09 August 2011

Metal Detecting Post #42 - 19th Century Items

The dog days of Summer do not often offer ideal metal detecting conditions - hot weather, parched, concrete-like ground, snakes, and mosquitoes make a detectorist long for the cooler days of autumn. Many of the areas I have permission to hunt are currently either in crops or located in very overgrown areas of the Blue Ridge. Nonetheless, it is hard for me to stay away from all the history which I know is lying just beneath the surface here in the Breadbasket of the Confederacy - the Shenandoah Valley. Below are a sampling of a few items I've found recently - despite the less than favorable conditions.

This is a spoon I recently found at the farmstead once owned by Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff, Robert Lewis Dabney. It was manufactured by Wm. A. Rogers and is stamped "German Silver", though I'm not convinced it is silver. After some cleaning, the metal has the appearance of being some type of copper alloy. I don't know enough about metals to make a determination. I believe it dates to the late 19th century.

Another close up shot of the spoon's intricate design. When considering the technology available at the time these items were made, the craftsmanship is quite remarkable.

Pictured here are some miscellaneous items I dug at another Shenandoah Valley farmstead. The larger item is, I believe, one of the bells off of an old telephone. The iron item on the left is some type of tag. The decorative brass piece could be off of a lamp or other household item. I've been told the two items at the bottom are lead weights and were used in the hems of frock coats, as well as tents used by soldiers in the WBTS. The area where they were dug did see a major battle during the Civil War.

I seem to find a lot of 19th century flat buttons. Here's another. The tag is a bit difficult to read (click to enlarge image) in this photograph but it reads: "Anchor Buggy Co. - Cincinnati Ohio" The company made buggies during the 19th and early 20th century and also manufactured "Carriage" automobiles from 1910 - 1911. Both of these items were found on the same farmstead as the lead weights.

I've been fortunate enough to secure several very promising sites where concentrated WBTS activities occurred and will be exploring those as soon as cooler weather arrives. I'll also be detecting some sites this fall that date to the early 19th and late 18th century. As much as I love summer, I'm looking very forward to the changing of the seasons. Now, if I can just find time to get started on that next book project . . . ;o)


Douglas Hill said...

Great digs there, pahdnuh. Keep 'em coming!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Doug. I hope to explore that old mountain homestead later this week. Can't wait!