The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine
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  1. #1
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    The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    THE LOST DUTCH-OVEN MINE.

    from The Miner’s Guide; A Ready Handbook for the Prospector and Miner, by Horace J. West (Los Angeles: Second Edition — 1925)

    When the railroads built their transcontinental systems, some of their greatest difficulties lay in the supply of water for the men who were working on the projects. Great wagon-trains were frequently essential to bring sufficient of the supply to make work for a week at a time possible. Even after the completion of the roads there was difficulty in obtaining water for the purpose of supplying the engines or the little stations necessary wherever there was a siding.

    In order to secure water in abundance, the Santa Fe Railroad had ordered a tunnel bored in the Clipper Range, located in San Bernardino County from eight to ten miles northwest of Danby, the station to which it was to be piped if discovered in great quantity. This all happened within a score of years. The man who volunteered for the work, a competent mining man, who was well acquainted with the sinking of shafts and the boring of tunnels, was Thomas Schofield of Los Angeles.

    Tiring of work one day in early June of 1894, he started on a prospecting trip, something which he did whenever he felt in need of relaxation. He wandered into one of the canyons close at hand and discovered there a spring. What to him was more surprising and even startling was the trail that led up the canyon, stopping at the watering-place.

    The trail, at times very indistinct because of the solid rock formation, led over three or four small hills, the hog-back of two ranges and then into another canyon. This he followed until it ended in a blank wall and he realized that the trail had been lost. Going back a short distance he discovered it winding up the side of the hill. It led to two immense rocks, rivaling the towers of an old English castle. They seemed to form the portal to the wealth beyond, and nature had set them so closely together that they allowed just sufficient passageway to permit a burro well packed to enter.

    And just beyond the portal stood an isolated rock. There beside the black boulder of enormous size stood the shreds of what had been a camp. The wooden upright supports were still standing, and draped from them, floating in the breeze, were the shreds of what had been a tent. Brush had been carefully piled up around the sides. Inside there was a bench of boughs, still covered with a blanket, which was, like the tent covering, dilapidated and ragged. The stillness of the place and the fact that man had been making his habitation there struck Schofield like a blow from a fist.

    A pile of railroad ties, a number of rusty old axes which had been used as wedges for splitting the ties for lagging, a few other mining tools and some badly decomposed food still lay about the place, indicating very sudden abandonment of the camp by its owner. The most conspicuous of all things about the place was an old-fashioned, heavily rusted Dutch oven, the largest Schofield had ever seen and a trifle over two feet in diameter. So oppressive was the place and so nerve-racking the immediate strain, that he continued on the trail which led away from the camp.

    Just a short distance away he came to a shaft where considerable work had been done. It was sunk upon a series of small stringers that ran parallel to one another for a long distance and at intervals of about six inches. He counted twelve of these peculiar formations in the rock and they were of almost solid gold! He tested them, “horning” great strings of coarse gold.

    The surrounding ore was of an indigo-blue quartz formation, and “to me the stringers, passing through the dark porphyry, appeared a bed of roses of golden hues hidden in the depths of a giant bed of violets,” said Schofield in telling of his discovery. “I traced these lines of high-grade ore for a distance of nearly three thousand feet, and found them widening and enlarging as they went. They interested me so that I failed to notice for hours that the day was fast waning and that I would be forced to remain there over-night.

    “The mystery, the awe and even the fear of that night I shall never forget. Was I in the haunt of a robber crew who had found wealth far richer than could be obtained from their nefarious trade in the city? Had the owners been cruelly murdered and their wealth carried off by some one else? Was I the victim of some strange phantasmagoria, or would I waken to find all the wealth and the adventure of the day a dream? These and countless other suggestions coursed through my throbbing brain, and I slept little that night.

    “In the morning I explored the shaft at the first light of breaking sun above the jagged sky-line of broken peaks. I found that the shaft had been sunk to possibly seventy or eighty feet, and it was equipped with a windless, rope and bucket and that it had been well timbered all the way to the bottom. Outside I discovered a large pile of ore, indicative of the fact that little or none of the product of the mine had ever been carried away.

