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Not many are familiar with this tale and how it intertwines with the Caballo Mountains but like all of the stories in this book it is based on fact and credible witnesses. Carlotta's Crown is no different from so many tales except that it involves Mexico, Napoleon and Maximilian.

At the time when the French forces under Emperor Napoleon were rampaging through Europe, Napoleon decided to extend his influence into the new world. Deep down in his guts he knew that eventually he would rule the world so why not jump-start the process in Mexico? To this end Napoleon installed Maximilian of Austria and his wife Carlotta as the king and queen of Mexico. To ensure this end, Napoleon left a formidable army in Mexico City.

Maximilian and Carlotta moved into the imperial palaces in Mexico City and made themselves at home. There were once again Europeans dictating to the Mexican people. The Mexicans hated it but felt at the time that nothing could be done about it. And so it was until the time when the war in Europe started going bad for Napoleon.

As you may have expected, Napoleon promptly withdrew his troops who were desperately needed elsewhere. Maximillian and Carlotta would just have to fend for themselves. Those of you who think that the French habit of abandoning their troops and friends is something new should consider that it was done in the time of Napoleon also. As in Algiers and Vietnam where the French later were to leave their troops to die, so in like manner did Napoleon leave these people to the wrath of the Mexicans. Only the palace guard was left behind to defend the Maximilians. How utterly French. How utterly hopeless.

Knowing that the end was near, Maximilian quickly gathered his treasures and sent them north with Carlotta in an attempt to reach New Orleans and hopefully passage back to Austria. Maximilian himself remained behind to stall the attackers and direct the defense of the palace. On what was to become the Mexican Independence Day, Cinco De Mayo, (the fifth of may) the attackers successfully stormed the palace and Maximilian was put to death. This ended once and for all the European intervention in Mexico.

Meanwhile, Carlotta was safely on her way when disaster struck at a place now known as Castle Gap, Texas. There her small party was attacked by a well-coordinated force of Apache Indians. Only Carlotta herself managed to escape the massacre.

Carlotta eventually appeared in Yuma, Arizona (a sea-port at the time) and was given a paupers passage back to Europe. She lived out her days in seclusion and died of old age in Austria.

Maximilian's treasure was split up among the Chiefs, one of whom happened to be the famous Apache Chief Victorio. Victorio had no real use for this booty so he took it to what is now known as White Sands, New Mexico. There is a place there that was to become known as Victorio Peak. It was in the tunnels and caves beneath this mountain that Chief Victoria stashed his treasure and among the items taken that day in Texas was Carlotta's Crown. Here it remained until our famous treasure hunter Doc Noss appeared on the scene with information gleaned from under the dead hand of Padre LaRue

I have seen photographs of this crown. It has over two hundred diamonds and two large pigeon blood rubies on it. It is quite spectacular even in a photograph. This photograph was taken by Ova Noss (Doc's wife at the time) and was in the possession of Jerry Cheetem, Ova's grandson.

Doc Noss brought the crown back to Hot Springs, New Mexico and left it in his house. During this time, Ova cleaned the crown and eventually took it down to the local butcher shop and had it weighed on the butcher scales. This proved to be a major mistake because when Doc Noss heard of it he became incensed. So angry was he that he loaded up all things the family held valuable in a metal trunk and left with them. Upon his return he would only say that he had buried the valuables in Ash Canyon. The Crown has never been seen since.

Many a search has been conducted in the Ash Canyon that runs behind Turtleback Mountain to no avail. Personally, I have never thought the crown was there. There is another Ash Canyon in Longbottom Canyon and I feel that it is stashed somewhere near there. I feel that the Crown is on or in the mountain somewhere. It, like so many other treasures is out there waiting for the right one to come along and claim their prize.

So put on your good hiking boots, stow some trail mix in your back pack, take lots of water and a quality metal detector and get to work. Carlotta's Crown is out there waiting for someone and it may be you.