We are staying in the Gold Canyon area of Arizona located at the base of the Superstition Mountains. The Superstition Mountain area is the site of a famous gold mine and so streets have been named accordingly. On my bike ride yesterday I took photos of the many streets with gold or mining related names. Throughout the last two hundred years many people have been dead sure there was still gold in the Superstition Mountains.
A gold mine was discovered in the Superstition Mountains in 1845 by Don Miguel Peralta the son of a rich Mexican family. He went back to Mexico for money and supplies to start extracting the gold he’d found. He soon returned to Arizona and began shipping millions of pesos worth of pure gold back to Mexico. The Apache, angry over Peralta’s presence in their territory, attacked and massacred all Peralta’s men just as they were heading back to Mexico scattering his wagons, burros and gold all over the area. For years after people found remains of Peralta’s wagon train and recovered his gold. The area became a place for people to get rich quick.
Dr. Abraham Thorne was an army doctor who came to Arizona in 1865 and ended up working among the Apache Indians. He made friends with them and earned the respect of their leaders by caring for the sick, delivering babies and teaching hygiene. In 1870 the elders said because he was their friend they wanted to show him a place where he could find gold. They blindfolded the doctor and took him on a twenty-mile journey to the base of a canyon wall where there was a stack of gold nuggets, the doctor believed had come from the Peralta mine. He sold them for $6000. Jacob Waltz the legendary “Dutchman” who lived in the Superstition Mountain area in the 1880’s was thought to have discovered the Peralta mine as well because he would show up in Phoenix and buy things with gold nuggets. People tried to follow Waltz when he left Phoenix but he evaded them all. He refused to draw a map or tell anyone where his gold cache was located. He kept coming back to Phoenix with saddlebags of gold and finally died there in 1891 the home of a lady friend, Julia Thomas leaving a sack of gold ore under his deathbed. Since Waltz’ death thousands of treasure hunters have searched in vain for the lost mine and many have been injured or killed in the process. Just this past November Fox News published a story about recovering the body of a Denver man who died looking for the mine.
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