Ancestry.com has some historic Newspapers scanned and one is the Arizona Republican (1891-1907). Somehow ancestry.com has scanned the text and they were able to use some kind of text recognition software to index it. It is a long way from perfect, but not too bad. It is also missing 1892 which is an important time frame.
I found several articles in the newspaper regarding Bark's mining operations and they are shown below. Bark wore a lot of hats but mining was certainly always on his front burner. It seems to me that he was not only interested in The Lost Dutchman, but any other possible prospects.
This allows us to begin building a more complete timeline of the events and additional context to the story.
It is not clear to me whether the reference to the "Big Injun" mining claim could be associated with the Bark-Chuning Mine? If it were, it would put the Chuning story in a very early time frame. Before John found the mine that he and Bark mined, Bark related that "John had been hunting faithfully for years all alone, with his three burros."Arizona Republican, March 31, 1894 (Page 1, Column 3)
Notice of location of the "Big Injun" mining claim in the Superstition district was filed yesterday by Jas. E. Bark, Frank C. Criswell and H. C. Ward.
The Bark notes also state that "One day in the late 80's there came to the ranch a man (Chuning) and camped down by the well." (This appears to be in error since Bark didn't purchase the ranch until 1891?)
Had Chuning been searching for Deering's mine before he became acquainted with Bark?
This is surely in reference to the Bark-Chuning Mine. From the Bark account of all of the preparation and initial mining, the operation must have been ongoing for some time prior to this date.Arizona Republican, July 3, 1896 (Page 5, Column 2)
Jim Bark arrived last night from his mine on the upper Salt river where with an arastra run by water power, he is making expenses for the claim while developing. He has dammed the Salt river and gains power for an arastra by a wheel, with a rope transmission.
Arizona Republican, October 13, 1896 (Page 5, Column 2)
Jim Bark came in yesterday from his gold mine in the Salt River box canyon.
It seems that the mine was still being aggressively mined in October of 1896, but it raises several questions. There is never any mention of Chuning and now we have a California Company involved.Arizona Republican, October 14, 1896 (Page 5, Column 2)
The California company that recently signed an agreement with Jim Bark to develope five of his mining claims on the upper Salt river yesterday sent out a load of supplies to the camp. The company has a small force of men at work on the claims and as they are developed the force will be increased.
Was Chuning a "full fledged partner" with Bark?
Perhaps someone knows whether the five mining claims were in both Bark and Chunings name? Also the date that Bark filed the claims?
Could this just be a case of Bark improving the Deering story?
We also find some additional references to Bark and his mining activities.
Arizona Republican, September 29, 1894 (Page 5, Column 1)
Ed Metcalf and Jas. Bark returned last night from the Bradshaws. There is increasing activity among prospectors in that region and a great many promising locations are being made.
This above trip was undoubtedly associated with the Alaska gold discoveries.Arizona Republican, April 19, 1900 (Page 5, Column 2)
Mr. Lincoln Fowler and Jim Bark will sail for Cape Nome where they will spend the summer and perhaps the winter.
GarryArizona Republican, April 17, 1906 (Page 6, Column 3)
Articles for new Corporations were filed in the office of the County Recorder. Hassayampa Placer Mining Company. Incorporators, Frank Cox, J. E. Bark, James Burson, Sims Ely and J. M. Bark