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Edge

A NM Hidden Treasure Tale..

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   I've mentioned before how I grew up listening to stories about the history of my grandparents home; Cow Springs, NM; a working ranch, Butterfield Stage stop and only potable water source from the Hatch River to Lordsburg, NM. 

One of my favorite tales was about a train robbery occurring near the train spur in Gage, NM about 15 miles  south of Cow Springs. All my grandfather could tell me from the stories handed down to him was the train was robbed by a small outlaw band in the early 1880's. After robbing the passengers and mail compartment the outlaws headed north. A curious choice I thought, considering the Mexican border was only a days ride south towards Columbus, NM. Why would the gang ride north when the territorial law was carried out at that time by the US Army and FT Bayard lay just 30-40 miles to the NNE?

I thought portions of the story just didn't jive but I loved hearing them and rarely interrupted grandpa's stories even if I were busy with more pressing matters like going through his record albums or catching lizards on the front porch while he yammered on. The story went that the gang was intercepted a few miles north of the ranch headquarters by a detachment of cavalry soldiers dispatched from Ft Bayard. He went on to say the predictable shootout happened near Hogback Hill, no prisoners taken alive no outlaw booty recovered.  To make the story a little more enticing, grandpa reminded me that that rusty old relic, a  pre-civil war cap and ball pistol hanging above the fireplace mantle was found years earlier when grandpa had been clearing tumbleweeds in a draw at the base of Hogback Hill. Curiously, after days of soaking and cleaning the pistol, it had three cylinders loaded, the others fired as if the pistol had been dropped in the heat of battle?

Fast forward some 15 years later, grandma and grandpa have passed on to their reward and I'm living in Albuquerque operating a construction company by day and a history major nights at UNM. Getting to know the campus between classes, I found the archives section on the top floor of the student library; I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Doing research on the Texas invasion of NM during  the Civil War, I discovered the archives had on microfiche, the commanders daily log entries from all the surrounding forts. How fascinating they were, reading about troop levels, roll call, judicial matters, infirmaries, assignments...  

It wasn't long before I started pouring through the pages of Ft. Bayards logs. It was a trip through time reading about the day to day life at the frontier fort. I was getting a feel for the difficulties of army duty and the dangers reported ranging from Apache attacks, mule kicks, disease, negligent firearm discharges and malnutrition. But what I was really scanning the files for was any hint of information that maybe there were some facts in the stories I had been told years ago.

Then one day after countless hours of chronologically scanning the logs, there it was! The fort commander entered a short description of a detachment of soldiers he'd sent to intercept and arrest a small band of outlaws whom had robbed the train in Gage, NM! I read on and several days later the post commander wrote that the detachment had returned intact to the fort. The LT. in charge of the assignment reported the train robbers chose to fight to the death rather than surrender. No prisoners were taken, no stolen valuables or money had been recovered.  The outlaws horses had been run off during the gunfight, the outlaws identified and buried where they fell, near Hogback Hill a few miles north of Cow Springs Ranch. 

As if this wasn't  enough proof the stories my grandfather told me were based in fact, now thanks to the logs preserved at the library, I had an exact date too. I next went through the archives of the local newspaper, The Deming Headlight. The dates matched, the paper published an article concerning the train robbery and subsequent gunfight and the particulars of the story were completely confirmed. Its now been two decades since my research into the Gage Train Robbery, it had occurred in 1881 or 1882. But I will never forget the stories I learned growing up from the man who passed his passion for history on to me. And I sure as heck know how to find Hogback Hill and where grandpa found that old Colt. . And of course I cant help but wonder, where is that stolen loot the soldiers never found?

Keep hunting my friends. 

 

 

Edited by Edge
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Edge: Great research to confirm the validity of a story that directly connects you to your own personal past. That's the real treasure . . . Did the logs say anything about a loud party that night in the trooper's barracks? Just wondering . . . . :D

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1 hour ago, BMc said:

Edge: Great research to confirm the validity of a story that directly connects you to your own personal past. That's the real treasure . . . Did the logs say anything about a loud party that night in the trooper's barracks? Just wondering . . . . :D

Haha or a mass desertion that coincides with those soldiers along on that detail?

I guess the point of the story is, not all tales of lost treasures are fiction. Do some research, get some facts and get a quality metal detector. Me and a buddy had made plans to go metal detecting at Cow Springs last year but an illness put off our plans. Maybe this winter.

Edited by Edge
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Those were probably buffalo soldiers they sent on that detail from Ft. Bayard were they not? 

Is the Hatch River the one that feeds Lake Deming? :rolleyes:

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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My records show that Ft. Bayard was established on August 21, 1866 with buffalo soldiers. 

