been demanding missionaries for "years 
back." Finally he granted the missionaries. 

"And before they went," to quote the document literally, 
[we] asked the Indians to tell us the reason why they were 
with so much concern petitioning us for > baptism, and for 
Religious to go and indoctrinate them. They replied that 
a woman like that one whom we had there painted — which 
was a picture of the Mother Luisa de Carrion — used to 
preach to each one of them in their own tongue, telling them 
that they should come and summon the Fathers to instruct 
and baptize them, and that they should not be slothful about 
it. And that the woman who preached was dressed precisely 
like her who was painted there; but that the face was not 
like that one, but that she [their visitant] was young and 
beautiful. And always whenever Indians came newly from 
those nations, looking upon the picture and comparing it 
among themselves, they said that the clothing was the same 
but the face was not, because the face of the woman who 
preached to them was that of a young and beautiful girl." 1 

iBenavides, Alonso de: The Memorial of Fray Alonso de Benavides, 1630, 
translated by Mrs. Edward A. Ayer; annotated by F. W. Hodge and Charles 
F. Lummis, R. R. Donnelley and Sons, Chicago, 1916, pp. 58-59. 

Legends of the Supernatural 133 

Another early reference to this mysterious lady appears in a 
letter of Fray Damian Manzanet to Don Carlos de Siguenza y 
Gongora, 1690. In it the writer goes on to say as follows: 

"At that time I was living in the Mission Caldera, in the 
province of Coahuila, whither I had gone with the intention 
of seeing whether I could make investigations and obtain 
information about the country to the north and northeast, on 
account of facte gathered from a letter now in my possession, 
which had been given in Madrid to the Father Antonio 
Linaz. This letter treats of what the blessed Mother Maria 
de Jesus de Agreda made known to the Father Custodian of 
New Mexico, Fray Alonso de Benavides. And the blessed 
Mother tells of having been frequently to New Mexico and to 
the Gran Quivira, adding that eastward from the Gran 
Quivira are the kingdoms of the Ticlas, Theas, and Caburcol. 
She also says that these are not exactly the names belonging 
to these kingdoms, but come close to the real names. Because 
of this dnf ormation brought by me from Spain, together with 
the fact of my call to the ministry for the conversion of the 
heathen, I had come over and dwelt in the missions of 
Coahuila." 2 

And in the same letter a little further on Manzanet recounts this 

incident : 

"For lack of more time I shall only add what is the most 
noteworthy of all, namely this: While we were at the Tejas 
Hasinai village, after we had distributed clothing to the 
Indians and to the governor of the Tejas, that governor asked 
me for a piece of blue baize in which to bury his mother when 
she died; I told him that cloth would be more suitable, and 
he answered that he did not want any other color than blue. 
I then asked him what mysterious reason he had for prefer- 
ring the blue color, and in reply he said they were very fond 
of that color, particularly for burial clothes, because in times 
past they had been visited frequently by a beautiful woman, 
who used to come down from the hills, dressed in blue gar- 
ments, and that they wished to do as that woman had done. 
On my asking whether that had been long since, the governor 
said that it had been before his time, but his mother, who was 
aged, had seen that woman, as had also other old people. 
From this it is easily to be seen that they referred to the 
Madre Maria de Jesus de Agreda, who was frequently in 
those regions, as she herself acknowledged to the Father Cus- 
todian of New Mexico, her last visit being in 1631, the last 
fact being evident from her own statement, made to the 
Father Custodian of New Mexico." 3 

2 Casis, Lilia M.: "Letter of Fray Damian Manzanet to Don Carlos de 
Siguenza Relative to the Discovery of the Bay of Espiritu Santo," Texas 
State Historical Association Quarterly, II, pp. 282-283. 

3 Casis, ibid., pp. 311-312. 

134 Legends of Texas 

It appears, therefore, that after the publication of his Memorial 
in 1630, Benavides visited Maria de Jesus de Agreda. She was 
already famous because of the publication of her La Mistica de 
Dios Historia Divina de la Virgin, Madre de Dios in 1627, 4 in 
which she recounts, among other preposterous things, what hap- 
pened to the Virgin while she was in the womb. The mind of 
this woman, therefore, filled with the most extravagant fancies, 
was fertile for the story of Benavides. She immediately assumed 
the identity of the unknown female missionary ; and, in the course 
of the visit, which lasted probably two weeks, elaborated fully 
the exact method of the holy visitations. Benavides with his 
charming medieval mind readily accepted her story. Because 
of the prominence of the two, and because of the universal in- 
terest in the New World, it obtained rapid and wide circulation 
and credence. 

The story must have reached America quickly. Manzanet, in 
the above quotations, speaks of it as being in general circulation 
thirty years later. That it spread is also indicated by the fact 
that De Leon in a letter, May, 1689, accounts for the religious 
knowledge of the Texas (or Tejas) Indians through the ministra- 
tion of a woman. The following extract from his letter reveals 
the fact that he was not so well acquainted with the Benavides 
account as Manzanet had been: 

"They [the Texas] are very familiar with the fact that 
there is only one true God, that he is in Heaven, and that 
he was born of the Holy Virgin. They perform many Chris- 
tian rites, and the Indian Governor asked me for missionaries 
to instruct them, saying that many years ago a woman went 
inland to instruct them, but that she has not been there for a 
long time; and certainly it is a pity that people so rational, 
who plant crops and know there is a God, should have no one 
to teach them the Gospel, especially when the province of 
Texas is so large and so fertile and has so fine a climate." 5 

And Shea asserts that "the Franciscan writers all from this time 
[when Benavides published his account] speak of this marvelous 
conversion of the Xumanos by her instrumentality as a settled 

4 A copy at St. John's College, Fordham, New York. 

5 "Carta en que se da noticia de un viaje hecho a la bahia de Espiritu Santo, 
y de la poblacion que tenian ahi los franceses." In Buckingham Smithy 
Documentos para la historia de la Florida. 

Legends of the Supernatural 135 

fact." 6 The legend must have had wide acceptance in the South- 
west in the last half of the seventeenth century. Among the im- 
portant historians who take account of it are Bolton, Chapman, 
and Hodge. Bolton calls the story a "classic in the lore of the 
Southwest"; 7 Chapman refers to Maria Agreda as "the cele- 
brated 'Blue Lady' of the American Southwest"; 8 and Hodge as 
editor of the translation of the Benavides Memorial gives a full 
account of the story in his excellent notes. 9 

So far as I know, the identity of the Blue Lady has been ac- 
counted for by no one except Benavides. What is the real basis 
of the story? Could there actually have been a female missionary 
who labored in the wilds of New Mexico and Texas before the 
coming of the Fathers? Or was there some young priest whom 
zeal led into that romantic region ahead of the most daring, and 
whom the natives mistook for a beautiful woman because of his 
youthful face and priestly robes? I wish I could answer. 


By John R. Craddock 

A little to the right of where the old "Kenzie" Trail winds 
around the head of Presslar's Draw, on the — C Ranch in Dickens 
County, Texas, stands a lone cottonwood tree that has for many 
years been a landmark. Just below the tree, one of the most 
beautiful springs of the western country empties out, and a short 

6 Shea, John Gilmary: The Catholic Church in Colonial Days, New York, 
1886, p. 197. Vol. I of A History of the Catholic Church Within the United 
States, 4 vols. 

7 Bolton, H. E., Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVI, No. 1, July, 1912, 
pp. 8-9. 

8 Chapman, Charles E., The Founding of Spanish California, The Macmil- 
Ian Company, New York, 1916, p. 333, footnote. 

9 Hodge also recounts the legend in his "Bibliography of Fray Alonso de 
Benavides," Indian Notes and Monographs, Vol. Ill, No. 1, pp. 11-13. 

[In addition to the references given by Mr. Heimsath, the following may 
be added. The story is told in the History of San Antonio and Early Days 
in Texas, compiled by Robert Sturmberg, and published by St. Joseph's 
Society, San Antonio, 1920, Chapter IV. The legend is discussed in "Ven. 
Maria Jesus de Agreda: A Correction," by Edmond J. P. Schmitt, Texas 
State Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. I, 121-124; also in a note by 
M. M. Kenney, ibid., I, 226-227.— Editor.] 

136 Legends of Texas 

distance from the bank are the remains of a dugout — once the 
home of the first settlers in the country. By some miracle, the 
spring and the land immediately about it have escaped the ravages 
of progress and are as wild today as they were when the McKen- 
zie Trail was dusty with travel. Only now, so the people say, 
the grass grown trail near by, with its rain-washed ruts cut 
deep, and the ruins of the long ago abandoned dugout, with 
broken bits of domestic utensils still strewn about, have become 
the habitation of phantoms — the haunt and the haunted. 

Years ago, Ben and Burl squatted here 

and made what they called the Cottonwood Claim. They were 
firm friends and shared alike the joys and hardships of frontier 
life. Travelers came but seldom, and in their lonely seclusion 
the two men came to know each other and to depend on each 
other for human understanding as few brothers ever know or 
understand one another. When the cottonwood Burl had planted 
reached a height of some twelve feet, the country began to settle 
and land values to soar. Ben wanted to hold the claim, while 
Burl wished to sell out and return to the East. Their differences 
developed into a dispute that ended in a tragedy. 

The dispute came to the point that neither of the men spoke 
to the other. For weeks they lived in sullen silence, wrath and 
hatred damming up for some terrible outbreak. It came one eve- 
ning when Burl was digging out a grub with his spade. Ben 
was standing by, the ax that he had been chopping with in hand. 
Suddenly, while Burl was bent over almost to the ground, Ben 
swung the ax with a great choking cry and curse and at one 
blow cut his head off. Then he buried the body under a small 
cliff not far from the spring. 

A few months afterward Ben became crazy, driven, it is said, 
into insanity by the ghost of his dead partner, which was con- 
stantly appearing before him as natural as in life — except headless. 
Of nights as Ben sat by his fire the ghost of his partner would 
steal in and take the vacant chair. As soon as he had done with 
supper and had sat down, Ben could hear a horse coming up the 
trail ; he could hear the creaking of the saddle ; he could hear the 
whir of the spurs as the ghost came in from the darkness; and 
then seated in his old chair, it mattered not whether the room 
was lighted or in darkness, would appear the murdered squatter. 
Sometimes when Ben was riding far out on distant ranges he 
would suddenly hear the galloping of a horse, and there alongside 

Legends of the Supernatural 137 

him would be coming the same apparition, headless, always head- 

Thus hounded, Ben finally told the story of his deed to a sheriff. 
But he had already acquired the reputation for being "cracked" 
and the sheriff paid no attention to him. Then one day a rider 
found the bloated body of Ben hanging from a limb of the Cot- 
tonwood. Beyond all doubt he had killed himself. 

The folk of the country still tell this tale, and they say that 
at night the phantoms can be seen crossing the old Trail or steal- 
ing about the dugout. Some say that they have heard the cry of 
"O-O-O, Ben" come as from far away and then a cry of despair 
answer back from the cottonwood tree. 

By Bertha McKee Dobie 

[Material for this compilation, with the exception of Mr. Morris' accounts 
published in the Freeport Facts and Mrs. West's folk tales, was supplied 
through the Editor.] 

The mysterious music in the San Bernard River at Music Bend 
in Brazoria County is not so haunting as the siren strains against 
which Ulysses waxed his ears or as the luring song of the Lorelei. 
But perhaps all that it lacks is its Homer or its Heine. This Texas 
music, if less enchanting, is less deceptive. It draws no one on to 
his destruction. The legend of the San Bernard is widely known 
and, like all truly popular legends, as yet unfixed by a master's 
using, has many forms. 

The account most expressive of the folk that has come to my 
notice is that supplied by Mrs. West of Velasco. This account 
is chiefly concerned with the character of the music and with the 
apparitions that appeared to Mrs. West's mother and brother. 
According to Mrs. West, the music never plays for those who 
laugh at it or doubt it, but those who row out over Music Bend 
with an open mind may hear music sweeter than any played with 
hands. It sounds, she says, like the music of violins. Some- 
times it is preceded by a very dreadful noise, resembling the 
sounds made by a steer which, having been knocked in the head, 
falls, kicking and beating the ground and bellowing in pain. 
After the noise has passed, the violins begin to play. Mrs. West 

138 Legends of Texas 

is the only one of my authorities who mentions the dreadful noise. 
Mr. Eugene Wilson, Jr., writes in "Mysterious Music on the San 
Bernard/' The Gulf Messenger, Volume VII, December, 1894: 
"It has been likened to a number of musical instruments, by a 
few to the soft, sweet notes of the Aeolian harp." This last is 
the sound most frequently heard by Mr. J. W. Morris of Free- 
port, though he also mentions the violin, the flute, and the human 

There is equal variation, indeed contradiction, in accounts of 
the time when the music may be heard. Mrs. West, who grew 
up on the San Bernard, says that the music may be heard by day 
or by night, though not continuously or regularly even by those 
who "believe in it." This testimony is corroborated by Mr. F. D. 
Letts, an abstract of whose article, published years ago in the 
Galveston Daily News, has been supplied by Mr. E. G. Little John., 
Mr. Wilson, in the article referred to above, states that it is. 
audible at night only, and can be heard most distinctly when the 
moon is full. Miss Lorene Cook, who lived for a time at the 
mouth of the river, limits the music strictly to the time of the 
full moon, between the hours of twelve and one. Mr. Morris, in 
three separate accounts, published in the Freeport Facts, 1922, 
records impressions of the music at night, but does not expressly 
state that it cannot be heard during the day. 

One point of interest, to which several auditors testify, is the 
permeating quality of the music. Some of them, in attempting to 
describe this quality, fall back upon other senses than hearing. 
Mrs. West says that she could almost see the sound, which began 
softly, as if at an elevation, and slowly came down to the boat. 
Miss Cook reports that the sound was "so close at times that I 
felt as if I could touch it with my hands." Mr. Wilson's article con- 
tains this sentence: "On first coming within its limits, one can 
easily perceive that it proceeds from under the water, but in a 
short while it is impossible to locate it, as it gets under the seats, 
in the bow and in all parts of the boat, overhead and around ; in 
fact, it seems to pervade the atmosphere." 

I have heard of no apparitions in connection with the music 
except those seen by Mrs. West's mother and brother. However, 
as they illustrate very well the workings of folk imagination, I 
record them here. Mrs. West's mother, Mrs. Mary Ducroz, was 
one of a considerable party rowing at midnight on the river. 
Just as the boat drew over Music Bend she saw a man, with a 

Legends of the Supernatural 139 

bridle over his arm, come down to the water, turn, and go back 
into the woods. She could see only the upper part of his body. 
He seemed not to walk but to glide. He was not visible to any 
other member of the party, though Mrs. Ducroz tried very hard 
to make the others see him. She is quite certain about having 
seen him herself, as the moon was very bright. At another time 
Mrs. West's brother, then a boy of fourteen years, was riding 
horseback at night when he saw before him a man and a woman 
sitting in the middle of the road. They did not seem to see at 
all a very large ant bed just in front of them. The boy had seen 
the ant bed many times in passing along the same road. Now he 
saw the most beautiful horse he had ever seen, dappled gray, tied 
with an extremely large and knotted rope to a tree at the side 
of the road. The horse evidently belonged to the man and woman 
who were sitting in the middle of the public way. The boy urged 
his horse forward, but the horse refused to go. Then the boy 
remembered that he was just above the ghostly Music Bend, and 
turned his horse about. 

To Mrs. West I am also indebted for a relation of the effect of 
the music upon some of those who have heard it. When she was 
a child, an old gentleman boarded for a time at her father's house. 
The old gentleman used to row out over the Bend day after day on 
the chance of hearing the music, and return at night to tell his 
hosts that surely they imagined the music. They knew that they 
did not imagine the music, but thought that perhaps the old gen- 
tleman could not hear it, as it is not given to all to hear such 
ghostly music. One evening, however, he came back in terror. 
Suddenly, as his boat was over the Bend, he had begun to tremble 
as if in a chill, and his hat seemed to rise from his head. At 
once he had begun to hear the sweetest and most terrible music 
that ever he had heard. He never wished to hear it again. In 
1920 — Mrs. West is again my informant — two girls were drowned 
in the San Bernard; and when the searchers told of finding the 
bodies, they told also of hearing the most beautiful funeral music 
that ever they had heard. But it was music that they hoped never 
to hear again. 

The real legend of the music is the story of its origin. The sev- 
eral versions have only one point of identity: that a fiddler who 
played on the bank in life plays on in the waters in death; and 
in one version the fiddler played from a boat. One common story 
is that two men who froze to death beneath a tree at Music Bend 

140 Legends of Texas 

were fiddlers. As Miss Lorene Cook has heard the tale, an old 
hermit fiddler was murdered by pirates who sought refuge in the 
San Bernard River during a storm. Mr. Wilson's account ex- 
plains : "The negroes really believe it to be a ghost. They say 
that many years ago, on a dark and stormy night ... a sloop with 
two sailors aboard . . . was forced to seek shelter in the San Ber- 
nard; that one of the sailors was a fiddler, and that as soon as 
the winds began to lay, he began to fiddle for joy; that his mate, 
desiring to sleep, was so enraged that he attempted to stop him 
by force, and that in the scuffle the fiddler fell overboard and was 
drowned ; that the other sailor, while angry, threw the fiddle and 
bow into the river; and that on that very night the ghost of the 
dead sailor played so touchingly that the living mate could not 
sleep, and that every night since then it has played the same tune, 
again and again." 

In most of the stories the musician lived alone at the Bend. 
The most romantic of them is that retold by Mr. J. W. Morris in 
the Freeport Facts with certain variations. "In life the musician 
lost his fiancee a few hours before they were to have been mar- 
ried. She walked to the river to pluck a white water-lily to braid 
in her shining hair for the marriage, but as she reached for the 
flower, a snake head sprang forth and bit her on her white neck 
and she fell dead in the water." The musician then threw him- 
self, with his violin, into the river. According to another account 
of Mr. Morris' the lover moved to a small island in the stream, 
and there lived. At his death his violin and bow were buried with 
him, and still he plays strange, sweet music. 

Another version of the love legend has been contributed by Miss 
Sarah S. King of San Antonio, who heard the story from Miss Ar- 
line Rather. In it the maiden was accustomed to go to the stream 
each evening for water, and there to meet her lover. One day 
an arrow struck her olown. Her lover, approaching, called and 
played his liveliest tunes, and then found her dead in the waist- 
high ferns. As in the preceding account, the musician then 
flung his violin and himself into the river. 

The version supplied by Mr. E. G. Littlejohn has considerable 
circumstantial detail. According to this account, the young her- 
mit, son of a wealthy Eastern gentleman, had been jilted in a 
love affair, and had come to the lonely hut on the San Bernard 
in hope of forgetting his grief. This was long before Texas 
gained her independence. The young gentleman was a violinist 

Legends of the Supernatural 141 

of so much repute that the officers of a military post in Central 
Texas sent two troopers to engage his services for a ball. They 
found the violinist lying dead upon the floor, and near him an 
ax covered with congealed blood. His murderer had taken from 
the shack everything of value, even wearing apparel, except the 
violin, which hung still in its accustomed place on the wall. The 
troopers buried the body under an oak tree, and took the violin 
and private papers to the commanding officer of the fort. But 
on a spirit violin the young hermit has played for a century. 

By Bertha McKee Dobie 

[More than one early Texan was concerned with slave-running. Yoakum 1 
says that the three Bowies, Rezin, James, and John, made sixty-five thousand 
dollars in this trade. Fannin also ran slaves, operating from Cuba to Texas 
under the name of J. F. Walker. With him, as with others, the Brazos 
was a port of entry. Writing from "Velasco, Rio Brazos, Prov. Texas, Aug. 
27, 1835," he says: "My last voyage from the island of Cuba (with 152) 
succeeded admirably." 2 On May 26, 1837, it was reported from New Orleans 
to the British minister, Pakenham, that "some slaves were brought from 
Cuba and landed in Texas by the Am. Schooners Waterwich and Emperor. 
A some few Months ago a Cargo was run at the Brazos River by a Vessel 
under the Texas Colors." 3 Until a few years ago the ruins of a house near 
Velasco were pointed out as marking the habitation of a man whose business 
had been the buying and distributing of smuggled slaves. 

Charles D. Hudgins, a lawyer who grew up near the mouth of the Brazos, 
says in his book of poems called The Maid of San Jacinto: "It is said that 
shortly after Texas obtained her independence, a ship loaded with slaves 
from Africa was chased into the Brazos by a United States man of war; 
that she had a number of sick negroes on board; that the well negroes were 
landed and hurried through the woods, while the sick ones were weighed 
down with chains and thrown into the river." 4 

However, Mr. Hudgins does not connect the "mysterious music" of the 
Brazos with the slave ship, though such a connection is common in the 
vicinity. He continues: "Three miles above the mouth of the Brazos River 

1 Yoakum, History of Texas, I, 184. 

2 Lubbock, Francis Richard, Six Decades in Texas (edited by Raines), 
Austin, 1900, p. 32. 

^British Diplomatic Correspondence Concerning the Republic of Texas, 
edited by Ephraim Douglass Adams, Austin, "Crawford to Pakenham," 
p. 13. 

4 Hudgins, Charles D., The Maid of San Jacinto, New York, 1900, pp. 12- 
13, footnotes. 

142 Legends of Texas 

is what is known as the haunted Lahore. Twain causes conspire to give rise 
to the superstition among the ignorant with regard to this spot. The first 
is a grave near the bank of the stream; the second is a peculiar humming 
noise, that can be heard there on still summer nights — this noise is soft, 
like the notes of an Aeolian harp, and superstition, coupling it with the 
grave, has woven many a tale of the haunted Labore." 4 — Editor.] 

This legend is set down in the words of Mrs. A. F. Shannon of 

"This is the account I heard as a child of the music in the 
Brazos. About 1836 or 1838 Texas passed a law forbidding 
the bringing of slaves from Africa. But boats, slave runners 
they were called, used to come from Africa to Cuba and wait 
there until they thought they could slip across the Gulf. One 
of these ships with three hundred slaves nailed down into the 
hold — they brought them over like freight — put into the Brazos. 
But before it could reach the safety of the timber, it was followed 
by — I don't know exactly what it was, whether it was a revenue 
cutter or what, but anyway a government boat. This boat gained 
on the slave ship, and seeing that they were lost, the crew of the 
slave ship scuttled it, and it went down with its three hundred 
negroes in the hold, at Seaview Bend, about four miles from 

"When I was a child we could hear every evening at sunset the 
ringing of a great bell. Very plain it was. The negroes called 
it 'the death bell/ Mammy Kitty had stayed on with my grand- 
mother after the Civil War, and when I was a child was about 
eighty or ninety years old and always sat in the 'chimley corner/ 
Every day when the bell tolled at sunset I would run to Mammy 
Kitty and put my head in her lap. She would run her hands 
over my head and croon until the bell stopped. The other negroes 
whispered 'the death bell/ and stood still while it rang. They 
thought the bell was ringing for the three hundred negroes in 
the scuttled ship. And then whenever we passed over Seaview 
Bend we could hear faint music like that of a guitar played at a 
distance. Since the jetties have been built and there has been 
so much traffic on the river, the music has gone away, and I have 
seen no one who has heard it of late years. I know now that 
'the death bell' must have been the sunset bell of a big sugar 
plantation ten or twelve miles up the river. The water carried 
the sound down. But I still hear the death bell ringing in my 
ears and feel Mammy Kitty's hand passing over my head." 

Legends of the Supernatural 143 



By Bertha McKee Dobie 

This legend was told me by Mrs. A. F. Shannon of Velasco. 
San Luis Pass is the narrow entrance from the Gulf into a small 
and sheltered bay on the Texas coast. It is a wild and mournful 
spot, where sea gulls scream and breakers roar. It is especially 
wild and mournful when the wind is east, as the few settlers say. 
Then three great billows roll in successively from the Gulf, over- 
take each other on the bar, and break together with the sound of 
thunder. This breaking together of the billows is called the boor 1 
on the bar. 

A great many years ago a fisherman lived with his wife and 
young child at the Pass. One day when the wind was east and 
the boor was on the bar, he went out in his boat to fish. The wind 
blew stronger, the billows rose higher, and a great tide came in, 
flooding the salt marshes that border the Pass. The fisherman 
did not return. A few days later other fishermen found the 
young wife, quite demented, wandering in the salt marshes and 
calling, "Come back! Come back!" Since that time, when the 
wind is east and the boor is on the bar, the white form of the 
woman flits over the marshes and cries, "Come back! Come 
back!" in warning to fishermen whose boats are on the water. 

It is probable that the white wings and the hoarse cries of 
the giant gulls that come in to the marshes only when there 
is a high east wind and the lives of fishermen are threatened 
have given rise to this legend of the salt marshes. Such an 
explanation, at least, was suggested to Mrs. Shannon by Mr. Lon 


By John P. Sjolander 

Years ago, when I used to run vessels on Galveston Bay and 
along the coast, I gathered up some stories told by old boatmen 

1 An old corruption of bore. — Editor. 

144 Legends of Texas 

on nights when we lay wind-bound. Later I put them into 
rhyme and I may have tried to ornament them with some phrases 
of my own. Some of the "Rhymes" were published in the Galves- 
ton News, 1910, and later came out in the Texas Magazine 


(Note: In the early 70's the hull of a boat, all overgrown with vines and 
briers, was found at a place then known as Hungry Cove, on San Jacinto 
Bay. The story of it was told me by an old boatman who had been a settler 
of that section of the country for many years.) 

Like the moan of a ghost that is doomed to rove, 
Is the voice of the wind in Hungry Cove. 

And the brier bites with a sharper thorn 
Than the fang of hate, or the tooth of scorn. 

And the twining vines are as cunningly set 
As ever a poacher placed snare or net. 

And the waves are hushed, and they move as slow 
As fugitives making headway, tiptoe. 

For Nature remembers, as well as Man, 
The time and the place, and the Mary Ann. 

The time, man-measured, was long ago, 
Some seventy fleeting years, or so. 

The place, where the sea was with light agleam, 
And the shore shone white as a maiden's dream. 

And the Mary Ann — how a prayer prevailed! — 
Was the name of the boat that never sailed. 

For the men who built it, a blackguard twain, 
Had taken a maiden's pure name in vain. 

And she prayed that for taunts, and for many mocks, 
The boat would not move from its building blocks. 

But the builders laughed at the maiden's prayer, 
And spit on her name they had painted there. 

And they swore, in defiance of God and man, 

They would launch the boat they had named Mary Ann. 

But when they stood ready at stern and stem, 
The boat fell down on the heads of them. 

And no one came to where crushed they lay, 
And no one will come until judgment day. 

For their guards are briers with thorns that bite 
With a pain as keen as the sting of spite. 

And their only dirge is the song of the loon, 
When the sea is black, in the dark of the moon. 

Legends of the Supernatural 145 


(Note: Boatmen, at night, staring into the fog and haze in search of 
certain marks and objects, often think to see them, only to have them dis- 
appear again when they blink their eyes. These visual illusions are called 
Padre's Beacons. An old boatman, many years ago, told how the name 
originated, and his story is here set down in rhyme.) 

With eager eyes an Indian peered 

Into the darkness of the night, 
And his canoe he swiftly sheered 

From right to left, from left to right; 
For lost within the blinding fog, 

He saw the mad waves roll and toss, 
And found both snag and sunken log 

But not the Padre's beacon cross. 

He dipped his paddle in the sea, 

And found its depth now less, now more; 
And where he thought the Pass would be 

He only found a weedstrewn shore. 
He questioned of the hidden star, 

And counseled with the waning moon, 
But found no answer, near or far, 

Only the lone cry of the loon. 

And he had steered by wave and wind 

To where the beacon cross should be, 
That marked the place where all might find 

The way into the Trinity. 
For there, 'mong cypress trees grown gray, 

The padre's little hut showed white, 
Beneath a shining cross by day, 

And in a taper's gleam by night. 

But vandal hands had cut adrift 

The padre's beacon in the night, 
And without prayer, and without shrift, 

A sea wrecked soul at dawn took flight. 
And now who sails the bay at night, 

And scans the dark with eager eyes, 
Out of the sea, grown gray with light, 

Can see a beacon cross arise. 

For since that night long, long ago, 

When clouds hang wide and fogs lie deep, 
For him that laid that beacon low 

There is no rest in death, or sleep; 
All night he lifts it from the sea, 

All night he strives, and strives in vain; 
He stands it up, but when set free 

It sinks into the sea again. 

*Cf. Southey's "The Inchcape Rock."— Editor. 

146 Legends of Texas 


(Baffle Point is on the north side of Bolivar peninsula, in what is known 
as East Bay. Many small sail-boats have been dismasted and upset in the 
vicinity of this point.) 

A boatman loved a maiden, long ago, 

And good and fair Was she; 
A maiden loved a boatman, even so, 

And strong and true was he; 
And one dark night the lovers sailed away 
To where the good priest dwelt, across the bay. 

A father's heart grew fierce with raging hate, 

And cruel as could be; 
But he would plan and work, and work and wait — 

A cunning man was he; 
He swore that boatmen all, excepting none, 
Should penance pay for the sin of one. 

He planned and worked, and then he worked and planned, 

Not idle night or day; 
Sentinel sandhills raised he on the strand 

In some mysterious way; 
On sloping hills he planted phantom trees 
That changed their shapes with every changing breeze. 

Now when the south wind, singing, came inshore, 

As gentle as could be, 
For it he opened wide a cavern door 

That none but him could see; 
And then the trees would groan, and cringe, and sway, 
Casting long shadows over shore and bay. 

When the work was done as he had planned, 

He laughed and danced in glee; 
Then as the waters of the bay he scanned, 

A boat his eyes did see; 
And then the south wind in the cavern pent 
Over the hills down to the sea he sent. 

When he saw the wind in madness reel, 

And strike the little boat, 
And how down went the mast and up the keel, 

A glad cry left his throat. 
The waters grew quiet and dull as a sea of lead; 
A man and woman at his feet lay dead. 

By them, some boatmen found him, long ago, 

As dead as he could be; 
Deep, deep, they dug two graves, and all arow 

At night they buried three. 
Since then the winds are ever out of joint, 
And play strange tricks and pranks at Baffle Point. 

Legends of the Supernatural 147 


(Note: All that is left of Point Sesenta — presumably so called from the 
sixty (sesenta) trees — is a reef known as Fisher's Reef, on the north shore 
of Trinity Bay. The story of the Point was told to me by Captain James 
Armstrong, just as it had been told to him by an old Indian chief whose 
tribe used to visit the bay shore many, many years before the Republic.) 

The mocking birds sang in the sixty trees, 

And Inez walked in their shadow; 
The soft winds came laughing from southern seas, 

And the bay seemed a green-waved meadow; 
But a wealth of song, and of wind and water, 
Requites not the love of an Indio's daughter. 

Don Miguel's pastures lay far and wide, 

His herds by peons were tended, 
But all he possessed was as naught beside 

Fair Inez so young and splendid. 
Still his heart was sore, for the winds kept saying: 
"The trees sesenta are graying, graying." 

Inez the fair walked 'neath the moss-grown trees, 

By the side of her gray-grown lover; 
And oft times she dreamed that o'er many seas 

He had come like a brave young rover; 
But when for sight of him her dark eyes gleamed 
They met dim eyes in a face deep seamed. 

Then out of the north came a viking ship, 

With a viking young and brawny; 
A snare for love was his tender grip, 

And a net were his locks so tawny. 
Wherever man goes over hill and hollow, 
There a woman loving him dares to follow. 

Ah, that is the tale told in every zone, 

A story told over and over. 
Don Miguel one morning found Inez flown, 

And the ship, and the bold young rover. 
And the winds were hushed, and the trees unshaken, 
And the birds had fled, their nests forsaken. 

The boatmen passing beheld the trees, 

Saw how they all were dying; 
The winds grew fierce and angered the seas, 

And the flurrying sands went flying, 
Until Point Sesenta was quite departed, 
And left but a name and a place uncharted. 

148 Legends of Texas 


(Note: Gumman Gro is phonetic Swedish for "The Woman Gray." 
Skell, master of Sweet Cecilia, was a Swede; he and his boat disappeared 
from Galveston Bay one night and were never heard of again.) 

They said that Gumman Gro had a great store 

Of private treasure hid in Lone Tree Cove; 
That she with cunning eyes watched sea and shore, 

And that a curse was upon all who strove, 
Always in vain, to cross the line afar 
That she had marked outside of shoal and bar. 

And it was said that many who had rushed 

Upon the Cove with favoring wind and tide, 
Had come away with heart and spirit crushed, 

Bereft of courage and of manly pride, 
To live their lives perpetual exiles, 
Beyond the reach of cheering songs and smiles. 

And so the boatmen, sailing up and down, 

From Lone Tree Cove would sheer their boats away; 

For on the shore a small hut loomed up brown, 
And in the doorway stood a woman gray; 

Whence she had come, or when, none seemed to know, 

But Skell, the boatman, named her Gumman Gro. 

And Skell would laugh the hearty laugh that springs 
Straight from the hearts of men when young and strong, 

While with a merry jest at men and things 

He sailed his course, and hummed a seaman's song; 

Oft in passing Lone Tree Cove he'd sheer 

His boat more close, and shout a word of cheer. 

Then one dark night a storm swept o'er the bay, 

And the mosquito fleet was scattered wide; 
And many men and boats until this day 

Have not returned to watch for wind and tide; 
And 'mong the missing ones that all loved well, 
Was Sweet Cecilia, and her master, Skell. 

Often on nights when winds and tides are fair, 

On nights of calm, when God's stars search the deep, 

Sounds from afar, like multitudes in prayer, 
Across the waters to lone boatmen creep, 

And then they see the dead sail to and fro, 

But none knows whence they come, or where they go. 

After the storm, when winds came from the west 

On nights like these, Skell's ghost from Lone Tree Cove 

Set sail, so seamen saw; then on Skell pressed 

To shun the shoals; straight out for the deep he drove, 

But just so far he came, and then he stopped, 

As if an anchor sternward had been dropped. 

Legends of the Supernatural 149 

Then from the shore a cry, half laugh, half pain, 
Mocking and pleading, rose, and dipped, and fell, 

Stirring the waters like a shower of rain, 
While Sweet Cecilia, and her master, Skell, 

A moment wavered like a light wind blown, 

Then flashed across the darkness and were gone. 

Thus every night, when out of sunset land 

The warm winds came and drowsed upon the bay, 

Skell and his Sweet Cecilia left the strand, 
And sailed and sailed as if to sail away; 

And every night that cry, half laugh, half pain, 

Would pleading come and call him back again. 

This is the tale that old-time boatmen told, 

One to the other, long, long years ago; 
But not the greediest for shining gold 

Would risk the fearful curse of Gumman Gro— 
He'd hope, at last, whatever else befell, 
Death would not land him where it landed Skell. 



Legends of lovers are almost as numerous as those of treasure ; 
in Texas, at least, the lovers are generally hapless and are nearly 
always associated with precipitous cliffs. Indeed, legends of 
lovers' leaps principally make up this group. Some well known 
legends, such as those about the Lovers' Leap at Waco and about 
the Lovers' Leap at Denison, have been omitted. Reference to 
them is made in the bibliography near the end of this volume. 
On the other hand, various versions of certain other legends of 
lovers' leaps are given in detail that the manner of legend growth 
may be fully illustrated. The lovers' leap legend was popular 
in the time of Sappho (see Spectator paper Number 33, by Ad- 
dison), and probably had vogue for as many years before her 
time as have passed since. A feature to be remarked about the 
lovers' leap legends of Texas is that seemingly all of them pur- 
port to be of Indian derivation. The state is yet so young that 
to go back to anything like remoteness one must go to the time 
of the Indian — and all legend runs to remoteness. One need not 
be learned in Indian lore, however, to know that in many instances 
the basic customs of Indian marriage are violated in these legends ; 
the attributing of his own customs of love-making and marriage 
by the white man to the Indian is indeed naive. 1 As a class, 
I should say that of all our Texas legends these of lovers are least 
indigenous and least varied. — J. F. D. 


By Julia Estill 

[The fame of the Enchanted Rock in Llano County, as Miss Estill has 
pointed out, goes back a long time. There are various references to it in 
Texasana, as the bibliography will show; but it is noteworthy that none 
of the early accounts of the Enchanted Rock even so much as refer to the 
legend of the lovers, the details of which are very similar to those in the 
most popular version of the legend of Mount Bonnell. However, in more 

x An adequate treatment, in a brief space, of the marriage customs of the 
Plains Indians is to be found in Chapter II of North American Indians of 
the Plains, by Clark Wissler, published by the American Musuem of Nat- 
ural History. The volume includes a good bibliography of works on Indian 

154 Legends of Texas 

recent years the lover legend seems to have had a wide vogue. It has 
appeared in print various times, once in the form of a German novel, Die 
Tochter Tehuans, printed at Fredericksburg, and my correspondence files 
indicate an extensive popularity of the legend. The Indians no doubt had an 
awe for the mountain that they expressed in narrative detail; the early 
Texans heard these accounts; then the descendants of those early Texans 
invented a story in which the Spaniard played a part to fit the legendary 
atmosphere of the mountain. Thus should I account for the genesis of the 
legend that is now told. 

Writing from "Colorado River, Texas," October 31, 1834, W. B. Dewees 
tells of what must be the Enchanted Rock of the Llano. He says : "A short 
time since, a few of our young men started to go up to the headwaters of 
the Colorado and Brazos rivers to examine a large rock of metal which has 
for many years been considered a wonder. It is supposed to be platinum. 
The Indians have held it sacred for centuries, and go there once a year to 
worship it. They will not permit any white person to approach it. It is 
almost impossible to make any impression on it with chisel and hammers. 
When struck it gives forth a ringing sound which can be heard miles around. 
The party were successful in finding the rock, but were unable to break off 
any specimens to bring home." Dewees, W. B., Letters from an Early Settler 
of Texas, Louisville, Kentucky, 1852, p. 152. (Mr. E. G. Little John con- 
tributes this reference.) 

Doctor Alex. Dienst of Temple, Texas, sends in an item copied from the 
New York Mirror of October 20, 1838, in which a traveler, lately returned to 
New York from a prospecting tour in the San Saba country, tells of having 
found an "Enchanted" or "Holy Mountain" on the upper waters of the Sandy 
— beyond all doubt the Enchanted Rock of other accounts. The traveler 
reports that "the Comanches regard this hill with religious veneration, and 
that Indian pilgrims frequently assemble from the remotest borders of the 
the region to perform the Paynim rites upon its summit." 

Samuel C. Reid, Jr., in a book published in 1848, The Scouting Expeditions 
of McCulloch's Texas Rangers, pages 111-112, says, in connection with a 
scouting trip that Captain Jack Hays had made into the then unsettled 
vicinity of the Enchanted Rock: 

"We are unable to give to the reader the traditionary cause why 
this place was so named, but nevertheless, the Indians had a great awe, 
amounting almost to reverence, for it, and would tell many legendary 
tales connected with it and the fate of a few brave warriors, the last of a 
tribe now extinct, who defended themselves there for many years as in 
a strong castle, against the attacks of their hostile brethren. But they 
were finally overcome and totally annihilated, and ever since, the 
'Enchanted Rock' has been looked upon as the exclusive property of 
these phantom warriors. This is one of the many tales which the 
Indians tell concerning it." 

Reid goes on to tell that at one time Hays saved himself from such a tight 
place in a fight with the Indians near the Enchanted Rock that they became 
more convinced than ever that "Devil Jack" bore a charmed life. — Editor.] 

In the southwestern part of Llano County, very near the Gil- 
lespie County line, lies a huge mound of solid granite covering 
640 acres and known far and wide as the Enchanted Rock. At 

Legends of Lovers 155 

night spirit fires dance on the summit, and by day millions of 
isinglass stars glint in the sunlight. During an early morning 
shower in the hills, when the sun shines out from under the pass- 
ing cloud, the streams of water coursing down the sides of the 
massive boulder resemble sheets of molten silver. Then above 
the gigantic dome there forms a rainbow-path which will lead the 
seeker directly to a mine of gold, so the old legend goes. In 
fact, the sands of the sluggish stream winding lazily around the 
base of the rock testify of gold in the vicinity. And the oldest 
pioneer in the neighborhood will tell you that there is a lost mine 
somewhere near the rock, the shaft having been sunk by Spaniards 
in the eighteenth century. 

