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Lost Gold Mine Of El Paso del Norte
The legend tells that some time before 1800 a young Franciscan Father named La Rue was sent to serve the Roman Catholic Church in Durango, Mexico, at a small settlement of poor, hardworking Spaniards scratching out a meager existence. Father La Rue, while sitting with an old dying soldier, listened while the soldier told him of a rich gold-bearing load in the mountains north of El Paso del Norte (El Paso, Texas today.)
His dying friend told him that upon the first sight of three peaks, he had to turn East and cross a basin where there is a spring at the foot of a solitary peak. On this peak there is a rich vein of gold.
When crops failed at the settlement, the Padre led his flock to the north to work the gold. Arriving at La Mesilla, they sighted the three peaks and turned East across the Jornada del Muerto and into the San Andreas Mountains. After searching, the spring and the solitary peak was found, undoubtedly the place was Hembrillo Basin and Soledad Peak a/k/a Victoria Peak. For many years, the priest and his followers worked the rich vein, tunneling into the mountain as they followed the vein. All the mined gold was smelted into bars and stored in a huge cavern which was part of the mine. When word reached the church officials in Mexico City that La Rue's colony was missing and the settlement abandoned, soldiers were sent out in search for the party to the North.
When a small group was in La Mesilla purchasing supplies they learned the Mexican Army was on the horizon. Hurrying to camp, they spread the alarm. The Padre knew that he left his post without permission, and realized that he would be severely punished for not delivering the Royal Fifth of his gold to Spain if he were discovered. When word was received that Spanish soldiers were headed towards their mine, Father La Rue immediately set about concealing all traces of the mine. Working day and night, knowing the soldiers were drawing ever closer, he had his little group labor to seal the entrance to the mine. When the soldiers arrived at his campsite and demanded to know where the gold came from they used to pay for supplies in Mesilla, the colonists refused to divulge any information. After a search failed to locate the gold, the soldiers opened fire on the peons, who were badly outnumbered and poorly armed, and the engagement turned into a massacre. The soldiers returned Mexico City empty-handed and told the story.
Another version as to the demise of Padre La Rue's colony claims that a fierce thunderstorm loosened the cliff above the cave and a landslide buried the Padre, his gold mine and the cavern filled with stacks of gold bars, covering all traces of the site.
This story was told to many adding to the treasure horde of lost mine stories in the Southwest.
Years later Colonel A.J. Fountain of las Cruces a prominent lawyer went in search of the mine and mysteriously was murdered after he had said he had some information of the location of the lost mine.