The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Discuss information about the Lost Dutchman Mine
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Potbelly Jim
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Re: The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Post by Potbelly Jim » Sat May 19, 2018 4:29 pm

Garry, I knew what you worries...

Keep in mind that Black Mesa trail has no relation to Black Top Mesa...Garden Valley lies between Hackberry and Black Mesa (not Black Top Mesa, which is a different mountain). So to get to Marsh Valley from Garden Valley, the shorter and easier way is to skirt Black Mesa on Black Mesa trail...this trail is one of the many that converge at the Spanish Racetrack/Marsh Valley/Charlebois intersection...It's all about the water...everyone wants to get to Charlebois...yes, they would have taken Bull Pass...the only other way to get there from Garden Valley is a lot longer, and was probably full of water due to the rains (Second Water to Needle Canyon), if they went that way, they would have missed Ruth's I'm fairly certain they came in on Black Mesa Trail, went up Bull pass, then found the skull at the Spanish Race Track...

There was a relatively recent Apache rancheria at the Spanish Racetrack, and I would imagine most of the trails we see today were originally Apache trails that lead to and away from there. There was another one at Garden Valley, so the Black Mesa trail the Halseth party took to the Spanish Racetrack (I guess early settlers thought the remains of the rancheria were Spanish?) was probably one of theirs. Halseth probably thought Ruth's skull was Indian because as an archeologist, he probably knew the skull was smack dab in the middle of where some Indians lived for a long time.

Now...if you follow that trail, from Bull Pass and along the north side of Bluff Springs Mtn, that's where the Spanish Racetrack is. When I was looking at Newcomer's and Greg D's pics, it looked like both Newcomer and Greg were standing south of the trail, looking down across the trail to the north...the trail is the low spot...some guys and horses can be seen standing around down there...Newcomer/Greg D., when they took their pics, were above and south of the trail, looking across it to a little hill north of the trail, and Ruth's skull was under a Palo Verde on the slope of that the skull would have been to their LEFT as they passed on the first day, and to their RIGHT as they came back out the second day...does that make any sense? Take care, Jim
Jim R.

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Potbelly Jim
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Re: The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Post by Potbelly Jim » Sat May 19, 2018 4:47 pm

Ooops...meant to also point out that they would have taken the left fork at Bull Pass...if you take the right hand one, it goes up Bluff Springs Mtn...that's the wrong trail and won't lead to La Barge...anyway, the left fork is the way they went, as they were headed to La Barge and not Bluff Springs Mtn...and it's on that trail that they found the skull...
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Re: The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Post by ThomasG » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:54 pm

Adolph Ruth

Adolph Ruth keeps popping up. Sometimes it is his route, or his health, or was he murdered, or did he die of natural causes, or his map(s), etc.

The Ruth affair is a tantalizing one. However, one should keep in mind is that he knew very little about the Lost Dutchman Mine or any mine in the Superstitions. The simple facts are that he went from place to place; state to state trying to make what little information he had fit a local story and/or the terrain.

Gerald Hamrick tracked down the Gonzales family that had known Erwin. Hamrick not only knew them, he stayed with them and he had their support. He told me he first contacted them and then they corresponded. When he was able he visited them. The family was more than hospitable. One of Hamrick’s languages was Spanish. He eventually spent five years in Mexico researching and treasure hunting.

He stayed for sometime with the Gonzales family, the one Ruth had known. He told me that after he settled into a room in their hacienda a bowl with money brought in. He was told to take as much as he needed. More importantly they gave him personal letters and recommendations that opened door to archives. One of the first things he told me was the Gonzales family that Ruth had known was not related to any Peralta family.

His stories of the Gonzales’ support are for another time and place. Two surviving letters show that Hamrick did know the Gonzales family Ruth knew. The letters are on letterhead, they are in English written by a well educated person whose second language was English. I have seen and read both letters. In my book Treasure Tales of the Superstitions in the last section much of the story of Ruth’s search is related. A summary is below.

