The Peraltas, Placer Gold, and the Superstitions (Conclusion)

(Canyon Lake was formed by the construction of Mormon Flat Dam.)

Eventually the three Peralta brothers reached a spot where La Barge Creek met the Rio Salado in a verdant little valley. Here Pedro, Ramon, and Manuel set to work with their shovels and bateas to search for evidence of placer gold as their father Miguel had instructed them.

It didn't take long for the brothers to realize they had found something extraordinary at this location. Each and every time they swirled the sterile rock out of their crude wooden gold pans, an abundance of bright yellow metal in the form of large flakes and fines lay at the bottom nestled among large amounts of heavy black sands.

The Hard Truth

According to other researchers, the location of this rich placer gold find by the Peralta brothers was at the site of modern-day Mormon Flat. However, before you rush excitedly out the door with gold pan and sluice box in hand, you need to know that your odds of finding placer gold at Mormon Flat are slim to none. That's the hard truth.

Gold Prospecting Books
Gold Pans

You see, in 1925 Mormon Flat Dam was constructed in this region of Arizona and I suspect the confluence of La Barge Creek and the Rio Salado was covered up by the blue waters of Canyon Lake. In fact, much of the Rio Salado region has been impacted in one form or another by the Salt River Project, a network of dams, lakes, and canals meant to serve the needs of both the Phoenix metropolitan area as well as those of local ranchers and growers.

If They Found the Source

Where did all the placer gold that the Peralta brothers find at Mormon Flat come from? If you're a gold prospector or miner you already know the answer to this question. For millions of years it had eroded out of gold-bearing veins, lodes, and outcrops with gravity pulling it ever downward into the arroyos, washes, creeks, and rivers below. This was the placer gold that Pedro, Ramon, and Manuel Peralta had discovered at Mormon Flat.

True to their father's training and instruction, the Peralta boys knew that the source of all this placer gold lay somewhere above. If they found the source of this gold, they would realize unbelievable riches for themselves and the Peralta family as a whole.

Believe What You Want...

The reason I've written these two posts is not to belabor the Lost Dutchman legend...something I don't place much faith in for any number of reasons including the fact that the geology of the Superstitions is not associated with gold mineralization or gold-bearing vein material.

(Arizona's Superstition Mountains.)

Now before you true believers get all steamed up and go off on me, this isn't my personal assessment. It's the assessment of numerous, trained Ph.D geologists who specialize in mineralogy and gold-bearing ore bodies. So believe what you want to or need to...that's no concern of mine.

That May Be You

OK, let's come back full circle here. Instead of wasting your time, effort, and money searching for what may well be the biggest "will-o-the-wisp" to ever come down the treasure hunting pike, why not apply that same time to finding your share of placer or lode gold in those areas of Arizona that are proven to be mineralized and that do contain gold?

Some of these smaller or more remote placers or lodes may lie within or close to other areas of the Rio Salado, waiting only for the right prospector or treasure hunter to come along and tickle that gold out of the ground. Who knows, that someone may be you.

Paid for His Greed

Oh...what happened to the Peralta brothers? They found the source of all that gold at Mormon Flat and this is where the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine has its true beginnings. You see, as the story goes, the source of all that yellow metal were rich veins in Arizona's Superstition Mountains. Surprise, surprise...

Although Ramon and Manuel had enough sense to take their fair share of gold and return home to Mexico, Pedro eventually paid with his life for his greed. He, along with a group of cohorts, was slaughtered by Apaches near the site of Goldfield, Arizona in 1848.

Here's the bottom line, brothers and is never worth dying for.

IF you liked this post, you may want to read: "The Peraltas, Placer Gold, and the Superstitions"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at