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Jim Hatt


Post by Jim Hatt »

My Father and His Search For
The Lost Dutchman Mine in Arizona
by Northcutt Ely


My Father's book, published in 1953, went through seven editions in this country and six in England. Some twenty men have lost their lives in attempting to rediscover this mine. It is known to have produced incredibly rich gold ore while owned by a Mexican family, for three generations from 1783 to 1871, until they were driven out by Apache Indians. It was last seen by white men in 1882. It was believed by Sims Ely to have been filled in and covered over by the Apaches in about 1883, to deter further incursions by white miners into the Indians' stronghold, the Superstition Mountains.

Mr. Ely is a graduate of Stanford and Stanford Law School.
His wife is Marica McCann Ely, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Pratt Institute of Art in New York.
They have three sons, all doctors. One is a Redlands resident, Dr. Craig Northcutt.
After practicing in California and New York, he became Executive Assistant to Secretary of the Interior, Ray Lyman Wilbur, in the Hoover Administration. He represented Secretary Wilbur in negotiating the Hoover Dam power and water contracts.
After leaving the Interior Department, Mr. Ely practiced law in the District of Columbia for nearly 50 years. He and his wife moved to Redlands in 1981, but he has not retired.
His specialties are international law and natural resources law.
He has argued before the United States Supreme Court seven times. His Supreme Court cases of most interest to a California audience were the representation of California in Arizona v. California, and of Imperial Irrigation District in the 160 acre limitation case.
Mr. Ely’s current cases include the representation of the City of Los Angeles and Southern California Edison Company in the renewal of the Hoover power contracts that he negotiated for the government 54 years ago, advice to Imperial Irrigation District in their water conservation program, and representation of other clients in several international matters.
He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and a trustee of the Hoover Foundation.

This is the story of the search carried on by my father, Sims Ely, and his partner, Jim Bark, over a period of four decades, for the fabulous Lost Dutchman gold mine in the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona. Most of what I am about to tell you comes from his book, The Lost Dutchman Mine, published by William Morrow and Company in 1953, and from an unpublished manuscript by Jim Bark, to whom the book is dedicated. The book also recounts a score of earlier episodes which they carefully tracked down and verified, in the course of their own repeated trips into the Superstitions. In the time available today, I can put before you only a few of these.

Before I begin the story, please indulge me in a few nostalgic words about both men.

My father was born in 1862 in Cook County, Tennessee. He liked to say that he struck a blow for the Confederacy at the age of three. Yankee soldiers broke into his home near the end of the war, looking for my grandfather, who had come home wounded. Dad had a little Confederate hat, which he kept on a post by his four-poster bed. A Yankee soldier thrust his bayonet through the hat. Dad kicked him smartly on the shins. This was typical of him; he stood up for his principles all his life. My parents settled in Phoenix in 1895. Dad became editor and finally owner of the Arizona Republican, now the Arizona Republic, and went on into government service. He died in 1954, a year after his book was published.

Jim Bark came out to Arizona Territory in 1879, a penniless orphan, and ultimately became one of its leading men-owner of the Bark ranch (which was the natural gateway to the Superstition Mountains), president of the Arizona Cattlemen Association, member of the upper house of the Territorial Legislature.
The two families became close and lifelong friends. Jim Bark had been involved in the search for several years, and my father soon joined him, whenever his work permitted. They were skeptical investigators, taking little stock in the tall tales that have surfaced over the years.

For example, the Superstition Mountains, in which the mine is located, take their name from an Indian legend that the mountains are guarded by an evil spirit who sleeps only four hours a day, and you must get in and out, with your gold, while he is asleep. But it is a fact that some twenty men have lost their lives in looking for the Lost Dutchman, or immediately after finding it.

I shall tell you first, as my fathers book does, about the mysterious murder of Adolph Ruth in 1931, during Ruth's search for the lost mine. It attracted widespread attention in the media. Later on, I had some peripheral contact with this episode myself.

The newspapers reported that Ruth, a man in his late sixties, who had just retired from government employment in Washington, D.C., had come out to Arizona to look for the Lost Dutchman Mine. He had last been seen at the Bark Ranch, which by this time was owned by a man named Barkley. As Barkley later recounted it to Jim Bark, Ruth asked if there was a sharp peak anywhere near the ranch, and was told that this must be Weaver' B Needle, a few miles northeast. He said he wanted to camp near that peak. Ruth told why he was going. He had a map that would take him to a last gold mine. He said this, unfortunately, in the presence of two prospectors who were hanging around the camp at the time.

