El Malpais

Gypsy Heart

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In November 1897, the last train robbery of the Santa Fe Railroad occurred near the malpais. While accounts differ, the perpetrators apparently belonged to the Black Jack Christian gang. Gang members boarded the eastbound train either before or at Grant's Station. About six miles east of Grant, the outlaws disengaged the baggage cars from the locomotive and express car. Using explosives, they blew apart the safe discovering $100,000 in gold and currency. The bandits headed south toward the malpais hoping to lose any would-be trackers in the gnarled lava beds. While some of the outlaws were apprehended, the whereabouts of the gold remained elusive giving rise to speculation that it is still hidden in the malpais. [30]

Accounts of buried gold in the malpais persist. The most notorious version of malpais gold is the chronicle of the "Lost Adams Diggings." According to local legends, freighter J.J. Adams had accompanied a party of miners into the malpais in 1864, to search for gold. The group discovered gold but in the process began to run low on provisions. Adams went to Fort Wingate to obtain supplies. On his return, he found all of his companions killed except for one by a band of Apaches. The two men buried the gold and managed to escape the wrath of the Apaches. Adams and his wounded friend, John Brewer, finally reached the sanctuary of Fort Apache, Arizona. While at Fort Apache, Adams allegedly shot an Indian in a dispute over a horse. Imprisoned, he was unable to return to the malpais to reclaim the gold. When Adams reappeared in the malpais some 20 years later, he failed to locate the site. Years of wandering over the rugged lava terrain yielded nothing and Adams left in frustration but not without implanting the seeds of gold legends in the malpais. [31]

Figure 5. In the lava beds of New Mexico, the rough, jumbled lava made a haven for outlaws and
spawned luried accounts of gold buried in the malpais.
Photo by W. Cal Brown, Courtesy Museum of New Mexico, Neg. No. 66552.
 

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TXDIRTFISHER

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Ever notice how every old West treasure story has the same story line? They got the treasure, hid the treasure, lost the treasure, and never found it. If I buried some gold bars, coins, or dollar bills I'd carve a map on my arm with a knife.

I'm ready for some stories about bandits who actually kept what they stole! :sunny:

Thanks for sharing.
 
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pippinwhitepaws

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TXBLUZMAN said:
I'm ready for some stories about bandits who actually kept what they stole! :sunny:

Thanks for sharing.

i believe a study of the politicians of arizona would cover that topic.
 

Cubfan64

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pippinwhitepaws said:
TXBLUZMAN said:
I'm ready for some stories about bandits who actually kept what they stole! :sunny:

Thanks for sharing.

i believe a study of the politicians of arizona would cover that topic.

Pretty good one there PWP - actually I think the majority of politicians anywhere within the US might fall into that category these days!
 

savant365

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pippinwhitepaws said:
TXBLUZMAN said:
I'm ready for some stories about bandits who actually kept what they stole! :sunny:

Thanks for sharing.

i believe a study of the politicians of arizona would cover that topic.

LMAO...Doesn't necessarily have to be Arizona either.

The ones that didn't get caught probably didn't keep it very long either. They spent it as fast as they could or got killed by their partners for it or gambled it away...any number of senarios.

Gypsy, thanks for the post, I love these stories. Keep it up :thumbsup:

HH Charlie
 
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pippinwhitepaws

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i am a firm believer in professional politicians are the problem in the US...
i was going around town telling everyone i was going to run for mayor...since i had no redeeming values...
i learned two things, do not tell someone that while they are drinking coffee...and some of the local babbit clan gets fussie if they hear you. :icon_jokercolor:

my favorite story of the malapai is the lost aircraft carrying Democratic funds...1928-31? somewhere in that era...last seen smoking and low over the malapai...
 

Springfield

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For decades, from the 1930's when he was run out of Grant County and settled at the edge of the Grants lava flow on Hwy 117, until his death in the early 1980's, Gus Raney was widely rumored to be the guardian of some sort of golden treasure located within the lava flow. Descriptions of the treasure vary greatly, but Gus allegedly killed more than a few TH-ers snooping around in the malpais.