    “After gathering a number of fine samples and a large quantity of the horned gold, I went back to the camp and there again I was attracted by the Dutch oven. Something seemed to draw me to it. It contained gold! Half of it was full of the product and there was I unable to cart it away. All marks of those who resided there were of such an old stamp that I never thought whether it would be right or wrong. The idea of possession of so much wealth nearly overwhelmed me, and after grasping some of it I started back to the camp by the tunnel, planning a trip to Los Angeles to see whether it was really gold that I had found.”

    And when Schofield has his ore and his metal tested he found that it was the real article and that he had made himself richer by several hundred [1894] dollars with just the small amount he had been able to lug out on his person. It fired him with the desire to return at once and obtain all of the treasure if the right owners had not returned. But he has never been able to get back to the Dutch oven!

    In coming back from the mine he had paid little heed to the general direction taken. He had followed the trail blindly on his way up and again on his return journey. Consequently after a number of weeks, when he returned with a partner to look for the treasure and found that some terrific rains and even a waterspout had been ahead of him, his plans became hazy. The water had obliterated all signs of a trail and his knowledge of getting back was gone with it. He had forgotten the general direction, and in the years that have followed he has never been able to discover the towers of rock, the solitary mass of granite where the camp stood, or the mouth of the tunnel and the ore-heap that lay before it.

    He told friends and they in turn told others of the wonderful Dutch oven. In the annuals of mining, no one has ever heard of a wonderfully rich discovery in the Clipper Range. There are no mining men who speak of the place knowingly as having worked it or worked with those who had worked it. The camp remains a mystery, and were it not for the wealth the Schofield brought back with him, his story might never have gained the credence that it has. He is still living [1921-1925], and tells with great enthusiasm the manner of his discovery, but puts on the soft pedal when it comes to his loss. The gold would have meant so much in the worldly goods and his family’s comforts at this time.

    A Brief Glossary

    “Horning:” A miner’s horn spoon is a cow (or, back in the day, perhaps a buffalo) horn cut lengthwise and scraped thin. It is used to separate gold from the surrounding material. “The horn spoon is preferable to the gold pan or batea for prospecting, as being more convenient to carry (it can go in a pocket) and in use requires very little water, and does not fatigue the user by causing prolonged stooping.” - Prospecting, Locating and Valuing Mines, by R.H. Stretch, E.M. (New York: 1899; Second Edition 1900), page 165.

    Porphyry: An igneous rock in which relatively large, conspicuous crystals are set in a finer grained or glassy ground mass. Porphyries are generally named in accordance with their rock composition (for example, granite porphyry). The word porphyry is used by miners to mean almost any kind of igneous rocks, particularly one that is spotted, soft or light colored. The Miner’s Guide, page 73.

    Stringers: Small veins of ore often leading to larger and, consequently, more valuable veins (provided they are followed in the correct direction, of course). Not to be confused with the “stringers” that are structural pieces of mine tunnel framing. That is not the way the word is used in Mr. West’s account.


    Further Reading

    This may well be the wildest (the least likely to be true) of all Mr. West’s stories. Beginning with Thomas Probert’s Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of the West (Berkeley, California: 1977) we find just over a page of possible sources. These include the usual suspects: Jack Black, Howard D. Clark, John D. Mitchell, Thomas Penfield, et. al. And a series of lesser-known treasure writers. Few of these books, pamphlets and articles are likely to add anything new to this tale, however. One could spend quite some time locating a copy of Robert G. Ferguson’s rare little pamphlet Camp Fire Tales of Lost Mines and Hidden Treasures (Privately printed by the Author: Tucson, Arizona — 1937) only to read a version of this story straight out of The Miner’s Guide.

    Roger L. Wood’s article “Tales of Lost Gold” (The Treasure Hunter, Vol. 5, No. 6: July-August 1970) provides a brief version of the story that concludes with “It wasn’t until 1963 when 3 men from Utah, Joe Rambo, Ray Rambo, and Earl Dewitt, all of Salt Lake City found the long sought after mine a little north of Danby. Unfortunately the remaining ore in the mine wasn’t worth mining at the cost of miners wages and the low price of gold.”