The Indian legends woven about the enchanted mound are, 
however, far more interesting to the folk-lorist than is the story 
of a fabulous mine. My great-grandfather, Thomas A. Likens, 
who was first lieutenant of Captain Highsmith's Company of 
Texas Rangers when, in 1847, they camped near the Enchanted 
Rock, told my grandfather, William H. Estill, of the remarkable 
veneration the Comanches had for the Rock, and of the awesome 
fear they manifested when at night the spirit fires danced aloft 
on it. The daring ranger always knew that if he could induce 
his sure-footed pony to climb the Rock, horse and rider would 
be safe from the pursuing savage, for the Comanche would not 
follow, nor would he direct an arrow toward the white man who 
sought the protection of the Spirit of the Rock. 

At the foot of the enormous boulder the Indians offered sac- 
rifices — sometimes a beautiful captive snatched from the white 
man's clearing at the edge of the woods. Then, for months, 
perhaps, the Spirit of the Rock would smile on the savage tribe, 
and success would attend their raids down the river valleys to 
the south. 

On one such expedition, according to the story told by Father 
Hormann, 1 a priest at one of the missions near San Antonio, the 
marauders ventured farther than usual and were within attack- 
ing distance of Mission San Jose, near San Antonio, when Jose 
Navarro, commander of the mission, learned of their designs. 
Forthwith, preparations for the defense of the mission were 
begun, Don Hesu Navarro, a recent arrival from Spain and a bold 
soldier of fortune, aiding enthusiastically in strengthening the 

1 Author of Die Tochter Tekuans. — Editor. 

156 Legends of Texas 

Now, within the mission lived the Indian chief Tehuan and his 
beautiful daughter, christened Rosa by the good fathers of the 
mission. The dashing young Spaniard fell desperately in love 
with the pretty dark-skinned maid, and succeeded in winning her 
love in return. Soon, though, came a desperate separation. In 
the attack by the Comanches that had been expected, Don Hesu 
fell by an Indian tomahawk and pretty Rosa was carried away 
by the alien savages. Fortunately, however, the young Spaniard 
had received merely a stunning blow, and, after a time, revived 
and dragged himself back within the mission walls, only to find 
his beloved gone. From an Indian boy, the distracted lover learned 
that Rosa was being taken away to the Enchanted Rock to be 
offered as a sacrifice to the Spirit of the Rock. 

Realizing the futility of a single-handed combat with the fleeing 
Indians, Don Hesu hastened to Goliad for aid, and, together with 
a daring band of Spaniards and Texas colonists, started in pur- 
suit of the Comanches. Upon discovering the camping place of 
the savages, the impetuous Spaniard proposed an immediate at- 
tack; but the remainder of the party, who were better versed in 
Indian ways and beliefs, persuaded Don Hesu that a better way 
would be to play upon the superstitious beliefs of the savages. 
Accordingly, the party secretly harassed the Indians by stam- 
peding their horses and assaulting their guards in the dark. And 
the red men, believing that the spirits were incensed by the recent 
attack upon the mission, mounted their mustangs, and, with the 
captive maid safe in their midst, galloped away to the hills, where 
they intended to offer to the Spirit of the Enchanted Rock the fair 
prize they had won at San Jose. 

The pursuers followed as best they might. However, when 
they reached the gulch between the Enchanted Rock and a neigh- 
boring peak, they saw, to their horror, that the beautiful captive 
was already bound to the stake, the faggots piled high around her. 
The rescue party was divided into two sections, one section skirt- 
ing the peak so as to surprise the Indians encamped on the north 
while Don Hesu and a few chosen men rushed upon the guards 
who stood in the gulch. Frenzied by the sight of his beloved 
at the stake ready to be offered as a sacrifice, Don Hesu, fighting 
like a demon, succeeded in freeing the captive maid and escaping 
with her beyond the reach of the savages. Thus was the Spirit 
of the Enchanted Rock once, at least, deprived of the joy of a 
human sacrifice. 

Legends of Lovers 157 


By L. W. Payne, Jr. 

This legend of old Fort Stockton was written for me in short- 
story form in 1911 by Miss Josephine Brown, on whose father's 
ranch in Brewster County are the ruins of the old fort. The 
legend is frequently related by ranch people as well as by Mexi- 
cans in West Texas. 

Fran ces ca ! Fran ces ca ! 

I straightened up, listening. The low wailing sound that seemed 
to pronounce a name came again. 

"Juan, what makes that noise?" Juan did not answer, and I 
turned in the seat to look at him. He was terrified. His eyes 
were stretched wide open, and he gasped out something about 
praying to the Virgin. 

"What's the matter, Juan? Tell me!" 

"Oh, senor y that noise! The Virgin protect us!" he exclaimed. 
He began whipping the horses. 

"Juan, stop ! The road is rough. Be careful. There, give me 
the reins." 

He began saying his prayers, and I could occasionally distin- 
guish the word "espiritus" 

I was very curious to know why he was so excited, but I 
thought I would wait until he calmed down a little before I asked 
him. Finally he became more calm, and I handed him the reins. 

It was a cold, rainy night in the late fall. The big, piled-up 
mountains, at one side of the road, were barely visible through 
the rain. The creek, which ran on the other side, made a sub- 
dued, rustling sound. I could scarcely distinguish the road, and 
knew when we went up or down a hill only by the movement 
of the vehicle. We ran over a rock in the road, and the jolt 
seemed to loosen Juan's tongue. 

"You saw those big piles of rocks back there, senor? They are 
all that's left of old Fort Stockton. Long time ago, in Indian 
times, there were a lot of soldiers here, and they lived in those 
houses. I've heard the padre tell tales of them. That one with 
the walls still standing is what was the church, and that's where 
Ferenor" — here he interrupted himself to say some prayers. 

"Well, Juan?" I said encouragingly. 

158 Legends of Texas 

"That's where Ferenor calls for his sweetheart," he said. 

"Why?" I asked, as he seemed loath to continue. 

"Get up, Maria! Steady there, Pierto. You see, sefior, she 
was the most beautiful girl in all the country. Many young men 
wanted to marry her, but she loved Ferenor, the padre's nephew, 
who was almost a padre himself, for he had taken some of the 
vows. His uncle preached to the soldiers and lived there behind 
the church. There were lots of Indians in those times, and one 
of the chiefs wanted Francesca for his wife. All this time 
Francesca was in love with Ferenor, but she couldn't marry him 
on account of his vows. 

"But one day Ferenor got desperate and swore he would marry 
Francesca anyway. That night, about this time of the year — 
and a night like this, only worse — they went to the padre to be 
married. Of course, he would not marry them, for it is unlaw- 
ful for a young priest to marry. They begged and implored, but 
the padre refused to comply with their wishes. Finally the 
padre became very angry, and opening the door, he commanded 
them to go. Somehow, in the storm, they missed the trail to 
Francesca's house, and after wandering around a while, they 
realized that they were lost. On and on they wandered, until 
Francesca was ready to drop with fatigue. 

"Suddenly Ferenor exclaimed, 'A light, Francesca!' There 
was a light in the distance. They started toward it but Fran- 
cesca dropped to the ground exhausted. 

" 'I can't go, Ferenor,' she sobbed. 

" 'I'm too tired to carry you that far, Francesca. You stay 
here, and I'll come back for you when I get help.' 

"He started out toward the light, but walking brought him no 
nearer to it. It seemed to move and lead him astray. He was 
very cold and sleepy. And where was Francesca? He knew; 
right over there she was waiting. He started to the place where 
he thought he had left her. Suddenly he slipped and fell, hitting 
his head on a stone. It was several hours later, just about dawn, 
that he regained consciousness. 

" 'Francesca ! Francesca !' he cried, starting up. Vainly he 
searched. She was gone. Neither of the lovers was ever seen 
after that. Several months later a rumor was heard that just 
such a girl as Francesca was in the camp of Red Blanket. And 
Ferenor? On such a night as this, at this time of the year, he 
wanders around the old Fort, searching for his sweetheart, and 

Legends of Lovers 159 

always calling her name, 'Francesca, Francesca.' And senor, 
when a lover hears it, it means there is danger to him or his 
betrothed. Santa Madre preserve us !" Here Juan began saying 
his prayers again. 

"What is that light, Juan?" I asked a few minutes later. 

"That's the headquarters of the H-Triangle, senor, he said. 

A good fire and jolly company did not altogether dispel the 
memory of the weird tale that Juan told me when we heard those 
strange sounds made by the wind in the ruins of the old Fort. 



By J. S. Spratt 

Lover's Retreat, or Lovers' Retreat, as some would have it, 
is in Palo Pinto County, four miles west of the town of Palo 
Pinto. I got the first version, in which Lover makes his escape, 
from my father, Dr. J. T. Spratt. He heard it from a man named 
W. H. Walker, who related it in an address delivered while 
he was state secretary of the I. 0. 0. F. Walker said that the 
escape was made in the neighborhood of 1870 and that he was 
lying out on the prairie near by on the night that Lover eluded 
the Indians. 

The other version I remember from a paper read in an English 
class in the Palo Pinto High School. I do not remember who 
wrote it, but I remember that we had a discussion over the place 
at the time, and that when I gave my version as to how Lover's 
Retreat had got its name, none of the class had ever heard it, 
though most of them had heard the tale of the Indian lovers. 


Lover's Retreat 

By 1870 the Indians had for the most part abandoned all that 
part of Texas east of the Colorado River. However, a few 
scattered bands still, on occasions, roamed over the territory 

160 Legends of Texas 

east of the river, plundering lonely settlements and, when an 
opportunity presented itself, killing the pioneers. There is a 
story connected with one of these Indian raids into what is now 
Palo Pinto County. 

Some four miles west of the town of Palo Pinto is a rough 
and beautiful ground covered with immense boulders. The enor- 
mous rocks have been left in an arrangement that reminds one 
of the streets of a badly surveyed old town. Vegetation of all 
colors and sizes grows on top of the old rocks and hangs down 
over the edges. Occasionally a tree rooted in some deep crevice 
reaches up thirty or forty feet, brushing the tops of the rocks. 
One has but to start climbing over the roots and gulches and 
through the breaks to think of what a good place it is to hide 
in. More than one man has found it to be such a place. 

In the early seventies a man by the name of Lover was camped 
on a prairie near the place, loose herding a bunch of cattle. He 
had taken the bridle off his horse and was letting him graze out 
a short distance with the saddle on, when along late in the after- 
noon he was suddenly aware that the horse had stopped chewing 
and was watching something. Lover looked in the direction to- 
wards which the horse was pointing his ears. Just beyond the 
rigid animal, he saw a band of Indians coming at a long gallop 
through the soft grass. They were so close and were so increas- 
ing their speed that he did not have time to catch his horse. 
There was but one thing for him to do. He made for the rocks. 

Running with the superhuman speed of deathly fright, he man- 
aged to reach them a little ahead of the Indians ; but the Indians 
were so near that they would be upon him before he could climb 
down the side of the boulder that he had run up on from the 
sloping side. If he jumped, he was likely to kill or cripple him- 
self. For the fraction of a second he wavered. Then he saw a 
tree below him. He leaped, caught a branch, and slid and swung 
to the ground. When less than two minutes later the warriors 
peered over the edge of the cliff, he was not to be seen. 

In the little time that remained till night, Lover managed to 
dodge them. Then for hours he knew that they were watching 
for him to move. But when morning came, probably thinking 
that he had somehow slipped out past them, the Indians left, and 
Lover was safe. Since that time the place has been known as 
Lover's Retreat. 

The old tree that Lover is said to have slid down still stands, 

Legends of Lovers 161 

although it has been dead for several years and has fallen over 
against the bluff from which Lover made his desperate leap. 


Lovers' Retreat 

Many years ago, in the northern part of Texas, lived a small 
band of Indians among whom were a young brave and a young 
maiden lost in love. For the sake of convenience, we shall call 
the young brave Running Elk and the maiden Laughing Water. 
She was the daughter of old Chief White Eagle, but in the veins 
of the warrior lover there was no royal blood, and the father 
refused to allow the marriage that both of the lovers so greatly 

The refusal was not, however, based primarily on the difference 
in rank. Running Elk was an ideal young brave. He was the 
best hunter in the band; no other could run so swiftly, ride so 
skilfully, or shoot an arrow so truly as he. His bravery had been 
tried more than one time. In a battle he had once, single handed, 
fought and killed six of the enemy. Many a chieftain would have 
been proud to claim such a warrior for son-in-law. Indeed, 
Chief White Eagle was pleased with the suitor, but his tribe was 
a weak tribe and he wanted his daughter to marry into a strong 
tribe. Such an alliance he regarded as necessary against power- 
ful enemies. 

After many pleadings with the old chief and as many refusals, 
the lovers saw that there were but two courses left to them. 
They could give up all hope of marriage and let the negotiations 
that were already under way for the marriage of Laughing Water 
into a powerful tribe proceed; or they could run away and seek 
united refuge in a strange tribe. They chose the latter course. 

It was dark midnight when Laughing Water met Running Elk 
at the outskirts of the Indian village. He had two ponies ready, 
and the lovers were on their way immediately. They rode during 
the remainder of the night and almost all the following day. 
Late in the afternoon they saw a cloud of moving dust rising 
perhaps an hour's ride behind them. The pursuers were gaining 
ground rapidly. 

The runaways were now in the edge of a strange, mountainous 
country. Their horses were tired and farther journey on them 

162 Legends of Texas 

meant capture, the torture. Running Elk called a halt, and when 
the girl had dismounted, he tied a thorny stick to the tail of each 
horse, gave the horses a slash with the thong of buffalo hide that 
he used for a bridle, and saw them disappear down a draw. Then 
he and the maiden set out on foot, selecting rocks and hard gravel 
for a path. Their tribesmen would be baffled by the trail for a 
little time at least. 

After the couple had traveled in this way for what seemed to 
them a long while, they reached the top of a mountain covered 
with cedar, walnut, and scrub oak. All at once they came upon 
a wide crevice. They turned their direction and were as sud- 
denly confronted by another crevice, narrow and forty or fifty 
feet deep. This they descended, taking care not to loosen rocks 
or earth. 

The two Indians were surprised to find that this break led to a 
network of such passages, the widths of which varied from a foot 
to twenty or thirty feet. The walls were of solid rock and rose 
to a height of from forty to sixty feet. On the tops of these rocks 
had formed a soil that sustained a variety of vegetation. A 
greenish moss covered the sides of the rocks and against them 
clung straggling vines ; from the tops and from niches along the 
sides, prickly pears hung; here and there a tree grew up out of 
the bottom of the fissures and swept its branches over the tops 
of the cliffs. A cold spring trickled from the bottom of one of 
the rock walls. 

The lovers knew that there must be a cave somewhere amid 
such surroundings. They began to search for it, and had searched 
only a little while when they came to a small mountain lake. It 
was at a kind of gateway between mountain and plateau, and on 
the mountain side was the cave. It opened into the lake, its floor 
well above the level of the water, and extended back into the 
enormous boulder. 

Running Elk swam to the mouth of the cave and climbed in, 
and with his senses as alert as those of the panther explored the 
darkness. He found that the recess ran back some twenty feet 
and that it was clear of harm. He swam back to the shore, got 
his beloved, and returned to the cave. The two had not been 
hidden ten minutes when they heard their tribesmen making 
camp by the water. Presently a few of the young bucks went 
into the lake for a swim. One of them discovered the mouth of 

Legends of Lovers 163 

the cave and called to his companions. They all came to him and 
began to talk of exploring the place. 

Huddled close to each other in the remotest part of the cave, 
the lovers waited. Though they were themselves in pitchy dark- 
ness, they could see the world outside; however, dusk was ap- 
proaching. Then they saw one of the bucks raise his body into 
the edge of the cave. He paused, fixed himself, and reached down 
to give a hand to a companion. Just then the lovers heard a wild 
shouting. They recognized the voice of their Medicine Man. He 
was screaming to the braves to come away from the cave, and 
telling them that all caves with their openings in or just above 
water were inhabited by evil spirits. The braves left the cave 
with frenzied strokes and soon the silence told that all the Indians 
had deserted the region of the lake. Again the lovers breathed 

But they would not leave their refuge until they were sure 
of safety. All that night, all the next day, and all the next 
night, they remained in hiding. Then they left in search of a 
friendly tribe to take up with, and the story generally goes that 
they found hospitality and security. 

The white man has changed the looks about the picturesque 
region where the couple wandered and hid ; but the cave and lake 
where they evaded their pursuers bears in memory of them the 
name of Lovers' Retreat. 

By Flora Eckert 

[This legend, like others of its kind, is on all sides asserted to have come 
down from the earliest pioneers. When, less than a century ago, settlers 
first moved into any part of Texas where there is a cliff, what was 
their initial act: to get a meal, to start out hunting for buried treasure, 
or to christen the cliff with a tale of lovers? At any rate, thirty years 
ago, in 1894, Mary J. Jaques, an English lady who had resided for a time 
on a ranch in the Llano country, saw in London the fresh pages of her book, 
Texan Ranch Life; and in that book on page 255 is a version of the legend 
of Lover's Leap in Kimble County: 

"The lover of Leona, a beautiful Indian girl, having been sent on a 
distant raid, she promised to light a beacon fire on the cliff each 
night of his absence. But alas! weeks grew to months, but he didn't 
return, and the old chief, her father, ordered her to marry 'another.' 

164 Legends of Texas 

In despair one night Leona threw herself down the precipice, ever after 
known as 'Lover's Leap/ The gorge below is still haunted by her 
restless spirit." 

Slightly different in detail is a version that was given to me in the 
summer of 1923 by Miss Grenade Farmer of Junction City, in Kimble 
County, a form of the legend from the same source having been written 
out by Miss Velma Crank. Miss Farmer's father was a pioneer settler 
on the upper Llano and he has often told this legend to her, Miss Farmer 

About seventy years ago there was an Indian village at the base of the 
bluff now called Lover's Leap. The chief had a brave and handsome son; 
he fell in love with a maiden of his tribe "who was beautiful and good but 
who was not his equal in rank or fortune." The father forbade the mar- 
riage desired by the lovers. In the obedient way of Indian youth, the son 
obeyed his father, but he continued to meet his love in secret, always under 
the bluff. In some way the unchanging nature of that great pile of rocks 
seemed to have an influence on the souls of the lovers. They, like it, would 
be unchanging in their devotion. So, when one day the youth received an 
order from his father that he must marry in order to perpetuate the noble 
line, he resolved with his sweetheart to preserve their fidelity by death. 

They climbed the cliff and cast themselves into the gorge below. A few 
days later their bodies were found and were buried on top of the bluff. 
— Editor.] 

The cliff called "Lover's Leap" by the inhabitants of the Llano 
Valley stands today a rock-bound sentinel and watchtower, even 
as it stood during the legendary times of Texas. At its foot flows 
the cool, sparkling mountain stream that joins the Llano only a 
short distance beyond. Its sheer face forms a perpendicular wall 
that is one of the least accessible in a land of inaccessible cliffs. 

Legends concerning the days of the Indians cluster about this 
sentinel rock. They are still told by pioneers to their children 
and are often related to the summer tourists of Junction, the little 
town that lies almost within the shadow of Lover's Leap. Per- 
haps the most beautiful and plausible of these legends is the one 
that tells of the Indian maid, Winona, and her lover, Mewanee, 
both of the Comanche tribe. 

In those days there was an Indian encampment at the foot of 
this cliff. No other situation for miles about was so well adapted 
to the needs of the tribe. Fish teemed in the clear stream ; deer 
and other game roamed in the woods; the climate was mild at 
nearly all times of the year, and in winter the camp was protected 
from the fierce norther by the sheer wall behind it. It was mainly 
because of this shelter that the place had been chosen by the 
scouts of the party ; but they had also another reason. This par- 
ticular cliff reared its head higher than any of its sister cliffs 












Legends of Lovers 165 

along the river and therefore afforded a more distinct view of the 
surrounding country. In fact, it was the veritable sentinel of the 
valley. And such a watchtower was then a prime necessity. 

The quiet beauty of the inclosing hills and the calmness of the 
deep pools of the stream were not reflected in the hearts of the 
Indians, who had, indeed, much cause for disquiet. Forty miles 
to the north the hated Spaniards had reared a hastily-built wooden 
structure to serve as a mission, and had filled it with soldiers and 
priests. This mission and all those connected with it were bit- 
terly hated by the remnants of the tribes of Comanches, Chey- 
ennes, Apaches, and Arapahoes. The priests endeavored to dis- 
suade them from their age-old religion and to force new beliefs 
and institutions upon them. The soldiers, in jest and in earnest, 
treated them with brutal cruelty. 1 

The band of Comanches in the Llano Valley had special reason 
to distrust and hate the Spaniards at Menard, for Don Juan, one 
of the boldest of the soldiers there, had looked upon Winona, the 
fairest maiden of the Comanches, with lust and desire in his 
eyes. This evil look had not escaped the eye of the chief, White 
Cloud, whose daughter Winona was, nor of Mewanee, Winona's 
favored lover. Therefore, the departure of the tribe from the 
mission had been abrupt. A double vow of vengeance was sol- 
emnly sworn as the councilmen gathered about the council fire 
in the chief's tent there on the Llano. It was a vow to revenge 

1 Originally there were two Spanish sites in the Menardville vicinity, 
both founded in 1757 : the presidio, San Luis de Las Amarillas, on the north 
bank of the San Saba River, and the mission, San Saba, three miles south. 
In 1758 the Comanches destroyed the mission ; then the presidio was strength- 
ened and maintained until 1769. The remains of it are yet to be seen at 
Menard. The mission was established for the benefit of the Apaches; their 
hereditary enemies, the Comanches, from the north, regarded the Spanish 
policy of trying to Christianize the Apaches as an act of war. In the 
middle of the eighteenth century, it is hardly necessary to say, the Comanches 
and Apaches were not yet "remnants/' The Cheyennes and Arapahoes 
never got as far south as the San Saba. The whole story of the San Saba 
settlement is to be found in two monographs by William Edward Dunn: 
"Missionary Activities among the Eastern Apaches Previous to the Founding 
of the San Saba Mission," Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, XV, 
186-200; and "The Apache Mission on the San Saba River; its Founding and 
its Failure," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVI, 379-414. Dr. Bolton 
in his Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 78-101, gives a suc- 
cinct account of "The Apache Missions and the War with the Northern 
Tribes."— -Editor. 

166 Legends of Texas 

the insult upon Winona and to destroy the mission which menaced 
the peace of the red men. 

Many councils were held and the plans were carefully laid. 
The date of the attack was chosen in accordance with the Indian 
belief in time and season. Mewanee, as one of the most stalwart 
warriors, held an honored place in these councils. Meanwhile, 
high upon the cliff, the scouts kept a steady watch for the Spanish, 
who were believed to be on the trail of the rebellious Comanches. 

Of all the sad, heavy hearts in that camp, Winona's heart was 
the saddest and heaviest. It was partly because of her that the 
attack was being planned. Furthermore, Mewanee, she knew, 
in the zeal of his rage against Don Juan, would be heedless of 
the most perilous danger. Winona's dark eyes plainly showed 
the anguish in her heart. Mewanee's solemn and dignified mien 
reflected the gravity of the situation. The pain of parting was 
heavy upon them both. 

To add to their grief, White Cloud issued an order forbidding 
marriages while the tribe was preparing for its attack of ven- 
geance, for the most cherished plan of the lovers was that they 
should be married on the day preceding Mewanee's departure. 
Now, however, their plans were broken. All Winona's pleadings 
were in vain. White Cloud, her father, shook his head in ob- 
stinate refusal of their marriage. At their farewell meeting, even 
Mewanee allowed his love for Winona to show as he comforted 
her and promised eternal faith. His love, he told her, would 
reach out to her from the Happy Hunting Grounds and beckon 
her to him. And Winona whispered that she would come at his 
slightest call. As their lips met in a last, long, unaccustomed 
kiss, the drum signaled the inevitable separation. 

And so, among the other braves, Mewanee rode away to the 
north to begin the raid on the mission. Winona was left at 
camp — to wait. Days passed with no word of the warriors or 
of the result of their undertaking. Then suddenly, just at noon, 
when the watcher on the summit of the cliff could see farthest over 
the valley toward hated Menard, he gave a mighty shout. He 
could discern the returning warriors. They traveled swiftly, and 
in a short time reached the camp. Even at a distance the watch- 
ers perceived that the raid from which their braves were return- 
ing had been successful. Each was weighted with plunder 
from the soldiers and from the mission. But their faces and 
their scanty number gave the lie to all these signs of success. 

Legends of Lovers 167 

It was at once evident that fewer men, by far, were returning 
than had gone out. Winona's quick eye gave her instant proof 
that her lover had not returned. 

His companions told her of his death at the hands of a Spanish 
soldier who had stabbed him in the back while he was engaged 
in a violent hand-to-hand combat with his enemy, Don Juan. 
Winona heard the story as in a dream. More real to her was a 
spirit voice calling, calling insistently. 

When the moon rose over the cliff that night it outlined a 
solitary figure upon the bluff. Only for an instant, however, did 
the silhouette remain stationary. With a gesture of grief and 
longing, the figure flung out its arms and dropped over the edge 
into the vast darkness below. The water flowed on, lapping 
against the rocks upon which Winona lay, broken and lifeless. 
Her soul had answered the call from the Happy Hunting Grounds. 
And to this day the cliff, called "Lover's Leap" because of this 
wild plunge, stands as an everlasting monument to the exceeding 
love and faith of the simple Indian maiden. 

Some facts relative to the legend follow. 1. The headwaters of 
the Llano River were once a refuge for Indians. 2. There was a 
mission near Menard. It was destroyed by Indians. 3. Evi- 
dences of the camp at the foot of the cliff are plain. 4. In tribal 
emergencies marriage was sometimes (perhaps rarely) forbid- 
den. I realize that there are slight grounds for such a statement, 
but it is a part of the legend as given by my informants. 5. The 
legend is given as told me by Frank H. Wilson and N. R. Skaggs 
(about seventy-five years old) of Junction. 

By John R. Craddock 

This legend, though it cannot be said to be retold in his exact 
words, came to me from a wood-cutter named T. W. Williams, 
who while hauling wood about the streets of Austin had time 
enough to stop and talk. 

Out in the hills of Williamson County, a certain old path can 
still be found leading down to the San Gabriel River. If you 
follow the ancient path from the west bank of the Gabriel for a 

168 Legends of Texas 

distance of some two hundred yards, you will find there on the 
hill the remains of the old Lazy J ranch house. If you follow 
the path from the east bank, you will soon come to its end among 
the rock-strewn hills. Years ago a foot-log connected the parts 
of the path, and at it in days now long past a man and a beautiful 
young woman were accustomed to meet. The girl came from the 
ranch house on the hill, and the man, a cowboy, came from some- 
where out beyond the trail's end, no one now knows where. 

A little before sunset one evening, the girl walked down to the 
crossing to meet her lover. A few minutes later the cowboy 
sprang from his horse on the opposite bank, and, scarcely waiting 
to tie his mount, started across the foot-log. The ride had been 
long, and the man was unsteady on his feet after being for such 
a long while in the saddle. He wore heavy leggins and Mexican 
spurs, and in his haste he lost his footing on the log and fell into 
the river. He was never again seen. 

The sight of the tragedy and the loss of her lover caused the 
maiden to become, as people believed, insane. Every evening at 
sunset throughout the remaining days of her life, she went to the 
foot-log to meet a phantom lover who came, as in life, to meet 
her. Her dying request was that if she lived until sunset, she 
should be carried to the bank of the stream. This request was 
complied with, and her attendants, on reaching the spot, witnessed 
a strange and pathetic ritual. The dying woman raised herself 
on her elbow and spoke a few words to the invisible lover, and 
then fell back lifeless on the stretcher. They buried her there by 
the foot-path, and the good folk will tell you yet that at dusk 
you can hear the lovers as they whisper by the path, or that some- 
times in the coming shadows you can see the phantom woman 
drooped and waiting at the place where the foot-log used to be. 1 

through the courtesy of Miss Nell Andrew, librarian of Texas Christian 
University, I have seen a poem by A. Clark, Jr., that relates a similar tale. 
A phantom lover on the Rio Grande diurnally meets his love. The poem is 
called "Legend of the Great River" and was published in Add-Rann 
(T. C. U.), Vol. IV, No. 8, 1898.— Editor. 

Legends of Lovers 169 

By Austin Callan 

Tradition tells us that long ago an Indian village nestled at the 
foot of "Santana Peaks," called Las Mesas. It was before the 
white man's ambition for new territory led him into the wild 
haunts of the savage ; before Anglo-Saxon enterprise transformed 
the West from a wilderness of romance to a vulgar land of farms 
and ranches. Herds of buffaloes and deer roamed the prairies; 
wild turkeys, geese and game birds were as plentiful as the 
leaves on the trees; and the people were happy and indolent. 

Among the inhabitants was Fox-Deer, who had taken unto him- 
self a pale-face for a wife. He had an only daughter, called 
Lentalopa, Laughing-Eye, and he loved her poor, heart-broken 
mother, whose soul he gave to the Great Spirit in the forest, and 
whose body was laid to rest among the flowers on the "Little 

One evil day a band of white men, with a great train of wagons 
and an Indian guide, passed through the gap of Las Mesas and 
were soon in view of the little village. Immediately the war- 
whoop rent the air. The soldiers and teamsters barely had time 
to corral their wagons and prepare for battle before the fierce 
red devils were circling round and round them, leaning low on 
their horses and gradually drawing in. The lieutenant gave 
orders not to fire until the enemy came near enough to the wagons 
to make every shot count a dead savage. 

Each man stood in place, sighting down his musket, waiting 
breathlessly for the order. Fox-Deer, clad in a buckskin suit 
ornamented with silver, turned his horse towards the wagon cor- 
ral and gave a signal. In an instant every warrior was charging 
the temporary barricade, all howling like a pack of fiends in hell. 
Then, from behind the wagons, there came a hundred puffs of 
smoke, and a hundred Indians fell lifeless on the sward. 

Fox-Deer led his redskins back to the base of Las Mesas; the 
soldiers reloaded their muskets and made ready for a second 
attack. In the meantime several of the men reported to the 
lieutenant that the savages had a beautiful white girl in cap- 

1 This legend is reprinted from a small pamphlet called Santa Anna 
Beautiful, published by Clay P. Morgan, Santa Anna, Texas, 1907. It is the 
only signed article in the pamphlet, which was designed for commercial 

170 Legends of Texas 

tivity. . . . The lieutenant immediately sent two men under a flag 1 
of truce to the Indians, with the information that he would with- 
draw and leave them alone if they would surrender the white 
prisoner into his hands. 

The answer came back, as quick as a flash of lightning, from 
the ashy lips of Wounded Hawk. He said that Laughing-Eye 
belonged not to the pale-faces, that he had won her heart for 
bravery in fighting the battles of Fox-Deer. "We love each other/* 
he said in tones of pathos to the Indian guide, who acted as in- 
terpreter ; "we have asked the beautiful moon to melt our hearts 
into one, and its spirit came down and danced for joy on the 
bosom of the silvery stream, because we were happy. Go away 
and leave us alone, leave Laughing-Eye among the flowers and 
the birds, close to her mother's grave." 

The men returned and reported the effort to compromise with 
the Indians unsuccessful. Wounded Hawk's story was put down 
as one of those slick lies characteristic of his race, and it was 
decided to attack the village at once and finish the job of whip- 
ping the devils, who had been rendered inferior by their first 
charge. As the soldiers drew up near the wigwams, the golden 
sun was hanging over the western point of the mountain. A 
beautiful valley swept off for miles to the north, and in the green 
grass droves of antelopes and deer were playing. Around the 
wigwams several squaws were seated upon buffalo robes and 
among them was Laughing-Eye, downcast and frightened. 

Fox-Deer asked for permission to send his child to a cliff on the 
mountain where she could watch the battle without danger. "If 
the Great Spirit decides against the poor Indian," he said, "the 
white man can take her, but if He answers her prayer, she will 
remain in the forest with Wounded Hawk and be happy." 

Laughing-Eye gave the signal for battle by waving a branch 
of cedar from the brow of Las Mesas, and a savage yell went up, 
as fierce as mortal ever heard. Fox-Deer led his warriors forth, 
playing for two of the highest earthly stakes — the happiness of 
his daughter and his own life. In an instant the whites were sur- 
rounded. The Indians, riding at full speed and lying low on the 
off-side of their ponies, poured volley after volley of deadly ar- 
rows into their dismayed ranks. The lieutenant fell mortally 
wounded ; a dozen others were dead upon the ground. Closer and 
closer the savages came and more hideous grew their war-whoops. 
Laughing-Eye knelt upon the cliff to pray; no doubt she had 

Legends of Lovers 111 

learned to lisp the name of God at her mother's knee, and I fancy 
she asked Him to restore safe to her bosom the young chief she 
loved. But the tide of battle turned, turned at a moment when 
Wounded Hawk felt the flush of victory and was almost ready 
to wave his love back to the joy of the wigwam. 

The surviving soldiers formed a little square, dropped to their 
knees, and prepared to receive the last desperate charge of the 
savages. Fox-Deer brought his men up, this time in silence. 
Pointing to the girl on the brow of the peak and giving a signal 
which they all understood, he led a mad rush. A deadly stream 
of fire poured forth from the little group of determined whites, 
and then they sprang to their feet with bayonets fixed. For a 
moment the fate of Wounded Hawk hung in the balance. The 
struggle was as fierce as opposing forces ever waged. Indian 
and Caucasian fell together, with the cold steel in each other's 
breasts, and their mingled blood crimsoned the grass-spears and 
the daisies. There was a hush ; a little flag bearing the Stars and 
Stripes shot up just as the sun was setting. From the overhang- 
ing cliff a scream of agony rent the air. Laughing-Eye under- 
stood and leaped upon the rocks below, into the arms of death. 



By J. Frank Dobie 

The legend of Mount Bonnell is among the half dozen most 
widely known Texas legends. It has been printed again and 
again, both in prose and in verse; it is still told in many quar- 
ters ; and the details of the various versions have come to a wide 
divergence. So far as I can learn, the oldest printed account of 
the legend is that given by Morphis, published in 1874. For 
other accounts, the reader is referred to the bibliography. 

In the main, there are three versions of the legend: first, the 
Morphis account in which an Indian chief steals a Spanish belle, 
who is rescued by her lover only to perish later with him at the 
cliff; second, a version, the details of which are similar to those 

172 Legends of Texas 

of various other Lovers' Leap legends, in which an Indian maid 
and an Indian brave make an interdicted elopement and are 
finally forced to the leap; third, a version in which an Indian 
maiden in love with a white man is forced to a precipitate death. 
It is an interesting fact that all the versions hitherto printed 
follow very closely the Morphis story, all being revampings of it. 
Noteworthy variations seem to exist in oral accounts only. As 
Morphis' history has long been out of print, his version of the 
legend is here reprinted. 

The word Antonette belongs to no language: the French spell- 
ing is Antoinette; the name in Spanish is Antonia. No lady of 
pure Castilian blood would have borrowed a French translation 
for her name. Yet Antonette is the spelling generally given in 
the legends. 


The Legend As Told by Morphis 1 

The following legend of the Colorado Valley was related to 
me years ago by that reliable gentleman, good citizen, and gallant 
soldier, George L. Robertson of Austin. 

Mount Bonnell was called by the early settlers of Colorado 
Valley, Antonette's Leap, which name was given to it in conse- 
quence of the self-immolation on that picturesque spot, at an early 
day, of a most lovely and accomplished senorita, who came over 
from Spain at the first settlement of the mission of San Jose, 
San Juan, Espada, and the Alamo. 

"The fame of Antonette's beauty and intellectual charms was 
spread abroad through the settlements, and even extended to the 
hunting ground and camp fires of the red men of the forest. It 
came to the ears and inflamed the passions of Cibolo, the chief 
of the Comanches, who selected a band of his favorite warriors, 
made a raid upon the settlements, captured the beautiful Anto- 
nette, and carried her far away to his camp in the wilderness, 
on the headwaters of the Colorado. 

"The parents and friends of the unfortunate senorita mourned 
her as lost forever, except Don Leal Navarro Rodriguez, her 
betrothed lover, a brave and elegantly educated young Spanish 
caballero, of fine personal appearance and honorable, as well as 
brave to a fault, who determined to follow the murderous Indians 

iMorphis, J. M., History of Texas, New York, 1874, pp. 510-513. 

Legends of Lovers 173 

to their homes and rescue his beloved Antonette, or perish in the 

"Don Leal mounted his favorite steed and, well armed, started 
from the Alamo alone in pursuit of the Indians, and after many 
hair-breadth escapes, undiscovered, descried the camp of the sav- 
ages. Selecting a dark night, he entered it, and by imitating the 
mocking bird, of which Antonette was very fond, and whose sing- 
ing they could both imitate to perfection, he soon discovered at 
what spot inside the encampment she was, then came into the 
very tent which she occupied and found her tied securely to pre- 
vent her escape. 

"In an instant the lover severed the bonds which confined the 
dear idol of his heart, and with her cautiously returned to where 
he had left his horse when he entered the Comanche camp; then 
quickly mounting and taking Antonette up behind him, he started 
to regain the Mission of Alamo. 

"The fury of Cibolo in the morning, when he discovered the 
escape of his fascinating captive, knew no bounds. He raved and 
blasphemed terribly; then, sounding the alarm, with a hundred 
chosen warriors, he hastily started in pursuit, leaving the main 
body of his tribe to await his return. 

"For several days Don Leal and his beloved Antonette made 
good speed toward the settlements, subsisting most bountifully 
upon game, which was easily obtained through Don Leal's rifle, 
and at night sleeping under the forest trees; but on the seventh 
day, leaving the prairie land, they became tangled in the moun- 
tains bordering the Colorado. Early in the morning of the 
eighth day the lovers discovered themselves surrounded upon all 
sides by the cruel savages. All attempts at further flight were 

"The wrathful Cibolo, with cow horns on his head and face hor- 
ribly painted, advanced in all pride of power to where they had 
fled as a last refuge, but when he was about fifty yards off, Don 
Leal, who had firmly resolved to fight and die rather than sur- 
render, raised his rifle to his shoulder and, taking deliberate aim, 
fired! In an instant the savage chief bounded in the air and fell 
to the ground a corpse; but in another instant at least twenty 
arrows pierced Don Leal's body, and he, too, fell to the earth 
and expired without a groan. 

"After surveying the situation and revolving in her mind the 
miserable fate awaiting her from the merciless Comanches, . . . 
the poor, unfortunate girl bent over the prostrate and lifeless 

174 Legends of Texas 

form of her lover and kissed his dear lips. Then rising, with her 
eyes toward heaven, and murmuring her last prayer to God, she 
plunged headlong down the precipice and struck the rocks be- 
neath, mangled, bleeding, and dead! 

"For a long time the place where these rare, devoted, but most 
unfortunate lovers met their sad and untimely fate was called 
'Antonette's Leap/ but years ago a wandering Bohemian, who 
happened to pass a few days in Austin . . . blotted it out and 
substituted his own, and now Antonette's Leap is Mount Bonnell." 


For the details of the second version of the legend as here 
summarized I am indebted to Mr. Billy Minter, a West Point cadet 
from Austin. 

Once two tribes of Indians living far to the north were at 
deadly enmity with one another; one tribe lived in what is now 
Oklahoma, the other in what is now the Panhandle of Texas. 
One day the son of the chieftain of the southern tribe was walk- 
ing in the woods. It was springtime, the time to be in the 
woods, and there he met the daughter of the chief of the northern 
tribe. It was springtime ; their hatred was forgotten, and often 
thereafter they met under the trees. But one day a brave of the 
northern tribe discovered the lovers. He was afraid to fight 
with this strong young Indian of the south whose fame as a 
warrior was already far known; so he watched from the bushes 
and then slipped away to tell the maiden's father what he had 

When the lovers were parting, they discovered the trail of the 
watcher. They realized that they could never meet thus again 
and that if the maid returned to her people she would be terribly 
tortured. They fled to the south, hoping to find refuge in some 
friendly tribe that knew nothing of the quarrels of their ances- 
tors. The next morning the father of the maiden sent to the 
enemy's camp a demand for his daughter. Then the elopement 
was revealed. A truce was made and forthwith fifty picked trail- 
ers and warriors from each tribe were sent to pursue and cap- 
ture the fugitives. 

