Tumlinson Saga

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PotBelly Jim
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Re: Here is what happened

Post by PotBelly Jim »

Thanks for posting this stuff, Ryan...outstanding work...I'm not sure of the gentleman in the picture, but did note that the company that printed it was the same as the company that printed the "bumper" photo of the stones (reportedly a copy from the Harnish Bros.). I think it's probably from Fox Photo, a Texas-based mail-order photo development company during the time-frame we're talking about.

EDIT: I meant Davis Bros, not Harnish Bros. There's a picture of it on pg. 331 of Dr. Glover's "Treasure Tales".

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by deducer »

RMG1976 wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:07 pm
The Ground Map is a name that I created. Its not a word Travis used. There are many maps that I would end up finding, and I had to come up with a name to distinguish each from the other. I have previously posted a photo of Travis, with his uncle Phill Leasman, with the map on the ground. Hence the name, “The Ground Map”. It means nothing more, or nothing less than that.

The map itself is fairly large. Its on hide. Its full of symbols relating to the Jesuit order – its got coordinates on it ( please reference Rudo Ensayo for Jesuit use of coordinates for important places ). Its beautiful – its magical – it’s the real deal.

One of the family members, as a child, would question to Phill Leasman

“Popo, what are you going to do if the rocks break?”

“Its okay boy, the real map is right here”
(pointing to The Ground Map)

The innocence of children is always astounding.

I immediately got back in the car and made another 2,000 mile round trip back to Stockdale. Seeing the map, recognizing portions of it from the museum stones, it admittedly gave me a sense of relief. I was, to be blunt, starting to think I had just wasted money on a book that I thought was about stone maps, and wasn’t…and that perhaps the entire thing was a hoax.

It wasn’t that the family was keeping a secret from me about the Ground Map….they were not. The family alive today is 3 to 4 generations removed. They live “normal” lives….they don’t treasure hunt, in fact of all the family I met, only one of them (as an adult) has ever been to Arizona at all, and that was for business.

After looking at the ground map – this got me on a hunt for anything else I could find. I asked for permission to start going thru anything and everything in the house I could. We found more maps, this time Julia Thomas maps, one of which was on hide. We found a very cryptic map that seemed to reference Weaver’s Needle.

Then we found something very interesting. A letter that Phill Leasman had written to attempt to get a claim. I have, and will post, a copy of this letter.

ImageEnvelope by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageLetter by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

He was basically told he contacted the wrong office. Phill couldn’t write, but he had a secretary that could…and she was the one who did this for him. Speaks to his desire to get this claim in action. Next to that paper, hidden away in his bedroom, was a denial letter – stating no permits would be issued for any claims, citing an 18 month moratorium. See attached:

ImageScreen Shot 2018-07-17 at 8.10.26 PM by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageScreen Shot 2018-07-17 at 8.10.39 PM by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageScreen Shot 2018-07-17 at 8.10.49 PM by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

I have since filed a FOIA to get a copy of the letter that Phill originally wrote, but was told that all documents from that time period were lost in a fire. To this day, all of us would love to know the area in which Phill wanted to file a claim. Yet another piece lost to history and time…. Phill Leasman (outside of Travis’s wife Alleen, was his right hand man)

I went back home to Scottsdale again. This time with a few more photos as well, such as this one. No one in the family knows who he is – do you? Could this be Charlie Miller? We don’t know…

ImageUnknown Man Superstitions by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

Eventually I would move to Stockdale as a full time resident, living on the family ranch. It was truly an honor and I miss those days tremendously. Something about sitting outside and watching the lighting bugs, having the manuscript in my hand – a crackling fire and stories that were brought back with a little good conversation. A lot of talk of Weaver’s Needle. The Peralta Treasure Room. Finding the bodies of dead soldiers in a cave, with their old flint lock pistols still attached. I miss Texas a lot..

During the days I would rummage the house, the attic – not finding anything more. I would move on to the other structures on the ranch, starting with an old barn that was full of old car parts & tools. The amount of hubcaps for Oldsmobile’s was astounding!

Eventually I would come across an old footlocker. I opened it up and found a bunch of serpentine belts, air intakes, a braided rope – just more of the same, really. Kept digging deeper – and would find a wooden tube. Opened it up….and bam! More maps.

