Legend has it that the Spanish built a fort in the area now known as San Saba in the late 1700’s, when the Spanish had conquered all of Mexico and had started to spread into what is now South Texas. This fort, under the leadership of Governor Yorba, was used as a storage place for the silver and gold mined from the vicinity by enslaved, conquered Comanche. Because San Saba was fabled to be a wonderful place to live, thousands of Spaniards made their home there (not only the soldiers but also their wives and children).
But what was grand and beautiful to the Spanish conquerors was not so lovely to the defeated Comanche. As the story goes, one day in March 1758 a group of Comanche stormed the Spanish settlement, taking everyone by surprise. The Spanish, realizing there was no escape, supposedly hid their gold and silver in the ground. (To this day, the land near and around San Saba—where two walls of the original fort still stand—is honeycombed by hopeful treasure hunters.) The Indians killed almost everyone at San Saba save a mother who fled with her child to Loma Grande, specifically to a place Texans know as Bowie’s Fort. It was there that the Spanish kept most of the treasures of the province for San Saba. In 1901 a newspaper reported that Pedro Sanchez had been found with a gold bar that he said came from an expedition led by Francisco Yorba, who claimed to be a descendant of Governor Yorba. Sanchez told of following Francisco Yorba to the mines of San Saba. He said the group found the gold and coins of Loma Grande and that a fight broke out over the treasure. Sanchez had escaped with one of the gold bars. Naturally, rumor spread of the buried treasure, but nothing ever came of it.
The San Saba mines apparently are still out there, waiting to be discovered. In Menard County along the Celery Creek, which flows into the San Saba River, someone supposedly found the lost ore. And some residents from Llano and San Angelo have claimed to have found the “Lost Bowie Mine.” No one knows for certain whether there is a treasure to be found at San Saba. But that doesn’t mean folks won’t keep trying to find it.