Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tex's Power Wagon

We received this email from a friend of the blog.  I really hope I matched up the pictures correctly with the text.

"The Power wagon behind Barkers can be seen in Inside the Manson Gang (when clem is walking around) in the state it is in now; taken apart and buried. I don't think it was in working order when the Family was there- I don't think.

Here is the pic of the Tex power wagon, in 1970-71.

So, I found out that the Power wagon in Ballarat is NOT the one Tex fled in, it was the OTHER Power wagon. The one Tex fled in was in Ballarat with the other, but then traded to Leon Griffin who was the caretaker of the Briggs Mining camp.

He later disassembled the Power wagon and died.

Griggs, you will see a power wagon behind him... rusty.

The Briggs camp is still here. I am visiting soon to see if there is a trash heap of cars ala
Barker Ranch.

 Some photos of the Briggs camp with some power wagons and Leon's home.

From Wild Bill Gossett: My original source of information was not the ex-mayor of Ballarat for those of you who may have thought so. It was somebody whom I truly thought had the facts. Tonight I sat with the person that I should have interviewed in the first place. For over an hour he talked while the tape recorder rolled. There definitely was a Tex Watson power wagon. The person I talked to tonight helped remove it from the very spot where Tex left it after he ran out of gas. Tex Watson then walked to the Ballarat Road on the lake bed and was picked up by an old miner named John Paulson who gave him a ride to down by the turn-off to Hinkley, CA. From there Watson made his way back to Texas.

Anyway, his power wagon is not the one that is in Ballarat now. The Watson power wagon was used at Ballarat for several years and then traded off to Leon Griffin, caretaker at Briggs' Redlands Camp. Unfortunately, Leon had big dreams of converting this truck to a different cab, etc. and he took it all apart. Not long after he took it apart he got sick and died. We still have the mystery of where the truck at Ballarat came from but we know where it DIDN'T come from and I'm going to try and find out. I have a picture of Tex Watson's power wagon taken about 2 years after he abandoned it. You will clearly see that it is not the same truck.

The rusty one with the man at the door looks like it used to be tan-yellow, like the Tex one. Must be before it was disassembled.

The ones in the Briggs photo may not be the same one, but I think the one where the guy is standing in the door is. You can see it used to be tan.

This may not answer a lot, but I think this may be the elusive second power wagon. "