For many days the lovers fled, followed closer and closer by the 
warriors. At length they found themselves hemmed in on top 
of a mountain that faced precipitously on the Colorado River. 
Out of the scrub cedars and from over the gullies, they saw the 

Legends of Lovers 175 

cordon of pitiless pursuers nearing; beneath them they saw the 
swollen waters of the Colorado whirling over the rocks. On the 
one hand, was a captivity worse than death; on the other, the 
river below. "With one last prayer to the Great Spirit, the 
lovers embraced and, still locked in this embrace, leaped into the 
hungry water/' 

"This/' concludes Mr. Minter, "is the legend of the Lovers' 
Leap as told to me when I was eleven years old by an old settler, 
himself the son of a pioneer. He lived near the place, and told 
me the story while I was camped on Mount Bonnell. Last week 
(July, 1922) I went again to try to find him and have him retell 
the story, but I found that he had been dead for two years, and 
so I have not been able to use the names of the lovers, of the 
chiefs, and of the tribes, as well as many other minute circum- 
stances that he made the tale vivid with. The river does not 
touch the foot of the cliff at the Lovers' Leap. Indeed, it is a 
good stone's throw from it to the water's edge. The old man 
explained this discrepancy by saying that the legend was ages old 
and that at the time of the leap the river did touch the bottom 
of the cliff when it was on a big rise." 


The third version of the legend was given me by Miss Etta 
Maddrey, a student at the University of Texas in the summer 
of 1922, who in turn heard it from an Austin woman who worked 
at the Driskill Hotel. This woman claimed that the witness in 
the circumstances that follow was one of her ancestors. 

A pioneer couple had built a log hut near what is now the road 
to Deep Eddy. It was near a spring in some woods, and some- 
times Indians camped near by. In the band was the tribal chief, 
and he had a daughter. He had, too, a hardened and cunning 
warrior who was in love with the daughter, and the chief was 
pleased at the match. The daughter was not pleased, and soon 
the brave came to realize that he was being repelled. 

One evening when the settler's wife was going to the spring for 
water, she saw in the dusk a tender greeting between the Indian 
maid and a young white man of the settlement. She saw too the 
form of a slinking Indian warrior spying on the lovers. The 
next evening the meeting was repeated, and the man and the 
young woman sat on a rock and watched the sunset. They 
parted; the paleface disappeared; the girl turned to go back to 

176 Legends of Texas 

her camp and was confronted by the giant and menacing form 
of her spurned suitor. With vivid gesture he pictured the wrath 
of the father and chief when he should learn that his daughter 
had scorned one of his tribe for a hated paleface, and he gloated 
as he told how he would report her treachery. 

The girl broke away from her tormentor. Perhaps she thought 
to return to her father and ask forgiveness ; but the folly of such 
a course must have been apparent to her. Perhaps she thought 
of taking refuge with her lover, but then his helplessness in 
protecting her must have flooded her mind with the conviction 
that by such an act she would only bring about his death. A 
moment after she left the warrior she bounded out of the woods 
in a direction to the north. On and on she ran until she reached 
the topmost point of what is now Mount Bonnell. Below her 
was the dark river. "There was but a moment's hesitation, and 
then the fatal leap — lover's leap then, certainly; and Lover's 
Leap today." 



By Stanley E. Babb 

["Sunset in August: Galveston Beach," from which the following lines 
are taken, is one of a group of poems entitled "Arrows of Loveliness." 
The group won the first prize from the Poetry Society of Texas in 1922. The 
poems were printed in the Poetry Society's Book of the Year, 1922. In 
addition to giving a picture of the great Texas pirate, the lines illustrate 
what a poet may do with legend. — Editor.] 

Old Jean Lafitte once paced along these sands, 
Surveyed the misty sea for Spanish galleons 
Sweeping up from Panama with gold 
And precious freights — and lusted for the sharp 
High clamour of battle: rattle of pistol-shots — 
Thunder of broadsides — crash of falling spars — 
Loud cries to Christ for quarter — shouts of joy — 
Spurts of hot blood — surrender — sharp commands— 
And then the scuttling of the captured vessels: 
The wild red laughter of the rioting flames 
Above a littered sea . . . 

Old Jean Lafitte once wandered down these sands, 

And watched the day's red death, the swirling gulls, 

The golden doubloon of the rising moon, 

Remembering days of splendour: mornings when 

He buried gold ashore on Los Muertos, 

Midnights when his little schooner "Pride" 

Cut past Nigger Head with all sails drawing, 

Wild battles with great storms off Yucatan, 

And nights with wine and girls at Porto Bello . . . 

Old Jean Lafitte once paced this beach and cried 

From wanderlust that shook his heart, and looked 

Up to the sky for winds and clouds, and told 

His aves on the rosary of stars, 

And then along the last bleak beach of life, 

He proudly strode, and out across the sea 

Into the white mists of oblivion . . . 

By E. G. Littlejohn 

[The pirate legends of Texas are all so bound up with the name of Lafitte 
that they may well be prefaced by a sketch of that remarkable personage. 
Perhaps there is as much legend about the man as about his treasure. 
Even his name seems to be in dispute, for, whereas he is generally known 

180 Legends of Texas 

in this country as Jean Lafitte, the Nouveau Larousse Illustre Dictionnaire 
Encyclopedique denominates him, the "corsaire francais," Nicolas Lafitte. 
A historian can hardly write of him without arousing controversy. Dr. J. O. 
Dyer, of Galveston, in a letter to the editor says: "Lafitte was no pirate, but 
the head of two noted buccaneer or privateer camps. . . . He never went 
to sea; he was a poor sailor because he suffered from sea-sickness; he never 
was in any fight on the sea." — Editor.] 

Jean Lafitte : Man and Pirate 

The European wars of the early part of the nineteenth century, 
the consequent passage of the Embargo Act by the Congress of 
the United States, and the act prohibiting the importation of 
slaves after the year 1808, all conspired to bring about a great 
volume of clandestine trade at the ports of the United States. 
This trade was especially active along the shores of the Gulf of 
Mexico. Here resorted the privateer and the smuggler, the one 
to dispose of his booty, the other to receive it and to distribute it. 

The labyrinthine waters of lower Louisiana were the smugglers' 
paradise. Here they could carry on their business almost without 
fear of detection. Just prior to the War of 1812, a flourishing 
establishment of this kind sprang up on the island of Grand Terre, 
some sixty miles west of the mouth of the Mississippi, under the 
management of the two brothers Lafitte, Jean and Pierre, former 
blacksmiths of New Orleans. At first, the brothers were mere 
agents and distributors for the privateers who resorted to Grand 
Terre, but they soon got vessels for themselves, and began pri- 
vateering on their own account. Letters of marque and reprisal 
were granted to them by the Republic of Cartagena, erstwhile 
a colony of Spain, and with this authority they went forth with 
other Robin Hoods of the sea to ravage and to plunder. They 
soon grew immensely wealthy and their business became so ex- 
tensive as to almost paralyze the legitimate trade of New Orleans. 

The governor of Louisiana, on being appealed to by the mer- 
chants of the city, issued several proclamations against "pirates 
and smugglers," who were bringing disgrace and ignominy upon 
the state, ordering them to disperse and threatening dire punish- 
ment in case of their refusal to do so. When his fulminations 
went unheeded, he offered a reward of five hundred dollars for 
the capture of Jean Lafitte, now become the leader of the smug- 
glers. Lafitte promptly responded by offering fifteen thousand 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 181 

dollars for the capture of the governor. The merchants then 
appealed to the United States government for protection, and 
Commodore Patterson was sent with a fleet to break up the Grand 
Terre establishment. This he succeeded in doing, taking a num- 
ber of prisoners and much valuable merchandise. The brothers 
Lafitte, with the greater number of their followers, fled to the 
woods and so escaped capture. 

Shortly after this event, when the battle of New Orleans was 
impending, we find Jean Lafitte, who seems to have cherished no 
animosity for his summary ejectment from Grand Terre, inform- 
ing the United States authorities of the plans and movements 
of the British fleet, and offering his aid in defending the city. 
At first declined, the proffered assistance was later accepted by 
General Jackson, and Lafitte with several of his lieutenants fought 
with conspicuous bravery in the memorable battle of January 8, 
1815. In his report of the battle, General Jackson spoke in the 
highest terms of these "gentlemen," and recommended that they 
be pardoned for any offences they might have committed against 
the laws of the United States. This recommendation was promptly 
acted upon by President Madison, who issued a full and free 
pardon to Jean Lafitte and such of his men as participated in the 

With the close of the war, Othello's occupation was gone, and 
Lafitte returned to his old practices of privateering and smug- 
gling. This time he established his headquarters on Galveston 
Island, then uninhabited, where he built a fort and a town which 
he called Campeachy. His followers at one time numbered fully 
one thousand men, and these he ruled with a rod of iron. He 
became very wealthy and lived in lordly style. The "Red House," 
Lafitte's residence, so called on account of its color, was the 
scene of many princely entertainments given in honor of distin- 
guished visitors. Colonel James Gaines, who was on the island 
in 1819, states that while he was there several rich prizes were 
brought into port, and that Spanish doubloons were as "plentiful 
as biscuits." 

Though Lafitte claimed to make war only on Spanish commerce, 
he showed little squeamishness in attacking vessels of other na- 
tions when no Spaniard was in sight. In 1820 an American ves- 
sel was captured and plundered and then sunk in Matagorda 
Bay. This act spelled the ruin of Campeachy. Early the next 
year the United States Government dispatched a man-of-war to 
break up the establishment. Lafitte went out to meet the captain, 

182 Legends of Texas 

conducted him to Red House, and entertained him in a magnifi- 
cent manner, in the meantime trying to persuade him from ex- 
ecuting his orders. But the captain was not to be influenced by 
blandishments or money. His orders were peremptory. Lafitte 
must leave the island. Bowing to the inevitable, Lafitte convoked 
his followers, supplied them with money, and dismissed them 
from his service. Then, with a chosen few, in his favorite ves- 
sel, the Pride, he sailed away from Galveston forever. 


Credence in the Lafitte Legend 

As Captain Kidd, according to legend, left more wealth on Long 
Island than the vaults of Wall Street have measured, so Lafitte is 
reputed to have secreted immense treasures on Galveston Island 
and the adjacent mainland. Early inhabitants of Galveston can 
tell of many a midnight quest for the hidden hoards of pirates; 
and in sundry places certain mounds, with accompanying de- 
pressions on one side, were but recently pointed out as "where 
they have been digging for Lafitte's treasure." Unlike Captain 
Kidd, however, Lafitte left no screeching Hannahs to guard his 
treasures. No such dog-in-the-manger spirit was his. On the 
contrary, he seems to have desired that they should be found and 
put to some useful service. I have an old letter purporting to 
reveal the hiding place of this treasure. It was written in the 
late fifties by a strong-headed old lawyer, who at one time held 
high office in the Republic of Texas, to a scientist of considerable 
reputation in that day. The letter is too long to quote, but it 
recounts in detail Lafitte's attempt through a medium at a "sit- 
ting" of spiritualists to reveal the whereabouts of a ship-load of 
concealed treasure. According to the lawyer, the Lafitte "in- 
fluence" yearned to have the directions corroborated so that the 
investigators might be filled with sufficient faith to go after the 
waiting treasure. 


The Horror Guarded Treasure of the Neches 

This story, under the title of "Seeking for Buried Treasure/ 
appeared many years ago in the Houston Post. It was said to 
have been related by a Mr. Marion Meredith of Port Neches. 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 183 

Said Mr. Meredith : "It was before the Civil War that a neigh- 
bor of mine got hold of a chart from an old Mexican woman pur- 
porting to locate a vast treasure hidden by pirates in the marsh 
near the mouth of the Neches River. 

"It was said that the vessel bearing this treasure was so closely 
pursued by a Spanish craft that the crew cut their cable and left 
their anchor. The man who got the chart felt so sure of finding 
the treasure that he concluded to go alone to seek it in order 
that he might not have to divide it. He located the spot where 
the vessel was reported to have left her chain and found the chain 
there without any trouble. He soon found where the treasure 
should be and began to dig. After he had dug a few feet, some 
unseen power seemed to seize him and he fled from the place. 
A few days later he died without having been able to speak. 

Mr. Meredith subsequently obtained the chart and, knowing the 
circumstances of the former effort, he associated with a man 
noted for his bravery, an old Texan who had roughed it for years. 
We will call this man Clawson. After making all necessary prep- 
arations, he and Clawson proceeded to investigate. They found 
the old rusty chain, whence, a certain direction and distance, the 
chart called for a tree with a heart cut in the bark. They located 
the tree. The heart was there ; then in a certain direction and at 
a certain distance they found the spot sought for. It was located 
on a small island, a mere shell bank in the marsh. The tools of 
the former treasure hunter were there, and the hole he had dug. 
They began digging and soon found a human skeleton, which they 
carefully removed from the hole and laid upon the bank. Mere- 
dith dug till he was tired, when Clawson relieved him. He was 
resting on the edge of the hole, expecting every turn of the spade 
to uncover the treasure, when suddenly Clawson clambered from 
the hole, his face drawn and pale. Clutching Meredith's arm, he 
said in a husky voice, "Come, for God's sake, let's get away from 

"What's the matter? What have you seen?" asked Meredith. 

"I have seen hell and its horrors. Come away from here," and 
he pulled Meredith to their boat. They left so hurriedly that they 
forgot to take their tools. No other explanation could be got 
from Clawson, but he begged Meredith, if he valued his life, not 
to dig there again. Years afterwards Meredith met Clawson in 
Beaumont and begged him to tell what had frightened him. "For 
God's sake," he answered, "don't ask me about that; it has 
haunted me all these years." 

184 Legends of Texas 

After a time Meredith returned to the spot, recovered his 
tools, and buried the skeleton in the hole, but he had so much 
confidence in Clawson that he could not dig again. Since then he 
has several times visited the spot. Once a party of young men 
volunteered to go with him and dig up the ghost and the treasure. 
His reply to them was : "I will take you there and stay with you, 
boys, but there is not enough money in Texas to get me to dig 
in that hole." 


Pirates and Their Sacks of Gold 

This story appeared many years ago in the Galveston Daily 
News as a "special" from Corpus Christi. 

"One morning far back in the receding past, just as the sun 
was casting his first golden beams of light over the lovely prairie, 
then robed in the sublimity of wild solitude, Lafitte and ten or 
fifteen of his buccaneers called at the humble home of an old lady 
and her husband who then lived on Kellar, or Cox, Creek in what 
is now embraced in Jackson County. Here these pirates got their 
breakfast and then handed the old people $1000, in which sum 
were found coins from the then leading commercial governments 
of the world. During their stay at this house the pirates made 
frequent references to the hot pursuit of English or American 
war vessels. After they had dispatched the morning meal, they 
shouldered what purported to be sacks of gold and departed, going 
toward the head of Cox Creek, presumably to bury or secrete 
their ill-gotten treasure. After a few hours they passed back by 
this house, going in the direction of Cox Bay. They were never 
seen or heard of again by the old people who supplied them with 

In the article from which the above excerpt is made, it is stated 
that some years ago certain respectable citizens of Corpus Christi 
who had enlisted the services of a lad with an "affinity" for gold 
made an extensive search for the supposed hidden treasure. The 
expedition was a failure, but the leader was confident that some- 
where between Cox Bay and the mouth of the Lavaca River large 
sums of the pirates' coins would some day be found, and intimated 
that they would be fished out of Swan Lake. 

Lafitte's Treasure Vault 

Legends of Lafitte's treasure in Louisiana often come down the 
Texas coast and become Texan by adoption. In the Abbeville 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 185 

country, Louisiana, there is a legend, handed down from the last 
century, to the effect that Lafitte and his pirate crew, having run 
a schooner up into White Lake (Louisiana coast) through a bayou 
which has long since been filled and grown over with marsh grass, 
at some spot along the shore built a brick vault in which they 
stored a vast amount of their ill-gotten treasure. 

About the year 1908 a man named C claimed to have 

stumbled upon the vault while hunting alligators. He further 
claimed to have torn away, though with much difficulty, portions 
of the brick work, revealing untold wealth in gold coin, the 
hidden treasure of Lafitte. 

Numbers of persons to whom this story was told became inter- 
ested in making a search for the treasure. Owing to the swampy 
condition of the country and the inaccessibility of the spot where 

the vault was located, C advised the digging of a small 

canal as the best means of reaching it. This idea was adopted, 
money was advanced for the purpose, some five or six thousand 
dollars, and the digging of the canal was begun. After weeks 
of toil, of chopping through dense canebrakes, and of floundering 
through the swamp mud, the party reached a lone cypress tree 
that was supposed to stand sentinel over the crypt. The treasure 
could not be found. 

Disappointed in their quest and disgusted at their own cre- 
dulity, the treasure seekers caused the arrest of C on 

the charge of having taken their money under false pretenses; 

C claimed as the reason for their failure that he had 

lost his bearings. Who knows? — Adapted from a story in the 
Galveston News, October 27, 1908. 

By Julia Beazley 

'Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life 
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth, 
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death, 
Speak of it." 

"It faded on the crowing of the cock." — Hamlet. 

186 Legends of Texas 

Within the memory of men still living, Texas coast dwellers 
used to gather around firesides on northery winter nights, and 
while the rich juice of sweet potatoes roasting among the ashes 
oozed through the jackets, tell tales of "the Pirate of the Gulf." 
Not a few of these tales centered about an ancient and dilapidated 
house at Bayshore Park, La Porte, in Harris County. Under it, 
so they say, is the blood marked booty of Lafitte ; and though old 
tales and old times and old houses pass, anyone hardy enough to 
spend the night in this deserted building may yet, according to 
report, receive a visit from the guilt-harried spirit that some- 
times in distress and sometimes in anger is still trying to win 
absolution for his earthly sins. 

The legend runs that upon a certain occasion Lafitte and his 
buccaneering crew sailed up to what is now Bay Ridge (which 
is opposite the haunted house of La Porte). He anchored his 
schooner offshore, and rowed to the beach with two trusted lieu- 
tenants and the heavy chest which none dared touch except at his 
orders. When the skiff grounded, the watchers on the schooner 
saw their chief blindfold his helpers ; then they saw the three dis- 
appear with the chest behind a screen of grapevine-laden trees. 
Two hours later Lafitte returned alone. He was in a black mood 
and no one had the temerity to question him. It was supposed 
that he had caught one of his helpers trying to mark the location 
of his cache, and had killed them both. Some say that he led them 
back to the pit they had dug and filled up, made them reopen and 
enlarge it, and while they were bent down digging, shot them 
dead. Soon afterwards Lafitte and his followers went down to- 
gether in a West India hurricane, and his crime-stained treasure 
still lies buried in its secret hiding place. 

Yet to many, as I have intimated, that place has not been secret. 
It is under the old house. As faithfully as I can follow the tale, 
I shall relate an experience connected with that old house as it 
was told me by a Confederate veteran who has now passed on. 
For personal reasons I shall call him Major Walcart, though that 
was not his real name. The tale, however, is a genuine legend 
in that it has long been current in the vicinity of La Porte. 

"It was on a February night back in the eighties," the Major 
used to say. "The early darkness of a murky day had overtaken 
me, and I was dead tired. I do not think mud ever lay deeper 
along the shore of Galveston Bay, or that an east wind ever blew 
more bleakly. When I came to a small stream I rode out into 
the open water, as the custom then was, to find shallow passage. 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 187 

A full moon was rising out of the bay. Heavy clouds stretched 
just above it, and I remember the unearthly aspect of the bluster- 
ing breakers in its cheerless light. The immensity and unfriend- 
liness of the scene made me feel lonesome, and I think the horse 
shared my mood. By common consent we turned across before 
we had gone far enough from shore, and fell into the trench cut 
by the stream in the bottom of the bay. 

"We were wretchedly wet as we scrambled up a clayey slope 
and gained the top of the bluff. A thin cry which I had not been 
sure was real when I first heard it now became insistent. It was 
like the wail of a child in mortal pain, and I confess that it re- 
minded me of tales I had heard of the werewolf, which lures un- 
wary travelers to their doom by imitating the cry of a human 
infant. By the uncertain light of the moon, which the next 
moment was cut off entirely, I saw that I had reached a kind of 
stable that crowned the bluff, and from this structure the uncanny 
summons seemed to come. 

"The sounds were growing fainter, and I hesitated but a mo- 
ment. Dismounting, I led my horse through the doorless en- 
trance, and now the mystery was explained. Huddled together 
for warmth lay a flock of sleeping goats. A kid had rashly 
squeezed itself into the middle of the heap, and the insensate 
brutes were crushing its life out. I found the perishing little 
creature, and its flattened body came back to the full tide of life 
in my arms. Its warmth was grateful to my cold fingers, and I 
fondled it a moment before setting it down on the dry dirt floor. 
"I tied my horse to a post that upheld the roof of the stable, 
and with saddle and blanket on my arm started toward the house, 
which I could make out in its quadrangle of oaks, not many yards 
distant. The horse whinnied protestingly as I left him, and when 
the moaning of the wind in the eaves smote my ears I was half 
in mind to turn back and bunk with the goats. It was a more 
forbidding sound than the hostile roar of the breakers had been 
in the bay. 

"I called, but only the muddy waves incessantly tearing at the 
bluff made answer. I had scarcely hoped really to hear the sound 
of a human voice. The great double doors leading in from the 
front porch were barred, but the first window I tried yielded en- 
trance. Striking a match, I found myself in a room that gave 
promise of comfort. Fat pine kindling lay beside the big fire- 
place, and dry chunks of solid oak were waiting to glow for me 
the whole night through. 

188 Legends of Texas 

"I was vaguely conscious that the brave fire I soon had going 
did not drive the chill from the air so promptly as it should, but 
my head was too heavy with sleep to be bothered. I spread my 
horse blanket quite close to the cheerful blaze, and with saddle 
for pillow and slicker for cover I abandoned myself to the luxury 
of rest. 

"I do not know how long I had slept when I became aware of a 
steady gaze fixed on my face. The man was looking down on me, 
and no living creature ever stood so still. There was imperious 
command in the unblinking eyes, and yet I saw a sort of pro- 
found entreaty also. 

"It was plain that the visitant had business with me. I arose, 
and together we left the room, passed its neighbor, and entered 
a third, a barren little apartment through whose cracks the wind 
came mercilessly. I think it was I who had opened the doors. 
My companion did not seem to move. He was merely present all 
the time. 

" 'It is here/ he said, as I halted in the middle of the bare floor, 
'that more gold lies buried than is good for any man. You have 
but to dig, and it is yours. You can use it ; I cannot. However, 
it must be applied only to purposes of highest beneficence. Not 
one penny may be evilly or selfishly spent. On this point you 
must keep faith and beware of any failing. Do you accept?' 

"I answered, 'Yes,' and the visitant was gone, and I was shiv- 
ering with cold. I groped my way back to my fire, bumping into 
obstructions I had not found in my journey away from it. I 
piled on wood with a generous hand, and the flames leaped high. 
I watched the unaccountable shadows dance on the whitewashed 
walls, and marked how firebeams flickered across the warpings of 
the boards in the floor. Then I dozed off. 

"I do not know how long I had been asleep when I felt the 
presence of the visitant again. The still reproach of his fixed 
eyes was worse than wrath. 'I need your help more than you 
can know,' he said, 'and you would fail me. The treasure is mine 
to give. I paid for it with the substance of my soul. I want you 
to have it. With it you can balance somewhat the burden of 
guilt I carry for its sake/ 

"Again we made the journey to the spot where the treasure 
was buried, and this time he showed it to me. There were yellow 
coins, jeweled watches, women's bracelets, diamond rings, and 
strings of pearls. It was just such a trove as I had dreamed 
of when as a boy I had planned to dig for Lafitte's treasure, ex- 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 189 

cept that the quantity of it was greater. With the admonition, 
'Do not force me to come again/ my companion was gone, and 
once more I made my way back to the fire. 

"This time I took up my saddle and blanket and went out to 
the company of my horse. The wind and the waves were wailing 
together, but I thought I saw a promise of light across the chilly 
bay, and never was the prospect of dawn more welcome. As I 
saddled up and rode off, the doleful boom of the muddy water at 
the foot of the bluff came to me like an echoed anguish." 

But Lafitte does not appear to every one who spends a night 
in the house, and any person seeking the treasure from purely 
selfish motives is likely to rue his pains. A story is told of an 
acquisitive and enterprising man who came hundreds of miles 
with the purpose of helping himself to the chance of finding pirate 
gold, but who abruptly changed his mind after spending a night 
in the house. As Lafitte steadily pursues his object of finding 
a fit recipient for his dangerous gift, never succeeding, his dis- 
appointment is sometimes terrible, so they say, and some simple 
folk believe that when there is a particularly dolorous moan in the 
wash of the waves, it is the despair of the pirate finding voice 
in the wail of the waters. 


By J. 0. Webb 

John Smith and W. C. Callihan of the old town of Liverpool, 
Brazoria County, are each eighty-four years old; each is sound 
in mind and body; and each has spent practically his entire life 
in the vicinity of Liverpool. These men speak familiarly of 
Warren D. C. Hall, of Lamar, and of Lafitte's lieutenants. The 
legendary material here given is based on their separate state- 
ments. However, the stories told by them coincide to a remark- 
able degree. Liverpool is situated on Chocolate Bayou, and is 
so near Galveston Island that the early history of the two places 
is closely related. Consequently Smith and Callihan are familiar 
with the lore bearing on Lafitte's life. What they have to say is 
not based so much on legends in general circulation as on the 
stories told them by Lafitte's associates. One of these followers 
of Lafitte was Jim Campbell, who, after the departure of his chief 

190 Legends of Texas 

from Galveston Island in 1821, settled on what became known as 
Campbell's Bayou. The other was an odd character called Cap- 
tain Snyder. 

No story of Lafitte proceeds very far without referring in 
some way to buried treasure. The lives led by the two strange 
characters just mentioned caused many to believe that they had 
stored away some of their chief's wealth. According to Smith 
and Callihan, these ex-associates of Lafitte never lacked money, 
although they were engaged in no profitable business. Long 
after the death of Jim Campbell, it was generally believed that 
his widow knew where money was buried but was unwilling to 
reveal the place. 

Captain Snyder was likewise known to have plenty of money. 
He was engaged in carrying some kind of trade from the Brazos 
to Liverpool, for which he used a one-eyed mule, but he got little 
income from this occupation. His actions at times, too, were 
rather strange. Smith was often on the boat with him, and when 
they would approach Galveston Island, Snyder would frequently 
get off and go ashore. There he would go to a clump of bushes, 
and apparently try to get his bearings for some point. 

Some of the buried treasure stories, however, are based on more 
direct information. In the fifties, according to the authorities 
already quoted, there appeared at the mouth of Chocolate Bayou 
a small vessel, which remained in that vicinity for several days. 
During the daytime it would go to the opposite side of the bay, 
and at night it would return to the near shore. This odd pro- 
cedure aroused a little curiosity, but would doubtless have been 
soon forgotten had not an important discovery followed. A few 
days after the vessel had gone, Smith and Callihan paid a visit 
to the mouth of the Bayou and, to their surprise, found that ex- 
cavations had been made. Beginning at the shore, a long trench 
had been opened, and at the end of this a large hole had been dug. 
Apparently, a chest of some kind had been taken out, for the 
imprint of the box — even to the handles — was plainly visible. As 
further evidence, there was lying to one side a broken earthen jar 
that had been sealed with sealing wax, and upon its fragments 
were imprints of coins. 

A less realistic story is told of the region around what was called 
Dick's Camp, on Chocolate Bayou. A Mrs. Adams who lived in 
the vicinity had had a persistent dream of buried treasure. For 
three successive nights she had the same dream, and in these 
dreams she was told that $100,000 in gold was buried near 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 191 

Dick's Camp. The exact spot was to be found by sighting with 
three stakes due east from a certain point. Mrs. Adams was so 
impressed with the repetition of this dream that the third morn- 
ing she and her son set out in search of the hidden treasure. On 
the way they were joined by Smith, who at first was not told the 
purpose of the excursion. On reaching the spot they did not find 
any stake set up, but they did find three china trees in a line run- 
ning due east. The son, whose name was Brunner, began sight- 
ing and measuring, and finally he said, "Here it is." 

"What?" asked Smith. 

"$100,000 in gold," replied Brunner. 

Excavation was begun at once, but had not proceeded far when 
the treasure hunters dug into an oyster bed. Thinking there 
was little hope of finding treasure in that medium, the search 
was abandoned and, so far as is known, it has not been renewed. 

Captain Snyder, who has already been mentioned, was a strange 
character. Those who knew him declare that he slept with one 
eye open, and that often he would cry out in his sleep, "Boys, the 
Spaniards are coming." He told many Lafitte stories. He had 
seen service with his chief on voyages against the Spanish. Ac- 
cording to his description, these encounters with the Spaniards 
were bloody affairs. Blood ran off the decks like water, and 
when the fight was over, the enemy dead were thrown into the 
sea. One of the most remarkable incidents related by Snyder, 
however, pertained to the storm of 1819. Lafitte, with his four 
ships, was in the bay when the hurricane arose. The storm be- 
came so intense that he decided to go with his vessels to the high 
seas and take his chances there. He headed toward the channel, 
but, as the wind was blowing from the east, he was unable to get 
out that way. He therefore came back and drove his vessels 
straight across the island in six or seven feet of water. 


By J. W. Morris 

Rumor of a pirate ship wrecked at the mouth of the San Ber- 
nard River, Brazoria County, has persisted for more than a cen- 
tury. Colonel Hunnington, who is seventy-eight years old, and 

192 Legends of Texas 

who has lived near the mouth of the San Bernard for sixty years, 
heard of the wrecked privateer from the McNeill family, which 
established itself on the Bernard in 1822. Colonel Hunnington 
says that the ship was wrecked about 1816. It had put into the 
river to escape a great hurricane. The crew buried their golden 
pillage, some say ten million dollars, before the water rose to 
their destruction. When the storm passed, only one pirate re- 
mained alive. Colonel Hunnington says that the buried money 
has never been found, and he believes that it still lies where 
pirate hands placed it more than a hundred years ago. Captain 
William Sterling, who died a few years ago at the age of eighty, 
gave me corroborative evidence concerning the pirate ship. He 
said that during his boyhood he knew a solitary fisherman on 
Matagorda Peninsula who claimed to be the sole survivor of the 
wrecked privateer. He often showed the boy gold coins, which 
he called Spanish doubloons. 

A wild and fascinating legend of the storm-wrecked ship was 
told me many years ago by Doctor Sid Williams, who was then a 
practicing physician near the mouth of Old Caney in Matagorda 
County. Mr. Jacob Smith told the same story. It is ascribed to 
a chief of the Carancaguas Indians, who spoke broken English 
and often visited the white settlers. He said that his tribe had 
always lived along the coast — a fact substantiated by history. A 
small band, of which he was chief, lived in the timber a few 
miles from the San Bernard River, along which clear to its mouth 
grew live oak trees and tough salt cedars. One day a great 
storm came out of the Gulf; the wind blew with fury that in- 
creased as the darkness came, and the waters rose upon the land. 
The chief and his people climbed into the salt cedars, which bent 
with the wind but did not break. After two days the storm passed 
and the tidal waters fell back. Many of the huge live oaks were 
destroyed utterly, and the remainder were so twisted and broken 
that they soon died. Since that time there has been no forest 
along the lowest reaches of the San Bernard. 

As soon as the storm abated, the chief went from his camp to 
the bank of the river, where a pale-face lived alone. He found 
the hermit's body tied with a rope to the splintered stump of a 
tree. There the waves had overwhelmed him. The chief also 
saw, partly in the water and partly on the land, the wreckage 
of a great ship. As he looked, he heard a faint voice. He fol- 
lowed the sound to what had been a cabin, and saw the ghost- 
like form of a white woman chained to the side. She stood with 

Pirates and Pirate Treasure in Legend 193 

difficulty, and presently fainted, perhaps from weariness, per- 
haps from fright at seeing an Indian savage, for the chief made 
a habit of wearing deer antlers on his head. He broke the chain 
from the wall and carried her to the shore and laid her on the 
sand. He bathed her face in cold water, and she revived. She 
told him that her father had been a great chief away back some- 
where, but that he had been misunderstood and had had to leave 
his country. Her husband was governor, she said, of a great 
state. She had been in a ship on the ocean when pirates destroyed 
the ship and killed all aboard it except herself. She was put on 
the pirate ship, which, returning to its Gulf headquarters, had 
been encountered by the storm and driven inland. There was, 
she said, a chest of gold on the wrecked ship, but the Indian could 
not find it. He did find the captain and some of the crew lashed 
to parts of the wreckage, dead. The chief made every effort to 
revive the woman, but she grew steadily weaker. She took from 
her neck a chain and locket and gave them to him. She began 
to sing, very faintly and beautifully. The Great Spirit spread a 
white wigwam around her so that the Indian could not see her. 
The voice sang on into the night, more and more faintly. When 
the morning star rose, the voice was still. At daylight the white 
wigwam was gone, and the woman lay dead. The Indian dug a 
grave with broken pieces of the wrecked ship, laid her there, and 
covered the grave with a broken door from the wreck. No man 
knows where that grave lies. 

The Indian took the locket and chain to some white men, who 
read on the locket the word Theodosia and found within pictures 
of a fine-looking man and a little boy. Long afterward coast 
dwellers told this story in explanation of the mysterious fate of 
Theodosia Burr Allston. 1 

1 Theodosia Burr Allston, daughter of Aaron Burr and wife of Joseph 
Allston, Governor of South Carolina, 1812-1814, set sail from Charleston 
in December of 1813 on the Patriot bound for New York. The vessel was 
never heard of again, and it is supposed to have been wrecked off the coast 
of Hatter as. "Some forty years afterward, however," according to Lamb's 
Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Vol. I, pp. 76-77, "a romantic 
story found credence and went the rounds of the press, to the effect that a 
dying sailor in Detroit had confessed that he had been one of a crew of 
mutineers who, in January, 1813, took possession of the 'Patriot' . . . and 
compelled the crew and passengers, to walk the plank." The New Interna- 
tional Encyclopedia says that "a tradition of uncertain origin" has the 
Patriot to have been taken by pirates. — Editor. 




By Mrs. Bruce Reid 

[Considering the popularity of Texas blue bonnets, it is rather strange 
that legend concerning the flower is not more widespread. Corroborative 
versions prove conclusively that there is a legend. The first version is 
supplied by Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher, of the University of Texas; it 
was given her by a Mrs. Lida Lea of Austin. 

When the first Spanish missionaries came to the Southwest, they brought 
with them the seeds of a blue flower which grew originally on the hillsides 
of Jerusalem. They planted the seeds first within the walls of the mission 
gardens; they sprouted, and, though the soil was alien, the flowers grew and 
bloomed and soon spread far beyond the mission lands. Thus came the blue 
bonnet to Texas. 

Another version of the legend was given to Mrs. Hatcher by a Mexican 
lady from the City of Mexico. She said that she had always heard that 
the flower came to the Southwest in this manner: There was a terrible 
pestilence in the land of the Aztecs. The prayers of the priests and the 
pleadings of the people had brought no relief. At length the voice of the 
god to whom they prayed proclaimed that a living sacrifice of some sinless 
human being must be made to atone for the wickedness of the people. A 
certain Aztec maiden offered to make the sacrifice. Her offer was accepted. 
When she went up to the altar on the hillside, her little bonnet dropped 
from her head without being noticed, and the next morning the ground 
around the altar was covered with flowers in the pattern and color of her 
bonnet, each splotched with the hue of her spilt blood. The pestilence passed. 
Now the Mexicans call the flower el conejo (cotton-tail rabbit) , but in Texas 
it is the blue bonnet. 

This legend is very characteristic of the Southwest. Mr. J. H. Tipps of 
San Antonio saw a cross high on a hill near Roma, Texas. He asked an 
old Mexican why it was there. The Mexican said that it was to com- 
memorate the life of a girl who had saved the community by prayer. A 
terrible drouth was ruining the country, the most terrible ever known. 
There was not a sprig of forage for animal kind to eat; the people were 
starving. Then the girl went up on the mountain to pray for rain. For 
a long, long time she prayed. She prayed until she was no longer con- 
scious. Then it rained, but the girl died before she could be brought down. 
She gave her life, and the cross was erected on top of her Mount of Olives. 

Comparative folk-lorists will associate the springing of the blue bonnet 
from human blood with the Greek legends of the hyacinth and the nar- 
cissus. It is related, too, to the legend of the bleeding heart shamrock, 
said to have first appeared in Saint Roche's Cemetery at New Orleans, from 
the blood spattered on some clover by a lover who stabbed himself to death 
over the grave of his sweetheart. 

The legend told by Mrs. Reid must have come from the Comanches rather 
than from the Cherokees (who did, however, bring with them to Texas the 
legend of the Cherokee Rose). The Cherokees were in Texas only twenty 

198 Legends of Texas 

years, and then hardly into the blue bonnet lands. See "The Last of the 
Cherokees in Texas," by Albert Woldert, Chronicles of Oklahoma, issued 
by the Oklahoma Historical Society, June, 1923, pp. 179-226. — Editor.] 

The teller of legends often adds details to his narrative in order 
to give it reality. I do not pretend that all of the details in the 
following legend are as I heard them, but something like this 
legend was told me by the late "Jack" Mitchell, whose people lived 
for fifty years among the Indians of the piney-woods and cross- 
timbers of Texas. My understanding is that the legend came to 
him either from the Cherokees or the Comanches. There is an- 
other Indian legend about the blue bonnet. It has to do with a 
fight among warriors in the happy hunting grounds, during the 
course of which they knocked from the sky chunks of blue that 
fell to the earth and assumed the form of the blue bonnet. 

There had been a great flood followed by a greater drouth, and 
then on the drouth came a bitter winter of sleet and ice. Even 
in the far south, where the cold breath of winter is seldom felt, 
the woods and grasses of the coastal plains were sheathed with 
a rattling icy armor. All the game was dead or gone. The 
Indian people were starving to death. A dreadful disease had 
broken out among them. It was clear that the Great Spirit had 
indeed turned his face away from his children. Day and night 
the medicine men chanted their incantations, danced to the music 
of the sacred tomtoms, and mutilated their bodies in agony for 
a promise from the angered Spirit. At last the Great Spirit 
spoke. This was his message. In penance for the wrong-doing 
that had brought the evils upon the tribe there must be a burnt 
offering of its most valued possession, and the ashes of this offer- 
ing must be scattered to the east and to the west, to the north 
and to the south. 

Now among those who sat in discreet and becoming silence, 
beyond the anxious warriors gathered about the fires, was a little 
maid, too young for the heavy burdens of Indian womanhood to 
have yet begun to fall upon her small shoulders. Hidden among 
the folds of her scanty garments she tightly clasped a tiny figure 
of white fawn-skin, rudely shaped into the likeness of a papoose, 
with long braids of black horse-hair, and eyes, nose, and mouth 
painted on it with the juice of various berries. This figure the 
little maid had robed in a skirt, mantle, and high head-dress, out 
of the feathers of a bird of the rarest of hues in nature — the big, 
proudly crested, black-collared bird that calls "Jay ! Jay !" through 
the topmost branches of the tallest and largest trees. Very, very 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 199 

beautiful were the feathers of this bird, soft, richly blue as the 
late afternoon skies when they clear after showers which have 
lasted through a day; and as an older mother loves her living 
child, so did the little maid love her deer-skin baby. Almost 
would she rather have died than have parted with it. Well she 
knew that it was by far the most precious of things owned by the 
tribe; and her heart was very heavy indeed for the rest of that 
day, and the part of a night that she lay beside her mother in their 
tepee, sleepless for that she saw her duty so clearly. 

At last she arose, and stooping to lift from the smouldering 
fire within the tepee a bit of wood, one end of which was a glow- 
ing coal, she slipped out into the night. Under the twinkling, 
frosty stars she knelt, and prayed that her offering might be ac- 
cepted and the fact of the acceptance made known to her. 

Then blinking her eyes to keep back the tears, which an Indian 
child early learns must never be shed, she made a fire of twigs and 
grasses, and thrust her beloved papoose deep down into the glow- 
ing heart of the blaze, till the last bit of skin and shred of feather 
were consumed to ashes. The ashes she carefully scooped up in 
the hollow of her hand and scattered, to the east and the west, to 
the north and the south. Then putting out what remained of the 
fire, she patted the earth smooth and flat again. 

As she did this last she felt beneath her palms something as 
fine and soft as the plumage with which she had clothed her doll 
— something that had not been in that place upon the ground when 
she cleared it to make her little fire. Believing that this might 
be the sign for which she had prayed, she would have picked up 
what lay against her hand, but she found it to be rooted in the 

So, returning to the tepee, she waited until morning and then 
with her mother, whom she told of what she had done, she went 
to the place where she had burned the little deer-skin papoose. 
But all about, as far as the ashes had traveled upon the early 
spring night breeze, was nothing but a blanket of such flowers 
as had never before enriched the landscape; and their thick tas- 
sels, in so great a profusion as nearly to hide the tender green of 
their leaves, were of the same deep, deep blue as the feathers of 
the bird that calls "Jay ! Jay !" through the high tree-tops. 

