The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine by Bradley "Brad" Williamson

Lost Dutchman Gold Mine by Bradley "Brad" Williamson

The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine has long been sought for and according to legend and research it is one of the most valuable gold mines. It was discovered by Jacob Waltz and is believed to be located in the Superstition Mountains. The location was lost upon the death of Jacob Waltz and is waiting to be found again by a very lucky and brave adventurer and explorer. The following account is based partially on legends but also documented facts and research. Here is the tale of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine

 

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The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine by Bradley "Brad" Williamson

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Jacob Waltz immigrated to the United States from Germany around 1845 and he traveled across the country searching for Gold, from one goldfield to another until he finally arrived in what was then called

Superstition Mountains Bradley "Brad" Williamson
The Superstition Mountains, Possible location of Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. Photo: Bradley "Brad" Williamson
the Arizona Territory. This was an area that was still largely unexplored, full of mysteries and legends and home of the Apache Indian. Jacob Waltz was destined to go from a life of relative obscurity to being credited with finding one of the world's richest goldfields. Jacob Waltz did exist and he did find gold, this has been well documented. For over a hundred years the question that has driven many people to dedicate their life in search of and others to invest millions is: WHERE was his rich vein of gold. It appears to be a secret that he inadvertently took to the grave with him, leaving us with only a few clues to the location of his gold. This article is the story of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine and includes some of the clues and possible locations of the mine.

The clues include tales of him leaving town at night and eluding followers only to return with sacks full of gold, a deathbed confession of the location of the mine, mysterious stone maps, abandoned mining operations from the conquistadors and terrifying tales of Apache spirits. Through the years Jacob Waltz would become known as the "Dutchman" and his mine would go down in legend as the "Lost Dutchman Gold Mine".

The first written record of gold being found in the vicinity of the Superstition Mountains occurred in 1864 when six prospectors discovered a ledge of gold ore near the Superstition Mountains. This information came from mine superintendent C.M. Thorndyke and was published in the Arizona Daily Gazette on November 27, 1894. It was based on information provided to him by Frank Blinkey in 1877.

A party of prospectors headed south from Fort McDowell towards the Superstition Mountains in search of gold. In their search Frank Blinkey and his five companions discovered a gleaming ledge of gold. However their luck was about to run out. Before they recovered any gold they were attacked by violent hordes of Apache Indians. They tried to survive and hold their ground but they hopelessly out numbered. In an act of desperation they barricaded themselves deep in the crevasses of a nearby peak and tried to make a stand. At this point their supplies were low and everyone had at least one injury. They held off the Indians until nightfall when Frank Blinkey managed to escape and sneak past the Indians. He crossed the mountains and swam the Salt River to reach Fort McDowell, which was ten miles away. Early that morning Frank along with a large contingent of Calvary came to the rescue of the other beleaguered prospectors. Unfortunately, two of them had already died and another two died of wounds back at Fort McDowell. This first account of gold in the vicinity of the Superstition Mountains is a terrifying tale and because of

Old Mining Ghost Town Bradley Williamson
An old Mining Ghost Town near the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. Photo: Bradley "Brad" Williamson
the deadly Apaches this site was abandoned and lost in time.

However, Jacob Waltz was to be far more successful than others in his attempt to find gold.

Only US citizens were allowed to own mining claims so he petitioned for citizenship in the Adams County Courthouse in Natchez, Mississippi. From there he traveled to California and his name appears on several California census records. Jacob lived for about eleven years in California and worked as a miner. On July 19, 1861 he was granted citizenship at the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Now that he had his citizenship and could obtain his own mining claim he headed towards the Bradshaw Mountains of the Arizona Territory.

Jacob Waltz's name appears on several mining claims in the Bradshaw Mountains. His name also appears on the 1864 territorial census for the Arizona Territory and his name is listed on a petition to territorial governor John N. Goodwin to create a militia to control the predatory raids of the Indians in the Bradshaw Mountains. Jacob finally moved to Salt River Valley in 1868 and filed a homestead claim of 160 acres on the north bank of the Salt River. The Salt River Valley area would later become known as the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Jacob lived here for close to twenty three years. Through the years from his ranch he would go on exploratory prospecting trips in the surrounding mountains.

With all the documented evidence of Jacob Waltz's it becomes obvious that he did exist and is not the creation of some mystery writer's imagination. A search of any of the courthouse records listed above and the census records for the states and territories that he lived in should put to rest any doubts about his existence. The next question is did he really find a rich vein of gold and if so, where is it?

