October 5, 2011 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.
These 159,780 acres of wilderness continue to attract gold and treasure hunters. Prospectors still wander the trails of the Superstition Wilderness Area in search of gold. Most of the gold they search for is “in their minds” according to “Doc” Rosecrans, an old time prospector of the area now deceased. He spent forty years living along the Apache Trail and occasionally hiked into the Superstition Wilderness to explore a hunch. He published a small book on the Dutchman’s Lost Mine in 1949. His book wasn’t much of a success; however it did get him a threat of a lawsuit from Barry Storm, another author on the topic.
The way of life for today’s prospectors and treasure hunters is slowly disappearing. Strict forest service regulations and the withdrawal of the wilderness from mineral entry; has all but ended prospecting and mining in the region. A few wildcatters still take their chances with the authorities.
Contemporary writers, weekend explorers, and the curious continue looking for facts and information associated with events that occurred decades ago. Such research and discussions has been opened to the public through various forums about the Superstition Mountains and The Lost Dutchman Mine on the internet or worldwide web. You might say a new Argonaut has arrived on the landscape for the wilderness area.
The three most controversial topics are the location of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine, the Peralta Stone Maps and the tragic death of Adolph Ruth. These topics continue to attract a wide range of interest among readers on the internet or the worldwide web. The internet has changed the way we view and research material today. The forum about the Dutchman’s Lost Mine can be factual and fictional at the same time. After
all, history is a very thin line between the truth and a lie. You can Google up these forums on the inter-net. You might want to look at Desert USA, Treasure Net, and The Lost Dutchman Mine.
When somebody claims they have found a lost gold mine how do you know they are telling the truth? A simple question might be; where is the gold?
If that person were to produce gold then there would be some interesting repercussions from those interested in where the gold was found. The next question would be; did you stake a claim?
Would any person in their right mind stake a claim on rich vein of gold? Probably not! A claim notice would be an invitation for everyone to come and look at your rich gold mine. I believe this explains the dilemma you would be in. I would believe some old timers might not have told anyone about their discoveries in the hills. This type of behavior could easily explain all the confusion involving the Dutchman’s lost mine.
Jacob Waltz, the legendary “Dutchman,” may or may not have had a gold mine. Nobody knows for sure. When he died on October 25, 1891, a candle box of high-grade gold ore was allegedly found under his bed. This gold proved to be of bonanza quality. The discovery of this candle box of rich ore created a controversy that continues to linger to this day. Where did this gold orecome from? Men and women have searched the high peaks and deep canyons of the Superstition Wilderness Area for the source of this gold ore to no avail.
The are some unscrupulous pseudo-historians who will tell you that the gold came from an old Mexican ore mill on Peter’s Mesa and that other similar fragments of the gold ore can be traced to the Massacre Grounds, supposedly confirming or backing up the story of the Peralta Massacre in 1847. This is a bizarre tale with no historical foundation to support it.
To believe such a story is to believe a fairy tale. My father walked Peter’s Mesa and several other areas west of old George Miller’s place in the late 1930’s, and found nothing but the hard work of old time dreamers. My father never questioned the tenacity and obsession of the old timers that searched for gold in the Superstition Mountains.
The Dutchman’s lost mine continues to be a tale about a lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. To many folks, the mine is a figment of somebody’s imagination that continually draws in more dreamers each year. Since the early 1920’s, more than 170 individual have claimed they found the fabulously rich Dutchman’s lost mine. The roll of discoverers lists the names of men like Glen Magill, Barry Storm, Robert Simpson Jacob, Charles M. Crawford, Howard Van Devender, and many, many more that allegedly found the mine and reaped its profits. Most of those profits were monies they conned out of innocent and naïve investors. I have watched this vicious cycle for more than fifty years and witnessed the destruction and heartache it has caused to innocent people.
Attorney General Robert K. Corbin successfully tried and jailed a couple of these crooks. Most notable was Robert Simpson Jacob. Jacob was sentenced to ten years in prison for his part in a criminal conspiracy. Even after Robert Jacob was convicted, some still believed he had found a bonanza and that the government was trying to keep him from bringing the gold out.
Is there a Dutchman’s lost mine somewhere out in the rugged Superstition Mountain region? Yes, I have dreamed of finding this mine, but I have never found any evidence that really suggested the mine existed. Everything is based on subjective hear-say. Actually, facts about the lost mine just don’t exist. Even the alleged rich gold ore found under Waltz’s bed is based on hear-say information. Yes, there are alleged pieces of this gold that supposedly exist today. The documentation that supports this alleged gold ore is nothing more than hear-say. Even I am guilty of signing an affidavit that verifies I saw the gold ore and jewelry “Brownie” Holmes claims belonged to Jacob Waltz. Again, witnessing such a thing is still subjective information at best.
A very distinguished gentleman once said Waltz’s gold ore is what dreams are made of; meaning, who knows where that gold came from that was found under his bed. Dreams help to build subjective ideology.
Let’s face it, if you have spent a lifetime searching for the gold of Superstition Mountain, there has to be something meaningful to the story. Maybe my father had it all figured out when he basically said, “Yesterday’s adventures are today's memories."