Following the harrowing journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca through the present-day southwest in 1528-1536, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado y Lujan mounted the first recorded, organized Entrada into what is now the American Southwest. Since that time, civilized people began the process of resource extraction and eventually settlement of these still wild and challenging lands.
Conflicts between nations, both Native and European, and the 300-plus year history of the region give rise to a multitude of legends, some coined less than a century ago as the days of relatively modern stage robbers and outlaws finally began to wane. The mineral wealth that drove so much of the early efforts at annexation is not recorded to have been as abundant or obvious as those first, poignant tales of Cibola promised, but wealth there was, and even after hundreds of years, it’s early extraction by Spaniards and even Natives (e.g., Turquoise) is still observable to the careful eye.
|Espejo's Lost Silver Mine||35.20020724310392, -108.341587590985||TREASURE: Silver mines discovered and documented by the Spanish Explorer Antonio de Espejo in 1532. SYNOPSIS: Early records of exploration indicate rich silver mines were discovered in the mountains near Zuni. Records show it was worked in the early 1700's.|
|Granite Gap Loot||32.08869096369764, -108.97360584698617||TREASURE: A couple of Gold bars. SYNOPSIS: On the way to Lordsburg, NM, an outlaw did his partner in, reported by some to be the result of a boastful dare, as supposedly cached a couple of Gold bars from a Tombstone stagecoach holdup.|
|Lost Padre Silver Mine||31.877723308423587, -106.49252097588032|
TREASURE: Church artifacts, loose gold coins, and a remaining vein of Silver so rich that it can be cut off with a chisel.
SYNOPSIS: Stand in the churchyard in Juarez, and look to the mountains. Follow the mentioned signs to a high bluff and find the cave. Two sets of landmarks are mentioned.
|Doubtful Canyon Stagecoach Loot||32.237414412393065, -108.97652945481241|
TREASURE: Between $28,000 and $30,000 (much more in today's dollars!) of company assets in Gold as well as likely other valuables in the strong box.
SYNOPSIS: A stagecoach ambush in Doubtful Canyon one mile West of Steins Station on the New Mexico-Arizona state line.
|Lost Malpais Cabin Loot||34.777816°, -107.940956°|
TREASURE: Gold coins with face value of $50,000 in about 1880.
SYNOPSIS: Bandits seeking shelter at a hidden cabin deep in the lava badlands (malpais) happen across other bandits that are already there. As the smoke clears, only one is left alive, and he can only take so much of the loot.
|Lost DuPont Gold Mine||36.085214°, -106.859089°|
TREASURE: A very rich free-milling Gold mine, which supplied the income for a cache of gold coins buried near the camp in an oak grove.
SYNOPSIS: Two hard-luck miners worked their way from El Paso, Texas, up to the Nacimiento mountains of New Mexico, but a conflict led to murder.
|Wick's Gulch Gold||32.95905482820268, -107.48521457891911|
TREASURE: 2,500 ounces of placer Gold, hidden somehwere near a cabin in Wick's Gulch in an iron pot.
SYNOPSIS: An early miner in this rich placer and hardrock gold mining district of Hillsboro, New Mexico was murdered for his gold.
|El Chato Nevarez - Caballo Mountains||32.952978636987176, -107.21464795991778|
TREASURE: Many mule loads of silver. A rich gold vein high on the mountain is also mentioned.
SYNOPSIS: El Chato Nevarez aka, Pedro Nevarez, is widely believed to have raided all up and down the Camino Real portion of the Jornada del Muerto.