Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000 Page: 12
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From top, clockwise:Looking toward the
entrance from near the end of the adit; detail
of the brick work of smelter. The interior
of the smelter is to the right. At left, vertical
drill hole in rock. Archeologists and
geologists have conducted a formal
evaluation of the mines following several
lines of evidence in their search for the lost
silver mines of Llano County.
evaluation of the
The story now takes a different turn. In the 1960s, James
Stotts, a Llano County landowner, discovered a group of mines on
his property at the foot of Packsaddle Mountain, three miles southeast
of the Boyd Shaft. These mines appeared to be older than a
second mine complex operated in the 1920s in another part of the
Stotts Ranch. Stotts invited Joe Wallace, an area resident and
amateur historian, to examine the newly found mines. Wallace
agreed that these mines were very old and wondered whether they
might be connected with the fabled Los Almagres mine. During
the next several years, Stotts and Wallace made a number of inquiries
among historians and archeologists, trying to learn as much
as possible about Los Almagres. They were, however, repeatedly
told that the location of Los Almagres had been resolved by Bolton
years before and that the matter was a dead issue. In light of these
pronouncements, Stotts and Wallace might have been discour
aged, but their interest had been piqued, and
they continued to conduct their private
investigation in a systematic manner. With
only sporadic professional assistance, Stotts
and Wallace gradually compiled an impressive
body of records from the Bexar Archives
in San Antonio and from other
sources. These data supported their belief
that the long-lost Spanish mine was actually
at Packsaddle Mountain.
The matter eventually came to the attention
of Oliver Franklin, executive director
of the Texas Historical Foundation, who
sought to provide assistance. Through a series
of referrals, he contacted me in late
1998, extending an invitation to visit the
mines and form an opinion regarding their
antiquity. As a geologist, I had worked at
several 19th and 20th century mines in
Texas and elsewhere, primarily to address
lingering adverse environmental impact.
When I visited the Stotts Ranch in early
1999, 1 quickly concluded that at least some
of these mines might be as old as mid-18th
century, 3ie time of Miranda's site inspection.
I arranged for a number of archeologists
and geologists to visit the Stotts Ranch,
and they, too, became intrigued. With financing
from the Texas Historical Foundation,
the continuing cooperation of James
Stotts and his family, and additional support
from Mr. and Mrs. Joe Wallace the
team of archivists, archeologists, and geologists
has been able to conduct a formal
Stotts mines following several lines of evidence.
The Stotts Ranch encompasses most of Packsaddle Mountain
in eastern Llano County near the Llano River. At least three
separate vintages of mining are evident: possible Spanish Colonial
(mid- to late- 1700s to early 1800s); probable late 1800s; and
1920s. Some of the apparent Spanish Colonial mines were also
Were richer ores mined out entirely in
years gone by, leaving no trace today? Or
do the mines represent the results of deliberate,
but unsuccessful, mining efforts at a
time when assays were difficult to obtain?
HERITAGE * 12 * FALL 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000, periodical, Autumn 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45391/m1/12/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.