TOM SCHOFIELD'S lost Dutch Oven Mine

Tom Schofield
     Tom Schofield 1936

The Mohave Desert of southeastern California is home to some of the most forbidding country in North America.This nearly waterless expanse of mountains and deserts is also rumored to contain a number of fabulously-rich gold mines. In the Ivanpah Mountains,north of Cima, a legendary "river of gold" is said to flow beneath Kokoweef Peak The Turtle Mountains, which rise up from the desert sands north of Rice, are thought to harbor an incredibly rich gold placer.

Although most of the gold-bearing ores of the Mohave Desert tend to be lean, a few fabulously-rich bonanzas have actually been found. In 1915, an amazing pocket of high-grade ore was discovered in the Hidden Hill Mine, located on the southeastern slopes of the Providence Mountains. The ore from this pocket assayed out at $1.5 million per ton! Like most of the gold-bearing ores of the Mojave Desert, the Hidden Hill lode consisted of free-milling gold in quartz.

From the Hidden Hill Mine, the Clipper Mountains dominate the view to the southeast. Only 6 miles away, the Clipper Mountains loom up out of the sediment-filled basins that surround it. The Clippers also harbor a secret. Like many of the mountain ranges in the Mojave Desert, the Clippers are said to contain a lost vein of rich gold-bearing ore.

                                                 CLIPPER MOUNTAINS ESSEX,CALIFORNIA
                                                                       Clipper Mountains Essex,California

The Tale of The Lost Dutch Oven Mine
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 Southern Pacific 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.
standing on a high shelf, surrounded by high walls. Through other openings in the rock walls, he could see that the "shelf" was sitting high above the ground at about 500 feet. The only way in or out of the little flat was through the split rock.

Scattered about the long deserted camp, Schofield found rusty mining tools, pots, pans, fragments of a bedroll, and an old iron Dutch oven.

Also on the shelf was a mine shaft, in which he found the skeletons of seven burrows. Next to the shaft was a mine dump that contained numerous stones still containing rich gold quartz. By the time he had finished exploring the campsite, he realized that it was too late to return to his base camp. Cold and hungry, he bedded down on the shelf planning to leave at daybreak. In the morning, as he was leaving, he tripped over the Dutch oven and out tumbled a mound of pure gold nuggets. Shocked, Tom gathered as many nuggets as he could carry and returned to his base camp.

From there he caught a train to Los Angeles, where he spent the next two months in a drunken frenzy, gambling and living the highlife. After squandering all the money he had received from the sale of the gold nuggets, Schofield found himself sober and completely broke. It would be two years before he was able to make his way back to the Clipper Mountains to search for the "Dutch Oven Mine." 

Try as he might, it seemed to him that everything had changed and he was completely unable to retrace his steps.....he finally gave up the search when he could not even find the same canyon and bitter water as he found two years earlier.

When Schofield was 84, he was interviewed by Walter H. Miller and George Haight in 1936. Living in an abandoned store in the Mojave Desert outside Danby, California, Scofield was at first hesitant to tell his story. After having been hounded for four decades by treasure hunters wanting more information about the mine, he had long tired of the story even though he continued to insist that it was true.
Today, the Dutch Oven Mine continues to be lost, or at least no one has ever claimed to have found it. The Clipper Mountains are located in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California. The range is found just south of Interstate 40 and the Clipper Valley, between the freeway and National Old Trails Highway, northwest of the small community of Essex. The range is home to at least three springs, as well as the Tom Reed Mine. 




I'm still amazed that no one has figured this one out yet?

Lost Treasure Hunter will not give you the exact location where we believe this is so as to not start a mass Exodus to the area. We will expose it on one of our episodes.

First off this is only one version of the story, there are at least 25 that we have been able to study and compare notes to. There are several dozen versions of the story out there. Each version potentially holds a different clue. There are even versions of the story that says Tom was working for the Santa Fe Railroad and not the Southern Pacific Railroad. If you go into the original writings of Karl Von Muller (KVM) Karl states that Schofield told him the whole story was made up as he had had it out for an arrogant reporter and that he received $50.00 for his story. Because of Karl's notoriety with his books and magazine articles at the time and the fact that he is a True Legend among Treasure Hunters old and new, it was easy to just believe anything Karl said was ultimate truth. I believe that when karl wanted something, all he had to do to throw his competition off was to just say something wasn't there or never existed and everyone would just believe him. KVM was and still is that great in the eyes of all true Treasure Hunters.

For the most part, the original story is all you really need to solve this one.

Here are couple of clues for you:

1). You must obtain work records from The Southern Pacific Railroad Archives. This will tell you the exact area that Tom was working in and it will show you his reports of his spring water findings and land survey records back to the company.

* Partial Guide to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company Records, 1895
Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.                                   
Creator: Southern Pacific Railroad Company
Title: Southern Pacific Railroad Company Records,                                                                                  
Date:  1895
Extent:  ca. 2829 linear ft.
Collection number: Special Collections M1010
Language English.                                   

