Monday, August 20, 2018

A Man and His Dream

August 13, 2018 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Don Shade was an old timer when it came to Dutch hunting. He began his search with men like Barry Storm in the early 1950’s. Don considered Barry Storm a good friend. Don told me about how Barry moved the “Two Soldiers” story from the Mount Ord area to the Weaver’s Needle area.

I recall one time sitting on the porch of the Bluebird talking to Barry Storm and Don Shade. Don made a couple of trips with Barry to Arizona when he was selling books. I don’t recall what year these trips occurred, but I am guessing it was in the early 1960’s.

Don Shade was a dedicated and systematic Dutch hunter. He was reluctant to share his information with anyone. The last several years of his life were spent at the O.K. Corral in Apache Junction. Don became a close friend of Ron and Jayne Feldman, and he often helped out around the corral. When Don and I re-established our friendship,
Don talked about some of the more bizarre possibilities associated with the Superstition Mountains and lost treasure. He tried to solve the mysterious content of several maps, especially those with cryptic symbolism.

It was toward the end of 1980, Don Shade came across a cryptic map allegedly given to somebody by Marie Jones, the infamous adversary of Ed Piper, near Weaver’s Needle. It was the same map Charles Kenworthy had analyzed by several different universities, including UCLA, Harvard, MIT and Hebrew University in Israel, because he believed the map was in some form of Hebrew. The origin of the map was and still remains unknown; however, there were stories about its source. One story claims the map was originally found on a flat sheet of native copper. This sheet of copper had been rolled up and found buried in the Superstition Mountains at some undisclosed location. Kenworthy had worked on deciphering this map for several years.

Don Shade found the map extremely interesting. The origin of the map was never established, but Shade eventually pronounced the map authentic and placed it in his book, Esperanza on page 104. Don claimed to have located a worked out mine from the information he gathered from this map.

The site of the mine was in a rugged tributary of Old West Boulder Canyon. Several years ago, in late May, I rode into the canyon and packed Don Shade and his camp out of this area. On this particular occasion, Shade was really pleased to see me in his camp. It was getting hot, he was low on water and he needed to get out of the mountains. Don always kept sufficient supplies in camp. He always had lots of water hidden about his camp; however, this had been a dry year. As I was packing his gear, he said he could have lasted most of the summer if nobody had showed up to pack him out. He was seventy-six years old that spring.

Don Shade had some unusual methods that helped him to interpolate his ideas with other original information. It was this type of research that led Don to the site near Old West Boulder Canyon twenty-five years ago.

Don Shade never gave up his search for the Dutchman’s Mine. He did eventually publish his book, The World Famous Lost Dutchman Mine: Esperanza* in 1994. Don Shade was an intelligent and interesting individual. You might find a copy of his book in the City of Apache Junction’s Library. He was a kind and honest person dedicated to history and legends of Superstition Mountain.

Don Shade in camp somewhere around West Boulder Canyon. I packed him out of the mountains on his last trip to West Boulder Canyon many years ago.
Donald Maurice Shade was born on August 28, 1915 in Hubbard, Iowa. Don was an outstanding athlete in high school. He was a four-year letterman in basketball and earned all-state honors as a shooting guard. Don attended college between 1935-1938 majoring in business law. Don Shade enlisted in the United States Army in 1940 and was discharged in 1946 as a Sergeant Major. Don fought in many of the major battles from Omaha Beach to Berlin in Europe during World War II. Don Shade was such a gentle soul to be such a brave warrior during a very violent time in our history.

Shade became fascinated with the Superstition Mountains and its many stories in early 1950’s. For more than thirty-five years Don Shade researched libraries and prospected the Superstition Mountains. Don passed away on November 3, 1996, ending an almost four decade quest for the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. Let’s not forget such heroes of “the Greatest Generation.”

