Fountain Springs in Tulare County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
While trapping in the Rocky Mountains in 1827 Thomas L. Smith was shot in the lower left leg by Indians. Escaping he took his knife and cut off the useless part, surviving this, he carved a peg of oak, strapped it on and was thereafter called, "Pegleg Smith." Going to California in 1829 he picked up some heavy stones, later found them to be gold and never found the spot again, this is known as "The Lost Pegleg Gold." he and others found that the horse herds in the Tulare Valley could be had for the taking. The Spanish called them thieves, but did not pursue them into the Sierras, so "El Cojo", which means "The Lame Man" in Spanish and his associates raided the ranchos and Missions and took thousands of horses and mules. East of here a small stream running into White River is known as "Cojo Gulch." The upper end is where he kept horses before driving them to his markets in the Rocky Mountains and Missouri, thus becoming the most successful horse thief in western history. He died at Sixty-Four years of age in San Francisco in 1865.
By Denise Boose, December 31, 2011
1. El Cjo Marker
Erected 2010 by Dr. Samuel Gregg George Chapter 1855 of E Clampus Vitus.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. 35° 53.553′ N, 118°
55.073′ W. Marker is in Fountain Springs, California, in Tulare County. Marker is at the intersection of Avenue 56 (County Road J22) and Old Stage Road, on the right when traveling east on Avenue 56. Touch for map. This marker is located to the left of the Fountain Springs Store, next to white pipe rail. Marker is in this post office area: Porterville CA 93257, United States of America.
By Denise Boose, December 31, 2011
2. El Cojo Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Stage Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Fountain Springs (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to the Tule River Indian-Reservation (approx. 10.4 miles away); Tule River Indian Reservation (approx. 11.8 miles away); Time Marches On (approx. 13˝ miles away); Woody (approx. 13.8 miles away); Joseph Weringer, Sr. (approx. 13.9 miles away); Tule River Stage Station (approx. 14.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fountain Springs.
Also see . . . Pegleg Smith's Lost Gold. An article published February 8, 2009 by Dusty Road tells the story of "Pegleg" Smith. (Submitted on January 26, 2012.)
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
By Lester J Letson, circa January 24, 2014
3. the original damaged "El Cojo" Marker in 2014
In 2012 a vehicle backed into the original marker and snapped it off at the base. The driver drove away, but people who saw him hit the marker took down his license plate and he was located. Fortunately he was insured, and fortunately the stonemasons that made the original marker had the original template, so an identical marker was sandblasted and stands it its place today.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 22, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. This page has been viewed 514 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 22, 2012, by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. 3. submitted on April 30, 2014, by Lester J Letson of Fresno, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.