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Explorer promises each Texan a silver mine


On this day in 1756, Bernardo de Miranda y Flores, lieutenant governor of Texas, returned to San Antonio after his expedition to Los Almagres Mine in present-day Llano County. He announced the discovery of “a tremendous stratum of ore,” and he proclaimed the promise of “a mine to each of the inhabitants of the province of Texas.” Even though the samples he collected were too small for accurate analysis, his bold guarantee sparked dreams of a rich silver mine for decades. Diego Ortiz Parrilla, presidio captain at San Sabá, soon obtained more samples in an attempt to convince authorities that he should move his garrison to Los Almagres Mine. Those plans died with the destruction of the Apache mission and presidio in 1758, but in the confusion, later prospectors erroneously deemed the mine to be near the San Saba River. By the 1830s Stephen F. Austin depicted the legendary “lost” silver mine on maps, and James Bowie was among the fortune hunters who tried to find the mother lode. Finally in the early 1900s, after examining Miranda’s journal, historian Herbert E. Bolton found the site near Honey Creek in Llano County. Even though geologists classified the mine as unproductive, romantic tales of Hill Country riches continued to abound.

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