New Book by Harold Cohn
Lost Dutchman Mine and the Peg Leg Pete Mine
“One who searches for what is not lost is a fool!” THE LOST DUTCHMEN MINE and PEG LEG PETE MINE, a just released book by author Harold Cohn, may lead one to exactly that conclusion. After over five years of research and writing about the Lost Dutchman Mine, Cohn states that his conclusions are not fact nor fiction, but speculation. The book's purpose though, is to allow the reader to answer, or at least, to ponder, the many questions that persist about the Lost Dutchman Mine. The Peg Leg Pete Mine essay included within prompts the reader to answer the question, "fact or fiction?" for themselves.
Q&A for the Author
1. What inspired you to write this kind of book?
Many years ago in 1960, when this “Crazy Old Man” was a “Crazy Young Man” of seventeen years, I finished boot camp at the Naval Training Center Great Lakes, and was transferred to the Shipfitter “A” School at the Naval Training Center, San Diego, California.
If my memory is correct, it was a Saturday morning when I woke up and left the barracks to go to the mess hall for breakfast and was served green eggs (powdered eggs) and ham. Just like the green eggs and ham in Dr. Suess’s book, Green Eggs and Ham! I always wondered if Dr. Suess had eaten the same green eggs and ham as I did.
After I left the mess hall and was headed back to the barracks, I stumbled upon the base library. It was cold and the barracks were not an attractive option, so I went on into the library. Taking a seat at a table, I saw a copy of Popular Mechanics magazine.
I started looking though the magazine and came upon an article about the Lost Dutchman Mine. After I finished reading it, I said to myself, “Someday, Harold, you're going to find that mine!”
After I got out of the Navy, I went to work for the County of San Diego, California, as a custodian and later on as a park ranger. When I first started working as a park ranger my duties included cleaning the park and restrooms, painting, mowing lawns, and enforcement of the park's rules.
Years later as the Vietnam War ended, young people who had graduated from college started becoming park rangers. A new word entered my vocabulary, “INTERPRETATION”!
These new park rangers had gone to college to learn to be "Interpreters" for the park. I was shocked! I was middle aged and never could memorize very well. All I could think was
"the birds fly fast, the flowers are very small". I was in deep trouble!
Then I got lucky. I was stationed at El Monte Park, in Lakeside, California and a ranger there had passed away. She had started writing the history of the park. I said to myself: “Harold you are saved," when I found her notes. I vowed to finish the “El Monte Park History” she had begun.
I set a goal to finish the “El Monte Park History” in one month. Thirteen months later I finally completed the thirteen pages of the “El Monte Park History”.
Note: Years later, Mona Mills, Artist / Muralist and I created the “The El Monte Oaks Museum" in an eight-foot by sixteen-foot building, an old pump house, at El Monte Park based on the El Monte Park History.
After completing the park history, some time later while I was still a park ranger, I took a one-day class titled: “Indians of the Desert" about the inhabitants of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California. Here I first saw Native American rock art. Inspired, I wrote and self-published the e-book: The Stone Spoke (barnesandnoble.com [haroldcohn.com]). This book contains my interpretations of Native American rock art and related subjects.
Writing The El Monte Park History and The Stone Spoke gave me the research and writing skills needed to take on the Lost Dutchmen Mine and Peg Leg Pete Mine. It had been fifty years or more from the time I first read about the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. I had totally forgotten about it till events returned it to my radar.
My grandson is a Native American. I wanted him to know that Native Americans were far more that just savages. I took him to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to show him a pictograph I had seen many years before. As we were traveling to the pictograph site, I saw that the trail was washed out. My grandson jumped from rock to rock and went on down the trail. Then the old fool (I) jumped from the first rock to the second rock and fell. Belatedly, I remembered the first time I had been taken to see this pictograph, the instructor had looked at the same washout and taken the group up and around the washout site. Unfortunately, I had dislocated my left leg. I drug myself out of the ditch. When my grandson came back, I hobbled back to my truck with the aid of my walking stick. My grandson took me to the hospital. I spent the next three months in a wheelchair. A wheelchair is a mobile prison. Your movements are restricted and the TV set is your prison guard.
I got lucky when I found the website desertusa.com and an article about the “Peralta Stones” and the Lost Dutchman Mine. I had my “Get out of jail card!”
So if you asked me, “What inspired you to write this book”, my answer would be “desperation inspired Inspiration!”
2. At 82 pages, it is short and sweet, was that that your intention.
I had no forgone conclusion on how I was going write it or how long the book would be.
I started with the my own interpretations of the Peralta Stones because to me, the Peralta Stones are modern man’s Native American rock, a picture story with meaning.
I did not lead the story; the story led me.
Eighty-two pages told everything I wanted to say!
3. Where does the balance lie between fact and fiction, in your opinion?
There is no fiction in opinions (interpretations) in this book. The interpretations in The Lost Dutchmen Mine and Peg Leg Pete Mine are based on facts, what was said by whom, and the actual symbols on the Peralta Stones.
4. Did writing allow you to reflect and gain clarity on your research?
I answer questions at quora.com (QUORA) that have been asked by other writers. I recommend that writers read what have written aloud when they are editing and listen to what they wrote as to understand the reader's experience. Then make additions, subtractions, and corrections as necessary.
When a writer transfers his thoughts from his mind on to paper, he gains clarity. And editing enhances this clarity.
5. Would you recommend reading it in one sitting, or spreading it out and reflecting?
If the reader is comfortable reading the book in one sitting, he should go for it. I personally would find more enjoyment reading the book slowly.
6. What part of the book sticks with you the most?
The following quote:
Ich benutzie zwel von den Mexicaner lochern.
I used two of the Mexican holes.
Does Waltz mean hole or cache? The holes Jacob Waltz used were dung holes (toilets).
This was probably the only honest thing ever said by the Dutchman, because “Man is lazy!” There is the old saying “Waste not; Want not” that applies here. If you have to take a dump use what is available!
7. What was the hardest part to write and why?
The Peralta Stones section, because you have to take symbols of places and find a pattern linking them, with no information about where to start.
8. If you could start your research over again, what would you change?
I would not have believed half the lies from half of the liars in the Lost Dutchman Mine story.
9. What would you advise budding researchers just starting in this field?
The same thing I tell budding writers on QUORA (quora.com): “You have the right to accept or reject criticism!”
10. Has reading been something you used to shape your writing style?
Yes, reading and life experiences are the basis of all research.
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)
The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms