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Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:31 am
by RMG1976
I mentioned earlier that one of the biggest things we all learned in dismantling Travis’ story was to never take things at face value. This would become increasingly true as time would go on – the things we would see on the surface, and would consider to be factual, would rescind similar to the ebbs and flow of the ocean. This made my job – our job – very difficult at times – as even the smallest of details could derail everything we thought we knew.

One of the biggest breakthroughs I discovered was in Travis’ manuscript, Challenge for Superstition Gold. It’s a very well written book – full of detail – written in a way that could put even the most prolific writers today in jeopardy. I have read his book countless times - but still remember the first time. I was in awe to read something so magical.

The book starts out by Travis recounting the history of Arizona – and the people that lived in the Superstitions prior to the arrival of the “white man”. He then goes on to give a history of Jacob Walzer ( I suppose they didn’t call him Waltz back then ) and his massive gold mine. He does a great job in describing things – and creating a very vivid backstory that would lead to his further explorations.

He speaks of Adolph Ruth – and his obsession with finding the maps that Mr. Ruth used. To quote a few sections of his book:

“Let me tell you something about Roy Bradford. Everyone believes that him and Old Tex were the ones that did the killing. Roy was ill several years before he died and when he first got sick he was moved out of the hills. He went to Barkley’s ranch house where he received treatments for his illness, administered by someone who worked for Barkley and claimed to be a Doctor. He (Roy) said that he knew a lot of things and they (Barkley’s) didn’t trust him with that information. Roy believed that the medicine they were giving him was intended to do away with him.”

“That night they hiked into the Superstitions, headed towards Roy Bradford’s old camp near a spring. Lighting a kerosene lamp, they went inside, it was just a shack with the roof falling in. Miller saw a raft of newspapers scattered about on the floor. Miller looked at the old table to see that the oilcloth had been tacked to the table along its edges. It was shortly thereafter that Charlie Miller came up with several old treasure maps.”

“They then went into a hidden tunnel and found a couple of old rifles, among other things that had been stashed there for years. Today, Miller still has one of the old rifles, it’s a .30-40 Krag Carbine, the rifle that killed Adolph Ruth in December of 1931.”

What is fascinating about this is we learn much more about Charlie Miller, a name that has come up frequently in posts made throughout the years. Not only that, we learn that Charlie Miller recovered maps that were more than likely the possession of Adolph Ruth & even the firearm that killed him. This would be a fascinating side story should anyone have the desire to research and get in contact with Mr. Miller’s family (should he have any still alive, unsure?)

But here is the breakthrough – it was a telegram that Travis sent, in his own handwriting

To quote:

“If you still find it impossible to work with me in the Superstitions on the terms we discussed when I called you last spring, then I trust we can do business on other terms.

The Stone Maps have possibilities and are very interesting. Have you ever thought of selling them? I will make you a reasonable offer up to $8000.00 cash for the entire collection.

Wire your decision collect”

After years of research – contemplation – talks with the family and Lynda – all signs point to Charlie Miller being the originator of the Stone Maps, or recovered them from the tunnel that Travis mentioned. It is my belief that these are the small grey stones that I have frequently mentioned – and Miller sold them to Travis for the amount offered. $8,000 back then is roughly $80,000 in today’s money. Given the other purchases Travis was making - $8,000 was nothing for him. It was simply just a continuation of his quest for more riches.

( I am going to post this up now, while still sitting here at the computer working on typing more. I will have more within the coming hours )

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:07 am
by RMG1976
In all of these posts, I’m not going to go back and edit any of them. I want to clarify a statement made in my previous post. When I say that Charlie Miller was the originator of the stone maps – I mean that in the sense of how Travis received them. Originator is probably not the correct word choice – a better way of phrasing that would have been that Charlie Miller is the source where Travis would buy / obtain the Stone Maps.

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:46 pm
by RMG1976
This brings us to a very pivotal moment in the history of the Stone Maps. The legend has always said that Travis found them. In Travis’ own handwriting, we learn that he purchased them - but also in Travis' book, he does say he found them. Make your best educated decision, I leave it up to you. Also keep in mind, and published on Garry Cundiff's site, is a letter that Travis wrote to a TV producer - to try and get his own TV show. This never happened due to Travis' untimely death. While the signature on the letter written to the TV network is signed with a fake name, it is 100% Travis' handwriting and typing style. Even down to words that Travis would commonly misspell in Challenge for Superstition Gold.

Let's go back to Challenge for Superstition Gold.

The book was typed on a typewriter, as per typical of that time period. Travis also had a small journal in which he would jot down notes for the book, which was separate from the book itself.

The book is written very much like one big paragraph, with only a few exceptions. On the bottom of each page is a hand written (pencil) page number. Throughout the entire book the reader will see that many times pages of the book had been transplanted around. On same pages, he gets entirely ahead of himself and jumps forward many years in the timeline, then XXXX's out entire passages. The entire timeline would change, dramatically, depending on where the pages in the book were placed. Travis’ seemingly had a hard time choosing how he wanted to tell his story. When I received the book, I split it into paragraphs and chapters, with the intent to publish the book. The family and I have since changed our mind on that, as well. The family and I have decided, however, to share excerpts which we find to be important.

The way that I got the book, the story of Adolf Ruth / Charlie Miller and the maps was towards the very end of the book. However, when I looked at page numbers for that section, it was initially intended to be near the front of the book – right after Travis was done explaining the story of Jacob Walzer. The book had never been disassembled before I scanned it on a scanner.

I don’t know the exacting details of Travis’ purchase of the Stone Maps outside of the original telegram he sent, the obligations that would come along with the purchase, etc. I am only left to presume that Charlie Miller had requested his name not be involved with the discovery and sale of Adolph Ruth’s maps. There could be lots of reasons and I sure many of you can come up with your own. Regardless, Travis obliged – and later changed his book around to say that he found the stone maps. That section of the manuscript is typed on a completely different type paper. This is how it reads, verbatim.

“I found a stone map in the Superstitions back in 1949, supplying enough proof to confirm this story. My wife Allen and I, from Hood River Oregon, in route to Texas by the way of Arizona, having traveled for several hours without stopping, decided to stop on the roadside to wander around for a spell. When hiking around and observing the hills, it was then that I made this most unusual, but very interesting find, which may prove to be the key to a treasure hoard believed to be worth millions of dollars!

While walking in the hills, by chance, I noticed a small grey stone with lettering on a point that projected a few inches above the ground. After the stone had been unearthed, I saw many old markings and drawings, also much information carved neatly and the date 1847, indicating that the stone had been in hiding for well over a hundred years.

I was amazed at how skillfully the carvings had been applied on the stone. Much time and effort must have been put into this carving and I felt sure that the stone, at one time or another must have been of some importance. Deciding to keep the stone for a souvenir, I placed it in the trunk of the car and continued through Arizona, New Mexico and on down into Southern Texas, on my way to go visit family.”

1) A stone map (singular)
2) Small and grey
3) Throws it in the back of his car, with seemingly little importance, and keeps on driving
4) Souvenir and the key to a treasure hoard with millions are two very different things. Which is it?
5) No description of the stone in detail, until many many pages later.

This is where all of us need to use our own judgment / analysis. I have spent a tremendous amount of time in the Superstitions. In fact, this year I hiked over 350 miles before the weather became too intense. If I were to have found something of antiquity poking out of the ground – I would have freaked out. I would have stayed to look for more and explored everything around the area. I think all of us would. One thing I can say for sure is that I wouldn’t have just put it in the back of my car and kept on driving. That stone would be wrapped up in anything I had, even if it meant taking clothes off to wrap it up and keep it safe. This is where Travis’ beautiful writing comes back to haunt him. He can spend a page describing the colors of a sunset – or the howl of a coyote – but completely brushes off something that he says could be the key to a massive treasure hoard. I will leave the ultimate decision here up to each of you – but given everything I know – and everything I’ve seen – the book is a story – based on about 85% truth – to coincide with a letter he wrote to a producer to get his story told on TV - but in this scenario, I side with the telegram and his offer to purchase the entire collection, as a way to deduce Travis’ acquisition of the stone maps.

Now let’s talk about the Queen Creek location. Sure, Travis could have parked his car along the side of the highway – climbed up the hill there – and took a look around. Where that location falls on its face is that he said he was observing the hills. That location is flat – very very flat. There are no hills to observe. There are many other locations where you can observe the hills along his travel route, but not there. Just something to consider…

To continue on with the book, typed verbatim:

“Traveling a lot of the time, I forgot about the stone until several weeks later when I was at a filling station while having my car serviced. A young Mexican lad was exhibiting an arrowhead to a group of fellows in the station. This attraction reminded me of the stone I had found and realized the Mexican might be of some assistance in reading the Spanish wording on the stone. I remarked that I had something to show him and took the stone from the car and cleaned it thoroughly with a water hose. The men gathered around with amazement as I placed the stone on the desk for inspection. The Mexican slowly and carefully examined the contents of the stone and said “Wow, that a masterpiece of workmanship!” he was looking down at a beautifully carved horse. The horse was very stocky in build and standing as if he was looking at something. These words were engraved in Spanish:


Translated, these words didn’t make much sense. The Horse of Sante Fee, I pasture (or graze) north of the river. The Mexican picked up the stone and turned it over, replacing it back on the table. The carving on this side was of a man, possibly meant to represent a priest. He was dressed in a robe that hung own over his statue like body. On the right sleeve of the garment was an emblem of a small cross. With both hands, the priest was holding a large church cross, pointing directly in front of him as if he was pointing at something! At his feet was the date 1847, there were other signs and symbols as well. The Mexican lad assured me that the stone was definitely not a grave marker, but a stone tablet, a tablet of instructions. With excitement he pointed at the stone, “This is Spanish! It reads:”


He insisted strongly that the instructions would possibly lead to a hidden treasure.

The lad suggested I show my find to an old Mexican man who he said was very good at decoding old Spanish signs and symbols, such as carved on the stone. I had no trouble finding him in the small town of Geronimo, Texas, about 25 miles away from the family’s place.

The old Mexican man told me that he knew nothing, or very little, about old Spanish treasure codes and symbols. However, he insisted that he would do his best. He seemed most anxious to see the stone and placed it on a table in his house. He went to work with a ruler, taking measurements and explaining the meaning of many of the signs and symbols. He insisted that the Spanish wording and some of the symbols were too old for him to interpret, saying that the Spanish language had changed a lot in the past hundred years. Maybe this was true?

If we could go back far enough, likely the English language would sound like a foreign language to us. No doubt many expressions have completely disappeared from use. The English language in the past hundred years has seen the addition of many new words and many have also dropped from general use.

After examining the stone carefully, he launched into a story that follows the same pattern of so many old Spanish treasure tales being told all the way from Florida to California.

Trembling from old age as he spoke, he said:

“The Mexicans buried mucho dinero when the whites were in the process of taking over the Spanish lands in the Southwest. They took not only the land that the Spanish pioneers had surveyed as their own, but the Spanish were driven out and kept away from the wealth that they had acquired. Their homes and mines were abandoned as a result. There were many rich mines and much buried treasure, such as coin and bullion left behind. The Spanish and Mexican alike were being driven out of these parts, having to bury in haste much treasure, such as gold and silver, especially in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.”

He continued.

“The Spanish, not knowing when they would be able to return, were forced to develop an elaborate code from symbols as an aid to relocate their buried valuables. Signs and symbols, properly arranged, would mark the exact location of the treasure. The value of the symbols have been guarded very closely and kept a secret by the Spanish and Mexican alike. They lived many years in hope that same day they might be able to return and reclaim their valuables. The Spanish were never able to return for their lost gold and silver.”

He assured me that the information on the stone would possibly lead me to a huge Spanish treasure. He also warned me of the evil spirits that guarded buried treasure. In dead earnest he said:

“I don’t believe you will ever be able to get this treasure. If you should be lucky enough to find it, something will keep you from getting it. Some monster will rear its head out of some dark shadow and swallow you! Be very careful and remember what I am telling you! You will see and hear some dreadful things! I do not believe you will ever be able to get the gold!”

About a year passes, Travis is back in Hood River and is now excited to go back to Arizona and see if he can find the treasure. Continuing on, verbatim:

“I then contacted Bob Tumlinson, an uncle, who lived in Portland. He owned a metal detector and an M-Scope. These instruments would be used for locating any kind of metal, including gold and silver. Such an instrument might prove useful on this trip.

Several days later we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. We drove out to one of the auto-courts and before retiring; we installed new batteries in the detector. We had picked up the new batteries in Portland before leaving Oregon. Now we were all primed for an early morning start.

When the first glow of sunshine filled the eastern sky with a rosy pink, we were ready to bug the spot where I had found the stone tablet. The ground was cracking with frost and ice. It was the early part of February and a bit nippy if I do say so! After tuning the detector, we got busy. By noon we had bugged the entire area. A small sunken spot containing water and ice, which clustered a few sprigs of scrub brush, was the only spot that the machine acted up.
A loud and clear sound on the headphones boosted our hopes, however we hadn’t previously considered ice or water to be a conductor. We were forced to disregard that location, but we refused to give up searching. For the next few weeks we searched here and there accomplishing very little, or nothing. Progress had slowed to a halt.

We decided to make camp on Queen Creek so we didn’t attract attention to our search location. The first morning, as we prepared breakfast on the open campfire that was cut in the open space, was a new look of respect and excitement in each other’s eyes. This alone made the new effort worthwhile for me. Even the coffee cooked on the open campfire tasted better!

The next morning, Uncle Bob returned from Phoenix. I learned that he had met up with a Rhodes Wilson the day before. Wilson and Bob went to school together as boys and they hadn’t seen each other for 50 years.

My Uncle explained to Wilson, a long time resident of Phoenix, that we were doing a little work out in the hills. He told him that we were trying to run down a lead on Spanish treasure. Wilson informed Bob that if any assistance was needed he knew just the man that could help us out! This man was named Charlie Miller, whom he himself had known and prospected with for over 20 years. Most of that time was in the Superstition Mountains.

After contacting Charlie Miller, my uncle was convinced that he knew a lot about the Superstition area. Miller was a native of Arizona and had lived around Phoenix all of his life and knew many interesting tales concerning the Superstitions. Charlie was a prospector and treasure hunter at heart and couldn’t resist the invitation to join us!

Uncle Bob told Miller that we would share the treasure equally and asked if that would be agreeable with me? Miller was all for this and came out with my Uncle to see if a partnership would be okay with me. At that time I knew nothing about Charlie Miller but I liked his appearance and felt sure that he could be trusted.

Charlie Miller was with us and helped all he could. With the use of the car we did a lot of searching on the south side of the Superstitions that day. Driving along at one point of interest, Miller said “This road here was once the Butterfield Stage Coach Trail. Before that, it was the footpath of the barefooted Indians, now its a trail almost forgotten. There is much history here!”

Today you can see as the old coach trail varies from primitive to improved. To our left ran a low range of mountains folding sharply against each other, yet even in the draws and canyons there were no marks of green, but only rocks and scrub brush. Once it was a wild mountain range that provided a home for the dreaded Apache Indians and an ideal hideout for bad men. Nowadays it is not wild at all. Uncle Bob said that it would be only a matter of familiarizing ourselves with the surroundings, so the first chance he got to speak to me alone he said he was going to take Charlie Miller back to Phoenix. We didn’t need him after all!

And this brings us full circle back to the telegram. Travis and his uncle had “fired” Charlie Miller, then later would write Charlie asking to buy the stone maps from him. It just doesn’t come together in a way that is coherent. Pages are being swapped around, stories are changing. Sometimes the rock is referred to as “the small grey stone” – other times it’s a tablet – and most of the time its none of those, but just simply a map you could hold in your hand. Take your pick…

At this point, Travis aligns himself with one of his closest friends, another uncle that is just a few years older than him. Phill Leasman. Phill is Travis’ mother’s brother.

“Early the next morning Phill, Alleen and myself left Texas on our way back to the Superstition Mountains. In due time we arrived at the old camp ground on Queen Creek, at the foot of the mountains. The wife and I had just been camped there only weeks before but to my surprise someone had visited our old campsite during our absence! The entire area had been dug up and there were at least 15 small shallow holes! Not too far away was a concrete floor where a building once stood and in the center of this slab someone had pounded a fair sized hole! Lying on the ground near by was a ring gear from an old model automobile. Evidently the gear was used as reinforcement for the concrete. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble just to be doodling around. No, this was no doodler! This was someone who had learned about the stone map and also knew that the wife and I had been camped here! They must have believed that we had been hovering over the treasure and decided to move in with a metal detector after we left!"