There were always prospectors coming and going. Barkley said he was leaving for a few days, and would pack Ruth into the mountains when ho came back, if he insisted on going, but it was a bad idea to go into the mountains at all in such dry, hot weather, and dangerous to do so alone, at any time. Barkley departed. Shortly thereafter, however, the prospectors struck a bargain with Ruth, and the following morning packed him into the mountains. This was the 14th of June, 1931.

The day afterwards, the prospectors returned and reported that they had seen Mr. Ruth comfortably established by a water hole, about two miles from Weaver 'e Needle. They then disappeared. As soon as Barkley returned and discovered what had happened, he was much concerned, and with one of his cowhands rode out to find the Ruth camp. Ho had a hunch that something was wrong. Indeed there was.
Barkley found the equip. Adolph Ruth’s bed was there, and so also, strangely enough, were his boots, that he had bought especially to wear into the mountains. Ruth himself had disappeared, presumably wearing his City shoes.

On the chance that the missing man was nearby, possibly lying injured, Barkley and a cowhand searched for him up and down all the canyons for several hours, shouting his name repeatedly and firing their revolvers at one minute intervals. There was no response .

Returning to the ranch, Barkley telephoned the authorities. There wore several search parties in the mountains that summer and fall, all bent on solution of the mystery. Mrs. Ruth offered a reward, and her son, Dr. Erwin Ruth, whom I came to know quite well, spent a number of weeks in Phoenix directing the search. But it was six months before the fate of the missing man became known.

The discovery was a gruesome one. It resulted from an elaborate investigation carried on by the Arizona Republic. In the thick brush overlooking West Boulder Canyon, about a hundred feet above the canyon floor, the search dogs came upon a skull, with particles of flesh still adhering to it. There was no trace of the rest of the body. The skull was sent to Dr. Erwin Ruth, who by that time had returned to Washington. On examination by the family dentist, it was identified as the skull of Adolph Ruth. Dr. Alec Hrdlicka, the anthropologist of the National Museum, examined it and reported that the skull had been pierced by a bullet, fired at such an angle that the victim could not possibly have shot himself.

Some Six months later, after an unexplained delay, a deputy sheriff from Phoenix, accompanied by Barkley, resumed the search for the body. The search was successful. At a distance of a mile or so from the spot where the skull had been discovered, they found a dismembered skeleton, which was easily identified. The newspapers had another field day.

My father, who no longer lived in Phoenix, asked me to get hold of Erwin Ruth, who lived in Washington, as I did, and report what he could tell me. Erwin Ruth came to see me, bringing with him the effects found on his fathers body. He told me the following story.

Some years earlier, the younger Ruth, while in government service as a veterinarian on the Mexican border, had come into possession of an old Spanish map and documents describing a mine in the Superstition Mountains which had been owned by a Mexican family named Peralta. He had given these to his father, who had an interest in old documents. The elder Ruth become obsessed with the notion that he could find the mine. Soon after he retired, he arranged, over the family's strong objection, to go to Arizona.

Ruth had taken with him a metal box in which he kept the old Spanish map and various other documents, which described how to reach the mine. This box had been found in Ruth's camp. The map was missing. On the body itself, however, had been found a memorandum book, which Erwin Ruth showed me. It bore, in his father 's handwriting, in ink, directions which covered the last short distance to the mine.

It read as follows:
"It lies within an imaginary circle whose diameter is not more than five miles, and whose center is marked by the Weaver Needle, about 2,500 feet high, among a confusion of lesser peaks and mountainous masses of basaltic rock.
"The first gorge on the South side from the West end of the range -- they found a monumented trail which led them northward over a lofty ridge, thence downward past Sombrero Butte, into a long canyon running north, and finally to a tributary canyon very deep and rocky and densely wooded with a continuous thicket of scrub oak...

The description was broken off at this point, but lower down on the page, well spaced and standing by themselves, were the enigmatic words "veni, vidi, vici" and then, written in pencil below this, was the notation About 200 feet across from the cave ".