This container was very rusty on the ends – it had to have been from the 1950s – 1960s. Inside of it was 3 wooden dowels, with papers wrapped around them.

ImageBarn Tube by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

They included:

1) Spanish treasure codes and their descriptions (roughly 20 pages)
2) A map that referenced star constellations.
3) A map that I had never seen of supposed mines around the Weaver’s Needle Area

The star constellation map is what caught my interest the most. It was like nothing I had seen yet, except that it did share some similarities to the heart insert, to include a bunch of zeros.

This map is what I would call The Barn Map. Not because its some blue print to a barn, but….because I found it in a barn.
I know a lot of this is going to be upsetting, and rightfully so. I know that you folks would love to see these maps and I wish that I could show you. There are many reasons I cannot – the first of which is we are still working on them. The second is they are very prized heirlooms. I remember one time I had asked one of the family members, “If someone offered you 1 Million cash for the ground map, would you sell it?

“No! Hell no!”

I hope you can understand – and put yourself in their shoes.

The next part of this story I cannot go into major detail either – and once again I am sorry to disappoint. I am sure accusations will be made – saying things like I cannot back it up. I have been asked to keep the identity and how I got in contact with 2 of the most remarkable men I have ever had the honor of meeting, high ranking Jesuit Father’s.

I showed them The Ground Map and The Barn Map. They were astounded. They were immediately recognizable to them – and asked me where I had found them.

“On a ranch in the middle of nowhere Texas”

Copies of the maps were flown to Rome – scrutinized to the highest degree. They were prayed about……and they were accepted as pieces of Jesuit History.

Once the weather cools down, an article will be coming out about my dealings with the Jesuits, the relationship and bond we formed…..and written by and for….the Jesuits. I sincerely look forward to this piece coming out, so that I may share it here for you all to read.

The piece is going to focus on the recovery of the maps and the later theft of millions of dollars of Jesuit artifacts and other belongings. The theft of these items, and the further loss of our series, was the result of a company that was hired to do ground penetrating radar on the site I have nicknamed “The 1847 Site” – it’s the place the ground map tells you to go – and it’s the same place in which I will share the coordinates with all of you, to check out on your own.

I will continue to write in the coming days.

Again, please do not steal / print / publish any of the photos I have posted.
Looking forward to the continuation of this fascinating tale. When did the theft occur? Were no charges brought against the GPR company?

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by RMG1976 »

PBJ - Thank you for the compliment! Yes, most all of the families photos were printed with that same border - to include the bumper photo among others. Here is a small stack of them, there are boxes and boxes of them in all. In re: to the man in photo - its a photo that Travis took - do not know when - maybe someone here will recognize. (see attached - I posted this photo 2-3 years ago of this stack of photos, they are irrelevant to the story)

Deducer - In my first post I mention things that I will be bringing up, one of which is a meeting with a special agent. When I found out about the theft, within hours I was in this special agents office. That will certainly be a part of my future posts. I will also post the official decision from Tonto Nat'l Forest in regard to this theft. The basics are "yes, we can verify an excavation took place - but we are choosing not to prosecute because we were not able to find any remnants of the theft on the surface of the ground". And yes, its as mind boggling and shocking as it sounds.

Carroll - Very interesting - thank you for sharing all that. I think all of us should really spend more time pouring into the history of Charlie Miller.

To all - Adolph Ruth / Tex Barkley / Roy Bradford. You guys know this story better than I - is what Travis' reporting to be correct / agreeable?

ImageIMG_4908 by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by RMG1976 »

I was just going thru my post from last night and realized I made a mistake.

When I am describing the container in which I found The Barn Map, I call it a wooden tube. That is not correct, the tube is not made of wood. It's made of something similar to cardboard. Apologies! You can see a photo of the tube in my post.

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by PotBelly Jim »

Ryan, you asked for comments about Travis' reporting of Ruth/Barkley etc...while I can't comment on what really happened, I did notice that Travis gives the date of Ruth's murder as DEC 1931, which is an easy mistake to make, but in error nonetheless...

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by RMG1976 »

PotBelly Jim wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:37 am
Ryan, you asked for comments about Travis' reporting of Ruth/Barkley etc...while I can't comment on what really happened, I did notice that Travis gives the date of Ruth's murder as DEC 1931, which is an easy mistake to make, but in error nonetheless...
I just went back to the original manuscript to verify that I did not make a mistake. I have not. Travis does indeed report that Ruth was killed in Dec 1931.

