Chapter four: Hon. Tom Weedin
Dr. Walker was the only known white man to have been taken into and made on of the Pima Indian tribe. He married an Indian and raised a family, and was quite an influential member of the tribe. He was well thought of by both the whites and Pimas. His greatest, and really close white friend was Hon. Tom Weedin who lived at Florence some thirty miles up the Gila River. Weedin was the owner and publisher of the Florence paper, and frequently on Sundays would go down and have an all day's visit with Walker.
One day, I think it was the year 1916, I met Hon. Tom Weedin at the railroad depot in Humboldt, Yavapai county, Arizona. He was campagning for the nomination of governor of Arizona on the Democratic ticket. Our present governor-elect Hunt, was then his opponent. We shook hands. He then remarked, "Have you a few minutes to spare, Jim?" I had, and we sat on the edge of the station platform, as it would be some little time before the train came along to Prescott. He started the conversation by saying, "I hear that you have been looking for an old gold mine in the Superstition mountains, called locally the 'Lost Dutchman Mine.'" I said, "Yes, and I have spent considerably money hunting for it." "Well, I believe it is there, and if I give you any information that will assist you in finding it, will you do what is right by me," I told him that I certainly would, and he told me the following:
That one Sunday while visiting Walker and after the usual greetings, Walker burst forth by saying, "Tom, I think we will both be rich very soon: that a few days ago a couple of Pima Indians came down from Blackwater, a trading station about twenty miles above Walkers on the Indian reservation, and said that a white man came in there last night on foot; that he was sick, and what should they do with him. Walker asked if he had a horse, and they said he had not. "Is he an American?" They said they did not think he was, although he was a white man. He talked funny and not like an American. "Do you think he can ride a horse?" They did not know, but would try him. "Well, go back and bring him down here."
They did so, and when the man arrived, Walker found that he had a very high fever. He put him on a cot that had already been prepared for him in one of his adobe houses. He told Walker that he was a German and that his name was so-and-so; the name was entirely forgotten by Walker. In fact, he paid no attention to the name as he did not think it of any moment. A gunny sack about one-quarter full of clothes, etc. was with the German. The next morning, Walker visited his patient, took his temperature, and told him if he wished to leave any word for anyone he had better do it soon. He then asked Walker if that meant he was going to die. Walker told him that if he could not break his fever within the new few hours, it was doubtful he could pull through.
The German then said, "Please hand me that gunny sack (referring to the sack that he brought with him.) When it was given to him, he reached in and drew out a small tobacco sack nearly filled with gold nuggets, and said, "Here, take this. I hope this will pay you for your trouble and my burial." Walker took it. In the meantime, the German had dropped the gunny sack to the floor. He then asked Walker to get a round roll out for him, saying, "That is a map to the richest gold mine I ever knew of, and, I believe in the world." It was a piece of parchment with blue tracings, and the descriptions in Spanish. "It is an old Mexican mine, worked by the Mexicans, on and off, for many years. The mine is located in the Superstition mountains, and has a tunnel and two pits. It was being worked by my partner and me and was owned by us, but the Apache Indians jumped us, and they got him, but I managed to give them the slip and get away, though I guess not for long, as I think I worked too hard in getting away."
The old German died of pneumonia that night, and Walker buried him on the reservation. Weedin asked Walker if he had the map, and handed it to Weedin. They poured over it, and finally Weedin suggested that he take the map to his office in Florence and make a tracing of it. He had some tracing paper there, and then they would each have a map. After making the tracing, he returned the original map to Walker, and they agreed to keep it quiet until they could go together and locate the mine, but when one was ready, the other could not get away, and so it went until a Pima Indian one day showed Walker the Vekol mine, which was just an undisturbed vein at that time, but very rich in silver. From then on, Walker was busy developing the Vekol, building a mill, making roads, sinking shafts, running tunnels, etc., and by the way, Walker cleaned up about a half million dollars out of the Vekol. Neither Weedin or Walker ever went to look for the Lost Dutchman mine.
After hearing this story from Weedin, I wrote to Sims Ely, Sr., in Phoenix, who was interested with me in looking for the Lost Dutchman mine, told him the story and for him to get busy and get the tracing. Weedin had told me he felt sure he had it. Ely went to Florence and saw Weedin, who, after searching through his papers, remembered that while he was making a tracing of the map, his wife came into the office and asked him what he was doing. He told her the story as he had it from Walker and that he was making a tracing of the map. Mrs. Weedin was very much disturbed, and said that he was not going over into the Superstition mountains, as the Apache Indians were still there killing every white man they ran across. She insisted upon taking possession of the tracing, and when she left the office she had it with her. Weedin thought the tracing must be at the house, but Mrs. Weedin, after looking through her papers denied having it. Shortly after, Mrs. Weedin died, and Weedin and his daughter searched thoroughly through her papers but failed to find the tracing.
Weedin then told Ely that perhaps he had given it to some prospector but he did not think so. He then said that he felt sure he could draw a map from memory that would be almost correct, if not absolutely so, as the details of the map were so thoroughly impressed upon his mind. Ely then told him to draw one as he remembered it, and in a very few minutes Weedin drew a memory copy of the map, which certainly pertained to the Superstition mountains. As he never was there, it should be fairly correct. We have the map he drew for us, and two of the three letters which he wrote to us about the map and the trail.
It is my belief that the German who gave Weedin the map was none other than Jacob Wiser, Old Jack Walsh's partner, who Jacob Walsh said he found at the mine dead, stripped naked and his new hickory shirt hanging on a bush near by, upon Jacob Walsh's return with grub from Adamsville.
First, it looks unreasonable that two men knowing where they were going and about how long they were going to stay and having made the trip in there at least twice before, should run short of grub in so short a time.
Second, I never heard of an Apache Indian leaving a new shirt of any kind hanging on a bush, or leave it on a dead man, or anywhere else if they could get it.
My final deductions in Jacob Walsh's story is that he saw the Apaches crawling up on them and he had a chance to duck and get away, if he did not go to the mine and notify his partner. But he chose to save his own scalp. He probably reasoned that if he went up to the mine to warn his partner they would both lose their lives. It is considered in this country, worse than murder, to desert one's parter in a crisis of that kind, as you are considered a coward as well as a murderer, and that evidently was what Jake Walsh meant when dying when he was asking God to forgive him. Jake Wiser, his partner, could not conceive of such action upon his friend's part and supposed the Apaches had killed him. There must have been a surprise party when they met in the beyond.