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Jim Mitchell's Story

By Karen D.
About 15 years ago, Jim Mitchell, a Professional Treasure Hunter, was told by an old Indian named Tom, about the possibility of a cache that had been buried in a remote part of eastern Oklahoma. Apparently, the site had been a campsite for cowboys, outlaws, and the like.

According to Indian Tom, the campsite wasn't well known, that's probably the reason it wasn't very productive. Probably just common people been usin' the trail through there. Just to the South, there was a better wagon road going to Fort McCluney and Fort Downes. There existed a remote possibility of something being there, although I didn't expect to find any large cache. There was a possibility some outlaw buried a saddlebag or something similar, I was just "dreamin" more or less.

After speaking with Indian Tom I decided to check the site. When I saw the heavy covering of brush and weeds, I became discouraged. The area wasn't suited for a conventional metal detector.

After I bought my Electroscope®, I couldn't wait to go back to the site if not to find a cache, then to satisfy my own curiosity. I asked Indian Tom to accompany me on my search. We could only drive my truck so far in, then we had to go on foot; I figure we walked about a mile and a half before we settled on a site to begin our search. When I first got to the site, I pulled out my Electroscope® and set it for gold, it was like I was getting a faint drag, so I moved in closer and it came in stronger. I decided to try it on silver also, that's when it came in real strong. There seemed to be more silver than gold. When I received my first signal I was about 150 feet away, there were these big bushes and I couldn't see exactly where the target was goin' to be. After I went in and I was gettin' ready to "box it" down, I walked back to the place as best I could circling around.

 

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We had to chop our way through the brush to follow the signal. I tried the triangulation, moved over about 30 feet but I still couldn't see where the target was going to be. I asked, Indian Tom to go over there and holler back where he was. I could see part of him through the bushes. Since he had on a white shirt, but I couldn't be exactly sure where the target was going to be. I'd be safe in sayin', 150 feet and maybe a little over. It wound up bein' about six or seven feet from a small spring. In the old days there might have been more water comin' out, but it was kind of a seep spring. It took us about an hour to clear a 20 foot square, to do the Electroscope® Pinpoint Method. It took some time getting the vines and bushes out of the way to do the boxin' in. Finally, I was down to a three foot square. I used my Electroscope® to get the approximate location of the cache. I finally got a faint signal, not real strong but it was metal of some kind. We had a small shovel, what I call a GI shovel. I dug down about 18 inches, that's when I noticed some kind of a metallic object. I was real careful. Got my fingers down there and scratched around and uncovered the top of this little can, possibly a snuff can. I cleaned the dirt away, trying to pull it out of the ground, but the rusty can fell apart like a broken eggshell. Then I saw the silver dollars, all fused together. Next to it, I scratched around a bit and found this little brass case. It was about three, three and a half inches long, about two inches in depth. It was corroded badly and greenish in color, it looked like copper. We took a pocketknife and kept pryin' til I finally broke it open. There starin' me in the face, was that gold watch. One of the old kind with a foldin' lid. It was in fairly good condition for being in the ground that long. Of course, it was inside that brass case, so water went around it. I said, "How are we gonna divide this?", Indian Tom looked at me and said, he'd like to have the watch. OK, beggars can't be choosers! I wouldn't have known about the place myself anyway. The thrill of diggin' it up was real excitin'. My heart jumped three or four beats when I dug it out of the ground! The thrill of being able to pick it up at a distance with my ELECTROSCOPE®, that's what really thrilled me.
 

The only thing I can figure about the owner of these items is, he went to town to do a little drinkin', or a little gamblin', took what he needed, and buried the rest; I've heard of them doin' that. They usually buried it on the outskirts of town, and this was buried quite a ways from that little town. This had been a stagecoach stop, a weigh station you might call it. It's obviously somebody's personal stuff, someone buried it for some reason and met with an ill end?

The only thing that I could see, that the guy could have used as a marker, was a large stump about 15 feet from where I dug it up. I figured he might have stepped it off. The tree was more or less due west. He might have camped there. He probably stepped off 5 good steps usin' yards to where it was found. That was the only good mark I saw. The stump was all rotted out, cut off years ago. It was a huge stump, about four foot in diameter, obviously a very large tree back then. It was the only thing we could find that might have been used as a marker.

I figure the cache must have been underground 90 to 100 years. The coins were all stuck together, but in fine condition. The silver dollar on top is dated 1880. Maybe someday I'll decide to separate em'.

I'da spent two weeks there cuttin' that brush out of the way to finally get to the place it was. Without the Electroscope®, I would have given up.

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