The notebook was bloodstained. I was allowed to make a photostatic copy and send it on to my father. The mystery was never solved. Dr. Ruth was sure that 0a father had found the mine, and had been murdered in consequence of it. Why the body had been decapitated, and why the skull and skeleton were at such a distance from each other, is a puzzle for which no answer has ever suggested itself.

Before I finish this narrative, I will furnish another decapitated body for you, so please don't go away.

Just what is this lost mine, and why is it called the Lost Dutchman?
My father and Jim Bark painstakingly put the facts together.
In 1783 King Charles III of Spain signed a grant to a subject named Peralta, living in Sonora, Mexico, of an exclusive right to mine in a large area in what is now Arizona. It included the Superstition Mountains, and was confirmed by the Mexican government, after independence.

The Peralta family carried on mining operations in the Superstitions for at least three generations, leading large expeditions of peons into Arizona from their base in the town of Arispe, in the State of Sonora. Independent accounts agree that the Peraltas ultimately developed a funnel-shaped pit, some 75 feet across. Peons would carry the ore in sacks slung over their backs, climbing from one terrace to another, using notched poles for ladders. The ore contained heavy concentrations of gold nuggets, which were easily shaken out. Further down the mountain, a horizontal tunnel was being driven to connect with the ore body, but this was never completed.

In 1871, two German-Americans, Jacob Waltz, and Jacob Weiser, showed up, apparently by accident, at the Peraltas' hometown. They had been prospecting in Mexico. As they told it later, the two happened to be onlookers at a gambling game in which Miguel Peralta, then head of the family, became engaged. The game broke up in a violent fight, in which Prelate's life was saved by Weiser. Don Miguel was deeply grateful, and took them to his home. On learning that the two men were ax-Confederate soldiers, he told them that he needed fighting men to go with him to a mine that he owned in Arizona. The Apache Indiana were on the warpath, indeed had killed his father, Don Enrique Peralta. He said if they would go with him and his party of peons, they could have half of the gold that they would bring back with them. They agreed.

The party made an uneventful and Successful trip to the mine, which turned out to be in the Superstition Mountains. They loaded their pack animals with gold ore, and came back to Mexico. The gold was worth about $60,000. On their arrival in Mexico, Peralta said that he had serious gambling debts in Mexico City, and if they would give him their half of the gold, he would cede to them his mining rights for a period of time, and they could take all the gold that they could recover. Waltz and Weiser agreed to this.

On their return to the mine, however, they discovered two brown-skinned men working it. Believing them to be Apache Indians, they shot and killed the claim-jumpers. They happened not to be Apaches, but two of Peralta's peons who were doing a little poaching on their own. Retribution followed swiftly.

After Waltz and Weiser had built up a considerable supply of rich ore, a mule broke into their provisions, at night, and destroyed most of their food. It was decided that one of the men should go with a pack mule to the nearest store, which was in one of the Pima Indian villages on the Gila River, to buy new supplies, while the other stayed at the mine. The Pimas, unlike the Apaches, were friendly Indians. The round trip should require four days.

Jacob Waltz made the trip; Jacob Weiser stayed at the mine.
Waltz' subsequent story was that he was delayed in returning, and when he reached the mine, his partner was missing. Waltz found some of Weiser's clothes, and assumed that the Apaches had captured him and taken him off to torture him to death. To avoid the game fate, he hastily packed up all of the ore that he could carry in trig saddle-bags, hid the rest in three caches, and brought his peek animal back to the Pima villages.

After a time, he moved on, and settled on the outskirts of Phoenix, which had been founded in 1864, and was still only a village. There he remained until he died, in 1891, twenty years later. Jim Bark knew him slightly, and described him as a courteous but melancholy man, secretive, withdrawn from the world, and living in modest circumstances.

Apparently, however, he made several tripe back to the ore that he and Weiser had etched.

The fact that he was occasionally shipping small quantities of very rich ore to San Francisco, to be sold there, gradually became known. There may have been a leak from the Express Company Office. At any rate, the rumor spread that this old German owned a hidden goldmine in the Superstition Mountains. This was the origin of the name, the Lost Dutchman.