"Dating to the company that initially established the fort, many of its enlisted soldiers were African-Americans. Grouped in both cavalry and infantry units, these Buffalo Soldiers were a mainstay of the Army during the late Apache wars and fought heroically in numerous skirmishes. In 1877 a band of 40 Apaches who had fled the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona attacked a party of six Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry, their officer and three Navajo scouts in the Florida Mountains. Fighting his way through the encirclement, Corporal Clinton Greaves led the party to safety and was subsequently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Between 1877 and 1881, eight other members of the 9th Cavalry received similar medals for their bravery. Like many soldiers who served at Fort Bayard, some of the Buffalo Soldiers remained in the area following their discharge. John Crockett Givens, for instance, worked in Central City where he was elected Justice of the Peace in the 1880s. When he died, Givens was buried at the post cemetery. Lines of headstones noting the names of men and their various Buffalo Soldier units still remain in the older section of what is now the National Cemetery. In 1992, these soldiers were recognized for their bravery when a Buffalo Soldier Memorial statue was dedicated at the center of the Fort Bayard parade ground."

http://newmexicohistory.org/places/fort-bayard

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

 

1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Those were probably buffalo soldiers they sent on that detail from Ft. Bayard were they not? 

Is the Hatch River the one that feeds Lake Deming? :rolleyes:

Nice, I responded to this and the text seems to have vanished. Now it'll have to wait. If a moderator removed it, please let me know.

Edited by Edge

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15 hours ago, Edge said:

Me and a buddy had made plans to go metal detecting at Cow Springs last year but an illness put off our plans. Maybe this winter.

Would you happen to know if there are any turquoise mines in the Cow Springs area where you're planning to detect?

I seem to remember Cow Springs as a turquoise locality although it could be in another state with the same name.

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2 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

Those were probably buffalo soldiers they sent on that detail from Ft. Bayard were they not? 

Is the Hatch River the one that feeds Lake Deming? :rolleyes:

I know Company B of the 125th Colored Infantry was stationed there at the time. However the commanders log failed to mention what color they were. So much for humor.

Officers were always non-colored amongst the Buffalo Soldiers.

Ft Bayard was also home to the Buffalo Soldiers first transvestite and early innovator of the Don't Ask-Don't Tell policy, Cathy Williams whom managed to hide the fact that he was a she throughout her enlistment.

I didn't have many opportunities to cross the mighty Hatch River, Cow Springs was about 25 miles west.  

But I do know 150 years ago, Cow Springs was a large, vibrant spring able to water hundreds of stock and people.

When I was first introduced to Cow Springs in the mid 1960s there was maybe a shallow 200 sq' of surface water. When I returned for a visit around 2005, the spring was gone. All the giant, beautiful cottonwoods had been cut down to conserve what underground water was left. 

 

 

Cathay-Williams-2 (1).bmp

Edited by Edge
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The outlaws were just a few miles from Cow Springs when the robbery occurred. The soldiers at Ft. Bayard were at least 30 miles away. News of the robbery had to get to Ft. Bayard, a detail mustered and a good ride to get to the Hogback where the battle occurred.

The outlaws had plenty of time to do something with the loot. They had only gotten a few miles and the soldiers rode many.

Would you agree that something kept the outlaws from getting farther? 

Edited by Bedrock Bob

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7 hours ago, Edge said:

Nice, I responded to this and the text seems to have vanished. Now it'll have to wait. If a moderator removed it, please let me know.

All Moderators are instructed to only "Hide" any posts they suspect needs to be removed until either Bill or I can check them out and make a final decision if it truely needs to be removed, I don't see any hidden posts here so I'm not sure what may have happened, are you sure you hit the "Submit Reply" button before  leaving the topic, the reason I ask is I have typed out a long reply and forgot to click the submit button before going to the main page and then had to go back and retype it all again :barnie:?

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4 minutes ago, Au Seeker said:

All Moderators are instructed to only "Hide" any posts they suspect needs to be removed until either Bill or I can check them out and make a final decision if it truely needs to be removed, I don't see any hidden posts here so I'm not sure what may have happened, are you sure you hit the "Submit Reply" button before  leaving the topic, the reason I ask is I have typed out a long reply and forgot to click the submit button before going to the main page and then had to go back and retype it all again :barnie:?

Operator error no doubt... thank you. 

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1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

The outlaws were just a few miles from Cow Springs when the robbery occurred. The soldiers at Ft. Bayard were at least 30 miles away. News of the robbery had to get to Ft. Bayard, a detail mustered and a good ride to get to the Hogback where the battle occurred.

The outlaws had plenty of time to do something with the loot. They had only gotten a few miles and the soldiers rode many.

Would you agree that something kept the outlaws from getting farther? 

I'm going to visit Google Earth, BRB

Gage to Hogback is 22 miles  at about a 350 degree heading.                         Ft. Bayard to Hogback is 17 miles heading about 195 degrees 

Who knows how far the gang traveled by horseback prior to the robbery. 22 miles is a fair distance in a day by horse, the most I've done is 30 and both the horse and I were pretty beat.