When the chief of the medicine men heard the story told by 
the mother and daughter, and saw for himself the expanse of 
blue flowers, he called the tribe together, and solemnly informed 
them that the command of the Great Spirit had been obeyed and 

200 Legends of Texas 

the sacrifice accepted, and that the evil which had for so long 
pursued them would now be at an end. 

It was even so. At once the plains and the open places, between 
lines and clumps of trees, began to renew their verdure, scat- 
tered over with gayly colored wild flowers; the birds and four- 
footed things came back to raise their families; and the tribal 
crops, natural and cultivated, gave every sign of abundant har- 

In place of the name the little maid had borne, another was 
given her, a name of many musically flowing syllables, the mean- 
ing of which, in the red men's tongue, was "she who dearly loves 
her people." 

Because the great shaggy animals, whose herds of old thun- 
dered across the far-flung prairies, were so fond of its succulent 
green abundance, the blue flower was called an Indian name 
which the pale-faces translated into "buffalo clover." After 
the manner of its class of plant, it bore prodigious quantities 
of fertile seed and rapidly extended the limits of its growth. 



By Bella French Swisher 

[This sentimental legend is not an invention of Bella French Swisher's, 
who was given to turning legends to literary uses, but not to manufacturing 
them. I have heard of it from a lady who grew up on the San Marcos 
and was familiar with the story of the Indian lovers forty-five years ago. 
It is akin to another Indian legend of the same flower, Castalia elegans, 
according to which a star maiden fell in love with the red people of the 
earth and came down to live among them in the form of a water lily. This 
latter legend is quoted from the Grolier Society's The Book of Knowledge, 
by Kate Peel Anderson in the Houston Chronicle, September 16, 1923, page 8. 
The San Marcos version is probably appropriated from some other stream. 
— Editor.] 

1 Reprinted from The American Sketch Book {Texas Pioneer Magazine) , 
Vol. I (Vol. IV), 1879, p. 146; "republished by request" in Vol. II (Vol. V), 
1880, pp. 91-92. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 201 

All pearly and bright, by the day and the night, 

(Beautiful, beautiful river) 
Reflecting the sky and the clouds passing by, 

Flows the San Marcos forever. 

The lilies arise in their damp paradise, 

And they open their petals in glory; 
But on every leaf is written, in brief, 
Such a sweet little Indian story! 

Far back in a day when the red men held sway, 

On the banks of the beautiful river, 
An Indian maid of the world grew afraid, 
And gave back her sweet life to the Giver. 

A princess was she of a royal degree. 

Who had loved far beneath her high station; 
She suffered the blame, the sorrow and shame, 

Like a maid of some wealthier nation. 

But her heart-strings were torn, when one bright April morn, 

He was slain — her most worshipful lover. 
On the green banks he lay, all the long, weary day, 

With only the sky for a cover. 

But just at the night, when the star-beams were bright, 

Her despair gave her power to sever 
The terrible bands, that imprisoned her hands, 

And she fled to the banks of the river, 

To the spot where he lay 'mid the shadows so gray, 
Colder still than the bright pearly water. 
Just a prayer and a breath, and they met there in death, 
The slain lover and the chieftain's mad daughter. 

But the breath and the prayer, as a seedling fell there, 

Though the waters were ever so chilly. 
They discovered her not, but morn found on the spot 

Where she died, a white water-lily. 

Since then, waxen and white, in the sun's golden light, 

And as well in the evening glooming, 
May ever be seen, 'mid their foliage green 

In the water, the white lilies blooming. 

And e'er since that day, tradition doth say, 

Have the Indians shunned the fair river; 
Though pearly and bright, by day and by night, 

Flows the San Marcos forever. 

Reprinted from the Morning Star, Houston, 1839 

[The following legend (reference to which was contributed by Mr. E. W. 
Winkler, Librarian of the University of Texas) is taken from the first daily 
newspaper of Texas, the Morning Star, Houston, June 13, 1839, Vol. I, 
No. 56, pp. 2-3, which in turn reprinted it from the Richmond Telescope. 
A week after the Morning Star printed the legend, the Telegraph and Texas 
Register reprinted it, June 19, 1839. A few typographical errors have been 
corrected in this reprinting and some of the original punctuation has been 

202 Legends of Texas 

redistributed. The legend of how Eagle Lake got its name has persisted 
down to the present day, but this version is probably the oldest that we shall 
ever find. 

A version with many changes was published in The American Sketch Book 
{Texas Pioneer Magazine), Austin, Vol. VII, No. 2 (1881), pp. 99-102. 
The article in which it is embodied is unsigned, but the legend itself is said 
to be "fresh from the pen of Mrs. F. Darden" [Mrs. F. A. D. Darden], and 
it is apparently quoted from some other publication. According to this 
version, one of the lovers, Sonoto, was old and fierce; the other, Gray Cloud, 
was youthful and bold. The tree that the rivals climbed was a cottonwood. 
Gray Cloud reached the nest first and had grasped one of the eaglets to 
bring it down when he was assaulted by the fierce parent eagle. Sonoto 
seized the opportunity to hurl his opponent to the ground a hundred feet 
below. Out in the lake were the Indians, watching the contest from their 
canoes. When she saw her lover's fate, the maiden, Forest Flower, began 
the death chant; then she leaped into the water and was drowned. Later 
the two lovers were buried side by side at the foot of the tree. 

The Eagle Lake Headlight, according to its editor, Mr. Bruce W. McCarty, 
printed in 1903 a version of the legend written by Mrs. Emma Duke, now 
dead. A year ago another version, in verse form, "written for the Eagle 
Lake Chamber of Commerce" by Mrs. H. W. Carothers, formerly of Eagle 
Lake but now of Houston, and printed on a folio leaflet for popular distri- 
bution, was sent me by the mayor of Eagle Lake. It shows all the crassitude 
of modern "boosting." In it a smug young Indian gets the eaglet and 
presents it to the maiden — his success an emblem of "the spirit of endeavor" 
that characterizes the modern "progressive" inhabitants of Eagle Lake! Mr. 
Louis Landa, who is Oldright fellow at the University of Texas and whose 
home is at Eagle Lake, says that the legend in one form or another is com- 
mon in the vicinity. 

Thus may be traced over a period of almost a century the progress of 
what was originally a very simple, a very dramatic, and a beautiful legend. 
— Editor.] 

Eagle Lake is a beautiful sheet of water, about seven miles in 
circumference, and is connected by a bayou bearing the same 
name — a kind of outlet — with the Colorado. That body of land 
through which Eagle Lake Bayou passes may be said to be with- 
out exceptions the most fertile in the world. Besides its qualities 
of unsurpassed fruitfulness, there is no part of the known west- 
ern hemisphere where the common grape grows so abundantly or 
abounds so spontaneously. 

A large sycamore tree is shown on the west shore of the lake, 
where a large eagle, the Falco W ashing tonianis, built her nest. 
The remains of the nest are there, consisting of branches of trees 
and tufts of grass, which hang fully 110 feet from the surface 
of the earth below. The bird was called by the inhabitants of the 
country the king eagle, and its nest was considered inaccessible. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 203 

The "king eagle's nest" and "eagle's water's wave" were prover- 
bial phrases with the various tribes of Indians in western Texas. 

The daughter of an Indian chief — a beautiful, dark-eyed girl — 
was wooed by two young warriors of equal pretensions to con- 
sideration among the Indians. Each was anxious to obtain the 
hand of the fawn-like damsel of the woods, and each, no doubt, 
loved with all the ardor and fervency, simplicity and sincerity, of 
a rude youth of the forest. To say which should become the hus- 
band of his daughter was a great perplexity to the mind of the 
maiden's father. He had his political interests to strengthen and 
his views to carry out, as have greater men in greater nations. 
After many cogitations he resolved upon the following plan by 
which the suitors themselves could give a decision. 

It was in the summer season, and the "great eagle" had hatched 
her young. The old chief's plan was no more nor less than that 
the young man of the two in question who could bring him the 
young eagles alive, by a certain time, without cutting down the 
tree, should have his daughter. The proposition was accepted, 
and the rival lovers set out to procure, if possible, the young 
eagles. Each prepared himself with a raw-hide rope to throw 
over some limb of the tree, which could be fastened and facilitate 
the ascent. They both arrived alone and about the same time at 
the king eagle's tree. 

Each had precisely the other's means to come at the young 
eagles, and the other's means seemed to each so sure to succeed 
that neither would consent for the other to make the first at- 
tempt; whereupon arose a dispute, a quarrel, and a fight, which 
terminated in the immediate death of one, and the infliction of a 
mortal wound upon the other, who died a few days after the 
combat upon the spot where they had fought, being unable from 
debility to leave it. 

Meantime the maiden, becoming anxious for their return, and 
apprehending some such catastrophe, seized her father's spear 
and hastened to the place. She arrived there in the afternoon 
of the day on which the last one of the two lovers breathed his 
last. Frantic with frenzy and despair, she plunged the lance 
into her own breast, and died as she had always lived, in the lan- 
guage of the Indian who related the story, "the wife of no one." 

Ever afterwards the spot was regarded with a superstitious 
veneration by every tribe of Indians to whom was related their 
hapless story. Once in every seven moons the young men and 

204 Legends of Texas 

maidens assembled to consecrate the spot, and each time they 
erected a cenotaph of flowers to their memory. Thus Eagle Lake 
took a name by which it is now known and will ever be. 


By E. G. Little john 

[Fray Don Antonio Margil de Jesus was one of the most active of Spanish 
missionaries in Texas during the first quarter of the eighteenth century, 
preaching and founding missions. Legend has remembered him well. The 
Margil Vine is named for him, the legend of which is told in History and 
Legends of The Alamo and Other Missions, by Miss Adina de Zavala, under 
the title "Legend of the First Christmas at the Alamo." But the most re- 
markable Margil legend — and this told by Mr. Littlejohn is but a variant 
of it — is that connected with the origin of the San Antonio River. It has 
been realistically told by Major Charles Merritt Barnes in his Combats and 
Conquests of Immortal Heroes, pages 76-79, and retold by Mrs. Wright. 1 
According to Major Barnes, he heard it in 1875 from a venerable San An- 
tonian of Spanish blood. 

Father Margil was with a company of priests and soldiers spying out the 
land when they were almost overcome by the heat and drouth. At length 
they came into a valley where there was green grass for the horses but not 
a drop of water. The priests kneeled under a tree to pray for water, and 
as he prayed Father Margil's eye fell on bunches of mustang grapes above 
him. With praises to God, he began to climb for the juicy fruit. While he 
was reaching for a cluster, he fell. In falling, he swung to the grapevine 
and somehow uprooted it with a sudden jerk. Then from the hole left by the 
root a plenteous and refreshing spring of water gushed out. Thus was the 
origin of what is now called the San Antonio River. 

Finally, at the very moment of his death, which was in the City of Mexico, 
August 2, 1726, all the mission bells in Texas, so legend runs, rang out of 
their own accord, without hands. 2 — Editor.] 

The story of the "Holy Spring of Father Margil," as it is called 
in the country around Nacogdoches, was told by H. C. Fuller in 
the Galveston News more than twenty years ago. The spring is 
situated just back of the city cemetery of Nacogdoches, over- 
looking La Nana Creek. Every other spring in the neighborhood 
has gone dry, but this one has never been known to cease its 

x Wright, Mrs. S. J., San Antonio de Bexar, Austin, 1916, pp. 121-122. 
2 De Zavala, Adina, History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions, 
page 150. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 205 

abundant flow. By some devout people its waters are thought 
to have healing power. The story of its miraculous origin runs 
as follows. 

In 1716, or thereabout, the zealous Franciscan missionary, 
Father Margil, visited the Nacogdoches country, preaching to the 
Indians and projecting missions. His work accomplished, he and 
a few devoted followers started back for San Antonio, then the 
headquarters of the missionary movement. It was midsummer, 
the heat was terrific, and a burning drouth had made the whole 
country as dry as a rock. As Father Margil's band traveled on 
and found no water, they began to suffer from thirst, but they 
felt sure that they would come to water in La Nana Creek. 
Imagine their disappointment upon arriving to find the bed as 
parched as the banks. 

Overcome with heat, thirst, and fatigue, the entire party, with 
the exception of Father Margil, sat dejectedly on the ground. 
Taking his walking staff, Father Margil set out down the creek 
in search of water. About four hundred yards from where his 
companions lamented, he observed signs of moisture upon a high 
bluff overlooking the creek; here he knelt and prayed that like 
Moses he might be allowed to find water. Then with full faith 
he arose and smote with his staff the rock whereon he stood. 
Immediately there issued forth a living stream of cool, clear 
water. He tasted of it and hastily ran for his companions. 
Then they all drank and went on their way rejoicing at their mi- 
raculous deliverance. 

By L. W. Payne, Jr. 

This story, or legend, came to me in 1911 from a University of 
Texas student named W. Higgins, who got it from a guide called 
"Doctor" Barton on a camping trip up the Canadian River near 
the Oklahoma boundary line. Mr. Higgins admits that he has 
used his imagination somewhat in writing the legend, but says 
that its basis is real legend. 

"Well," began the "Doctor," "see that tall rocky cliff over there? 
There's kind of a legen' 'bout that. Seems like durin' early times 

a Note the striking resemblance in plot to Lanier's ballad "The Revenge of 
Hamish." — Editor. 

206 Legends of Texas 

there was a man an' his family a-livin' out here on this side the 
river, not so fur away. He had a mighty beautiful little baby, 
'bout two years old. Besides her, there was three or four older 
children ; then their ma and pa. There was lots of Indians livin' 
on th' other side the river, near the bluff; and some lived in the 
cliff. Yes, they did. But I think they just kept their bows and 
arrers in there, for I don't see how they could breathe good. An' 
in this day an' time everybody's tryin' to get all the fresh air they 
can. But maybe them kind of people didn't need air. Well, any- 
how, some of them Indians was on mighty good terms with these 
white folks. One old Indian in partikler. He used to climb down 
the cliff an' come 'cross the river in his boat to see his neighbors. 
He used to take th' little two-year-old in his canoe for a ride, 
sometimes. Mighty queer they would let him do it, but they did 

"One day the white settler an' the Indian had a fuss. What 
'bout, I don't zactly recollect; but seems like the white man hit 
the Indian with a piece of wood. He had tried to make the Indian 
do some dirty work for him, an' when the red-skin refused, the 
white man beat him nearly to death. The Indian swore revenge. 
He went home terr'ble mad. He didn't go to see the settlers for 
a long time. They kind-a missed him too. 

"But one day they looked out and saw him a-crossing the river. 
They didn't know whe'r to be glad or sorry. The Indian dragged 
the canoe up on the shore and came straight to their hut. He 
looked happy and glad to see them. They was glad to see him too, 
I can tell you. 

"Finally he took the little girl and started down to the canoe. 
He pushed 'cross the river. It took him a long time, for you all 
know this here river is pretty wide. He climbed the cliff with 
the child in his arms. He'd never done this before. The white 
man got scared. He called loud to the chief to come back; for 
an answer the Indian turned 'round and looked at the man with 
a horrible grin. Then he climbed on to the top of the cliff. When 
he reached the top, he stopped, threw up his hand to the anxious 
folks on the other side, and with a deadly Indian whoop, leaped 
over the cliff into this here river. 

"'What did the child's parents do?' you ask. Nothin'; there 
wasn't nothin' to do. The Indian and baby was both dead. But 
the folks moved away and never was heard of agin. We call the 
place Indian Bluff, and now you know why." 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 207 



By L. W. Payne, Jr. 

This legend was contributed by a University of Texas student 
named W. A. Darter, from Hardeman County, a number of years 
ago. He says that though some of the details are "made up" the 
main incidents are based on legendary material current in the 
country of the Mounds. 

The Medicine Mounds, as they are called today, are located in 
Hardeman County, about nine miles southeast of Quanah. They 
are four in number and extend north and south in a direct line. 
The tallest one stands to the north two thousand feet above the 
surrounding country. The lowest one stands to the south of the 
other three, fifteen hundred feet lower than the tallest one. The 
other two are of such heights that if a line were determined by 
their peaks, it would pass through the top points of the two 
extreme ones. To the west of these mounds, running almost north 
and south, is a deep-worn trail said by the old settlers to have 
been a buffalo trail. About these mounds and about this trail 
especially are to be found today many flint arrow-heads that the 
Indians let fly at the buffaloes as they passed back and forth on 
these hills. 

On the top of the tallest mound, there is a great, flat, over- 
hanging rock. This rock, the Indians used to say, was the dwelling 
place of a good spirit. From this position one can see the sur- 
rounding country for miles and miles ; and it was on this account 
that the good spirit took up its abode there. While the red man 
was in search of game, the good spirit would direct his arrows 
straight toward the mark; and while he was on the war path, 
this good spirit would also help him to defeat his enemies. 

Now, during early days, a tribe of Indians were roaming over 
this rich country, killing big game with their arrows and big fish 
with their spears. And in this tribe, as in every tribe, was a 
medicine man. This medicine man had a beautiful daughter 
who had been asked to become the first squaw of the brave young 
chief. But she was sick with a fever, and she became worse as 
time passed on. Her father had done all he could for her. He 
had driven away all the evil spirits that, by his many devices, 
he could drive away, and at the same time he had brought in all 
the good spirits that he could in order that they might help her; 

208 Legends of Texas 

but his beautiful daughter only grew worse. He had mixed his 
different medicines in every way that he could think of, but all 
in vain. At last he despaired of saving her. He went outside 
of the little wigwam, squatted down, and prayed to the good 
spirit that dwelt upon the high rock. 

Instantly almost, the expression of his face changed from gloom 
to hope. The idea had come to him that if he would but mix 
his medicine on the rock, the remedy would in some way receive 
the power of the good spirit. He returned for one more glance 
at his daughter, and then, pulling his bright-colored blanket 
about him, left for the high rock. 

It was not long before he returned. He found his daughter 
resting well. He felt her face; it was not so hot as it had been 
when he left. He stopped and looked. Had he lost her? Then 
he thought of the good spirit and the medicine. It was his last 
hope. He gave it. 

Outside the wigwam, the medicine man once more drew his 
blanket tightly about him and squatted down. He prayed for 
many hours — he knew not how many. It was nearing evening 
when he heard a faint voice calling him by name; it was the 
voice of his daughter. He rose as if he had been on springs; 
and in two steps, he was by her side. The fever had left her 
while he was away, and she had simply fallen into a deep sleep. 
The good spirit had saved her. 

From this time on, the medicine man did not forget the good 
spirit on the high rock ; and it is said that every year thereafter 
he went regularly to these mounds in order to instil some of this 
good spirit into his medicine. From this habit of the medicine 
man, these hills have been called the Medicine Mounds. 


By Alex. Dienst 

Metheglin Creek of Bell County is the only creek, so far as I 
can learn, in the United States bearing its name. The account 
of how it got its unique name I have derived from old-timers fa- 
miliar with the naming, and just this year the facts as given below 
were confirmed to me by the son of the pioneer Morrison. 

One of the oldest pioneer settlers of Bell County was a ranch- 
man named Morrison. He settled in the extreme northwest part 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 209 

of Bell County, and his land extended into Coryell County. His 
home was close to an unnamed creek. Like many other pioneers 
of unexceptionable character, he was inclined to imbibe too freely 
at times. His wife never called him by any other name than 
"Honey," a fact well known to the neighbors. One day his wife 
asked "Honey" to fetch her a bucket of water from the creek. 
He was pretty well "shot" when he leaned over to fill the bucket, 
and fell into the creek. A waggish neighbor who witnessed the 
accident instantly christened the creek "Metheglin" — a mixture 
of honey and water. And Metheglin Creek has been the name 
ever since. 

Metheglin was a favorite improvised drink of Texas pioneers. 
It was a mixture of honey and water, boiled, fermented, and then 
spiced to suit. 

By Victor J. Smith 

This brief account of a name was secured from Mr. E. E. 
Townsend, sheriff of Brewster County. Shortly after 1880 Gen- 
eral Geno, of the United States Army, and a party of surveyors 
were making their way down the Rio Grande when they entered 
the upper mouth of a rugged canyon. To proceed with their 
horses meant a detour of many miles via Fort Stockton. To 
continue travel directly meant that they must abandon horses 
and use the river for transportation. It was finally decided to 
proceed down the river on rafts. In order to prevent their 
mounts from falling into the hands of Indians and being used in 
forays against the whites, the exploring party shot all their 
horses, some thirty or forty head. To this day the rugged 
canyon through which the Rio Grande winds its way for several 
hundred miles above Del Rio is called Dead Horse Canyon. 

By J. Frank Dobie 

The Spanish word brazo means arm. The word, like its English 
equivalent, has a wide pictorial use; thus the Spanish speak of 
un brazo (an arm) of the sea, and as applied to streams the word 

210 Legends of Texas 

may mean fork or branch. The complete name of the great Texas 
river as given by the Spanish was Los Brazos de Dios — The Arms 
of God. The name is remarkable, and in attempting to explain 
its origin legend has been no less remarkable. Old histories have 
contributed to the legend. At last, the history of the naming 
of the stream is clear ; yet the name itself has something of mys- 
tery that will always provoke speculation. 

According to Miss Eleanor Claire Buckley, 1 when the Spaniards 
of the Aguayo Expedition in 1621 struck what is now called Little 
River, in Bell County, they called it "Espiritu Santo (Holy Ghost), 
having reached it on the eve of Pentecost. As will be remem- 
bered, the Brazos had, in 1690, been given the name of Espiritu 
Santo or Colorado by De Leon, who, however, had struck it before 
its branching (Diario, entry for May 14). In the next expedition, 
1691, Massanet, though he knew that it had been called the 
Espiritu Santo, named it the San Francisco Solano (Diario, entry 
for July 24) ; while Teran, 'though the natives called it the Colo- 
rado/ named it the San Geronimo (Demarcation, entry for July 
25). Espinosa and Ramon, in 1716, crossed Little River just 
above its junction with the Brazos. The former did not give 
it any name ; the latter called it la Trinidad. Both of them called 
the Brazos proper la Trinidad, thinking doubtless that it was the 
river that De Leon had named thus in 1690 (Diario and Derro- 
tero, entries for June 14). Rivera called it the 'Colorado o de 
los Brazos de Dios' (Diario, entry for August 30)." "It may be 
noted," adds Dr. Bolton, "that the name los Brazos de Dios was 
applied to the Little River and to the main Brazos, and not to the 
main Brazos and the Little Brazos." 

But why the arms de Dios? asks legend. I have heard that 
Corpus Christi was named through belief that the sacred words 
would act as a protection against harm to the inhabitants of the 
place. Probably the old custom, still maintained in Catholic 
countries, of giving holy or sainted names had its origin in some 
such belief. Many other streams in Texas than the Brazos were 
given holy names; as, the Trinidad (Trinity), the Navidad (Na- 
tivity), and the Arroyo de las Benditas Animas (Creek of the 
Blessed Souls) . Thrall says that the Trinidad and Navidad were 
so named because they were discovered on Trinity Sunday and 
Christmas day respectively. 2 He offers no authority. 

x In a note to "The Aguayo Expedition into Texas and Louisiana, 1719- 
1722," Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. XV, p. 39. 
2 Thrall, H. S., A History of Texas, New York, 1876, p. 37. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 211 

The version of the Brazos legend to be quoted presently from 
Mollie E. Moore Davis' Under the Man-Fig goes back at least a 
century to Austin's colonists, who, in all likelihood, derived it 
from the Spanish. It is probably the source of all the other ver- 
sions and seems to be by far the best known. Incidentally, it 
appears in a book replete with folk-lore — one of the half dozen 
best Texas novels. The scene of Under the Man-Fig is Columbia, 
on the Brazos River, in Brazoria County. Now, among the old- 
est inhabitants of Columbia is Mr. J. P. Underwood, whose mother 
was one of the "first three hundred" of Austin's colonists. Act- 
ing upon a request, Mrs. V. M. Taylor of Angleton secured from 
Mr. Underwood his version of how the Brazos got its name. Mrs. 
Taylor writes: 

"Hostile Indians were pursuing a body of Indians under 
the care of the Catholics who were trying to reach the 
Tockanhono, 'mighty water of the Tejas.' They reached it 
in time to gain the opposite shore, but the hostiles trying to 
follow were swept away by a mighty current. The joy of 
the padre and company was expressed by their calling the 
Tockanhono (Indian name) 'Los Brazos de Dios' — The Arms 
of God. Mr. Underwood gave me the account as above, say- 
ing that it is the true version of the origin of Los Brazos as 
he heard it from old settlers of Austin's colonies." 

It will be noted that Mr. Underwood says nothing of the 
"mission" that figures so largely in Mrs. Davis' account. There 
was no Spanish mission on the Brazos ; Nuestra Senora de la Luz 
was a mission on the not distant Trinity, and at it there was a 
miraculous escape, but from fire, not from water. 3 The mission 
is but ambiguously hinted in a song entitled "Los Brazos de Dios," 4 
written years ago by Mrs. Laura Bryan Parker, formerly of Hous- 
ton, now of Washington City. Another poetic version, 5 printed in 

3 Captain Rafael Martinez Pacheco, 1763, escaped unseen and unscorched 
from the presidio in which he was besieged. According to Mrs. Mattie 
Austin Hatcher, Archivist in History at the University of Texas, the legend 
is to be pieced out from the Bexar achives. For some facts of the case, 
see Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 111-112. 

4 For a copy of the song, I am indebted to Mrs. V. M. Taylor of Angleton. 

5 "The Arms of God" by Claude M. Girardeau of Galveston, in The Texas 
Magazine, Houston, May, 1897, II, 431-434. About this time Mrs. Davis' 
books seem to have been popular with readers of The Texas Magazine, two 
reviews of her work having appeared in it during the preceding twelve 

212 Legends of Texas 

1897, makes use of the mission, but the details of this poem seem 
to have been taken entirely from Mrs. Davis' narrative. It may 
be, after all, that the mission is borrowed from the San Saba, 
and that the fifth and last version of the legend given in this 
compilation is the oldest of all versions. 

It is to be observed that in its lower reaches the Brazos does 
not come down with a sudden sweep like a mountain canyon, a 
fact that would still further indicate a borrowing from some up- 
land stream, such as the San Saba or higher Colorado. 

But it is high time to get to Mrs. Davis' complete, if somewhat 
belletristic, tale. 6 


The Miraculous Escape 

"The name of the river is Los Brazos de Dios, which is to say, 
The Arms of God. 

"The bed of it is very deep ; and the color of the water — when 
it creeps sluggishly along between its banks, so shallow in places 
that the blue heron may wade it without wetting his knees — is the 
color of tarnished brass. But when it comes roaring down from 
the far-away Redlands, a solid foam-crested wall, leaping upward 
a foot a minute, and spreading death and destruction into the 
outlying lowlands, then it is as red as spilled blood. 

"On its banks, more than a century and a half ago, a handful 
of barefoot Franciscan friars, who had prayed and fought their 
way across the country from Mexico, founded the Presidio of 
St. Jago, and corralled within the boundary walls a flock of 
Yndios reducidos. 

"There were the stately church, cloistered and towered and rose- 
windowed — a curious flower of architecture abloom in the savage 
wilderness — and the blockhouse with its narrow loopholes, and 
the hut into which the Indian women were thrust at night under 
lock and key. 

"The mighty forest and open prairies around teemed with 
Yndios bravos, who hated the burly, cassocked, fighting monks, 
and their own Christianized tribesmen. 

"These came, in number like the leaves of the live oak, to hurl 
themselves against the Presidio. And, after many days of hard 

6 Davis (Mrs.), M. E. M., Under the Man-Fig, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 
Boston, 1895, pp. 1-3. Reprinted by permission. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 213 

fighting, the single friar who remained alive turned his eyes 
away from the demolished church, and, under cover of smoke 
from the burning blockhouse, led the remnant of Yndios reducidos 
(who because they had learned to pray had not forgotten how to 
fight) out of the enclosure by a little postern-gate, and down the 
steep bank to the yellow thread of the river below. 

"Midway of the stream — thridding the ankle-deep water — they 
were, before the red devils above discovered their flight. The 
demoniac yell from a thousand throats pushed them like a bat- 
tering ram up the opposite bank, whence, looking back, they saw 
the bed of the River Tockonhono swarming with their foes. 
Then the Yndios reducidos opened their lips and began to chant 
the death-song of the Nainis ; and the friar, lifting his hand, com- 
mended their souls and his own to the God who gives and who 
takes away. 

"But, lo, a miracle ! 

"Even as the waves of the Red Sea — opened by the rod of Moses 
for the passage of his people — closed upon Pharaoh and his host, 
so, with the hoarse roar of a wild beast springing upon his prey, 
the foam-crested wall of water fell upon the Yndios bravos, and 
not a warrior of them all came forth from the river bed but as a 
bruised and beaten corpse. 

"So the friar, falling on his knees, gave thanks. And the river, 
which was the Tockonhono, became from that day Los Brazos de 
Dios, which is to say, The Arms of God. 

"Such is the legend of the river." 


How Perishing Seamen Named the River 

The following account comes from Mrs. A. F. Shannon of 
Velasco, who was reared near the mouth of the Brazos. Velasco, 
be it remembered, was, in ancient days, a port of many ships — 
the rival of Galveston. Whether or not this legend is indigenous 
to the mouth of the Brazos cannot be asserted ; however, it is but 
natural that in such a place the legend should be connected with 
the sea. 

Now this is Mrs. Shannon's version: "My uncle said that he 
always heard the story like this. A ship out in the Gulf was 
without water, and the crew were parched with thirst. Suddenly, 
one of them saw a muddy current reaching far out into the clear 

214 Legends of Texas 

blue of the salt water. The ship followed the current to a wide 
river, which was on a great rise and so threw its muddy waters 
far out to sea. It must have been a Spanish ship. The crew 
drank the saving fresh water, and in gratitude named the un- 
known stream Los Brazos de Dios — the Arms of God." 


The Great Drouth and the Waters at Waco 

The third legend is connected with the famous "Bowie," or Los 
Almagres, Mine on the San Saba. Like many other legends, it 
came to me from West Burton of Austin. He got it from an old 
man named White, now living out in the Big Bend country, but 
formerly of Mason or thereabouts. According to Burton, White 
got the account, written on a parchment, from a grateful old 
Mexican whom he had befriended in a spell of sickness. The 
Mexican claimed to have secured the parchment from his grand- 
father, the date it bore being over one hundred and fifty years 
old. When the aged Mexican took sick on Mr. White's place in 
Mason County, he was traveling through the country with a crude 
Mexican cart and two burros, looking for two dugouts somewhere 
between the old San Saba Mission or mines and the site of the 
Waco Indian village, which was located at about the present site 
of Waco. As the parchment reads, thirty-six (or it may be forty- 
six, Burton says) jack loads of silver bullion were buried in these 
two dugouts. 

It was a time of terrible drouth. The drouth had lasted two 
years and the little colony of Spaniards at San Saba had gone on 
mining with their captive Indians and their peons until the 
Indians had deserted, the peons had died, and there was absolutely 
no water left in the river or springs. Each month the band of 
Spaniards hoped that the next new moon would bring rain, but 
no rain came, and they knew that in the nearly always dry region 
towards Mexico, the drouth must be even worse. So, instead of 
going south towards San Antonio as they would normally have 
gone, the Spaniards set out eastward toward the village of the 
Waco Indians. They had often heard of a great river flowing by 
the Wacos' camp, and there they hoped to find water. They left 
not a soul or a hoof behind, but packed on the burros their little 
store of provisions and what bullion they had accumulated, well 
knowing that they could not return until the drouth was broken. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 215 

At Las Chanas (the Llano), they found a dry bed; the Colorado 
was as dry as the top of a rock. Arrived at the Lampasas 
Springs, they found a little water, a great deal of mud, and 
dead buffaloes covering the ground. They pulled some of the 
dead buffaloes out of the bog, got a little stinking water, and 
slowly moved on. But the burros were poor from want of grass 
and starved from want of water. To carry the heavy bullion 
much farther was impossible. The provisions had to be taken at 
any price. So two small dugouts were made in the side of a hill, 
the bullion was buried therein, and after the captain of the band 
had called on all to witness the marks of the place, the cavalcade 
moved on. 

The trail on eastward was marked by dead beasts and dead men, 
but at last, depleted in numbers and wasted in fortune, the trav- 
elers arrived at the village of the Wacos. There they found a 
great river flowing clear and fresh, and when they had drunk and 
had seen their beasts drink, they knelt down to give God thanks, 
and the padre with them blessed the stream and called it Los 
Brazos de Dios — the Arms of God. 

The Spanish built a kind of rude fort and waited. The drouth 
kept on for three more years. Los Brazos still flowed clear and 
sweet, and memories of the rich mines and the rich bullion left 
behind began to grow dim. But at last the drouth broke and the 
grass and weeds sprang from the earth with a great rush. The 
grass grew so quickly that a powerful and fierce tribe of Indians 
was down upon the Spaniards before they could leave. Their 
little settlement was annihilated. Only one man lived to get 
back to Mexico, and that years later when he was old and feeble ; 
he was so broken that he had no desire ever again to come into 
the region of the terrible drouth. But a while before he died 
he wrote out on a piece of parchment the history of that search 
across the desert for water, the directions, as well as he could give 
them, to the buried bullion, and this account of the settlement and 
disaster on the river called Los Brazos de Dios. The hidden dug- 
outs with their wealth have never been found, and history has 
forgot to record that tragic episode of the first Spanish settlement 
on the Brazos. 


A Miraculous Swim 

The meager details of this legend were supplied by Mr. Charles 
B. Qualia, Instructor in Spanish at the University of Texas. He 

216 Legends of Texas 

says in explanation: "I heard or read the story when I was a 
child — where or under what circumstances, I know not." 

A Franciscan, so the legend goes, was running for his life from 
some terrible pursuer. He came to the river, which was so 
swollen and turbulent that no human being could hope to swim 
across it. The waters were swirling around tree tops on the 
banks, and in the middle of the stream great drift trunks were 
sweeping by. Nevertheless, he plunged in and was miraculously 
enabled to reach the other side. After he had looked at his help- 
less pursuer standing far away on the opposite bank and after 
he had gazed steadily at the waters he had escaped, he kneeled, 
and, thanking God, said that his deliverance was by "los brazos 
de Dios." After that time the phrase came to be applied to the 

In some way this version may be connected with the "Legend 
of the Monk's Leap" as told by Gustave Aimard, in his The Free- 
booters, A Story of the Texan War. 7 In this legend a pursued 
monk is helped over a gorge near Galveston by two angels. 
However, Aimard was one of the most brazen liars that ever lived, 
and he probably made up the legend as f acilely as he made up his- 
tory and geography. 


Arms Avenging and Saving 

The following account from Kennedy's History of Texas 8 has 
been contributed by Mr. E. G. Little John. As I have suggested, 
it may, after all, be the original of the better known version 
quoted from Mrs. Davis. The endless confusion among the earlier 
Spanish regarding the nomenclature of rivers is fully set 
forth in the extract from Miss Buckley's article on the Aguayo 
Expedition already quoted. Thrall makes the matter a little too 
simple perhaps when he says: "The Spaniards gave the name 
of Brazos de Dios to the Colorado, and Rio Colorado to the 
Brazos, but blundering geographers afterwards interchanged their 

7 Aimard, Gustave, The Freebooters, A Story of the Texan War, Chapter 
XXIII, Philadelphia [date not given]. The novel came out in France 
around 1858 or 1860. 

8 Kennedy, William, Esq., Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the 
Republic of Texas, R. Hastings, London, 1841, Vol. I, pp. 167-168. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 217 

names." 9 A French map dated 1733, in the University of Texas 
archives, has the Brazos River marked the "Therese" and the San 
Marcos the "San Markos or Colorado." Mr. Littlejohn's "Indian 
legend" of a flood, which follows this legend, seems largely based 
on the early Spanish confusion of the Brazos and the Colorado. 

"About thirty miles from the mouth of the San Saba, there was 
once a Spanish mission and fort, the destruction of which is thus 
recorded in Mexican tradition: 

"Prosperity reigned at the post, which carried on an extensive 
trade with the Comanche Indians, and a large revenue was de- 
rived from certain silver mines in the vicinity. The mines oc- 
cupied about one hundred laborers ; the post was protected by an 
equal number of soldiers, and there were some women, who man- 
ufactured articles for the Indian trade. At a time when all the 
soldiers, save about a dozen, were absent on an expedition, the 
Comanches appeared, under pretense of traffic, and were admitted 
to the fort in great numbers. At a signal from the chief, the 
Indians drew weapons concealed under their buffalo robes, and 
massacred the small guard and the women. The laborers in the 
mines fled, and were butchered in detail. The priest alone es- 
caped, and by a miracle. The holy man having fled to the Colo- 
rado River, the waters divided, permitted him to pass through, 
and closed upon the pursuing Indians, consigning them to a com- 
mon grave. After great suffering, the priest reached the Spanish 
mission of San Juan, at that period the only settlement on the 
San Antonio River. The absent soldiers, returning in a few 
days to the fort, where lay the mingled bodies of their com- 
panions, found the banks of the Colorado covered with dead 
Indians, and as they could discern no marks of violence upon 
them, they pronounced it a retributive miracle, and named the 
river Brazos de Dios, or 'the Arm \_sic\ of God ! In the ignorance 
of after times, it received the name of Colorado, which previously 
distinguished the red and muddy stream now known as the 
Brazos. The preceding tradition is devoutly believed by the old 
Mexicans about San Antonio." 

9 Thrall, H. S., A History of Texas, p. 37. Thrall goes on to say that 
"in old maps the San Antonio is marked as the Medina and the Guadalupe 
as the San Marcos." For additional evidence as to the confusion of the 
Brazos and the Colorado in nomenclature, Mr. Littlejohn cites Bolton's 
Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, pp. 376, 413. 

218 Legends of Texas 


By E. G. Littlejohn 

[It is hardly necessary to point out that this is not an undiluted Indian 
legend, the names and other elements in it showing Spanish and even 
American influence. La Salle is said to have called what is now the 
Colorado "The River of Canes"; the Indians — and again we go back to 
Thrall 1 for authority — called it the "Pashohono." — Editor.] 

The following legend is an adaptation of "An Indian Legend 
of the Flood/' signed by Jas. Spillane, reprinted a number of 
years ago in the Galveston Neivs from the Philadephia Times. 

Long, long ago, long before the coming of the white man, in all 
the country drained by the Brazos and the Colorado, there was 
but one great river. It was a mighty stream, the Caney (Old 
Caney). To the east lived and hunted the Caranchuas; to the 
west the Ripas, the Lipans, and the Tawakonies. The Wacos 
lived to the north. The Ripas were warlike and powerful. They 
made war on the Caranchuas and drove them far to the east, 
stealing their squaws, killing their young men, and forcing the 
remnant of the tribe to flee to the islands of the sea. Likewise 
the Lipans, the Tawakonies, and the Wacos were driven from 
their hunting grounds, and the Ripas were masters of the whole 

The Great Spirit was angry with the Ripas. He sent a mes- 
senger to them telling them to restore the squaws that they had 
stolen, and the horses and cattle, and to make no more war upon 
his other children. But the Ripas would not listen. They thought 
themselves more powerful than the Great Spirit himself, and 
determined to make war upon him. They sought out the mes- 
senger with defiance in their hearts, to challenge the Great Spirit 
to battle. But no messenger could be found. They searched the 
woods, the prairies, the river, the sky, but he had left no trail. 

Then a great fear fell upon them, and some of the chiefs wanted 
to make peace with the Great Spirit. They called their wise men 
together to take counsel as to what they should do to turn away 
the anger of the Great Spirit. And while they held talk the 
heavens opened, the rain fell, the thunder roared, and the sky- 
seemed all afire. In the midst of the fire the messenger appeared, 
his face glowering, his hand raised in menace. The Ripas threw 
themselves on their faces and begged the Great Spirit for mercy. 

X A History of Texas, p. 37. 

Legendary Origins of Texas Flowers, Names, and Streams 219 

And still the rain poured, the lightning flashed, the thunder 
crashed, and the whole earth rocked and shook as with an ague. 
The water soon rose and covered the earth. Then the Ripas ran 
for the trees. The wind blew down the trees and many of the 
Ripas were killed or drowned. The water rose higher and higher, 
and the rain and the thunder and the lightning lasted for many- 
days. And there was no earth ; all was water. 

Then the Great Spirit smiled. The Ripas were no more. The 
waters had swallowed them up. To the Caranchuas on the islands 
came the messenger. He told them of the fate of the Ripas. 
He bade them return to their homes. 