    The most interesting references are to back issues of Hosstail Joe Small’s True West and Frontier Times. Happily, much of this material was reprinted in the more readily available GOLD! Magazines. For example, Walter H. Miller’s interview with Tom Scofield (that’s how his name is spelt in the article) may be found in Volume 1, No. 1 of GOLD! (Annual, 1969). Apparently another interview with that gentleman was the basis for Rexford Bellamy’s October, 1941 article in Desert Magazine. He spelled the name “Schofield.”

    The two best items, however, are letters to the Editor reprinted in GOLD! (Summer 1971; Vol. 3, No. 3) in a regular column titled “Pieces of Eight.” The first was submitted by the wonderfully named “Horse Face” Lassiter of Wise, Kansas, in response to an article written by Chick Oldham (“The Lost Dutch Oven Mine,” Frontier Times, Vol. 33, No. 4 — Fall 1959). Mr. Lassiter said the story was fiction created by Tom Scofield and sold to a newspaper for $50 ("A $50.00 Hoax"). And that Mr. Scofield confessed to the hoax to West Coast newspapers in [19]’45.

    The second letter "Treasure Hunters Attention") was written by Charles Millen, following up on Horse Face’s epistle. The most pertinent sentence is “He (Tom Scofield) confided in Bill [“Hardrock” Hammond] and Karl [von Mueller] that the Dutch Oven was a figment of his imagination dreamed up during an interview with a ‘smart aleck’ reporter from the Los Angeles Times.” Mr. Millen goes on at some length about the successful treasure hunting exploits of KvonM.

    Karl von Mueller’s Encyclopedia of Buried Treasure Hunting (The Blue Book of Treasure Hunting) (San Francisco: 1990) says about the Lost Dutch Oven: “There are dozens of versions of this lost mine yarn.” He spells the protagonist’s name “Schofield,” by the way. In an interesting note, KvonM wrote “There is an actual Dutch Oven Mine in the Old Woman Mtns. SE of Danby…” In light of Mr. Millen’s letter, his insertion of the word “actual” is instructive. He cites the “LA Times, numerous articles,” as one of his sources, along with the October 1941 Desert Magazine article noted above.

    One final note. Who is Charles Millen? We return to KvonM’s EBTH and find “Millen, Charles G.: A lifetime pursuer of buried treasure and mineral wealth. He has endowed numerous charities with the fruits of his successes.”

    to be continued…Next: Lost Mines of Death Valley — The Breyffogle.

    --- o0o ---

    This is Part V of the Lost Mines of the Desert series. Part I was posted here on December 26, 2008. Part II — “The Lost Arch” Diggings was posted January 3, 2009. Part III — The Peg-Leg Mine; Or, the God of Fury’s Black Gold Nuggets, was posted January 11, 2009, and may be found under the Lost Peg Leg Mine topic. Part IV — The Lost Papuan Diggings — was posted January 19, 2009.

    Once this series has been completed, I am considering collecting all these stories into a booklet for ready reference and convenient reading. If you would like to be notified when that is done, please send me a PM.

    = 30 =
    Last edited by Old Bookaroo; Dec 08, 2016 at 03:00 PM.
    Make America Think Again

    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Pirate of the Martires

    Feb 2005
    Port Richey, Florida
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    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Old Bookaroo that was a great read. Too bad the mine was fake. I can't wait for part VI.
    autofull likes this.

  3. #3
    um
    Dec 2008
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    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    scubasalvor:

    Thank you for your kind words. I was rather disappointed this afternoon when I was working on the "Further Reading" section and discovered that yes, it does appear this one is more phantom than reality. I particularly like Tom Schofield's description of the ore - poetry.

    There is a saying about art - if you only buy paintings or other works of art that you love, you'll never go wrong. If you enjoy these yarns, then your time reading them is well spent.

    As noted at the very bottom, I do plan to collect these tales - along with an additional one that I will not be posting on TNF - in a booklet. Please let me know if you'd like to hear when that is ready.

