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EL MUERTO PEAK. El Muerto Peak is twenty-eight miles northwest of Fort Davis in west central Jeff Davis County (at 30°40' N, 104°20' W). It rises to an elevation of 5,900 feet above sea level, 500 feet above State Highway 166, four miles to the southeast. On the peak, shallow, stony soils support live oak, piñon, juniper, and grasses. The mountain is named for El Muerto ("Dead Man") Spring, on its north flank. Legend has it that a dead man was found near the spring in 1854 or 1855, when the first mail coaches between Santa Fe and San Antonio stopped there. Another story relates that around the same time, William A. A. (Bigfoot) Wallace was driving the San Antonio-El Paso mail coach and stopped at the spring to mend his buckskin breeches. Indians attacked him, and he escaped and supposedly made his way to El Paso with the mail but without his pants. Yet another legend holds that in 1879 twenty-nine bars of gold, along with silver, jewels, and other treasure, were buried in the area. The supposed treasure has never been found, despite much subsequent digging by trespassers.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "El Muerto Peak," accessed October 21, 2016,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.