Spanish gold rumored stashed on Ennis Texas ranch
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Thread: Spanish gold rumored stashed on Ennis Texas ranch

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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    277 times

    Spanish gold rumored stashed on Ennis Texas ranch

    “The Secret of Raphael Ranch.”
    Sounds like a Nancy Drew title but there really is a mystery at the site of the former estate of one of Ennis’ pioneer families. Legend has it that Spanish gold was buried under a pecan tree on the property nearly 200 years ago.
    French-born Edmond Raphael, one of the founders of the First National Bank in Ennis, had interest in a number of local businesses from 1881, the year he moved to the city, until his death in 1927. The Raphael family –– locally pronounced “Ray-feel” –– lived primarily at their W. Ennis Ave. mansion but also maintained a county place on Laneview School Road, three miles west of Ennis, near Bardwell Lake. Both homes still stand, the townhouse now owned by interior designer Harriett Adams, the ranch by longtime farmer Gentry Holmes and his wife, Genevieve, a teacher.
    Adams had never heard of the story of buried treasure on the former Raphael property when contacted by the Ennis Daily News last week but the Holmes, who were unavailable for comment at press time, are aware of the old tale, according to sources acquainted with the couple.
    Although it’s unclear whether the ranch’s current owners ever investigated the mystery, the Raphaels did.
    In June 1953 Edmond Raphael’s son, Ernest, allowed five local men to dig around an old pecan tree on his Laneview estate where 3,000 one-pound gold bars worth $35 million was supposedly buried in 1820. According to the rumor that made the rounds of Ennis’ African-American community for generations, a group of slaves led by a man named Lister, also a salve, had been entrusted to haul a shipment of gold from a Spanish mission at Santa Fe, New Mex. to Galveston where it was to be dispatched to the King of Spain.
    Following an ancient cattle trail that ran through the Raphael-Holmes land, Lister realized his caravan was being pursued by Comanche Indians. Fearful, he and the others allegedly buried the gold in an iron chest 12 feet under a pecan tree and fled.
    Some of the men apparently settled in the North Texas area, telling their treasure story. It was so well known among local blacks by the 1950s that five men approached Ernest Raphael, who gave them permission to dig for the lost gold. Evidently as wise a businessman as his father, Raphael drew up a contract with the men to share in the booty if it were found.
    If he thought their deal would remain private, the rancher was mistaken. News of the dig spread quickly and Raphael Ranch was soon so overrun by tourists and media that county police were called in to control the crowds. An Associated Press report stated there were more visitors to the Ennis property during the excavation than to the San Jacinto Monument. Lured by what a Dallas Morning News writer called “something out of Edgar Allan Poe,” the throng of sightseers couldn’t get enough of the story of the alleged Spanish treasure.
    The hot temperatures that June --–– reaching 105 degrees one day during the dig –– didn’t deter W.A. Hawthorne, D.A. Jasper, Chester Dubose, Henry Dixon and H.L. Bowen.
    “We’re going to dig until our machines quit working,” Bowen told members of the press as he showed them one of the instruments they were using, a device he designed called a lodestone rod.
    Bowen told reporters that a 90-year-old local man known as “Babe” Biggins had told him and the others where to dig, the elderly man having learned the secret from a grandson of Lister, the slave in charge of the gold shipment.
    Reporters also sought out Raphael and his overseer Fred Seeton.
    Asked what he thought of the story of the Spanish mission gold purportedly buried on his ranch, Raphael claimed he wasn’t “particularly excited.” But he confirmed there had once been “an old Negro in town named Lister, a hermit-like fellow who wove baskets out of chinaberry tree limbs.” He said it was also true about Comanche Indians in Ellis County, claiming there had been “a camp of a wasp band of Comanches” about half a mile west of his land. Another aspect of the Lister story proved verifiable: Raphael Ranch was built on a portion of an old trail used by cattle drivers between East and West Texas.
    Clover shaped marks on the pecan tree under which Bowen and the others were digging were said to be indicators of the depth of the treasure. Naysayers, including Raphael’s overseer, insisted the four carvings were merely from a surveyor’s tool indicating a corner of the property.
    Nevertheless, Seeton was convinced by photographers to pose beside the strange markings, and the image of the old cowboy examining the tree trunk was published all over the country.
    Bowen’s machines never detected gold, and although a dig under another pecan tree on the site was later undertaken, no treasure was ever located. The story of the Spanish gold died away in time, and only a few old-timers remember the hoopla of the Raphael Ranch mystery 54 years ago.
    A few believe gold actually was actually found that summer, and that it sustained the Raphaels’ wealth. Others wonder if the King of Spain’s treasure is still locked away in its iron chest under a pecan tree near Ennis.
    duckie likes this.
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow



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