By the way, when Gus died at age 104, he was sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for double murder of a retired trasury agent and his son who were allegedly looking for gold in the malpais.
 

lastleg

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I have to side with TXBlue on this. Besides you can travel by horse around
the Malpais but not across it. The photo shows the terrain. LAD searchers
are grinning over this notion. Of course they won't complain. But the poor
shmucks who swallow every non-researched tale will be disappointed. If you
have not been to an area you are writing about it is likely you will miss the
key ingredients. There is a lot of good info about the LAD on TN. Read
what the experts say before taking the plunge.
By the way I have been there and didn't step foot on the evil malpais as I
despise pain. lastleg
 

Oroblanco

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TXBluzman wrote

Ever notice how every old West treasure story has the same story line? They got the treasure, hid the treasure, lost the treasure, and never found it. If I buried some gold bars, coins, or dollar bills I'd carve a map on my arm with a knife.

I'm ready for some stories about bandits who actually kept what they stole!

I would suggest you research some of these "old west stories" - gold for example was a HOT item, as it "HOT" to be caught with it. Take for instance the Canyon Springs robbery (1878, Dakota territory) by six men, the loot included cash, jewelry, and a number of heavy gold bars along with some retort sponge gold. Well two of the bandits tried to sell some of the retort gold in Deadwood and were instantly caught, even though they swore they had mined the gold. A third member of the gang took two heavy bars all the way to his home in Iowa, where his father owned a bank - he told the good folks there that the two gold bars were his "payment" for a "rich gold mine" he had found in the Black Hills. The gold however attracted attention and detectives caught him thanks in large part to those gold bars. It was good sense to bury that gold and silver until the "heat" was off at least. Paper money and jewelry they could spend and pawn easily, and these items are not usually what got buried.

If you want stories of bandits who kept what they stole, read up the stories of the hi-jinx of the Hole in the Wall Gang (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) as they were notorious for spending their gains as fast as they got it, or the James gang exploits - their "loot" remains 'lost' but it is likely at least some part of their ill-gotten gains were used to benefit their families and friends.

Thanks Gypsy Heart for posting the story!
Oroblanco
 

BLACKFOOT

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I know where there is a trail across the malpais, it is marked with white rocks an stands out like a highway reflector. around a place called THE NARROWS. i have been out the trail about two miles. there are crevasses that have been filled in that have hoof marks on them.
The indians allways refered to this trail as a Treasure trail.!!!
Not as a trail to treasure like some how the trail itself was the treasure like maybe the treasure had been usedto fill in the crevices.
 

maclilus

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I told this story years ago, and I guess I need to tell it again to clear up some facts.

The last man that Gus Raney was accused of killing was not a retired T-man - it was a down-on-his-luck, desperate businessman and his 20-something son. How do I know? That man, Emory Smith, was my father's former partner from Watsonville, CA, and the son was close to my age.

Smith told several business associates over the years (from the early 60's until before his death in '83) that he knew Gus Raney and the store of treasure - much of it in coinage and buillon - near his place. He said that Raney would show him gold bars and would actually buy new cars with them. If so, does any car dealer recall accepting gold in lieu of cash? What kept Raney from cashing in was that three families kept a jealous guard over each other to keep others from taking it.

Smith urged his partners to go down there with a few guns and take the gold by force. My father said that they would need an armored car and several armed men to make it work, and only then some may not make it home. In the late 70's the latest of these partnerships broke up and Smith himself went into financial ruin. My father and his family moved out of state - far away from CA and NM. In the fall of '83, one my dad's ex-partners called to tell him that Smith was dead - he and his son shot dead in NM - he knew it had to do with Raney' treasure. Around that time, while away at college, I read about Raney's death - heart attack - while awaiting trial. Because we did not see each other that often then, we did not connect the dots until years later. He remarked that had he went with Smith years prior, he too would have left a widow and orphans.

If Raney or his kin were actually responsible, I had to say that the act was one of self-defense - Smith was desperate enough to extort the gold when he had some money and more so when he did not. He came there uninvited and was determined to take what he could.

Most likely, it was someone from the other families that were defending their claim and set up Raney for the fall.
 