For the next several years, Travis makes many trips back to the Superstitions. Sometimes alone, sometimes just he and his wife, and other times with members of the Leasman family.

Ultimately, the story ends like this:

"Now all that I have left in life is the memory of the beautiful Superstition Mountains and the souvenirs that I found there. I know my dream of finding the treasure is just another sad memory.

I feel the result of the time I spent from away from home, looking for gold, did eventually bring me around to becoming a good husband and father to my family. That is all the security or gold that I will ever need! There is nothing in the Superstitions that I expect to see or ever care to see again.
Yet somehow I will never be able to forget that if I hadn’t of wanted to go there looking for gold, the spirits of the Thunder Gods may be haunting someone else today.

Gold...plenty of gold, so close yet so far away! And lurking about to protect it is the spirits of the Thunder Gods!"

Now ushers in an entirely new set of eyes, set of skills, new members of the Tumlinson and Leasman families – and myself.

At this time, I had not been given access to the family storage unit, or even knew it existed. I went on the same premise that all of you went on. The rocks in the museam were the only ones I knew. So I studied them – I photographed them without the case over the top of them – and I almost got my father and I killed.

(continuing to write, more in the coming hours)

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:44 pm
by RMG1976
I am going to take a break for today. Been sitting here at the computer since 6am this morning.

Will post more tomorrow - should be lots for all of you to chew on and come to your own conclusions. Look forward to the dialogue.

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:27 pm
by Peligroza
Travis writes in one of his many journals that he recovered 26,000 pieces of “something” (he doesn’t specify) from the Colossal Cave. Given the history of this legend, and the facts we have available today, these were more than likely 26,000 gold coins. Even at the lowest denomination – this would equate to a very sizable and profitable recovery for Travis. This is a very important piece of the story – and something that will set Travis up for life - finance his explorations in the Superstitions, as well as making vast investments in property and bonds that equate to millions of dollars in today’s money.
If you read the link that you provided it proves Travis couldn't have found all that gold as it was a much smaller amount.

Only a few thousand dollars which was mostly recovered in Wilcox.

The "True" story.

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:51 pm
by RMG1976
Peligroza wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:27 pm
Travis writes in one of his many journals that he recovered 26,000 pieces of “something” (he doesn’t specify) from the Colossal Cave. Given the history of this legend, and the facts we have available today, these were more than likely 26,000 gold coins. Even at the lowest denomination – this would equate to a very sizable and profitable recovery for Travis. This is a very important piece of the story – and something that will set Travis up for life - finance his explorations in the Superstitions, as well as making vast investments in property and bonds that equate to millions of dollars in today’s money.
If you read the link that you provided it proves Travis couldn't have found all that gold as it was a much smaller amount.

Only a few thousand dollars which was mostly recovered in Wilcox.

The "True" story.

Fair argument. I believe that with any treasure tale / story it is increasingly difficult to quantify the exact log of gold, silver, etc. Its - especially interesting when you start getting bandits and bank robbers involved. According to information accessible though Google searches, the general estimate of the lost "loot" is at roughly $72,000 in 1884.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.42% per year. Prices in 2018 are 2,370.00% higher than prices in 1884.

In other words, $1 in 1884 is equivalent in purchasing power to $24.70 in 2018, a difference of $23.70 over 134 years.

$72,000 in "goods" then would be worth $170,640,000 today (2018) and $2,448,000 in 1935.

source: ... 7?amount=1

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:27 pm
by RMG1976
Bill Riley wrote on TNet, accusing me of deleting posts. I want to remind everyone that I have rescinded the offer made to me by the owners of DUSA to be a moderator. The moderator of this forum is Jim, and solely Jim. I highly doubt Jim is deleting anything.

Fake news! ;) ( I can't believe I just quoted that guy.... :lol: )

On a different note, I am sitting down to write more. I hope to have things ready in the coming hours.

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:50 pm
by Jim_b
I have deleted nothing nor will I without letting everyone know.


Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:57 pm
by somehiker
Bill probably forgot he's somebody else over here.
But I'm sure he totally agrees with what Peligroza said.....

Re: Here is what happened

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:01 pm
by Old
Ryan asked me to let you know......he was been distracted to attend to pressing personal business. He'll be back in the next few days.

Stay tuned, more to follow.