But to get back to your question, yes the outlaws had two days and 22 miles to stash it.

Edited by Edge
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7 hours ago, Morlock said:

Would you happen to know if there are any turquoise mines in the Cow Springs area where you're planning to detect?

I seem to remember Cow Springs as a turquoise locality although it could be in another state with the same name.

Maybe the Cow Springs in AZ? There's one along hwy 160 around Black Mesa.

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So the way I see it, the loot could have been stashed by the outlaws before the skirmish, taken by the soldiers after the skirmish, or lost with the horses when they ran off. 

Do you see any other ways that the loot could disappear?

What I am driving at is that a treasure hunter would work with one of these three assumptions when looking for the treasure. 

Agreed?

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27 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

So the way I see it, the loot could have been stashed by the outlaws before the skirmish, taken by the soldiers after the skirmish, or lost with the horses when they ran off. 

Do you see any other ways that the loot could disappear?

What I am driving at is that a treasure hunter would work with one of these three assumptions when looking for the treasure. 

Agreed?

Bob, I don't agree, I think a treasure hunter would work with possibly only 2 of the 3 assumptions, either the outlaws hiding the loot or it being on the horses, if the solders took it it long gone and not to be found.

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Cowboys know the only thing between his horse and that animal running off is a good rope, or control from the saddle.

When I'm out in the sticks on horseback I keep essentials on me  in case me and the horse part ways. If I just stole cash, that would probably be on me too. 

Gold, jewelry, hmmm guess it depends on the amount. I think maybe the booty was hidden hastily as the law approached?

Cathay-Williams-2 (1).bmp

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30 minutes ago, Au Seeker said:

Bob, I don't agree, I think a treasure hunter would work with possibly only 2 of the 3 assumptions, either the outlaws hiding the loot or it being on the horses, if the solders took it it long gone and not to be found.

I agree. But it has to be considered as something that may have happened to the loot. There is no guarantee that the treasure actually exists. 

If it was on the horses it probably does not exist either. The horses went to water or other horses and they would have been found by someone. They would have known those outlaws had been killed and kept the loot and the horses. 

So two out of three possibilities end up in no treasure. At least no treasure buried between Gage and Hogback. If it went with the soldiers or the horses it has already been found.

Agreed? 

 

Edited by Bedrock Bob

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9 minutes ago, Edge said:

Cowboys know the only thing between his horse and that animal running off is a good rope, or control from the saddle.

When I'm out in the sticks on horseback I keep essentials on me  in case me and the horse part ways. If I just stole cash, that would probably be on me too. 

Gold, jewelry, hmmm guess it depends on the amount. I think maybe the booty was hidden hastily as the law approached?

Cathay-Williams-2 (1).bmp

The loot was probably not that bulky. They used a lot of bank notes and stock certificates back then for big money. Outlaws would probably only keep cash and personal stuff. And the urge to divide it up would be strong. You would think that within two days they would have made the split and each guy would have his cut on him.

This (to me) is pretty good reason to think that they were relieved of their loot when they were killed. 

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I don't see any mention of what the outlaws got.... Must have been something special there to warrant a robbery?

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1 minute ago, LipCa said:

I don't see any mention of what the outlaws got.... Must have been something special there to warrant a robbery?

"passengers and a mail compartment" is what Edge wrote. Probably a little cash, watches and personal effects. The mail may have had a few things of interest. Probably not much in the way of money.

It wasn't a big haul it seems.

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1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

"passengers and a mail compartment" is what Edge wrote. Probably a little cash, watches and personal effects. The mail may have had a few things of interest. Probably not much in the way of money.

It wasn't a big haul it seems.

Seems the figure $1500 in 1881 dollars comes to mind.

Probably an impulsive, poorly conceived act if desperation.

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Live only 20 miles from Gauge.  Never heard this tail.  Cool. 

POPCORNCAT.gif

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44 minutes ago, homefire said:

Live only 20 miles from Gauge.  Never heard this tail.  Cool. 

POPCORNCAT.gif

You're familiar with the Baker House in Deming...

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DARING DEED OF COWBOYS: NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT OF GAGE TRAIN ROBBERY. (4 miles East of Gage)

Article appears to quote a Socorro, NM news report which shows a date of "Nov 25" but was picked up and printed in the Bellefonte Republican, Pennsylvania, November 28, 1883.

Refers to "about $700.00" taken from the express car by 7 cowboys, who hung around the wreckage of the train until night.

Same or different train robbery?

GAGE TRAIN ROBBERY.PNG

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No wonder they decided to fight. They evidently derailed the train and killed the engineer. 

And it seems like much of the time element was consumed lurking around the wreck.

Many newspapers told embellished tales of the west for the reader's consumption. Especially such fine details so long after the incident. No telling how true the article is to the facts.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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