Springfield

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Springfield said:
For decades, from the 1930's when he was run out of Grant County and settled at the edge of the Grants lava flow on Hwy 117, until his death in the early 1980's, Gus Raney was widely rumored to be the guardian of some sort of golden treasure located within the lava flow. Descriptions of the treasure vary greatly, but Gus allegedly killed more than a few TH-ers snooping around in the malpais.

By the way, when Gus died at age 104, he was sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for double murder of a retired treasury agent and his son who were allegedly looking for gold in the malpais.

Update 10/2009: had a lengthy conversation with a local man whose grandfather was Sheriff of Hidalgo County, NM, for 55 years into in the early 20th century. The word from grandpa was that the malpais gold that Raney guarded for so many years was the proceeds from a Lordsburg bank robbery that Gus pulled off and managed to shift the blame to others who were eventually killed by a posse following the heist. Gus made off with three wooden boxes of freshly minted double eagles that were being held in the bank to be used for railroad payroll. When I get the time, I'm going to try to run down the old newspaper accounts of the robbery.

As an aside, grandpa, who knew Billy the Kid well when he was a younger man, was also adament that Brushy Bill Roberts of Hico, TX, was indeed Billy.
 

lastleg

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Springfield:

Good day to you sir. What are you current feelings of New Mexico's most
popular legend, the Lost Adams Diggings? Did it exist? Was it found? And
if it did exist why hasn't it been found?

lastleg
 

Springfield

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lastleg said:
Springfield:

Good day to you sir. What are you current feelings of New Mexico's most
popular legend, the Lost Adams Diggings? Did it exist? Was it found? And
if it did exist why hasn't it been found?

lastleg

I've been pondering this question for the past 35 years and have collected a couple dozen versions of the legend, including a couple private accounts from the old Silver City mining families of the day. As you know, many of the versions are wildly contradictory with others and can be used to place the diggings all over Arizona and New Mexico depending on whose story you like. If the diggings exist at all, I would tend to place them in SW New Mexico, possibly in the Pinos Altos Range or the Turkey Creek drainage in the Mogollons north of Gila. However, with as many people searching for this rich deposit over the past 145 years, you would think that it certainly would have been located by now, would'nt you?

If I were to bet on it, I would bet that the diggings never existed. I lean towards the theory that the LAD, like many other lost mine legends, is a coded message designed to pass on information about other activities. Instead of a lost placer mine, I believe that the truth may be that a large cache is the true event that the stories are hinting at.
 
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Gypsy Heart

Gypsy Heart

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AROUND THE NATION; New Mexico Rancher Charged With 2 Killings


Published: October 29, 1983
A rancher who says he is 100 years old was charged with two counts of first- degree murder Thursday.

The suspect, Gus Raney, a former deputy sheriff, was arrested late Wednesday after officers discovered the bodies of two men on his ranch about 40 miles southeast of Grants, said Sheriff Bill Driggers of Cibola County.

The victims were identified as Emery Smith, about 60, and his son, Eric, 21, both of Aptos, Calif.

Mr. Raney was arraigned Thursday and ordered held on $100,000 bond.

Assistant District Attorney Warren Harris said the sheriff went to the ranch while investigating a missing persons report. He said the wife of the elder Smith, Virginia, said her husband and son had gone to visit Mr. Raney in New Mexico but were overdue. She told the sheriff Mr. Raney was a friend they visited about once a year.


01 Oct 1956 Gus Raney Deputy Sheriff
 

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lastleg

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peterm:

Thanks, I am glad that someone still thinks the LAD is fact. I like to think so
too. But if it did exist I think there is no chance the placer gold would still be
in the same place.

lastleg
 

Oroblanco

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Lastleg wrote
But if it did exist I think there is no chance the placer gold would still be
in the same place.

Gold does not move around like sand or pebbles amigo, it is VERY dense and heavy for its size. The gold of the Lost Adams was supposed to be very coarse in size which would mean it would be even more resistant to being moved by natural processes than fine (flour) gold. I would bet it has not moved more than inches in the mere 150 odd years since Adams was there.

Good luck and good hunting, I hope you find the treasures that you seek.
Oroblanco
 

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