Wagoner’s Lost Gold Mine

The brooding Superstition Mountains of Arizona have drawn more treasure hunters than any other site in the USA. The great majority are hunting for the infamous Lost Dutchman mine of Jacob Waltz or the legendary Peralta mines, which have proven exceedingly difficult to find. Several people have apparently vanished in these mountains in recent months, despite repeated searches none have been found of four men currently missing. The Superstition mountains are not a place free of dangers and not a place to make mistakes. These mountains hide many mysteries.

With so much attention on the famous Dutchman mine, another lost mine legend frequently gets ignored or is assumed to be simply another version of the Dutchman tale; the lost rose quartz ledge of a man named Wagoner. I have not been able to find his first name, but he lived in the silver-boom town of Pinal (a ghost town today) in the 1890’s. He had come to live in the desert due to a physical condition said to be consumption but probably a lung disease, as many people were sent to live in the dry climate in former years for their health. He saw many specimens of rich ores brought into town by other prospectors and this gave him incentive to get out and do some prospecting on his own. He spent a lot of time prospecting in the Superstitions.

One day he happened to be north of the Superstitions near Tortilla Flat, nearly out of food and decided to cut across the range by following Labarge canyon south. On the second day of hiking he skirted past the famous landmark Weaver’s Needle. Continuing past there, somewhere on the southern side of the mountains he happened upon a stunning vein of rose quartz shot through with gold. It was the find of a lifetime, the sort of thing that a prospector dreams of!
Wagoner packed out as much of the ore as he could carry and continued traveling southward, making it to Pinal city where he sold the ore and did a bit of celebrating. In the ensuing days, Wagoner made repeated trips to the mine, often hitching a ride part way on the stage, always entering the mountains near what is today Queen Valley but telling no one where the mine was located. When he had accumulated enough gold, he left the area and never returned. To this day, no one has ever found it.

Wagoner did mention that he concealed the mine, like Jacob Waltz did with his more famous gold vein, but did leave some kind of markers as a clue in case he ever did need to find it again – he planted a circle of trees around the vein.
The mine is located somewhere east of Miner’s Needle in the broken hills, and Wagoner even drew a map for the stage driver to help him find the mine so that he too could benefit but the stage driver could not find it.

Is this the same mine as that of Jacob Waltz? There are interesting parallels like the pointed peak, in this case it is Miners Needle but otherwise it seems to be quite different; even the type of quartz (rose quartz versus white quartz) is a different type. There are fewer clues to help locate this mine and the one clear set of markers left by Wagoner may well have died (the trees) leaving nothing to discern the location. However perhaps some treasure hunter will happen on to it just the way Wagoner did.

Further reading, excellent article online at


Good luck and good hunting amigos, I hope you find the treasures that you seek.

~ by Oroblanco on September 11, 2010.

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