There are many variations of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine which was said to be having a curse upon it as most people who went in search of it would either die in unusual circumstances or be missing. It is by far the most famous of the lost mines in the West.
The Apache Connection
In the jagged mountains towards the east of Phoenix in the state of Arizona, stands the Superstition Mountains protected by the people known as Apache Indians. When the Spanish settlers reached this area in 1540 and came to know about the hidden gold, they wanted to look for it. However the Apaches held the mountains sacred as they believed it was home to their Thunder God and even threatened the Spaniards.
The Spaniards however continued to search for the gold and it is said that slowly many of them started to vanish while some were found to have been brutally killed. The scared Spaniards finally decided to leave the Superstition Mountain.
The Story of Peralta and his Gold Mine
In 1748, the Superstition Mountain and an area of about 3500 square miles surrounding it were handed over to a rich Mexican cattle magnate named Miguel Peralta as a grant. Peralta’s men found a rich gold mine in the mountains. It is believed that this mine was the same which was later named as the Lost Dutchman’s mine. The Mexican was aware of the Apache’s fierce opposition to trespassers on the mountain, hence Peralta and his men made only irregular trips to get the gold.
In the year 1846 and again in 1864, some descendents of the Peralta who tried to take most of the gold were assaulted by the angry Apaches and were killed. No one attempted to find the mine again out of fear and over the years the location of the mine was forgotten.
The Lost Dutchman Mine named after Jacob Waltz
In 1870’s, a German prospector named Jacob Waltz who owned a farmhouse on the Superstition Mountain came to know of the gold mine from an Apache Indian girl named Ken-tee who became his mistress. The German was known as the Dutchman as many people at that time confused the Germans with the Dutch. The Apaches raged with anger after they got to know that the secret of their sacred mine had been leaked by Ken-tee. They attacked both, Waltz and Ken-tee and her tongue was cut off whereas Waltz managed to escape.
In 1877, Waltz was seen again with another man named Jacob Weiser while sourcing supplies and paying with gold. Weiser disappeared after sometime and was thought to be killed by the Apaches or by Waltz himself. Waltz continued to make trips to the mountains and carrying back sacks full of gold. Many people tried to ask him and follow him to know where Waltz was getting all the gold from. However, Waltz would mislead them where they would get lost.
In 1891, Waltz’s home was destroyed by floods and he took severely ill. He was looked after by two brothers and a lady named Julia Thomas. It is believed that he shared his secret of the mine with Julia and also asked his friends to get the sacks of gold he had saved in his house. Five sacks were recovered from there. Waltz died soon after.
Later, the two brothers and Julia searched the mountains to locate the gold mine as told by Waltz. However, even after several attempts and a lot of investment nothing could be found. The mysterious and ill fated mines were since known as the Lost Dutchman Mines.
Next: The Lost Mines of Death Valley, California