This from Thomas Glover on the LDM Forum, Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:57 am :
[Bicknell’s articles concerning the Lost Dutchman were written between 1894 and 1895. As Joe has noted Bicknell knew the Superstitions years before Waltz’s death. His article “Superstition Mountains, Old Myths and Legends Dispelled” appeared in the Arizona Daily Gazette August 10th 1886. Bicknell’s articles on the mine started in 1894 and grew and grew not only in length and detail, but also in coverage from local Arizona papers to national newspapers by 1895. Why this growth that may have secured the Lost Dutchman’s fame? Even if “Bick” was interested, why were the newspapers interested, especially ones in Kansas City or San Francisco?
In my book The Golden Dream I hypothesized that it was due to timing. The timing of Waltz’s death and revelations coupled with his physical evidence (his gold) on the one hand and the discovery of the rich Goldfield deposits coupled with remains of lost Mexican mines and camps on the other. Plus the reports of Waltz’s story fit the 1890s mindset of likely wealthy precious metal deposits in the central and western Superstitions since the area lay between the Pioneer District with the Silver King and the Randolph District to the east, and the new incredibly rich Goldfield District to the west.
I still believe that timing was everything. After all there were older and/or more famous lost mines of the time, mines like the Lost Adams, the Lost Cement or the Lost Doc Thorne. But these tales had all been around for sometime, it seems to me that none of them had the timing of the Dutchman, none of them burst on the scene and at just the right time. I now believe that I overlooked a significant factor in the timing, which helped launch of the Lost Dutchman legend across the country, something that links the launch of the legend with the legend of Adolph Ruth—a national Depression. Many things fueled Ruth’s legend, but one of the biggest was the Depression of the 1930s. Depressions fuel treasure tales. The bigger the Depression the more effect such tales seem to have, and the more people want to read about them.
Up until the Depression of the 1930s the worst Depression in the history of the United States was the Depression of 1893. From essentially 1893 until circa 1897/'98 the United States suffered from the worst Depression in its history up until that time. The following bits are from David O. Whitten’s article (Auburn University, http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whitten.panic.1893
* The Depression of 1893 was one of the worst in American history with the unemployment rate exceeding ten percent for half a decade.
* The Depression of 1893 can be seen as a watershed event in American history.
* … that real GNP fell about 4% from 1892 to 1893 and another 6% from 1893 to 1894. By 1895 the economy had grown past its earlier peak, but GDP fell about 2.5% from 1895 to 1896. During this period population grew at about 2% per year, so real GNP per person didn't surpass its 1892 level until 1899.
* Immigration, which had averaged over 500,000 people per year in the 1880s and which would surpass one million people per year in the first decade of the 1900s, averaged only 270,000 from 1894 to 1898.
Whitten’s article is, I admit, a bit dry, but the point is made: Things were bad in the mid-1890s, starting in 1894. It is in 1894 that Bicknell’s articles started to take off. Goldfield was in its heyday, articles had started to appear in the local Arizona papers about a few searches for the mine, Waltz’s stories seemed to fit the local “facts: location, and lost Mexican mines and camps in the Superstitions (remember that in the 1890s the Goldfield Mts. and area were referred to as the Superstitions in the local newspapers), and then the Depression of 1893 hits at just the right time. Bicknell sees the opportunity and rides the wave, so to speak, spreading the story farther and farther a field as the Depression sets in.
Bicknell was only 52 when he died (born 1852, died 1904). With him went many secrets: with whom did talk, from where did all of his information come, what he knew personally about the mountains and Waltz and the other early players in the drama, such as Julia, Rhinhart, William Edwards, Bark, George Roberts, and who knows whom else. Sadly it seems Bicknell’s papers and such were stored all those years ago waiting for a next of kin to claim them, but they never seem to have been claimed and now they are probably lost to time.
Might have some bearing on your own research.