THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

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Jim Hatt

THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Jim Hatt »

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Portions of this document may be found in:
The curse of the Dutchman's gold... by, Helen Corbin,
(beginning on page 89) (Version unspecified)


The BARK NOTES are a collection of stories accumulated by James E. Bark from 1892 to 1928. Mr. Bark was a Partner of Sims Ely, Author of the book titled THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE. Over the years it has been "publicly whispered" (for lack of a better way to put it) that Mr. Ely used the so-called "BARK NOTES" that have been in circulation for over 50 years, as source material for his book. Anyone that has read both Ely's book and the "BARK NOTES" in circulation, can come to no other logical conclusion than... That is a bunch of hogwash.

Contradiction of facts, and variations in stories told by both men, who in some cases, both claimed to be present when the story was told, or in other cases, referenced the same source for their information, not only support my "Hogwash" theory, but in my opinion verify that there was an intentional and blatant attempt to mislead searchers for the Lost Dutchman Mine, for personal and selfish reasons. (By someone who put an altered version of the Original Bark Notes into circulation)

That said… Let me clearly state that I, in no way, suspect Mr. Bark or Ely of being party to this attempt at deception, and would have never allowed it to take place right under their noses and using their names. To the extreme contrary, I believe both of them told their stories, exactly as they believed them to be true, based on their own knowledge of the facts, and personal experiences.

Keeping that in mind, and assuming that it is true. We can easily eliminate Mr. Ely’s book of suspicion, for being associated in any way, with the attempt to deceive for the following reason; Mr. Ely was alive at the time his book was published and went into circulation. That made him personally accountable for every word in it, and that would not have been a responsibility that a man of his proven, and often described as “Impeccable Character” would have taken lightly.

The same thing cannot be said about The bark Notes. Upon Mr. Barks death, his "Notes" became the private property of one his decedents whom I will refer to as "Mr. Y" below and were never made public.

The story that follows was told to me by a long time Dutch Hunter (Whom I will refer to as Mr, X) that claimed to have been present when some of the events in the story took place. He passed away several years ago, but unlike many others of his era, he did not take everything he knew to his grave with him.

I cannot prove that any of it is true. I cannot even present any evidence that any of the characters (Mr. X, Mr. Y and Mr. Z) in it ever existed (without providing their names which I do not feel comfortable doing at this time). Therefore this story is presented more under the heading of Legends and Lore than as historical fact. The reader may accept it as true, or completely dismiss it as fantasy. But, I stand fast in my personal belief that it is true, and explains how and why, "ALTERED" versions of "The Bark Notes" got into circulation and continue to be circulated to this day.

This is the story that was told to me by Mr. X.

Mr. Y protected the information in the Bark Notes with a passion, and shared the information in them with nobody, as he intended to pick up the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine where Bark and Ely had left off.

Surreptitiously, he made trips into the Superstition Mountains, searching for things that Bark and Ely had found, with the hope of finding something that they had overlooked. Eventually he met and became friends with another serious Dutch Hunter (Mr. Z) who maintained a permanent camp in the mountains, where Mr. Y would often accept the hospitality of his good company and comfortable camp. Many other Dutch Hunters of that era also spent time at that camp and enjoyed the hospitalities of it from time to time. Mr. Y never talked with much detail about himself, and usually kept a very low profile about his interests and activities in the mountains. To everyone he met, he was just another "Dutch Hunter".

When Mr. Ely's book was published in 1953. It didn't take long at all for it to start showing up in the hands of Dutch Hunters that frequented Mr. Z's camp. Mr. Y was familiar with the book, and the information it contained which was creating a lot of interest in areas that previously had been of interest only to him.

Although the atmosphere among these Dutch Hunters was always cordial when gathered together at Mr. Z's camp. Mr Y was uncomfortable about what the atmosphere might be around some of them, if he met up with them all by himself in some remote location. As Mr. Ely's book became more popular, the problem multiplied. Not only was Mr. Y concerned about his own safety in the mountains. He was beginning to be concerned that someone else using the information in Ely's book might actually beat him in locating the Lost mine, that in his opinion, should be his.

Something drastic had to be done to discredit, and cause doubt about the accuracy of the information in Ely's book. Mr. Y finally formed a Two step plan. Step 1 was to plant into the minds of these other Dutch Hunters, that Mr. Bark's notes (Previously unheard of by most everyone) were the real source of the information in Ely's book, and that he had seen the notes and determined that Mr. Ely had bended and twisted the stories in his book, so badly that it was useless as a source of information.

