Since these things have been written about so often, and in so many places, I have debated several times about rehashing the story here. Since I have seen so many inaccurrate and ignorant versions of the story in online forums, websites, and even printed in books, I decided to include most of what is proven fact and even some conjecture (I will say when that part comes). I have not spent any serious time trying to figure out where the Stone Maps lead to. While I do believe that they are authentic (the original ones anyway), I would want some more provenance as to their REAL origins before spending a lot of time and money trying to figure them out. After all, we don't even know for sure that they pertain to Arizona. They may show the area near a certain mission in Mexico (see Alternate Beginning).
First, who am I to be the one to write this story? Nobody special. What started as an argument about the authenticity of the Stone Maps, turned into a several year obsession. What I did was to trace (as much as possible) the modern history of the Stone Maps from 1949 until today. Here is what I have found:
I will start off with the two differing names of these mysterious stones: Peralta Stones and Stone Maps. They are known by both names. People who aren't very much into the whole story refer to them as The Peralta Stones. People who have done more in depth research refer to them as The Stone Maps. The reason for the Peralta association is because of proximity. The Peralta Family of Sonora, Mexico are said to the be late owners of several lost/hidden gold mines in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. The Stone Maps were found (supposedly) a bit to the South of those same Mountains. So, because the name Peralta is so closely associated with the Superstition Mountains, and the Stone Maps were found so close to those mountains, a natural association was made. There is no hard evidence that proves any connection between the Peralta Family and the Stone Maps. The only connection is a vague one. The name "MIGUEL" can be seen on the edge of the Priest/Horse Stone. There was a Miguel Peralta, but we know just how uncommon the name Miguel is in Mexico, right?
Fade to the late Summer of 1949. Travis Tumlinson and his wife Alleen were driving back to their home in Hood River, Oregon from visiting Travis' Father in Texas. While driving along Highway 60 between Florence and Apache Junction, Arizona, Travis made a decision that would change his life forever; he pulled the car into a rest stop at Queen Creek to relieve himself. He walked a ways from the side of the road for a bit of privacy and noticed that he had a good view of Weaver's Needle. He got his camera and started trying to find the best spot for a picture. While wandering around, he tripped over a rock. When he looked down to see what he had just tripped over, he noticed that the rock had a very unatural shape. He dug up the Don Stone. Being on the surface, the "DON" Side is the most visibly worn of all sides of all the stones.
Below are two maps of where Travis Tumlinson supposedly found the Stone Maps. The first one is a map that was hand drawn by Travis Tumlinson showing where he says he found the Stone Maps. The second is a Google Earth Satellite Pic showing the same location.
Picture from Thomas Glover's Book "The Lost Dutchman Mine of Jacob Waltz"
Picture from Google Earth
Excited, he ran back to the car to show the stone to his wife. He grabbed a shovel out of the trunk of the car and ran back to where he had dug out the DON Stone. After digging a large hole, he found a total of four stones:
1. Horse/Priest Stone
2. Don / Lower Map Stone
3. Cross / Upper Map Stone (with heart shaped indention on map side)
4. Smaller Heart Shaped Stone (fits into heart shaped indention in Upper Map Stone)
I showed both sides of each stone due to the fact that even some very knowledgeable people have mixed up what was on each side of each stone.
He drove into Apache Junction to a gas station and began cleaning off the stones. His first taste of paranoia hit when a stranger noticed what he was doing and said those rocks looked like treasure maps. He quickly packed the stones back into the car and went to a friend's home (Charlie Miller). Later, Miller told some friends that when he first saw the Stone Maps, they had roots growing out of all the small grooves.
Here is a picture with the background redacted (why I don't know):
Picture from Thomas Glover's Book "The Lost Dutchman Mine of Jacob Waltz"
Without getting into too much gory detail, Travis Tumlinson took the stones home to Hood River, Oregon. He made about twelve trips to the Superstition Mountains in Arizona in the years he possessed the Stone Maps trying to decipher them. In about 1956, he became quite ill and gave the stones to his Uncle Robert.
Robert Tumlinson lived a short distance from his nephew, in Portland, Oregon. He was retired and lived on a very small pension. He spent his days at a local bar telling stories of his secret treasure maps, and how he would one day find a lost mine. This earned him the nickname "Hardrock Tumlinson". The only person who took hiom seriously was his landlord, Gene Davis. Robert told him of his big plans, and Gene asked him for proof of his claims. Robert took him and pulled out the boxes containing the stones from under his bed. Davis was hooked. Davis paid for about four trips from Oregon to Arizona for the two men. They were never able to correctly decipher the Stone Maps. In about 1959, Travis Tumlinson toko the stone maps back from his uncle. For whatever reason, there was a big falling out between Travis and Robert. Travis was never able to go back to the Superstitions as he was not a well person. He died about a year later in 1961. It was at this time that his widow Alleen sold the Stone Maps to an old family friend named Clarence O. Mitchell for $1,200. His Uncle Robert died sometime later in about 1965, never having forgiven Travis for taking the stones back.
