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PHOENIX – “Hunting Old Snowbeard’s Gold” (ISBN 1469950200) by Eleanor Mell is a historic non-fiction work that explores the tale of a late-19th century Arizona man, Jacob Waltz, also known as Old Snowbeard and The Dutchman, who paid for a simple general store purchase with some of the richest gold in the history of the West.
“Hunting Old Snowbeard’s Gold” explores Arizona’s most famous mystery, the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. It takes the reader from the birth of Jacob Waltz and the tales of his gold through decades of famous search efforts, topping off at one of Arizona’s 2012 Centennial Celebrations. By following through to the most recent search efforts and adding events of the times for each quest, the book offers a different perspective on a familiar lore. “Hunting Old Snowbeard’s Gold” is an adventurous look into a legend of the Wild West and an exciting history book intended for readers of all ages.
Back in 1884, a man walked into a general store along the trail between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. He was there to get some flour for his biscuits, salted meat for when he couldn’t find game, coffee for his mornings and bullets for his gun. He gathered his supplies and paid for them with gold. The old man had a face “parched dry from the desert sun and as hard as leather. His beard was almost snow-white and somewhat stained by tobacco below his chin. His hands were coarse and calloused revealing many decades of hard work.”
The man was Jacob Waltz, “Old Snowbeard” to some and “The Dutchman” to others.
What stood out was how the old man paid for his supplies. He had a “small cowhide poke. He loosened the strings and poured on to the counter yellow gold in a matrix of white quartz. After gathering his supplies he left as quietly as he came.”
The gold ore he used was some of the richest ever seen and soon to start a mystery that still lives today, over decades after his death.