When the Caranchuas returned, all was changed. Where had 
been the great river was now but a small stream, Caney. The 
great river was now two rivers, the white man's Brazos on the 
east, the red man's Colorado on the west. Between the rivers 
were the hunting grounds of the Caranchuas, the gift of the 
Great Spirit. 


By W. P. Webb 

The wild horses of the plains were descendants of the Spanish 
horses that escaped from the conquistador es of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. Under the favorable conditions these horses multiplied 
and spread from Mexico and Texas up the great plains corridor 
to Canada. They went in large herds, each led by a stallion. 
Now, this stallion was leader because he was the best horse in 
the herd. He led by fleetness of foot, by courage to fight, and 
by strength sufficient to kill or drive out every horse that dis- 
puted his supremacy. Not only did he lead the horses, but he 
actually herded them, controlled them, dominated them. By 
the very law of survival he had to be unusual. Not only did 
he have to be strong and fleet, but he had to be wise and wary 
as well, full of good horse sense. 

When, settlers began to push on to the plains of the West, and 
to capture and domesticate wild horses, it was quite natural for 
the leaders of these herds to captivate the imagination of the 
vaqueros and cowboys. The stallion leader of the herd was 
the object of desire of every man of the West. Where a man 
was little better than the horse he rode, he naturally desired 
a good horse above all else, save a saddle to house him under. 
Now, the leader of the herd was not only a good horse; he was 
the best horse, with all the endurance, speed and intelligence 
that were so dear to the riders of the plains. These qualities 
made him the object of desire of every plainsman, and the hero 
among them was the man who could take the stallion leader. 
But to take the leader today was not to destroy leadership. To- 
morrow another stallion would lead the herd. There was always 
a leader. The individual horse might be captured, but the quality 
of leadership could never be caught — it resided in the herd be- 
cause it was a part of it. Now, it was this quality of leadership 
that became the object of desire. But since this quality of leader- 
ship could never be captured, the desire for it was a desire for 
the unattainable, the impossible. 

Out of these conditions and facts grew the legend of the White 
Steed of the Prairies, that superb horse, a super-horse that 
had all the desirable and unusual qualities, all the speed, all 

224 Legends of Texas 

the endurance, all the beauty that imagination could give him. 
Since he had all these attributes, everybody wanted him, but 
nobody could take him. He was ubiquitous, ethereal, a mere ideal, 
a phantom of the plainsman's mind, and he ranged from Canada 
to Mexico. 

One of the best accounts of the White Steed of the Prairies, 
or the Pacing White Stallion, as he was sometimes called, was 
given by Kendall, 1 when writing of his experiences in Texas in 

"Many were the stories," he says, "told that night in camp, 
by some of the old hunters, of a large white horse that had 
often been seen in the vicinity of the Cross Timbers and near 
Red River. That many of these stories, like a majority of those 
told by gossiping campaigners, were either apocryphal or mar- 
velously garnished, I have little doubt; but that such a horse 
has been seen, and that he possesses wonderful speed and great 
powers of endurance, there is no reason to disbelieve. As the 
camp stories ran, he has never been known to gallop or trot, 
but paces faster than any horse that has been sent out after him 
can run; and so game and untiring is the 'White Steed of the 
Prairies/ for he is well known to trappers and hunters by 
that name, that he has tired down no less than three race-nags, 
sent expressly to catch him, with a Mexican rider well trained 
to the business of taking wild horses. * * * 

"The Mexican who was sent out to take the wild steed, although 
he mounted a fresh horse as the one he was riding became tired, 
was never near enough the noble animal to throw a slip-noose 
over his head, or even to drive him into a regular gallop. Some 
of the hunters go so far as to say that the white steed has been 
known to pace his mile in less than two minutes, and that he 
can keep up this rate of speed until he has tired down every- 
thing in pursuit. Large sums of money have been offered for 
his capture, and the attempt has been frequently made; but he 
still roams his native prairies in freedom, solitary and alone. 
The fact of his being always found with no other horse in com- 

1 George Wilkins Kendall gave this account in his Narrative of the Texan 
Santa Fe Expedition, New York, 1844, pp. 89-90. Prior to this Kendall 
had written some sketches for the New Orleans Picayune, one of which 
was about the Pacing White Stallion. It was this account that he incor- 
porated in the book. Doubtless many of the later written accounts are 
based upon Kendall's. 

Miscellaneous Legends 225 

pany is accounted for, by an old hunter, on the ground that 
he is too proud to be seen with those of his class, being an 
animal far superior in form and action to any of his brothers. 
This I put down as a rank embellishment, although it is a fact 
that the more beautiful and highly formed mustangs are fre- 
quently seen alone." 2 

Kendall's account in the New Orleans Picayune inspired the 
poet to sing of this wonderful horse. The following, by J. Barber, 
appeared in The Democratic Review for April, 1843 : 3 


Mount, mount for the chase! let your lassos be strong, 
And forget not sharp spur and tough buffalo thong; 
For the quarry ye seek hath oft baffled, I ween, 
Steeds swift as your own, backed by hunters as keen. 

Fleet barb of the prairie, in vain they prepare 

For thy neck, arched in beauty, the treacherous snare; 

Thou wilt toss thy proud head, and with nostrils stretched wide, 

Defy them again, as thou still hast defied. 

Trained nags of the course, urged by rowel and rein, 
Have cracked their strong thews in the pursuit in vain; 
While a bow-shot in front, without straining a limb, 
The wild courser careered as 'twere pastime to him. 

Ye may know him at once, though a herd be in sight, 
As he moves o'er the plain like a creature of light— 
His mane streaming forth from his beautiful form 
Like the drift from a wave that has burst in the storm. 

Not the team of the Sun, as in fable portrayed, 
Through the firmament rushing in glory arrayed, 
Could match, in wild majesty, beauty and speed, 
That tireless, magnificent, snowy-white steed. 

Much gold for his guerdon, promotion and fame, 

Wait the hunter who captures that fleet-footed game; 

Let them bid for his freedom, unbridled, unshod, 

He will roam till he dies through these pastures of God. 

2 The reason some of the mustangs were alone was due to the fact that the 
stallion leader had driven the younger and weaker horses from the herd. 
Since these horses were young, they would naturally often have good form. 
The color is hard to account for. Many of the mustangs were vari-colored, 
but it is doubtful if there was ever a solid white horse. 

3 The poem appeared in The Democratic Review, XII, 367f., accompanied 
by a condensation of Kendall's story taken from the Picayune. 

226 Legends of Texas 

And ye think on his head your base halters to fling! 
So ye shall — when yon Eagle has lent you his wing; 
But no slave of the lash that your stables contain 
Can e'er force to a gallop the steed of the Plain! 

His fields have no fence save the mountain and sky; 

His drink the snow-capped Cordilleras supply; 

'Mid the grandeur of nature sole monarch is he, 

And his gallant heart swells with the pride of the free. 

The legend of the White Steed of the Prairies has almost died 
out. One can pick it up now only from the older generation, 
from those who have recollections of the open country when 
Texas was held together by rawhide and dominated by horse- 
men. When one of these early Texans was asked if he had 
heard of the Pacing White Stallion, he replied: "Yes, I have 
heard of him from the Canadian to the Llano." But one finds 
little variation in these stories. There is no room for the 
White Steed of the Prairies in a country where horses are no 
longer wild and free. He is now all but a forgotten memory 
of a past unreality. 4 

By W. P. Webb 

Sam Bass was born in Indiana — that was his native home, 
And at the age of seventeen young Sam began to roam. 
He first came out to Texas, a teamster for to be; 
A kinder hearted fellow you scarcely ever see. 

This bit of biography of the Texas bandit was probably the first 
poem the writer learned outside the home circle. He learned it 
at the age when it was a great privilege to be permitted to pad 
along in the freshly plowed furrow at the heels of the hired man, 
Dave. Not only was Dave the hired man, he was a neighbor's 
boy, and such a good poker player that he developed later into a 
professional gambler. But at the time I write of Dave was my 
tutor in Texas history, poetry, and music, all of which revolved 
around Sam Bass. To me and to Dave, Sam Bass was an ad- 

4 Destined to be preserved for generations yet in his offspring in Emerson 
Hough's North of 36. Zane Grey has also introduced him into fiction, in 
The Last of the Plainsmen. — Editor. 

Miscellaneous Legends 227 

mirable young man who raced horses, robbed banks, held up 
trains, and led a life filled with other strange adventure. At 
length, this hero came to an untimely end through a villain named 
Murphy, "who gave poor Sam away." It was a story calculated 
to capture the imagination of young men and small boys. All 
over Texas hired men were teaching small boys the legend of 
Sam Bass, a story which improved in the telling according to the 
ability of the teller. 

Not only was the story thus told. Men of high station in life, the 
lawyers, judges, and oldtimers, congregated around the courthouse 
of this western county and told of how Sam rode through the 
country at night after one of his daring robberies. Once a posse 
organized to go out and take Sam Bass. The leader of the posse 
was a lawyer, a smart man, and he knew exactly where Sam could 
be found and how he could be taken. He bravely placed himself 
at the head of a group of heavily armed men; he assured them 
that they would take the bandit and share the liberal reward 
that had been set on his head. They rode away into the night, 
they approached the lair of the fugitive ; they knew they had him 
— at least the leader knew it. But that was the trouble. Sam did 
not run; therefore, the posse could not pursue. Sam seemed too 
willing to be approached; that willingness was ominous. Sam 
was such a good shot, so handy with a gun. The posse paused, 
it halted, consulted with the leader. The leader's voice had lost 
its assurance. The posse that had ridden up the hill now rode 
down again. Sam Bass could not be found! And until this day, 
when old-timers get together in that county some one is sure to 
tell the story of that hunt. The wag of the courthouse, a lawyer, 
reduced it to writing, and on such public occasions as picnics and 
barbecues, he will read the account of "How Bill Sebasco Took 
Sam Bass." It was cleverly done and made as great hit with 
the public as did Dave's rendition of the song and story to the 
small boy. In both cases all sympathy was with Sam Bass, all 
opinion against Murphy and Bill Sebasco. 

Thus in West Texas, from the judge in the courthouse to the 
small boy in the furrow behind the hired man, was the story of 
Sam Bass told. What was taking place in this county was oc- 
curring, with proper variations, in every other county in the state, 
especially in those of the north and west. The legend of Sam 
Bass was in the process of becoming. Today it would fill a 

Few are the facts known relative to Sam Bass, but some of 

228 Legends of Texas 

them are these: Samuel Bass was from Indiana. He was born 
July 21, 1851, came to Texas, raced horses, made his headquarters 
in Denton County, participated in some bank robberies and train 
holdups. He became the recognized leader of his band and en- 
joyed a wide reputation, which he achieved before he was twenty- 
seven years old. In the summer of 1878 he left Denton County with 
the intention of robbing a bank or train. With him were Murphy, 
the man who had arranged to sell him out to the officers of the 
law, also Seaborn Barnes and Frank Jackson. The plan was 
made to rob the Round Rock bank on Saturday, July 20, 1878. 
En route to Round Rock, Murphy sent a note to Major John B. 
Jones, adjutant general of Texas, giving their plan. The result 
was that when Bass reached Round Rock the town was full of 
Texas Rangers and other officers of the law. On Friday Bass 
with Jackson and Barnes went into Round Rock to look over the 
ground before their attempt to rob. While purchasing tobacco in 
a store adjoining the bank, they were accosted by officers of the 
law, and a battle ensued. Barnes was killed on the spot, along 
with an officer. Bass escaped with a mortal wound, was found 
next day in the woods, and died the following day, Sunday, July 
21, 1878. On that day he was twenty-seven. Frank Jackson 
made good his escape and has never been heard from since. 

From these facts, the legend of Sam Bass has grown. Legend 
and fact are inextricably mixed. I shall make no effort to sepa- 
rate the one from the other, but shall set all down, much as I 
heard it. 

Bass died gamely, as he lived. He refused to give any of his 
comrades away, though he was rational until the end. "If a man 
knows any secrets," he said, "he should die and go to hell with 
them in him." Bass said that he had never killed a man, unless 
he killed the officer in Round Rock. Frank Jackson wanted to 
remain and help Bass, but the latter, knowing he was near the 
end, persuaded Jackson to leave him, and gave him his horse 
to ride. 

Bass and his men had camped near some negro cabins at 
Round Rock, not far from the cemetery. Bass had an old negro 
woman, Aunt Mary Matson, to cook some biscuits for him and to 
grind some coffee. When she had done this, Bass gave her a 
dollar. He then asked, "Have you ever heard of Sam Bass?" 
She told him she had. "Well, you can tell them you saw Sam 
Bass," he said, and went away. 

His generosity was well known. He always paid for what he 

Miscellaneous Legends 229 

got from individuals. He was particularly considerate of poor 
people. He would give a poor woman a twenty-dollar gold piece 
for a dinner and take no change. He paid the farmers well for 
the horses he took from them, though sometimes he did not have 
time to see the farmer. 

Sam Bass relics are scattered over the country, everywhere. 
Some say that he gave his gun to Frank Jackson. Others declare 
he surrendered it to the officers who found him. His belt with 
some cartridges in it is in the library of the University of Texas. 
A carpenter at Snyder has a horseshoe from Bass's best race 
horse nailed to the top of his tool chest. Near Belton are some 
live oak trees that Bass is said to have shot his initials in while 
riding at full speed. Horns of steers supposed to have been killed 
by Bass sell over the country at fancy prices. In Montague County 
there is a legend of $30,000 of loot buried by Sam Bass. Again, 
he is supposed to have left treasure in the Llano country. At 
McNeill, near Austin, there is a cave in which Sam Bass hid when 
he was in retirement. There he kept his horses and from there 
he made his forays. 

Finally, when Sam was dead, legend wrote an epitaph on his 
monument which is not there. The legendary epitaph reads : 

"Would That He Were Good as He was Brave." No such 
inscription can be deciphered on Bass's monument. The monu- 
ment has been badly mutilated by souvenir collectors, but the 
inscription remains. 

Samuel Bass 

July 21, 1851 

July 21, 1878 
Aged 27 Years 

In the lower right hand corner of the block on which the inscrip- 
tion appears is the name of the maker, C. B. Pease, Mitchell, 
Indiana. The people of Round Rock say that the monument was 
erected by a member of his family about a year after Bass's 

More interesting than Bass's rather pretentious monument is 
that of his comrade, Seaborn Barnes, who sleeps the long sleep 
by his side. A rough sandstone stands at the head of this grave. 
It has been chipped away until the name is gone. The inscription, 
however, remains along with the date of his death. Were there 

230 Legends of Texas 

no legend of Sam Bass in Texas, this inscription would make one. 
It is written in language Bass would have loved ; it has a certain 
impertinence to law abiding people in the nearby graves, a certain 
pride in the leader at whose heels Barnes died. The epitaph con- 
tains seven words. The spirit of the person who wrote the seven 
words of that epitaph is the spirit that has created the legend 
of Sam Bass in Texas. 

He Was Right Bower to Sam Bass 

By L. D. Bertillion 

[From an ethnological point of view, the legend, or more properly myth, 
of "The Horn Worshipers" is the most interesting in this collection of legends. 
None of the scholars at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological 
Society held in New York, December, 1923, knew any parallel for it among 
the aborigines of America. 

However, horns have been significant among many primitive peoples. 
Many of the Plains Indians of America, notably the Sioux, wore buffalo 
horns, and if I mistake not the totem of one tribe was a head of buffalo 
horns. However, the buffalo horn was to the Plains Indian merely a symbol 
of the power that he admired, an emblem of the animal that he was so far 
dependent on for food and shelter. In the Asia Magazine for December, 
1922, is a picture of a pair of ox-horns fastened over the entrance to a 
village near Rodosto, Turkey. The horns so fastened are said to bring 
good luck to those who pass under them. 

The medicinal properties ascribed to horns among primitive peoples have 
a corollary interest here. In a letter accompanying his legend of "The 
Horn Worshipers," Mr. Bertillion says: "As late as ten years ago I bought 
a beautiful pair of buck horns, several points of which I had to sharpen 
because they had been sawed off a half inch or more for the purpose of 
curing some disease, which, to the best of my memory, was measles, the cure 
being a dose of pulverized horn, about a teaspoonful." 

In the same letter, Mr. Bertillion encloses a clipping from a syndicated 
article appearing in the McKinney, Texas, Examiner, November 9, 1922, 
which tells of an Indian rhinoceros horn presented to Pope Gregory XIV 
in 1590 as a protection against poisoning. According to the article, "The 
horn given to the pope by the prior and brothers of the monastery of 
St. Mary of Guadalupe in Spain, was credited with sweating in the presence 
of poison, by the way of warning, and if powdered and taken internally, 
with acting as an antidote. The tip is missing. It was cut off in 1591 and 
administered to the pope in his last illness." 

I myself recall as a pioneer remedy for distemper in horses, the smoke 
of burning horn-chips and rags, funneled through a horn up the horse's 
nostrils. The Mexicans sometimes used the same remedy for colds. 

Miscellaneous Legends 231 

The underground palace of this legend of "The Horn Worshipers" is a 
feature common to the lore of many peoples. "The Aztecs," says Lewis 
Spence, 1 "believed that the first men emerged from a palace known as 
Chicomoztoc (The Seven Caverns), located north of Mexico. Various writ- 
ers have seen in these mystic recesses the fabulous 'seven cities of Cibola' 
and the Casas Grandes, ruins of extensive character in the valley of the 
River Gila, and so forth." 2 Then Spence adds a comment on the number 
seven pertinent also to the legend of "The Horn Worshipers": "The allusion 
to the magical number seven in the myth demonstrates that the entire story 
is purely imaginary and possesses no basis of fact." 

The legend of the underground palace has various forms even in Texas. 
There are rumors of an underground palace near Leander in Williamson 
County and of another on the Blanco River. Some such story is connected 
with the Devil's Cave on the Devil's River; with a vast underground passage 
that workmen are said to have discovered while excavating for the founda- 
tion of the second Austin dam; and with the Carlsbad Mammoth Cave, lo- 
cated on the Texas-New Mexico line in the Guadalupe Mountains. 

Mr. Bertillion says that he knows a man who claims to have discovered 
about fifteen years ago a great house within a mountain in West Texas, 
perhaps a hundred and fifty feet below the surface. This man was out 
with a surveyor. Searching for a place to set up the flagpole, he discovered 
a small hole in a rock, "not larger than an ordinary apple." Secretly, he 
flashed sunlight into the hole by means of a pocket mirror, and down in a 
great cave he beheld a wonderful edifice. The details he has kept secret, 
for he intends to return to the place some day and make his fortune. 

Back in the sixties, according to his own account, a Mexican living in 
Fort Stockton (1911) was carrying the mail between Fort Davis and 
El Paso. On one trip a band of Indians led by some renegade Mexicans 
confiscated his mail and express, burned the mail coach, and took him and 
his horses into an unknown region afterward identified as the Guadalupe 
Mountains. There, high up on a barren peak, he discovered some giant 
mahogany logs, "so big that there never has been a car on the Southern 
Pacific Railroad that could have hauled one of them." Query: For what 
else than the palace of the Horn Worshipers could these mighty logs have 
been transported to that region? 

Finally, the palace of the Horn Worshipers inevitably suggests the great 
legend of the Cave of Montezuma, a version of which follows this. — Editor.] 

I am a great lover of horns and have collected and sold many 
fine pairs. In order to make my collections I have had to keep 
constantly inquiring for specimens. On one such expedition, a 
good many years ago, down on the border, I met a very old Yaqui 
Mexican, by the name of Pedro Osabia, as I remember. 

When I made inquiry after long-horned cattle, he told me 

Spence, Lewis, Myths and Legends, Vol. VII ("Mexico and Peru"), p. 123. 

2 It should be remembered that some of the ancient peoples grouped with 
the Cliff Dwellers inhabited natural caves. See Goddard, Pliny Earle, 
Indians of the Southwest, Handbook Series No. 2, American Museum of 
Natural History, p. 38. 

232 Legends of Texas 

that the long-horned cattle were all dead and that their wor- 
shipers were all dead, but that the spirits of the Horn Worshipers 
never die, but enter into new men when the bodies they inhabit 
decay. He said that if I continued strong in the worship, some 
day I would find plenty of long horns. 

Further interrogation brought out the story that long years 
ago — more years than man can count — this whole world be- 
longed to one man, and that this one man lived in a grand temple, 
such as men do not know how to build any more, and that this 
temple is located inside one of the great peaks of the Jeff Davis 
Mountains. This Ruler of the whole world had his subjects 
scattered over all the earth wherever caves could be found or 
made in cliffs. And every seven years these subjects journeyed 
from their caves and their cliffs to the Great Palace to worship, 
each worshiper bringing the longest horns he had collected from 
any animal during the seven years. Then the horns were hung 
in the great hall of horn worship, and the Supreme Ruler stood 
amidst the horns as judge. The man bringing the longest horns 
received the first blessing and was not subject to the laws of the 
great Ruler for seven years, and those bringing the second and 
the third longest horns received second and third blessings and 
were immune from the laws for five and for three years. Fur- 
thermore, those who willfully refused to bring horns to the gen- 
eral worship were made servants of those bringing the longest 
horns to the shrine, and would eventually become dead in soul, 
thus losing the power to rise after death and enjoy the great 
horn worship in the wide, free spaces and the open air, where 
search for food would no longer be a necessity. 

Finally, though, a great bird came and flew to the cliffs, and 
destroyed the dwellers throughout the world, and then, when 
none came to worship at the great palace, the great Ruler died 
of grief. Our present race is the offspring from a man who had 
been banished from some colony for his refusal to contribute 
horns and to join in their worship. Consequently, the great bird 
on his flight of destruction missed this outcast, who, having 
lost his blessing through neglect to worship, was doomed, he 
and all his generations, to work for a living. 

Before he died of his grief the great Owner of the world, 
knowing that some day the mountain would decay and the 
deserted palace be exposed, placed a magic wand in the greatest 

Miscellaneous Legends 233 

horn in the great horn room. It is there now, waiting for the 
hand of some one of the soulless to touch it. Finally when the 
horn is touched, it will rise into space and draw all those who 
worshiped in full faith to the great horn worship above, where 
manual labor and death shall be forever unknown. 

Such is the story of the first world of men, who were probably 
the Cliff Dwellers, or the Horn Worshipers! 

By Leeper Gay 

[This legendary "Cave of Montezuma" is in Mexico, but so persistent and 
numerous are rumors of it across the border in Texas that I do not hesitate 
to include it among Texas legends. Mr. Gay knows many legends, and he 
has told me that he has often heard Texans mention Montezuma's Cave; 
I myself have heard of it from treasure hunters in Texas. Indeed, legend 
has placed an Aztec cave, presumably Montezuma's, in Texas. I am indebted 
to Mr. W. D. Notley, superintendent of public schools at Del Rio, for the 
following account: 

On the south edge of Del Rio there is a mound of considerable size called 
Sugar Loaf. Legend has it that it was built by the Aztecs and stored with 
treasures. In the troublesome times that followed the conquest by the 
Spanish, the Aztecs built an acequia (irrigation ditch) around it, or along- 
side it, so as to cut off entrance through the subterranean passage that once 
led to the great storehouse. — Editor.] 

I have at last learned one complete version of the legend of the 
Montezuma Cave. It cost me seven hours' hard work, a delay 
of twenty-four hours in getting home, a deal of cheap drink, a 
headache, and the suspicion of my relatives; but the man who 
told me the story was alone worth the price. He is a broken-down 
newspaper man, "whose story is the story of every man that ever 
went down into Mexico. It is the story of a coward, the story 
of a man with a yellow streak down his back." I was sitting on 
the plaza at Juarez, absorbed in a religious dance of the Festival, 
which was being held in front of the cathedral by people dressed 
as Indians, when Alec Martin came strolling along and sat down 
beside me. He was a colorless blond, white-faced, and rather 
small of figure, his neat dress falling into untidiness. His pale 
blue eyes were supplemented with powerful shell-rimmed spec- 
tacles, and as they continued to watch the dancers, I asked him 
how he liked the dancing. "But you should see the Festival of 

234 Legends of Texas 

la Cruz Verde, at Tepic," he replied without turning his head. 
From this auspicious beginning, we drifted into conversation, 
and he told me the legend of the Cathedral de la Cruz Verde. It 
is a simple story, such as, he explained, overruns Mexico. Ob- 
serving that he wore no overcoat, although the day was cold, and 
that he shivered at frequent intervals, I suggested a hot Tom and 
Jerry. He was not slow in accepting, and since I had begun to 
find his company excellent, I suggested another, and then a glass 
of Bordeaux as a lid. He seemed quite shame-faced about not 
paying for the drinks, and somehow I believed him when he told 
me that, whatever he was at present, he had been a gentleman at 
one time. 

He could not stay away from the subject of Mexico for long at 
a time, and since he continued to tell me legends, I asked him for 
the one about the Montezuma Cave. The liquor that he had 
taken in the course of the day had begun to affect him, but he 
would not say anything about the Montezuma Cave except that 
it had broken him. Presently he insisted that he take me to a 
bar up next to the Market, where he had credit. I went with 
him, and we began to drink sotol, which is said to be a fiery 
liquor, but which I found no worse than red whiskey. But when- 
ever I asked him for the particulars of his story, he would say: 
"But that is not the important thing ; a drink is all that matters." 
In the course of time, however, he became thoroughly inebriated, 
as he confessed to me in a precise, though sometimes uncertain 
voice. Finally, while my relatives waited in El Paso and my 
train left without me, he told his story and the legend of the 
Montezuma Cave. This is the legend that he told me. 

When Montezuma was killed by Cortez at the City of Mexico, 
the room full of gold that had been offered as a ransom for Mon- 
tezuma was too heavy for Cortez to carry with him in his flight 
to the coast. Montezuma had foreseen this, and before his death 
had ordered that the gold be stored safely, where it could lie 
without danger until his tree fell and he came back to save his 
people. The Aztec generals, having seen the lack of respect for 
their gods that the Spaniards had shown, were afraid to bury the 
treasure in the tomb of Montezuma, and instead had it taken to 
a cave in the mountains. This cave was at the end of a long 
canyon, a mere crack in the rock only a few feet wide, although 
the walls were hundreds of feet high. At the mouth the canyon 
was twelve feet wide, but it became narrower toward the cave, 
until there was not passage for a man, unless he crawled on his 

Miscellaneous Legends 235 

belly for the last few hundred yards. The Indians worshiped the 
cave as a shrine after the treasure of Montezuma had been stored 
there, and made pilgrimages to it, although none but priests were 
allowed to enter the cave itself. The guardians disposed of un- 
welcome visitors by dropping rocks on them as they wormed up 
the narrow canyon. 

After the Aztecs perished as a nation, the cave was in Yaqui 
territory, what was called the Sonora Mountains, and the Yaquis 
continued to guard the shrine. Renegades and half-breeds some- 
times whispered the story of the cave to the Spaniards, but since 
none of the men who went to hunt for it ever returned, the story 
became a legend. 

Some hundreds of years later, a very drunk Mexican told 
the story to Martin, who remembered it the next day. At that 
time he was a correspondent to certain American newspapers, and 
when he told the story to two of his friends, they wanted to go 
after the treasure immediately. The Mexican agreed to go with 
them, and claimed to know where the cave was, having seen the 
canyon for himself. The expedition was so carefully planned 
and executed that the little party camped within a few miles of 
the cave without being discovered by the Indians. That night 
they went into the cave, taking water and food enough to last 
them the following day. The next night they came out safely, 
each carrying about one hundred and fifty pounds of gold. Their 
good fortune did not desert them, and they were out of Yaqui 
country before the loss was discovered. When they arrived at the 
City, they cashed the gold for forty thousand dollars apiece, and 
for some months lived in great state. 

Then, having spent all of their fortune, they decided to return 
to the Montezuma Cave and to bring out a little more this time. 
This gold was to be invested, so that each could live off his in- 
terest. As they had done before, they camped a few miles from 
the mouth of the canyon, and entered the cave at night. The next 
night they started out of the canyon, but as they stepped out on 
the plain in front of the canyon, they were taken quietly in charge 
by the Yaquis, who had watched them from the time that they had 
first come into the country. The Mexican was sacrificed to the 
old gods, for he was part Indian and had betrayed the secret of 
the cave, but the Americans were first tortured and then kept 
about the camp as slaves. In a few weeks two of them died. 
Martin finally escaped, but not until he was broken physically. 

From that day on, his bad luck had followed him. He had 

236 Legends of Texas 

come back to El Paso, on his way to Mexico, but on the morning 
that he arrived, he had broken the mirror in his room and the 
friends that he had expected did not arrive. His savings had 
gradually dribbled away, until he had sold his watch and pawned 
his overcoat, with winter almost at hand. 

When the story was finished, Martin added, somewhat lamely: 
"This Mexico has broken me; it's made a bum and a drunkard 
out of me, but I love it. I can't stay away from it. I've been 
out of it fifteen months this time, and now I'm going into it again." 

By A. W. Eddins 

Have you ever heard how Grandma when she was a young girl 
made the first corn crop in Texas, and how the only tools she had 
to make it with were a hound dog and a big stick? This is the 
way she told the story. 

After Stephen F. Austin had secured the grant of land for 
his colony in Texas, he returned to his home and gathered the 
families to settle it. He leased the schooner Lively at New 
Orleans, loaded it with farm tools and supplies, and sent it to 
the mouth of the Colorado River to meet the colonists. The Lively 
was lost, and no word of her or her crew has ever been heard. 1 

Meanwhile, Grandma and her family were on their way in an 
ox wagon. She walked nearly all the way with her sister behind 
the wagon. They entered Texas at the Red River, and reached 
the mouth of the Colorado about Christmas. Here they built 
a cabin and waited in vain for the Lively. The men hunted 
and the women kept house. They ate venison for bread and fresh 
bear steak for meat. They needed bread, but had no tools for 
planting the corn. 

Now the Colorado River bottom was covered with a heavy 
growth of reed cane. The dogs ran a bear into this canebrake 
and the boys set it on fire, and as it burned the cane popped 
and roared like guns in a battle. When the fire was out, where 

iffistory has disproved this once common tale of the Lively's never having 
been heard of. See Garrison, George P., Texas (American Common- 
wealths), pp. 144-145. — Editor. 

Miscellaneous Legends 237 

the canebrake had been was a wonderfully clean field, covered 
with ashes and as loose and mellow as plowed land. 

Grandma took a sharp stick and punched the holes, and her 
sister dropped a grain of corn in each hole and then covered it 
with her foot. In a few days a beautiful crop of corn was 
growing, but the ground was also covered with young shoots of 
cane. The planters had neither plow nor hoe but they took big 
sticks and went in the field and knocked down all the tender cane 
shoots ; they did this three times and then the corn was big enough 
to shade out the cane. But when the roasting ears began to make, 
the coons began to destroy the crop. So Grandma tied an old 
hound dog in the midst of the corn field, and he barked all night 
and scared the varmints away. The colonists soon had plenty of 
bread, and before time to plant the next crop they had secured 
farming tools from the East. 

By A. W. Eddins 

The children in the Navarro School of San Antonio often ex- 
press some original and interesting ideas in their Texas history 
classes. They do not know such a thing as the Alamo; to them 
it is "La Casa del Santa Anna" (Santa Anna's house), and they 
have many interesting stories of what "mi padre grande" said 
about this old landmark in Texas history and the remarkable 
things that have happened there. 

A very interesting story that seems to be known and believed 
by nearly all the pupils is that of the old cave, or underground 
passage, that formerly connected the Alamo with the San Pedro 
Springs. The entrance to this cave was covered with a big round 
stone in the very middle of the Alamo. By lifting the stone and 
going down the steps and following the dark, crooked path, first 
down, then up, through some water and some mud, one finally 
came out in a clump of bushes near the big spring in what is now 
the San Pedro Park. The priests often used this passage to 
communicate with their friends when the Indians made it unsafe 
to leave the Alamo by any other way. 

Santa Anna learned about it from an old priest, and by this 
means was able to get his men inside of the Alamo on the last, 

238 Legends of Texas 

fatal day of the siege. Since that time the cave has been partly- 
filled and cannot be used any more, but the place where it formerly 
opened in the park is still pointed out by the old people, and the 
children are strong in their belief of its existence. 

By J. Frank Dobie 

The legend of a lost canyon somewhere in the Big Bend 
country has had a long and wide circulation. When I was in 
the Big Bend country some fourteen years ago I heard of it 
as being "an old story." A version of the legend came out in 
the Western Story Magazine, December 2, 1922. Early in 1923, 
the "Cattle Clatter" department of the San Antonio Express re- 
printed an enlarged version of the Western Story Magazine 
legend, giving its source as the New York World. A syndicated 
feature article was probably the source of both versions. 

According to the World legend, a Mexican by the name of Lopez 
had come into Sanderson from an exploring expedition initiated 
on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. He and a Mexican 
vaquero had followed up a gorge that emptied into the Rio Grande 
until the gorge widened out into a green valley, an oasis, wherein 
were grazing a herd of perhaps five hundred buffaloes. 

In all of the legends the valley is stocked with buffaloes, not- 
withstanding the fact that buffaloes were never in the Big Bend 
country. 1 The wild and inaccessible nature of this country, how- 
ever, gives color to the idea of a lost canyon. Maps in the State 
Land Office at Austin still show a stretch of unsurveyed territory 
along the river. Akin to "Lost Canyon" must be the "Lost 
Mountains," which are said to lie beyond the Davis Mountains. 

"^Says Carl Raht in his The Romance of Davis Mountains, El Paso, 
Texas, 1919, p. 25: "According to these authorities ["Bandelier and other 
writers who have examined the records of the early Spanish explorers"] — 
and present-day research has failed to refute their statements — the buffalo 
never frequented the Rio Grande in the Big Bend region." "I never saw a 
buffalo west of the Pecos": quoted from an old buffalo hunter in Frontier 
Times, March, 1924, p. 1. 

Miscellaneous Legends 239 

The idea of a "lost" land is probably as old as any legend 
of mankind; it luxuriates in the lore of modern seamen; but it 
may not be generally known that regions of the modern West 
other than the Big Bend also claim "lost" areas. No longer ago 
than February 2, 1923, the San Antonio Express published a 
news story to the effect that Zane Grey had discovered a lost 
plateau in Arizona inhabited by mustangs that had some secret 
pass, unknown to man, down to water in the valley. Six days 
earlier the same newspaper printed a dispatch from Scenic, 
South Dakota, descriptive of a legendary oasis in an uncharted 
Bad Lands. According to a tradition handed down by the Sioux 
Indians, inaccessible bluffs and walls enclose a garden-like place 
"rich in food, sunlight, warmth and pure running water." Be- 
fore the coming of the pale-faces this protected spot was the 
home of Wankinyan (the Thunder Bird), and no man has ever 
entered it to return. The story suggests that the legend of the 
Lost Canyon in the Big Bend may be of Indian origin. 

There is a legend connected with another secret canyon of 
the upper Rio Grande country that seems to owe its existence 
to the Indians. Walter B. Stevens in his Through Texas, pub- 
lished in 1892, tells of "The Mystery of Diablo Canyon." 2 The 
canyon, so the legend goes, was sacred to the Indians, and only 
a few of their number knew its nature. In it was an abundance 
of game and of pure water, but no white man could ever find 
the water. Dry hides, sprinkled with sod and covered with 
grass, concealed it cunningly. 


West Burton of South Austin and I were on a hunting trip 
down below San Antonio. The talk had been, as usual, on 
old days and lost mines and trails. I brought up the subject of 
Lost Canyon. "Yes," said he, "I have heard of the place many 
times, but I never believed that it existed till I met an old 
prospector in Mexico who had once been in the place. 

"This prospector was a broke man when I saw him, broke 
in more ways than one, but he could tell his story straight. He 
was prospecting down the Rio Grande in a skiff or canoe, putting 
in at various canyons and gorges to examine for minerals. At 
a certain rapids his boat got snagged so that he could not fix 

2 Stevens, Walter B., Through Texas, St. Louis, 1892, pp. 28-29. 

240 Legends of Texas 

it, and there was nothing for him to do but to strike out afoot* 
He made up a small pack of a blanket and some provisions, and 
with a rifle struck north up a steep ravine, intending somehow 
to reach the Southern Pacific Railroad. 

"The ravine that he took up was so narrow and rough that 
in some places he could hardly travel, but after a while it began 
to open out, and imagine his surprise when it spread into a 
kind of basin that stretched out farther than he could see. The 
grass in it was as green as a wheat field, though there was a 
drouth on, as usual, and there were springs of pure, sweet water ; 
but the thing that made him rub his eyes was a herd of buffaloes, 
perhaps a hundred or more. The prospector killed one for meat, 
and camped for two or three days by a spring, while he got a 
good fill of the meat and jerked as much as he could take with 
him. Then he set out towards the north again. 

"He found when he tried to get out that the basin was rimmed 
in by a high bluff up which there was apparently no trail. But 
after he had trailed himself around a good deal, he discovered 
a kind of gorge that he climbed out through. No buffalo could 
ever get out or in through it, he said. When he got up on top 
of the rim he was in the Chisos Mountains, unfenced, even un- 
claimed, some of them, I guess. He was in a country that no 
outpost of a range rider ever comes into, that no trapper has 
ever entered. There's no reason why a human being should go 
into that country. The wonder to me is that this prospector 
tried to make his way over it. His way was crookeder than a 
devil's walking cane — if you have ever seen one of them. They 
are about the only things that grow in that country, you know. 
But he kept on generally north. He nearly perished for water, 
and only the moisture of the jerked buffalo that he had had 
sense enough not to salt kept him from parching to death. He 
threw away all of his pack but that jerkie. 

"Finally, somehow, by the help of the Lord, he reached the 
railroad somewhere between Sanderson and Marathon, and as 
luck would have it, he stumbled right into the camp of a con- 
struction gang. The cook of the outfit was an old Mexican who 
had worked for his father and knew him. This cook gave the 
prospector only a little beef broth and would not let him have 
that except in sips. And so in a few days he got over his terrible 

"From the camp he went on to Sanderson and actually raised 

Miscellaneous Legend® 241 

an expedition to go back and find the canyon of buffalo. But he 
never could find the way back across to it. He says that he 
knows now that the only way ever to reach it is to enter it from 
the Rio Grande, up that narrow gorge." 


By Alex. Dienst 

The original of the letter that follows is in my possession, 
having been given to me by Governor George C. Pendleton, to 
whom it is addressed. It is my impression that the writer of 
this letter was, in 1891, connected with the Department of 
Statistics, History, and Insurance, at Austin. De Leon could 
not have been "Governor of Texas and Coahuila ,, in 1688, for 
the states were not united until long afterward. 1 

Austin, Texas, 
September 9th, 1891 
Hon. Geo. C. Pendleton, 
Belton, Texas. 
Dear Mr. Pendleton: You will please accept my thanks for your 
note of the 5th inst. I appreciate very highly your promise to obtain 
for me such information as you can in reference to La Salle. I would 
however, be very sorry to give you any trouble about the matter. 

I have obtained a copy of the official report made by Gen. Alonzo 
De Leon, Governor of Coahuila and Texas, to the Spanish Government. 
This report contains the account of a Frenchman who was reported to 
be living in Texas where he had congregated several thousand Indians 
together and had acquired such authority over them that they not 
only recognized him as their chief, but treated him with the greatest 
reverence; always kneeling when in his presence. Gen. De Leon 
alarmed lest the authority of this Frenchman might be used by the 

Although not a legend, this letter illustrates the popular speculation and 
tradition concerning La Salle — his followers, his fort, his death, even his 
treasure — that once flourished, first among the Spanish and then among the 
Anglo-Saxon Texans, but that now seem to be subsiding. As many places 
as claimed "Homer dead" have claimed the last resting place of La Salle. 
One informant writes that some Henderson County folk imagine that 
La Salle's grave is on the west bank of the Neches in their precincts and 
that they have made recent excavations in search of treasure supposed to 
lie in the grave. De Leon made more than one expedition in search of the 
French; he did find an old man who had been with La Salle. See A School 
History of Texas, by Barker, Potts and Ramsdell, Chapter II. — Editor. 

242 Legends of Texas 

French Government to assert a claim to Texas organized an expedition 
for his capture. After traveling in a northeast direction for forty- 
leagues from what is now Monclova, Mexico, they reached the Rio 
Grande and twenty-five leagues beyond that stream, still in the direction 
of northeast, they found the Frenchman, whom they, with the use of a 
good deal of diplomacy and artifice succeeded in persuading to accom- 
pany them back to Mexico. This occurred in May, 1688; and this 
Frenchman is said to have been the last survivor of La Salle's Expedi- 
tion. I have translated from the Spanish the account of this French- 
man and De Leon's Expedition. It is a very curious and interesting 
incident in the early history of Texas, and it was in connection with 
it that I wished to ascertain if there was any tradition of La Salle 
having been killed in Bell County as the Frenchman indicates. . . . 

