From somewhere in my subconscious mind a notion came to me about another lost mine I knew about besides the Lost Dutchman. You know in a half century that you can forget a lot of things like names. Well, if you’re young and bright maybe not. I was running a service station in east Phoenix and going to college over at Arizona State University in the late fifties. That’s the 1950’s.  I had built up quite a list of loyal clients from working on their car’s brakes, ignition, lube and tires.
One interesting man showed up with a Jeep pickup and I put a fuel pump on for him which solved his problem. He had made a very neat camper on the back of the truck and he showed me all his work. His ideas came from the design of a sheep wagon. The man was a great metal worker and the job he did on the rig was impressive. I found out he was from Ohio, divorced and on his own prospecting.
“Are you looking for gold?”
“No, mostly precious stones.” he said.
We talked about all my research looking for the Lost Dutchman and he told me in a nice way that he needed to make some money and had no time for it. In those days there were folks who went digging all over and put pretty rocks in tumblers and made them smooth. I’d seen some Apache Tears, that, when polished, were pretty black stones.
They got lots for raw turquoise out of the copper pit mines and those guys high graded it all the time. But he was closed-mouth and said very little. I knew he was working somewhere north of Wickenburg. Next time he called me from somewhere and ordered four new lug nylon tires for his truck. I told him they’d cost him about $50 a piece which was the best I could do.
“No problem. I’ll be down there next Friday night. You can put them on and balance them.”
I agreed. Well he came in about seven and asked did I have his tires. I said I did and we put his pickup on the rack. I remarked he must have found a gold mine. He laughed. “No, just a rich ledge of gold.”
He showed me some rose quartz-gold in a buckskin pouch and told me that was only a drop in the bucket. I asked if he had made a government claim and he shook his head. “That would only cause a rush up there and I want that country to myself.”
He also had begun packing an Army .45 on his hip. In Arizona it is or was legal to wear a gun in plain sight. Many folks did and still do. He had found enough gold to even consider buying a new truck but the RV bed was attached to the jeep. I was pretty excited for him.
 Next trip into Phoenix he needed a brake cylinder fixed and I had him stay over and we rebuilt his whole brake system. That trip I learned he was prospecting  in the Bill Williams River area  between Wickenburg and  Las Vegas.
He came by several more times and then during one lube job  he showed me his latest find. Rubies, blood red. All sizes up to thumb nail. He laughed. “They make gold panning pay like cotton picking." Which wasn’t much.
Did he have it claimed? No, he couldn’t do it because the source was too close to an old Indian ruins. That was the last time I saw him. I never heard of a ruby mine in Arizona, but I feel sure he had one. There were some emerald mines and they are found with rubies.
So get your burro or jeep and strike out northwest of Wickenburg, Ariz., and find the ruby mine if it ain’t too close to an antiquity.
God bless you till the next edition.
Western novelist Dusty Richards and his wife Pat live on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. For more information about his books you can email Dusty by visiting and clicking on 'Contact Us' or call 1-866-532-1960.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here