Gonzales was orphaned as a young boy. He was placed in a boarding school, isolating him pretty much from most of the family for a decade or two. Upon reaching his majority he inherited bits and pieces of information about his family’s history — but mostly about the Gonzales family’s general history. It was, apparently — family papers, photographs and such, and he very probably was told about his parents along with bits and pieces of the Gonzales family history and stories. My understanding is this all happened a decade or more after losing his parents and his home. Apparently that's all he had — what he remembered as a boy, stories that had been told him by his father, and whatever remained of his family's property and papers. Whatever the case, he and Erwin Ruth later got together. Possibly because Erwin was an American and the Gonzales' mine (mines?) were not it the States.

Phase I: Erwin and Gonzales search together. It seems Gonzales knew the stories about a mine, and he and Erwin decided to try and find it. They obtained access to an airplane and started searching the Big Bend country of Texas. Gonzales and Erwin tried to spot a likely location that fit what little Gonzales knew. What were they looking for? They were trying to find La Torre de Montaña that fit Gonzales’ information. What is a “La Torre de Montaña?" It is “The Tower Mountain”, or “The Mountain Tower”.

Gonzales soon gave up the search as he realized that they simply had too little information. Go on the Internet and look at aerial photos of the Big Bend Country and one will quickly see why Gonzales may have become disillusioned.

Phase II: Erwin and Adolph search. The next phase of Erwin Ruth’s involvement shifted to California and this time it involved his father Adolph. Adolph was a confirmed treasure hunter and aficionado of the genre. He had scrapbooks devoted to the subject. It is not unlikely that the trip to California was his idea. After all, he risked his job to make the trip. He definitely had gold fever. Interestingly, the location that Erwin and Ruth ended up was in the vicinity of Borrego Springs, CA. Why Borrego Springs and the desert? According to Dutchman lore it too was due to the maps Erwin obtained in Mexico.

Curiously, the area is also one favored by lost mine hunters for one of California’s most famous lost mines, the Lost Peg Leg. Also interesting is that one of the clues to the Lost Peg Leg is it is associated with a peak, or something similar which stands out from the adjacent mountains. That is, a “La Torre de Montaña" The trip ends in disaster when Adolph wanders off and breaks a leg.

Phase III: Erwin has dropped from the physical hunting of a mine. Now it is Adolph alone. We know very little about this trip. What we do know we owe to Garry Cundiff. Garry uncovered Ruth documents which included the last page of a letter written by Adolph. The last page consists of only a few sentences. Lacking the first page we have no date for the letter. My copy of this last page reads:

Page 2

otherwise it is mountainous & rough.

My old German atlas gives the region as Regen arm, (Poor Rain) dry very little rain you have to carry your drinking water. — I intend to make my Headquarters at Jal a post office 21 inhabitants, Oahoa 14 inhabitants Jal first. I may change as I think best. I expect to take a dog along to test the spring you know. I expect to leave here soon but will write all my people as soon as located. There is no danger I shall not move after dark. There are no bad Indians now. This used to be a Comanche Indian region.

My Love & best wishes to you all

Ruth is based in Jal, New Mexico. Jal is in the southeastern part of New Mexico. If you as threw a baseball you could almost hit Texas. It is relatively flat. So what the heck is Adolph doing in a small remote settlement in eastern New Mexico? Especially, as it is relatively flat desert for miles around.

Interestingly, there is a famous lost mine story attached to the area, the Lost Ben Sublett Mine. The general location is usually given as somewhere in the Guadalupe Mountains of southern New Mexico. The Guadalupes are only about 40 miles from Jal. And they have good candidates for a “La Torre de Montaña". Again check out images on-line or a topo map on-line. Perhaps even more interesting is that in the early part of the 19th century the Lost Ben Sublett Mine was placed by many in the Russell Hills. The Russell Hills are just east of the southern Guadalupes This small range of mountains stands alone, i.e., it is separated from the Guadalupes. And the Russell Hills are only about 35 or so miles from Jal.

Phase IV: After his New Mexico adventure, and not having found his El Dorado in California or New Mexico his eyes turned to Arizona — and likely the Lost Dutchman legend.