    Are some true? I certainly think so. Which ones? Well, that's the question, isn't it?

    Good luck to all,

    ~The Old Bookaroo
    autofull likes this.
    Make America Think Again

    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

  4. #4
    us
    Jun 2006
    Out in the hills near wherendaheckarwe
    WHITES, MINELAB, Garrett
    4,186
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Bookaroo,

    Excellent job!

    Thank you!
    I know it's here, just need a bigger coil!

    I think I know what my last words will be....
    "Hold my beer and watch this!"

  5. #5
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11809 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    HOLA: for general information, a cow horn is cut length wise, then cut to perhaps 8 - 10 inches long. It is preferred for prospecting since the lamenations of the horn fibre have a unique ability to form microscopic traps which retain fine gold in a way far superior way to any other field instruments..

    I am curious, it reports that he spent time trying to find the area with a partner later? Why would he do that if he had fabricated the story himself? Has this partner ever been identified? What about the gold that he sold? Many questions remain. Was saying that he had made up the story a lie in itself, if so for what reason?

    Too many inconsistencies but I tend to believe the original story most.
    ,
    Don Jose de La Mancha
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  6. #6
    um
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
    DAKOTA TERRITORY
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    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine


    Marker post...please ignore this post

    Oroblanco
    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

  7. #7
    us
    Jun 2006
    Out in the hills near wherendaheckarwe
    WHITES, MINELAB, Garrett
    4,186
    2767 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    I know it's here, just need a bigger coil!

    I think I know what my last words will be....
    "Hold my beer and watch this!"

  8. #8

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
    7,748
    5313 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Roy,

    I'll see your post and raise you mine......



    For a number of reasons, this claim could be what Adolph Ruth was looking for.

    Take care,

    Joe
    " Hell, I was there!" Elmer Keith
    "There is an ancient proverb that says a man can never forgive you for a wrong he has done you." From a wise friend.

  9. #9
    um
    Nemo me impune lacesset

    Jan 2005
    DAKOTA TERRITORY
    Tesoro Lobo Supertraq, (95%) Garrett Scorpion (5%)
    7,506
    8454 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Sheesh Joe I like YOUR marker post better than mine! But then I like your vantage point better than mine too - something about the "grass is always greener" I suppose, surely your winter must be just about the same as it is here right? (Maybe one or two degrees Farh. warmer, due to latitude?)

    PS I could see why this might work for Ruth too. The vantage point looks pretty darned close.
    Roy
    SUPPORT THE BEEF INDUSTRY - EAT BEEF
    "We must find a way, or we will make one."--Hannibal Barca

  10. #10
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11809 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Good morning guys: This is the required Mine monument / marker in Mexico. It is specific in size, shape, and color with the appropriate identifying information painted in black . This includes where the filing took place etc.. It always requires a human standing next to it for positive size determination.

    This was a small unowned piece in the heart of the Escondida so we snapped it up. The previous owner was locked in by our Escondida, but even though we gave him full permission to cross our land indefinitely he let it go. I heard rumors of financial and family problems. We would have gladly bought it off of him, however drool.

    The one on the right under the wyoming sheep herder hat, is my Tiger.

    Don Jose de La Mancha

    p.s. it was down to 50 last night brrrr.
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    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  11. #11

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
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    5313 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Jose,

    I have never seen a claim marker that required two women standing by it.
    How often to you have to take supplies into them?

    Take care,

    Joe
    " Hell, I was there!" Elmer Keith
    "There is an ancient proverb that says a man can never forgive you for a wrong he has done you." From a wise friend.

  12. #12

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
    7,748
    5313 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Roy,

    The Del Monte claim (in the picture) stretches across both sides of the Stone Map trail. It is above the saddle that separates West Boulder Canyon from Little Boulder Canyon. On the opposite side of the trail through the saddle, there is a brush-choked ravine that has a good spring in it. It's almost impossible to reach because of the thick brush.......and bees.

    The claim is 2.35 miles from Willow Spring and is mostly downhill. At two miles you would start the climb to the saddle and the claim. Ruth could have easily made the hike.

