There are some treasure stories that are so well documented and have been investigated, examined and written about so much that we cannot do them justice on these pages. The Lost Dutchman is one of those. We hope to give you the story here and want you to know that there is a lot of information available on the web, in libraries and bookstores.
Before we begin, it is important to note that there are really two separate stories about very pure gold veins in the Superstition Mountains. Some accounts represent these both as the Dutchman’s mine, some as two different stories. They are certainly intertwined. They may indeed be the same vein but we will treat them independently. The other tale can be found in the Arizona index as the Peralta Mine.
The “Dutchman” was actually a German named Jakob Walz. He was educated as a mining engineer in Heidelberg, worked in Prussia, Australia and California before moving onto Arizona in 1862. While working as a miner for a mining company, he fell in love with a beautiful Apache girl named Ken-tee. Many believe that he and other miners were smuggling gold out of the mine for themselves. The mine owners had the miner’s homes searched and found hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold, but none on the Dutchman. It is thought that Ken-tee helped Walz hide the gold he smuggled out. In any case, he was fired.
Walz and Ken-tee settled in a small community near the Superstition Mountains. One day they left and returned weeks later with burros laden with gold. They made the arrangements to have to gold shipped to mint in San Francisco. Where this gold actually came from has never been proven.
We need to briefly look at the Peralta story. In 1845, he found a rich gold vein in the Superstition Mountains. While leaving the area in 1848 with his gold being borne out on burros, the Apaches attacked. This was sacred ground that they felt had been defiled. The Peralta party was wiped out.
This brought up the other possibilities for the Dutchman’s gold. Was it part of the gold that was scattered about still attached to Peralta’s burros? Was it from the Peralta mine? Was it a new find? Or was it simply gathered from a stash of gold he had smuggled from his previous employer?
Walz never talked, but the Apaches believed that the secret they kept about the Peralta mine had been betrayed by Ken-tee. They raided the Walz’s home and took Ken-tee. Walz and his neighbors pursued them and freed Ken-tee, but not before the Apache had cut out her tongue. She died in the Dutchman’s arms.
Walz became a hard-drinking loner. He became famous as the man who knew the location of untold riches and too bitter to claim them.
Three years after Ken-tee’s death, another German arrived in Phoenix. Walz had probably sent for Jacob Weiser. The two seemed to be close. Weiser was a carpenter by trade. He was outgoing and became a popular figure in Phoenix.
One day the two of the disappeared. This must have been difficult to do, because everyone was curious about the location of the Dutchman’s gold and he was pretty regularly followed. They returned about a month later and sent off sacks full of gold to the mint in San Francisco.
Right away they set back out for the Superstition Mountains. They had gathered more gold and were camped on their return trip when the Apache attacked. Walz escaped with only the very little clothing he was sleeping in. Weiser got away also, but with an arrow through his upper arm and imbedded in his chest. He made it to a doctor but died by morning.
The Dutchman still went back on occasion to retrieve gold. He had eventually sent over $250,000 worth of gold to the San Francisco mint. Although he was never held for any murders, some of those that tried to follow him to his secret were never heard from again. It was considered unwise to get too close when he was going out.
At the time of his death in October of 1891, the Dutchman was a sad figure. He had lost everything in life he had valued except his gold. He even confessed to killing his own nephew. He had him brought over from Germany but then feared he would give away the location of the gold.
Julia Thomas, a kind black woman, had taken him in to her home and was caring for him. On his deathbed the left $15,000 and the treasure direction to her. She spent the rest of her life looking for the mine, but never found it. She died in poverty and passed her information onto Jim Bark, a rancher. Jim searched for 15 years, but found nothing. Some believe he left wrong instructions as a cruel joke. They say you can still hear him laughing in the thunder that echoes through the canyons.
He said the mine was in country “so rough that you could be right in the mine without seeing it.” It was shaped like a funnel with the broad end at the top. The mine contained an eighteen-inch vein of rose quartz that was about 1/3 gold.
“The mine is near the hideout cave. One mile from the cave, there is a rock with a natural face looking east. To the south is Weaver’s Needle. Follow the right of the canyons, but not far. The mine faces west… The mine can be found at the spot on which the shadow of the tip of Weaver’s Needle rests at exactly four in the afternoon.”