While no one really knows the exact date Mr. Ruth was killed - his remains were allegedly found in January of 1932 by Tex Barkley (Ironic?). I am clearly not educated in the decomposition rates of human bodies, but I would think it would be fairly impossible to have been murdered in December and skeletal remains found a month later. And that is, of course, that we believe the facts as reported by the alleged murderer of Mr. Ruth.

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by PotBelly Jim »

Hey Ryan,

The dates aren't a big deal, but Ruth went missing in JUN 31, his skull was found in DEC 31, and the rest of his remains were found in JAN 32...or so the story goes ;)

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by RMG1976 »

PotBelly Jim wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:00 am
Hey Ryan,

The dates aren't a big deal, but Ruth went missing in JUN 31, his skull was found in DEC 31, and the rest of his remains were found in JAN 32...or so the story goes ;)
I think Travis could have phrased that section of his book a little better. The more accurate way of describing that event may have been:

"....Miller still has one of the old rifles, it’s a .30-40 Krag Carbine, the rifle that killed Adolph Ruth, who's remains were found in December of 1931.”

Thank you for pointing this out - and great catch!

Here is a photo of what the firearm looks like if anyone is interested. I pulled this image from a google image search.

Image8787143_1 by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by Marius »

My opinion is how the Ruth's maps which allegedly possessed Bradford , were not Ruth's but Gonzalez . The irony is how about few months later from Bradford acquired the maps , Ruth and Bradford maybe met accidentally in the same region ( trying to decrypt the maps ) , possessing almost the same maps but from different sources .

Just my two drachmas .

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Re: Here is what happened

Post by RMG1976 »

In my upcoming writings, I will share my most prized “possession” – and that is the exact coordinates to The 1847 Site, but in the mean time, let’s discuss the history and provenance of this entire saga.

The Grijalva Family

The Grijalva story begins in 1518 when Juan de Grijalva led an expedition to the Yucatan, discovering a large river, which would later be named Rio de Grijalva, still flowing today. The expedition itself was so successful, Gobernador Diego de Velasquez ordered a second command for Hernando Cortez the following year; the result was the conquest of the Aztec Empire.

Sebastian de Grijalva, a member of the entrada of Panfilo de Navarrez in New Spain received his command of Sosola y Tenexpa in 1520, which was preserved by the hands of the family for three generations.

Hernando de Grijalva helped lead the exploration of the west coast of Mexico in 1533. The San Loranzo, a ship captained by Hernando de Grijalva, became separated from Hernando de Cortez flagship and later discovered Acapulco in 1534.

The Grijalva family was endorsed by the Crown and had affiliations with the Conquistadors and the Society of Jesus.

1535 – Creation on New Spain. (date also located on the Lobo Stone, aka the galleon / treasure chest stone)

New Spain was a viceroyalty, or administrative unit of the Spanish colonial empire, and was created after the conquest of the Aztec Empire (1519-1521). The lands and societies under Spanish control were unprecedented in complexity and wealth, which presented both an incredible opportunity and a threat to the Crown of Castile. New Spain became a viceroyalty in 1535.

1572 – The Jesuits enter New Spain

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the Jesuits in New Spain. They arrived in 1572, and, until their expulsion by King Charles III in 1767; they played a crucial role in many aspects of life within the viceroyalty. The Society dedicated itself to mission work in remote areas, far from the capital city, that had been left untouched by the regulars, who had arrived earlier (Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians principally), and to the education of its own members and of other young men in the cities.

In contrast to the importance assigned to the religious, social, economic and intellectual presence of the Jesuits in New Spain, the role of art and architecture in the Society’s enterprises and the place of its creations among the arts of the viceroyalty have received relatively little attention.
Information is scattered in historical studies and in documents, which, to a great extent, remain unexamined by art historians. Architecture has received most of the attention, since many buildings survive and since it is closely related to the Society’s role in non- religious activities.

There is a basic and useful survey, written by Marco Diaz and published in 1982, on Jesuit Baserri (Basque) architecture styles in New Spain. It provides a compendium not only of the buildings, but also some of the retablos – retables or altarpieces – of the Jesuit churches.

