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Thread: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

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  1. #1
    Charter Member
    om
    Jan 2006
    SoCal
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    This story is not mine, but I am starting the thread for the person researching it.

    Best-Mike



    Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    by Virginia Wegis

    Was there once really a fabulous gold mine in the rugged San Emidio Mountain Range South of Fort Tejon? And was there also, a curse on this mine? Legend says there was.

    According to the story one day in 1862 an exhausted prospector arrived at Fort Tejon. He was half starved, his clothes were in rags, and his feet were torn and bleeding. He staggered under the weight of a heavy sack which he carried on his back.

    There were a few idlers standing outside the fort's trading post and they directed the man into the store. Here he dropped the sack and its contents spilled out onto the floor before the startled eyes of the bystanders. At their feet lay at least twenty pounds of pure gold in chunks of all sizes.

    The manager of the store ordered the others to put the gold back into the sack, then some of the soldiers on duty took care of the weary man. He was given fresh clothing and food His feet were bathed and bandaged. When he had recovered somewhat he told his story.

    He said he had been prospecting through the back country all spring and summer. About ten days before he had chanced upon a spring or perhaps it was a well, as it seemed to have been hewn by hand out of the solid granite and formed into a square basin which was brimming with water. He made camp by the spring and slept soundly through the night. In the morning he found to his dismay that his three pack burros had wandered away. He spent several days looking for them but to no avail. Then one day after crawling through an almost impenetrable thicket of heavy brush he discovered himself in a wide clearing, about an acre in size. In the center of this bare spot was a huge outcropping of rock which appeared to have been lifted and fractured by some gigantic upheaval and there, shining in the great fracture, were masses and masses of solid gold. Scattered everywhere around the outcropping were chucks of gold, gleaming and glinting in the sunshine.

    The prospector always carried a sack with him on his travels and now he filled it with the precious gold metal which lay on all sides. This done, he started North on foot, leaving all his possessions at the spring, including his food, since he could not carry anything but the loaded sack. He did have a scrap of paper in his pocket and when he stopped to rest he scribbled a rough map on it, showing as best he could the location of the rich find.

    When the prospector was fully rested and his feet had healed he could think of nothing but to return to the mine. He persuaded the manager of the trading post and several other men at the fort to go with him. As the group as about to leave an Indian from the nearby Indian village confronted them. This Indian, whose name was Tucoya, begged the men not to go, warning them that if they did find the mine and took gold from it, they would never live to go back to it again. Then men laughed and paid no attention to the warning but they had only gone a short distance when the prospector's horse shied at a rattlesnake and bucked his rider off. The man's neck was broken and he died a short time later.

    In going through the dead man's things, the storekeeper found the map he had drawn, showing the way to the mysterious spring and the gold covered clearing. This made him even more determined to find the treasure for himself. He took several vaqueros with him and after about three days of riding they reached the cool spring which was just as the prospector had described it. They even found his abandoned blankets and camp equipment, but though they searched the entire area for several days, they were unable to find the strange clearing and the golden ledge.

    When they returned to the fort they visited the Indian, Tucoya, to find out what he knew about the matter. Tucoya told them that long before he was born some white men had come to his village. These men had worn long robes and had ropes of beads fastened to their waists. They built a smelter in San Emidio Canyon. Tucoya's father had helped them and from them he had learned to speak English. When Tucoya was a young boy more priests had come. They built huts at San Emidio and remained there. They baptized the Indians and taught them their religion.

    Every spring some of the priests would leave Tejon with thirty or forty men and as much as one hundred pack horses. They would be gone all summer and when they returned the horses were loaded with gold. They refined this ore in the smelter, then worked it into yellow bars. Once a year they loaded the bars onto horses and went South. Many of the Indians went with them as far as the river which the priests called the Colorado. Here they were met by other priests who ferried the precious cargo across the river and took it away. The Indians never knew where they took it or why, but they enjoyed the trips and the activity.

    One summer Tucoya went to the mine with the other workers and spent several months there. When they left the priests cautioned him never to reveal to anyone where he had been. A superstition grew up among the simple Indians that anyone attempting to steal from the mine for his own profit would come to some bad end.

    This went on for several years. Then one day a war party of Piutes from across the Sierra Nevada attacked the village at the San Emidio. When they finally left, all the priests and most of the Indians had been killed. After that no Indian would go near the mine again and with the passing of time no one was left who even knew the way except Tucoya and he never spoke if it to anyone.

    But the word was out now and for the next twenty years prospector after prospector combed the mountains, hoping to find the lost mine. One man, a Frenchman, was said to have found it and he, too, was killed when his horse lost its footing and slid down a steep embankment.

    Perhaps that would have ended it if Tucoya had not finally decided to reveal the mine's location. A cousin of his persuaded him that since he was the only one left alive who knew where it was and since he was a very old man, he should shared his secret with others.

