I need to apologize for not being more thorough in researching the Crazy Jake manuscripts for any mention of the John Kochera story. It turns out that Jake did include the April 1974 letter in his second manuscript, although he did not include either of the Haywood/Kochera maps. (Jake did refer to the maps in the text).
The following excerpt regarding Kochera can be found in the Robert S Jacob manuscript, The Legend of Crazy Jake, Book 4, Pages 121 to 126, and takes place beginning in January 1974:
"The weather was now very good and work went well, but we weren't having any luck at finding the mine. Days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, but still no luck. The year turned over to 1974 and in January I was sitting in camp one afternoon when a man and his sixteen year old son showed up. The man told me they were just hiking out in the mountains and had seen the smoke from my campfire and decided to stop in to say hello. I invited him to have dinner with us and spend the night in one of the tents if he and his son would like to. He said that to spend a night in a tent would be fine, for it was looking like it might rain. We sat there drinking our coffee and talking while we were waiting for the food to cook and the more I looked at this man the more I saw indications that he was an Indian. In my mind I was curious as to if he was out here in the mountains passing on to his son what his father had passed on to him. Was he showing this boy where the great mine was or was it just as he had told me that he was just hiking in the mountains. I never asked anything of him, but just listened to what he was saying. He never asked anything of me. Not even to ask what we were looking for. After we all had eaten and had a couple more cups of coffee we all turned in. The next morning, after everyone had eaten, the man and the boy both thanked me for my hospitality and left. As they were leaving I felt that the man knew a lot of things that I would have liked to have known. As I watched them make their way up the canyon and out of sight, I felt that I was seeing the last of them. I was wrong, for this man and the short time we were together, was going to be a very important person in the search for the mine they called the Dutchman.
That afternoon we ran out of fuse and it was necessary that I go to town and get some more. I had thought that we had more there in camp, but noone could find where it was, so I saddled Blacky up and headed to town. It was a good day and Blacky really liked to run, so the miles flew by under his feet and the next thing I knew I was coming into First Water parking lot. There at the back end of an old International Carryall, making coffee on a Coleman stove on the tailgate, was my Indian from out in the mountain. Up till this time I had never even heard him mention his name, but now he told me it was Johnny. He insisted that I have a cup of coffee with him, seeing it was ready. I was ready for a cup and so it was that the two of us ended up sitting there on rocks in the parking lot, drinking our coffee together. He was a pleasant person, even if he didn't say much. After we finished the coffee and had a couple of refills I told him I had to go on into town, but if he would like, why not stop in in the morning and have breakfast with me. He said that would be fine, and so I told him how to find where I lived in town and then headed on toward home.
The next morning just after I had gotten up I looked out the window to see the Carryall pulling up. He had accepted my invitation to breakfast and was there to eat with me. As we sat there eating I noticed that he kept eyeing some jars of Chrysocolla that I had on the window sill. He finally asked if I would sell him fifty dollars worth. I told him, "Hell, I'll sell you five hundred dollars worth if you want it!" He replied, "Fifty dollars is all I have and if you'll sell me that much I can go from rock shop to rock shop on the way home and sell it for enough to get home." I asked him if he was tapped out and he told me he was. I just smiled and told him to get his Carryall and follow me down in back. There in back I had three flat-bed trailers with about ten ton of number one grade rock on each one. I told him to open up the back of his Carryall and I proceeded to load that thing till the springs were bent over double. When there was no more room, Johnny was standing there with his fifty dollars in his hand held out toward me. I just shook my head and told him to put it back in his pocket for coffee money on the way. We went back and had a couple more cups of coffee and then he was ready to put his show on the road to get started toward home, I was never to see Johnny again, for though I didn't know it at the time, I had given him the means to buy the equipment that was going to kill him. However, I was to hear from him again and in a very strange way, and it would be that letter and its contents that would let me go on to find the mine. This didn't happen for a couple of more months and during this time the crew I had fell apart at the seams, and by the time it was all over there was just the little Mex, Vern and myself left. Warm weather was once again setting in and so was the Forest Service. They were doing their damndest to get me the hell out of the mountain. Everything on top of everything else, I felt pretty rotten.
