In July, 1836 an
old prospector named Adams staggered into the town of Pinos Altos,
just north of Silver City,
New Mexico. Bleeding from several gunshot and arrow wounds, the prospector rushed
to a doctor. Lying on his death bed he told several friends who
had gathered around him that he had been prospecting north of the
town. His knapsack held a fortune in gold nuggets. After
several weeks of prospecting he told of a red hill in the distance. When he arrived at the hill, he described gold lying everywhere.
While he was
filling his knapsack with the gold nuggets, an arrow struck the gravel
at his feet. Finding cover behind some rocks, he peered around
to see about a dozen
Continuing to hide behind
the rocks, the
Indians fired gunshots and arrows at him in an attempt to dislodge him.
Wounded several times, he stayed hidden until nightfall and finally
Indians withdrew. Carefully making his way back to Pinos Altos, he
traveled through streams to cover his trail.
Just a few
hours after reaching Pinos Altos, Adams died from his wounds and was
buried in the town’s cemetery. When the gold in his knapsack was
assayed, it was found to be worth over $7,000.
Word of the
gold discovery quickly spread throughout the area and dozens of
prospectors headed north in search of the red hill. However, no one
ever reported finding the hill and its scattered gold.
Pinos Altos is
located 6 miles north of Silver City on
Highway 15. This is not the same story of the Adams diggings as
this episode happened more than 25 years earlier.
of America, updated April, 2015.
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