Legend and Tall Tales


I just finished a short story for a Christmas anthology where an old woman tells about a silver mine. Everyone knows there were no gold or silver mines in Texas. Or were there?

Near Menard, Texas a legend has existed ever since the 1830s about a lost silver mine belonging to Jim Bowie. He moved to San Antonio in 1828 and promptly became a Mexican citizen. He spent a great deal of time prospecting. He was famous for carrying a large knife that was forged from a meteorite. I don’t know if that meteor part is true or if it was something someone made up. It would be really cool though. Anyway, James married the daughter of the vice-governor of Mexico—Ursula Veramindi.


Rumor has it that Bowie noticed Indians trading silver in the square so he left his wife behind and went to live with the Lipan Apaches to try to learn the source of the silver. And he found it at the Presidio de San Saba in Menard County.

Excited, he returned to San Antonio for workers and supplies, but he was followed by one of the Apache warriors who wore a human hand necklace. They fought and Jim Bowie wounded the warrior severely with his knife. Long story short, the warrior made it back to his tribe and recovered.

By the time Bowie returned, two hundred warriors met him and his workers near Calf Creek in 1831. They had a fierce battle and there is a Texas historical marker there today. Although Jim Bowie lost one man, they delivered a resounding defeat against overwhelming numbers.


When Bowie took the wounded back to San Antonio, he found his wife and children very ill with cholera. In a desperate bid to save them, he hurried them to Mexico but they soon died.

As we all know, Jim Bowie wound up fighting at the Alamo in 1836 and lost his life. The location of the mine died with him.

People have searched for over a century in an effort to find the lost San Saba mine but to no avail. Was it all just a hoax or was it real? No one really knows.

This is the stuff of legend and great for a rainy night around a campfire. Do you have family stories passed down that you might tell?

My parents totally believed in ghosts told and once during the Depression when they watched a man walk into a bush and never come back out. They searched and searched around and in it but never found hide nor hair of the man.


Legend and Tall Tales — 4 Comments

  1. Linda what a great blog about Jim Bowie, I’m familiar with the area you are talking about. Is there a mine or not?? Very interesting. My dad talks about my great grandfather who shot a man over sharecropping once. He didn’t kill the man, but Pa Kucas put the fear of God in the man never to cross Pa Lucas again.

    • Hi Tonya……I’m so happy to see you. You’re up really early, lady. I figured you knew about this mine. I love Menard. It’s such a neat old town. I never knew much about Jim Bowie. In fact, I didn’t even know he was even married. Your poor great-grandpa! I wonder why he shot that man. I’m sure he did put the fear of God into the guy! It sure would me. That would make a great campfire story.

      Have a great week! Much love, sister cousin.

  2. Love this! Another Legend who was bigger than life. I remember the discussions we had about the lost silver mine when we took the day trip down through that area. And, I remember Mama telling about the man disappearing into the bush. I also remember her talking about the old abandoned house in Missouri they squatted in where they would hear heavy chains being dragged across the wooden porch at night. Not matter how many times they went and looked, they never saw anyone. She said she was afraid to go to the outhouse at night. 🙂 Glad we don’t have any experiences like that!

    • Hi Jan…..Great to see you. I’m glad you like my Jim Bowie blog. It’s really odd but I never heard much of anything about him except for his knife. I didn’t know he was married or had children. I remember us talking about that lost silver mine the day we went over to Menard. It’s really interesting. Everyone loves lost treasure stories. I just sparks your imagination. I, too, remember Mama telling about that old abandoned house that was haunted. I’m sure Uncle Luke almost had a runaway. It never took much for him. I’m glad we don’t have things like that happen to us either. It would sure be scary.

      Love you, sister!