Step 2 of his plan would be to make an altered version of the Original Bark Notes (which by now everyone was anxious to read) available to one of them, and hope for its wide distribution among the rest of them. Step 2 was accomplished by bringing an "Altered" version of the notes into Mr. Z's camp, and leaving them unattended for hours at a time, allowing Mr. Z the opportunity to make a hand written copy of them.

The Plot thickens... Mr. Z... Knowing full well that his copy of the Bark Notes would be worth a tidy sum to other Dutch Hunters that were actively searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine. Developed a little "Plan" of his own. Once his copy of the Bark Notes was Surreptitiously completed, and Mr. Y had left the mountains, he began making another copy of the notes with his own alterations in it, to be sold for whatever the market would bear to the other Dutch Hunters. That would leave himself and Mr. Y the only ones who knew what the Ahhhhhhh......... "Original Bark Notes" said.

What a sweet deal! Not only does Mr Z have something that will put some cash into his pocket, but he can direct the competition in the search for the mine, away from the areas he wants to focus his attention on at the same time!

Enter Mr. Thomas Probert


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Heaven only knows when Mr Thomas Probert entered the scene, and which version of the already altered versions of the Bark Notes he was able to get his hands on. But, somewhere along the way he acquired a copy, of one of the hand written copies that were being circulated. He typed them up nicely, Edited them for grammar and punctuation, made annotations at the bottom of the pages, and probably managed to make a few extra bucks for his efforts like everyone else. When the well ran dry and there was no more demand for the Bark Notes, He donated a copy of his version in his name to the Historical Library at the State capitol in Phoenix. This version of the Bark Notes or slight variations of it, is what is in the hands of most Dutch Hunters today.

Where are the ORIGINAL BARK NOTES today?

I have no idea. Mr.Y is no longer living and I have not heard anything in the way of who became heir to his estate. It is my opinion that it doesn't really matter. If the above story is true. And I believe it is. The difference between Ely's book and "ORIGINAL" Bark Notes probably isn't worth a debate. But who can say for sure?

Is It Over?

Not on your life! Not as long as there is still an opportunity for someone to make a Buck or Two, by claiming to have "THE ORIGINAL BARK NOTES" which he found in the bottom of an old trunk, that he bought at a yard sale!

Some Hard Core Lost Dutchman aficionados will no doubt have individual opinions on this subject. Because... That's what Dutch Hunters DO!


I have no objection to critical responses, as long as they are done respectfully and with respect for the memories of Mr. X, Mr. Y and Mr. Z , whom I am sure that many will know the real names of immediately. Please do not use their real names in any replies to this topic. Doing so will result in your reply being either edited or deleted, whether the names you use are correct or not


Jim Hatt


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Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Desert Cruiser »

More fuel added to the fire of this mysterious tale. Does it ever end? Of course not, not as long as there are treasure hunters out there looking for all this lost treasure. The real shame of it is --- some guy out for hike in the desert with his camera looking to find a lizard to photograph (or something like that) will someday stumble upon it. All the old timers will say they knew it was there and that was the next place they were going to look. SO don't hesitate, get out there NOW! You might see me out there (looking for a lizard photo) LOL

Another good article, thanks Jim...

Don....

Jim Hatt

Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Jim Hatt »

rmhventures


Since your post was not specific to the Bark Notes. it has been moved to...

http://www.desertusa.com/mb3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1205

and I replied to it there.

Very nice post. Thanks again for putting it up.

Jim

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Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by cubfan64 »

Hello Mr. Hatt,

What's your take on the possible existence of a "seventh" set of Bark notes rumored to be floating around out there with additional information not found in the other 6 sets?

The existence has been hinted at by numerous folks including in one of the better LDM books available and I know the issues has been discussed in LDM hunter circles for some time now.

Do you believe there is such a thing out there, or is this just another case of more "chaff" obscuring the "wheat?"

Personally I believe that IF a seventh version does exist (and my gut feeling tells me it does), it consists of the notes, comments, theories, etc... handwritten down for all the years that Bark and Ely searched for the mine. I believe it would be a compilation of random notes much like a journal someone would keep that eventually was used to put together the other 6 versions of the Bark Notes as we know them today.

It's not too much of a stretch in my opinion to believe in the existence of "rough draft notes" like that, but the obvious million $$ question is: Do those notes contain hints and clues that were never included in the published notes?

I'd be curious to hear what your thoughts are Jim.

Thanks,

Paul

Jim Hatt

Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Jim Hatt »

Paul,

I believe the "seventh set" of Bark Notes you refer to, are the same thing I call the "Original" Bark Notes (Mr. "Y's" copy) in my opening post for this topic, and have never been circulated.

Are there Six versions in circulation? Personally I have only seen Three. Two typed versions and One hand written version. I believe all Three of these to be copies of Mr. "Z's" version of the notes. Although there were slight variations in them. they all basically said the same thing.

