Robber's Roost Rock Formation
Let's start in 1874 a time that everyone was hearing stories of rich mines and wealthy men in the desert. The Cerro Gordo mines were going forward at full capacity. They had 4,800 people and 1,600 mules living in this mining town. Mine production was 2,200 tons of ore that year.
that year. Heavy wagon loads of 83-pound bars containing silver, lead with minor amounts of gold and copper were hauled daily down the Yellow Grade Road by Remi Nadeau's sturdy mule-drawn freight wagons to Swansea. The ore was shipped by steamer Bessie Brady and in 1877 on the Mollie Stevens across Owens Lake to Cartago. It was then transported again by wagon to the train at Mojave. The Cerro Gordo Mine needed more water for production and installed an 11-mile-long pipeline, which brought 90,000 gallons of water per day to the site. Daily production was now 18 tons of ore which was smelted into 400 bars of silver bullion. Walker Pass on highway 178 was one of the routes that they shipped the silver on.
Sometimes called the coyote holes was a formation of rocks that was a perfect hideout for a notorious bandit that a lot of people wanted to catch both him and his band of robbers. Tiburcio Vasquez, was the bandit whose hideout was in Robber's Roost. He robbed stages and freight wagons along the eastern Sierra, especially near Coyote Wells (Freeman Junction) until he was captured later that year. To discourage such robberies, the Cerro Gordo and Panamint mines began making bullion ores into 300-pound balls that could not be carried on a horse!
These rocks were west of Freeman Junction and earned the name of Robber's Roost.
After being caught several different times Tiburcio's trial finally happened. It was March 19, 1875 that Vasquez was tried, found guitly and hung at the age of 39.