I was asked to post the following response Thomas Glover gave to Greg Davis regarding the Rock House found by Tom Burnett shown on page 18.
And yes I've been looking for that thing all over the Supes and it's been worth every cut, poke, bruise, tear, welt, trip, fall, scrape and charlie horse.
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 11:39:34 -0700
Subject: Rock House
After our recent conversation and one with Jack I wanted to clear up something. I do not want anyone getting injured looking for the rock house on page 18 in my book. I understand that there are people hiking all over Coffee Flat looking for it. Why they are looking on Coffee Flat I don’t know. There is nothing in the book that puts the house on Coffee Flat, or anywhere else.
The history of that photo is as follows. When I was putting the book together I asked Tom Burnett for a photo, preferably one in his Marine uniform. Tom said he didn’t have one, which I doubt. My guess is it was packed away somewhere and getting to it was way too much hassle.
Tom has since told me that he had no idea I was trying to write a serious book on the legend. Plus, he was in the middle of a life changing event(s) and that likely added to his reluctance to work on finding the photo.
I turned to Len and he said yes he had a photo of Tom panning for gold. Great! He also had a photo of a rock house under a cliff that Tom had found in his travels. Great!! Len never said where it was and I was not that excited about it, except as part of the Tom and Len part of the story. The condition of the house is what failed and fails to excite me. To me it appears to be a modern structure. The condition of the wood, the rocks seem to cemented in some fashion and to me it appears just in too pristine a condition to be all that old.
I do not know where it is. Tom and Len hunted many places before I met them. I cannot even say it is in the Wilderness. Tom lived in Big Bear and there are lots of lost mine stories in the San Bernardino Mts. and the surrounding desert. I just don’t know, at the time it was not important to me.
Now, there is something on Coffee Flat that is of interest. Something which I mentioned in the book. The story is told there. Before our trip into the mountains Tom had come to the conclusion that the Two Soldiers ended up on Coffee Flat. I never understood his logic on this point, but I was the new guy and more or less along for the ride on that first trip. Anyway Len came over to Tom’s and they poured over maps and aerial photographs. Then at one in the morning the phone rings and Len is on the other end saying, we found it, we found it. And yes, the location was on Coffee Flat.
So when we went in we camped on Coffee Flat and hiked to the location of what they thought was a covered mine. It turned out to be simply some exposed bedrock that happened to be round in shape. A lot of hiking and now disappointment, especially for Tom and Len. We all headed back. Len and his stepson, Scott, headed back the way we had come. Tom decided he would take what he thought would be a short cut, he was wrong. I decided to take a middle route. I got
cliffed at the head of good sized waterfall and turned back to follow Len and Scott.
Tom continued on and found himself in a heavily brushed, nasty little canyon. There he spotted the skull of a javalina. It was pristine, Tom wanted it. But he found there was no lower jaw. He got down and started feeling around for the lower jaw. He found it and it too was in great shape. But, in his searching for the lower jaw he also found an 1858 half-dollar.
Now from Tom’s description of the little canyon he was in it was not a place where cowboys would or likely could ride. Nor was the canyon one well traveled. It was apparently not one that really led anyplace. So how did that coin get there? In 1858 that 50 cents had the buying power of over 14 dollars today. Not something to be ignored. My guess is the coin was probably around for say 20, 30 or 40 years. If this is so, that 1858 half-dollar was likely lost before 1900 at the latest. More likely I would guess before 1890?
So who lost it? Why were they in such a nasty place? Prospector? Indian cache nearby? Bandit hideout? Somebody was in that canyon very early and it would seem that whomever it was likely had a near compelling reason to be there. If someone wants to hike Coffee Flat and is looking for something interesting that may tie into Waltz and his time I would focus on this. If anyone is interested Greg, let me know and I will try to get an idea of the general locality.
But, I really do not want anyone getting into a bad situation over a rock house. Especially one I cannot vouch for except it was found somewhere by Tom Burnett sometime. As I say it came from Len and don’t know even if Len knows much about it.