    They had no trouble getting a party together and, in spite of his years, Tucoya set out in an Indian trot. They traveled for two days, covering about thirty five miles each day. At the close of the second day they came to the spring. There it was, just as the prospector had said, a square shaped trough cut out of the rock but choked now with vegetation. Since it was nearly dark they decided to spend the night there, then go on in the morning to the mine. After the others had spread out their bedrolls, Tucoya went a few steps away to pray.

    Suddenly he gave a sharp cry. He returned to camp, shaking with terror. "I have seen them, the priests" he said. 'They appeared to me in the sky when I looked up to pray. They do not want me to tell where the mine is and if we proceed farther, all of us will surely die!" With that he picked up his things and headed for home. In the morning, his disappointed companions had no choice but to follow him.

    Tucoya died long ago. If there ever was a mine operated by the Mission Fathers, he and nature have guarded the secret faithfully. To this day no mine has ever been found.
    Oroblanco likes this.
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  2. #2
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
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    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    thanks mike...Love your site as well.. very cool !!!
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  3. #3
    us
    dig deep...dig everything

    Mar 2007
    San Diego, Mexifornia
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    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Mike
    Interesting read.
    Also you web site is very informative. I need to bookmark it.
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Remember: "Without Truck Drivers America Stops "
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  4. #4
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Hey Mr Gollum,

    Thanks again for posting..I learned how a little to late..lol
    Okay..you said you liked the story, but"Had a couple of points you wanted to go over" cuz the original post had been on the VP site.
    So now that we are here..Point away...I know there are alot of holes in the story....Trust me I know, there seems to be many in the often told,re-told story...and I'll do my best to play devils advocate, with what I think may help shed some light on the subject.

    For starters.. the story in current print started early on by a guy named Lt. Harry Reisberg..who wrote for several magazines of fortune/treasure/lost mines, etc....He had rehashed the story that was told (supposedly in the 1890's) and used what I consider was artistic license in playing the telephone game of this story.

    anyhoo..shoot me a few questions and we'll see if I can add my 2-cents.
    Thanks,
    Sgvalleyman~Scott
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    om
    Jan 2006
    SoCal
    Modded SD2000 / XTerra70 / Fisher Gemini /
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Well,

    There are the obvious holes, and some more subtle ones:

    The story took place in the 1860s. If the prequel occurred before Tuyoca was born (lets guestimate his age in the 1860s as 35), it would have been in the very early 1800s. If Tuyoca would have been more specific about the color of the Priests' Robes, we might have been able to date things a little closer. Between 1767 and 1814, the Priests would have had to have been Franciscan. After 1814 (after the Order was restored), they may have been Jesuits. In either case, if the Priests would have taught Tucoya a language, it would have been Spanish, Latin, or German (most likely Spanish).

    Another big one to me is the description of the clearing. About an acre in size with a large upthrust of bedrock in the center. That would be pretty easy to find on Google Earth. If you figure a 70 mile circle around Ft. Tejon, you could start there and work your way in or out. But then again, I bet I'm not the first to think of that!

    Best-Mike
    Oroblanco likes this.
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  6. #6
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Mike,
    Indeed those are some legit,good questions...and I too have had some difficulty with some of the time-line.
    In a previous version written by a W.J. Graham( who was incidently a law man of sorts) he places tecuya's age at the time of his death at over a hundred..His date of death was stated to be in 1898, and his pall bearers were all prominate men of the tejon/kern area...maybe to add some credence to the story.
    Being over a hundred, and "trotting" through the hills as stated at the rate of 35 miles a day, in that rugged area is a tad hard to believe.
    Granted..I've had my share of carnitias, but even in my best days, 35 miles a day THERE would have been a stretch.

    In that previous story, the color of robes for the priests was black.
    Another area that seems to be problematic is the term "Emidio" or "Emigdio"...what we know today as the Emigdio was once a MUCH larger area refered to as such.
    "Emigdio" was named as such for the patron saint "Emigdius"..Protector from earthquakes... while the term "emidio"is spanish for "weary or tired"
    The area from Castaic to Santa paula to taft to Tejon was all called the Emigdio.

    All I know for fact is...I was super weary after treking through that area..so at Least the later term was spot on !!

    Just some food for thought..Great discussion.. keep it coming. !

    Scott

    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  7. #7
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Mike, Oh I forgot one very important part of the story regarding the "acre size area, with the upthrust showing gold'
    In the mid 1800's..I think 1857...a massive earthquake on the San Andreas fault took place in the Fort tejon area.
    This quake was of a significant magnatitude and felt from Santa Barbara to las vegas thus making the landscape and any landmarks nearly impossible to find as stated in that story.
    Having been in that area ( I will enclose a pic showing some of the fault line traces) It's a needle in the haystack to locate even using google earth.