Being a Jesuit means being called by God to engage oneself for God’s greater glory and the service of others. For the man who wants to dedicate his life to God and God’s people, for the man who is willing to lay his own life down in charity for others. The Jesuits role in New Spain was not solely to proselyte, but to introduce European culture, farming techniques, and education of new breeds of livestock and grains. Jesuits were trained at prestigious Universities in Austria (Innsbruck).

The Jesuits worked with the natives on exploiting their natural resources, ranging from vast open spaces for livestock and farming to educating systematic changes to the utilization of many silver and gold mines.

1767 – Suppression of the Society of Jesus

Prior to the 18th Century suppression of the Jesuits in many countries, there was an early ban in territories of the Venetian Republic between 1606 and 1656, which began and ended as part of disputes between the Republic and the Papacy, beginning with the Venetian Interdict.

By the mid-18th century, the Society had acquired a reputation in Europe for political maneuvering and economic success. Monarchs in many European states grew progressively wary of what they saw as undue interference from a foreign entity. The expulsion of the Jesuits from their states had the added benefit of allowing governments to impound the Society’s accumulated wealth and possessions.

Various states took advantage of different events in order to take action. The series of political struggles between various monarchs, particularly France and Portugal, began with disputes over territory in 1750 and culminated in suspension of diplomatic relations and dissolution of the Society by the Pope over most of Europe, and even some executions.

The conflicts began with trade disputes, in 1750 in Portugal, in 1755 in France and in the late 1750s in the Two Sicilies. In 1758 the government of Joseph I of Portugal took advantage of the waning powers of Pope Benedict XIV and deported Jesuits from America after relocating the Jesuits and their native workers, and then fighting a brief conflict, formally suppressing the entire order in 1759. In 1762 the Parlement Français (a court, not legislature), ruled against the Society in a huge bankruptcy case under pressure from a host of groups from within the Church, but also secular intellectuals and the King’s mistress. Austria and the Two Sicilies suppressed the order by decree in 1767.

In other words, the expulsion / suppression would not come as a shock to the Jesuits in New Spain, for these actions by the Crown and the Pope had been years in the making.

Father Joseph Och, S.J, tells of the Franciscan’s coming to the various missions and vistas within New Spain on order to retrieve the Jesuits and their treasure, even by force or death. Given the vast distance from the initial mission, near the port of Veracruz, to the northern most missions in present day Arizona (2000+ miles), and the many years of pre-existing expulsion activity.

Father Eusebio Kino, S.J. 1687 - 1711

Father Kino S.J. opened the Sonora territory including Northern Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico from 1687 to 1711. Father Kino was an Italian Jesuit, missionary, geographer, cartographer and astronomer. For the last 24 years of his life, he worked in the region then known as the Pimeria Alta, modern day Mexico and Southern Arizona. He explored the region and worked with the indigenous Native American population, including the Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that Baja California was not an island by leading an overland expedition there. By the time of his death, he had established 24 missions and vistas (county chapels or visiting stations).

At the request of the natives, he quickly established his first mission in a river valley in the mountains of Sonora. Subsequently Fr. Kino traveled across northern Mexico, and to present day California and Arizona. He followed ancient trading routes established millennia prior by the natives. These trails were later expanded into roads. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles, during which he mapped an area 200 miles long and 250 miles wide.

Kino was important in the economic growth of the area, working with the already agricultural indigenous native peoples and introducing them to European seed, fruits, herbs and grains. He also taught them to raise cattle, sheep and goats. Kino’s initial mission herd of 20 cattle, imported to Pimeria Alta, grew during his period to 70,000. Historian Herbert Bolton refers to Kino as Arizona’s first rancher.

In his travels in Pimeria Alta, Fr. Kino interacted with 16 different tribes, opposing the slavery and compulsory hard labor in the silver and gold mines that the Spaniards forced on the native people. This also caused grew controversy among his co-missionaries, many of who acted according to the laws imposed by Spain on their territory. Kino is known as a writer, authoring books on religion, astronomy and cartography. He built missions extending from present day states of Mexican Sonora, northeast for 150 miles, into present day Arizona where the San Xavier del Bac mission, near Tucson, a popular National Historic Landmark, is still a functioning Franciscan parish Church. San Xavier del Bac housed the majority of information for the northernmost missions.

