Lost Dutchman Mine - Page 2
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The next person to come across the
mine was a man named Dr. Abraham Thorne. In 1865, Thorne was working as an
army doctor at Fort McDowell,
During this time, the
had turned their wrath against the Arizona
settlers and the U.S. Army. As the
Indians were subdued by the
reservation was established near Fort McDowell, where Thorne began to
provide his services. Thorne earned the respect of tribal leaders as he
cared for the sick and injured, and after curing several Apache of an
eye disease, he was offered an opportunity to be led to the gold in the
Superstitions in 1870. However, Thorne had to agree to be blind-folded for
the 20 mile trip. When the doctor agreed, he was taken to a place that was
allegedly near the mine, where a pile of gold ore had been stacked near
the base of the canyon wall.
Allowed to remove the
blindfold, Thorne found himself in a canyon where a large unusual rock
pinnacle loomed to the south. The Apache let him pick up as much as he could before the doctor was once
again blind-folded for the return trip. Thorne sold the ore for some
$6,000, making him a wealthy man. However, some time later
legend tells us that Dr. Thorne determined that he would try to find the
place again. Gathering up a few of his friends, the group amazingly
stumbled onto the mine’s location. After filling their saddle bags with as
much gold as they could carry, they started to Phoenix, but never lived to
enjoy the wealth. They were discovered by the Apache,
who killed them before they could escape with the gold.
Fort McDowell, photo by Tom McCurnin, courtesy
In the 1870’s, Jacob
Waltz (or Walz,) who had befriended one of the Peralta heirs, was
allegedly told the location of the mine. Waltz, a German immigrant, who
had relocated to Arizona
some years previous, worked as a prospector and owned a homestead on the
northern side of Superstition Mountain.
However, before relocating to what is
now Pinal County, Arizona,
Waltz worked at the Henry Wickenburg’s Vulture Gold Mine near Wickenburg,
While there, he met an Apache
girl named Ken-tee, who despite the fact that Waltz was almost 60
years-old, became his mistress. Later, Waltz was suspected of
high-grading ore from the Vulture Mine and was dismissed.
It was then that the pair moved
near the Superstition Mountain range. Another version of the tale states
that Waltz actually learned of the mine’s location from Ken-tee. In
retaliation, the Apache,
who were convinced that ken-tee had betrayed the site of their secret
shrine, they attacked Waltz and his
mistress, seizing Ken-tee and cutting out her tongue. Waltz; however, was
able to escape and before long was
running a saloon in Tortilla Flats.
However, by 1877, he and another man
by the name of Jacob Weiser (or Wisner,) returned to the Superstitions.
Not long after, the miners began to pay for supplies in nearby Phoenix
with high grade gold ore, but they never stated where it was coming from
nor ever filed a claim.
A few years later Weiser disappeared
without a trace. Speculation was rampant, with some saying he was killed
and others alleging he was killed by Waltz.
For the next ten years, Waltz would
often appear in Phoenix, with saddlebags filled with some of the richest
gold ore many had ever seen, before disappearing once again in to the
People often asked of him the obvious questions -- Where was the gold
coming from? Where was the mine? To these, Waltz would give contradictory
statements and directions. When people tried to follow him out of town, he
would "lose” them in the many clefts and canyons on the peak.
In the Spring of 1891, Waltz’s
homestead was caught in a flood and he was saved from certain death by two
brothers named Herman and Reinhardt Petrasch. Having taken on a terrible
chill, he was attended to by a woman named Julia Thomas, who tried to nurse
him back to health, but Jacob had contracted pneumonia.
He sent friends
back to his home to see if they could find gold that he had kept there.
Though the house was gone, searchers were later able to locate five sacks
of gold worth about $15,000. Delivering it to Jacob, it was placed under
his sick bed. Through the summer, he lingered in a wasted condition,
giving clues to his caretaker, Julia, and to his rescuers, Herman and
Reinhardt Petrasch. But, his condition was worsening as he suffered a
stroke and was paralyzed to the point that he could barely speak.
Miner's Prospecting by Frederic Remington,
Undaunted; however, Julia and the
Petrasches made an expedition into the Superstitions that summer, trying
to find the mine. But, after five weeks, the three returned with nothing.
Jacob finally died on October 25, 1891. The legend continued to grow and
soon the lost mine was referred to as the "Lost Dutchman,” as many at the
time confused the Germans with the Dutch.
Julia Thomas, having invested
everything she owned into the venture to find the mine, never attempted to
find it again. Herman Petrasch accused his brother, Rhinehart, of not
paying attention to Jacob’s bedside clues and the disagreement led to
their never speaking again. Separately, however, they both spent much of
the rest of their lives looking for the lost mine.
The legend of lost mine, as well as
the tales of its curse, continued to grow over the years as more and more
stories were told, relating mysterious deaths, disappearances, and small
In the summer of 1880, two men,
Fort McDowell, showed up in Pinal,
looking for work at the Silver King Mine. When they showed a bag of gold
ore to the Silver King Manager, Aaron Mason, the manager was stunned see
how rich the ore was and immediately began to ask where they had found it.
soldiers replied that the ore had been picked up while crossing
Superstition Mountain, where they had also spied an old mine. Mason bought
the ore from the men, outfitted them and entered a partnership with the
pair to share in the profits.
The two, sure that they could find the
place, then headed towards Weaver’s Needle, but after two weeks had not
returned. Mason sent out a search party, who found the nude bodies of both
men, shot in the head.
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