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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 29, July 16, 2006, Article 31

HOW GOLD GOT TO KERENS, TEXAS

Frank Cornish writes: "This is a response to Dave Ginsburg's Kerens,
Texas gold hoard enquiry:  How the San Francisco double eagles landed
in Texas prior to 1865, I don't believe is any great mystery. Two
trails went west before the railroad went through:  1.) the midwest
to San Francisco and 2.) along a southern route to San Diego through
Texas. Either of these could be the source of the gold.

Check out the book "That Old Overland Stagecoach" by Eva Jolene Boyd,
1993. She cites a ref on page 5 that one out of every 20 people heading
for the California gold fields went through Texas. The Texas trail was
established with stage coaches and mail service in 1857. The first west
coast mail arrived Sept 9 in San Antonio. Another source I've found says
the cost was $200 from San Antonio to San Diego for a passenger on the
stage coach.  It was a two way route with west coast travelers and their
gold coming to Texas. The route was re-established after the war, but
was treacherous because of Indian attacks.

The northern route is also a possible avenue for San Francisco gold to
reach Texas, but not as probable. In fact, on page 93 she refers to an
1865 trip on the northern route. The Texas cattle trails to Kansas
(where they would be paid in gold from California, brought by the
Overland stage from San Francisco) were well established by 1867
(Chisholm trail) and some drives actually went directly west to
California and Arizona along the southern route.  The problem is that
I don't have any historical references for the cattle trails to Kansas
or California prior to 1866, where I've found that cattle sold for
$15/head in Mason, Texas (south of Kerens). However my research has
primarily been focused upon the 1870s."

Frank adds: "In his book, Chisholm Trail, Wayne Gard reports that cattle
trailing out of Texas had begun before the war, continued during the war
to Mexico and Louisiana and resumed northward immediately afterward. In
1865 at least one herd was driven to New Mexico (p 43). In 1866 somewhere
between 200,000-260,000 cattle were driven out of Texas (receiving
anywhere from $6-$35/head, p47-52). In that year Kansas had banned Texas
cattle because of the fever brought by ticks. So cattlemen drove their
herds to New Mexico and Colorado (Goodnight and Loving in particular set
up their trail).

So here is another avenue for several million dollars (some of it no
doubt San Francisco double Eagles) to make their way to Texas. It might
be interesting to see if the Kerens trove was made by cattle raisers.
It's mentioned that they had a "plantation" which struck me as odd since
it is further north than most plantation country which is generally
along the Gulf Coast."

[For more information on the history of Kerens, Texas, see:
kerens_history.htm

One interesting tidbit is how the town's railroad station got built
where it did: "When the contractor arrived to erect the depot, he
considered placing it on the East side of Sloss Avenue and on the
North of the main line.   T. S. Daniel, having erected his store on
the west side of the street, gave the contractor a Stetson hat to
erect it on the west of the avenue where it has since remained."
-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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