Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000 Page: 11
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Bowie sought, but failed to locate the mine, it was henceforth known
as Jim Bowie's Lost Silver Mine. Others later claimed to have found
(but then lost) the mine at various locations, one of which was Packsaddle
Mountain in modern Llano County. This locality is the focus
of a new investigation of Los Almagres, but there is yet one more
twist in this convoluted tale.
In 1907, Herbert E. Bolton, a University of Texas historian, set
out to clarify the record regarding Los Almagres. Using copies of
Miranda's handwritten documents of 1756, Bolton determined that
the mine was located at the eastern edge of the Riley Mountains in
Llano County. There, Bolton found a partly collapsed mine known
locally as the Boyd Shaft. Bolton was so convinced he had found the
Los Almagres mine that he and a partner formed a mining company
and sunk a second shaft at the site. Geologists from the United States
Geological Survey assessed the ore potential of this mine in 1909
and found it to be negligible. Bolton's mining company soon closed
without ever producing any silver.
In his report to Governor Barrios,
Miranda stated that the amount of ore
was so great that a mine could be given to
every inhabitant of the province of Texas.
His conviction was shared by others...
The story then lapsed until the 1960s, when Roderick Patten, a
University of Texas student, became interested in the subject and
conducted an exhaustive review of the historical records. Patten soon
presented his well-documented conclusion that the Boyd Shaft was,
indeed, Miranda's Los Almagres mine. Patten's research clearly places
Miranda's mine in at least the vicinity of the Boyd Shaft, but it appears
that neither Patten nor Bolton were aware of several other
mines nearby. Although some of these other mines are evidently as
old or older than the Boyd Shaft and more closely match Miranda's
descriptions, no comparative investigations were ever conducted.
In the mid-1990s, faculty and students of Texas Tech University
performed an archeological investigation at the Boyd Shaft. Ellen
Mayo (now Ellen Brady), then a graduate student, reported that the
team was unable to recover a single Spanish Colonial artifact. They
did, however, find traces of late 19th and early 20th century mining.
With no data to confirm Bolton's identification, Mayo demurred to
Patten's compelling archival evidence and concluded that the Boyd
Shaft was Los Almagres. She attributed the lack of physical proof of
colonial activity to the ephemeral nature of mining camps. Most
historians and archeologists accepted these beliefs, and the inquiry
came to an end. Yet, despite these assurances, many questions re
Drawings from "De Re Metallica" by Georgius Agricola,
Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1950.
A-IRON PLATES FULL OF HOLES. B-VWALLS. C-PLATE ON WHICH ORE IS PLACED.
D-BURNING CHARCOAL PLACED ON THE ORE. E-POTS. F-FURNACE. G-MIDDLE
PART OF UPPER CHAMBER. H-THz OTHER TWO COMPARTMENTS. I-DIVISIoNS OF THE
LOWER CHAMBER. K-MIDDLF WALL. L-PoTS WHICH ARE FILLED WITH ORE. M-LIDS
OF SAME POTS. N-GRATING.
A-SIEVE. B-SXALL PLANKS. C-POST. D--BOTTOM OF SIEVE. E-OPsE BOX.
F-SMALL CROSS-BEAM. G-rUPRIGHT POSTS.
HERITAGE * 11 * FALL 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000, periodical, Autumn 2000; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45391/m1/11/: accessed March 28, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.