    As you proceed down the trail into Little Boulder, it leads directly to the heart I have posted pictures of. The triangle is also at the end of that trail, same as on the Stone Maps.

    In my personal opinion, this is the area that Adolph Ruth's body was actually found in, as opposed to the north end of Black Top Mesa. The body and head were moved to lead any subsequent searchers away from whatever Ruth was looking for.......or found.

    Ruth had been in the mountains before, and knew exactly where he wanted to camp/search. The story that Tex told is, pretty much, a complete fabrication. That would be the story we have all been reading since Ruth was killed.

    Take care,

    Joe
    " Hell, I was there!" Elmer Keith
    "There is an ancient proverb that says a man can never forgive you for a wrong he has done you." From a wise friend.

  13. #13
    um
    Dec 2008
    3,964
    2789 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Don Jose:

    Why? Why would Tom Schofield tell an obnoxious newspaper reporter such a windy?

    Clearly, if one can believe Horse Face, there were the fifty good turn-of-the century reasons.

    But there is more to it than that. There is the irresistible urge felt by many an old-timer to get a tenderfoot to swallow a stretcher. Urge? Perhaps it is more a duty. One that has a long tradition in the American West.

    In his article “Six Months in ‘49” (The Overland Monthly, April 1875) Henry DeGroot recounts his experiences with Caleb Greenwood over the May 1849 Gold Lake Excitement.

    “Encamped near the Mill was an old mountaineer and trapper named Greenwood…After the manner of his kind, Greenwood was prone to relate the adventures of his life, and tell of the strange objects he had seen in his long tramps over the mountains and plains…Now, Greenwood had a bad reputation for truth and sobriety. Indeed, his powers of falsification were quite phenomenal; to say that he was an habitual liar would mislead, as leaving room for the inference that he sometimes spoke the truth.”

    Nonetheless, DeGroot became a financial backer of an expedition led by Old Greenwood’s son, John. They failed to find the fabulous Gold Lake, and DeGroot returned to the Mill to take up the matter in person with Caleb. DeGroot “…proceeded to deliver him a piece of my mind in rather plain language. For a time he bore it in silence, which so emboldened me that I waxed still more indignant, going so far as to at last call him a cheat and a liar.”

    Whether or not Old Greenwood believed the Gold Lake story himself is not the issue. The DeGroot's account confirms that he didn’t enjoy having it pointed out to him that perhaps he had been less than candid about his alleged discovery.

    “About this time the old chap rose from the log where he had been seated, and, standing over six feet in his moccasins, addressed me in a few words something after this style: ‘Look a-har, young man; I reckon thar ain’t no use for this unpleasantness atween gentlemen. See them thar?’ – pointing to a stack of rifles leaning against a tree at the door to his tent – ‘all fixed for service, and ashure to carry lead whar ye pint ‘em; take yer choice, stranger, and measure off yer groun’ – I’m not perticuler ‘bout distance.’”

    As we shall presently see, Mr. Schofield didn’t always suffer fools gladly, either. Either before or after the announcement of his astonishing find.

    Good luck to all,

    ~The Old Bookaroo


    Make America Think Again

    Do you have good books in good condition you are never going to re-read? Clean 'em out!
    Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops.

  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2006
    Las Vegas, Nv
    199
    85 times

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Old Bookaroo,
    I need to question why you passed up the most verifiable lost mine of all, The Lost Yuma in Az.
    " Him cheat him friend of his last guinea,
    Him kill both friar and priest- O dear!
    Him cut de t'roat of piccaninny,
    Bloody, bloody buccaneer."

  15. #15
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11809 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Lost Mines of the Desert - Part V: The Lost Dutch-Oven Mine

    Like OOPs , I posted the wrong title for the Magia sorry

    As for the females Joe, the mine is only 500 meters from an all weather state maintained road with power paralleling the road. And 35 miles to the city of Obregon, Sonora. So they are there to cook etc. while I rest.

    The following state assays show why I wanted them together.

    Jales == dump

    Don Jose de La Mancha
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    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

 

 
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