Before Waltz died, he told trig story, with directions how to get to the mine, to a neighboring woman, Helena Thomas, who had befriended him, and in whose home he died. He left her a considerable quantity of gold, and drew a map for her. She and her stepson and the boys two uncles spent many years in a fruitless search for the mine. My father and Jim Bark became well acquainted with all of these people, questioned them repeatedly, and had no difficulty in identifying the places shown on the map, except for the missing mine.

As to Weiser, it turned out that he had not been killed by the Apaches, but that he had been badly wounded by an arrow. He had struggled down to another of the Pima Indian villages, where he was taken to the home of a Dr. Walker, an American physician, whom we would describe as a missionary doctor. His story was that when Waltz did not return to the mine, Weiser assumed that the Apaches had killed him, and that he would be next. As he was riding out from camp, he was indeed attacked by the Apaches, but managed to escape, wounded. Weiser died in Walker's home, but not before describing the route to the mine, and giving Dr. Walker an old map drawn on parchment, and a small sample of the ore.

Dr. Walker's life history is a fascinating chapter of its own, but there is not time enough to tell it today. He had good reasons for keeping out of the hands of the Apaches, and never went looking for the mine. He was a well known man, and a credible witness.

Dr. Walker showed the Weiser map to a man who subsequently became prominent in Arizona affairs, named Tom Weedin. My father knew him well. Weedin's story was that Walker had let him make a copy of the map, and he (Weedin.) had then returned the original map to Walker. The original was lost sight of, but Weedin. thought he had the copy. It turned out he didn't. His wife was opposed to the idea of his going into Apache country, and apparently succeeded in mislaying it. Weedin, who had never been in the Superstitions, drew it from memory for my father. Its identification with features of the Superstitions was apparent at once, but no mine was found at the spot marked on the map.

I told you earlier that Miguel Peralta's father had been killed by the Apaches. This was substantiated many years later by an old Indian known as Apache Jack, who told a man working for Jim Bark that, as a teenager, he had gone along with other Apaches who were answering a smoke signal in the Superstition Mountains, calling for help. It seems that Apache warriors had surrounded a large party of Mexicans, with loaded pack animals, and were engaged in a running fight, as the Mexicans tried to make their way to the desert. The fight lasted three days, and all the Mexicans except two or three were killed. This remnant got away to Mexico, over the Arizona desert. Asked how large a party this was, Apache Jack said that he did not know how many Mexicans there were, but they had at least 300 animals. What had become of the loads on the pack animals? He said they contained stones., and the Apaches had thrown the pack" on the ground. It is a fair inference, from the relative dates, that this was the fight in which Don Enrique Peralta had been killed, probably about 1864.

There is curious circumstantial support for Apache Jack's story. Commencing sometime in the 80's, two men, who obviously knew nothing about mining, put in fourteen years digging holes on the Northern apron of the Superstitions, in an area that was not mineralized at all. Nevertheless, they were able to ship several thousand dollars worth of rich ore. They had apparently discovered the ore that had been spilled from the pack animals during the three-day running fight between the Apaches and Peralta's men. Both men ended up in the lunatic asylum near Phoenix. This, however, was a better end than that which awaited some of the other seekers of the Lost Dutchman mine.

Let me backtrack for a moment, before I produce that second headless corpse.
The Waltz-Weiser adventure was not the first probable sighting of the Peralta mine by Americans, nor was it the last.

In 1865, Dr. Abraham D. Thorn, then a young doctor attached to the military post at Fort McDowell, across Salt River from the Superstitions, won the gratitude of the Apache Indians who lived near the fort, by treating them, and particularly their children, for an -eye disease which was resulting in blindness. I suppose that it was trachoma, which was endemic among the Indiana when I was a boy.

At any rate, as Thorn told it later, the grateful Apaches, having learned that he was about to be transferred to a distant post, conducted him, on horseback, blindfolded, to a spot in the Superstitions. There he was shown a dump of very rich ore, nearly pure gold. He was allowed to fill a sack with it, and then was blindfolded again, and brought home. As they crossed Salt River, the blindfold slipped, and he could see Weaver's Needle to the east. Dr. Thorn later took his sack of ore to San Francisco, and sold it for six thousand dollars. His story was corroborated by a Lieutenant Fairchild, to whom Thorn gave a lump of the ore.
In 1880, two young men walked into the town of Pinal, which is on the other side of the Superstitions from Fort McDowell. They were looking for work in the nearby Silver Ring mine. They were interviewed by the manager, a man named Mason, and by the mining superintendent, a man named Bowen.

