Nov 25, 2007, 10:11 AM
Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust
Jesus M. Martinez Buried Sante Fe Trail Treasure
In the year of 1853, when this country was as wild as the plains of Africa, only traversed at intervals by tribes of Indians and bands of Mexicans, there were no railroads running west of St. Louis, and all the freight transmitted by government was carried over this country by large freighting trains, such as now run between here and Camp Supply. In the summer of that year, a freighting train consisting of eighty-two men with one hundred and twenty wagons started from Mexico, across these plains, for Independence, Missouri, to purchase goods. The whole outfit was in charge of an old Mexican freighter named Jesus M. Martinez, whom many of the old plainsmen of thirty years ago will remember. They traveled along what is now known as the old Santa Fe trail and every night corralled their wagons and kept guards posted to give the alarm if danger should approach in the way of Indians, bandits or prairie fires. One evening they halted about sundown, formed the usual corral, and prepared to rest for the night. Little did they think what that night had in store for them. They had observed Indians during the day, but the sight of these children of the plains was no source of annoyance to them, as they had never been troubled and had seen no hostile manifestations. Some time during the night the men who were on watch observed objects not far from camp, the dogs commenced making a fuss, and presently the watchmen became suspicious and aroused old man Martinez. Martinez, being an old plainsman and understanding the tactics of the Indians, after closely observing through the darkness, came to the opinion that Indians were lurking around, and that their intentions were not good. He awoke some of his men and they held a kind of consultation as to the best course to pursue, and finally decided to prepare for the worst. They immediately commenced digging trenches and preparing for defense. The objects around them during all this time seemed to grow more numerous every moment, and finally could be seen on all sides.
The Mexicans waited in suspense, having intrenched themselves as well as possible in ditches and behind piles of dirt. Finally, with yells and shouts, as is always their custom, the Indians made a dash upon the camp from all sides. The Mexicans received them like true martyrs, and being well fortified had every advantage. Their eighty-two guns poured fatal balls into the yelling enemy at every report. The Indians finally fell back and the Mexicans then hoped for deliverance, but it was like hoping against fate. The next day the attack was renewed at intervals, and at each attack the Mexicans fought like demons. For five days the siege continued, a few of the Mexicans being killed, in the meantime, and many Indians. During the time the Mexicans had scarcely slept, but what struck te3rror to their hearts was the consciousness that their ammunition was nearly gone. On the sixth night the Indians made a more desperate attack than before. They seemed crazed for blood and vengeance for the chiefs they had already lost. As long as their ammunition lasted the Mexicans continued their stern resistance, but powder and lead was not like the widow's oil. It steadily decreased until none was left. Then their guns were still, and they were swallowed up like Pharaoh's hosts in the Red Sea, by wild Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Kiowas, who made deathly havoc with the little handful of brave Mexicans. We need not dwell upon this scene of butchery, and it is only necessary to relate that but one man is known to have escaped in the darkness, and that man, somewhat strange to note, was old Jesus M. Martinez. How he managed to secrete himself we can hardly divine, others might have been carried away and held captive until death, but he alone never told the story to the pale-face. The Indians pillaged the train of all the flour, bacon, etc., took the stock, set fire to some of the wagons, and then, Indianlike, immediately left the field of carnage. Old Martinez remained in his hiding place until morning and until the Indians
were miles away, then creeping out he surveyed the remains of what a few days ago was his jolly, jovial companions. He was alone with the dead.
"As is nearly always the case with persons when no eye is near, he thought of the valuable, and knowing that quite an amount of silver was stored in one of the wagons, he searched and found a portion of it. As near as he remembered, when he related this occurrence to his son, he founds twenty-one small bags, each one containing one thousand silver Mexican dollars. These bags he carried some distance from the camp, we cannot learn exactly how far, or which way, and buried them. He then started out and made his way on foot back to his old home in Mexico, where, it seems, he died soon afterwards. But before he died he told his son what we have related above, and advised him to hunt this treasure. What goes to corroborate this story was the evidence of Dr. Wilber of Kansas City, who sold goods to these Mexicans and knew of their having a considerable quantity of silver in their possession.
"Pursuant to his father's advice young Martinez came up to this country some years after the death of his father for the purpose of following his instructions. There are two men now living in this city to whom he revealed the secret, one of whom assisted him in searching for the buried treasure. From the directions marked out by old Martinez they found the spot where the massacre took place, about four miles west of Dodge City--the spot described above, where the pits and dirt piles are still plainly visible. For days and even weeks young Martinez searched the ground in that vicinity using a sharpened wire, which he drove into the ground wherever he supposed the treasure might lie concealed. But he was not successful, and not being of a persevering nature abandoned the search and remained around Fort Dodge for some time, when he fell into the habit and became a hard drinker. He finally returned to Mexico and has not been back here since, that we are aware of.
After he left, one of the men to whom he had revealed the secret (and this man now lives in this city) made a partial search for the treasure. He hired men and after swearing them to secrecy as to what they were searching for, set them to digging ditches. They found nothing and abandoned the work." This story, as told above, is an historical fact, and portions of it have been heretofore published. We can give names of men who know more about it than we do but by request we do not publish them. This treasure will probably be found some day, and probably will lie buried forever, and never see the light. No eye but the Omnipotent's can tell the exact spot where it lies. As we said above, it is rumored that parties are preparing to institute a search. They may find it and they may not. We hope they will as it is of no benefit to mankind where it is. It certainly exists.
Fort Dodge is located on Highway 400, just east of Dodge City, Kansas.
Complete map of trail
I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow
Nov 25, 2007 10:11 AM
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