The Trading Post
By: John R. Kongsvik
Having spent the past ten years in Florida, I was going back to upstate New York to relic hunt. I realized that many of my favorite sites there might now be off limits or "hunted out," so I was eager to see if my hunting partner Brian and I could locate some new sites that still harbored Colonial or Revolutionary War relics.
We spied a likely spot while driving back from one of the old sites that we could no longer get on. Situated on a plateau above a fast-moving river, this area looked ideal for relic hunting. The owner was plowing the field and said we could search the long rows he had just finished.
On the way to get our detectors from the car, Brian and I found pieces of flint and some broken points lying right on the surface. Heartened by the prospect of finding Indian artifacts as well, we turned on our machines and proceeded to search the soft, loamy soil.
My first find was a 1776 Spanish colonial 2 reales in excellent condition. Brian recovered a worn 1803 U.S. half cent soon thereafter. This place was getting interesting.
Next we dug several musketballs apiece as we made our way to the back of the field. I then eyeballed a nice flint point. The farmer told us that the field had been surface hunted for years, but to his knowledge we were the first to metal detect there.
Now, this was early May in New York, and the temperature was in the 90s. The heat was taking its toll, so we started back toward the car. In the same general area where I had found 2 reales I got another solid signal. Digging into the rich soil, I retrieved a large brass disc. Having found one like this years ago in another spot, I immediately recognized it as a George Washington Inaugural button! The 1789 "chicken-like" eagle variety, it was in great condition for having been in a cultivated cornfield for 215 years.
We soon realized that most of our good finds had come from an area near the south edge of the plateau. We found no modern coins and no junk to speak of. I like to think that there was a trading post here in the late 1790s and early 1800s. Settlers and traders would have congregated here for supplies and to catch up on the latest news of the valley.
I enjoyed my week in New York and will probably make this an annual pilgrimage.