Captain Coe and his gang, which numbered between 30 and 50 men at a time made their headquarters at a spot known as Robber’s Roost, which is just north of Kenton, Oklahoma. Here the gang built a stone headquarters with walls three feet thick that had portholes instead of windows. The headquarters was equipped with a fully stocked bar, a piano and several women, you know, the necessities in life. From the location of the headquarters on top of the mesa they could see the surrounding area for miles and the rock fortress afforded the gang a lot of protection. They lasted at this location for four years.
There are various stories floating around about Captain Coe and his gang but one of the most told stories is that of the army coming to capture the Captain. It is said that in 1867 a detachment of 25 soldiers sporting a six-inch cannon marched into the area of Robber’s Roost and bombarded the stone fortress, killing several of the rustlers. Captain Coe and some of his men were able to escape only to be captured about a year latter by a posse. In 1868 Captain Coe had been captured and was sitting shackled in a jail cell when some very angry citizens took matters into their own hands and broke Captain Coe out of jail. Unfortunately for Captain Coe they weren’t there to set him free, they took him out to a tree and hanged him on the spot. He was buried under the same tree he was hanged from. It seems Captain Coe and his rustlers weren’t making very many friends in the area as the ranchers and the military were loosing a lot of livestock to the gang.
Just before Captain Coe was about to be hanged he supposedly stated; “Between here and Flag Springs arroyo I have buried enough gold to make you all rich”. To this day none of Captain Coe’s gold has been reported found. Most of the searches for his gold have taken place around the immediate area of Robber’s Roost, Black Mesa and Carrizozo Creek Valley. It should be noted that Captain Coe was hanged near Pueblo, Colorado so this statement may have been made at another time that he was caught but able to escape. Captain Coe had escaped his captors on at least two occasions prior to being hanged. That’s why he was shackled while in a jail cell. It’s also possible that the captain’s treasure isn’t where everyone thinks it is. I guess that would be kind of a “duh” since nobody has found it!
Captain Coe was known to move his stolen herds into what is called Blacksmith Canyon where the cattle were rested, the brands changed and the gang’s horses shod. They kept equipment in the canyon that they stole from travelers on the Santa Fe Trail for branding the cattle and working with the horses.
If I was a betting man I would bet there is something hidden in Blacksmith Canyon. At the least you could probably find some pretty good relics that would make your day and even be worth some money.
As a side note, an Indian that rode with Captain Coe and his gang claimed on his deathbed that the gang had stumbled across the remains of a pack train that had been attacked by Indians. Part of this pack train supposedly contained $750,000 of gold and Spanish coins that was scattered about at the site of the attack. The Indian said that the treasure was gathered up and buried in the area of Flag Springs where it was found.
Indians, Cowboys and the Spanish! What more could you ask for?