Erwin Ruth knew the Gonzales family. The Mexican Civil War broke up the family. The young Gonzales is sent to a boarding school. When he gets out years and years later he gets some of the family documents, stories, etc. Among the papers are bits and pieces of an old mine once owned by his Gonzales family. In some manner Erwin and Gonzales get together — as noted perhaps because Erwin is an American citizen and the mine is now in the States. (?)

Erwin and Gonzales obtain the use of an airplane.

They try looking for the mine. It is a lost cause, Gonzales bows out. Erwin too may have thought the quest was a non-starter. Adolph is the reassure hunter of the family, and he has collected a lot of info. on the subject. Adolph now starts trying to make pieces of some of his info fit the map and Gonzales info. He becomes obsessed with it. Erwin plays along for one trip — California. Then he too gives up. Adolph is on his own.

He follows a pattern. He looks for a legend that has a possible “La Torre de Montaña". First, it is the Peg Leg and its stand-alone butte, peak, …. , Then it is the Lost Ben Sublett, perhaps the stand-alone buttes, peaks, mountains of the Guadalupes. Or maybe it is the stand alone Russell Mts. Nope, it is the Dutchman with its Weaver Needle. Recall that apparently one of the first things Ruth did at the Quarter Circle-U was ask about a peak the fits a “La Torre de Montaña", although that is apparently not the phraseology used.

It would seem Adolph Ruth was going from state to state in the Southwest trying to fit a legend to the Mexican info he had. He was singularly unsuccessful. It would seem Adolph Ruth had no idea about the location of the Dutchman. It was simply his last stop, and as such, it was likely the lost mine he thought had the least chance of fitting his ideas.

Summary: i) after failure of Erwin’s and Gonzales’ Big Bend adventure Adolph got hold of the Gonzales maps and info. He became obsessed with it. It was the stuff of his wildest dreams; ii) using his scrapbooks and information he had collected over the years on lost mines he searched for a story that he could possible relate to his Mexican info. and map(s); iii) he became obsessed with matching the right story to the maps; iv) he simply then went from boarder state to boarder state — California, New Mexico, Arizona matching his info with a treasure legend.

Adolph Ruth knew no more about the Lost Dutchman Mine, and probably less, than the readers of the forum do.


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Potbelly Jim
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Re: The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Post by Potbelly Jim » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:59 am

Hi Thomas,

Thomas wrote:
Adolph Ruth knew no more about the Lost Dutchman Mine, and probably less, than the readers of the forum do.

For the rest of you, that is...he may have known more than me :lol: Since my last posts on this subject, thanks to Garry, I've learned the Ruth timeline I posted earlier as well as some assumptions I had and posted about the AZ Republic expedition contained several errors...corrections forthcoming.

Thomas, the more I look at this case, the more convinced I am that Adolph Ruth knew nothing more about the LDM than what he was able to glean from a newspaper article...take care, Jim
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Re: The Legend of the Superstition Mountains

Post by novice » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 am


A nicely documented post regarding Adolph Ruth’s scrapbook and correspondence. I believe you are likely correct that the Ben Sublett Lost mine is what he was searching for in the scrap of correspondence that survived. According to the Ralph Brown newspaper article Adolph became interested 40 years ago in the Lost Dutchman Mine and it’s not a long leap to believe he collected other lost mine stories during that time period (About 1891-1931). His search for the Lost Peg Leg Smith mine is well documented and now you have also made a case for the Ben Sublett Lost Mine.

I doubt the scrap book has survived.

The part that I’m still withholding judgement on is whether Adolph ever had anything other that the excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle, 1895 article, for clues to the location of the LDM. I haven’t seen anything that gives me any confidence that the so called Gonzales information ever existed.

The provenance of the Gonzales map is a research project on its own. We have to go back to Erwin’s tale of his encounter with the Gonzales family in Kansas City and the chronology of Erwin’s account of his involvement with the Gonzales family in the Mexican Revolution.

Gerald Hamrick’s documented story may change my mind. :)


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