In the previous series of The Real Dutchman, Jacob Waltz was followed through his immigration from Germany to the United States where he followed the different gold strikes seeking employment and an opportunity to strike it rich. He eventually made it to Arizona where he purchased a homestead and settled down preparing for his old age. Jacob became ill and signed over his belongings to Andrew Starr for his care and recovery. When he started to recover, he knew he had pretty much lost his homestead.
Jacob started prospecting the area north of Phoenix and eventually worked his way over to the infamous Superstition Mountains. Eye witness accounts place Waltz in the Superstitions during the winter of 1883 to 1884. It was during this time period the legend of the gold mine began to form and events started to become more mysterious.
The Arizona Gazette published an article about a murder in which Jacob Waltz was involved. The title of the article was called “Foul Murder”. Pedro Ortega was killed by Selso Grajalva with Jacob’s shotgun not thirty feet from Waltz’s adobe house. According to Jacob, Selso and Pedro were arguing. Selso ran into Jacobs home and grabbed the shotgun, killed Pedro, and returned the gun to the house. Waltz was cleared of any wrong doing.
It was this same time period Jacob sold some gold in Mesa City, and reports of more gold sales were reported in surrounding cities. The reports also stated Jacob would go on a drunken binge, sober up and disappear into the mountains. Jacob never filed a claim on his source of gold, and several would be claim jumpers tried to follow him back to the mine. These claim jumpers would usually loose him in the foothills around the Superstition Mountains, and those who got too close never came back.
It might be noted there was no actual records of Jacob’s gold exchanges, but if he was hiding a mine which had no claim, he could have come up with a plan to cash in the gold trying not to bring too much attention to him.
Jacob’s property was sold in a Sheriff’s auction for nonpayment of taxes on 17 March 1886. Waltz had paid his taxes on a regular basis until this time. It is possible Jacob knew the property was going to go to Andrew Starr, and he decided not to pay the taxes, letting the payment default to Andrew who refused to pay. After all, he now had the means of buying anything he needed with his new found gold.
More to come…