sidebar menu icon


BOX COLONY. Michael James Box, at times a member of the Texas Rangersqv, heard a story that a man could make $25,000 a day from the gold in "Red Mountain" near Durango, Mexico. Counterreports did not prevent him from collecting more than 300 followers, including women, children, and his aged parents and leaving Laredo, in March 1861, in search of riches. During the next five months the colonists experienced thirst, extreme fatigue, and the tyranny of Box's leadership. As they neared their destination, the little mining town of Corneta, smallpox broke out, and Box had to obtain medical assistance through the governor of Durango. None of the colonists could speak Spanish, a factor that contributed to their delusion. Box and ten men departed on a fruitless two-week search for Red Mountain. Upon the return of the party, the angry colonists attempted to have the governor of Durango prosecute Box, but the Mexican official refused. Thereafter the colonists broke into confused groups–one man was killed at a fandango, some were too poor to return to Texas, and a dozen went to work in the nearby mines, but most of the Texans returned home. Some of these were murdered en route. Box remained at Corneta as a miner, although other members of his family returned to Texas.

James P. Newcomb, Secession Times in Texas (San Francisco, 1863).
Donald E. Everett

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Donald E. Everett, "Box Colony," accessed November 21, 2017,

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