*A note from the Apache Junction Public Library: A copy of Don Shade's book is available for checkout; there is also one in our Arizona History reserve collection. Please see library staff for assistance locating either copy.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hanging Starr Daley

July 30, 2018 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The first time I ever heard the story about the lynching of Starr Daley, it was from George “Brownie” Holmes. Holmes was a pioneer Arizonian. His father was born at Fort Whipple and his grandfather traveled along the Gila Trail in the late 1840’s. “Brownie” Holmes was a good friend of Nancy McCollough and Clay Worst. I am sure both of them heard the “Brownie’s” version of the hanging of Starr Daley along the old Roosevelt Road.

I was talking to “Brownie” one day. He mentioned that he was an eyewitness to the hanging of Starr Daley at 4 a.m. on Sunday, May 6, 1917. The hanging occurred along the old Roosevelt Road, just off the old Florence-Goldfield Road and four miles north of Dan Kleeman’s ranch in Pinal County.

“Brownie” went on to explain that Starr Daley, alias Van Ashmore, was 26 years old at the time he was lynched by a large group of citizen vigilantes. The story was interesting, so I continued to research it for several years.
Starr Daley hanging from a telephone pole along
the Roosevelt Road north of the Kleinman Ranch.
The court ruled the hanging as a “justifiable homicide.”

I pieced together the following information from “Brownie’s” account, the New York Times article of May 6, 1917, and other information I was able to acquire:

James Roy and Florence Gibson were returning to Tucson on May 3, 1917, after visiting family in Globe. They were driving along the Apache Trail about 23 miles east of Mesa when they decided to camp for the night. They pulled onto the old Superior highway and drove for a few more miles before stopping.

Florence Gibson set about preparing supper, while James set up camp. Just at dark, a stranger rode in on a lathered-up horse. He was tired, and James Gibson offered him water. In return for this hospitality, Starr Daley shot James Roy Gibson in the back three or four times with a rifle. He then ordered Florence Gibson to disrobe, and if she didn’t obey, he would kill her also.

Starr Daley assaulted Florence repeatedly throughout the night. On Friday morning, May 4, Daley ordered Florence to feed him and load the car. Florence refused to load the car unless Daley would take her husband’s body to the funeral home for burial. Daley grudgingly agreed.

While driving toward Mesa, the car ran out of gas. Daley decided to walk to the nearest gas station, leaving Florence in the car with her dead husband. Florence flagged down the first person she saw and told them what had happened. The man she told was named Phelps. He reported the incident to Mesa’s Town Marshal Peyton. Peyton arrested Daley before he returned to the stalled car. Daley offered no resistance and was booked into jail on an open charge of murder and rape.

Friday evening, Daley wanted to talk. He told how he had acquired a rifle and murdered Roy James Gibson and raped his wife repeatedly. Six jurors had earlier found Daley responsible for Roy Gibson’s death. Florence Gibson was spared testifying about Daley’s assault on her. After the hearing, Maricopa County Sheriff Wilkey returned Daley to his cell.

Saturday, May 5, an angry crowd had formed in front of the Maricopa County Jail. By 10 p.m., the mob had grown to several hundred citizens. Sheriff Wilkey decided to transfer his prisoner to another jail. The sheriff loaded Daley into a car and started for Florence. The mob chased the Sheriff until they were able to overtake him. They were able to trap the sheriff near a bridge and take his prisoner at about 2 a.m. Sunday. They hauled Daley back to the scene of his crime, and there he would pay for his evil deed.

Starr Daley swung into oblivion from the back of a car at 6 a.m., May 6, 1917. At daybreak, his body still hung from the telephone pole of justice in the desert, just west of Superstition Mountain, along the old Roosevelt Road. A coroner’s jury from Florence held an inquest and ruled Daley’s death as “justifiable homicide, by hanging, at the hands of unknown parties.”

“Brownie” George Holmes later told me he drove one of Wes Hill’s stage line vehicles out to the lynching of Starr Daley. Was “Brownie” one of the actual participants of this hanging? I don’t know; he never said. But knowing “Brownie,” I doubt he would have physically participated in such a violent affair. This was officially the last lynching recorded in annals of Arizona history.

Caption: Starr Daley hanging from a telephone pole along the Roosevelt Road north of the Kleinman Ranch. The court ruled the hanging as a “justifiable homicide.”