Tuesday, November 27, 2018

THE STORY OF MACE'S HOLE: at least partly true

Ever heard of Mace's Hole? How about the town of Beulah? Both are in Colorado and take up close to the same space. So what was Mace's Hole?

Town of Beulah, CO taken from south facing mountains
According to stories, it was a place where Juan Mace (Maes) held the stock he stole from travelers and local land owners/herders. Located southwest of Pueblo, Colorado near the Wet Mountain Valley, the area was a difficult one to access. The east entrance, by no means an easy access, was still the least difficult. It was this entrance that Juan drove his stolen stock through.

The earliest notation of the name Mace's Hole, is on a map drawn up in 1851 by Richard H. Kern for the territory of New Mexico. This map notes the area as Masa's Hole, and at this time the area was still considered part of New Mexico, being south of the Arkansas River boundary line. It retained the name Mace's Hole until Colorado became a state in 1876 when it was renamed Beulah.

Even Juan Mace is still a shadowy character. Very little is known about him and his activities. Local papers would tell his story, but they do not always agree. In 1877, the Pueblo Chieftain wrote that he operated with but one assistant. The idea that he had a gang was attributed to letters he would leave with various people on the plains outside the hole. With each telling of the story, it becomes wilder and larger in the telling.  For a round up of stories, the book "From Mace's Hole, the way it was, to Beulah, the way it is" is a good option.

There is also the story of a Confederate group who used the hole as a place to plan their attack and capture gold that was being pulled out of the goldfields in Colorado Territory. Was this the Reynolds Gang that had splintered off from the Confederacy or in fact an organized troop? According to an article in Colorado Encyclopedia, southern Colorado was strongly in favor of the Confederacy, and a number of them gathered in the Hole. They were captured in November of 1861. For more in this chapter in Mace's Hole and Colorado History you can visit: Confederates in Mace's Hole

For more reading on this storied area, there are public domain books that make for fun reading. Here is a list of two that can be found on Google Books: 

Pathbreakers and Pioneers of the Pueblo Region: Comprising a History ...

Overland Monthly and the Out West Magazine pg 487

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Replies
    1. You are so welcome. I love sinking my teeth into research, especially about the area around where I live. Doris

  2. This post has it all, Doris: Legends, outlaws, buried gold, AND the Reynolds Gang. Full of mystery and questions. Thanks.

    1. Tom, I live fairly close so had heard some of the stories, but when I did further research I was so happy and wanted to keep going. Unfortunately I needed to finish writing the post and still keep it at a readable length. (Sigh) I do recommend reading the additional pieces I added.

  3. Doris, you feel the same way about Colorado's history as I do about early Alberta and Saskatchewan which were part of the Assiniboia Territory prior to 1905 when they each became a province. When I read about the gangs of rustlers and bank robbers that holed up I can't help but wonder how they could fend of a posse from following them into their hideout. Horses would leave a trail to follow and eventually the thieves would have to come out. I realize the posse could be targets in those canyons (I recently watched a good oldie that had one way in and thought wow, what a setting for a book). Now I want to go read more on Mace's hole. I always enjoy your posts and makes me want to set a story there. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

    1. There is just such joy in researching areas close to home. And like you, there is so much here. I do hope you enjoy the further reading. The Beulah book mentions that his sons, so he had a family, remained in the area and were great citizens. So much history and so many stories you can tell from that history. So glad you enjoyed the post. Doris

  4. Doris,

    Oh my gosh, this was interesting, especially the association of southern Colorado with the Confederacy. You're caught my curiosity and my attention. I will be investigating... :-)

    1. Kaye,
      I feel I truly did my job on this one. It is a story I've been wanting to tell, but with all the information, it took a bit to figure out how. (Smile) Let me know what you find during your investigations. Doris

  5. Thank you, Doris. I always learn so much from your posts. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you Agnes. I do love research and sharing what I find, plus it adds to my knowledge and hence reality when I'm writing a story. Doris