Feburary 25, 2008 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.
Helen Corbin was born on January 29, 1931, in Philadelphia, Pa., and many of her friends believe she was born with the determination to be successful in life no matter what goal she chose.
You would call Helen a very dedicated and conservative American. Her country meant everything to her. She supported law enforcement all her life and with all her heart. From the time she arrived in Arizona she was a strong advocate of law and order. Her husband, Robert K. Corbin, served as Maricopa County attorney and also as attorney general of Arizona.
Helen began her professional career in Arizona as editor of the Arizona County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s magazine. She won several awards from the National and Arizona Association of Press Women for her work with the magazine. Helen and Bob Corbin became friends with many of the sheriffs of Arizona counties. She edited the magazine for several years and had an impeccable reputation of honesty, integrity, and tenacity.
Bob and Helen were married in 1959 and after arriving in Arizona it wasn’t long before they started hiking into the Superstition Mountains. She visited Ed Piper’s camp near the base of Superstition Mountain in 1960. The trip and the stories Bob brought home from his many experiences in the mountains kept Helen very interested in the history of the area.
Bob Corbin believed in and hunted the Lost Dutchman’s mine most of his life. He loved his trips into the Superstition Wilderness Area with various friends looking for the old Dutchman’s Mine. Bob and I spent almost 20 years making trips in the Superstition Wilderness Area. I was following a dream and Bob was searching for a lost mine.
Often Bob would come home to Helen with stories about his searches and the many characters he met. Helen began to assemble these stories and to write them down. Eventually these stories became a book. Her first book about the lost gold of Superstition Mountain was The Curse of the Dutchman Mine published in 1990. This book was followed by Senner’s Gold in 1993. Helen believed when she wrote The Bible of the Lost Dutchman Mine and Jacob Waltz in 2002, she had written the final book on the subject. Her book The Bible of the Lost Dutchman Mine and Jacob Waltz contained copies of documents about the Dutchman’s Lost Mine that had never been published before. Such documents as the Olber’s ship’s manifest with Jacob Waltz[’s] name on it. This document also provided Waltz’s date of crossing the Atlantic Ocean and his port of arrival in America. The port was New Orleans and the date was November of 1839.
Another important document in Helen’s book was the Peeples-Weaver Party’s Expedition Manifest that included Waltz’s name again. This document provided proof of when Waltz arrived in the Prescott area of the Bradshaw Mountains in 1863. The party first panned and worked placer gold along Lynx Creek near what is known today as Walker.
Helen’s chronicling of Waltz’s arrival in America and accurately documenting information related to Waltz between 1839 and the time of his death on October 25, 1891, was a milestone in the story of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. This work provides future historians with well documented facts about this obscure Arizona pioneer.
Helen’s research and documentation has provided a link between yesteryear and today not well understood before her book. Historians in the future will have Helen Corbin to thank because she provided the information that will help them to continue researching the topic.
Over the years, her husband met many advocates of the infamous Dutchman story and provided Helen with much of the material needed to put her books together. Helen Corbin’s legacy will be that of a wife, mother, grandmother, author and an American patriot who met a major challenge in life and overcame it. Those of us who knew her understood the enormous odds she had to overcome to accomplish the task of writing about the Dutchman’s Lost Mine and the Superstition Mountains. She has certainly left an imprint on [the] history of the American Southwest.
Helen visited Apache Junction on many occasions. She also joined book signing parties on several occasions at museums and bookstores in the Apache Junction area. Many people in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon met or knew Helen Corbin. She certainly will be missed by many friends in the area.
Helen Corbin passed away at her home near Walker, Ariz., on Saturday, January 26, 2008.