One of the top treasure legends in America is that of the lost San Saba Mine (also known as the Lost Bowie Mine). The legend is that a 1700’s era Spanish mission and fort worked multiple silver mines near the San Saba River, near the present day city of Menard, TX. Jim Bowie went looking for it in the 1830’s. From the middle 1800’s up to the present day hundreds, if not thousands, of people have searched for it. People left comfortable lives in big cities to live in tin shacks and spend the rest of their lives digging. Over the years, many maps and narratives have come to light. The mystery has never been completely solved.
My interest in the San Saba legends started when I discovered that an ancestor of mine, Samuel Flemming, and three companions (i.e., the San Marcos men), went looking for it in 1868. Their search was popularized by J. Frank Dobie in his 1930 book, Coronado’s Children. A while back I determined to get to the bottom of it, and spent a lot of time researching every lead, visiting the town of Menard itself, and the nearby egg-shaped basin, where the San Marcos men searched over 150 years ago.
I ended up writing the book that I wished existed when I took up the study of the legend. The San Saba Treasure, Legends of Silver Creek was published by the University of North Texas Press. It is available from the publisher for $19.95 +S&H here, or I do have some autographed copies for $17.57 + S&H available here. Amazon and Barnes and Noble do have versions for e-readers if you prefer those. Amazon has been “temporarily” out of stock for the hardcover book for months now–do not waste your time with them. The first edition is running low at the warehouse and my decision has been to let it go out of print and release an updated and revised edition maybe around 2025. If you have an interest in this story, get the book while you can.
Lots of illustrations and maps. Information about the legend never before printed. Buy one for everyone you know–maybe they will find the treasure and share it with you! Well, actually, no one will find any treasure from reading the book, but they will treasure the legends, the two-hundred and fifty years of history, and the unique characters in the book.
- The Legend
- Silver in Texas? 1680 – 1756
- Spain on the San Saba 1757 – 1810
- Bowie Looks for a Mine 1829 – 1832
- Comancheria and the Germans 1832 – 1867
- Los Almagres, and other Silver
- The San Marcos Men 1868 – 1869
- The Legend Builds 1870 – 1911
- William Longworth 1912 – 1925
- Judge Norton 1911 – 1949
- Princess Wenonah 1930 – 1943
- The End of the Mine 1949 – 1990
- Ezell’s Story
- The Ghosts of Silver Creek
If you are interested in the story, then get the book. In the meantime, articles related to the story, that did not make into the book, can be found on this site by clicking here. The most important of those articles are below.
Note: A recent effort has come to fruition. There is a new website that not only covers the San Saba Treasure, but many treasure legends in Texas, with contributions by authors like Bill Townsley and with more to come. The plan is to be the one-stop site for Texas treasure legends, and to showcase the work of good authors. This site will have most of the San Saba articles on this site, and new articles, move there. The new site is texaslostmines.com. Check it out!
Review of book:
The most interesting treasure hunters:
- (and another Wenonah article here)
- Old Man Mullins (not connected to Silver Creek, but still interesting)
Silver Mines in Texas:
The San Saba Mine in Literature:
- In works of Fiction
- Coronado’s Children
- Hunter’s Rise and Fall of the Mission San Saba and J. Frank Dobie
Last Update January 16, 2022
All site contents Copyright 2022 David Lewis
Keywords: San Saba Mine, San Saba Treasure, Lost Bowie Mine, William Longworth, Julius Norton, Princess Wenonah, J. Frank Dobie, Jim Bowie, James Bowie, Menard, Coronado’s Children, The Broken Metate, David Lewis.