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Offline ConchoHunter89Topic starter
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« on: December 12, 2011, 03:55:05 pm »
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If any of you are subscribers to Lost Treasure magazine, this is another version of my story on Tower Hill that was published in the December 2011 edition.

Five miles south of Sterling City, Texas is a landmark that has been the source of local stories, legends, and historical intrigue since the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is a jagged hill that rises out of the arid West Texas soil and looms above miles of surrounding grasslands. I first became interested in the history of this mysterious landmark when I came across an article that had been printed in the San Angelo Standard Times and that was found (and can still be found) in the Vertical Files of the West Texas Collection at Angelo State University in San Angelo. For two years, I have done in-depth historical research into the hill's past, have given speeches to several historical and archaeological organizations, have written numerous articles on it, and plan on writing a book about its speculative history.

Tower Hill was first brought to public attention in 1928 when an elderly resident of Sterling City named W.F. Kellis, along with his brother Tom, uncovered the final resting place of what was believed to have been a Comanche chief. Inside the cavern that the remains were found in, were several items of historical interest. The most mysterious of these items was a silver goblet, which had likely at one time been a trophy cup for a horse race winner, and that the Indian was clutching in his hands. Other items included several trinkets, some being of Spanish orgin, traditional Native American burial items, and an old musket.

However, what has gotten Tower Hill into local folklore are the ruins of some type of structure on the summit of the hill. These stacked stones are said to have once been a military or Ranger encampment or fort and since the summit is only easily accessible by the western slope, folks for years have claimed that it would have made the perfect defense position for anyone who may have suddenly become under attack. It is said that while the structure was still standing, there were port holes carved into the boulders so that soldiers could fire down the slope from a relative safe location. Over the years, amature treasure hunters have uncovered some very interesting items from the landmark, some of which are on display at a private museum in Sterling City. The most intriguing of these findings was a converted 1822 Springfield musket, the hammer having been removed when it was discarded. Another find included an octagon shaped .50 barrel of which only the barrel remained of the original weapon. It has also been stated in the past that military buttons, buckles, and other uniform accouterments were also uncovered. All of this evidence has led many to believe that there may have been a battle or skirmish fought at the site at one time.

After two archaeological surveying expeditions in 2010 by members of the Concho Valley Archaeological Society, there was never uncovered anything that could support the theory of a battle or even an encampment had once been at this location. What was discovered, was that on the top of the hill were lots of names engraved into boulders, some of which could support the theory of the site being used as a survey marker or a directional map to surrounding ranches. Tower Hill is also said to have been a lookout post for many years likely utilized by the Spanish explorers under Coronado, Native Americans, the U.S. Army, and the Texas Rangers. Only two military maps have been uncovered that show the hill, and on one of those two, the hill was actually located at an incorrect location which could show that the military may have only used it for a short time.

Another legend of the hill's ruins centers around the legendary Jesse James. During the 1870s, a former member of the Confederate leader Quentrill's (name may be misspelled) company had a small residence along Sterling Creek which is just to the south of Tower Hill. Locals claim that Jesse James once made camp near his comrade's house in a low hollow. The site today is now known county wide as James Hollow because of this reason. Again though, no evidence suggests that the James Gang, or even the infamous two brothers, ever used Tower Hill as a hideout or sentry post.

As I said earlier, I have been researching Tower Hill's past for two years now and have used every source of primary documentation that is currently available on it as well as the majority of secondary sources. This is only a brief history of Sterling County's Tower Hill and I hope some may read this post, or the article in Lost Treasure, and if they have any other additional information on the hill's past or know of anything about it to please let me know by email or post.

Thanks for reading,
ConchoHunter89     

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Offline BitburgAggie_7377
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2011, 10:09:23 pm »
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Thanks for the interesting read.   Sad to say, I had not heard of Tower Hill before.

BA

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