If there are Three more versions in circulation, I suspect they are also copies of Mr. Z's version of the notes.

If that is the case, then it could be concluded that there are really only Three versions of the notes.

1 - The Original Bark Notes written By Jim Bark
2 - Mr. Y's altered version of the Original Bark Notes
3 - Mr. Z's altered version of Mr. Y's altered version.

Has someone Altered Mr Z's version and circulated them? Only someone that had all Six versions could possibly make that determination.

Every Topic in this section (The Lost Dutchman Mine Sub-Forum) that I started has an opening statement to introduce it. You will probably have to go back and read it (The very first post in this Topic) before you can make any sense out of this reply to your post.

Jim



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Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by cubfan64 »

You may very well be right. I've seen at least 5 other "versions" of the Bark Notes myself, but they variations are almost too slight to really even consider them "versions."

It could be the version that hasn't circulated publicly is indeed the one you referred to in your original post to this thread. I'll go back and re-read that this afternoon before I post again.

Thanks for the response,

Paul

Jim Hatt

Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Jim Hatt »

When you do that Paul. I think everything will fall neatly into place for you.


My "Best Guess" would be that Mr. Z made Six copies of his version of the notes.

After the second or third copy, he probably had most of it committed to memory, and began to write more from memory than carefully copying one word at a time. If true... This would account for the slight variations in the copies that are in circulation.

Anyone that really gets into this subject, will probably start to wonder. What happened to Mr. Y's altered version of the Original Notes, that Mr. Z copied and altered again in the process?

Mr. X ended up with them. I saw them when he told me the story I repeated in my opening statement. But he did not allow me to read them or make a copy. Mr. X has since passed away. Some of his personal library has been accounted for, and resides in a Private Collection today. Some of it is believed to have been stolen before his death. Who ever has Mr. Y's copy that Mr. Z worked from is not talking!

Jim

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Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by cubfan64 »

Interesting Jim!

I'm glad you pointed me back to re-read your original post. That'll teach me to read things when I'm so tired that most of it doesn't stick.

I know enough of the stories to be able to connect the dots to your Mr. X, Y & Z, and while it would be easier to discuss the issues using real names, I certainly will abide by your wishes not to do so as it really doesn't serve much purpose.

Your theory in your opening post certainly appears to be plausible. The most repeated story I've heard has Mr. Y being led off on a wild goose chase while Mr. Z (or someone else) copies the notes (or runs into town and copies them). I'll admit that I'm always bugged by that as I find it difficult to accept that someone with arguably the closest information leading to the LDM would accidently leave them behind with someone else. The idea that perhaps the version left behind to be copied was already altered by Mr. Y is intriguing.

In essence it would suggest that NONE of the Bark Notes currently in circulation AS WELL AS the potentially altered 1st version left by Mr. Y in camp to be copied can be relied on to be accurate. That leaves the original notes Jim Bark made as the only real valid source of information - and at this point, I'll hazard a guess that should they ever turn up, odds are it'll be nearly impossible to know whether they are real or just yet another altered version/forgery.

Your point about the differences between the Bark Notes and Ely's book is also certainly valid. Alot of people have wondered how 2 men could work so closely together on something for so long, and yet have different versions of the same events. The reason I most often hear for it isn't so much that Ely may have "embelished" the story when writing it, but rather that he was in his 90's and simply did not have a close recollection of the events anymore which had happened many years earlier

I may have already heard this at one time, but has there ever been much discussion as to what "notes" Sims Ely may have used to write his book in 1953? Did he write it exclusively from memory, or did he have his own set of notes/journals that he referenced? If so, I assume those have never been made public either?

So many questions - it seems one answer leads to 100 more.

Jim Hatt

Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by Jim Hatt »

Paul

re:
Your theory in your opening post certainly appears to be plausible. The most repeated story I've heard has Mr. Y being led off on a wild goose chase while Mr. Z (or someone else) copies the notes (or runs into town and copies them). I'll admit that I'm always bugged by that as I find it difficult to accept that someone with arguably the closest information leading to the LDM would accidently leave them behind with someone else.


I have also heard other versions of the same story Mr. X told me, where someone else in Mr. X's camp copied the notes by taking them to town. I found two problems with that version.

1 - I doubt that there were any kind of copy machines in Apache Junction at that time, so where would he have gone to make them, and still have time to get back to camp that day before Mr. Y did?

2 - If the notes had been mechanically reproduced by what ever method was available at the time. They would have been identical to Mr. Y's (altered) version.

