Good Morning, or afternoon (or evening)!

I’ll be traveling to Arizona in March to an RWA meeting, where I’ll be speaking, and thinking of Arizona reminded me of — well, I guess it’s a ghost story or maybe a treasure hunt story — a true one — one whose drama took place in the superstitious mountains.  It was this very true story by the way, that served as the inspiration for one of my books, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE.

Here’s the original art work that was done for this book — originally published by AVON/HarperCollins Publishers.  Now, my husband and my brother-in-law were at one time miners, and when they told me this story, I knew it would find it’s way into a book — and it did.  The story of LONE ARROW’S PRIDE doesn’t take place in Arizona, however.  I brought the story instead to the Wyoming/Montana area — to the Bighorn Mountains and to America’s “Stonehedge,” which sets up atop a 10,000 foot mountain.  But back to the true story of the Superstitious Mountains.

As I’m sure you know, in Arizona there is a mountain range called the Superstitious Mountains, which sits just outside of Phoenix.  Some of you might be familiar with the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.  Some may not.  But bear with me.

There are many, many miners who go into the Superstitious Mountains today, hunting for the Lost Dutchman gold mine.  Many years ago stones were found, upon which was written some hieroglyphics thought to be part of a map.  Many of these stones were discovered all over the Superstitious Mountains and all of them were thought to be part of a map that would lead others to the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.  Today those stones are on display in a bank where all can see them and try to discern where the gold mine is.

What is not generally known, however, is that many hundreds of years previous, there were Jesuit priests in these mountains.  They befriended the Indians, and managed to get the Indians to bring them gold from these mountains, whereupon the Jesuit priests made artifacts out of the gold.  Many, many artifacts.

There priests were recalled to Spain.  Most of them refused to go and so Spain sent an army into the Southwest to drive the priests home.  The priests got word of the oncoming army and, deciding not to let the army get their gold, nor take the gold back to Spain where it would most likely be claimed by the king, they hid their treasure. It was the Jesuit priests who etched the map on the stones in hieroglyphics and left these stones in fairly inconspicuous places, thinking to come back and collect the gold at a later date, perhaps.

Recently miners have found, after using the stones on display, and digging about twenty-two feet deep in these mountain, two crosses with more hieroglyphics on them.

To date, neither the Lost Dutchman’s mine, nor the stash of gold from the Jesuit priests has been found.  Added to this is the fact that the Indians believed that the Thunder God lived in the Superstitious Mountains and in fact, up until the late nineteenth century, no one was able to go into the mountains and mine the gold without great risk to their lives.  Any white person found in the mountains was at once killed.

Another interesting fact is that earlier on, two brothers got word of the mines in those mountains and were mining one that they had found.  They made two succesful trips into the mountains and obtained a great deal of gold.  On the third trip they were discovered by the Indians.  And so the brothers loaded up all of their gold and put it into bags, which they tied onto their mules.

Of course, these two brothers were found and killed by the Indians, but the mules were let go, still carrying the bags of gold.  The last bag of gold to be found was in the 1920’s or 30’s (I forget which), and contained gold to the amount of approximately $12,000 at that time — today the find would have been close to half a million dollars.

So the question is:  Has anyone ever found the Lost Dutchman’s Mine?  Not to my knowledge.

Has anyone discovered the gold that was hidden by the Jesuit priests?  Not that we know of.  But I would have to ask you this question.  If you were there and you found it, would you tell anyone?

I’m not too certain that I would.  Would you?

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the new ebooks, LAKOTA SURRENDER and LAKOTA PRINCESS at:

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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28 thoughts on “Inspiration”

  1. Beautiful pictures! I too doubt that the Lost Dutchman’s mine has been found. Like you, I would keep it secret. There are a lot of desperate people out there with no money and nothing to lose.
    I love the cover for LAKOTA PRINCESS!!

  2. Oh, this was a super post, Karen! I love history combined with a mystery. It’s always sad when these mysteries are solved, because the theories and legends are usually more exciting.

    But if I “happened” upon the gold, I would probably end up telling (I would say I wouldn’t and then I would) That’s just the way I was raised. Darn my Dad and his unflinching honesty! :o)

    LONE ARROW’S PRIDE is still one of my favorite books.


  3. I enjoyed this post so much, Karen. Such a fascinating story about the Lost Dutchman’s mine. I love the mysteries of history. It someone did find the gold, that would certainly be a big secret to keep.

  4. Fascinating post, Karen. And those mountains are hauntingly beautiful–as are your covers.
    Two men from Utah recently died looking for that gold. They were ill prepared for the desert and probably not very wise. There must be others out there who are still looking.

  5. I love legends, and when there is truth behind them, all the better! Maybe we’ll see a National Treasure III: The Lost Dutchman’s Mine. I loved those movies and how they incorporated details from America’s history. This legend would make a fun tale as well. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I was familiar with the Lost Dutchman mine story, and the story od the two brothers sounds vaguely familiar. This is the first I have heard of the Jesuit priest’ stash. They have always gone their own way, so I can see this happening.

    If I found either the stash or the mine, I would prefer to keep it private, but in todays world that is a bit difficult.