As Mason and Bowen subsequently told it, the strangers were soldiers, who, on their discharge at Fort McDowell, had set off across country to the Silver Ring. En route, in very difficult country, they had stumbled onto an old mine. They had taken some of the ore from the dump, and asked Mason's opinion. He had it assayed and paid them $800 for it in gold coin. He advised them to go back to the mine and post location notices to establish title under the mining laws. They were sure they could find their way.

And so, instead of taking a job at the Silver Ring, the two young men bought horses, camping equipment and guns and started back into the Superstitions, to make the necessary location monuments. They had about $400 in gold coin. Mason told them that he would expect them back in Pinal in ten days.

When two weeks had gone by, Mason sent out some twenty armed men, seasoned pioneers, to look for the youngsters. Their bodies were found. They had been shot and robbed.

In the summer of 1881, a man named Joe Dearing, who had been at the Silver King at the time that the two soldiers told their story, reappeared there.
He told friends that he had discovered the lost mine. He had done so by following the directions given by the two soldiers to Mason and Bowen, of which he had somehow learned. Like others, he described the mine as a pit, shaped like a funnel. It had been partly filled in with debris. There was a dump of rich ore on the surface. On the hillside below the pit was a portal to a tunnel which had been walled up with rocks.

But, as it happened, Dearing died in an accident before he could make the return journey from the Silver Ring to the Lost Dutchman. Soon afterward, Mason was killed in a runaway in Los Angeles before he could go looking for the mine himself. The evil spirit of the Superstition Mountains apparently has extraterritorial jurisdiction.

My father and Jim Bark discovered plenty of tantalizing clues themselves over the years. These included a trail, three feet wide, worn so deeply into the rock that it must have been made by a great many heavily loaded animals over a long period of time; a cave in which were stored several hundred sandals, of the sort worn by Mexicans, but not Apache Indians; numerous picks and axes; a place where some forty acres of hardwood mesquite trees had been cut down with axes, which the Apaches did not have, for no apparent purpose other than to make mining props (as green mesquite will not burn); a spring, that had been converted into a deep well by careful masonry work, located where it could not possibly be needed by transient visitors; and so on. And, of course, they questioned a great many people who claimed to know something about the mine. Some of these, such as old Indiana, said they had been there in the 1860`s and the 1870's. Other people had heard Waltz, Weiser, or Dearing give their first-hand descriptions. Dearing, for example, claimed to have cut a cross in a tree to mark the trail on his way back from the mine. Jim Bark found the tree, cut it down, and took the significant part of it back to his ranch, to keep the information in the family, so to speak.

Apparently, however, neither my father nor Jim Bark ever came close enough to finding the mine to enrage its guardian spirit, and for this I am thankful.
I promised you another headless corpse. It was that of James A. Cravey, who disappeared in the Superstition Mountains in the spring of 1947. He had told friends that he knew exactly where a phenomenally rich gold mine had been covered over, and that he had tried to reach the location with pack animals, but had been defeated by the rugged terrain.

In the spring of 1947, Cravey contracted with Edwin W. Montgomery, President of Southern Arizona Airways, which operated helicopters out of Tucson and Phoenix, to carry him and his equipment to that spot.

The subsequent story, as told to us by Mr. Montgomery and his wife, was this:
A small but steady source of income to the helicopter company was flying people into the Superstition Mountains to look for the Lost Dutchman mine. Each of the passengers swore him to secrecy, but they all wanted to be landed in approximately the same place. The chopper would come back at a specified time, usually after a week or ten days, pick them up and fly them out, disappointed.
Cravey's arrangement with Montgomery followed this same pattern. Montgomery pilot flew Cravey to a point in a canyon that Cravey identified with complete assurance. It was several miles from the spot where Ruth had camped. After unloading Carvey's equipment, the pilot returned to the point of take-off.
When the helicopter returned to Cravey's camp after the agreed period of ten days, Cravey was not in camp. The pilot flew up and down all the canyon" in the area, but Cravey was nowhere to be found.

