Friday, January 23, 2009

A Treasure Cave in Texas?

Here’s something on private property that you could probably spend a lifetime looking into.

About twenty-two miles northwest of Waco, Texas is a very large cave with no actual reason to be there. According to geologist of the time (the 1920’s) there wasn’t anything in the area that would have made the cave naturally although it is a natural cave with several other caverns connecting to it. It was surmised back then that this cave is from very ancient times when water may have ran through the area.

The cave, located near the Mc Lennan and Hill county lines, is said to have once been inhabited by “a strange tribe of Indians” who would attack anyone traveling in the area, killing them and taking there valuables back to the under ground complex of caverns and store the “loot” somewhere in the caverns.

Sometime around 1908 an old prospector name Ben Loftin arrived at the land where the cave is located and asked permission from the landowner, Mr. Hooker, to prospect on the land. He received his permission and immediately pulled out an old chart that had several landmarks on it. By following this chart the prospector came to a spot where a large boulder was set in what was thought to be an ancient creek bed. The prospector declared this was the entrance to the ancient cave and he proceeded to blast the boulder out of the way. Low and behold there was an entrance there! Ben Loftin quickly formed a company of several people and after spending weeks clearing away a considerable amount of dirt and clay a tunnel was found that led back into a very large cavern, about 75 feet long, 15 feet high and 12 feet wide.

The group didn’t find any treasure in the main cavern but they did find evidence of the cavern being used by someone since there was a large amount of soot on the ceiling from large fires being built. They also found a hole hollowed out in a large rock at the back of the cave that Mr. Loftin stated had been used as a smelter. Where he got this information no one knows.

Loftin and his “company” had cleared their way into the cavern system approximately 100 yards from the entrance without finding any treasure. There were several other caverns and tunnels that connected to the main cavern and apparently the group couldn’t agree on which way to go and infighting led to the disintegration of the company and all the work stopped at the cave. Mr. Loftin would never let anyone into the main tunnel without him being present and the group never resolved their differences. Ben Loftin left the area, taking his chart with him. Shortly after that the landowner sealed up the entrance to the cave.

A second group came along a few years later and attempted to find the treasure also. They came with a dowsing rod that supposedly “danced wildly” at a spot that was thought to be another entrance to the cave. They too thought explosives was the way to go (isn’t it always?) and after they set off their first blast the dowsing rod no longer danced. Frustrated, they left without trying anything else.

The main entrance to the cave was sealed up by the landowner in the mid 1920’s to keep other people out. He did leave a small entrance open for himself because he said that even on the hottest days there would be “chilly winds” coming from inside the cave so he formed a small pool of water in front of this opening and he used it to cool watermelons during the summer. Now there’s a man using his head!

I’m sure there have been other people since the 1920’s that have looked into this cave and it’s very likely the land has changed hands since then but I couldn’t find any information that indicated any other treasure hunters had done any work on this cave or that anything had been recovered.

Is there really a treasure in the cave? Why was the cave sealed once the original inhabitants vacated it? Were the Indians sealing up the white man’s treasure so it couldn’t be found? Mr. Loftin’s chart did take him right to the cave, a cave he had never been to before. Been Loftin said he had gotten his chart from a prospecting partner he had back in the 1870’s who had died while they were prospecting. Before his partner died he told him about the Indian tribe and their cave and gave him the chart that showed where the cave was located.

If nothing else, there may be some very nice relics to be had or you might prove the existence of an otherwise unknown tribe. You could also find a fabulous treasure and never work again the rest of your life!

4 comments:

Kailey Jo said...

Why can't I find more information about this cave? I'm from Waco and I love knowing the history of my town - but I haven't been able to find any other information about this cave!

Anonymous said...

this cave is just on the other side of our property in rogers Hill. Makes since for a cave to be there. theres an underground spring underneath our property thats leaks out of the ground even when it hasnt rained in months. theres an old road which travelers use to travel down to cross aquilla creek just a stones throw from the caves. a perfect spot for indians to raid settlers. the bridge still stands.

Anonymous said...

You should contact the Texas Speleological Association and have them document and map the cave for you. This service is free of charge and gives you a nice map of the cave. We always sign liability release forms and all information is kept confidential. We have provided this service to thousands of Texas landowners and gives us a chance to explore new caves while giving owners invaluable information on their resources.

Maggie May said...

Dear Anonymous,
How can this cave that is mapped in Hill County be "just on the other side" of your property? Rogers Hill is probably 20 miles away. I lived on the backside of Rogers Hill so I know where it is. Hooker's Cave has a historical marker just off I-35 near Abbott so you are mistaken. Now, if you know about another cave at Roger's Hill, that's worth talking about! I would love to know about the bridge that still stands that crosses Aquilla Creek. Does it cross onto Jack Quillian's land?
As for Hooker's Cave being mapped, it has already been. I have a map. If by some wild chance you see this comment and want to spill your beans about the Roger's Hill caves, please email me at Dereksan1@aol.com. Thanks!