The Mystery Behind the Legend of the Lost Dutchmans Gold Mine
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The Mystery Behind the Legend of the Lost Dutchmans Gold Mine

Goldfield “ghost town” Arizona was a town of many mysteries, and for years people visit it to either enjoy the view of the old settlement, or to look for clues to find the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.

Goldfield “ghost town” Arizona was a town of many mysteries, and for years people visit it to either enjoy the view of the old settlement, or to look for clues to find the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.

In 1892, a settlement located at the top of a small hill between the Superstition Mountain and the Goldfield Mountain started, when rich grade gold ore was found in the area. Soon enough a small town sprung up, and on October 7, 1893, they received their official post office.

Image via Google Images

The town has three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. The town’s gold mining industry boomed for 5 years, and some 1,500 people resided in the area. A legend about a lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine invited more miners to come over and stay, and before you know it, some 4,000 people were already residing in the town. But just like any other gold camp, when the grade of ore started to drop and there were less of them found, the town quickly found itself dying. People left and the mines were closed, but those searching for the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine stayed and attempted to reopen the mines and the industry of gold mining but failed.

Image via Google Images

On the first decade of the 20th century George Young, the secretary of Arizona and acting governor brought new mining methods and equipments to recover the ore and the town began slowly to come alive once more. New structures were built like a mill and a cyanide plant. A new post office was established on June 8, 1921, and the town came to be known as “Youngsberg.” The town’s gold mining industry lasted for 5 years, and when the gold was totally gone the town died once again.

Image via Google Images

In 1966, Robert F. “Bob” Schoose, a long time ghost town, mining, and treasure-hunting enthusiast made his first trip to the Superstition Mountains and instantly fell in love with the area and dreamt of owning his own ghost town. He and his wife Lou Ann found the abandoned Goldfield Mill. In 1984 they purchased the site and rebuilt the old town. Today, Goldfield is filled with authentic looking buildings, and had been a well-known tourist spot in Arizona.

The Legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine

Goldfield became well-known for the Legend of the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. According to history, a fantastic gold mine exists there and had been the quest of many adventurers and a place of doom for the others. It has been said that a strange energy lingers there that has caused people who seek the mine to vanish without a trace.

The first man to discover the gold of the Indians on Superstition Mountain was Don Miguel Peralta, a member of a prominent family who owned a ranch near Sonora, Mexico. He discovered a vein of rich gold there in 1845 while searching for a treasure. The Apache Indians were angry over the Spanish presence on the mountain and in 1848, raised a large force to drive Peralta and his men from the area. They packed up all of the available burros and wagons with the already mined ore to bring home. Peralta took elaborate precautions to conceal the entrance to the mine and to wipe out any trace that they had ever worked there.

The Apache warriors attacked and massacred the entire company of Spaniards. The pack mules were scattered in all directions, spilling the gold and taking it with them as they plunged over cliffs and into ravines. Years after, prospectors and soldiers discovered the remains of the burros and the rotted leather packs that were still brimming with raw gold.

The next discoverer of the Peralta mine was a man named Dr. Abraham Thorne. All of his life he longed to be a doctor to the Indians in the western states. Thorne came to live and work amongst the Indians. He soon made many friends and earned respect from the tribal leaders, caring for the sick and injured, delivering babies and teaching hygiene and waste disposal. In 1870, the elders in the tribe came to him with a proposal. Since he was considered a good man and a friend of the Apache, they would take him to a place where he could find gold. The Indians placed a cloth around his head and over his eyes. They led him away on horseback and at the end of the journey, the cloth was removed and he found himself in an unknown canyon. Piled near the base of the canyon wall (as if placed there for him) was a stack of almost pure gold nuggets. He picked up as much of it as he could carry and returned home.

In 1845, Jacob Walz from Germany, heard stories from the local Indians about vast deposits of gold. He met Jacob Weiser and the two “Dutchman” (as they were called though they weren’t really Dutchmen) vanished into the land around Superstition Mountain. Not long after, they were seen in Phoenix paying for drinks and supplies with gold nuggets. Stories say that the two were given a map to the mine by a Mexican don whose life they saved. The man was said to have been Don Miguel Peralta, the son of a rich landowner in Sonora, Mexico and a descendant of the original discoverer of the mine. The Dutchmen saved Peralta from certain death in a knife fight and as a reward, he gave them a look at the map to the mine.

In 1880, two young soldiers had been discharged from Fort McDowell, and while crossing Superstition Mountain they had flushed a deer into one of the canyons and on their way out, they found the remains of an old a tunnel and mine. It was said that they accidentally found the lost Dutchman’s mine. They returned to get more gold but never came back. Soon their bodies were found with a gunshot on the head.

In June of 1931, a government employee named Adolph Ruth from Washington, D.C. left for the Superstition foothills with what he claimed was an old Peralta map to the mine. When a search party went to look for him a few days later, his campsite was found to be intact, but Ruth was missing. That December, his skull was found on Black Top Mountain with two holes in it.

All those who came to look for the mine met their death. Some were killed through gunshot on the head, some bodies were mutilated, and some were never found and had vanished without a trace.

The lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine found?

In 2009, John V. Kemm claimed to have found the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine through Google Earth. The key to this discovery was the “Peralta Stone Maps.” According to him, looking at the “heart” from the Peralta stone map, reverse it or spin it to the right and a bit to the north too. From Weaver’s Needle, and from a specific angle, you will see the heart’s center. The upper left side is where the gold is. This can be verified on Google Earth and the exact coordinates are: 33°26′46.06″N 111°21′44.38″W – 1847 m (Infos taken from Patrick Bernauw’s article “The lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine: found?” Kemm made a video to support his discovery.

