A Look at the Two Prevailing Versions of the Dutchman Legend
Though there are literally hundreds of variations on the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, most are offshoots of two main versions of the story, named for the people who supposedly heard Jacob Waltz's dying words. In the Petrasch version, Waltz is a softie who makes several fateful mistakes throughout his life that fill him with regret. Facing death, Waltz tries to help his kindly caretaker claim his riches. In the Holmes version, Jacob Waltz is portrayed as a cold-blooded killer who tells a respected foe about the mine's location. Here are the details of both the Petrasch and Holmes stories, as told in Helen Corbin's Curse of the Dutchman's Gold.
THE PETRASCH STORY
• Jacob "The Dutchman" Waltz and his partner, a boyhood friend named Jacob Weisner, are on an adventure in Mexico, when they break up a crooked game of cards, standing up to a local thug and impressing a Spanish Don named Miguel Peralta.
• Peralta owns a rich mine in Arizona. Fearing the Apache and impressed by Waltz and Weisner, Peralta asks them to provide protection as his crew travels to the mine. They agree to do so for a share of the profits.
• Waltz and Weisner watch as Peralta's employees mine the richest ore they've ever seen from a well-hidden hole in the Superstitions.
• Peralta persuades the men to give him back their share of the profits. In return, they are allowed to work the mine themselves, taking even more gold.
• When they arrive at the mine, Waltz and Weisner accidentally shoot two of Peralta's workers who had come back to poach gold.
• The men work for a while, amassing untold riches.
• A wayward mule eats part of the men's rations, forcing Waltz to leave Weisner alone while he goes to town for more food.
• Weisner falls victim to Indian attack while Waltz is in town.
• Waltz returns too late to save his friend and, heartbroken, covers up the mine, fleeing with as much gold as he can carry.
• After catching pneumonia in a flood, Waltz tells his caretaker, Julia Thomas, and her adopted son, Reiney Petrasch, the mine's location.
• Petrasch and Thomas search for the mine together. They never find it.
• Petrasch is found with a shotgun blast to the head, though whether it was the result of suicide or attempted extortion remains hotly debated.
THE HOLMES STORY
• Jacob "The Dutchman" Waltz is attacked by Indians near the Superstition Mountains, narrowly escaping.
• Having lost his horse and his supplies, Waltz meets three friendly Mexicans who are busy working a very rich mine.
• They feed Waltz and offer to take him to town after they're done digging.
• Waltz shoots the Mexicans, takes their gold, and conceals the mine's entrance.
• Waltz secretly returns to work the mine every few years.
• At one point, Waltz's nephew comes from Germany to work the mine.
• The nephew wants to record the mine's location and get proper mineral rights. The old Dutchman doesn't like that idea so he murders his nephew.
• Waltz carries on this way, indiscriminately shooting anyone who comes near the mine. Stories of his ruthlessness spread.
• Despite the danger, a man named Dick Holmes tries to trail Waltz to his mine only to be warned at gunpoint to turn back.
• Waltz falls ill and his caretaker, Julia Thomas, goes to fetch a doctor.
• In Thomas' absence, Waltz calls Holmes to his bedside and tells him the mine's location.
• Waltz also tells Holmes to take the gold ore from under his bed.
• Holmes passes this story, and the gold he took from under Waltz's bed, to his son Brownie, who popularizes the legend.
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