Kino practiced and taught other crafts and was reportedly an expert astronomer, mathematician and cartographer, who drew the first accurate maps of Pimeria Alta, the Gulf of California and Baja California.

Allegedly in the 1980s, a treasure hunter found 82lbs of Gold and Silver Bars with Fr. Kino’s name engraved into them, located in southern Arizona south of Tucson.

Rafael Grijalva 1887

In the October 4, 1887 issue of the Phoenix Daily Herald, it is reported that Rafael Grijalva makes a move from the Mexican State of Sonora to Phoenix, to join his brother. Rafael gains notoriety because he has (a) stone map(s) with him that has letters and figures on it and is reported as being smooth, square shaped stone, which allegedly would lead to treasure.

ImageGrijalva by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

In 1899, Rafael Grijalva marries Rosario Peralta in Phoenix Arizona. As per Spanish naming traditions, Rafael inherits the Peralta last name.

ImageMarriage 2 by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageMarriage 1 by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

The Bishop of Durango

Records provided by the SoJ tell us of The Bishop of Durango, who was part of the Grijalva family, and would manage a “warehouse” in Durango Mexico of seized Jesuit Gold / Silver as appointed by the King of Spain. The Grijalva family, including the Bishop of Durango, would split the treasure, without knowledge of the King, and later bury it in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, roughly 20 miles north of Casa Grande, the last site the Jesuits would work with the Natives.

It is our belief that The Ground Map and The Barn Map were made by members of the Grijalva family, using the education they received as being part of the Jesuit Order.

It is also our belief these are the maps that were given to Adolph Ruth’s son, a US diplomat, in exchange for a prominent family to receive passage into the United States.

John Jackson “Peg Leg” Tumlinson 1848 – 1920

ImagePegLeg Tumlinson by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

Peg Leg is a widely known Texas based treasure hunter that gained substantial notoriety for his involvement with a Spanish Don (Don is a title of Royalty). Peg Leg is written about by the author J. Frank Dobie in his book, Coronado’s Children, Copyright in 1930. (10 years after PegLeg’s death)

It is described by Dobie that Tumlinson was extremely popular among the townsfolk of Fort Ewell (Cotulla, Texas). He had sank a shaft in Espantosa Lake (Carizzo Springs, Texas) looking for treasure when he had ran into this old Spanish Don (Grijalva?) who happened to also be in town to visit. Dobie describes the great liking that this Don had taken for Peg Leg and guided him over to a landmark on the Olmos Ranch at an exact site called Estambel Hill. The Don was so impressed by Tumlinson that he offered the treasure to him as well as a series of maps to other locations, stating that he already had enough in life and wanted to see Tumlinson live a life of “plenty”. I do not have a date for this interaction.

During one of the outings, Tumlinson and his partner, Dr. Hargus, had made a campfire. The coals from that fire had blown through the air and caught their wagon on fire, destroying all their provisions, along with a vast majority of the maps Tumlinson had in his possession. Fortunately, a few maps survived. Dr. Hargus says “I do not know what became of his (Tumlinson’s) charts. He had a lot that were not burned in his vest.”

Tumlinson lived in a log cabin located outside of Stockdale Texas. The cabin was provided in a share cropping agreement he had with the (redacted) family, who still owns the cabin and land today.

The chimney on this cabin, made from orange-red sandstone, features exquisite carvings by Tumlinson’s grandson, Travis and many others. Peg Leg taught his grandson everything he knew about Spanish treasure legends.

ImageCabin by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

Benjamin Phillip “Phil” Leasman 1900-1970

Phil Leasman, Travis Tumlinson’s uncle and one of his treasure hunting partners, moved into Peg Leg’s cabin shortly after his death, according to records of the (redacted) family.

In 1923-1924, Phil and Travis (majority Travis) would make a series of carvings on the chimney on the log cabin. Phil would have been 23-24 years old and Travis 13-14 years old. Because these carvings are made a few years after Peg Leg’s passing, I imagine the two sitting around and reminiscing about this wonderful, fascinating and unique individual. One of these carvings is treasure specific; it is a turtle, which, according to Travis, is a Spanish treasure symbol that points the viewer the direction of the treasure. The only carvings (that are visible today) from Phil are his name and the date of 1923. I believe that Phil was, more than likely, present at many of the story sessions that Peg Leg had with Travis and that Phil probably really enjoyed Peg Leg, considering he moved into his home within a few weeks of PegLeg’s passing!

