28 April 2011

Metal Detecting Post #33 - Diggin' Dabney Part 3


During my most recent trip to "Stony Point", the home built by Robert Lewis Dabney (Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff and Chaplain), I again recovered some interesting relics. (See previous posts here and here.) Nothing of great value, but of great interest - to me anyway. The group pictures show all the interesting finds. Part of an arrowhead, the other part of a brass burner to an oil lamp from a previous find (Patent date 1863), a 19th century brass buckle, and a calf weaner. The calf weaner with a patent date of August 18, 1910 stamped on it, was made by a company that is still in business selling these items, though with a more modern design. The name of the company is quite, uh, clever: "KANT SUK." [Please, save the jokes for a different blog. ;o) ] The curved part with the knobs on the ends are inserted into the calf's nostrils and the lower part is hinged; allowing it to swing down in front of the calf's mouth so it "can't suck." My piece is rusted to the point that the hinge is no longer free to swing down.

The last item pictured is an ax head I showed before. But since that post, I did some research using Eric Sloane's Museum of Early American Tools and it looks like it could be pre-Revolutionary, based on one of his sketches. I've contacted the Museum of Frontier Culture to see if they might be able to assist me in dating the piece. Hopefully, I'll get a response soon.  Of all these pieces, the only ones that could have been there during Dabney's time would be the buckle and the ax head. Of course, the arrowhead would have been there long before Dabney ever set foot on the property. You can click on the images to enlarge for a better look.

Broken arrowhead, calf weaner, oil lamp burner, brass buckle
Dug calf weaner ~ "Kant Suk"
Kant Suk calf weaner ~ non-dug
Ax Head ~ Pre-Revolutionary?
Local artist and historian, Joe Nutt writes the following about Stony Point:

". . . Dabney designed the home and with his own hands quarried the stone, with some help from church members and neighbors, and *paid a stonemason "about 50 cents per perch for laying the stone." In August, 1851, Dabney wrote, "I will try what architectural science can do to combine taste and beauty with economy. My house must be something very small and very plain; but there is no reason in the eye of skill, why it may not be pretty. . . The grey-stone cottage I thought a gem. Had I lived there (longer), it would have been a beautiful place." 

It is a beautiful place and I hope to return there a few more times to see what other secrets lay just under foot. I'll post more pics of any interesting finds and some of the landscape later. Saturday, I hope to do some relic hunting near what once served as a winter camp for Confederate soldiers.

*Dabney was also a skilled stonemason, having learned the trade on his family's mill farm in Louisa County, Virginia. Other sources indicate Dabney did much of the stone work at Stony Point himself.

5 comments:

Douglas Hill said...

Great finds there Rick; that calf weaner is really interesting, and the poll of that axe head looks like it did some heavy hammering in its time.

The late Eric Sloane is an American treasure in himself; I have seven of his works and cherish every one.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hey Doug - I'd heard of Sloane years ago but just recently picked up that particular title - my first. You are right - an American treasure indeed. I want to get some more of his books. "Diary of an Early American Boy" looks particularly interesting to me.

Douglas Hill said...

Yes, that is a great one. I thought enough of that title to buy one for my father as a Christmas present a few years back.

Another good one is "A Reverence For Wood"; it makes you realize just how critical wood has been to mankind (just ask Noah), and also its amazing qualities, characteristics and uses. While not a tree hugger by a long shot, I think the book did give me a new appreciation for what God provided us (particularly essential in centuries past) in something so benign and common as the tree.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yes, I looked at all his titles and am sure I'll be buying more. I sense a kindred spirit in his writing and perspective.

Douglas Hill said...

Methinks you sense correctly.