    I hope you e-book sales are going well.

  7. I love this story, Karen. I love old legends of the west. Lost gold. Buried treasure. All wrapped in myth with enough truth salted in to keep a reader lured forward.

    Great post.

  8. Great post Karen, I would keep it a secret myself if it was possible. I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I found gold. You would have friends coming out of the woodwork if they new about it. Loved you story and would love to here more about these treasures.

  9. I have to say that I was shocked when I first came to Arizona… never realized it had mountains… always thought of it as desert… you hear stories of people searching for gold still… I would not mind finding some myself, but you won’t find me hunting any caves or mines… I would be afraid to come across some rattlers… as always, enjoyed your post Karen! 😀

  10. Hi Laurie G.!

    Yes, like you I think it would be safer to keep the find to oneself. Isn’t LAKOTA PRINCESS a beautiful cover? It and PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN are my favorites. 🙂 I’ll pass along the compliment!

  11. Hi Kirsten!

    Thanks so much for the compliment on LONE ARROW’S PRIDE. It was a fun book to write — so steeped in the legends and mysteries.

    I do believe that one doesn’t have to tell strangers their deepest secrets — I do believe it’s a God-given right, which is why one’s privacy protection was placed in the Constitution — to preserve and protect those God-given rights. If asked a direct question, one can always plead the 5th.

    To one’s loved ones, I do believe utter and complete honesty is a must — but to strangers… They haven’t yet proven themselves to be trustworthy to me — thus, I do believe I would keep it to myself…

    My thoughts anyway. 🙂

  12. Hi Lori!

    I, too, love these mysteries. It’s interesting to me that we often look to the far east for mysteries, when there are so many of them right here at home. 🙂

  13. You know, Elizabeth, there have been hundreds of deaths due to this legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine — people killing each other and that sort of thing. The mountains are steeped in mystery. My brother-in-law (who has now passed along) swore that there was a weather God (perhaps the Thunder God of Indian legend) still in residence in those mountains. Interesting to think about…

  14. Hi Karen!

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this. What fun, huh? You know, I don’t have TV — don’t watch it and don’t listen to much except talk radio (and of course music) — I’m so out of it on this — and so I don’t know what the National Treasure thing is. A TV show? Thanks for your comments.

  15. Hi Patricia!

    You’re probably right — it might be hard to keep secret, but I do believe that it would be worth trying. The sales are going well, thank you so much for your kind thoughts.

    Always enjoy your posts!

  16. Hi Quilt Lady!

    Yes, I think it would be wise to keep it secret — as for the stash of the Jesuits — wouldn’t it be something to run into that…of course in my book the heroine does…

  17. Hi Colleen!

    Interestingly, my husband and brother-in-law did mine in the Superstitious Mountains — and of course they learned the legends and passed them along to me. Like you, I would be afraid of rattlers.

    I have another rather interesting mining story from them that I’m hoping somewhere along the line to set to fiction.

  18. Just want to correct one mistake — I said that I’d brought my story into the Prior Mountains — actually that should have read the Bighorn Mountains — that’s where American’s “Stonehedge” is — or the stone medicine wheel — which indeed does set up atop a 10,000 foo high mountain — nestled there in the Bighorn Mountains — interestingly for me, the Bighorn Mountains carrying saddness and so sometimes their name (believe it or not) escapes me…

  19. Love this post Kay…Yes I knew about this but I live in AZ….It is one of my favorites and it is a true story…..I would love to read the story where you used it in your book….I love all your books Kay….Thanks for sharing…

    Walk in harmony,

  20. Oh really fascinating. I didn’t know any of that. I hope no one finds it – I like the mystery of it all.

  21. Hi Melinda!

    You do me such honor, Melinda! LONE ARROW’S PRIDE will soon be out in ebook fashion — in another couple of months or so. I’ll keep you posted because it goes onto a ridiculously low price ($2.75) before it’s officially released. 🙂

  22. It is a wonderful legend, isn’t it? And so much more so because it is based on truth.

    Beware, however. There really have been hundreds of men killed in those mountains looking for the treasure — my husband knows of someone who was shot at while in those mountains searching for the treasure. Greed — love of money — the root of all evil. Unfortunately in this day and age, we see it all too commonly around us. Sigh…

  23. I live at the base of the Superstition Mountains and enjoy their amazing views every day. I’ve hiked in them too. Have been fascinated by the range and the many legends that swirl around them. It is true, there have been MANY deaths up there! The range is so vast that I don’t know if the gold would ever be found. I’ve often said there are places up there that man has never stepped foot on.

  24. Hi Karen!

    Wow! You live at the base of the mountains. I didn’t really know that they were so vast – from a distance, they don’t look too vast. I have driven in them once, long ago, however.

    You’re probably right that there are areas there that haven’t seen the footfall of man.

  25. Hey, Kay. National Treasure is a movie starring Nicholas Cage where he hunts for treasure based on clues found in US history and embedded in things like a $100 bill and the Declaration of Independence. They made a sequel as well. So your wonderful treasure legend could be the third installment. 🙂

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