COULD SANTANA HAVE BEEN INDIAN CHIEF WHOSE IMAGE APPEARED ON COIN?
By Linda Pelon

It’s very exciting that Santa Anna has the "Santana" boulder back. I think Rod and Montie deserve a standing ovation for the 650 mile quest to retrieve it. I have been inspired by it to pick up threads of some old leads and check them out. The results have been very interesting. My first impression of the profile on the boulder was that it looked similar to an Indian head coin. I checked references on coins and found a coin I believe is very similar to the image on the boulder, a ‘half eagle" and "quarter eagle" gold coin issued by the U.S. Mint in the years 1908-1929. It was most curious because the spelling of the name on the boulder, Santana, was the spelling used by some who knew the chief. I thought at the time perhaps someone who remembered Santana/ Santanna just used the image on the coin as a model and I did not do additional research.

When I saw your article with the photograph of the boulder a new question occurred to me, "What if the image was taken from a daguerreotype of Santana??" Dageurreotypes were being made by a gallery in Washington when Santana visited Polk, but we have not been able to find one identified as Santana.

Some people who knew Santana were still alive when the coin was issued and may have recognized it and talked about it. This could have inspired the stone mason/ artist to create the monument. Were the stone masons working in Santa Anna Germans? Did they have friends and relatives in Fredericksburg?

I spoke with a person who is an expert on old coins. He first told me that models were used for most of the Indian head coins, After checking his sources he found that the image on the half eagle and quarter eagle coin was taken from a photograph of an unidentified chief. The coin dealer/ researcher now appears to be intrigued with this mystery. Together, and soon, we will do some additional research on the man who designed the coin. I guess it is possible that we could end up face to face with Santana. We certainly have not ruled out that possibility. I will advise you of the outcome as soon as I know. I hope we are not disappointed. How wonderful it would be if this great leader has already been honored with a coin in his image!

I would really appreciate it if anyone who remembers seeing any rock art to sketch it (whatever they remember; it does not have to be complete or detailed) and send me a copy. I believe this could be very important information, both for Santa Anna and for helping to identify a Comanche style rock art.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Through the years there have been stories of an eagle carved on a boulder in the vicinity of where the "Santana Rock" was originally on the mountain. In talking with people around town we have found those who have heard the story, but no one who actually ever saw the carving but had seen the Santana carving. If it turns out that a model from which a coin was used for the Santana carving, we can probably assume the rock mason artist also carved the eagle using the image from the same coin.

Intriguing to say the least!

As printed in the Santa Anna News by Polly Warnock, editor.

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