With the so-called discovery of the lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine by John V. Kemm on Google Earth, does it confirm that the legend could be true after all? That fact still remains a mystery.

Photos of the Peralta Stone Maps

Image via Dessert USA

Images via Google Images

Video of the alleged discovery of “Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine” through Google Earth by John V. Kemm

Video via YouTube

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Comments (30)

I've always been fascinated with the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine and the alleged "curse" that goes with it. Good job, Alma.

Ranked #16 in History

Another really interesting article from you, Alma. I enjoyed this.

Ranked #51 in History

Thanks William ans Val for your comments :)

Never heard of that story, but I love it. Seems like wherever there is gold or big earnings involved, people do tend to become at their worst. I wonder who killed all those looking for the mines.

Ranked #20 in History

Wonderful article and the pictures make it extemely easy to picture.

Toni Star

Very interesting article! You made the mystery of the story compelling and infomative...


Ranked #51 in History

Thanks Martine, Martha and Toni for your comments :)

excellent share friend

Ranked #5 in History

I love all this sort of stuff another good one Alma thanks

Another magnificent article. I really enjoyed this, Alma. Thank you for sharing. Very best wishes.

They run a marathon every year near this place. It's a fascinating area for sure.

Ranked #66 in History

Great article, loved the pictures too!

Ranked #3 in History

Excellente article full of interesting detail and pics.

Mike McChesney

AJ, I don't know why you ratted up a good article with anything by John Kemm who owns a head shop in N.M.. At the time he made his fantastic discovery, he had never set foot in the Superstition Mountains. Notice that there are no on site pics in his video? There have been in excess of 300 people who have publicly claimed to have found the Lost Dutchman. When the real Lost Dutchman Mine is found confirmation will be simple enough through ore matching via Scanning Electron Microscopy and/or PIXE (Proton Induced XRay Emissions ). To date, nobody has matched the known samples of Waltz' Gold Ore.

Ranked #51 in History

Hi Mike, thanks for the comment. This article was a historical essay on the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. It's just normal to include the latest controversy about it - the claims of John Kemm, but the fact on whether this mine was found still remains a mystery. Thanks for reading!

Mike McChesney

Hey AJ, there is no doubt that Kemm has not found the LDM. If you want to add something worthy of the rest of the article, look into the only person granted a permit to dig in the Supers since they were made wilderness in 1983. I think Clay Worst (who has been researching the LDM since the early 1950s) even has a website about that venture. Thanks


Hey AJ, there is no doubt that Kemm "has found the LDM."

2 months ago "Had the Stone Crosses, the Latin Heart, the Priest/Horse Map, the two Trail Maps, and the? first Stone Heart all been found in the same place at the same time, someone might then have been able to evaluate them as a complete set, determine the correct way to make use of them and locate the? mines or treasure they pertain to ((((long before now.))))" Quoted by Jim Hatt


"Had the Stone Crosses, the Latin Heart, the Priest/Horse Map, the two Trail Maps, and the? first Stone Heart all been found in the same place at the same time, someone might then have been able to evaluate them as a complete set, determine the correct way to make use of them and locate the? mines or treasure they pertain to ((((long before now.))))" Quoted by Jim Hatt PERALTA MAPS SOLVED!))) [Incident:090713-000011]

Mike McChesney

Funny that nobody in either the BLM or Tonto National Forest Ranger or Archaeologist Offices knows anything about this! HAHAHA


Whats really funny is its funny that "Scott Wood Chief Archaeologist" in either the BLM or Tonto National Forest Ranger or Archaeologist Offices "knows Every Thing about this!"


Is It true that Mr. "Scott Wood" Chief Archaeologist who is soley responsible for issueing the troving permits for the Lost Dutchmans Mine Is an Apache indian? Does any one know if the rumor is true? Also I do know he avoids alot of email and phone calls and does not return them?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, Alma. Great work! : )

Excellent. Voted up

Mike McChesney


What Scott knows about is the fact that every year he has to field requests from a million crackpots that claim to have found the LDM. And its funny that every one is just as positive as you, err John Kemm, that they know exactly where it is. The same exact garbage has been going on since the 1930s. You (err John Kemm) is just another in a long line of wanna be's.



Best-Mike: I did not realize people had access to Google Earth Sattelite imagery (in the 1930s), the Sat imagery Mr, Kemm Used In This Amazing Discovery is dated 2007.


I did not realize google earth had sattelite imagery since the 1930s and didnt know about (the millions of crackpots that have made there discovery on google earth.) Thanks for letting us know. Your obviously the number one authority on this Google earth Stuff.


I’ve been hiking in there and sneaking gold out for years. My father showed me that location when I was 10 and his? father showed him. All the ‘easy’ gold is gone.


Mike McChesney


First, I am somewhat of an authority on aerial image interpretation.

Second, what I meant was that there have been many crackpots since (mostly) the 1930s that have claimed to have found the LDM, and like John Kemm and BB (and countless others), have faded into the "I wish I hads" column of history.



Well I dont know about BB, however John V. Kemm is far from faded, he now currently holds the world record for the most dowloaded KML on google earth 33°26'46.06N 111°21'44.38W.kmz (8957590 downloads)

Thats over 8 million downloads, quite remarkable. Kemm is obviously on to something very real and very big, and MrMTurbo Just confirmed in his above statement there is in fact gold at Mr. Kemms Location.

Dwight L. Harris

33°26'46.06N 111°21'44.38W.kmz (8957590 downloads) over 8 Million downloads

Mr. John V. Kemm currently holds the world record for the most KML downloads on google earth. I agree he is very far from fading, and also MrMTurbos statement above confirms gold at this location.