Mojave Desert - True Facts, Legends, & Lies

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The Hermit & the Mountain

Tom Vincent was a hermit that lived on the side of Mt Baden-Powell for over 50 years. In those years he discovered a mine and sold it off and lived on the little he made from the sale over the years as well as hunting bighorn sheep, deer and an occasional bear. He was a recluse and unfriendly and would often take pot shots at folks he didn't know to keep them away from his mountain. His only friend was the postmistress down in the valley on the other side of the mountain. Some said they were lovers and some said they didn't care if they were or not. But old Tom got sick one day and she packed him down the mountain and into the humanity that was somewhere in the Los Angeles of the early 1900s.

While he lay near death he asked if he could be buried in the Veterans cemetery. The officials checked and said they couldn't find his name on the roles. He said he had served in the Union Army during the Civil War and they should check under the name of Charles Vincent Dougherty. They did and they found his name. Of course they asked why he didn't give them that name in the first place?

"Hell, I forgot I had a last name", he explained.

"I ain't used it in so long. I'll tell you why too, and if you like you can hang me before you bury me."

Old Tom went on to tell how after the war he and a pal had hooked up and did some mining in Arizona. One time they went into town to get some supplies. When they came back they found three claim jumpers had ransacked their cabin and was hauling ore out of their mine. So him and his friend killed 'em all and buried them in the mine and threw some rocks on their thieving carcasses. They was reasonably young and they got scared of being hanged. So they flipped a coin and his partner went east and he went west. He thought the mountain he had been seeing as he crossed the desert would be a fine place to hideout and watch for the law. He stayed up there all that time and never used his last name whenever he did talk to someone.

The officials told the sheriff his story and went to check it out with Arizona. They checked the records and got back ahold of the sheriff. Old Mr. Dougherty died before the sheriff returned with the news that Arizona knew nothing about the murders, and Tom lived on the mountain all those years for nothing. Well, maybe it was worth something, because the air was clean, it was quiet and, certainly beautiful up there. Plus he lived to a pretty good age. Tom was entitled to be interred with his brothers-in-arms and will rest in peace with them throughout eternity.

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