Phil was invited, by Travis, in the 1950’s (according to Travis’ manuscript) to join Travis in the Superstition Mountains where they were on a search for a hidden “Peralta Treasure Room”, a cache of treasure left behind by the Peralta family that were supposedly massacred by the Apache. Phil would join Travis on a handful of occasions in these searches, which is proven by him being in the “Ground Map Photo” beside Travis. Given our information today, Phil and Travis were searching about 25-30 miles away from what we call the 1847 Site.

Phil ran a service station located in Stockdale Texas where he had a museum in the back of his station. Travis gave him one of the many copies of the stone maps there. Phil would show the stone maps to a very select few. The family recalls the stone maps as being much smaller and a different color than what is in the Superstition Mountain Museum today. Travis also gave Phil a series of Native American artifacts that Travis had found in the Columbia River Gorge area in Oregon.

On November 16, 1961 – just weeks after Travis’ death, Phil Leasman attempts to file a mining claim in Arizona, which is later rejected. (previously shown)

Robert Garland Tumlinson 1884- 1965

Son of John Jackson “Peg Leg” Tumlinson and another of Travis’ uncles. Robert was, according to Travis’ manuscript, the first to join Travis on his search. Travis would call on Robert because he owned two different types of metal detectors. Robert lived in the Portland Oregon and would travel to the Superstition Mountains with Travis. Robert is described as lazy, unmotivated, loved to drink alcohol, and in my opinion – a con artist.

Travis would cease his involvement with Robert shortly after Robert finds / steals a jeweled crucifix, a watch-set with rubies on it, a Spanish packsaddle and a musket; this happened during one of their outings.

In 1956, Robert would gain the attention of his landlord, Dr. Gene Davis, and convinced Dr. Davis to finance private outings to the Superstitions using the Stone Maps. Initially, Robert would show Dr. Davis a photograph of the stone maps (The Bumper Photo) and hope that would be good enough to get the funding. Dr. Davis required the “original” stone maps to fund the outings, and in 1956 Robert shows up with stone maps and outings take place for the next few years. Eventually Dr. Davis would cease investment after not finding anything.

Robert would also swindle a man named Robert Garman who would use his fortune to also search for the terminus of the Stone Maps. Robert Tumlinson would introduce himself to Garman as his own nephew, Travis Tumlinson. Robert Tumlinson spent a few years working with Robert Garman, under the guise Mr. Garman was indeed working with Travis Tumlinson.

After Travis’ death, the FBI got involved with Clarence Mitchell, and they would interview relatives of Travis Tumlinson. One of the investigators found and spoke to Robert Tumlinson, and told him that his nephew had passed away. This happened in 1965, Travis had died 4 years previous. Robert had no idea Travis died and seemed very dismayed, showing that Robert had been completely cut off from his family. Within a few weeks of that meeting, the investigators returned to learn that Robert Tumlinson had passed away.

Travis Elmo Tumlinson 1910-1961

Born in Pandora, Texas to Alice Leasman and John Jackson Tumlinson, Jr. Travis grew up in a hard working family. He would spend a lot of time with his grandfather, Peg Leg, learning about treasure and the legends behind them.

4 years after the death of his grandfather, Travis climbs the chimney at Peg Leg’s cabin to manifest his goals....or a vision board....by carving a self-portrait, with his name under the portrait, then uses a series of arrows to connect himself to visual representations of a fancy car, a bicycle and a Colt 45 handgun......all things that would be out of reach for his families socioeconomic position.

A few bricks above his “vision board” we are immediately reminded that Travis plans to get all of these things from treasure....he carves the verifiable finishing point of Spanish Treasure...a turtle. Once again reinforcing the teachings of his grandfather, PegLeg.

ImageTurtle by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

In 1929, Travis steals a turkey, is arrested and sent to Huntsville Penitentiary, serving a 2-year sentence. In 1932, Travis is arrested a second time for grand theft auto. He is sentenced to 2 years, although this time he escapes from prison while working for the Eastham Prison Farm. While out in the fields, he waited until no one was looking then took off running. He would be out of jail for 2.5 years, but would eventually turn himself back in, on his own accord, to serve the remainder of his sentence.

