Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spanish Gold in Mills County, Texas

Texas is warm this time of year, right? I guess I’m getting old because I am already tired of the cold weather! Here’s one for those of you that like to hunt Spanish treasure.

According to legend, in the 1700’s a man by the name of Padre Lopez and several Spanish soldiers hid “15 burro loads of gold and silver” in a cave near Epley Spring in Mills County, Texas. We established a long time ago that the standard payload of a burro or mule is between 130 and 150 pounds so we are talking about more than 2000 pounds of precious metal! That would be a very nice payday!

The cave where this gold and silver was stashed is supposed to be about four miles northeast of Goldthwaite, TX. There isn’t any history about where the treasure came from but if I had to guess I would say they were transporting it from one point to another and chose to bury it for safe keeping because of the Indians.

Once the treasure was secreted away in the cave the padre made four maps leading back to it. Each map was placed in a copper box and buried separately, within a few miles of each other and within a close distance to the treasure itself.

The story would have ended here but in 1890 an unknown man showed up at a farm near Epley Spring and he had one of the maps. He spent several days if not weeks searching the farm looking for a spike that had been driven into a tree. Unfortunately he didn’t find the spike and gave up his search.

Our story doesn’t end there though; a doctor with the last name of Kirkpatrick showed up several years later and began a search of the area looking for one of the other three maps that were left. He was able to locate one of the maps in a copper box that also contained some gems. The map that Mr. Kirkpatrick found had the name of Padre Lopez on it along with the date of 1762. Mr. Kirkpatrick apparently was unable to solve the riddle of the map and gave up his search also.

It is said that in 1932 another of the copper boxes and maps were found by a man named Hollenback but that map and box disappeared and it appears no one found the treasure with that map either.

So three of the four maps have been found but apparently no one has been able to use them to locate this treasure. In 1936 a series of tunnels/caves were discovered near Epley Spring but they flooded shortly after discovery from the Colorado River leaving its banks due to heavy rains. These tunnels, some thought to be man made mining tunnels, were known at the time as the Guthrie Caves.

Could the cave containing the Spanish treasure be one of the caves/tunnels of the Guthrie Cave group? It’s possible but it’s also possible the cave with the treasure in it is sealed shut and will be harder to find.

This leaves you with two treasures to look for, the first being a massive pile of silver and gold and the other being a copper box containing a map to the massive pile of silver and gold. The copper box may also contain a few little goodies just to tide you over.

I don’t know about you but I would be tickled pink to find a copper box that contained a Spanish treasure map from the 1700’s. Of course I would be just as happy finding a massive pile of silver and gold!

1 comment:

Juan Smithe said...

Interesting read. I've recently caught the metal detecting bug and I've stumbled across quite a few legends of lost mines/treasure in Texas. I plan on doing some trips down to central Texas this year. Did you ever go looking for the treasure?