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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (12/2012) AMP (10/2012) Featured Article (02/2013)   Vol. 46 December 2012 
This Month's Features
As seen in the December 2012 edition of W&ET Magazine

No Place Like Home

By: Hugh C. Brown III

As a child in the 1950s, I don’t remember much about the first house my parents owned, but in 1960 it was time for our growing family to move down into town and into a bigger home. At that time it felt like living in a castle, as the house was a larger two-story farmhouse. The history of my property didn’t really mean much to me back then, but after a few decades and a growing interest in history and treasure, I purchased the old homestead from my father and began to look into its history. My deed starts at 1815 and has changed hands quite a few times over its 180+ years. Also standing on my property is what’s left of an old horse barn.

As all treasure hunters know, back before garbage pickup previous owners would bury all their bottles around the barn. One of the former owners of my house was a doctor who lived there from the late 1800s into the early 1930s. Several times my son, Derek, and I spent many hours carefully digging up old medicine bottles, some perfumes, whiskeys, ink bottles, Mason jars, and a couple of five gallon pails filled with necks, bottoms, and shards of varied and beautiful colored glass. What heartbreak!

Over the almost 20 years that I have owned this property, I have also spent many hours metal detecting my large yard and have dug well over a 100 Wheat cents and some silver coins. Surprisingly, I have only found one large cent, but back in the early days of my own town it was more barter than cash that kept the town going. The only things that I have left to do now are to detect under the “new” half of the house, built in the late 1800s, which is just a crawlspace, and to find the privies.

Some interesting relics have come to light over years also. Probably my favorite detecting find is an ornate silver neck stock piece. I’m still looking for the other half of that little beauty. Another interesting find is a brass dragon piece that has two small attachment lugs near the top, but as yet I haven’t found out exactly what it was part of. It never ceases to amaze me that after detecting the property, off and on pretty extensively over about two decades, another Wheat cent or Buffalo nickel will occasionally be detected.

In the early 1870s my father donated many items to the local historical society that were left in the horse barn by previous owners: wooden bowls, mashers, earthenware jugs, chamber pots, etc.

Sometimes you really don’t need to go too far to make good finds— if you’re lucky, no farther than your own backyard. Do a little research, check into your deed, and talk to older folks around town, because sometimes there’s just no place like home.

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