Legend Series (The legend of Fort Dodge Silver)


Fort Dodge Silver lost treasure

In the year 1853, a freighting train of 82 wagons full of silver left Mexico up the Santé Fe Trail. An old Mexican freighter named Jesus M. Martinez, who was well known by many of the plainsmen of that day for his honesty and bravery was in charge, unfortunately, The Santé Fe Trail was well known to the Indians, also. Martinez was wise to the Indians ways though and corralled the wagons every night and posted guards to give the alarm should danger approach in the way of Indians, bandits, or prairie fires.                                                                                     

Sante Fe Trail

  One day, as they began making camp, Martinez decided to be especially alert throughout the night. All that day, Indians observed in the distance, which could mean trouble. As the sun set, the dogs began to make a fuss, which aroused the suspicion of Martinez, Indians lurked nearby. He called a meeting to decide what would be the best course of action to pursue, and it was decided to prepare for the worst. The men dug trenches and piled dirt, and wood around the holes for protection. When  finished, they laid in the ditches, as they waited with weapons cocked. The Indians made a dash for the camp. Prepared the Mexican’s had the greater advantage and shot so much lead into the attacker’s direction; the Indians were forced to fall back. When morning came, the first wave of Indians hit the Mexicans position with little to no effect. All throughout the night, the Indians continued and attempted to find a weak spot in the Mexicans fortifications. For five days the siege continued with few Mexicans being killed, but not nearly as many Indians who had sustained a huge loss of warriors. The Indians were crazed for blood and vengeance was sought for the brothers and chiefs who had been killed and would fight to the last warrior. The Mexicans had been in a comfortable position for the first few days but  were low on ammunition,  and the Indians were not about to stop attacking. On the sixth night, the Indians made a desperate attack  through the Mexicans lines, but were driven back.The rifles ceased fire for lack of ammunition. Once the guns were still, the band of bloodthirsty Indians swept over the camp, engulfing the brave Mexicans. During the ensuing struggle, only one man is known to have escaped the fight. Old Jesus Martinez somehow slipped away and hid himself while his men were  slaughtered. He remained in his hiding place until morning.

when he was sure the Indians were miles away,  he crept back to what was left of the camp. All around him lay the signs of battle. Dead men were scattered everywhere, wagons overturned and burned, their food and clothing covered the ground and all the animals had been run off.  After searching through the wagons remains, he finally found the silver they were carrying. untouched by the Indians, since it was of no value to them, compared with a good horse and rifle. Martinez carried twenty-one bars of silver, valued at $1000 each, to a spot a little ways from camp, and buried them so they would be safe until he could return with help to recover them. Satisfied that he had hidden the money as well as he could under the circumstances, he started out on foot for his home in Mexico. Shortly after arriving home in Mexico, he died, but not before telling his son of the massacre, and the whereabouts of the hidden silver. Several years passed before his son was able to travel to the site of the battle, which was about four miles west of Dodge City, Kansas. From the directions his father had given him, he located the area where the silver was buried and began shoving a wire into the ground hoping to hit the treasure. He spent several weeks searching, but became disgusted and quit when he couldn’t find anything of value. Young Martinez next traveled to Fort Dodge, where one night while drinking heavily, he told two men what he had been looking for. The word of a hidden treasure nearby spread like wildfire and soon half of Fort Dodge was looking for the silver. Old Martinez evidently hid the bags better than he thought, or his son confused the directions to the site, because no one has ever found as much as one coin.

Thanks to Legends of America, and http://www.gwizit.com for detailed and quoted info.

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Categories: Western, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Legend Series (The legend of Fort Dodge Silver)

  1. Fascinating story Ritchie. I was transported to another time and place and could feel the angst of being stalked by the Indians. This story certainly speaks to the power of persistence and strategic planning. The Indians simply hung in there until they gained the advantage. Now that’s determination. We can all take a lesson from that!Thanks for a very interesting,engaging story.

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