Yours Most Respectfully, 

Betty B. Brewster. 

By Mrs. S. J. Wright 

This legend was given me by Mrs. Jack Hardy, now of El Paso, 
whose home was for several years in Alpine, Brewster County. 
The time of it goes back only thirty or thirty-five years, and the 
appearance of the footprints is vouched for today by some of 
our substantial citizens who were cowpunchers then. 

In the Big Bend country campers would awake in the morn- 
ings to see tracks of moccasined feet leading to and from the 
vicinity — apparently of a man and a woman following. Some- 
times, after having been trailed for miles, sometimes for shorter 
distances, suddenly the trail would be lost. 

A cowboy sleeping out would awake and say: "Well, boys, 
'Big Foot and Little Foot* have been here"; and there would 
be the ghostly footprints. By whom they were made, whence 
they came, whither they led, is still a mystery. Leaving their 
mysterious tracks, the treaders came and went as the winds and 
the rains, and with as little warning. 

By Martin M. Kenney 

[This account of "The Wild Woman of the Navidad" has been supplied 
from her father's manuscripts by Mrs. Margaret Kenney Kress, Instructor 
in Romance Languages in the University of Texas. 

Miscellaneous Legends 243 

The line between history and legend is not always definitely drawn. 
Mr. Kenney called his narrative "a true story": it is "true" in that it sets 
down many of the speculations and some of the probably unsubstantiated 
tales connected with "The Wild Woman." Herein, the derivation of legend 
from fact is admirably illustrated, for I must think that all legends, even 
such improbable ones as that of Romulus and Remus, have their inception 
in fact. The universal practice of transferring legendary lore concerning 
one place or person to another place or person does not disprove the theory 
that fact is at the basis of legend. 

The theme of the wild man or the wild woman is not uncommon in legend. 
People want wild men or wild women to thrill their imaginations. Twenty- 
five years ago a number of the inhabitants of Live Oak County, Texas, were 
aroused over tales of a "wild woman." Two or three deputy sheriffs on her 
trail stayed at our house one freezing night. The next day they found her 
huddled in a Mexican jacal — an addle-brained negro woman who was trying 
to get through the country afoot. Fifteen years later stories in the same 
county circulated about a "wild cave man." His diet, according to the tales, 
was as miraculous as that of the fabled chameleon; his elusive powers as 
incomprehensible as those of Fortunatus. Rumor grew riotous and fear- 
some. Finally, some cowpunchers rode the "wild man" down and roped him. 
He proved to be a Mexican moron who was in hiding for having murdered 
another Mexican. 

Mr. Kenney gives 1837 and 1850 as the dates between which "The Wild 
Woman of the Navidad" flourished. Victor M. Rose, who treats of the 
subject sketchily, gives the dates as 1840 and 1850. 1 Both speak of the 
wide newspaper publicity given the "woman"; and it is interesting to note 
that during this time of publicity other sections were claiming their "wild 
men." Marryat, who cribbed most of his wild west material from current 
newspapers, published in 1843 an account of a purported "wild man" on 
Red River. 

"One day," he says, "a report was spread in the neighborhood of Fort 
Gibson, that a strange monster, of the ourang-outang species, had penetrated 
the cane-brakes upon the western banks of the Mississippi. Some negroes 
declared to have seen him tearing down a brown bear; an Arkansas hunter 
had sent to Philadelphia an exaggerated account of this recently discovered 
animal, and the members of the academy had written to him to catch the 
animal, if possible, alive, no matter at what expense." 2 

The man, it seems, had endured all manner of adventure, which he related 
to some hunters who shot him. Later he became a wealthy river captain, 
but probably tales about him as a "wild man" grew even after his death. 

Again, in 1851 there was a "wild man" in the Arkansas woods. On May 
26th of that year, the Galveston Weekly Journal reprinted a report from 
the Memphis Enquirer of May 9th, concerning this "wild" being. He is 
described as long-haired, gigantic in frame, with a footprint thirteen inches 
in length. — Editor.] 

iRose, Victor M., Some Historical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of 
Victoria, Texas, Laredo [1883?], pp. 71-72. 

2 Marryat, Captain, Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur 
Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas, Leipzig, 1843, p. 278. 

244 Legends of Texas 

Rising in the gentle hills, between the Colorado and Lavaca 
rivers, the Navidad River, after a short course, expands into 
a deep stream which creeps sluggishly through the wide and 
dense forests that cover the alluvial lands near the sea. Some 
of the earliest settlements in Texas were made on the Navidad. 
The dense growth of trees and cane in the river bottom was 
the haunt of all species of wild animals, which, through fear 
or ferocity, seek the recesses of the forest. 

About the year 1837 there appeared in the settlements of the 
lower Navidad a phenomenon. The barefoot tracks of two human 
beings were frequently seen, but the persons who made them 
kept themselves carefully from sight. It was inferred from the 
size of the tracks that one was made by a boy and the other by 
a girl or woman of delicate feet. The two sometimes invaded 
the sweet potato fields and sometimes helped themselves to a 
few ears of corn, but seemed to avoid any mischief and took 
only something to eat. Many conjectures were made, and aban- 
doned as fast as made, as to who they could be. At first they 
were thought to be runaway slaves. But the size of the tracks 
demonstrated that they were not negroes, and they avoided 
making themselves known to the negroes of the country. Then 
it was supposed that they were some wandering remnant of 
Indians, and this conjecture was favored by the smallness of 
the feet. But their conduct was foreign to the Indian character. 
Indians would not have been so secluded; they would have com- 
mitted more mischief — or less. The most probable conjecture 
seemed to be that they were lost children who had become sep- 
arated from their friends during the hurried retreat of the Ameri- 
can settlers from the invading army of Mexico in 1836. It was 
supposed that they had become so alarmed that, believing the 
whole world hostile, they kept themselves in innocent ignorance 
secluded from mankind. But there were grave objections to 
this theory also. If the supposed lost children had been old 
enough to maintain themselves in the wilderness, they would 
not have lacked discretion to make themselves known when their 
friends returned. Altogether, the riddle remained unsolved. 
After some years the larger track was no more seen, but the 
small and slim track frequented the country. Some time later 
a party of hunters noticed some bones protruding from a pile 
of sticks and leaves in the woods, and upon investigation dis- 
covered there the skeleton of a man. Nothing was noticed by 

Miscellaneous Legends 245 

which his race or nation could be determined; indeed, but little 
was thought of the matter at the time, but afterward it was 
concluded that the larger of the two strange recluses, who was 
probably a man, had died, and that his weaker mate, covering 
his body with sticks and leaves, had furnished as best she could 
his primitive shroud and sepulture. 

However this might be, the small track was often found in 
the potato fields, where the strange wild being frequently came 
by night and, after grappling a few potatoes with the hands, 
went away as stealthily as she came. From the impress of the 
fingers left in the garden mould it was judged that the hands 
were small and slim; and from the tracks, which were only 
a span long, it seemed certain that the author of these little 
depredations was a woman, and not of the black race, whose 
feet are all large, flat, and ill-shaped. She was now called "The 
Wild Woman," though some called her "It." 

Curious to know what manner of being she was, some young 
men set a watch at a potato patch where were the signs of her 
recent depredations. As she was harmless and possibly ignorant 
of speech, they planned to seize her with their hands, and for 
this purpose they concealed themselves between the high ridges 
of the potato vines and waited in silence. At a late hour she 
came, and as near them as they had expected. The night was 
dark, but they could see the shadowy form. It was slim and 
apparently unclothed, but the color could not be distinguished. 
They sprang out to seize her, but, though they were active young 
men, she was more agile still, and bounded away as silently and 
quickly as the flitting of a shadow, and was instantly lost in the 

For a long time she was not heard of. But at length fresh 
signs of her appeared in a manner that raised curiosity. The 
settlers were obliged to keep vigilant and fierce dogs to protect 
the houses and domestic animals against beasts of prey. Trained 
to guard against the stealthy approach of wild cat and cougar, 
and accustomed to battle with bear and panther, the dogs were 
trusted security against the clandestine approach of man or 
beast. The houses of the early settlers were constructed on the 
general plan of two log pens connected by a wide porch or hall 
open at both ends, all under one roof, shade and ventilation 
being the chief requisites in the southern climate. The saddles, 
ropes and other horse-gear hung against the wall in the porch; 

246 Legends of Texas 

the guns were stacked in the corners of the rooms or rested 
in racks over the mantels and doors, ready for instant service; 
and the inmates of the house, skilled in the use of weapons, were 
scarcely less vigilant than their dogs. Thus guarded, they felt 
secure from prowling beasts, and confident that no human being 
would be foolhardy enough to venture clandestinely upon the 
premises. In the summer time the doors and windows stood 
open day and night, and all wayfarers coming in good faith were 

To such a house in summer, on a bright moonlight night, 
when everything was still and the inmates were asleep, The 
Wild Woman came and entered, stepping over dogs, it would 
seem. What other search or exploration she made is not known, 
but she entered the dining room, in which there was an open 
cupboard containing a plate of meat and a loaf of bread. She 
took part of the meat, and, breaking the bread in two, she took 
one half and left the other; and with this mute explanation of 
her motive, she departed as silently as she came. Not a dog 
whimpered, and the people of the house were none the wiser until 
the morning, when this excusable theft excited their curiosity 
and compassion. But they wondered at the dereliction of the 

The woman did not return to that house for a long time. But 
she soon entered another house of the same style, guarded by 
particularly vigilant dogs. In this her search was extended, as 
shown by the things she moved ; but it was also obvious that her 
motives were not venal. There were gold watches hanging over 
the mantel, where she moved bottles and powder flasks, and she 
must have seen them, as the moon was shining brightly in the 
room. There was silverware in the cupboard, but she took only 
some scraps of food, taking, as before, only half and leaving 
half; and she effected her departure without disturbing man 
or dog. She afterward entered numerous houses in the same 
strange manner ; not a dog would notice her. The negroes became 
superstitious about her. They called her "that thing that comes," 
and for her they used the neuter pronoun. 

One winter it was found that she was in the habit of taking 
corn from a crib. The amount she took was wholly trifling; 
but from motives of curiosity the opportunity was taken to cap- 
ture her. All that needed to be done was to watch when she 
entered the crib, then close the door. The watch was kept for 

Miscellaneous Legends 247 

several nights without result, but at length the desired oppor- 
tunity occurred. The man on watch was inside the crib with 
his hand on the door. He had fallen into a doze, when the stealthy 
rustling of the corn husks awoke him. The thing had come. 
He had only to push the door and call the people. But a super- 
stitious horror seized him. The thought of being shut up alone 
in the dark, even for a few moments, with the mysterious 
creature was accompanied by a sudden dread that he could not 
control. In his fright he cried out, and before he could move 
a limb the creature was gone with a single bound through the 
door into the enveloping night. 

The compassion of the people arose with their curiosity. The 
poor creature was welcome a hundred times to what she took in 
her little forays, harmless to others but so dangerous to herself. 
Every means was used to communicate with her. Diligent search 
was made in the canebrake and in the great hollow trees, some 
of which afforded almost a house. But all in vain; she avoided 
black and white alike, and no signs of her dwelling could be found 
in the dark forests where she roamed like some wild animal. 
Sometimes no sign of her would be seen for months or even years, 
and the people would cease to think of her; then suddenly she 
would appear with some trick, if it might be so called, more 
curious and mysterious than any before. 

On one of the plantations the woodworkers' tools, essential to 
the early settlers, were kept under an open shed where there was 
a rough work-bench. From this the owner missed his handsaw, 
drawing knife, and some other tools. At first he suspected some 
petty thief. But several weeks afterward the tools were all found 
returned to their places, the handsaw scoured and polished as 
bright as a looking glass. What could this mean? It must have 
been the work of The Wild Woman. The polish put on the saw 
was wonderful. No one knew before that this familiar metal 
was susceptible of such a gloss, nor did anyone know the process 
by which it could be effected. Why did the woman take these 
tools? Was she building a hut or fixing her residence in some 
hollow tree? Was she making weapons, rafts, boats? For any 
imaginable purpose the assortment she took was incongruous, 
deficient, or superfluous. Why did she return the tools so soon? 
What could be the meaning of the curious but useless pains she 
had taken with the saw-blade? Was there some symbolic mean- 
ing, a message? Thus speculation ran. 

Some time afterward a neighbor missed a log chain. The negro 

248 Legends of Texas 

teamster gave it as his opinion that "dat thing what comes must 
have tuk it." But a chain twelve feet long weighing thirty pounds 
or more — what use could that wild animal have for it? The 
owner said that if he ever "whipped a nigger for being a fool," 
he would "skin" that one. Not long afterward, The Wild Woman 
did come to his house and made the usual round among uncon- 
scious watch dogs and sleeping people to her usual prize, the 
cupboard, where she found a pan of milk, two loaves of bread, a 
plate of butter, and other things. She took half the plate of 
butter, dividing it neatly, took one of the loaves, poured half the 
milk out of the pan into a pitcher, and, taking the latter, departed. 
Two or three weeks afterward, upon awakening one morning, 
the family found the pitcher standing on the bare ground before 
the door and the log chain coiled around it. The chain was scoured 
and polished as bright as the saw had been. To bring this chain 
and coil it before the door would seem to have been necessarily 
a somewhat noisy operation, but the dogs had taken no notice. 

The people ceased to wonder at the recusancy of the dogs; it 
had become an established phenomenon. For seven years or more 
this strange creature had haunted the country, and all sorts of 
dogs and several generations of them had been tested. They 
were mysteriously insensible to the coming of The Wild Woman. 

Her next exploit surpassed all and set curiosity on tiptoe. A 
farmer had a hog fattening in a pen near the house. A bear 
attempted one night to take it off, but the dogs seized the beast 
and after a severe fight killed it. The combative spirit of the 
dogs was so raised by this occurrence that they kept a lively 
watch, especially on the hog pen; and expecting every night to 
be treated to another bear fight, all were fiercely alive to the 
slightest alarm. One night during this state of matters, The 
Wild Woman brought a poor hog out of the woods and put it in 
the pen, taking the fat one out and making off with it safely, 
and not a dog barked or growled. The farmer said that he would 
have killed every dog on his place if he had thought that they 
were at themselves when "that thing" swapped hogs with him. 
There was but one explanation possible: she had bewitched both 
hogs and dogs. There was no use in fattening the new porker; 
the negroes would not have eaten a mouthful of it short of star- 
vation. During several years "the thing" repeated this mys- 
terious performance at numerous places. There was one in- 
convenience attending it : the substituted hog was often the prop- 
erty of a neighbor. 

Miscellaneous Legends 249 

Numerous attempts were made to trail her with dogs, as it was 
thought that she could not carry so heavy a burden as a fat hog 
to any great distance. But the dogs always lost the trail as soon 
as the people following were left out of sight. When the hog 
taking achievement had ceased to be a wonder, some hunters came 
accidentally upon one of her camps, and here was material for 
fresh curiosity. There were piles of sugar cane, which abounded 
in the neighboring fields. Much of it had been cut into short 
lengths and chewed; hence it was evident that she knew the use 
of a knife. There were some curious strings twisted of the out- 
side bark of the cotton plant. There were no signs of fire and 
no implements. A secret watch was kept on the camp for some 
time, but the creature did not return. Sometime afterwards, 
fresh signs of her having been seen, a general hunt was resolved 
upon. Dogs were procured that had been trained to follow runa- 
way negroes. They came upon the trail and pursued eagerly 
enough ; but the trail led through the ponds of water that abounded 
in the swamp and soon put the dogs at fault. 

A long time followed during which she was not heard of; then 
her camp was found again at a considerable distance from the 
former one; she had removed to another section of the country. 
This fresh evidence raised curiosity to fever heat. There were 
several things of her own manufacture, baskets and a curious 
snare made from the fibrous bark of the cotton plant, seemingly 
intended to catch rabbits or other small animals. There were 
several articles taken from houses, a spoon, some table knives, 
and a cup. There was no clothing ; her bed was moss and leaves ; 
and there had been no fire. But what excited most curiosity was 
several books, and these had keen kept dry. In one of the books 
was a letter of old date, containing tender sentiments and ad- 
dressed to Miss . One of the books was a Bible, and 

in it were the names of the members of a well-known family in 
the neighborhood. 

What then? Could this strange being not only talk but read? 
Was she some too high-strung heart that had been so overstrained 
or embittered in the buffets of the world as to renounce human 
society and resolutely for many years keep herself secluded in 
the shadows of the forest? Was it some wild romantic sentiment 
which had prompted her to seek the savage life of the woods with 
a companion, and losing him to vow so strange and rude a her- 
mitage? And after so many years was the aching heart seeking 

250 Legends of Texas 

solace in the company of old books ? Or was she seeking for one 
book only, taking volumes at random in the dark until the light of 
morning should reveal the name? Seeking one book, wherein 
from old is written the way from this bad world to a better one? 
Such were a few of the thousand questions and conjectures which 
the discovery of the books suggested. The matter got into the 

Sympathy and curiosity rose together. If the creature could 
read, as it seemed by her taking books that she could, why not 
write her letters and place them where she would be most likely 
to find them? Letters plainly written in simple language were 
posted at her recent camp and other places entreating her to make 
herself known. Home and friends were offered her. 

This strange and serious drama was not without a comic side 
scene. There was an eccentric old bachelor in this country at 
that time by the name of Moses Evans, who had been nicknamed 
"The Wild Man of the Woods." Since there was now a veritable 
Wild Woman of the woods, it seemed to the wits of the time an 
eligible match. Several love letters notable for droll wit, over 
the signature of "Moses Evans, the Wild Man," addressed to the 
unknown Wild Woman, were published in the newspapers and 
widely copied through the United States. But the letters which 
had been posted on trees at the camp of the poor recluse remained 
untouched, and nothing occurred to indicate that she understood 

By this time a general resolution had grown up that this riddle 
must be solved. A more systematic and cautious plan was 
adopted. A number of hunters formed extended lines and drove 
through the woods with leashed hounds, while others, well 
mounted and provided with lassos, took "stands." Several fruit- 
less hunts were made, but at length the hunters became satisfied 
late one evening that the woman was in a neck of woods running 
out into a prairie something more than a quarter of a mile wide. 
The men with the lassos took positions along the edge of this 
prairie while others drove through the skirt of woods with the 
hounds. It was night before the men were well arranged, but a 
bright moon shone. It is well known that men accustomed to 
hunting with hounds, can readily tell what kind of game they are 
pursuing by the nature of their cry. Scarcely were the men at 
their posts when the hounds raised a cry never heard before. 
They were following the track of some strange creature. Pres- 

Miscellaneous Legends 251 

ently the breaking of little sticks and the hurried rustling of the 
brush near one of the lasso men announced the approach of some- 
thing, which immediately bounded with a light and flying step 
into the open prairie in the bright light of the moon. 

It was The Wild Woman. She ran directly across the prairie 
in the direction of the main forest. The man was mounted on a 
fleet horse, and it needed all his speed to bring his rider to an 
even race with the object of his pursuit. But the horse was so 
afraid of the strange creature that he could not be urged within 
reach of the lasso. Three times he came up but each time shied 
to right or left too far for his rider to throw, while the flying 
figure each time turned her course to the opposite hand and ran 
with the speed of a frightened deer. They were now nearing the 
black shadow of the great forest, which was projected far on the 
plain. Spurring his horse with angry energy, the pursuer came 
this time fairly within reach and threw his lasso; but at the in- 
stant of throwing, his horse shied as before, and the rope fell 
short. In an instant the pursued creature was in the shadow of a 
vast forest and further pursuit was useless. Though disappointed 
in capturing her, one point was gained : the man had a good look 
at her as they ran together across the prairie for several hundred 
yards. She had long hair that must have reached to her feet, 
but that flew back as she ran. She had no clothes, but her body 
was covered with short brown hair. The rider did not see her 
face, as she was between him and the moon, so that whenever she 
turned toward him her face was in the shadow. Once or twice 
he thought he caught a glimpse of wild eyes as she cast a fright- 
ened glance over her shoulder. She had something in her hand 
when he first saw her, but she dropped it either from fright or 
to facilitate her escape. After the chase this was sought for 
and found. It proved to be a club about five feet long, polished 
to a wonder. 

A long time passed without anything further being seen of her. 
She seemed to have disappeared. But during the severe winter 
of 1850, when there was a great sleet and the ground was covered 
with snow, her camp, or its camp, or the thing's camp, was found 
in the brush of a tree that had recently blown down in the tangled 
thicket of a canebrake in the dark recesses of the woods. At this 
place there were large piles of sugar cane, much of it chewed. 
There was a rude bed of moss and leaves, but no fire. There 
was the strangest set of snares, made like those found before, of 

252 Legends of Texas 

the bark of cotton stalks, but these were much more complex. 
The tracks in the snow were numerous and a span long. A watch 
was set, but the creature had taken alarm and did not come back. 
The winter passed, and some fresh signs being seen, another 
great muster was made; and equipped with horses, hounds, and 
ropes, the pursuers made a favorable start on the track. The 
men took up stations in line and closed in from all sides. In the 
last resort, as was expected, the creature climbed a tree and was 
soon looking down with a frightened stare at the troops of baying 
dogs and the faces of the men upturned in eager curiosity. But 
here was another disappointment. Instead of the man-like ape to 
which the glimpse on the prairie had directed general conviction, 
there was only the well known ape-like man of tropic Africa. 
The wild creature they were pursuing had, it seemed, by accident 
or design crossed the trail of a runaway negro; the dogs, taking 
the latter scent, had been misled, and instead of the wonder they 
expected the hunters had treed only a negro man. Now they 
could remember that the cry of the dogs changed during the chase, 
and it was thought that by going back in time the trail might be 

But this negro was somewhat of a curiosity himself, and they 
stopped to investigate him. He was entirely nude, an unknown 
condition for runaways. The hunters bade him come down, but 
he made no sign of obeying. They asked him to whom he be- 
longed, but he made no answer. They threatened him, but he 
did not seem to understand. To frighten him into obedience 
they pointed guns at him, pretending that they would shoot him, 
but he motioned with his hand for them to desist and go away. 
They then climbed the tree and took him down by force. He 
trembled, but said nothing. While looking at him they observed 
his feet and hands. Could it be, after all, that this was the wild 
being who had so long evaded the sight of man! They led him 
through a muddy place to see the track he made. It was measured 
and found to agree with the measure often taken of the strange 
wild one. The man was kept confined for some time, and the 
news of his strange capture was published far and wide. But 
no owner came forward nor could anything be learned con- 
cerning him. 

At length a wandering sailor came that way who had been 
at one of the Portuguese missions on the coast of Africa, and 
knew the captive's tribe and spoke enough words of his barbarous 

Miscellaneous Legends 253 

language to learn his history. The negro had, when a boy, been 
sold by his parents for "knife and tobacco" to slave traders, who 
had him with many others for a long time in a ship at sea. They 
came at last into a river, where they were landed and kept for 
some days in a large house, where they had plenty of sugar and 
sugar cane. He and another, a grown man of his tribe, made 
their escape and wandered for a long time in the woods, cross- 
ing a great many rivers and prairies, he did not know how 
many. Often they were nearly starved to death, but his com- 
panion, skillful to throw the club, had as often taken some 
animal with which they sustained life. At length they came 
into the section of the country where he afterwards remained 
so long. They saw the people passing about, and they saw that 
some of them were negroes, but were afraid of their clothes ; they 
feared that the negroes were cannibals. His companion died 
after several years, and ever since he had been alone. 

As he was now a man in middle life, he had probably been 
brought across the sea between 1820 and 1830. His small feet 
received some explanation. It appears that there is a tribe on 
the west coast of Africa, perhaps more than one, which have 
very small feet. We learned from the savage what we did not 
know before, that there is a certain hour in the night, which 
varies somewhat with the moon, when the most watchful dogs 
are sunk in insensible sleep, and a man may walk among them 
and step over them with impunity. His most extraordinary feat 
of exchanging the hogs was very simple, but if made known it 
might get some of his improvident race into trouble. 

He was advertised as a stray negro and sold on public account. 
The purchaser turned him loose among his other negroes, and 
according to the nature of his race, he remained contented in his 
new home. The Wild Woman was never afterwards heard of. 
Public curiosity speedily died away, and nothing more being heard 
from the negro, he also disappears from history and legend. 


This bibliography makes no pretension to completeness. Mere 
references to legends, such as references to buried treasure, are 
not listed, the citations being confined almost altogether to actual 
narrative or explanation of narrative. Legends marked with an 
asterisk are either quoted or retold in this volume. It is hoped 
that the bibliography will continue to grow. Additions, especially 
of current newspaper accounts, are invited. 

Agreda, Madre de Jesus de. See Blue Woman, The. 

Alamo, Ghosts of the. De Zavala, Adina, History and Legends of the Alamo 
and other Missions in and around San Antonio, San Antonio, 1917, 
pp. 54-56. Included is a ballad, "Ghosts of the Alamo," by Grantland 
Rice, from the New York Tribune. 
Alamo, Legend of the Statue of Saint Anthony at the Church of the, 
De Zavala, op. cit., pp. 56-57. 

Antonette's Leap. See Lovers' Leap, Mount Bonnell. 

Arroyo Hondo, an Indian legend of the origin of. Dyer, J. O., Galveston 
News, March 28, 1922. 

Barton Springs, Indian legend of the origin of. Brown, Frank, Annals of 
Travis County and the City of Austin, unpublished manuscript in the 
archives of the University of Texas, Chap. V, p. 29. 

"Black Devil," Mustang Stallion, Ruled Texas. Pioneer legends of a mus- 
tang, San Saba country. Dyer, J. O., Galveston News, February 10, 
1924, p. 15. 

"Black Wolf's" Indian Legend. An Indian Rip Van Winkle and the coming 
of the whites. Duval, John C, The Adventures of Big Foot Wallace, 
1870, pp. 51-55. 

"Blue Woman," The. Bolton, H. E. (editor), Spanish Explorations in the 
Southwest, pp. 354-355, 387. *"Letter of Fray Damian Massanet," 
translated by Professor Lilia M. Casis, reprinted from Texas State 
Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. II, pp. 253-312. De Zavala, Adina, 
History and Legends of the Alamo and other Missions, San Antonio, 
1917, pp. 61-62; 103-106. See bibliographical references given by Heim- 
sath, Charles M., "The Mysterious Woman in Blue," this volume. 

Brazos River, legend of the naming of. * Kennedy, William, Esq., Texas: 
The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, R. Hastings, 
London, 1841, Vol. I, pp. 167-168. Thrall, H. S., A History of Texas, 
p. 37. *Davis, M. E. M., Under the Man-Fig, Boston, 1895, pp. 1-3. 
Girardeau, Claude M., "The Arms of God" (verse), Texas Magazine, 
Houston, May, 1897, Vol. II, pp. 431-434. 

Brazos River, mythical origin of. *Spillane, James, "An Indian Legend of 
the Flood," Philadelphia Times (date?) ; reprinted in Galveston News 
(date?). See in this volume Littlejohn, E. G., "How the Brazos and 
the Colorado Originated." 

Brazos River, mysterious music in. *Hudgins, Charles D., The Maid of 
San Jacinto, New York, 1900, pp. 12-13n. 

Brazos River, sea serpent in. Galveston Weekly Journal, May 12, 1853. 

Buckner, Strap and the Devil. *Taylor, N. A., Texas the Coming Empire; 
or, Two Thousand Miles in Texas on Horseback, Barnes and Company, 
New York, 1877, pp. 74-88. 

Cave of Three Raps, The. Stevens, Walter B., Through Texas, St. Louis, 
1892, pp. 33-34. 

Cherokee Rose, legend of. Austin Statesman, August 25, 1882, p. 3, col. 4. 
Wylie, Lottie Belle, Legend of the Cherokee Rose and Other Poems, 
Atlanta, Georgia, 1887, pp. 5-15. 

Colorado River, mythical origin of. See Brazos River, mythical origin of. 

Concepcion de Acuna, Legends of Mission de Nuestra Seiiora de la Purisima, 
San Antonio. De Zavala, Adina, History and Legends of the Alamo, 
etc., pp. 116-117: the milk moistened mortar, the joyous bells. 

256 Legends of Texas 

Death Bird, The Cry of Served as a Warning. Motes, Isaac, Frontier Times, 
Vol. I, No. 1, October, 1923, pp. 20-21; reprinted from the El Paso 

Diablo Canyon, The Mystery of. Stevens, Walter B., Through Texas, 
St. Louis, 1892, pp. 28-29. 

Eagle Lake, legend of. *Morning Star, Houston, June 13, 1839, p. 2. 
Richmond Telescope, June, 1839; Telegraph and Texas Register, June 
19, 1839. *Darden, Mrs. F. A. D., The American Sketch Book (Texas 
Pioneer Magazine), Austin, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1881, pp. 99-102. Duke, 
Mrs. Emma, the Eagle Lake Headlight, 1909. *Carothers, Mrs. H. W., 
"Legend of the Lake," four-page folder, in verse, "written for the 
Eagle Lake Chamber of Commerce," circum 1922. 

Egg-Nog Branch, Nacogdoches County, origin of name of. Fuller, Henry C, 
"The Story of Egg-Nog Branch and Fall of Fredonia Republic," Houston 
Chronicle, February 4, 1923. 

Enchanted Rock of Llano County. *New York Mirror, October 20, 1838, 
p. 135: letter of a traveler lately returned from Texas. *Reid, Samuel 
C, The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch*s Texas Rangers, Philadel- 
phia, 1848. pp. 111-112. *Dewees, W. B., Letters from an Early Settler 
of Texas (compiled by Cora Cordelle), Louisville, Kentucky, 1852, p. 152. 
Brown, Frank, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin, un- 
published manuscript in the archives of the University of Texas, Chap. I, 
p. 16. Hormann, von, Pater Alter, Die Tochter Tehuans oder Texas im 
vorigen Jahrhundert, Fredericksburg Publishing Company, Fredericks- 
burg, Texas, 1917. The book is a fictional expansion of the legend of 
the Enchanted Rock as told in this volume by Julia Estill. Wehmeyer, 
I. G., "The Enchanted Rock," Fredericksburg Standard, September 3, 
1921, p. 1. Dietel, William, "An Indian Legend Retold," Dallas News, 
May 28, 1922, Magazine Section. 

Fig tree at Columbia, Brazoria County. Tree grew out of blood of a mur- 
dered man. Davis, M. E. M., Under the Man-Fig, Boston, 1895, p. 9. 

Fort Phantom Hill, Old (Jones County). Chittenden, W. L. [Larry], poem 
in Ranch Verses, New York, 1893, p. 97. 

Galveston Bay, legends of life about. Sjolander, John P., "Rhymes of 
Galveston Bay": *"The Padre's Beacon," Texas Magazine, March, 1911; 
"Pinto and the Stingaree," ibid., 1911, pp. 48-50; "The Ballad of the 
Bayou Belle," ibid., June, 1912; *"The Boat that Never Sailed," ibid., 
May, 1913. 

Haunted Mansion, Mitchell Lake, near San Antonio. Barnes, Charles Mer- 
ritt, Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes, San Antonio, 1910, 
pp. 240-241. 

Headless Horseman on the Nueces, legend of. Reid, Captain Mayne, The 
Headless Horseman, A Strange Tale of Texas, London, 1866, pp. 361- 
362. The legend may be purely fictitious. 

Honca Tree, The Accursed. How it got its thorns. Raht, Carl, The Ro- 
mance of Davis Mountains and Big Bend Country, El Paso, 1919, pp. 

Hornsby's Bend (Travis County), When Spirits Walked at. Dealey, Edward 
M., Dallas News, October 2, 1921, Magazine Section, p. 3. In Morphis, 
J. M., History of Texas and Wilbarger, J. W., Indian Depredations in 
Texas, the incident is told as history and not as legend, and certainly 
the weight of evidence seems to be on the side of history. The story of 
"The Scalping of Josiah Wilbarger," and the consequent apparitions is 
reprinted from Wilbarger's Indian Depredations in Frontier Times, 
Bandera, Texas, Vol. I, No. 6, March, 1924, pp. 28-31. 

Huisache, The Spring of the — An Apache Legend. Wright, Mrs. S. J., 
San Antonio de Bexar, Austin, 1916, 123-124. 

Indian Maid's Vision, An. A legend of the New Braunfels Oak. De Zazala, 
Adina, Interstate Index — The Pioneer Magazine of Texas, San Antonio, 
April, 1922, p. 12. 

Lafitte, Jean, legends concerning treasure of. 

*"Lafitte's Treasure Vault," Galveston News, October 27, 1908. 
♦"Seeking for Buried Treasure," Houston Post, date uncertain. See 
"Horror Guarded Treasure of the Neches,' this volume. 

Bibliography of Texas Legends 257 

*"Pirates and Their Sacks of Gold," Galveston News, date uncertain. 
"Empty Chest Revives Tales of Buried Treasure Horde," Port Arthur 

News, July 1, 1923. 
"Buried Treasure of Jean Lafitte," Frontier Times, Vol. I, No. 8, May, 
1924, pp. 24-26; reprinted from the San Antonio Light, February 
17, 1923. 
Lost Canyon in the Big Bend of Texas. *"A Lost Valley in a Texas Can- 
yon," Western Story Magazine, December 2, 1922. The same account, 
evidently syndicated, appeared in the New York World early in 1923 
and was reprinted in "Cattle Clatter" of the San Antonio Express 
early in 1923. 
Lost Company of Irish Troops, tradition of, on the Rio Grande. Richardson, 
T. C, "Trodding [sic] 'Old Rough and Ready's' Path through the 
Brownsville Country," Houston Chronicle, November 26, 1922. 
Lost Mines. See Treasure Legends. 

Lovers' Leap (also Lover's Leap and Antonette's Leap), Mount Bonnell, 
Austin. *Morphis, J. M., History of Texas, New York, 1874, pp. 510- 
513. Reprinted in the Austin Tribune, circum 1908, according to Miss 
Louise von Blittersdorf. Swisher, Bella French, The American Sketch 
Book {Texas Pioneer Magazine) , Vol. IV, 1879, pp. 94-95. The legend 
is incorporated in "A Historical Sketch of Austin," and is said to be 
reprinted from the Courier- Journal. Two years later Bella French 
Swisher incorporated it in a story called "Mount Bonnell," which ap- 
peared in The American Sketch Book, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1881, p. 34. 
Whitten, Martha E., "Mount Bonnell," in Texas Garlands, "Author's 
Edition," Chicago, 1889, pp. 218-221; verse. Rumpel, Charles Frederick, 
in Texas Souvenir [Poems'], Austin, 1903, p. 36. Rumpel plays with the 
legend in vers de societe. Brown, Frank, Annals of Travis County and 
the City of Austin, unpublished Ms., University of Texas, Chap. VI, 
p. 49. The Brown account, essentially the same as that of Morphis, 
appeared in the Austin American, under the title "Austin's Romantic 
History," January 20 and January 27, 1924. Moreland, Sinclair, The 
Noblest Roman, 1910, 1911, pp. 256-257. 
Lover's Leap, South Llano, Kimble County. *Jaques, Mary J., Texan Ranch 

Life, London, 1894, p. 255. 
Lover's Leap, Santa Anna. *Callan, Austin, Santa Anna Beautiful, Santa 

Anna, Texas, 1907. Pamphlet. 
Lover's Leap, Waco. Everett, W. E., "The Legend of Lovers' Leap," Waco 
Times-Herald, December 19, 1913; verse. Scarborough, Dorothy, 
"Traditions of the Waco Indians," Publications of the Folk-Lore Society 
of Texas, No. I, pp. 50-51. 
Margil, Fray Antonio, "The Blessed," also called "The Venerable," legends of. 
"The Blessed Margil's Enchantment — A Legend of the San Antonio 
Valley," Wright, Mrs. S. J., San Antonio de Bexar, Austin, 1916, 
pp. 127-128. Barnes, Charles Merritt, Combats and Conquests of 
Immortal Heroes, San Antonio, 1910, "Legend of Enchantment," 
pp. 80-81. The versions are practically the same. 
*"The Holy Spring of Father Margil at Nacogdoches," Fuller, Henry C, 
Galveston News, 1902. Contributed to this volume by Littlejohn, 
E. G. 
"The Margil Vine, Legend of the First Christmas at the Alamo," 
De Zavala, Adina, folder, stitched, San Antonio, 1916. Reprinted 
in History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions in and 
around San Antonio, by De Zavala, San Antonio, 1917, pp. 65-68. 
*Legend of the mission bells ringing at the death of Father Margil, 

De Zavala, op. cit., pp. 150-151. 
See also San Antonio River, origin of. 
Medina, The Maniac of. Domenech, The Abbe, Missionary Adventures in 

Texas and Mexico, London, 1858, pp. 113-116. 
Mexicans, transmigration of souls of into mesquites. [Page, D.], Prairie- 
dom: Rambles and Scrambles, "by a Suthron," New York, 1845, pp. 129- 

258 Legends of Texas 

Miracles, The Lord of. "Legend of el Senor de los Milagros," De Zavala, 
History and Legends of the Alamo, etc., pp. 195-196. 

Mocking Bird, Origin of. "Origin of the Mocking Bird, A Legend of 
Southern Texas," Sale, Ellen L., Ladies' Messenger, July, 1888; re- 
printed in The Bohemian, "Souvenir Edition," Fort Worth, 1904, pp. 99- 
100. Verse; lovelorn Indian maiden drowns herself in the San Antonio 
River; her soul takes the form and song of the mocking bird. According 
to Mrs. A. B. Looscan, the legend has also been written in verse by 
Lee C. Harby for either the Gulf Messenger or Texas Magazine, Houston 
publications. Complete files of these magazines are difficult to find. 

Monk's Leap. Aimard, Gustave, The Freebooters, A Story of the Texan War, 
Philadelphia (no date given), Chap. XXIII. 

Mount Bonnell. See Lovers' Leap, Mount Bonnell. 

Navajoes, a legend of the. "The Dancing Man," Hunter's Frontier Magazine, 
Vol. I, No. 1, May, 1916, pp. 17-18. 

Pacing White Stallion, or White Steed of the Prairies. *Kendall, George W., 
Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, New York, 1844, pp. 88-89. 
Marryat, Captain, Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur 
Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas, Leipzig, 1843, pp. 155- 
156. Marryat purloined his material largely from Kendall's account as 
it appeared in the New Orleans Picayune. *Barber, J., "The White 
Steed of the Prairies," The Democratic Review, New Orleans, April, 
1843, Vol. XII, p. 367 ff. A ballad. 

Pecos Bill, The Saga of. O'Reilly, Edward, the Century Magazine, October, 
1923, pp. 827-833. 

Pirate fortress on Galveston Island, legend of the founding of by Don 
Estevan de Sourdis and the Devil. Aimard, Gustave, The Freebooters, 
A Story of the Texan War, Philadelphia, Chap. XXI. 

Pirates. See Lafitte. 

Randado Ranch, Jim Hogg County, origin of name of. Falvella, J. Will, 
a feature article in the San Antonio Express, August 12, 1923. 

Rio Grande: "Legend of the Great River." Clark, A., Jr., Add-Rann (Texas 
Christian University), Vol. IV, No. 8, 1898. Verse; narrative of 
phantom lovers. 

Sabine Lake, The Legend of. Reid, Mrs. Bruce, Port Arthur News, July 1, 

San Antonio River, legendary origin of: *"Legend of the San Antonio River," 
Barnes, Charles Merritt, Combats and Conquests of Immortal Heroes, 
San Antonio, 1910, pp. 76-79. Wright, Mrs. S. J., "A Legend of the 
'Blessed Margil,' " San Antonio de Bexar, Austin, 1916, 121-122. Swisher, 
Bella French, "The San Antonio River," in Writers and Writings of 
Texas, edited by Davis F. Eagleton, 1913, pp. 86-87; reprinted from 
The American Sketch Book (Texas Pioneer Magazine). The versions 
by Barnes and Wright vary little. Swisher's version employs a thun- 
derbolt, lovers, and fairies. 

San Antonio Valley, Discovery of. Wright, Mrs. S. J., op. cit., "An Apache 
Legend," pp. 125-126. 

San Antonio River, springs of. Wright, op. cit., "When the Springs Ceased 
to Flow," pp. 124-125. 

San Antonio, The Folk of the Underground Passages of. "The Padre's 
Gift," "The Courteous and Kindly Child and the 'Good People' of the 
Underground Passageway," De Zavala, Adina, History and Legends of 
the Alamo, etc., pp. 58-65. 