On the helicopters return to Phoenix, the sheriffs of Maricopa and Pinel County were notified, and Montgomery's people took off on their own. They get the helicopter down by the site of Cravey's camp. It was intact. No more than two days' supply of food and water had been used. Missing were Cravey's mining pick, his rifle, his canteen and shovel. They again flew up and down all the nearby canyons at low lover, but found no trace of Cravey at all. Neither did the sheriffs' ground parties.

The Cravey puzzle stood in this posture for- some nine months. But then the Arizona Republic published the following dispatch:
"Mesa, February 21, 1948. Discovery of James A. Cravey, 62 year old retired photographer, 1014 W. Polk St., Phoenix, who disappeared in the rugged Superstition Mountains last June, while seeking the legendary Lost Dutchman mine, was reported tonight by two Arizona visitors. They are Capt. R. F. Perrin, U.S. Army Retired, and Lt. Commander William F. Clements, of Chicago, guests of Sunset Trail Ranch, eleven miles east of here. The two men reported finding the skeleton of a man minus the skull, late this afternoon, 2 1/2 miles south of Weavers Needle, while on an all-day hike in the area. Because of the hour, they did not search for the skull, but brought the manes wallet back to Sunset Trail Ranch. Identification was made through papers in the wallet. Sheriff Cal Boles was notified in Phoenix. Boles said Sheriff Lynn Early of Final County will organize a party to pick up the skeleton tomorrow morning. Cravey is the twentieth person known to have lost his life while looking for the fabled lost mine in the Superstitions...

My father, when he saw the dispatch, wrote the sheriff of Pinal County, asking him to describe the place where the Cravey skeleton was found. He replied on March 17, 1948:

"Dear Mr. Ely: The Cravey skeleton was found one day by two men on a prospecting tour. Together with them and two other men, I went into the mountains the next day and found the skull, which was not found the day before. The find was made at the head of a canyon, probably due east of Weaver's Needle. Trusting this is the information which you wish, I am. etc.
This was several miles from Cravey's camp, and also from the spot where Dr. Ruth's body had been found. No one has discovered who killed Mr. Cravey, or why his body, like that of Dr. Ruth, was beheaded.

The search for the Lost Dutchman has not ended. Literally scores of people have combed the Superstition Mountains during the last hundred years, looking for the Lost Dutchman, and many are still doing so.

My father's book asks a pertinent question: How is it that there is no credible report of the rediscovery of the Lost Dutchman mine since 1883, at least by white men, notwithstanding the fact that in earlier years Peralta's Mexicans had no trouble in finding it, in repeated expeditions; Waltz and Weiser were easily able to retrace their steps to the mine in 1871; the two soldiers saw it in 1880; and Dearing was able to find the mine in 1881 by following the directions given by the two soldiers?

The book suggests that Apache Jack supplied the answer. He said that in the early 80’s the Apaches, growing increasingly concerned about the incursions of would-be miners into their stronghold, the Superstitions, decided that gold mines were shad medicine.. And so, as Apache Jack told it, the squaws worked all one winter to fill the pit and cover over the entrance to the tunnel, so thoroughly that no one could ever find them, even from a distance of a few feet. Moreover, there was a sharp local earthquake in 1883, which may have completed the job.

I will leave you with the benediction given in Jim Bark's manuscript:

"Hunting the Dutchman is not for old men, nor for old prospectors who sit on park benches in our Western towns - still filled with hope, exaggeration, specimens, and nicotine. They must step aside and let the younger generation hunt the Dutchman, chew their own tobacco, tell their own lies, and buy or steal their own specimens. Someone, some day, will fit the parts together more successfully than we have done. Good luck to him..."

Don't let this discourage you.

Jim Hatt


Post by Jim Hatt »

There is one thing in Ely's book that has always stuck in my craw... It is the part about the mine being 75 feet across, and it is mentioned again in Northcut's story above. There is no direct quote from Julia (Helena) or Rhiney describing it that way that I know of. Neither the Two Soldiers or anybody else described it like that either that I know of. Has anybody ever heard of it being described like that other than Ely's book?

There is something wrong there! If it were that big, you would think it would have easily been spotted by someone flying over the mtns by now. Back in the 60's there were a lot of helicopter trips all over back there.

