The Lost Dutchman Mine
The Superstition Mountains and Jacob Waltz
The Lost Dutchman Mine is said to be located in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.
The Superstition Mountains (their name inspired by Pima Indian legends) have been a source of mystery and legend since early times. The area is dotted with ancient cliff dwellings and caves, many showing signs of former habitation. It is not certain who these people were; some believe they were Salado or Hohokam Indians who populated this part of Arizona several centuries ago. Later, Pimas and "Apaches" (some of whom may have been Yavapais) occupied parts of the region. However, the name "Apache" came to be closely associated with the Superstitions, and the mountains became an Apache stronghold in the 1800s.
During the 1840s, the Peralta family of northern Mexico supposedly developed rich gold mine(s) in the Superstition Mountains. In 1848, during a routine expedition to carry gold back to Mexico, the large party was ambushed by Apaches, and all were killed except for a few Peralta family members who escaped. According to the legend, the Apaches buried and hid the gold and covered up the mine. This area is known today as the Massacre Grounds.
A number of other people, in addition to the Peralta family, had knowledge of the mine's location. Numerous maps have surfaced over the years, only to become lost or misplaced when interested parties pressed for facts. Men who claimed to have found the Peralta mine were unable to return to it, or some disaster occurred just before they could file a claim, all adding to the lore of a "lost mine."
In the 1870s, Jacob Waltz, "the Dutchman" (actually a native of Germany), was said to have located the mine through the aid of a Peralta descendant. Waltz and his partner, Jacob Weiser, worked the mine and allegedly hid one or more caches of gold in the Superstitions. Most stories place the gold in the vicinity of Weaver's Needle, a well known landmark. Weiser was killed by Apaches or, according to some, by Waltz himself. There are records of Waltz selling or transporting gold which are estimated to total $254,000. The records do not account for any gold that was sold locally or given to family or friends.
Jacob Waltz moved to Phoenix and died in 1891, at the age of 83. A box of gold was found under his bed after he died. He supposedly described the mine's location to Julia Thomas, a neighbor who took care of him prior to his death. Neither she nor dozens of other seekers in the years that followed were able to find the "Lost Dutchman's Mine." Subsequent searchers have sometimes met with foul play or even death, contributing to the superstition and legend that surround these mountains. Before he died he tried to tell Julia Thomas and Rhinehart Petrasch where the gold mine was located. Jacob left many clues for them to follow, but kept telling them to pay attention because the mine was hard enough to find even if you knew where to look.
In 1916, two miners found an old Spanish saddle bag filled with $16,000 worth of smelted gold near the site of the Peralta Massacre. This evidence, along with the stories and records of gold transport issued by Waltz, confirms the legend of the Lost Dutchman. More on the Lost Dutchman and his gold.
Related DesertUSA Pages
How we found the Peralta Treasures
Dating The Peralta stone maps
Lost Dutchman State Park
New Evidence Surfaces About the Lost Dutchman Mine
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Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 2
Lost Dutchman Mine: Part 3
Are The Peralta Stones Map Fake ?
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Clay Worst lecture Lost Dutchman Mine
Clay Worst's lecture on the History of the Lost Dutchman Mine,in 2011 was a huge success... Due mostly to his telling of the legend, in a way that only someone who has lived it for 63 years could do! Other than an occasional ringing of a cell phone, (which was quickly silenced) and random gasps from the crowd. There was total silence, as the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine came to life in a very interesting and informative presentation.
Barry Storm's Jade Mine DesertUSA researches Barry Storm, the author of Trail of the Lost Dutchman, first published in 1939. In 1957 he came out to California and was wandering around in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park. He chipped off the corner of a rock and discovered it was jade. Thinking he'd found the source of the ancient Mayan's jade, Storm mined and lived in that area for the rest of his life. Join us on our road trip to see Barry Storm's Jade Mine.
Ballarat and the Rainbow Chasers
At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. Parked at the base of the Panamint Mountains are the remains of Ballarat, California. Founded in 1876 as a supply center for gold mines and prospectors, Ballarat lasted 21 years. After the post office closed in 1970, Ballarat became home for two famous rainbow chasers: Shorty Harris and Seldom Seen Slim. Learn more about these colorful prospectors, and the ghost town of Ballarat in this video.
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