Dodge City, Kansas Silver

Santa Fe Trail ruts near Dodge City, Kansas

Santa Fe Trail ruts near Dodge City, Kansas

About four miles west of present-day Dodge City, a trader by the name of Jesus Martinez was leading a large wagon train out of Santa Fe for Independence, Missouri in 1853, when they were attacked by Indians. The wagon train fought hard for five days, but the next night the Indians overtook the camp.  All of the train drivers were killed with the exception of Martinez himself. When they thought that everyone was dead, the Indians looted the wagons, set them on fire, and drove off the stock.

When the Indians left, Martinez emerged from his hiding place finding some of the wagons spared and 21 heavy bags, each containing $1,000 in silver coins. Unable to move the coins, Martinez buried them and walked to safety. After he was rescued, he did not return to retrieve the treasure, but rather, returned to Santa Fe without telling anyone of the buried cache.

But, before he died he told his son about the hidden treasure. In 1876 his son traveled to the area attempting to find the treasure without success. Many other treasure hunters followed, and though the silver has never been found, many wagon parts and other artifacts were discovered, lending credence to the story.

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November 2022

Also See:

Hidden Treasure in Kansas

Treasure Tales