San Bernard River, mysterious music in. *Letts, F. D., an article in the 
Galveston News, no date given; reported by E. G. Littlejohn. *Wilson, 
Eugene, J., Jr., Gulf Messenger, Houston, December, 1894, Vol. VII, 
pp. 691-692. *"Wesiey," (J. W. Morris), two articles on "Fiddler's 
Island," Freeport Facts, summer of 1922; another article, ibid., on 
"Mystic Music in the San Bernard." Western Story Magazine, "Music 
Heard on Texas River," December 2, 1922, p. 131. All these versions 
are incorporated in "Mysterious Music in the San Bernard River," by 
Bertha McKee Dobie, this volume. 

Bibliography of Texas Legends 259 

San Gabriel Mission, early Spanish legend concerning the abandonment of. 
*Bolton, H. E., Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, pp. 268-269. 

San Jose Mission, San Antonio, legends of. "The Windows of the Voices" 
and "A Legend of the Bells of the Mission San Jose," De Zavala, Adina, 
History and Legends of the Alamo, etc., pp. 142-145. 

San Marcos River, A Legend of: how water lilies came in. * Swisher, Bella 
French, The American Sketch Book (Texas Pioneer Magazine) , Austin, 
Vol. I (Vol. IV), 1879, p. 146; reprinted in Vol. II (Vol. V), 1880, 
pp. 91-92. 

Santiago Peak, Big Bend, how it got its name. Raht, Carl, The Rom,ance 
of Davis Mountains, El Paso, 1919, pp. 77-81. 

Snively. See Snively under Treasure Legends. 

Sour Lake, The Legend of. Young, Maud J. The legend is referred to in 
various places in Texasana, including Raines' Bibliography of Texas, 
but I have been unable to find time or place of its publication. 

Staked Plains, origin of name of. Gregg, Josiah, Commerce of the Prairies, 
1855, Vol. II, p. 181. Marcy, Randolph B., Captain United States 
Infantry, Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, 1852, Washington, 
1854, p. 92. Parker, W. B., Notes . . . Through Unexplored Texas . . . 
1854, Philadelphia, 1856, p. 161. Sneed, John, "Many Legends as to 
Staked Plains," Dallas News, June 9, 1923. 

Steed, White, of the Prairies. See Pacing White Stallion. 


Almagres Mines, Miranda's reports on. Archives University of Texas. See 
pp. 12-13, this volume, notes. See Bowie, Cerro de la Plata, San Saba, 
and Llano. 

Anna Cache Mountains, Kinney County, treasure in. San Antonio Express, 
"Cattle -Clatter," January 5, 1924. 

Bowie Mine. *Hunter, John Warren, Rise and Fall of the Mission San Saba 
to which Is Appended a Brief History of the Bowie or Almagres Mine, 
Mason, Texas [Austin, 1905], pp. 42-59. Pamphlet, 84 pages, very rare. 
*Hunter, John Warren, "The Hunt for the Bowie Mine in Menard," 
Frontier Times, Bandera, Texas, Vol. I, No. 1, October, 1923, pp. 24-26. 
"Fight by Bowie Brothers while in Search for Mine," Dallas News, 
January 28, 1921, Pt. II, p. 7, col. 1. Stoddard, William O., The Lost 
Gold of the Montezumas — A Story of the Alamo, Philadelphia, 1897. 
A highly Actionized account of some of Bowie's treasure hunting expedi- 
tions. See also Almagres, Cerro de la Plata, San Saba, and Llano. 

Brand Rock Water Hole, Dimmitt County, treasure in. Honnoll, W. V., 
Galveston News, 1909. 

Casa Blanca, Jim Wells County, legends of treasure at. Sutherland, Mary 
A., The Story of Corpus Christi, Houston, 1916, pp. 2-3. 

Cerro de la Plata, Bolton, H. E., Spanish Explorations in the Southwest, 
pp. 283-284. 

Coleman County, Dig for Treasure in. Dallas News, December 9, 1923. 

Ebony Cross, legend of. Brown, Clinton G., Ramrod Jones, Akron, Ohio, 
1905, pp. 316-317. 

"Escondida" and "Big Rocks," treasures of, Victoria County. Rose, Victor 
M., Some Historical Facts in Regard to the Settlement of Victoria 
Texas, Laredo [1883?], p. 9. 

Franklin Mountains, Lost Mine in to be sighted from the tower of the church 
in Juarez. Stevens, Walter B., Through Texas, St. Louis, 1892, pp. 

Guadalupe Mountains, Lost Mine in. *Hunter, J. Marvin, "Mysterious Gold 
Mine of El Paso County," Hunter's Frontier Magazine, Vol. I, No. 6, 
October, 1916, pp. 177-179; reprinted in Frontier Times, Vol. I, No. 7, 
April, 1924, pp. 24-26. "Lost Gold Mine of the Guadalupe Mountains," 
Frontier Times, Vol. I, No. 6, March, 1924, pp. 1-3; reprinted from 
El Paso Times. 

260 Legends of Texas 

Leander, old Spanish mine near. Fulcher, Henry C, "Corn Tassels Wave 
over Spot where Legend Says Earth Gave up Fortune," Austin 
American, October 14, 1923; reprinted in Frontier Times, Vol. I, No. 4, 
January, 1924, pp. 16-17, under title of "Legend of the Old Spanish 
Mine." A variant of the same legend appeared in the Galveston News, 
March 8, 1906. 

Leon County, treasure in a lake near Trinity, in. Wood, W. D., "History of 
Leon County," Texas State Historical Association Quarterly , Vol. IV, 
p. 208. 

Llano country, legends of rich minerals in. *"The Brook of Gold Discovered 
by Lost Rangers," and *"The Smelter on the Little Llano," both printed 
in this volume, were adapted from stories printed in the Galveston 
News of uncertain date. "Llano Treasure Cave," Naylor, Dick, Texas 
Magazine, Houston, Vol. Ill, pp. 195-204; reprinted, under name of 
T. B. Baldwin, in the Dallas Semi-Weekly Farm News, July 11 and 
July 14, 1922. See also Almagres, Bowie, Cerro de la Plata, San Saba. 

Lometa (Lampasas County) Wakes up to Find Evidence that Landmark 
Held $49,611 Treasure, San Antonio Express, March 1, 1923. 

Mexican diggers for buried money follow white horse, San Antonio. "Report 
of Mysterious Diggers Leads Police to Treasure Hunters," San Antonio 
Express, January 29, 1923. 

Mexican Government gold dumped into Attoyaque Bayou, Nacogdoches 
County. Fuller, Henry C, "Neutral Ground of Louisiana Line and 
Legend of Buried Treasure," Houston Chronicle, October 29, 1922. The 
legend involves Aaron Burr, General Wilkinson, and the Mexican Army. 

Moro's Gold. Rose, Victor M., Some Historical Facts in Regard to the Set- 
tlement of Victoria, Texas, pp. 36-37. 

Nigger Gold Mine of the Big Bend. *Raht, Carl, The Romance of Davis 
Mountains, El Paso, 1919, pp. 331-334. 

Peak of Gold, The. Lummis, Charles F., The Enchanted Burro, Chicago, 
1912. The "Peak of Gold" may be in New Mexico, but seems to be in 

*Realitos, six loads of treasure in a well below. In a news item regarding 
the Texas Folk-Lore Society, Dallas Times-Herald, October 22, 1922; 
also in other Texas papers about the same date. 

San Pedro treasure, the guarded. Barnes, Charles Merritt, Combats and 
Conquests of Immortal Heroes, pp. 88-9L 

San Saba Mines. Hornaday, William D., "The Lost Gold Mines of Texas 
May Be Found," Dallas News, January 7, 1923. Sturmberg, Robert, 
"The Elusive City of Gold," in History of San Antonio and of the Early 
Days in Texas, San Antonio, 1920, Chap. III. Webber, Charles W., 
The Gold Mines of the Gila, New York, 1849, pp. 190-191 ; 196-197. Webber 
makes vague use of the legends in Old Hicks the Guide, 1848, to which 
The Gold Mines of the Gila is a sequel. Bonner, J. S. (K. Lamity), in 
The Three Adventurers, Austin (undated), elaborates the legend of 
the lost mines. See Bowie, etc. 

Snively (Schnively), Jacob, gold hunting expedition of. Hunter, John War- 
ren, "The Schnively Expedition," Hunter's Magazine, January, 1911, 
p. 5. Whitehurst, A., "Reminiscences of the Schnively Expedition of 
1867," Texas State Historical Association Quarterly, Vol. VIII, pp. 

Starr County, treasure of "Casa de Bob" in. Lott, Virgil N., "Unbroken and 
Unsuccessful Buried Treasure Hunt along Mexican Border Goes Merrily 
on," Houston Chronicle, November 5, 1922. 

Wichita Mountains, quicksilver in. Kendall, George W., Narrative of the 
Texan Santa Fe Expedition, New York, 1856, Vol. I, pp. 183-186; 
Vol. II, p. 425. 

Wichita, origin of the name. Dallas News, Magazine Section, September 

30 1923 v 4 
Wold Woman of the Navidad* Rose, Victor M., op. tit., pp. 71-72. 


From the brief sketches of contributors that follow, something is revealed 
of the humanistic interest in their own social inheritance that is stirring 
among men and women over the State of Texas. If culture is a cultivation 
of the inherent rather than a grafting of the extrinsic — and history shows 
that it is — then surely no small debt will be acknowledged to these indi- 
viduals by the growing number of children of Light who claim also to be 
children of Texas. 

Stanley E. Babb, a young man of Galveston, has written some genuine 
poetry of the sea. He is literary editor of the Galveston News. 

Julia Beazley of Houston is a gatherer of Texas folk-songs as well as of 

L. D. Bertillion's business of mounting horns has carried him into many 
parts, and apparently he has always traveled with open ears. Only lack 
of space has prevented the inclusion of other legends of his gathering. He 
lives at Mineola. 

Austin Callan, who used to live at Santa Anna, is a newspaper man. 

John R. Craddock is a true product of the rangy West, and he is gathering 
all manner of folk material from the old-time Plains people. Only one to the 
manner born can seize a legend as he has seized "The Legend of Stampede 
Mesa." At present Mr. Craddock is ranching in Dickens County. He has 
written good ballads and has been a student at the University of Texas. 

Dr. Alex. Dienst of Temple is a well known scholar in Texas history. 
He has contributed to the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and is engaged 
on a bibliography of Texasana. 

Bertha McKee Dobie has from childhood been familiar with the country 
of the Brazos and the San Bernard rivers. 

Flora Eckert is a native of the Llano region. At present she is teaching 
in the Fredericksburg Public Schools. 

A. W. Eddins, who is engaged in school work in San Antonio, has con- 
tributed to both preceding Publications of the Society. He promises more 
lore from the Mexicans. 

Julia Estill is president of the Texas Folk-Lore Society and one of the 
most useful members that the Society has ever known. Last year she con- 
tributed an article to the Publications on German lore of Gillespie County. 
She is principal of the Fredericksburg High School. 

Jord Leeper Gay has played tramp, cowboy, treasure hunter, and collegian. 
At present he is attending the School of Mines at El Paso. 

Lillian Gunter is librarian of the Cooke County Free Library at Gaines- 
ville. There she has a county museum and is inspiring a widespread in- 
terest in local history. 

Charles Heimsath is instructor of English at the University of Texas. 

Frontier Times, issued monthly at Bandera, is, to one interested in Texas 
folk-lore and pioneer reminiscences, the most interesting magazine ever 
published within the borders of the state. Of it J. Marvin Hunter is editor 
and publisher. During the eight months that Frontier Times has appeared 
it has printed as many Texas legends, in addition to folk-lore of other forms. 
One who is interested in folk diction, folk metaphor, etc., will find in this 
magazine invaluable source material. Mr. Hunter compiled the two volumes 
of Trail Drivers of Texas published by George W. Saunders of San Antonio. 
He has written also a history of Bandera County. 

Martin McHenry Kenney (1831-1907) was born in Illinois and at the age 
of three came to Texas with his parents, members of Austin's colony. He 
was a forty-niner, captain of a company in the Confederate Army, a Texas 
Ranger, and for thirteen years Spanish translator of the State of Texas. 
He was a diligent student of Indian life and knew the Indians at first hand. 
He wrote "The History of the Indian Tribes of Texas," which is included in 
Wooten's Comprehensive History of Texas. 

Edgar B. Kincaid is a ranchman of Uvalde County. 

Edith C. Lane is an active member of the El Paso Archaeological Society. 

E. G. Littlejohn is well known among Texas historians. He is the author 
of Texas History Stories, familiar to many school children of the state. 
He is secretary of the Texas Historical Society at Galveston and principal 
of the Alamo School. 

262 Legends of Texas 

Adele B. Looscan, president of the Texas State Historical Association, 
has made many valuable contributions to the history of Texas and has 
largely encouraged the cultivation of literature in this state. Her home is 
in Houston. 

Roscoe Martin is a student at the University of Texas. 

J. W. Morris is a lawyer at Freeport. He has written various legends 
of the coast country that have been published in the Freeport Facts. 

L. W. Payne, Jr. has perhaps done more than any other man to keep 
alive the Texas Folk-Lore Society. He was the first president of the Society, 
having been largely instrumental in founding it, and has been a constant 
contributor to its Publications. Dr. Payne is now gathering the folk-songs 
of Texas for a proposed volume. He is Professor of English at the Uni- 
versity of Texas. 

Fannie Ratchford is assistant in the Wrenn Library, in connection with 
which she has done interesting research. 

Mrs. Bruce Reid, of Port Arthur, has put a series of legends into story 
form for children. She acknowledges her inspiration to Mrs. E. C. Carter, 
until recently Chief Librarian of the Memorial Library at Port Arthur. 
In this library Mrs. Reid's folk-stories are read and told to children. Mrs. 
Reid has made extensive studies of birds. 

R. E. Sherrill, a business man of Haskell, has written a history of Haskell 
County. Working through the public schools, he has stimulated a lively 
interest in the history and lore of his county. 

John P. Sjolander, a veteran of seventy-three years, will long be remem- 
bered as a pioneer Texas poet. He was born of a noble family in Sweden, 
was educated in England, and came to Texas more than half a century ago 
— as a seaman. For a long generation he has lived at Cedar Bayou, culti- 
vating poetry and the art of life. He has translated many folk-songs from 
the Swedish and has contributed to various magazines of this country and 
Sweden. A sketch of his life by Hilton R. Greer is to be found in Library 
of Southern Literature. Only some of his "Rhymes of Galveston Bay" are 
here reprinted. 

J. S. Spratt, recent student of the University of Texas, lives at Mingus in 
Palo Pinto County. 

Mary A. Sutherland is the author of The Story of Corpus Christi, an 
interesting history not only of her home city but of the lower Nueces 
country. She contributed to the Publications of 1923. 

Victor J. Smith, a member of the faculty of the Sul Ross State Normal 
College at Alpine, is the acknowledged representative of the Texas Folk- 
Lore Society for the Big Bend country. He combines anthropology and 
folk-lore and contributed an article of such blend to the 1923 Publications. 

As editor of The American Sketch Book, which she brought to Texas 
from the north and continued to edit under the sub-title of Texas Pioneer 
Magazine, Bella French Swisher was during the eighteen eighties rather 
prominent in Texas literary circles. Her romantic nature took her to Cal- 
ifornia, to the stage, and to a young husband. She died some fifteen years 

In the note to "The Devil and Strap Buckner" something is said of the 
author's life. Nathaniel Alston Taylor was born in North Carolina, 1835. 
He graduated from the University of Virginia, came to Texas, and served 
as colonel in Polignac's Brigade during the Civil War. After the war he 
settled in Houston. 

Louise von Blittersdorf is an enthusiastic worker in the Texas Folk-Lore 
Society. Her home is in Austin, and she is a student in the University of 

J. O. Webb, Superintendent of Schools at Alvin, is writing a history 
of Galveston for his Master's thesis at the University of Texas. 

W. P. Webb perhaps knows more about Texas Rangers and frontier 
outlaws than any other man living. He has written various articles on 
Texas history and Texas folk-lore; at present he is working on a book 
having to do with Texas Rangers. Mr. Webb is Adjunct Professor of 
History at the University of Texas. 

Mrs. S. J. Wright is the author of San Antonio de Bexar, Historical, 
Traditional and Legendary, which contains a number of legends pertaining 
to San Antonio. Mrs. Wright is a leader in Texas women's club work. 
San Antonio is her home. 



The Society met April 27-28, at Austin, in the Y. M. C. A. Auditorium, 
in three successive sessions. The program was as follows: 

Annual Public Address (given under the joint auspices of the University 
of Texas and the Texas Folk-Lore Society) : Folk-Lore of the Central West, 
Doctor Louise Pound, University of Texas. 


President's Address: Folk Thought and the Modern Mind, Professor 
Will H. Thomas, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas; This 
New American Language, Mr. Samuel B. Dabney, Houston, Texas; A 
Mexican Popular Ballad, Mr. W. A. Whatley, Ohio State University (read 
by Professor Lilia M. Casis of the University of Texas and sung by two 
University girls) ; Some Texas Songs, Dr. L. W. Payne, Jr., University of 
Texas; Superstititons of the Northern Seas, Mr. Hartman Dignowity, Deni- 
son, Texas; Two Legends of the Llano Country, Miss Julia Estill, Fred- 
ericksburg, Texas; Strokes Shared, Dr. J. R. Reinhard, University of Texas. 


Some Indigenous Architecture of Texas (illustrated by lantern slides), 
Professor Samuel E. Gideon, University of Texas; Negro Folk-Songs, sung 
by Austin negroes; Some Typical Buried Treasure Legends of Texas, with 
Notes Thereon, Mr. J. Frank Dobie, University of Texas; Some Negro 
Plantation Songs, Mr. John A. Lomax, Austin, Texas. 

The Secretary made the following report: 

Cash on hand at the beginning of the year 1922-1923 $ 88.47 

Aggregate income during the year 441.36 

Total assets for the year $529.83 

Total disbursements for the year $517.00 

Cash on hand 12.83 


The assets of the year came from annual dues, the sale of a few of the 
1916 Publications at $2.00 each, the donation of a patron's fee by Mr. Sam 
P. Cochran of Dallas, and a subsidy of $100 granted by the Board of Regents 
of the University of Texas to further publication by the Society. The dis- 
bursements were principally for printing and postage. 

A paid-up membership of 178 members was reported, distributed as fol- 
lows: Patrons, 1; Life Members, 26; Members with Journal of American 
Folk-Lore Society Privileges, 8; Annual Members, 143. Of the 178 mem- 
bers, 114 had joined during the current year. 

Officers for the year 1923-1924 were elected as follows: President, Julia 
Estill, Fredericksburg; First Vice-President, Samuel B. Dabney, Houston; 
Second Vice-President, S. N. Gaines, Fort Worth; Third Vice-President, 
Mrs. J. C. Marshall, Quanah; Councillors: A. J. Armstrong, Baylor Uni- 
versity; George Summey, Jr., Agricultural and Mechanical College of 
Texas; Maud D. Sullivan, El Paso; Secretary-Treasurer, J. Frank Dobie, 
Austin (now of Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Stillwater, 



Cochran, Mr. Sam P., Dallas 
Dobie, Mrs. R. J., Beeville 
Frank, Mr. D. A., Dallas 
O'Connor, Mrs. Thomas, Victoria 



Anderson, Mr. A. E., Brownsville 

Aynesworth, Miss Anne, Sul Ross State Normal College, Alpine 

Bedichek, Mr. Roy, University of Texas, Austin 

Bludworth, Mr. J. T., County Superintendent of Schools, Fort Worth 

Burleson, Miss Emma Kyle, 103 East Laurel Street, San Antonio 

Calfee, Mrs. M. E., Uvalde 

Casis, Professor Lilia M., University of Texas, Austin 

Doppelmayer, Miss Bertha, 2607 University Avenue, Austin 

Glasscock, Dr. Clyde Chew, University of Texas, Austin 

Griffith, Professor R. H., University of Texas, Austin 

Hill, Miss Annie C, University of Texas, Austin 

Hogg, Miss Ima, 1402 Fannin Street, Houston 

Kirwin, The Reverend J. M., St. Mary's Seminary, La Porte 

Kittredge, Professor George Lyman, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 

Lewis, Mr. Judd Mortimer, Houston Chronicle, Houston 

Looscan, Mrs. A. B., 620 Crawford Street, Houston 

Lovett, Dr. Edgar Odell, Rice Institute, Houston 

McCracken, Mrs. Pearl C, 1305 West Oak Street, Denton 

Pound, Professor Louise, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 

Robinson, Mrs. Eugene, 704 West Avenue, Austin 

Sanders, Dr. D. Leon, Wills Point 

Sanford, Mr. Allen D., Scott, Sanford, and Ross, Waco 

Scarborough, Miss Dorothy, 542 West 113th Street, New York City 

Sealy, Mrs. M. W., 2424 Avenue J, Galveston 

Stockwell, Mrs. E. P., Angleton 

Tyler, Mr. George W., Belton 



Clegg, Mrs. Luther B., 123 West Park Avenue, San Antonio 

Dobie, Mr. J. Frank, Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, Still- 
water, Oklahoma 

Drought, Mrs. Ethel L., 529 Oakland, San Antonio 

El Paso Public Library (Mrs. Maud D. Sullivan, Librarian), El Paso 

Handman, Professor M. S., University of Texas, Austin 

Hargrove, Mr. H. M., Beaumont 

Hedges, Mrs. F. L., 4018 Bowser Avenue, Dallas 

Heusinger, Mr. Edward W., P. O. Box 1056, San Antonio 

Lomax, Mr. John A., University of Texas, Austin 

Pearce, Professor J. E., University of Texas, Austin 

Schulz, Miss Ellen D., 1025 Summit Avenue, San Antonio 

Smith, Mr. Floyd, Brady 

Stoner, Mrs. W. L., Victoria 

Summey, Professor George, Jr., Agricultural and Mechanical College of 
Texas, College Station 

Young, Miss Mary, Eagle Pass 

♦By an amendment to the constitution Life Membership in the Society is no longer granted, 
except to Patrons. 

Members of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, 1921* 265 



Adkins, Mrs. Thurman, 1818 Brazos Street, Houston 

Anderson, Mr. William W., 801 Union National Bank Building:, Houston 

Armstrong, Professor A. Joseph, Baylor University, Waco 

Arnold, Mrs. W. T., Henderson 

Baten, Mr. Thomas J., 415 Gilbert Building, Beaumont 

Battle, Professor W. J., University of Texas, Austin 

Baylor University Library, Waco 

Benedict, Dean H. Y., University of Texas, Austin 

Bertillion, Mr. L. D., Mineola 

Bittner, Mr. E. M., Fredericksburg 

Blackberg, Professor S. N., Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, 

College Station 
Blanton, Mr. W. E., San Angelo 

Bogusch, Mr. Edwin R., 333 West Commerce Street, San Antonio 
Bolton, Professor Herbert E., University of California, Berkeley, California 
Booth, Miss Alma, 212 East Monroe Street, Austin 
Boysen, Dr. J. L., University of Texas, Austin 
Bozeman, Mrs. T. U., Winnsboro 

Bridgers, Mrs. Georgia B., 206 East 26% Street, Austin 
Bromberg, Mr. H. L., Magnolia Building, Dallas 
Brown, Mr. Robert W., Mineral Wells 
Brush, Miss Laura, 610 San Antonio Street, Austin 
Bryan, Mrs. Austin Y., 1701 McGregor Avenue, Houston 
Bryan, Mr. Lewis R., Carter Building, Houston 
Burch, Miss Ethel, 707 West 24th Street, Austin 
Butte, Dean George C, University of Texas, Austin 
Calhoun, Professor J. W., University of Texas, Austin 
Callaway, Professor Morgan. Jr., University of Texas, Austin 
Campbell, Professor Killis, University of Texas, Austin 
Carlisle, Mrs. Natalie Taylor, 404 West Alabama Avenue, Houston 
Carnegie Library (Mrs. V. M. Fulton, Librarian), Cleburne 
Carnegie Library Board (Miss Lillian Newton, Librarian), Vernon 
Carter, Mrs. Ponder S., 3113 Memphis Street, El Paso 
Clapp, Miss Sarah L. C., 2107 C San Antonio Street, Austin 
Click, Dr. L. L., University of Texas, Austin 
Cline, Mrs. H. A., 1103 Elgin Avenue, Houston 
Cooke, Mrs. Alice Lovelace, 4305 Avenue D, Austin 

Cooley, Mrs. Emily King, 110 North Ardmore Avenue, Los Angeles, Cal. 
Cole, Mrs. E. W., San Augustine 

Cox, Mrs. Mamie Wynne, 109 West 10th Street, Dallas 
Craddock, Mr. John R., Spur 

Dabney, Mr. Samuel B., Mason Building, Houston 
Dashiell, Mrs. A. H., 2100 Rio Grande Street, Austin 
Daugherty, Miss Lida, San Patricio 

Davis, Mrs. Margaret Tolar, 2604 Pease Avenue, Houston 
Derden, Mrs. M. E., Tennessee Colony 
De Zavala, Miss Adina, 141 Taylor Street, San Antonio 
Dignowity, Mr. Hartman, University of Texas, Austin 
Dixon, Mrs. Olive K., Miami 
Dixon, Mr. Sam H., Box 194, Houston 

Dobie, Miss Edith, Leland Stanford University, California 
Dobie, Mr. George L., Heydrick Mapping Co., Wichita Falls 
Duncalf, Professor Frederick, University of Texas, Austin 
Eberle, Mr. E. G., 253 Bourse Building, Philadelphia, Pa. 
Eckert, Miss Flora, Fredericksburg 
Eddins, Mr. A. W., 400 Kirk Street, San Antonio 
Eiband, Mr. James I., New Braunfels 
Eis, Mrs. Julia, 1004 South First Street, Austin 

266 Legends of Texas 

El Paso Archaeological Society, El Paso 

Elliott, Miss Mary Stather, Sul Ross State Normal College, Alpine 

Ellis, Professor A. Caswell, University of Texas, Austin 

Estill, Miss Julia, Fredericksburg 

Everts, Mrs. W. E., 4419 McKinney Avenue, Houston 

Fahey, Mrs. Pat N., 116 West Main Street, Houston 

Fellowes, Mrs. E. J., 702 San Pedro Avenue, San Antonio 

Fischer, Mr. Carlo M., New Braunfels 

Fischer, Mr. Ernest Gus, Bartlett 

Fletcher, Mr. H. T., 02 Ranch, Alpine 

Fort Worth Public Library (Mrs. Charles Scheuber, Librarian), Fort 

Fox, Mr. Oscar J., 1617 Main Avenue, San Antonio 

Frank, Miss Cynthia, Dallas 

Frizzell, Mr. Bonner, Palestine 

Frizzell, Dr. T. D., Quanah 

Gaines, Mr. Newton, University Station, Austin 

Gammel, Mr. H. P. N., Gammers Book Store, Austin 

Gardner, Miss Mary C, Rosenberg Library, Galveston 

Garrison, Mrs. L. D., Corpus Christi 

General Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Graham, Dr. Malbone W., University of Texas, Austin 

Greer, Mr. Hilton R., 821 North Madison Avenue, Dallas 

Gunter, Miss Lillian, Gainesville 

Hawkins, Mrs. W. E., Breckenridge 

Heimsath, Mr. Charles H., University of Texas, Austin 

Heidler, Mr. J. B., University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 

Henderson Women's Club, Henderson 

Hill, Miss Kate Adele, College of Industrial Arts, Denton 

Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library, Houston 

Houston Public Library, Harris County Court House, Houston 

Hubbard, Miss Alice R., 723 Brooklyn Street, San Antonio 

Hubbard, Mr. Louis H., Dean of Men, University of Texas, Austin 

Hughen, Mrs. T. W., 2741 Fourth Street, Port Arthur 

Hunter, Mr. J. Marvin, Bandera 

Hunter, Mr. W. S., Belton 

Huppertz, Miss Meta, County Court House, Austin 

Jackson, Mrs. Pearl Cashell, 510 W. 23rd Street, Austin 

Jameson, Miss Hallie, 521 West 111th Street, New York City 

Jones, Mr. Howard Mumford, University of Texas, Austin 

Jones, Dr. R. F., Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 

Kemp, Judge Jeff T., Cameron 

Kendrick, Mrs. J. P., Gatesville 

Kerr, Mrs. Robert C, Westheimer Road, Houston 

Kidd, Mr. O. L., Cameron 

Kidd-Key Library, Sherman 

King, Miss Sarah S., 441 Delgado Street, San Antonio 

Koch, Mr. Harry, Quanah 

Lane, Mrs. Edith C, Box 999, El Paso 

Lavender, Miss Roberta, University of Texas, Austin 

Law, Professor Robert A., University of Texas, Austin 

Littlejohn, Mr. E. G., 1911 Avenue I, Galveston 

Magruder, Mrs. Bettie, San Angelo 

Marshall, Mr. C. F., Graham 

Marshall, Mrs. J. C, Quanah 

Martin, Mr. H. B., 4127 Live Oak Street, Dallas 

Martin, Mr. Tom P., 3107 Grandview, Austin 

Maxwell, Mr. C. J., Ginn and Company, Dallas 

Mayes, Professor W. H., University of Texas, Austin 

McCuistion, Mr. Ed H., Paris 

McDaniel, Miss Star, Scottish Rite Dormitory, Austin 

McFarland, Mrs. J. B., 1312 Castle Court, Houston 

McKee, Miss Myrl, Sanderson 

McMeans, Miss Lula, East Bernard 

Members of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, 192 A 267 

Memorial Library, Port Arthur 

Mills, Mr. R. A., Southwest Texas State Normal College, San Marcos 

Morris, Mr. J. W., Freeport 

Mowery, Mr. W. B., University of Texas, Austin 

Newby, Mrs. Wm. G., 1108 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Worth 

New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue, New York City 

Norton, Mrs. Court, 1320 Missouri Avenue, Houston 

Ochs, Mr. Herman H., San Antonio 

O'Donohoe, The Reverend Father, 504 East Marvin Street, Waxahachie 

Oneal, Mrs. Ben G., Wichita Falls 

Page, Mr. H. F., Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, College 

Patten, Mr. Frank C, Rosenberg Library, Galveston 
Payne, Professor L. W., Jr., University of Texas, Austin 
Perron, Mr. Marius, 306 East Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 
Philpott, Mr. W. A., Jr., Dallas 

Pittenger, Dr. Benjamin F., University of Texas, Austin 
Potts, Professor C. S., University of Texas, Austin 
Princeton University Library, Princeton, New Jersey 
Ramsdell, Professor Charles W., University of Texas, Austin 
Ratchford, Miss Fannie, University of Texas, Austin 
Reid, Mrs. Bruce, Gulf Refinery, Port Arthur 
Rice Institute Library, Houston 

Richardson, Mr. Moss, West Texas State Normal College, Canyon 
Rotan, Mr. Edward, First National Bank, Waco 
Sam Houston Normal Institute Library, Huntsville 
Schumacher, Mr. Oscar R., Fredericksburg 
Scott, Mrs. E. Owen, Rio Grande City 
Scott, Mrs. L. A., McKinney 

Shaver, Mrs. Lillie T., 4533 Ross Avenue, Dallas 
Sherrill, Mr. R. E., Haskell 
Simmons, Mr. J. P., Austin 

Skinner, Miss Helen, 823 Hammond Avenue, San Antonio 
Smith, Mr. R. R., Jourdanton 

Smith, Mr. Victor J., Sul Ross State Normal College, Alpine 
Spratt, Mr. J. S., Mingus 

Spring, Mrs. John V., 802 Grayson Street, San Antonio 
Staeheley, Mr. Walter, 407 West 32nd Street, Austin 
Sterrett, Miss Carrie Belle, Capital Station, Austin 
Stoltzfus, Miss Amanda, University of Texas, Austin 
Striegler, Mr. R. G., Fredericksburg 
Summey, Mrs. George, Jr., College Station 
Sutherland, Miss Agusta, 512 Staples Street, Corpus Christi 
Sutherland, Mrs. Mary A., 309 Star Street, Corpus Christi 
Taylor, Miss Grace B., 404 West Alabama Avenue, Houston 
Taylor, Dean T. U., University of Texas, Austin 
Teague, Miss Bessie, 2107 San Antonio Street, Austin 
Texas Christian University Library, Fort Worth 
Texas State Library, Austin 

Thomas, Mr. Roger, University of Texas, Austin 
Thomas, Mr. W. H., Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, College 

Thomas, Mrs. W. H., La Grange 
Thomas, Mr. Wright, La Grange 
Throop, Mrs. L. N., 806 West 21st Street, Austin 
Toler, Mrs. Harry L., 1413 Fairview Avenue, Houston 
Tucker, Mr. Philip C, Box 673, Sarasota, Florida 
Turner, Mr. Thomas F., Amarillo 
University of Texas Library, Austin 
Villavaso, Professor E. J., University of Texas, Austin 
Von Blittersdorf, Miss Louise, 406 East 17th Street, Austin 
Waco Public Library, Waco 
Wallace, Mr. Carl, Troup 
Want, Mrs. George H., 810 West First Street, Fort Worth 

268 Legends of Texas 

Washington University Library, St. Louis, Missouri 

Webb, Mr. J. O., Alvin 

Webb, Mr. W. P., University of Texas, Austin 

Wharey, Dr. James B., University of Texas, Austin 

Wilkinson, Judge A. E., 500 West Sixth Street, Austin 

Willhelm, Mr. Glenn, Route 5, Paris 

Winkler, Mr. Ernest, W., Librarian, University of Texas, Austin 

Winslow, Mr. Robert J., Menard 

Wright, Mrs. S. J., 432 West Magnolia Avenue, San Antonio 

Young, Dr. S. O., 1321 Ashland Avenue, Houston 

Youngblood, Mr. B., College Station 

Ziegler, Mrs. J. A., 3708 Main Street, Houston 



This index treats exclusively of the pages in this volume containing 

legends and exposition of legends, pages 1-253. Its purpose is: first, to cor- 
relate certain facts in respect to legendary features, as will be seen, for 

instance, in the headings beginning with "Treasure"; secondly, to give geo- 
graphic names connected with the legends; thirdly, to list the names of 
informants and contributors of legends as well as of authors and publica- 
tions referred to in the legends. The index is not intended to supplant 
the table of contents provided at the beginning of the volume. 

Adams, Ephraim Douglass, British 
Diplomatic Correspondence Con- 
cerning the Republic of Texas, 
141 n. 

Adkins, "Uncle" Ben, 37. 

Agreda, Maria de Jesus de, 133, 134. 

Aguayo Expedition, 210, 216. 

Aijados, The Seven Hills of, 8 n. 

Aimard, Gustave, The Freebooters, 

15 n., 216 n. 
Ainsworth, Roy, 111. 
Alamo, 19, 172, 173, 237. 
Allston, Theodosia Burr, 191-193. 
Alpine, 242. 

Amazons, mythical wealth of, 8. 
Andamarca, 6. 
Antonette's Leap, 171 ff. 
Apaches, 93, 165, 165 n. 
Arapahoes, 165, 165 n. 
Arbuckle Mountains, 64. 
Arizona, 96, 239. 
Atahualpa, 6. 
Atascosa County, 11. 
Aury, Luis de, 92, 92 n. 
Austin, 37, 167, 174, 231, 239. 
Austin, Stephen F., 5, 119, 121, 123, 

211, 236. 
Aztec (s), 17, 197, 231, 233. 

Babb, Stanley E., 179. 

Baffle Point, 146. 

Baker, D. W. C, Texas Scrap Book, 

16 n. 
Balboa, 7. 

Bancroft, H. H., 5 n. ; History of the> 

North Mexican States and Texas, 

8 n., 92 n. 
Bandelier, Adolphe F., The Gilded 

Man, 6 n., 7 n., 8 n., 9 n. 
Bandera County, 115. 
Bandera Pass, 118. 
Barber, J., "The White Steed of the 

Prairies," 225. 
Barker, E. C, 5, 6 n.; Barker, Potts, 

and Ramsdell, A School History of 

Texas, 241 n. 

Barnes, Charles Merritt, Combats and 
Conquests of Immortal Heroes, 

Bass, Sam, 226 ff. 

Bay Ridge, 186. 

Beaumont, 183. 

Beaver, Tony, mythical strong man 
of West Virginia, 120. 

Beazley, Julia, 185. 

Beeville, 37. 

Bell County, 91, 208. 

Belton, 95, 229. 

Benalcazar, Sebastian de, 7. 

Benavides, Fray Alonso de, Memorial, 
132, 133, 134. 

Benditas Animas, Arroyo de las, 210. 

Bertillion, L, D., 77, 91, 157, 230. 

Big Bend, 3, 64-67, 238 ff., 214. 

Binkley, William Campbell, 'The Last 
Stage of Texan Military Operations 
Against Mexico, 1843," 95 n. 

"Black Stephen," 78. 

Blanco Canyon, 111. 

Blanco River, 24, 231. 

Blue Bonnet, 197 ff. 

Blue Lady. See "Mysterious Woman 
in Blue," in table of contents. 

Bogota, 6. 

Bolivar peninsula, 146. 

Bolton, H. E., Athanase de Mezieres, 
19 n., 72 n., 81 n. ; Spanish Explora- 
tions in the Southwest, 8 n., 12 n., 
217 n.; "The Spanish Occupation of 
Texas," 9 n., 135 n.; Texas in the 
Middle Eighteenth Century, 4 n., 
5 n., 13 n., 81 n., 84 n., 99, 99 n., 
165 n., 211 n.; "The Founding of 
the Missions on the San Gabriel 
River, 1745-1749," 99. 

Bonner, J. S. (K. Lamity), The Three 
Adventurers, 15 n. 

Boone's Ferry, 86, 87, 88. 

Bosque, Genardo del, 47. 

Bowie, James, 5, 16 ff., 141. 

Bowie, John, 141. 

Bowie, Rezin P., 5, 16, 18, 141. 

272 Legends of Texas 

Bowie Mine, 5 n., 12 ff., 24, 26-27, 28, Clark, A., Jr., "Legend of the Great 

64, 214. River," 168 n. 

Bradley, Matt, Border Wars of Texas, Clear Fork Creek, near Lockhart, 103. 

18. Coleman County, 79. 

Brazoria County, 26, 137, 143, 189, Colombia. See El Dorado. 

191. Colonists of Texas, The first Ameri- 
Brazos River, 3, 72, 74, 75, 77, 85, can, 5, 121, 211, 236. 

141-142, 154, 209 ff., 218-219. Colorado, mine hunters go to, 98. 

Brewster County, 4 n., 64, 157, 209, Colorado, Texas, alleged Spanish 

242. fort at, 79. 

Brown, John Henry, History of Texas, Colorado River, 3, 10, 20, 24, 72, 93, 

16 n., 33 n., 44, 85 n., 96 n. 172, 202, 212, 215, 216, 217, 218- 

Brown, Josephine, 157. 172, 202, 210, 212, 215, 216, 217, 218- 

Buckley, Eleanor Claire, "The Aguayo 219, 236, 244. 

Expedition into Texas and Louisi- Columbia, Texas, 211. 

ana," 210 n., 216. Comanche(s), 14, 15 n., 97, 154, 155, 
Buckner's Creek, 119, 120, 130. 164-167, 172, 173, 197, 217. 

Bugess Lake, 91. Concan, 57. 

Bunyan, Paul, mythical strong man Concho River, 8. 

of lumber camps, 120. Conquistador es, 7, 223. 

Burall, Poncho, 114. Cook, Lorene, 138. 

Burleson, General, 85, 86, 87, 88, 93, Cooke County, 81, 82, 83. 

93 n. Coronado's Expedition, 8, 9, 78, 98. 

Burns City, 82. Corpus Christi, 14, 184, 210. 

Burton, the elder, 96. Cortez, 6, 7, 234. 

Burton, West, 16, 64, 214, 239. Coryell County, 209. 

Cox Bay, 184; Cox Creek, 184. 

Caldwell County, 103. Craddock, John R., Ill, 135, 167. 

California, 10, 96, 98. Crosby County, 111. 

Callan, Austin, 169. Croton Creek, 78. 

Callihan, W. C, 189. Cubanacan, Palace of, in Cuba, 8. 

Cameron County, 43, 51. Cundinamarca, 7. 

Campbell's Bayou, 190. Custer, General, 11. 

Campeachy, 181. Cuzco, 7. 
Canadian River, 205, 226. 
Caney River, 192, 218. 

Srragu^Sr^- SS&5U Farm Ne W s, 

SrtzTIpr^s H 84 W " 202 ' Dallas ' Herald, 56. 

