Mines which seem to be lost for ever often represent legends of hidden treasures. There was often a dying prospector who had a map of such a lost mine. The story of the Lost-Dutchman Mine fmatches this description like no other. Like many other prospecting stories in North- and South America the story of the Lost-Dutchman Mine starts with a Conquistador; a mining engineer called Antonio de Espeja. It was in 1582 when this Jesuit found silver somewhere in Arizona. It is proved, that it were the Jesuits who first worked in the mine until they got killed by Apaches.
Gold In The East Of Phoenix
Around the middle of the 19th century the family of a certain Enrico Peralta discovered Gold somewhere in the Superstition Mountains. The position of the mine must have been somewhat around 40 miles in the East of Phoenix.
One day, while transporting their gold, almost the whole family got slaughtered by the local Apaches in a fight that lasted for 3 days. Some years later the two German immigrants Jakob Walzer and Jakob Wisner helped one of the surviving family members, a certain Don Miguel, during a brawl in Sonora.
Don Miguel was so impressed by this, that he told them the story of the gold mine.
He even offered them a share if they went back with him to look for some of the stil hidden gold. The two Germans agreed, and returned in 1871, richer by $60,000. Peralta had a nice pension, while Wisner and Walzer where soon out of money again. That is why both of them returned to the mine in 1879. As they found two Mexicans working there, they just shot them down.
When Walzer returned to the camp one day, Wisner was missing. Arrows of the Apaches and blood covered clothes showed what had happened to him. In a panic Walzer fled from the camp, running through the thick forest.
However Wisner survived the Indian raid and had his wounds treated by a doctor. It seems that he gave his story of the mine away to the Doc before he died. Jakob Walzer
Meanwhile Walzer moved to Phoenix. In 1880 two young former soldiers rode into the town Pinal, their bags filled to the top with gold. As they were asked where they had found the gold, they replied that they had happened to find a left gold mine. Most people believed now that the two had found the Lost-Dutchman Mine - named after Walzer, whose ancestors were originally from Holland.
The news spread like a fire, and the two men hurried up to return to the mine. A few days later their naked dead bodies shot by a US-Army colt where found . Some locals and Walzer were suspected to have committed this crime, but there were no proves.A Last Confession
In 1890 Walzer himself made a last effort to return to the mine in order to recover the gold that he once had hidden together with Wisner. With gold nuggets worth around $1500 he returned for the last time to his home as he would pass away just one year later.
Before he died he did not only confess the killing of his nephew Julius who got to know the story but he also described the exact location of the mine which seemed to lie in a canyon not far away from Weaver's Needle. At least two of Walzer's listeners, Dick Holmes and Reinhart Petrash, searched unsuccessfully for the mine.
Indeed there are some clues that there must once have been some mining activity in the area round Weaver's Needle but the mine itself was never found again. A possible reason might be that Walzer himself could have tried to hide the entrance.
Another story says that it were the Apaches who destroyed every clue to the position of the mine before they were driven out of the mountains in 1885. Nevertheless, today happen still strange things in the Superstition Mountains. Two hunters reported in 1928 that someone had tried to slay them with boulders.
In 1931 Adolpho Ruth aged 66 tried to find the mine using a compass and a map which he thought was a copy of Peralta's treasure maps. Some months later his body was found - dead, and without the map but a bullet in the head. An unknown sniper tried to shoot two hikers in 1932. And even in 1959 a treasure hunter named Stanley Fernandez was shot by his partner Benjamin Ferreira after a brawl.Linkback:
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