Monday, March 10, 2014

Bull Dog's Gold

March 3, 2014 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The first time I addressed this story was in a column for the Apache Signal in 1985, and it was with several theories and considerable speculation. The Dutchman’s Lost Mine has long been one of the most talked about lost gold mine stories in the American Southwest. The discussion of the mine and its location continued to attract considerable attention, and one of the more interesting theories about the Dutchman’s mine involves the Bulldog Mine about one mile east of the famed Mammoth Mine in the Goldfield Mining District.
This is the Bull Dog incline and you can see the
shaft in the background. The area was covered in
2003 to protect the public from a very dangerous site. 

The idea of the Bulldog mine being the Dutchman’s lost mine is nothing new. There has always been significant information that might induce researchers to hypothesize that the Bulldog Mine may have been the Dutchman’s lost mine. The Bulldog claims were filed on November 11, 1892, some twelve and a half months after the death of Jacob Waltz in Phoenix on October 25, 1891.

Julia Thomas, Waltz’s caregiver prior to his death, may have been given pertinent information by the old man as to the location of his mine. She and two young men, Hermann and Rhinehart Petrasch, made a search for Waltz’s mine during August and September of 1892. They came up empty-handed after several weeks of searching in the rugged mountains. Historians believed during this prospecting trip this small band of prospectors walked over the rich gold fields near the Mammoth Mine on their way to the First Water area.

Thomas’ trip was noted in the Arizona Gazette, as the "Queer Quest" on September 4, 1892. When Thomas left Phoenix she was convinced she could find Waltz’s mine with the main clue given to her by Waltz. Her instructions included, "Look for the mine back from the NW end of Superstition Mountain and look for a pointed peak." Thomas totally misinterpreted this clue Waltz supposedly had given her.

There are many reasons to believe the early miners from the Prescott area found the gold fields of Superstition Mountain during the winter of 1864. Prospectors working the Bradshaw Mountains near Prescott, would explore the lower desert country, south toward the Salt River, during the cold winter months. It was during the winter of 1864 a small party of prospectors left the Bradshaws for the confluence of the Salt and Verde Rivers. This group split into three or four smaller parties to pan the tributaries of two rivers. The following is the experience of two of these early Arizona pioneers.

Frank Binkley and John P. Montgomery rode into a small valley separating Superstition Mountain and the Orohai Mountains. We called them the Goldfield Mountains today. They camped on a knoll overlooking a very brushy valley. The next morning the partners began to wander around the valley searching for outcrops of quartz or mineralization that would favor good mining conditions. From their camp they could see the towering facade of Superstition Mountain and a dog-faced mountain to their backs. The dog-faced mountain would later become known as Bull Dog Mountain or Peak.

The second day out, while prospecting near their camp, Binkley and Montgomery discovered a quartz ledge worthy of examination. The ledge exhibited what appeared to be free milling gold at every exposed point. They immediately horned a sample to prove their suspicions. On the surface the vein appeared to be about eighteen inches wide. The strike of the vein was more or less north to south. The dip appeared to be about eighty per cent. As the two men continued to work the ledge of free milling gold it became more abundant. These preliminary efforts produced encouraging results and convinced the men they had probably found a rich bonanza.

The Apaches discovered the prospectors at daybreak on their fourth day in the valley. A band of hostiles numbering a dozen or more were playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the prospectors. The Apache could have easily massacred the two prospectors if the men hadn’t spotted the Indians and sought shelter among the rocks atop Bull Dog Peak. By noon, resistance appeared hopeless, but the two men continued to fight for their lives. They were running low on powder, ball and water. Binkley and Montgomery kept the Apaches at bay until nightfall. Darkness was their only hope of escape. In the dark of night both men made their way back to the banks of the Salt River. Once at the river’s edge they swam across to the north bank and safety. Binkley and Montgomery walked down toward the confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers. Friendly Pimas found them and guided them to safety.

Both Binkley and Montgomery believed they had found a promising prospect near the Superstition Mountains, but neither man planned to return soon because of the hostile Apaches.

The rich outcrop found by these two men in 1864 was undoubtedly the Bulldog Mine. Could this be the same outcrop Waltz worked between 1868-1888? Waltz was in the Prescott area and surely heard about Binkley and Montgomery’s discovery. Some story tellers believe Waltz was in the party that discovered the Bull Dog outcrop.

Waltz talked about his mine being an eighteen-inch vein at the top of a hill, near a brushy draw and a pointed peak. There are three red hills north of the Bulldog Mine. Even the message Thomas obtained from Waltz stated, "Look for the mine back from the northwest end of Superstition Mountain and look for a pointed peak." This story dates back to the early days of the Mammoth Mine operation at Goldfield.

Until recently, the Bulldog Mine remained one of the historical gold mining sites in Apache Junction area dating back to the 1890’s. Recently, in April of 2003, the entire site of the old Bulldog Mine was completely obliterated by heavy machinery. Nothing remains today of the old gold mining site. The legacy of this historical gold mining site has been buried for all time.

We understand the necessity of covering this old mine shaft because it was a hazard to public safety and a legal liability to those who worked the gravel pit. Abandoned gold mines often attract careless people. Therefore this closure was necessary for the safety of the general public.