According to legend the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine is suppose to be located in the Superstition Mountains near the Mountain know as Weaver's Needle. In the nearby area surrounding the Superstition

Gold Mines near Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, Brad Williamson
The above map illustrates the abundance of gold mines in the vicinity of the town of Goldfield and the Superstition Mountains. This map is not drawn to scale. Bradley "Brad" Williamson
 Mountains there are many gold mines that have produced vast quantities of gold. Some of these mines are the Mammoth mine, the Bull Dog Mine, the Bluebird Mine and so on. A town called Goldfield was even created because of all the gold mines and miners in the area. However as of yet no gold has been found in the Superstition Mountains. The following image shows all the gold mines located in the nearby vicinity of the Superstition Mountains. Once again it is a clear fact that there is an abundant supply of gold in the nearby area where the Lost Dutchman Mine is suppose to exist. So now that it is clear that Jacob Waltz did exist and that there are vast quantities of gold that have been found in the vicinity of where his mine is suppose to be located - where is The Lost Dutchman Gold Mine?

Weak and feeble with old age Jacob revealed the location of his secret supply of gold to his caregiver Mrs. Julia Thomas and a friend of his Rhiney Petrash. Pointing a shaking hand to the East he said, "Years ago I found a rich ledge of gold near those mountains." Through the window and off in the distance towards the east loomed the Superstition Mountains.

Jacob also stated, "There is plenty of gold there for everyone and that it doesn't require much digging." He continued, "The ledge is eighteen inches wide with pure gold high on a ledge above a gulch and it is well concealed by brush. He knew that it was well hidden so that someone would not accidentally find it and the area of the ledge was susceptible to savage surprise attacks by the Apaches. Jacob promised that he would take them to his secret goldmine but that they would have to wait till Fall because in the summer temperatures were often a searing 110 degrees. Unfortunately, Jacob did not last until the fall he became sicker and bedridden and eventually died October 25th, 1891. Upon going through some of his belongings they found a box under his bed. Opening the box Julia and Rhiney found it to be full of chunks of quartz sparkling with gold.

Julia and Rhiney were sure that with the directions and clues they had been given by Jacob before his

A view inside the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, Bradley Williamson

A view of the region inside the Superstition Mountains. Photo Bradley "Brad" Williamson

death they could find the mine. So the two traveled to the Superstition Mountains to find Jacob's gold mine. However, somehow they failed in following or understanding the directions and could not find the mine. Yet, so sure of and determined to find the goldmine Julia sold her business and dedicated several years of her life to searching for the mine. Rhiney also contacted his brother Herman, in Washington state, and asked him to help him to located the lost mine. After several years Julia eventually gave up the search but, the Petrash brothers continued to search until their death. Year after year over miles of silent desert, through lonely canyons and up mountains with mysterious rumblings echoing in the distance the Petrash brothers searched. Herman was so adamant in his search that a mountain east of Weaver's Needle was named in memory of him, "Herman's Mountain

For most of their lives Herman and Rhiney searched the entire area of the Superstition Mountains. They primarily concentrated on the area surrounding "Weaver's Needle". However, Rhiney was known to have searched as far as from the Salt River to the Gila River and from Goldfield to Globe, this is an incredibly vast territory.

Eventually, Julia Thomas gave an interview to Pierpont C. Bicknell about the lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. Her story appeared in the "San Francisco Chronicle" January 13th, 1895. This was the first publication of the story of the Lost Dutchman Mine. In this article several clues to the location of the mine were listed. These clues are suppose to have been the clues that were given to Julia and Rhiney. Unfortunately, it is believed that to make the story more interesting Bricknell created and added more clues. Unfortunately, over time and in countless publications about the lost gold mine the list of clues has continued to expand from the original clues. This is due in large part to the creative imagination of the authors of books or articles about the Lost Dutchman Mine. Now it is almost impossible to separate what were the original directions and clues from the false information. To make matters even worse it is believed that Julia created several false maps that she would sell to investors to try to regain some of the money she had lost while searching for the mine. At the end of this article we will list all the known clues to the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine alas, some of them maybe false and some of them maybe true.

Is the Lost Dutchman Goldmine still out there waiting to be found by a bold and lucky adventurer or has it already been found. One possible theory of the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine is that it has already been found. A mine matching the description and location of the Lost Dutchman Mine is the Bull Dog Mine that was found on November 5, 1892.

