Truth and Legends of Superstition Mountains
Throughout childhood I spent lots of time at the base of the Superstitions. My family owned 1000 acres homestead & mine long before Arizona had become a state. Sadly, statehood cost my ancestors the loss of the majority of the land. They were only allowed to keep 100 acres, so family history goes, so they kept the mine portion of the land figuring they would still have a living. They destroyed the house my 2nd Great-Grandmother would not let anybody live in her home and everything they could not take was left and blown up with dynamite. I remember being shown fragments of dishes and the stories told when we camped out at the mine when I was around six to ten years old.
The mine held so many fond memories for me. The best personal memory was when I visited my Grandmother from California during my sixth summer. My parents were driving in to get me and I didn’t want to go back and neither did Grandma, so we went several places and ended alone out at the mine, hiding out. My parents of course were not happy driving all over the counties looking for us and I sadly went with them.
As for stories told, you have to visualize the mine building. Typical shed/shack like wood structure with no beds inside. Attached to one corner was an L shaped structure with a roof and several old spring brass beds. You could sleep dozens in this sleeping area. We would pull out bedding on top of the beds and sleep, with stories for all the children.
Most people love the Lost Dutchman Legend, we laugh at it and are a little frustrated over the imagination of it. Whenever, he was starving and weak he came down from the mountains to recover at any neighbor who would take him in. He had his regulars and my ancestors were one of at least two.
One man, who fuels the ‘Legend’ says he remembers gold rocks under The Dutchman’s bed, my grandmother and I visited that man once, he told me his version of the story. After we left, she smiled and retold the story that our family tells that of a starving miner with no means of support or gold.
Why would there be two stories? If you ask me, the desire for fame. If the ‘Dutchman’ had found gold, why not buy food, clothes, supplies before his journey back? If people already believed he had gold, he could easily lose them in those mountains. Why horde it all? He always left our family mine with food & clothes donated by my ancestors not purchased. No one found his body, his mine or gold. Sadly he died, in those mountains probably buried in his collapsed mine.
Legends can be entertaining, but usually are just stories.