Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier

by Dearen, Patrick


The Pecos River country of West Texas lies between San Angelo and the Pecos River and runs west to the edge of the Davis Mountains. It's a land wild with tales, true ones and tall ones, that blend history, geography and folklore.

Patrick Dearen has spent years studying the legends and mysteries of this harshly beautiful land, talking to old-timers, reading yellowing newspaper files and dusty court records, and walking the country himself, finding the landmarks. From his search emerges a fascinating picture of an inhospitable land and its legends.

Preserving the history and folklore of these legends, Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier represents the definitive study of six specific stories - Castle Gap, a breawk in a mesa some twelve miles east of the Pecos River, used by Comanches on the warpath, emigrants seeking california gold, and cattlemen driving Longhorns up the Goodnight-Loving Trail; Horsehead Crossing, the most infamous ford of the Old West, considered the graveyard of hpes by drovers and emigrants alike; Juan Cordona Lake, the vast salt lake where sandstorms and skull-baking sun defied early efforts to mine the salt needed for everyday survival on the frontier; the bulto or ghost who wanders the Fort Stockton night in search of peace; the Lost Wagon Train, a forty-wagon caravan entombed in the sands of West Texas; and Will Sublett, who found a fortune in gold hidden in the Pecos country and kept the secret of its location even unto death. Hidden treasure links those six stories - secret gold mines, outlaw loot, fortunes buried for safekeeping and never found again. Men were drawn to Pecos country to seek its treasure - and many lost their lives without ever finding its legendary riches.

Though linked by the search for wealth, the stories are as varied as the land itself. They speak eloquently of the Pecos country, its heritage and its people.

Texas Christian University Press, 216 pages
Available in softcover


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