* This is only a partial guide and remember that this event occurred in 1894 not 1895. This is to show you that these records do in fact exist, you just have to know what your looking for and where to find them.

We also have maps of almost all Railroad tracks in the United States and their sources of water for every year since the first railroad charter in North America was granted to John Stevens in 1815. This was the starting point of the Railroads in the United States. Four Grants to others followed, and work soon began on the first operational Railroads that eventually came to the West Coast and beyond.


                           Without reliable sources of intermediate water supplies for the steam engines, the Railroads could not have moved their trains.

                             CENTRAIL PACIFIC RAILROAD MAP 1800'S

                   In order to have a starting point for Tom, you have to understand what the Southern Pacific Railroad was doing and where it was planning to go.

                                               PACIFIC RAILROAD MAP 1800'S

                        Now that we have a general starting point, we have to use topographical maps with ground overlays and terrain gridding as shown below.

*We could just fly over the area and using False Color Infrared Photography and locate the rock house foundation and trail. But, that would be too easy
 and not very challenging and not everyone learning our techniques will have access to this type of equipment.

I call this, new old school.

The next thing we did was figure Tom's approximate 12 miles covered and his elevation from where he was working before he decided to go exploring.
Figuring in that Tom was on foot from the base of the mountain and in decent physical shape, we can calculate that he hiked /climbed approximately 
40 minutes per mile, times 12 miles or around 6 hours.

This would have also required that he would have needed at least 2 litters of water to stay hydrated.

This information gives us a pretty good idea where he ended up. 

Another clue here is that he states " he could see that the "shelf" he was standing on was around 500 feet above the ground below". This is where the Topographical  maps come into play. Also, from another version of the story, he talks about how black the surrounding rocks were. He also mentions
the large boulder that was as"Big as a house".

Using the software program below we can now zoom into the actual location with Longitude and Latitude coordinates that we can now follow on the
ground when we are in the field using Real Time GPS.

Our research tells us that Tom was not in the Clipper Mountains as he thought he was. But, he was close.We believe this is one reason that he could never retrace his steps?

We have figured this out using solid research and logic.

                                 Now let's have some fun using some general information from the story and by showing you how part of the process works.


                                                                                                                 X marks the spot.


                                                 Were going to use Essex California as our starting point. You will also see Essex's Latitude and Longitude.


                     By hitting the "show" button and then the high lighted Essex Ca. in the address/place we will now see our first marker. Marker number 1.

                                                            We will now zoom into the Clipper Mountains Wilderness Area, Essex, CA 92332, USA 

                                                                                    This thin yellow line is also National Old Trails Highway.

    Now we click above Interstate 40 to establish Marker number 2. 

    You will also now see a straight line with our Latitude and longitude on the left of the page.


    Next we will square off our search area by establishing Marker's number 3 and 4 below.



    Now look down about an inch and you will see a thin black line.

    That is Railroad track.

    We now click on the track to establish distance and elevation from the work site to the search area. 

    We now go into our Overlays file and establish DMS and our gridding.


    Next we go to our map program to establish terrain. This gives us our Topographical information and a filtered view of the area.


     By zooming into the maximum you will have detail of great value if you know how to use this information.


   Once you have your basic locations locked in, you can hold your mouse button down and "move" the map where ever you want to search and then zoom in 
   or out for detail or to get your bearings.

   Happy Hunting,


There is probably more than 4 billion dollars in lost treasure scattered throughout the United States. Lost and never found. Where did it come from?

Some of it is loot buried by robbers, loot that was never recovered because the men were either shot or hung before they could dig it up.

Some of it is in unbelievably rich gold mines, mines whose owners died without revealing the location to anyone.

Some of it is pirates’ treasures, treasures buried along America’s coasts and never recovered either because maps were lost or the pirates killed.

All this treasure DOES exist, and to this day people are still searching for it.

In case you want to be a treasure hunter, here is a partial list of treasure that does exist, but that has never been found:

$5,000-$40,000 in gold, buried by French miners before they were killed by Indians in the mountains of Colorado in the late 18th century.

$114,522 in gold currency, buried when Confederate soldiers robbed a Union bank in 1864.

$180,000 in gold and money, stolen by two gangs in 1865 from a Wells Fargo stagecoach in Idaho.

$1,000,000 in gold nuggets, hidden in 1879 in a washtub in the Black Hills of South Dakota by an old prospector, who died before he could dig it up.

$1,000,000 in gold bars, stolen by the Jesse James gang in Oklahoma.

$200,000 in small bills, buried in the woods between Wisconsin and Michigan in 1934 by Public Enemy No. 1, John Dillinger, just three months before he was killed.

$50,000 in gold and jewels, buried by Captain Kidd in 1699 on Gardiners Island, off Long Island, New York, before he was hanged.

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