In 1894, the mine superintendent at the Bull Dog Mine, C.M. Thorndyke, which is located two and a half

Gold Miner and Bradley Williamson
The Author of this article Bradley "Brad" Williamson with Ron Feldman. Ron Feldman is recognized as the leading authority on the Lost Dutchman Mine. Ron has appeared in numerous documentaries by A&E, The Discovery Channel & National Geographic about the Lost Dutchman mine. Ron is also in search of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine and he is the best guide of the Superstition Mountains.
 miles west of the Superstition Mountains told the story of Frank Binkley and the Apaches. " Odd isn't it, that after all these years I should be called upon to take charge of the mine so clearly described by my old-time partner? He told me all about this gap in the mountains, about that great bluff of the Superstitions over there, and about this dog faced mountain at our back. That it was this identical ledge there can be no doubt." This was the same goldmine description told to Julia Thomas and Rhinehart Petrasch by Jacob Waltz!

The ledge described by Jacob Waltz to Julia and Rhiney exactly fits the Bull Dog ledge. Jacob's ledge of gold was "18 inches wide in a gulch running north and south and is high above the gulch and well concealed by brush." This is almost an exact description of the Bull Dog ledge. Jacob Waltz also stated that his mine was in a location that was subject to sudden and dangerous attacks from the Apaches. The Bull Dog Mine is also in a location that was subject to the violent surprise attacks by the Apaches and this kept this mine from being discovered until 1892.

Only one prospector other than Frank Binkley survived the 1864 Apache attack on a band of prospectors who had discovered a ledge of gold. Was it Jacob Waltz? Perhaps! Since 1863, Waltz had spent five years prospecting in central Arizona. He may well have been with this party of prospectors who discovered what became a lost mine. Binkley returned to San Bernardino, California. Leaving Jacob Waltz as the only survivor in the area where they had found gold. Is the Bull Dog Mine the Lost Dutchman Mine?

Some possible explanations about how Julia and Rhiney wrongly searched for Waltz's gold are:

Waltz said his mine was "a short distance back from the western end of the main Superstition Mountain." Back behind or back from? Back behind the mountain is a mountainous region of massive volcanic rock, where to date no one has found any gold. Back from, or to the west near Goldfield is where some of the richest gold ore in Arizona can be found. Julia assumed that the mine was back to the east near Weaver's Needle.

Another possible clue to the location of the gold was "the late shadow falls on the ledge in Mid-April and August" Julia rushed to Weaver's Needle because Waltz had told of a high peak very near the ledge of gold where he had fought off the Apaches. The rich ledge of gold of the Bull Dog Mine is located in the late shadow of Bull Dog peak

An often repeated clue states, "If you pass three red hills you have gone too far." 40 miles east of Phoenix to within a mile and a half of Superstition Mountain stretches Desert sand then three red arkosic hills rise up. Turning north up the gulch at the first red hill will lead to the Bull Dog mine. Is it more than coincidence?

Did Julia misinterpreted Waltz's directions? Is it possible that the mine was not lost, only that Julia, Rhiney and countless others who have searched near Weaver's Needle misinterpreted the clues? Did Waltz never file a claim for his gold mine because of the Apaches and that the vulnerable ledge was simply too dangerous to mine?

Bradley Willliamson and the Superstion Mountains, Lost Dutchman Gold Mine
The Author Bradley "Brad" Williamson on a ledge overlooking the valley with the Superstition Mountains looming in the horizon.
The theory that the Bull Dog Mine is in fact the Lost Dutchman Mine is very tantalizing! However there are also arguments that strongly reject this theory. True the area to the west of the Superstition Mountains has been the location of numerous gold recoveries and to date no gold has been found in the Superstition Mountains in the area of Weaver's Needle. Yet, this doesn't mean that gold doesn't exist in the Superstition Mountains, only that as of yet none has been found. If tomorrow the headlines in the newspapers report of someone finding a rich gold vein in the Superstition Mountains in the shadow of Weaver's Needle would this be the Lost Dutchman Goldmine or another vein of gold in the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine? It is the author's belief that Gold does exist in the area around the Superstition Mountains and several mines in the area have produced vast quantities of gold and that there are still some veins of gold waiting to be discovered. So, in conclusion I have listed some of the numerous "clues" to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine and even if you don't find the Dutchman's mine but instead find another rich vein of gold I don't think you will be too disappointed.

Bradley "Brad" Williamson

 

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