Monday, February 1, 2010

The Texas Treasure of Phillip Nolan

By request, here’s another one for you folks that do your hunting in the state of Texas. This one is located somewhere south of Ft. Worth, probably about a 30-40 minute drive from there.

In 1796 a royal order from the Spanish government was handed down by Royal Commandante Pedro de Nava of the Provincias Internas “to prevent the passage to this kingdom of persons from the United States of America. The king has been informed on good
authority that the United States has ordered emissaries to move here and work to subvert the population…”.

The Spanish government didn’t want anglo-americans in the Texas Territory at the time (which to me seems a little ironic) but this didn’t stop a daring entrepreneur by the name of Phillip Nolan.

Now depending on who you ask, Mr. Nolan was a “bold pathfinder and reckless mustanger” or he was a spy mapping the countryside for the United States. Either way, our entrepreneur ventured into the land of Texas during the fall of 1800 with 27 other men supposedly on the pretenses of buying horses.

The story goes that Phillip Nolan was carrying a chest of gold coins with him for the purchase of 300 horses in San Antonio but, as luck would have it, he and his men came across a group of wild horses while on their way to San Antonio and captured those horses instead. This left Mr. Nolan with a chest full of gold coins and 300 horses.

Unfortunately, the Spanish government said Mr. Nolan didn’t have the proper documentation to be in Texas and his luck apparently changed. In March of 1801 a contingent of 120 Spanish soldiers happened upon Mr. Nolan and his band of merry men and attacked them for being in Texas without the proper papers. Papers! You must show your papers!! Sorry, I just had a flash back to Hogan’s Heroes!

Anyway, according to one story, during the attack Mr. Nolan and two slaves that he had with him took the chest of gold and buried it somewhere near the present day Nolan River. Shortly after burying the chest Mr. Nolan was struck by gunfire and died on the spot. This lead the rest of the men to surrendering to the Spanish. This, in hind sight probably was not the smartest thing to do.

Prior to leaving the area Mr. Nolan’s two slaves were allowed to bury him and they apparently left behind a grave marker which some would say have some cryptic markings on it while others may just call it graffiti. I have posted a photo of what is left of this headstone. The headstone, or what’s left of it is still in Texas and in a glass case in the town of Rio Vista.

The rest of the captured party were taken to various prisons in San Antonio, Chihuahua
and other sites. The men that were taken to the Chihuahua prison were forced to roll dice and the man with the lowest number was hanged. All of the Nolan party eventually died in prisons except for one man, Peter Ellis Bean.

So where is this treasure? According to records the Nolan group built a small primitive fort, known as Nolan’s Fort, and corral on the current day Nolan River near the Brazos river. This is where the attack took place. This is supposed to be about four miles south of Rio Vista, TX.
Stories say that the gold was taken into a “deep ravine just south of the camp” where it was buried near the mouth of Mustang Creek. It is also thought that the treasure was buried “near the mouth of the Battle Branch of the Nolan River”. It is said that the actual battle may have taken place at a location that today is the Live Oak Cemetery.

If you go looking for this one you will want to do a little research of your own to verify some of the information. Since it would seem obvious that Phillip Nolan would have been buried fairly close to where he fell during battle, if it were me, I would start my research with where headstone was found.

Keep in mind that some stories say that the Nolan group didn’t have any money with them because they were actually mapping the country side for the U.S. so this may be a coin toss as to whether or not there is a treasure there.


Anonymous said...

I would suggest contacting the US Army Corps of Engineers office in Fort Worth and even a local game warden before attempting to dig or metal detect for artifacts in the area mentioned in this article. A person unfamiliar with laws can find themselves arrested for removing historical items. Case in point, the lake which the Nolan and Brazos Rivers empty into was incredibly low during the recent drought and certain items became visible which had been covered with water for decades. The receding water levels exposed old town ruins and possibly remains of an old fort. People began digging up and removing artifacts. Sadly, some folks unknowingly broke serious laws and quickly found themselves under arrest and each owing thousands of dollars in fines. It's best to get educated on the laws and regulations before making huge mistakes like these people did. All it would've taken to avoid jail time and fines was to ask authorites in the know. These people were involved in acts of theft. Some knew it was a crime and others did not.

Anonymous said...

well, it has been my expirence that the government of the county or state you are treasure hunting in has people looking and doing the same research as you are.. the fact is they know where the true treasures are buried, and due to some trumped up law or some control measure {state parks} they know whats there the same as you do, but they can keep you and others from the money, coins, gold or silver bars, by means of a control device {artifacts} when in reality money is money, old or new it is still money for public and private debt. the beauracrates have to have an edge on anything you do in life, what once was free for all to find or enjoy, gold, coins, yes even artifacts, are now under government control... the greedy bastards need to rot in hell with a mouthful of dollar bills with no way to get a single drop of water in there mouths...