ImageAuto Theft by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

During his time at Huntsville, Travis would become friends with Clyde Barrow (Bonnie and Clyde). During their mutual time out of prison, Travis would deliver supplies and other provisions to the duo at an old bridge located just outside of Stockdale. Eventually, Bonnie and Clyde would come to look for Travis at his parent’s home in Stockdale. Gladys, Travis’ sister, would come up with a story that Travis was not home.

Travis would speak with the Sherriff of Wilson County (Stockdale, Texas), in an attempt to recover from his misdeeds; the Sherriff was vastly impressed with Travis and decided to write a letter to the court asking for a full pardon of Travis’ crimes. The court agreed with the recommendation of the Sherriff, and from that point forward Travis would never be arrested again.

For the next series of years, and during the great depression, Travis would work a series of odd jobs in order to get by.
In 1938 he marries Alleen Salles in DeWitt County, Texas.

In the early 1940’s, Travis carves a series of stone treasure maps at his sister’s home (Gladys) in Cuero, Texas and also at his parents home, located just outside of Stockdale. The main influence for “Peralta Stone Maps) is The Ground Map.

I want to reinforce the words “Carved” and “Invented”. They are very different.

As time and my research progressed, I found that none of the stones are a 100% invention of Travis. Each and every stone has information on it that came from a either The Ground Map or The Barn Map. Travis added other markings on the rocks, but I cannot confirm his intent to do so.

I believe that carving something does not equate to inventing something. As our investigation progressed, we came to the conclusion that Travis transferred sections of information from other maps / sources, onto the stone maps, mixed in with bogus lines and misspelled Spanish writing, and portrayed them in his book as being found in the Superstitions. Phil Leasman, to his dying day, believed in the stone maps. This is confusing because we also see Phil Leasman featured in the Ground Map photograph. Phil Leasman, on the contrary, didn’t seem too worried if the stone maps would ever be stolen, because he told his family that they had the original map (referencing the Ground Map). I could understand Phil believing in the stone maps, as a sub-section of their search, because the stone maps did have real information on them. I believe that Phil, more than likely, knew that Travis was the creator of the stone maps, but was also privy to the real maps (Barn Map, Ground Map)

The trail stones, located in the museum, with 99% certainty, are a creation of someone other than Travis Tumlinson. Comparing them against early photographs of Travis’ carvings and family memories, the stones are the wrong color, size and have different markings. Trained professionals have thoroughly reviewed the museum stones and have deemed them to be a modern creation by electric power tools. The museum stones also do not match the stones in Life Magazine with 100% accuracy.

Melonie (last name redacted), Travis’ niece, tells me that her mother (Lois, Travis’ sister) remembers an older Mexican man coming to help Travis by dictating the text for the Horse / Priest stone and Travis then carving it. This would explain the Spanish writing being carved with phonetic interpretations.

From roughly, 1935-1960 Travis, accompanied by his wife and other friends and family, would make yearly (sometimes more than yearly) trips to the Superstition Mountains, in what the Leasman family tells us, is a search for the “Peralta Treasure Room”.

The Peralta name was very important to Travis (because he believed (as well as nearly every other prospector) that the Peralta family was massacred by the Apache in the mid 1800s because they were infiltrating the Apache God’s sacred land. The Apache, as well as most every other native culture, believed that gold was the blood of God, and was extremely sacred. It is also legend that Jacob Waltz(er) shot and killed a handful of Peralta miners to take over one of their richest gold mines.

Travis tells us in his manuscript that his main intention is to find “The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine”, although he takes a massively different approach by thinking that the gold mine is a cache of buried treasure, not an actual mine.

The idea of a Peralta Treasure Room is exclusive to this family and an idea that I find to be accurate, at least in contents, but not by name.
In 1953, Travis and Alleen have their first and only child. Alice Jane “Janie” Tumlinson. She is described as a “ basket full of gold, straight from Heaven”. Travis talks about his plans to take his daughter out into the Superstition Mountains, a place that he feels at home.

In the late 1950’s, Travis builds a strong friendship with a husband and wife that he works with at the American Growers Association in Hood River Oregon. This couple is named Ken and Pat Hainer, and speak very highly of Travis and Alleen. In the evenings, Travis and Ken would go over Travis’ research, eventually leading to a partnership, offered by Travis, in which he would finance the trips from Oregon to Arizona, if Ken would get the remainder of the treasure. Unfortunately, this partnership never took affect and Travis passes away shortly thereafter. The notes, recovered by Garry Cundiff, do indeed show a slightly different version of the rocks, to include “Find the heart, find the box” – just as written in Travis’ book – but different from what we see in the museum.