I was sitting there in town one day and I was told that I had a couple of registered letters up in the Post Office that I was going to have to pick up myself. The thought of registered letters never turned me on, for they were usually from the Forest Service with some more of their latest bull****. But that afternoon I decided to go see for myself, and so it was that I arrived at the Post Office to find that I not only had one letter from The Bureau of Land Management telling me they were setting a date for a formal hearing on kicking me out of the mountain, but I also had one addressed to CRAZY JAKE, Apache Junction, Arizona. This one really got to me, for it was a big brown envelope. I had to sign for it, not only as Robert S. Jacob, but also as Crazy Jake. I got some humor out of this part and it sort of off-set the feeling I had gotten when I had read the letter from BLM. When I opened this second letter I was surprised to see what it had to say and I started reading:
4 April 74
With this letter I am enclosing a copy of the assays I had made on the ore we found. They are not to impressive. Just thought you might care to know. Also enclosed are 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 and 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 I960 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 14 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 about $50,000 in gold. When they left they covered the pit again. The vein of gold is in soft black rock and on both sides of the black vein is red rock.
Haywood was 37 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 alright. In July I960 he and another guy was killed in a head on crash with a trailer truck.
For 14 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 personaly believe this is the dutchmans 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 pre destined for.
Good Luck and best wishes
P.S. These are machine copies of the originals
This was one hell of a letter and I guess it was the way they said, "You had to take some bad with the good." The letter from BLM was the bad, and this was the good. The machine copies that he mentioned were of the two maps Haywood had drawn for him. They were really great, for they had all modern place names and the canyons were called just as they were now. These two maps gave me detail beyond the wildest dreams. They told the story only as an Indian could tell it. If you could think like an Indian and realize what he was saying you had it made. I felt I had all these qualities. Now all I had to do was get another crew together and this time I was going to have to make damn sure that they could be trusted and not just another bunch of flakes. I told myself, "Remember, Jake, the 'tortoise won that f***king race, not the hare!" Now it was time to go slow, but be sure. To find the crew I wanted was going to have to take time and it was going to be a case of working the hell out of whoever tried out for this crew to see if they could take it. It wasn't going to be just a case of some guys walking into a soft spot and getting rich quick. I wanted a crew, that no matter what happened, they would stay with the program even if the going got tough. There would be a lot of guys try out for this team, but damned few were going to make it.
Vern and I tried to settle down in a little house in Apache Junction while I decided just how we were going to do all this. I felt that I knew what was being said on the maps that Johnny had sent me, but at the same time, there was a little bit of field work that was going to have to be done to be able to mark the exact spot. To find the entrance might take a little bit of time, but I thought I could do it with ease once I got back into the hills. Right now I had to get ready for a BLM hearing and all the bull*** that would go with it. The funny part about it I realized that where I had been working wasn't really the prime area. From the maps that Johnny had sent me the mine itself was going to lay to the east of where we had been working. All we had found so far didn't even pertain to what the Peraltas had been doing. All we had found was extra. If it hadn't been for the mistake in what Bill had thought was the prime area, we wouldn't have found what we did. The thing that was confusing was how were the stone maps supposed to work. There was no way of getting thru the cliffs on the east side of Squaw Box. Even on the map Johnny had sent me I felt that they, the Indians, had gone around and up thru Charleboise Canyon. I knew that the stone maps also had to work or we wouldn't really have a case to call whatever we found the Lost Dutchman. There was no way of stretching the one end of the stone maps to go to the east to include Charleboise and leave the other end to scale to the trail thru the north end of the red hills. There had to be a trick to it, but the question was what was that trick?"