We have “two” documents (shared by Roger) that provide the primary firsthand accounts from Kochera. There are others hinted at by various people but we have not seen them.
I know most of you have seen these documents but I want to insert transcribed copies of the hand written versions into this thread for ease of reference.
I have tried to retain the spelling, capitalizations, punctuation, etc.
Letter written by John B. Kochera on April 4, 1974 to “Crazy Jake” (Robert Simpson)
Affidavit written by John B. Kochera on December 7, 1991 for Ron Feldman4 April 74
With this letter I am enclosing a copy of the assays I had made on the ore we found. They are not too impressive. Just thought you might care to know.
Also inclosed is a map that I will detail to you.
I don’t have the money to search for it. I am a darn good prospector but a piss poor salesman. I can’t get any money men to sponsor me in a search. So I am giving it to you. You seem to be an honest person and since you have about all the maps available I would like you to have these also. I hope you find it and if you do remember me in some small way.
In 1960 I met an Apache Indian named Haywood, he was from the Verde river country in Arizona. He was in Milwaukee going to vocational school, which the government sent him to along with some others. We became good friends and one night he was over at my house and we got to drinking heavy. I started talking about finding gold in Mexico and then he told me this.
In the spring of 1942, he and fourteen other men went on horses up the salt river to Labarge canyon Then up Labarge canyon to squaw canyon. They turned up squaw canyon, passed by the box canyon, then passed on the north side of three red hills. Then turned north about 1 mile and turned west to a hill north of the box canyon. There is a tunnel at the south side base of the hill, with brush and small trees nearly hiding it. They then went to the top of the hill and uncovered a pit. They took out about $50,000 in gold. When they left they covered the pit again. The vein of gold is in a soft black rock and on both sides of the black vein is red rock.
Haywood was thirty-seven years old when I met him. He believed strongly that something bad would happen if he told a white man, but since I am part Indian, he thought it would be all right. In July 1960, he and another guy was killed in a head on crash with a trailer truck.
For fourteen years I’ve kept this to myself and you are now the only person I’ve told this to. I hope it does some good to you. I personally believe this is the dutchman’s mine. I wish I could search for it, but just don’t see how.
I would appreciate hearing from you on what you think of this.
I’ll close for now and if you have any questions I’ll be glad to help you out. I believe you are the person all this was predestined for.
Good Luck and best wishes,
RT 1 Box 34
Yuba, Wis 54672
P.S. Thes are machine copies of the originals
(Ron had purchased about 6 specimens of gold ore from Kochera)
Some people have connected these two letters as being part of “one” story while others see them as two completely different stories with no connection at all.The gold ore specimens, now in possesion of Ron Feldman were found by my brother Joe and I in April 1962. We were headed up squaw canyon in search of a mine, the directions of which were given to me by a man named Haywood. Joe and I decided to cut over black mountain (Malipai) and go into the head of Charlebois canyon, and then down to the spring, then back out to Bull Pass. While we were crossing the saddle on Malipai we came across a pile of gold ore. It had been in an old rotten leather or rawhide bag. There was 24 pounds of it. We searched all around but could find no more, nor was there any bones or skeletons. We thought that there must be a mine nearby where it came from, but after years of searching we never could find it.
The ore assayed $49,728.00 per ton at $35.00/oz. The smaller pieces assay at only $28,111.00 per ton so we thought the little pieces came from a stringer off of the main ore shoot. This still did not help us locate the source.
John B. Kochera
7 Dec. 1991
Kochera also identifies two additional first hand documents in the April 4, 1974 letter. He states he is enclosing a map along with an “unimpressive” assay report. We believe the map has survived but have been unable to locate the “unimpressive” assay report. (If anyone has any information on that assay report, anything that can be shared would be appreciated)
I'll try to get a follow-up post out later today and begin to share a few other references to Kochera.