Casa B°la S n P ca m I?; 43, 44, 45, 47-49, 55. garden, Mrs F 202. 

Casa del Santa Anna. See Santa Darter, W. A., £0/. 

!„„„ Davis, Molhe E. Moore, Under the 
Cata del Sol 8 Man-Fig, 211, 212 n. 

Casas Grandes* 231 Davis Mountains, 232, 238. 

Casis, Lilia M., "Letter of Fray Dead Horse Canyon 209. 

Damian Manzanet," etc., 133. 5 eath ^ U ' T5?' 14A 

Catfish, or Blanco, River, 111. 5^- & Q oqq 

Cave(s), 229, 231 ff. See also under Del Kio, 209, 2d9. 

Treasure. Democratic Review, The, 225. 

TViPP+wnb 130-132 Denison, 153. 

CerroTe ia lltars, 12. Devil, fight of, with Strap Buckner, 
Chapman, Charles E., The Founding .?, 1. OD1 

of Spanish California, 135 n. 5 ev *J, s S v< r r ' „ , oo 

Charts. See Treasure, location of in- Devil a Water Hole 38. 

dicated by Dewees, W. B., Letters from an Early 
Cherokees, 197, 198. Settler of Texas, 154. 

Cheyennes, 165, 165 n. 5? xte 5» ??' ono oai 

Chisos Mountains, 240. Dienst, Alex., 208, 241. 

Chocolate Bayou, 189, 190. Dimmit Cojmly^ 84^ 

Chuzas, Mountains, Las, 30, 31, 38. Dobie, Bertha McKee 137, 141, 143. 

Cibola, Seven Cities of, 8, 9, 231. D ° b A ie ' *' KiVInq 2 ' 
Ciudad Encantada de los Cesares, 60 > 64 > 80 > 95 > m > ^ oy > Zd8 ' 
La, 8. 

Index 273 

Dockum Flats, 113. Galveston, 95, 182, 211n., 213, 216. 

Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, Galveston Bay, 143-149, 186. 

72, 77. Galveston News, 20, 23, 84 n., 138, 
Dryden, Texas, 64. 144, 184, 185, 204, 218. 

Dubose, E. M., 28, 31, 45, 48. Galveston Island, 92, 182, 189, 190. 

Duffy, Judge Hugh, 115. Galveston Weekly Journal, 10 n., 243. 

Dunn, W. E., 5 n.; "The Apache Mis- Gambrell, Tom, 103. 

sion of the San Saba River," 13 n., Garrison, George P., Texas, 236 n. 

165 n. ; "Missionary Activities Gay, J. Leeper, 78, 233. 

among the Eastern Apaches Pre- Gillespie County, 154. 

vious to the Founding of the San Girardeau, Claude M., "The Arms of 

Saba Mission," 165 n. God," 211. 

Dyer, J. O., The Early History of Goddard, Pliny Earle, 231 n. 

Galveston, 92 n., 180. Goliad, 3, 33. 

Gran Moxo, 8. 

Eagle Lake, 201-204. Gran Paytiti, 8. 

Eagle Lake Headlight, 202. Gran Quivira, 8, 9, 133. 

Eagle Springs, 98. Grayson County, 83. 

East Bay, 146. Gregg, Josiah, Commerce of the 
East Texas, 3, 54. Prairies, 131. 

Eckert, Flora, 163. Grey, Zane, The Last of the Plains- 
Eddins, A. W., 236, 237. men, 226 n., 239. 

Edward, David B., History of Texas, Grolier Society, The Book of Knowl- 

72. edge, 200. 

Edwards, Hayden, 92. Guadalupe Mountains, 67-72, 231. 

El Dorado, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. See Guadalupe River, 105. 

Bandelier, The Gilded Man. Gulf of Mexico, 180, 213, 142, 143. 

El Paso, 66, 68, 131, 231, 236. Gulf Messenger, The, 138. 

Ellis, Frank, 91. Gunter, Lillian, 81. 

Enchanted Rock, 153-156. Gumman Gro, 148. 
Espada, mission of, 172. 

Estill, Julia, 24, 153. Hamilton's Valley, 21. 

_ Hardeman County, 207. 

Falls County, 91. Hardy, Mrs. Jack, 242. 

Fannin, 141. Harris County, 186. 

Farmer, Grenade, 164. Haskell County, 72. 

Flint Creek, 72. Hatcher, Mrs. Mattie Austin, 4, 5 n., 
Flores, Manuel, 93. 197 211 n. 

Fort, Old Spanish, near Ringgold, 81, Hays/ Jack, 10 n., 154. 

t^ 8 ?*td j oc Heim'sath, Charles H., 132. 

* ort Bend, 85. Henderson County, 241 n. 

Fort Brown, 51. Higgins W 205 

Fort Davis, 231. Hodge, F. W., 132 n., 135, 135 n. 

b ort Ewell, 43, 44. Honey Creek, shaft of mine opened by 
Fort Lancaster 3 Miranda on, 13, 19. 

Fort Merrill 43 ,44 Hermann, Father, Die Tochter Tehu- 
Fort Planticlan 43 49 15 ' 5 n< 

Fort Ramirez, 43 44-46 Hornaday, W. D., "Lost Gold Mines 

Fort Stockton, 3, 157, 209, 231. of Texas> , etc>> 14 n< 

ifort Worth, 11. Horns, superstitions concerning, 230- 

Fortm, El, 43. 231 

Fournel, Henri, Coup <f oeil . . . sur Horn ' worshipers, 230 ff. 

le Texas 15 n Hough, Emerson, North of 36, 226 n. 

Freeport ^ g> Houston, General, 87. 

Freepovt Facts, 138, 140. Houston Chronicle, U n 200. 

Frio County 11. Houston Morning Star, 201. 

Frio River, 16, 57, 59, 60-62. Houston Post, 182. 

Frontier Times, 11 n., 67 n., 238 n. Hudgins, Charles D., The Maid of 
Fulmore, Z. T., History and Geog- San Jacinto, 141. 

raphy of Texas as Told in County Hunnington, Colonel, 191-192. 

Names, 24. tory of Bandera County, 116. 

Gainesville, 82, 83. Hunter, J. Marvin, 67; Pioneer His- 

274 Legends of Texas 

Hunter, John Warren, "The Hunt for Lampasas River, 95. 

the Bowie Mine in Menard," 11 n.; La Nana Creek, 204, 205. 

A Brief History of the Bowie or Landa, Louis, 202. 

Almagres Mine, 13, 14, 16, 19-20; Lane, Edith C, 130. 

"The Schnively Expedition," 98. Langerock, Hubert, "Paul Bunyan," 
Hunter's Frontier Magazine, 67, 97. 120. 

Hyacinth, origin of, 197. Lanier, Sidney, "The Revenge of 

Hamish," 205. 
Iguanas, La Mina de Las. See Bowie La Porte, 186. 

Mine. Laredo, 33, 34. 

Incas, 6. Laredo Crossing, 29, 30, 31, 32. 

Indian (s) as actors in legends of La Salle, 241, 242. 

Texas, 3, 17-18, 22, 50, 60, 67, 68, La Salle County, 28, 43. 

74, 79, 80, 81, 84, 94, 97, 100, 103- Las Amarillas. See Bowie Mine. 

104, 116-118, 122-123, 130-132, 132- Las Animas, purported fort, 43. 

135, 145, 153, 154, 155-156, 159-160, Lavaca County, 84. 

161-163, 163-167, 169-171, 171-176, Lavaca River, 184, 244. 

192-193, 197-200, 201, 202-204, 206, Leakey, 57. 

207-208, 212-213, 215, 217, 218-219, Leon County, 89. 

234-235. Leon River, 95. 

Indian (s) as transmitters of legends Letts, F. D., 138. 

of Texas, 68, 131, 192, 198, 200, Lewis, John, 51. 

239. Lily, water, 200-201. 

Indian Bluff, 205. Lipans, 16 n., 17-18, 218-219. 

Indian influence on Spanish treasure Littlejohn, E. G., 20, 179, 204, 218. 

seekers, 7, 8, 10, 72. Little River, 95. 

Indianola, 105. Live Oak County, 28, 44, 53, 243. 

Irving, Washington, 9, 119. Liverpool, 189, 190. 

Llano County, 24, 154. 
Jackson County, 184. Llano hills, bullion and mines in, 9, 

James, Jesse, 11. 12-20, 20-23, 24-27. 

Janvier, Thomas A., Legends of the Llano River, 19, 21, 22-23, 24, 154, 

City of Mexico, 102 n. 164-167, 215, 226. 

Jacques, Mary J., Texan Ranch Life, Llano Valley, 164. 

163. Lockhart, 33, 103, 104. 

Jim Wells County, 47. Loma Alta, 39. 

Jourdanton, 64. Loma de Siete Piedras, 38-39. 

Jumano Indians, 132. See Xumanos. Looscan, Adele B., 115. 
Junction, 165 ff. Los Almagres, 4, 8, 12-20, 72, 214. 

See Bowie Mine. 
Kendall, George Wilkins, Narrative Lost "Bad Lands," 239. 

of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, Lost Canyon, 238 ff. 

224 n. Lost gold, brook of, 20 ; hole of, 80-81. 

Kennedy, William Esquire, Texas, See Mines, lost. 

etc., 216 n. Lost mines. See Mines. 

Kenney, of McMullen County, 40. Lost Mountains, 238. 

Kenney, M. M., cited, 226-227, 242. Lost plateau, 239. 
Kidd, Captain, 182. Louisiana, 66, 180, 184, 184-185. 

Kimble County, 163, 164. Lovers, in legend, 153 ff. 

Kincaid, Edgar, 62, 64. Lover's (Lovers') Leap, Waco, 153; 

Kincaid, J. M., 65. Denison, 154; Kimble County, 163- 

King County, 72. 167; Santa Anna, 169-171; Mount 

Kingsland, 24. Bonnell, 171-176. 

Kiowa Peak, 74, 77. Lover's (Lovers') Retreat, 159-163. 

Knox, J. Armory. See Sweet, Alex E. Lubbock, Francis Richard, Six Dec- 
Kress, Mrs. Margaret Kenney, 242. ades in Texas, 141 n. 

Lummis, Chas. F., The Enchanted 
Lafitte, Jean, 179 ff. Burro, 8 n., 135 n. 

Lagarto, 30, 55. 

La Grange, 119, 122. Maddrey, Etta, 175. 

Laguna de Oro, 8. Magic Circle, The, 24-25. 

Lamb, Biographical Dictionary of the Maletas. See Treasure. 

United States, 193 n. Maravillas Canyon, 64. 

Index 275 

Margil, Father, 204-205. Miranda, Bernardo de, reports of on 
Marryat, Captain, Narrative of the the San Saba mines, 12-14. 

Travels, etc., 6 n., 15 n., 243 n. "Miranda's Expedition to Los Alma- 
Martin, Roscoe, 84. gres and Plans for Developing the 
Mason, Texas, 27. Mines," 13 n. 

Matagorda County, 192. "Monkey," gold. See Mineral rod. 

Matagorda Peninsula, 192. Monroe, Marshall, "The Mission de 
McConnell, H. H., Five Years a Cav- Los Olmos," 44 n. 

alryman, 77. Montague, Margaret Prescott, "Up 
McCulloch County, 18. Eel River," 120. 

McDaniel, H. F., his part in The Com- Montague County, 83, 97, 229. 

ing Empire or Two Thousand Miles Monterrey, 52, 66, 93. 

in Texas on Horseback, 118-119. Montezuma, 6, 234; capital of, 7; 
McKinney Examiner, 230. cave f ; 231, 233-236. 

McLean, Judge W. P., 105, 107. Moors in Spain, treasure legends 
McMullen County, 3, 28-43, 60, 84. among, 9. 

McNeil Branch, 111. Moro, in' legend of treasure, 104 ff. 

McNeill, cave at, 229 Morris, J. W., 138, 191. 

Medicine Mounds, 207-208. Morphis, J. M., History of Texas, 
Memphis Enquirer, 243. 172 n 

Me , o ar <& ^ isS !^ ?2a P residio near ' Mount Bonnell, 171 ff. 

13, 20, 26, 165, 167. Mount Franklin 131> i 

Mescalero Apache (s), 67, 68, 70. Muiscas 7 

Metheglin Creek, Bell County, 208. Murphy ; j' ohn 38 39> 

Mexicans, a source of stories of buried Mugi myster i us, 137 ff; 141 ff. 

treasure and lost mines m Texas: Mugic Bend> in gan Bernard River> 

o, 4, 5, 10, lo-iy, Z4, 61-66, 6o, of, 137 141 

38-39, 40, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51-52, 53- 

57, 60-61, 67, 73, 74-76, 78, 84-85, 

87-88, 91, 100, 214, 235. Nacogdoches, 3, 33, 85, 86, 88, 93, 
Mexican (s) as source of other than 204, 205. 

buried treasure legends, 197, 231, Narcissus, 197. 

238. Navidad River, 210, 242 ff. 

Mexican War, 24, 84, 97. Naylor, Dick, "The Llano Treasure 
Mexico, 11, 15, 23, 50, 64, 65, 69, 74, Cave," 15 n. 

75, 78, 85, 91, 92, 93, 97, 131, 223, Neches River, 84, 182-183, 241 n. 

233 ff., 239, 244. Negro element in Texan folk-tales, 
Mexico, City of, 36, 97, 234. 3, 30-31, 52-57, 64-65, 78, 106, 107, 

Milam County, 96, 99-102. 140, 142, 242 ff. 

Mine(s) lost: Los Almagres or Bowie, New International Encyclopedia, The, 

4, 5 n., 12-20, 24, 26-27, 28, 64, 214; 193 n. 

"Nigger Gold Mine," 28, 64-67, 69; New Mexico, 68, 69, 70, 80, 96, 111, 

gold in Guadalupe Mountains, some- 114, 131, 133, 231. 

times known as "Lost Sublett Mine," New Orleans, 49, 180, 181, 197. 

67-72 ; near Corpus Christi, perhaps New Orleans Picayune, 224 n., 225. 

the Casa Blanca, 4, 36, 48; coal, on New York Mirror, 154. 

upper Trinity, 5; gold, on Little New York World, 238. 

Llano, 22; silver and lead, Pack- Nigger Gold Mine, 28, 64-67. 

saddle Mountain, 24-26; silver, Las Nolan River, 95. 

Chuzas, 37-38, near Casa Blanca, Northwest Texas, 111. 

55; silver and lead near head of Notley, W. D., 233. 

Frio, 60-62; quicksilver, Sabinal, Nueces County, 47, 49. 

62-63; lead, Sabinal, 63; "Lost Nueces Canyon, 19, 36. 

Cabin," 69; copper, in Haskell Nueces River, 28, 31, 32, 33, 36, 38, 

County, 72, 77; lead, on Salt Fork 43, 47, 49, 50. 

of Brazos, 72, 77-78; gold, near Nuestra Senora de la Luz, 211. 

Enchanted Rock, 155. Nutt, Bob, 52, 80. 
Mines, lost, indicated by: rust-eaten 

pick, 21, 78; furnace, 23; marked Obregon, Don Ignacio, 14. 

tree, 23; "Magic Circle," 24-26; Odessa, 70. 

burnt rocks, 38; way-bill, 61; rain- Oklahoma, 64, 83, 174, 205. 

bow path, 155. Oklahoma Historical Society, Chroni- 
Mineral or gold rod, 45, 91, 100, 101. cles of Oklahoma, 198. 
Minter, Billy, 174. 


Legends of Texas 

Orcoquiza, tribe of Indians, 99. 
O'Reilly, Edward, 120. 
O'Reilly, Tex., 64. 

Packsaddle Mountain, 21, 24, 26. 

Page, Sidney, "Mineral Resources of 
the Llano-Burnet Region," 14 n. 

Palo Alto, 51. 

Palo Pinto, 159, 160. 

Palo Pinto County, 159, 160. 

Panhandle, 11, 174. 

Parker, Mrs. Laura Bryan, 211. 

Payne, L. D., Jr., 103, 157, 205, 207. 

"Peak of Gold," 8. 

Pecos Bill, mythical strong man in 
Southwest, 120. 

Pecos River, 71, 98, 238 n. 

Pena Creek, 84. 

Pendleton, George C, 241. 

Peru, 6. 

Petronita, 43. 

Philadelphia Times, 218. 

Pizarro, 6, 7. 

Platas. See Treasure, buried, loca- 
tion of indicated by. 

Pleasanton, 43. 

Poetry Society of Texas, A Book of 
the Year, 179. 

Point Isabel, 43. 

Point Sesenta, 147. 

Polly's Peak, 116, 117. 

Port Neches, 183. 

Potosi, silver mines of, 3, 6. 

Prairie-Lea Lockhart road, 104. 

Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, 6 n.; 
Conquest of Peru, 6 n. 

Priestley, H. I., Jose de Galvez, 5 n. 

Pueblos del Rey Coronado, 8. 

Quanah, 207. 
Quesada, 6, 7. 
Quintana, 142. 

Raht, Carl, The Romance of Davis 

Mountains, 64 n., 238 n. 
Ramirena Creek, 43, 44-45. 
Ranger (s), Texas, 20-22, 48, 56, 62, 

63, 66, 82, 96, 98, 115-118, 155. 
Ratchford, Fannie, 57, 104. 
Reagan Canyon, 64. 
Realitos, 56. 

Red River, 3, 82, 96, 97, 224, 236, 243. 
Reed's Lake, 91. 
Refugio, 3, 60, 84. 
Reid, Mrs. Bruce, 197. 
Reid, Samuel C, Jr., The Scouting 

Expedition of McCulloch's Texas 

Rangers, 154. 
Republic of Fredonia, 92. 
Resaca de la'Palma, 51, 52. 
Richmond Telescope, 201. 
Rio Grande, 4, 28, 36, 37, 39, 48, 50, 

51, 52, 60, 64, 65, 67, 74, 79, 97, 98, 

132, 168 n., 209, 238, 239. 

Ripas, 218-219. 

Roberts, Captain Dan W., Rangers 
and Sovereignty, 82 n. 

Robertson, George L., 172. 

Rock Crossing on the Nueces, 33, 34. 

Rockdale, 100. 

Rock Pens, The, 28-31, 36, 38, 64. 

Rogers, Bell County, 95. 

Roma, 53, 197. 

Rose, Cherokee, legend of, 197. 

Rose, Victor M., Some Historical 
Facts in Regard to the Settlement 
of Victoria, Texas, 108 n., 243 n. 

Round Rock, 228, 229. 

Round Top Mountain, 104. 

Russell Hills, 68, 71. 

Sabinal, 52, 62, 63, 80. 

Sabinal River, 62. 

Saint Louis, 23, 79, 93, 97. 

Salt Fork of the Brazos, 72, 77, 144. 

San Antonio, Texas, expedition to 
from Coahuila, 4; chart business 
in, 11 ; Bowie's enterprises from, 
16, 17-18; Mexican Army's move- 
ments around, 32, 33; treasure 
buried by Mexicans going to, 37, 
43, 60, 66, 93, 155, 205, 214, 237, 

San Antonio Express, 11 n., 14 n., 238, 

San Antonio-Laredo Road, 30, 35. 

San Antonio River, 204, 217. 

San Augustine, 3. 

San Bernard River, 85, 137, 141, 191, 

San Caja Mountain, 30, 31, 34-37, 38, 
40, 60. 

San Gabriel, town of, 100. 

San Gabriel Mission, 81, 96, 99-101. 

San Gabriel River, 100, 101, 167. 

San Jacinto, buried treasure legends 
around, 3; Mexican treasure taken 
at battle of, 5; retreat from, 85, 86. 

San Jacinto Bay, 144. 

San Jose, Mission, 155, 172. 

San Juan, Mission of, 172, 217. 

San Luis Pass, 143. 

San Marcos, 21. 

San Marcos River, 200-201, 217. 

San Pedro Springs, 237. 

San Saba, mission and presidio of, 
4, 5 n., 13, 14, 17, 82, 165 n., 214. 

San Saba Mines, 12-20; 79. See 
Bowie, also Mines, Lost. 

San Saba River, 4, 5, 10, 19, 27, 165 n., 
212, 214. 

Sanderson, 238, 240. 

"Sands," The, 36, 50 n. 

Sandy, The, Lavaca County, 84; 
Llano County, 154. 



Santa Anna, Mexican General, 3, 5, 
32, 33, 86, 93, 237. 

Santa Anna, Texas, 169. 

Santa Anna Mountains, 78-80, 169. 

Santana, 79. 

Santa Fe, 96. 

Santa Fe Expedition, 224. 

Santiago, 51. 

Schmitt, Edmond J. P., cited, 135 n. 

Seaview Bend, 142. 

Shannon, Mrs. A. F., 142, 143, 213. 

Shea, John Gilmary, The Catholic 
Church in Colonial Days, 135 n. 

Sherrill, R. E., 72. 

Shipman, Daniel, Frontier Life, 72 n. 

Sioux, 230, 239. 

Sjolander, John P., 143. 

Skaggs, N. R., 167. 

Skinner, Charles M., Myths and Leg- 
ends of Our New Possessions, 8 n.; 
Myths and Legends of Our Own 
Land, 84 n., 103 n. 

Smith, Buckingham, Documentos para 
la historia de la Florida, 134 n. 

Smith, John, 189. 

Smith, R. R., 64. 

Smith, Victor, 209. 

Smithwick, Noah, The Evolution of 
a State, 96. 

Snively (Schnively) Colonel Jacob, 10, 
95-98. See also 101. 

Snyder, Captain, 191. 

Sonora Mountains, 235. 

"South Sea," 7. 

Southey, Robert, "The Inchcape 
Rock," 145 n. 

Southwest, influence of Spanish upon 
Americans of, 6, 9, 69; overthrow 
of Spanish by Indians of, 130; how 
the blue bonnet came to, 197. 

Southwest Texas, 12, 37, 43, 144. 

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 
9 n., 13 n., 95 n., 99, 135 n. See 
also Texas State Historical Asso- 
ciation Quarterly. 

Sowell, A. J., Early Settlers and In- 
dian Fighters of Texas, 16 n. 
Spanish, 3, 4, 5, 6; influence of on 
imaginations of Texas pioneers, 9; 
treasure and mines in Texas at- 
tributed to, 12-20, 36, 45, 49, 50-51, 
55, 58, 72-77, 79, 83-84, 130-131, 
155, 214-215. 
Spence, Lewis, Myths and Legends, 

231 n. 
Spillane, James, 218. 
Spratt, Dr. J. F., 159. 
Spratt, J. S., 159. 
Squatter, The Headless, 135-137. 
Stallion, The Pacing White, 233 ff. 
Stampede Mesa, 111-115. 
Sterling, Captain William, 192. 

Staples, Pete, 30, 53-57. 

Stevens, Walter B., Through Texas, 

Stoddard, William O., The Lost Gold 
of the Montezumas, A Story of the 
Alamo, 18. 

Stonewall County, 72. 

Sturmberg, Robert, History of San 
Antonio and the Early Days of 
Texas, 14 n., 135 n. 

Sublett, "Old Ben," his mine, 69-72. 

Sugar Loaf, mound, 233. 

Supernatural appearances and occur- 
ences; dragon, 35; ghostly sounds, 
47, 55; ghostly lights, 46, 47, 57-58, 
101-102; ghostly goat, 55; phantom 
trees, 55, 146; skeleton of super- 
natural height and powers, 56; 
ghost dog, 54, 102; bull as guardian 
of treasure, 102; La Vaca de Lum- 
bre, 102 n. ; goblin, 102 n. ; gate that 
would not shut, 103 ; ghosts of mur- 
dered men, 111, 114, 115, 136; 
phantom steers, 114, 115; "Woman 
of the Western Star," 117-118; ap- 
pearances of the devil in his own 
form, in form of bull, in form of 
wild eat, 119, 121-122, 124, 125-129; 
the face of Cheetwah on Mount 
Franklin, 131; appearances of Ma- 
ria de Jesus de Agreda, 133-134; 
phantom music, 137-141, 141-142; 
phantoms appearing near Music 
Bend in the San Bernard River 
138-139; phantom woman of salt 
marshes, 143; "Padre's beacons," 
145; fulfillment of a curse, 144, 
146; supernatural dying of trees, 
147; ghost of boatman and his boat, 
148-149; phantom warriors, 154; 
phantom lover, 157-158, 168, 168 n.; 
phantom horror of the Neches, 182- 
183; ghost of Lafitte, 188-189; 
white wigwam of the Great Spirit, 
193; origin of the blue bonnet, 197 
ff. ; transformation of maiden into 
water lily, 201; miraculous origin 
of stream or spring, 204-205, 218- 
219; ringing of bells without hands, 
204; supernatural destruction, 213, 
218-219, 231; miraculous preserva- 
tion, 216; magic wand, 232; ghost- 
ly footprints, 242. 
Supernatural strength : of Paul Bun- 
yan, 120; of Tony Beaver, 120; of 
Pecos Bill, 120; of Strap Buckner, 
119, 121-130; of the White Steed 
of the Prairies, 223-226. 
Sutherland, Mary A., The Story of 
Corpus Christi, 4 n., 47 n., 48, 89, 
Swan Lake, 184. 


Legends of Texas 

Sweet, Alex. E., and Knox, J. Armory, 
On A Mexican Mustang Through 
Texas, 11 n. 

Swisher, Bella French, 200. 

Taovayas, 81. 

Tawaponies, 218-219. 

Taylor, N. A., 118. 

Taylor, Mrs. V. M., 211. 

Tejas, 133, 134. 

Temple, 154. 

Terrell County, 64. 

Terreros, Don Pedro, 5 n. 

Texas Magazine, The, 15 n., 144, 211. 

Texas pioneers, influence of Spanish 
genius upon, 5, 9; 38. 

Texas Pioneer Magazine, 200 n., 202. 

Texas State Historical Association 
Quarterly, 5 n., 6 n., 95 n., 133 n., 
135 n., 210 n. See also Southwest- 
ern Historical Quarterly. 

Tezcuco, lake of, Spanish treasure 
lost in, 6. 

Thoburn, Joseph B., 81 n. 

Thomas, Mrs. W. H., 119. 

Thomas, Wright, 119, 120. 

Thorndale, 99, 101, 102. 

Thrall, H. S., A History of Texas, 
210 n., 217 n. 

Three Forks, 91, 95. 

Tilden, 30, 40, 41. 

Townsend, E. E., 209. 

Treasure: maleta(s) filled with, 9, 
53, 56; cannon (s) stuffed with, 9, 
84-89; cave(s) stored with, 9, 11, 
35, 36, 45, 79, 233-235; chest (s) of, 
33, 50, 52, 55, 88, 186, 190 n., 193; 
cowhides of, 37; sacks of, 184; 
vault of, 184-185; dugouts of, 214; 
jackloads of, 9, 17, 36, 56, 91-92, 
93, 101, 214-215; mule loads of, 
28. 37; wagon loads of, 32, 97, 103; 
cart loads of, 51, 79, 98. 

Treasure, concealed by: Texas ban- 
dits, 28, 56; Mexican army, de- 
tachment of, 32, 33, 51, 52, 85, 87- 
88; Mexican bandits, 35, 36, 45, 
48, 101; Mexican adventurers, 36, 
37, 39, 40; Mexican wagon train, 
97; ranchmen or sheepmen, 41, 46, 
48; Spaniards, 49, 50, 55, 58, 74, 
79, 84, 100, 214; "three men," 90; 
Steinheimer, 93-94; murderer, 102; 
Indians, 103, 233, 234; pirates, 
182 ff. 

Treasure, buried, dreams connected 
with: 89-90, 188-189, 190-191. 

Treasure, buried, that has been found : 
11, 33, 43, 46, 48, 49, 53, 55, 56, 90, 
101, 183, 190, 235. 

Treasure, buried, guarded by: dragon, 
35; rattlesnakes, 36; white panther. 

47; white lion, 47; ghost of mur- 
dered man, 47, 48, 101; dog, 54, 
102-103; spirits, 58, 59; bull, 102; 
giant skeleton, 156; horror, 183. 

Treasure, buried, location of indicated 
by: chart (s), 10, 18, 23, 36, 49, 183; 
way-bill, 28-31, 34; plata, 39, 40, 
74; by fortune teller, 40, 45-46, 59; 
mineral, or "gold," rod, 45, 91 ; 
lights, 46, 47, 57-58, 101-102; by 
white object, 47, 58; "plat rock," 
73; map, 83, 88, 91; medium, 182; 
by Lafitte's ghost, 188-189; by 
parchment, 214. See also, Mines, 

Treasure, buried, marked by: rock or 
rocks, 36, 39, 40, 51, 59, 75; rock 
pens, 28-31, 48; knolls or knobs, 33, 
36, 94; chain, 33-34; tree or trees, 
51, 52, 75, 83, 94, 97, 100, 106, 183, 
185; animals drawn on trees and 
stones, 82; line of hills, 97. 

Treasure, buried, superstitions con- 
nected with, 31, 35, 45, 46, 47, 54, 
55, 56-57, 57-59, 101-103. 

Treasure hunters: "documentary evi- 
dence" furnished to, 5; charts sup- 
plied to by Mexicans, 10 ; enthusiasm 
of, 11-12; ruins of smelter in Llano 
country reported by, 15; evidence 
furnished to by early historians, 
19; as preservers of historical sites, 

Trinity Bay, 147. 

Trinity (Trinidad) River, 210, 211. 

Tyler County, 85. 

Underwood, J. T., 211. 

Vaca, Cabeza de, 8. 

Valentine, Texas, 67. 

Velasco, 137, 141, 142, 143, 213. 

Victoria, 3, 45, 105. 

Villa, Pancho, 11. 

Villareal, Captain, 4. 

Von Blittersdorf, Louise, 99. 

Waco, 153, 214-215. 

Waco(s) 214-215. 

Wade's Switch, 45. 

Walker. Tom L., 97. 

Way-bill, 28-31, 34. 

Webb, J. O., 95 n., 189. 

Webb, W. P., 223, 226. 

Webber, Charles W., The Gold Mines 

of the Gila, 10 n., 15 n. ; Old Hicks, 

the Guide, 10 n., 15 n. 
Welch, Mike, 99, 100. 
West, Mrs., 137, 138, 139. 
West Texas, 68, 157. 
Western Story Magazine, 238. 
White Creek, 38. 



Whitehurst, A., "Reminiscences of the 
Schnively Expedition of 1867," 95 n. 

Whitley, Mr., of McMullen County, 
34, 35, 36, 38, 60, 84. 

Wichita Falls, 80. 

Wichita River, 77. 

Wilbarger, J. W., Indian Depreda- 
tions in Texas, 95 n. 

Wild man or woman, 242 ff. 

Williams, Dr. Sid, 192. 

Williams, T. W., 167. 

Williamson County, 23, 91, 96, 98, 

Wilson, Eugene, "Mysterious Music on 
the San Bernard," 138, 140. 

Wilson, Frank H., 167. 

Winkler, E. W., 14, 201. 

Winters, J. Washington, 5 n. 

Wissler, Clark, North American In- 
dians of the Plains, 153 n. 

Woldert, Albert, "The Last of the 
Cherokees in Texas," 198. 

Wooten, Comprehensive History of 

Texas, 85 n. 
Wright, Robert M., Dodge City, the 

Cowboy Capital, 64 n. 
Wright, Mrs. S. J., San Antonio de 

Bexar, 204 n., 242. 

Xumanos, 134. 

Yaqui(s), 66. 

Yoakum, History of Texas, 93 n., 

141 n. 
Ysleta, 68, 69. 

Zahm, J. A. (Mozans), Through South 
America's Southland, 7 n., 8 n. ; The 
Quest of El Dorado, 7 n., 8 n. 

Zazala, Adina De, History and Leg- 
ends of the Alamo and Other Mis- 
sions, 204, 204 n. 


Through its Publications, issued annually, the Texas Folk-Lore 
Society purposes to preserve in permanent form the folk-lore of 
Texas, though the folk-lore of other regions, especially of Mexico 
and the Southwest, is welcomed for publication. 


The Texas Folk-Lore Society has other copies of Legends of 
Texas for sale at $1.50 for unbound volumes and $2.50 for bound 

Publications Number I, 1916, is out of print and is no longer 

Publications Number II, 1923, may be had at the original 
price, $1.00 per volume. The contents are as follows: 

The Texas Folk-Lore Society since 1916 

"One Evening as I Sat Courting" (With Music) L. W. Payne, Jr. 

Human Foundation Sacrifices in Balkan Ballads Max Sylvius Handman 

The Decline and Decadence of Folk Metaphor W. H. Thomas 

Indian Pictographs of the Big Bend in Texas (Illustrated)-— Victor J. Smith 

The Cowboy Dance John R. Craddock 

Miscellany of Texas Folk-Lore W. P. Webb 

Brazos Bottom Philosophy A. W. Eddins 

The "Blues" as Folk Songs Dorothy Scarborough 

Customs among the German Descendants of Gillespie County Julia Estill 

Customs and Superstitions among Texas Mexicans -Florence Johnson Scott 

Pedro and Pancho Mary A. Sutherland 

Weather Wisdom of the Texas-Mexican Border J. Frank Dobie 

Programs and Officers of the Texas Folk-Lore Society 

Members of the Texas Folk-Lore Society 


Address all orders to the Texas Folk-Lore Society, University 
Station, Austin, Texas. 



The Texas Folk-Lore Society invites into its membership all 
persons who are interested in the exploration and preservation 
of the folk-lore of Texas and the Southwest. Once a year the 
Society meets in public session, at which time papers on folk- 
lore are read and discussed. Members are of three kinds : 

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Members of all three kinds receive without extra charge all 
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Officers of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, 1923-1924 

President, Miss Julia Estill, Fredericksburg, Texas ; First Vice- 
President, Mr. Samuel B. Dabney, Houston, Texas; Second Vice- 
President, Mr. S. N. Gaines, University of Texas; Third Vice- 
President, Mrs. J. C. Marshall, Quanah, Texas; Councillors: 
Professor A. J. Armstrong, Baylor University, Waco, Texas; 
Professor George Summey, Jr., Agricultural and Mechanical Col- 
lege of Texas, College Station, Texas; Mrs. Maud D. Sullivan, 
El Paso Public Library, El Paso, Texas; Secretary-Treasurer, 
Mr. J. Frank Dobie, Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Col- 
lege, Stillwater, Oklahoma. 


R01123 Q2Mbfl 


R01123 DEMbfl 

Texas Tales of the Soil 

Legends of Texas, edited by J. Frank 
Dobie. Austin, Tex. : The Texas Folk- 
Lore Society. 

Number III of the Publications of 
the Texas Folk-Lore Society brings 
together a collection of legends of 
that State, compiled and edited by 
the secretary of the society — an in- 
teresting, volume for almost any 
'.reader. ,*"Here," says Mr. Doble in 
j'his preface, "I must confess a great 

ihope that some man or woman who 

~-~ — -" 1 

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opinion. The extreme opinion is f 
that he never went to sea at all, but 
was really the shorekeeping head of 
two noted buccaneer or privateer 
camps. However, that may be, 
Lafitte, like Kidd, was and is popu- 
larly believed to have hidden much 
treasure, and in consequence has «et 
many a spade at work trying to un-i 
cover some of it. And of course j 
there are bandit legends, among them j 
the legend of Sam Bass, of whom ! 
said the poet: 

3am Bass was born in Indiana— that 

was his native home — 
A.nd at the age of seventeen young Sam j 

began to roam. 
He first came out to Texas, a teamster | 

for to be ; 
A kinder-hearted fellow you'd scarcely | 

ever see. 

Taken altogether this publication 
of the Texas Folk-Lore Society is a 
book of tales that may well serve to 
while away the casual reader's eve- 
ning: and that may well claim a 
place also as a serious addition to 
Americana, and a likely source book 
for a responsive searcher after 
literary material. R. B. 

Leon Bourgeois has played a joke 
on the Com6die-Frangaise which 
may end him up in the law courts. 
It is reported in this week's Living 
Age that Bourgeois sent in under his 
own name a little known play of 
Corneille's. It was rejected and the 
joke was promptly spread abroad in 
the Paris newspapers. An angry of- 
ficial of the theater is now demand- 
ing legal action. 

"Patriotic Writings for American 
Students" compiled by Merton E. 
Hill, is a book of source documents 
arranged on a unique and novel plan, 
to give American students a proper 
viewpo'nt of American patriotism 
from these excellent historical docu- 

SuiAiaoay; umq Pipg 0: 


•aaqi juasajd au.} }tj luamdojaA 
-ap A^QAa joj aotjjd "e sj aaaq; puv uouctaa 
•uf s}i aoujs ^nwmauiBpunj paiiu-eip \<m 


R011E3 OEMbfl 

Texas Tales of the Soil 

l.ppr-nrt* <if Trxn*. <?rlitf>d hy . 


i Societ 

Number III of the Publications or 
Hip Texas Folk-Lore Society brings 
together a collection of legends of 
that State, compiled and edited by 

teresting volume for almost any 
reader. >"Here," says Mr. Doble in 
'his preface, "I must confess a great 
hope that some man or woman who 
understands will seize upon these 




and us 

e them 

as Ir 

userl the 


of the Hudson 


the CMt 

kills, a 




of New 



as ma 



of all 

kinds, legend 

of the 




. of the 

origin of 


id flo»c 

rs, of mis 


;events and perse 

nages; bu 

the typi- 

cal Tex 

s legend has to 


vi th 

hidden c 

In sober 

fact, ho 


there see 

ns to 


that tbes« 
wealth, a 

foundation for these treasure 
Is, and Mr. Dobie begins his 
with an inquiry into their 
;s, which leads usually and 
tely to Mexican and Spanish 
Yet the Spaniards when they 
n Texas had little superfluous 
and were indeed historically 
ip, nor does the Mexican occu- 
account for much real money, 
must go back to the wealth 
by earlier Spaniards in Amer- 
ith the natural consequence 
■ Spaniards became 


id that la 
and can 
"The Mexicans 

,vho lu 


Mr. Dobie, 
ants of the Indians who lurei 
ly Spanish." So- it come 
lat even today "there seem 
to be a more or less regular traffL 
in charts— platas— to buried treas 
ure:" and some "purporting to b> 
a century old are written with pen 
cil on the cheapest of modem papar.' 
operated but 

itory, and that one 
of doubtful value, yet the majority 
of Texas treasure legends presup- 
pose rich mines. The legends are 
older, but they seem to have come 
into a kind of popular revival when 
the world was startled by the gold 
discoveries in California. 

Space is here lacking to retell 
even a sample legend, but the multi- 
plicity of them may well surprise the 
reader. McMulleu County alone sup- 
plies 16; and Mr. Dobie's description 
supplies a background for them. The 
county, he says, "has as yet neither 
railroad nor bank. The people are 
as yet unhackneyed by the plow or 
commercial secretary. They still 
ta-lk a language seasoned with Mexi- 
can idiom and honest with the soil's 
honesty; they have their old-time 
dances; they welcome heartily any 
decent stranger. On the whole they 
are as enlightened as the popula- 
tions that have their Ideals molded 
by real estate agents. Just now oil 
boomers and railroad promoters 
threaten to bring their 'progress.' 
Until they bring it, the people will 
remain Individual." 

There are also pirate legends. It 
Is Interesting to find that Texas had 
its "Captain Kidd" in the person of 
Jean Lafltte concerning whom there 
seems to be similar differences of 

opinion. The extreme opinion is 
that he never went to sea at all, but 
was really the shorekeeping head of 
two noted buccaneer or privateer 
camps. However, that mav be. 
La/ltte, like Kidd, was and is popu- 
larly believed to have hidden much 
treasure, and In consequence has ^t 
many a spade at work trying to un- 
cover some of it. And of course 
there are bandit legends, among them 
the legend of Sam Bass, of whom 
said the poet: 
Sam Bass was born in Indiana— that 

And i 

Ho first" 

A kinder-hearted fellow 

book of tal> 
while away the casual reader's eve- 
ning: and that may well claim a 
place also as a serious addition to 
Americana, and a likely source book 
for a responsive searcher after 
literary material. R. B. 

Leon Bourgeois has played a joke 
on the Comedie-Frangaise which 
may end him up in the law courts. 
It is reported in this week's Living 
Age that Bourgeois sent in under his 
own name a little known play of 
Corneille's. It was rejected and the 
joke was promptly spread abroad in 
the Paris newspapers. An angry of- 
ficial of the theater is now demand- 
ing legal action. 

"Patriotic Writings for American 
Students" compiled by Merton E. 
Hill, is a book of source documents 
arranged on a unique and novel plan, 
to give American students a proper 
viewpo'nt of American patriotism 
from these excellent historical docu-