    One day, I hope someone(if not me) will find it and share some very cool photos, location and finally add a new chapter in this mine story.

    Thanks,
    Scott
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  8. #8
    Charter Member
    om
    Jan 2006
    SoCal
    Modded SD2000 / XTerra70 / Fisher Gemini /
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Then for the Black Robes (Jesuits) to have been involved would have placed the years between about 1608 and 1767.

    My biggest problem with the whole thing is the large lack of facts that can be researched.

    As far as trotting 35 miles a day, Google "Tarahumara Runners". This tribe of Indians in Northern Mexico run more than that.

    Best-Mike
    Oroblanco likes this.
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  9. #9
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Mike,
    Yes I see your point..and btw, I am very impressed with your knowledge..it's nice to get a lesson now and then, I really do have an appreciation for that kind of dedication.

    Most of the versions have a starting point( as having been told or written) in the late 1800's.
    The Mission Santa Barbara, has records indicating a working mine in that area in 1806 when a rebellion was put down, or a hunt was made for run-away neophites.
    Also there are records indicating a mission astencia in that area in 1824.
    Everywhere, in all the stories there are numerous holes, timeline,area or location,clues and hints that are no longer available because of the high tectonic movements in that area, fuzzy memories, and rehashing of the same story makes it difficult to decipher...but OH, what a wonderful story.........Maybe someday My search among the thousands of previous searches will find the elusive L.P.

    And I too have heard the stories of the Natives who were able to run or jog for long distances..( impressive), but being 100 years old and running 35 miles has got to be quite rare.
    either way, a cool story/folklore..

    Scott
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  10. #10
    Charter Member
    om
    Jan 2006
    SoCal
    Modded SD2000 / XTerra70 / Fisher Gemini /
    4,142
    821 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Thanks.

    While researching another treasure story, I got VERY familiar with The Jesuit Order in the New World.

    Best-Mike
    Check out 1ORO1.COM

  11. #11
    us
    Jun 2007
    Simi Valley California
    437
    1 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    I'm actively looking for this mine. I hope its true and if not, I don;t want to know lol. I enjoy trekking back in the Sespe....

  12. #12
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Quote Originally Posted by tapoutking
    I'm actively looking for this mine. I hope its true and if not, I don;t want to know lol. I enjoy trekking back in the Sespe....
    LOL, You know...I'm with you !
    It's been a great amount of fun in trying to find this Legend/mine/outcropping....I know how you feel !
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  13. #13
    um
    Dec 2008
    1,868
    892 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Realizing I'm coming late to the party, should it be the "San Emigdio Mountains?"
    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

  14. #14
    us
    Aug 2010
    San Gabriel/Los angeles Calif.
    tracker iv
    305
    10 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Bookaroo
    Realizing I'm coming late to the party, should it be the "San Emigdio Mountains?"
    Yes indeed you are correct, The San Emigdio area is the correct area, however; the area once called "San Emigdio' is a vast area.
    Named for the patron saint of earthquakes saint emigdius ( because of the frequent earthquakes in that area, and prehaps even the big EQ that wiped out the tell-tale signs to the rich mine)the area refered to as the "emigdio or emidio" was somewhere west of the Canada de las uvas, ( grapevine canyon) north of Camulos rancho (Piru) south of buena vista lake in southern bakersfield area, and east of the coast range mountians of ventura, santa paula area.. and not to be confused with the area today known as the "san emigdio" which is right out of frazier park , ca...Not saying it isn't the area, just that it's a big area to narrow down to an exact location without having better markings then the map that is sold at the local museum in frazier park. any area searched within the locations I mentioned above have as good a chance as any to be the right place.. Happy hunting !
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Thanks, Scott~Sgvalleyman.

  15. #15
    um
    Dec 2008
    1,868
    892 times

    Re: SoCal Legend of the Lost Padres Mine

    Thank you! Most interesting. That Museum has a website and a telephone number - I'm going to call and ask about Lost Padre literature.

    No surprise that Probert lists a number of "Lost Padre" Mines across the American West. He includes "The Padre's Lost Mines" (pgs. 168-169) but most of the references are, in my personal opinion, fool's gold and not paydirt. I wouldn't spend ten minutes looking for anything based on the writings of "Jack Black" (Robert F. Ames), or Harry Rieseberg. Because the authors generally didn't provide sources, and the editors didn't fact-check, the treasure and adventure magazine yarns included here often fail to pan out. Howard Clark, Frank Fish, and Thomas Penfield compiled what they wrote from other sources - they can't be counted on, either.

    Probert does mention one that you (and anyone else interested in this story) might find useful:

    Sheridan, Victoria C. Lost Padres Mine (compilation of factual accounts contributed by club women of Ventura County) Wetzel Publishing Co., Los Angeles, 1929.

    That one will not be easy to find - but it could be worth it.
    Oroblanco likes this.
    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

 

 
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