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Post by djui5 »

Not if it was covered up :)
Jim Hatt


Post by Jim Hatt »

That would explain it djui, and it seems to fit with Apache Jack's story about the Apaches working three moons, to cover up "a" mine, after the massacre in the late 1840's. But if that mine was the LDM. How could Waltz, Weiser, Peralta and a hand full of Peons, manage to get to the vein, and pull out $60,000.00 worth of gold in just a few weeks 20 and some-odd years later?

If Peralta had expected to return with Waltz & Weiser, to a pit mine, 75 feet across and 75 feet deep, standing open just as it had been left, and found it to be covered when he arrived. That would have been a major surprise to him, that Waltz should have mentioned to Julia and Rhiney.

According to Ely. Waltz said that Peralta's father had started a tunnel on the side of the slope, below the mine, to intersect the vein, and work it from there, when it became too difficult to work from the top. It should have become "too difficult" long, long, long before it got to be 75 feet across and 75 feet deep!

Then comes the questions... What did they do with all the tailings from a hole that big? Just imagine how big of a pile that would be! If they scattered them all, or hauled them to the river for processing. Where did the Apaches get the amount of loose material laying around on top of the ground, required to fill in a hole that big?
And... could a hand full of Squaws and children do it in 3 months?

Now if it had been 25 feet across and 25 feet deep. The stories might all possibly be true.

I don't believe the LDM was anywhere near as big as Ely thought it was!

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Post by i-tsarl-tsu- i »

I expect many Dutch Hunters would think Waltz's pit mine to look something like this:


Within a short distance there would be his caches, and the "tailings"/dump would be spread out over a wide area. A tunnel would be found on the hillside below the pit, angled towards the mine. Everything would be overgrown with brush, including trails, and hard to see.

A prospector looking for a gold mine would likely not pay much attention to the Waltz location. Wonder why he would think that?

Admittedly a bit of conjecture there, but possibly food for thought.

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Post by mirvin »

Thanks for posting the preceding, fascinating stuff, I have been following this forum since it started, I find it all very interesting. I have always wanted to visit the Superstitions but time and distance issues, I may never get to it. But through you and some other participants I can day dream... Mike
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Post by cubfan64 »

mirvin wrote:Jim
Thanks for posting the preceding, fascinating stuff, I have been following this forum since it started, I find it all very interesting. I have always wanted to visit the Superstitions but time and distance issues, I may never get to it. But through you and some other participants I can day dream... Mike
Mike - I don't know if you live in the US or somewhere outside the country, but if you find yourself truly fascinated by the LDM and Superstition Mountain history, you owe it to yourself to find a way to visit someday.

Even if you have to just set aside a few $$ here and there when you can, let it build up and make it a "quest" to visit the area before you find years have slipped by and due to health or other reasons you aren't able.

I started out by just being curious and fascinated like you and eventually bought the cheapest plane ticket I could get and went out there and camped for a week. Since that week I've found a way to get back there 2 more times and am on my way out again this October!

Trust me - the older I get, the more I realize how short life is and how ultimately it's the experiences we have that REALLY defines whether we've taken advantage of truly living life!
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Post by mirvin »

Hi cubfan64
I hear you, I live in central eastern NV, not all that far, I live not too far from where PITD lives. Having just turned 60 this summer that fact is all too obvious, you are going in Oct? Did I see somewhere that there is a get together and an expedition looking for the remains of one of the prospectors that is suspected of meeting an untimely end in the superstitions. I dont recall the fellows name but initially he travelled from the San Diego area and became obsessed with the LDM.
If I remember correctly Jim Hat has spent a lot of time searching for this fellow.
Its not so much money but time, there is never enough of it and so many places.. Mike
Jim Hatt


Post by Jim Hatt »

Welcome to the forum mirvin. Glad you enjoy it and took the big step of jumping in.
If you live that close to Greg (PITD), you two should hook-up with each other and get acquainted.


P.S. Michael Bilbrey has been found alive and well. It appears that he prefers to be left alone to lead a quiet life and we are honoring that.
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Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:29 pm


Post by mirvin »

Hi Jim
Im going to figure out how to meet Greg one of these times, it appears we have interests in common. Good to hear Michael Bilbrey is alive and well. Mike
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