Buried Treasure in the Old West
By Annee Jones
If you’re like me, you love tales of adventure, intrigue, and romance! The Old West is a fascinating part of American history that is rich with all three. Did you know that there is actually buried treasure still waiting to be found in the western part of the U.S.? Here are some true stories of outlaws and their missing loot:
“Captain” Bill Coe settled in the area of Oklahoma known as “No Man’s Land” in 1864. This strip of land was not included in any state and was therefore not under any type of law or order. It became a haven for outlaws, including Coe, who became the leader of a gang of rustlers. He built a fortress with rock walls 3-feet thick to protect himself and his gang members. The building was so big that it contained a bar and living quarters for the men and their “soiled doves.” The building earned the name “Robber’s Roost.” Coe escaped during a raid and hid out in a woman’s bunkhouse in New Mexico. The woman’s 14-year-od son rode to alert the authorities who returned to the site and captured Coe, who allegedly said, “I never figured to be outgeneraled by a woman, a pony, and a boy.” One report indicates that Coe and his men stole over half a million dollars in gold and Spanish coins and buried them in a place called “Flag Springs Arroyo.” The exact location of this site is unknown. None of the gold has been found to date, although searches continue to this day in Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Bass was born in 1851 and was an orphan by the time he was 13 years old. He worked at a sawmill in Mississippi before arriving in Denton, TX (my hometown!), in 1870 where he worked on a ranch. In 1877 he and his gang held up a Union Pacific train in Big Springs, Nebraska. They took over the train depot and destroyed the telegraph before escaping with over $60,000. He committed several more robberies before he was shot dead by a lawman at age 27. Supposedly, Bass hid his loot in Texas caves or within hollows of trees. A map was found that is said to lead to the some of the treasure. Researchers believe much of it is probably buried somewhere in State Park, which makes it off-limits to metal detectors. However, it is likely that Bass hid the money in multiple locations in central Texas.
If you decide to hunt for treasure yourself, please follow the “Treasure Hunters Code of Ethics:”
- - I will respect private property and will do no treasure hunting without the property owner’s permission.
- I will fill in all holes I dig.
- I will not damage natural resources, wildlife habitats, or any private property.
- I will use thoughtfulness, consideration, and courtesy at all times.
- I will build fires in designated or safe places only.
- I will leave gates as found.
- I will remove and properly dispose of any trash that I find.
- I will not litter.
- I will not destroy property, buildings, or what is left of ghost towns and deserted structures.
- I will not tamper with signs, structural facilities, or equipment.
- And, finally, the most important one of all — I will have fun!!
Robber’s Roost painting by Wayne Cooper
Annee Jones is an inspirational romance novelist who enjoys sharing her heart and imagination with others. She is passionate about writing stories that offer hope and encouragement and likes to think of her books as “romance filled with faith and a sprinkle of fairy dust!”
Annee is also a professional book reviewer for Publishers Weekly in the genre of faith-based fiction (fun tidbit: she writes many of the editorial reviews you see on Amazon).
Professionally, Annee works as a disability counselor where she helps her clients navigate through complex medical and legal systems while rediscovering their wholeness in Spirit.
Connect with Annee here:
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