I guess someone could have started making hand written copies from the mechanically reproduced copy, and altering them at that time. But, it would still bring us to the same end result.



re:
In essence it would suggest that NONE of the Bark Notes currently in circulation AS WELL AS the potentially altered 1st version left by Mr. Y in camp to be copied can be relied on to be accurate. That leaves the original notes Jim Bark made as the only real valid source of information - and at this point, I'll hazard a guess that should they ever turn up, odds are it'll be nearly impossible to know whether they are real or just yet another altered version/forgery.



If anyone other than Mr. Y would be able to tell, if he was looking at the Original or an accurate copy of the Notes. I sure don't know who that person would be. If he does exist out there somewhere, I doubt that he would ever come forward and identify himself, because he would almost undoubtedly be holding the Original Notes, and keeping a very low profile.


re:
I may have already heard this at one time, but has there ever been much discussion as to what "notes" Sims Ely may have used to write his book in 1953? Did he write it exclusively from memory, or did he have his own set of notes/journals that he referenced? If so, I assume those have never been made public either?


Wish I knew the answer to that myself. There are however two reasons to believe that Ely did write from notes.

1 - He was an Ex-Newspaper man. It would be hard to imagine someone with that on his resume not keeping very detailed notes.

2 - He never once said in his book "As far as I can remember". He seemed to be very confident that he was telling each story exactly as it had been told to him. Both reasons are arguable of course, but they work for me.

The only person that might know for sure would be Northcutt Ely (Sim's Son). As far as I know, he might be still alive. If not, maybe he had children and Ely's notes (if he did have some) could be in their hands today?

Clay once told me that he made the conscious, and well thought out, decision to put all of his eggs in the Holmes basket. Because... If you try to work all the different angles into your search you get absolutely nowhere! By his thinking. Brownie was only one step away from someone that had actually talked to Jacob Waltz, and he figured he would never get any closer to the truth than that.

If I had known Brownie the way Clay did. I may have a different outlook on the situation, but from my point of view, there are too many inconsistencies in the Holmes version for me get totally comfortable with it.

I have already explained why I dismiss the Bark Notes. My own experience with Jenkins' Lost Lode destroyed any faith I might have had in Storms version of things. Aside from the possibility that Estee Conatser may have known Mr Y and gotten some of her information from him, that came out of the Original bark notes. The only other source as far as I am concerned is Ely.

I came to Arizona with information that was passed down through my family to me. That information fits better with Ely's version of the story and clues than it does with anything else in print. Clay and I worked that information together for over 10 years. It did lead us to a certain area (at least we had ourselves convinced it did anyway) but it failed to produce anything of value. Not even so much as an old pick or shovel.

Oh, we found a some things that did show someone had been to the area before us. But nothing that could be linked to any certain individual, and certainly nothing that could be absolutely linked to the Dutchman or the Peraltas.

When it came right down to it. Clay could make just as good a case for another area where he believed the Holmes information lead to. Then comes Kraig Roberts, who can make just as good a case, for being the site of the LDM in a completely different area altogether. It all comes down to what each individual considers wheat, and what they consider chaff.

So it has been, and so it will be, until someone sorts it all out properly, and comes out with some ore that matches with the Matchbox, that was made from the ore under Waltz's bed when he died.

I have come to the conclusion, that my best chance of doing that, is by following the Stone Maps. At least there is only ONE VERSION of them!

Even though there are umpteen different ways to interpret them. :?

Jim

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Re: THE BARK NOTES on - The Lost Dutchman Mine

Post by roward »

Hi, Jim,
It's good to be back in the forum again! I just wanted to bring up a small point in the Bark Notes and mention something I found in connection with it. I don't have the page number, but anyone who has read the notes will probably remember this: Waltz told the story of coming back to his camp after having been gone for 5 days to get supplies after a mule had gotten into them. He said the camp was shot up and pots and pans were riddled with bullets. Bark commented that he didn't find that story credible because Indians didn't waste bullets that way. Well, I was reading Bat Masterson's biography by Richard O'Connor, published in 1957, and one small incident struck me as being perhaps a confirmation that this sort of thing did sometimes happen. On page 65 of that book, you will find this description of an incident in Masterson's life: "The Indians slipped around Miles's left flank just before he crossed the Kansas line, and attacked a surveying crew on Crooked Creek. Masterson and the others came on the scene of the massacre early one morning and found all five surveyors slain, the oxen and even the camp dog with their throats slit. The wagon and water barrel were sieved with bullet holes.
That promiscuous shooting, unlike their usual thriftiness with ammunition, indicated that the hostiles were well supplied and evidently planned to stay on the warpath indefinitely".

I think that gives a little more credence to Waltz's story. Now I have to catch up on what's been written in the last couple of weeks!
Bob

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