Kemo D. (kemo_d7) wrote,
Kemo D.

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Ancient Treasures

Every chain of mountains has its legends and the Wichitas in southwest Oklahoma is no exception.

The Wichitas stretch across about mid-Kiowa County from the North Fork of the Red River into ComancheCounty around FortSill. These mountains, supposed to be the oldest in the United States, have formed the background for romance, tragedy, ambitions, dreams, catastrophes, successes and failures.
It is only natural that many legends and stories of gold hidden in their inaccessible boulders abound; strangers from foreign lands seeking their fortunes, gold miners, Indians, cowboys and outlaws.
These legends were handed down from one generation to another, giving us the real romance of the Wichitas and KiowaCounty. The Mexican town in the mouth of Devil's Canyon was perhaps the first ghost town in what is now KiowaCounty. The legends of rich treasure and ghosts that guard them have preserved a history of Devil's Canyon that other history and tradition could not have done.

Spanish miners led by Don Diego Del Castillo who came to the area in 1650 are said to have started the legends. Although there seems to be no proof of gold or silver ever being removed in any large quantities, the stories and legends persist.

Devil's Canyon, called Canyon Diablo by the Spanish explorers, cuts a large swath a mile and half long through rugged granite peaks before opening into the
North Fork of the Red River

Lying between
FlatTopMountain and SoldierMountain, the area is rich with tales of lost Spanish gold and smelters that melted the gold.
Also found there are foundation ruins of a forgotten ancient church, a brass cannon and even the treasure of a Spanish ship. Part of the area, 768 acres, is owned by the QuartzMountainState Park now.

Early settlers in the area have found beads, arrowheads, jewelry, buttons, along with some bones in plowing their fields. Many were found at the site of the old Mexican town and a
Wichita village. There are enough stories and legends about lost gold mines in Devil's Canyon, it is hard to believe there is not some proof in the idea.
One of the treasures is supposed to be a brass cannon filled with gold buried somewhere in the canyon. Another of the supposed treasures is a silver casket filled with church wealth. According to the legend from the early Spanish missionaries who were in the area in 1629, it is buried in one of the hidden caves.
In the fall of 1806 a party of well educated Mexicans who were splendidly dressed and spoke the English language fluently, camped near the remains of an old village in Devil's Canyon. Prospectors who were working in the same area learned from the Mexicans that they were trying to locate two of the old mines called Black Shaft and Tunnel Shaft mines. The Mexican party, which was composed of ten men, camped at the site for four weeks.
One night about 10:00 a blast shook the entire community, followed by five more at intervals of about 20 minutes. The next morning when all the miners disclaimed knowing anything about it, with aroused curiosity, a number of them went to visit the Mexican camp. The Mexicans were gone and the surrounding hills showed no sign of the blasts.
Nearly a century later, a young blacksmith from Lugert was in the area hunting rabbits. A heavy snowstorm came up. While on the broad mesa between Devil's Canyon and BirdCanyon, the hunter came upon a big hole in the ground. Across the hole lay a cedar log, which broke when kicked and fell into it. From the sound, the hunter figured the hole was about 40 feet deep.
After his return to Lugert, as soon as it was possible, he and some friends went back to the mesa, searching for the hole, which they never found. The men still wonder what happened to the entrance of this mysterious cavern.
Legends also say that in the archives in Historical Santa Fe, New Mexico, is recorded an eighty-five pound nugget of gold, eighty-five percent purity, brought to Santa Fe which reportedly came from a Devil's Canyon area mine.
It is generally conceded by historians that gold legends of this county were responsible for the influx of herd-rock miners who moved into the Wichitas around Cold Springs and started the Wildman era of gold mining prior to the time this country was opened to settlement.
There appears to be no verifiable record of any gold or other precious mineral ever having been commercially processed and sold from KiowaCounty. But the history of the men who tried to prove the mineral legends is known and recorded and..who knows...They may have all missed the fabulous treasure of the Wichitas.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)
Tags: history, mysteries of life
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