Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Lost San Saba Silver Mine

Indians told the Spaniards there was silver in the Texas Hill Country.  Hoping for another bonanza like they had discovered in northern Mexico, Spanish officials sent out several expeditions to find the mines.  They did locate the source of the Indian tales, on a creek near the mouth of the Llano River near Kingsland.  They called it Los Almagres (hills of ocher, a brownish-red hematite, a pigment associated with silver ore).  They took samples from the mine to Mexico for testing, and then dug larger quantities, smelting it to test for silver concentration at the newly established presidio on the San Saba river.  All of the tests yielded low to no silver content; the Spanish effort halted with these negative results and the destruction of the nearby mission by Comanches in 1758, and later abandonment of the presidio..  
Then came the Americans.  Steven  Austin heard of the silver mines and listed them on his early maps of Texas.  Jim Bowie in San Antonio made expeditions to the San Saba presidio in search of the mines, finding the slag from the earlier Spanish testing of Los Almagres ore but no silver.  Bowie’s reports firmly planted in the minds of future treasure seekers that the lost mine was at or near the "mission", as the presidio ruins had become known.  Over the remainder of the 1800’s and into the early 1900s many Texans canvassed the area between the San Saba and Llano rivers, with no success. 
Read all about this fascinating legend of buried treasure in the Texas Hill Country.

Los Almagres silver mine

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