ImageHainer's and the Box by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

Clarence Mitchell – AKA Travis Marlowe 1905 – 1985

Clarence met Travis in the late 1940s – early 1950s when Travis replied to a classified ad Clarence had posted in the Portland area, selling a metal detector. The two of them got talking “shop”, which eventually led to Travis showing Clarence Mitchell one of his many copies of the Stone Maps.
For the next several years, Clarence Mitchell would attempt to create a partnership with Travis, and as far as I can tell, that never commenced. Clarence Mitchell became innately infatuated with the stone maps and would spend the rest of Travis’ years trying to buy them, in which Travis would always decline.

After Travis’ death, Clarence was finally able to convince Alleen to sell them to him. The actions of Clarence Mitchell, as described to me, would have definitely resulted in a restraining order by today’s laws. Lois Feltner (Travis’ sister) joined Alleen to sell the Stone Maps in early 1963. Alleen knew the maps were fake, but would eventually cave into Mr. Mitchell’s incessant desire to own them. In an attempt to get this man out of her life, she would accept an offer of $1,200 to sell “3 stone maps” to Mr. Mitchell.

Clarence, now the legal owner of the stone maps, was able to get them published in Life Magazine in June of 1964. Clarence took on the name “Travis Marlowe” to protect his identity, and in the LIFE article, would use black electrical tape to cover sections of the stone maps that he felt to be crucial. This was the first time the stone maps had ever been seen by the public. It was Clarence Mitchell that introduced the stone maps to the world, not Travis Tumlinson. It was also Clarence Mitchell that would create the narrative behind the stone maps, not Travis Tumlinson. Travis Tumlinson’s words nor his book have ever been published, and is strikingly different from what Mr. Mitchell portrayed.

Clarence Mitchell would then write a book entitled “Superstition Treasures” - and spend a considerable amount of time with the McGee’s, a husband and wife team. The McGee’s were historians and researchers for a number of publications, and Clarence’s goal was free publicity, as he himself says.

Eventually, Clarence Mitchell used the stone maps as a driving force in his investment company, MOEL, Inc. Describing the stone maps as a key to millions in treasure, he would sell illicit stock options in his company, which would eventually get him shut down by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Committee). The FBI got involved, due to intrastate fraud, and according to Bob Corbin (The Attorney General of Arizona and also and treasure hunter) the stone maps were reviewed by the FBI and found to be at least 100 years old. (In the 1960s).

Image100 years old by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

1964-1966 – The FBI would contact Travis’ family members to learn about the history of the stone maps. Lois Tumlinson-Feltner would instruct her daughter, Melonie Feltner as well as Travis’ daughter Janie ( Janie lived with the Feltner’s after the passing of her parents) to never speak to anyone about the rocks – and that if anyone would call their home to inquire, say nothing – but instead pass the phone to her (Lois).

As part of the trial with MOEL, Inc. the stone maps were donated to the FLAGG Foundation, who still owns them today. The FLAGG foundation has put them on loan to the Superstition Mountain Museum until 2025.

2015 – Forward

I would work with upper ranking members of the Society of Jesus to further understand their history – and a deep dive into the Grijalva family. Most notably, I learned about the arcitechture styles of the Jesuits (and other orders of the time period) called Baserri (Basque) architecture. In visiting the 1847 site, and later photographing the site via camera and drone, we would learn that the site was recreated by transplanting cacti in an eerily similar fashion to Baserri (Basque) architecture. Other notable carvings into cacti were found, to include what appears to be a Crown – and a box, encircled with the letter V. It was right in front of the Cactus with the box carved out of it, and the letter V's inclircling it, that a buried box would be found via GPR, with the contents being metallic. The letter V would prove to be very important, as it is witnessed on other Jesuit pieces recovered from areas of New Spain and stood for the Latin word, Victoria – or Victory…..Victory for Christ.

ImageKings Crown by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageBox and Vs by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

ImageRecovered Jesuit Treasure by RYAN GORDON, on Flickr

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