A year before Tumlinson's death, Mitchell forms The MOEL Corporation (MOEL stood for Mining, Oil, Exploration, and Leasing). The plan was to lease or buy mineral rich land and lease it to oil and mineral mining companies. The Stone Maps were private property of Clarence O. Mitchell and not MOEL Inc. Mitchell kept the stones pretty much a secret until 12 June 1964 when Life Magazine printed an article on the Stone Maps and they were unveiled to the world. The article set off a firestorm of interest. In the article, Mitchell identified himself as Travis Marlowe (he used the first name of the real finder (Travis Tumlinson). To many, the name stuck.
At some point in time in the 1960's, Mitchell met a California Geologist from CSULA (Cal State University Los Angeles) named Martin L. Stout, and asked him to try and authenticate or age the stones. Stout went to an old colleague of his at Redlands University in Redlands, Ca. The man's name was Steve Dana. Professor Dana was supposed to have dated the Stone Maps to the mid 1800s. The only problem with this is that there is no written evidence (that I have found), and both Professors Stout and Dana have passed on.
After speaking to the wife of the late Steven Dana, the information I got was that she vaguely remembered something about the stones, but could not be sure at all. It was a looooooooong time ago and she was getting along in years. She was a wonderfully accomodating lady, who was absolutely charming. She was exceedingly proud of hew daughters, and had a very exciting life of her own. It still got me no closer to the truth.
************************************************* END UPDATE***************************************
Next comes a very contentious phase of the Stone Maps modern history; The SEC Trial. Many versions of the story say that MOEL was using the Stone Maps to generate Stock sales, so the Feds wanted to make sure they were authentic. They confiscated the stones from MOEL and had them tested. I used to believe this as well, but have evidence that shows this not to be the case.
Here is the truth about the SEC Case against MOEL Inc:
MOEL was indeed selling stock in the company. They had failed to register one form that would allow them to legally sell stock. This trial was to make certain that no fraud had been committed and to rectify the situation. Here is the SEC Litigation Release that details the charges:
As anyone can plainly see, there is no mention of the Stone Maps anywhere in the litigation release. They played absolutely no part in the SEC Investigation.
Below are the results of the SEC Trial. As you can also see, only Clarence and Grace Mitchell were enjoined (stopped) from selling stock in the company.
It seems that after the SEC Trial, the States of Nevada and Arizona both brought up MOEL and it's principle officers were being accused of illegally selling stock in MOEL.
In about 1965 or 1966, Boyd and Ruth Cochrane became officers of MOEL Inc. They were trouble from the start. They believed that their investment in the Corp entitled them to the Stone Maps. They tried several times to wrest control of the Stones from Mitchell, but since Mitchell had privately bought the Stone Maps from Aileen Tumlinson, and they were not property of MOEL, he successfully defended his ownership.
It was also during this time (about 1968-1969) that a young attorney working for the Arizona State District Attorney's Office named Bob Corbin says he came in contact with the Stone Maps. A friend told him one day that there were FBI Agents in the building that had possession of the Stone Maps. Mr. Corbin went to the office where they were and asked to see them. He said they were shown to him and the Agents stated that it was the opinion of the FBI that the Stone Maps were "at least" 100 years old at that time (1968-1969). That young attorney eventually came to be the Attorney General for the State of Arizona and a lifelong Dutch Hunter. While I have absolutely no reason to doubt the word of Bob Corbin, I have found nothing from the FBI stating that they ever had the Stone Maps in their possession. Another enigma.
After speaking to the Official FBI Historian, I was told that many records from the FBI Lab in Washington DC had been destroyed over the years. That they could have easily had the stone maps and there be no current record of it. OH WELL!
It looks like somehow, the Cochranes had gotten possession of the Stone Maps. In 1969 because of the ongoing fight between Mitchell/Kliewald and the Cochranes (this part is supposition) once the FBI had determined the Stone Maps were indeed "at least" 100 years old, they officially fell under the Arizona Antiquities Laws, and the court overseeing the Stone Maps Ownership Suit ordered both parties to donate the Stone Maps to a Non-Profit Organization.
Under a cloud of internal fighting, in 1969, MOEL Inc came to an end. As per an agreement with the State of Arizona, MOEL Inc had to cease operations and....................................
Boyd Cochrane handed the Stone Maps over to Mason Coggins (Chief Curator of the Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum) in 1969.
In the mid 1980s, the Museum decided they needed another set of Stone Maps to display, so they contracted a Special Effects Company on Phoenix to make a set of cast copies of the Stone Maps. They actually made about eight sets of copies and sold them to various people. They then sold the molds to an artist in Laguna Beach, Ca. This artist made about 25 sets of copies (including some half-size versions) until the molds broke. A friend of mine has a set of very good castings made from the Stone Maps (they were used for the pictures in this writing).
There is another version of how Travis Tumlinson came to possess the Stone Maps. Since the research and story are not mine to tell, I will only give a brief outline of the story:
The Stone Maps were stolen from the Mission at Arizpe, Mexico and found their way to Travis Tumlinson through his father (Peg Leg Tumlinson).
A lot of research and hard work are supposed to be in an upcoming book. When I hear that it is out, I will link to it here.