Don Francisco’s Treasure

Hey, Readers. Happy first Monday of April.

Some of my earliest memories are of stories my mother told me about events that happened to her or members of my family. A couple of those true events served as inspiration for short stories. As you might guess, the tales that most intrigued me were those involving a mystery or a legend.

I recall one story that was passed down by my grandfather. As a young man before moving to Texas, he worked on several plantations in Alabama. One place was rumored to have money buried there. According to Papaw, many men tried to dig it up, but when they reached a certain depth, they became frightened and ran away without completing the task.

He also said that a wealthy man (who obviously didn’t need the treasure) hired two men, held them at gunpoint, and ordered them to dig. Like all the others, after digging for a while, the men became frightened and begged the man to relieve them of their task. He wouldn’t, and they eventually reached the buried money. Before he could pay them for the job, they ran away in sheer terror.

Another story Mom told was of a house where my family lived in Irving, Texas. Mom said there was a tree on the property, and she sometimes saw lights come down the trunk of the tree and disappear into the ground below. Mom said the ground at that spot was much softer than the surrounding areas. According to my grandfather, the light and the soil indicated money was buried somewhere beneath the tree.

Like many tales and legends, there are similar stories. In the book Portraits of The Pecos Frontier by Patrick Derren, a resident of Fort Stockton, Texas claimed there was money buried on her family property, but no one knew its exact whereabouts. The family often saw mysterious lights, but much like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, they could never pinpoint the exact location as the lights kept moving.

According to the website Texas Hill Country, many believe there is an estimated $340 million in buried treasure in this state alone. There are many stories and legends surrounding these treasures. Today, I’ll tell you about one of them.

Don Francisco’s Buried Treasure

Don Francisco Rodriquez was a Spanish nobleman who amassed a fortune during the 1700s. He lived in what is now San Antonio. He had two children, a daughter named Delores and a son also named Francisco who went by the name of Lefty and was in the Spanish army.

The San Antonio skyline with the Hemisphere tower on the left. San Antonio is the second-largest city in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. (Royalty-free image by Sepavone, courtesy of Dreamstime.)

Delores fell in love with a Spanish Captain named Cordero. It was during the time when Spain and France were attempting to get control of Texas. Cordero came under suspicion by the Spanish authorities who planned to send him away. In order to remain close to Delores, Cordero changed sides and joined the French.

Fearing the French would win, Don Francisco hid his treasure in a cave near what is now known as San Pedro Springs and sealed it with a large stone. He never told anyone, including his daughter, where the exact spot was.

Lefty and Cordova, both on the front lines of their respective armies, found themselves in a sword battle. They fought until both were mortally wounded, and both men died.

Upon learning of his son’s death, Don Francisco suffered a stroke. He sent for his daughter, who was at church praying for the safety of her brother and sweetheart. She went home but was too late. Don Francisco died taking with him to the grave the location of the buried treasure. Overcome with grief, Delores died shortly thereafter.

The story of the buried fortune continued on. People searched for the location and some found a cavern they thought might be the hiding place. Those who entered found it inhabited by bats, snakes, and even wolves. After one man fired at a wolf, the explosion of the rifle caused a rockslide further burying what may have been inside.

That didn’t deter the fortune seekers and many continued to search. It’s said those who entered the cave came out empty-handed and deeply fearful. (Sounds reminiscent of the story my grandfather told.) Not one single person went back a second time.

Many refused to talk about their experience, while others claimed to have seen a mysterious blue light (another similarity). Still, others say they saw the ghost of Don Francisco.

Centuries later, the location of Don Francisco’s fortune remains unknown. His legend, however, lives on.

Later this month, I’ll have another buried treasure story from the Texas Gulf Coast.

30 thoughts on “Don Francisco’s Treasure

  1. No wonder why you like mysteries, Joan, since you grew up on them! I was struck by how regional some mysteries are. In Texax everyone was losing track of their gold. Here in the PNW, it’s bigfoot that fascinates us. Thanks for the fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband is fascinated by bigfoot stories and often watches shows where people talk about them. We supposedly have a cryptid here in Texas, the Chupacabra. I might do a post on them one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, this is so intriguing. Your mother seeing lights in the tree brought goosebumps. 🙂 And I’m quite sure there is so much buried treasure that will never be found. There is another rumor much like that about the area around Round Rock, Texas, where the outlaw Sam Bass supposedly hid the loot from bank robberies. I love these tales! Thanks for sharing, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows what lies beneath us? When I was younger, I always wanted to get a metal detector. Never did. Back in the early eighties, my brother and his friend plowed our field to plant peas. His friend’s stepson found a couple of arrowheads.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love treasure stories, Joan. I wish I had known about Don Francisco’s treasure when I lived in San Antono. Would have been fun to do some research. I would also like to know what frightened the diggers so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a lot of estimated treasure in Texas, Joan! Great story that has me wondering just what in that cave! Maybe he is protecting his fortune from the otherside.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What intriguing stories, Joan! I think you take after your Papaw. I wonder what he’d say now. Oh my, I want to know more! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to think my creative genes came from Mom’s side of the family. Papaw and others were great storytellers. Of course, with my Scots-Irish ancestry, there are a lot of superstitions. I’d still love to know why those men were so frightened about digging up the buried money.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d love to know what caused so much terror in the diggers… especially after the ones at gunpoint reached the treasure and were so scared that they fled without payment.

    Great post, Joan.

    Liked by 1 person

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