Chapter eight: Blank
Not many years ago, I one day met a man in Phoenix by the name of Blank, who remarked to me: "Do you know, Mr. Bark, that there ought to be a rich gold mine up near your cow rance?" Of-course, I asked him what made him think so. He then proceeded to tell me the following story:
That in 1905 and 1906 he was fuel agent for the N.C.Co., operating a line of steamboats on the Tanana river in Alaska. One day, a man came to him saying that he was an old Arizona man, was broke, and wanted to go up to Fairbanks. Blank took him to the mate and asked him to put him on as a deck hand, which he did. Blank helped him several times to go up the river. (One could make a raft and come down the river all right, but going up was something else.)
In September, 1906, he wanted to go up again and was told that he had better make himself a good deck hand, as Blank was going to the states and was not coming back to Alaska. He was a very good worker, though lame in one foot. He appeared to be very grateful for what Blank had done for him, and said, "If I told you where there was a rich gold mine in Arizona, would you give me a part of it?" I told him "Yes, but why are you up here hunting a mine if you know of one in Arizona?" He replied that he was never going back to Arizona, that he was going to stay in Alaska until he died.
He drew a map from memory in a book belonging to Blank and told him that when they were near McKinley crossing that he would show him a mountain that looked like on in Arizona that the mine is on. The mountain he pointed out resembled an oxbow in shape with very precipitous cliffs, each cliff sitting back of the one it was resting on, like a giant stairway. It could not be climbed from the north, east, or south sides but was quite accessible from the west side. He also told him that when the steamer got to Fairbanks he would go to his cabin and get a map showing the trail from the foot of the mountain to the mine.
When we got to Fairbanks, he brought me a map, old and nearly worn out. Blank copied it, and it was then torn up. The map he drew in Blank's book had its starting point from the Silver King mine, then in a westerly direction (passing certain land marks) fifteen miles to the mine. He said it certainly was very difficult to find. Blank remarked, "Don't fool yourself. I am certain that it has not been found, as I surely would have heard of it and so would you."
Now, at the time, Blank had not heard of any two soldiers or any clubfoot; in fact he had never given it a thought until he heard that I had been looking for a lost mine in that country. As he told me the foregoing story, I immediately came to the conclusion that his friend in Alaska was Clubfoot, and then I told Blank the two soldier story. Blank let out another link by saying, "He gave me the address of his brother in the State of Washington, who was postmaster in a small town, and asked me to send his share to that address."
I was changing my place of business from Phoenix to Mayer in Yavapai county, and requested Mr. Sims Ely, Sr., to write to the address in Washington, which he and Blank did, and they recieved a short and rather curt reply, saying that his brother had been dead for five years (which Blank knew was not true), and wrote again to Washington to the effect. They then received a more courteous reply, saying that he had been misinformed and wished to apologize; that he had what he supposed was reliable information, that his brother had died about a year before.
Blank then became a confirmed seeker of the Lost Dutchman mine, but only from the information obtained in Alaska. He has made several trips up there, and still contends that where I am looking in the main range of the Superstition mountains is at least twenty miles from the Silver King mine, and his Alaska friend said that it was about fifteen miles in a westerly direction. (See map.)
I firmly believe that I have located his mountain, also his zigzag trail. I have followed it to the top of the mountain, and there the mountain is flat and shows not trail. If one could follow that trail, I believe it would lead to either the Peralta camp of the mine, possibly both. Blank has never told me how to find the mine after reaching the top of the mountain, nor have I seen his map. Whether it would be any more explicit as to directions than the maps I have, I do not know, but he will have to look beyond the fifteen mile limit.