The Legend of Youngblood’s Lost Dutchman Mine

Written by on August 17, 2017 in Southwest Legends - Comments Off on The Legend of Youngblood’s Lost Dutchman Mine

There are actually several mines known as the Lost Dutchman in the Southwest. The most famous, of course, if the Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. But there are others, one in South Dakota, one in Colorado, and three in Arizona that all bear the same name.

In the early 1860s, a farmer in Missouri named Henry Youngblood (a German, who was nicknamed the Dutchman) was experiencing hard times. A drop in crop prices and some banking difficulties caused many farmers to be unable to pay their mortgages. In desperation, he turned to a rich neighbor and borrowed money and used the farm as collateral.

Virgin River Landscape Scenic ZIon National Park

In the meantime, Henry, a hard worker, told his wife that he knew if he went to Arizona, he would work just as hard to find gold and save the farm. Immediately after borrowing the money and squaring his debts, Henry did take the stage for Prescott, Arizona, only to fall ill with a flu or virus (maybe Valley Fever). He spent weeks in a boarding house, unable to even begin the search for his salvation. A letter from his wife got him up off his deathbed — the rich neighbor, and his wife’s former suitor, was threatening to foreclose on the farm and throw his wife and children out into the cold.

Henry bought provisions and set out to the South, toward the Bradshaw Mountains, alone and in a desperate race against time to find gold and save his family. For weeks he hiked and hunted, but found nothing. He ran out of food and continued to hunt until one day, he collapsed in exhaustion against a boulder. The legend says he asked God if he was destined to die like this, starving, alone in the wilderness, while his family was thrown off the farm. As he asked the Lord if this was all there was in life, when a glint caught his eye from the boulder he was resting against.

He forced himself to take one last look and realized he was looking at a quartz vein as wide as his hand, with gold nuggets embedded in it. In a frenzy, he attacked the boulder and dug out enough nuggets to return to town and buy supplies. Before he left, he took careful note of his location and then covered up all evidence of his excavations.

A few days later, he returned with a complete mining outfit and begin to dig in earnest. According to the stories, he was gone a month, during which time, he evidently found the source of his boulder, for when he returned to town, his had enough gold ore to fill his saddlebags or a train car, depending on which story you believe. He also covered up all evidence of his mining but supposedly staked a claim.

In one version of the story, Henry suffered a stroke on the way to Prescott and went blind — his arrival back in town was a miracle. While the prospectors and miners pumped him for information, he never revealed the location of his gold mine, before going home to save his family and the farm. He never returned to Arizona and took the location of the mine to the grave with him.

In another version of the story, Henry suffered a heart attack upon his arrival back to town. He told the kind townsfolk who took care of him (thanks to packs stuffed with gold) that he had to return home, but when he returned he would share the location. He claimed there was enough gold for everyone. Henry did return to Missouri and redeemed his farm and his family. While the celebrations were continuing, he suffered another heart attack — this time fatal. Just before he died, he supposedly began to tell his wife the location of the mine, “Go 40 miles south/southeast of Prescott until you reach the Bradshaw Mountains. There’s a large boulder there and…” died before he could finish the directions.

Speculation is rife as to the actual location of the mine. Perhaps he was actually the first person to find what would eventually become the Vulture Mine (one of the greatest gold mines in all of Arizona) just outside of Wickenburg, Arizona. Then again, perhaps the gold is still out there to be found. It seems likely that the boulder Henry stumbled upon was broken off from an outcrop … but what outcrop and where. Happy hunting!

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