A long drive, a long walk, cold, winds, and snow squalls. No coins, no old buttons, just scraps and a bent old tag. I was too cold to consider it much at the moment, but thought maybe it could be a railroad baggage check. Optimism was low, and into the pouch it went.
After finally calling it quits and getting home, it took a few hours for me to defrost and even think about my finds. I dug out the tag and knocked off the dirt and then rinsed it off. Wow! A baggage check, and a super interesting early Ohio one at that.
Railroad baggage checks were typically brass and came in pairs. Tags like these were first used by railroads in the 1850s. These metal checks were replaced by paper tags starting in the 1880s and by World War I the metal checks were generally out of use. One tag would be affixed to a passenger's luggage with a leather strap and the other tag was retained by the passenger. The star on this tag indicates it was the check the passenger retained.
Railroad history is a confusing business, between mergers and leases, it's hard to figure out who ran what and when. Sometimes lines went by their "old" names, even after a merger. Fortunately there aren't many cities in Ohio that start with X, so tracking down the cities the initials stood for wasn't too challenging. The initials on the tag, C&X&D&X&BRR, stand for the Columbus and Xenia Railroad and the Dayton, Xenia and Belpre Railroad. The C&X opened in 1850, the DX&B opened in 1858 and was leased by the C&X starting in January 1859. The C&X purchased the DX&B in February 1865. The C&X became part of the Little Miami Railroad in 1868. In 1869 it was leased to the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad, and finally through that lease the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Knowing this particular site, and with the railroad information, I'm sure the tag dates to probably the earlier half of 1860-1870. A really cool relic and piece of railroad history.
It's dusk as I get to the site, and quickly it's too dark to see a darn thing. I'm just putting the clods of dirt in my bag as I go. Some are obvious pulltabs and screwcaps. One looked (and sounded) like a silver ring (no such luck). Thirty minutes and I managed to cover the site well enough that I was satisfied. Pleased to find when I got home I had a 1927 Mercury dime, a corroded 50s era Wheat cent and a few pieces of clad in with the trash.
Met up with Dave today to search some farm fields. We first searched a farm house that only gave up two wheat cents and then stumbled upon a good site almost by accident. Dave made the best find of the day there, an 1809 half cent. I picked up a good old buckle, half a giant crotal bell, a few buttons - two flat and one eagle, an 1850-65 General Service button. We then moved on to the next site we had lined up. I found a 1902 Indian Head cent and parts of an old oil lamp right off, but we had a big area to cover and no precise information on the locations of the home sites on that parcel and spent most of our time doing "research" on foot. While this "research" wasn't very useful at the time, it helped me once I got home to pinpoint the sites on some different old maps.
These finds came from a small lawn area that was part of Camp Chase during the Civil War. The first visit yielded one three-ringer Minie ball. The second visit was much better, I found my first Flying Eagle cent, dated 1857, another Minie ball and a large musketball. I'm no expert on Civil War sites, but finding coins from the era does not seem to be especially common in these types of sites.
Camp Chase was opened in May 1861 and was closed in 1865. The camp covered 160 acres on the west side of Columbus. The camp was named for former Ohio Governor and Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. It was a training camp for Ohio volunteer army soldiers, a parole camp, a muster outpost for 150,000 Union troops and a 25,000 Confederates passed through the prisoner-of-war camp.
The former camp land has all been converted to other uses, with the exception of the cemetery. The majority of the land is now single family homes. The Westgate neighborhood was built on the site between the 1910s and 1950s. Camp relics can turn up anywhere in the neighborhood. I searched another site that was part of the camp a few years ago and came up with some flat buttons.
Dave and I searched a few homes today. There were few coins found but they were some better ones, Dave located a nice 1825 large cent right off the bat and also found a 1907 V nickel and some wheats. I had fewer finds and while not as old as Dave's finds, I was happy to have this cool 1920s Worcester Salt token
with a good luck swastika back and my second key date, 1921 Mercury dime for the year, this one much less worn than the first one. Worcester Salt was founded in Warsaw, New York in 1894 and and was bought out by Morton Salt in 1943.
Marion A. Ross
The Dayton Diggers secured permission to hunt the historic Ross farm on Honey Creek in Christiansburg, Jackson Township, Champaign County. The farm was the site of two homes, a small tile factory and several barns. The houses had been razed but at least one had been still standing in 1959.
Levi and Mary Ross came to Champaign County from Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia) between 1827 and 1832 and settled on this farm.
Levi Ross was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia on February 16, 1792, son of Jonathan and Martha Brown Ross. He married Mary Ruffner between 1820 and 1827. Mary was born in Virginia on February 20, 1802. The Rosses had at least nine children and possibly as many as thirteen. Their most famous son, Marion was born on the farm.
Marion Andrew Ross was born October 9, 1832. He was a student at Antioch College and was a musician. He enlisted in the Union Army on April 15, 1861. He was a Sergeant Major in Company B of the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ross participated in the ill fated Andrews Raid. The raid brought the first Union soldiers into north Georgia, lasted just seven hours and involved the only locomotive chase of the Civil War. These links have more information about Andrews Raid
and Ross' part in the Great Locomotive Chase
. (Some may have seen the 1956 Disney movie "The Great Locomotive Chase" based on these events.)
From the State Library of Ohio website, "Ross enlisted with a group of other Ohioans volunteered to be part of a secret mission deep into Confederate territory to disrupt transportation and communication lines in 1862. The group purchased tickets and boarded a train just north of Marietta, Georgia on the morning of April 12, 1862. When the train stopped at the town of Big Shanty for breakfast, the soldiers separated the engine, called The General, the coal tender, and three boxcars from the rest of the train. With the Confederate crew in pursuit, Andrew's Raiders headed toward Chattanooga, tearing up track and cutting telegraph lines. The Confederates picked up a new engine, The Texas, at the next railroad station and continued to pursue the Raiders. Although they released two of the boxcars and tried to set fire to a bridge, it soon became clear that the Raiders would never make it to Chattanooga. They abandoned The General about half way to Chattanooga. Andrew's Raiders fled on foot, but all 21 were captured within a week. Eight of them were hanged and the rest sent to Confederate prison camps." Ross was executed in mid June 1862 for his part in the raid. He is buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery in Tennessee.
Levi Ross died on November 25, 1863. Mary died March 10, 1865. The Rosses are buried at Honey Creek Cemetery in Christiansburg. The farm was inherited by their son, Marine Ruffner Ross (1835-1886), whose name appears on the property in the 1875 Champaign County Atlas.
A large group of Diggers arrived for the 9:00 am start, and everyone was excited to see what finds might come to light. As we hit the fields we had to contend with tall pasture grass, corn stubble, a few cows and their...pies. The group exploring the tile factory site gathered around Jared Shank who dug an 1881 Indian Head cent stuck in some asphalt. Others were finding Wheat cents and other relics around the old home site.
A small group went to explore another potential home site that Steve Greene had pointed out. Pottery, glass and brick amongst the corn stubble showed that it was the right place, though the only coin to come to light was an 1882 Indian Head cent found by Mark Ferguson. I had joined this group and after not finding much worth digging, set off back across the field.
At first, I was just carrying my detector while walking back to the main site, but then decided I should be swinging, even in the narrow corn stubble rows. Most of the time I was just getting false signals from the grommets on my boots or it was dead silent, but then I got a higher pitched signal worth investigating. I turned over some soil and pinpointed the item in a clod of dirt. I saw what looked like a thin silver coin sticking out of the side. I thought maybe I had a half dime. None of the other Diggers were near enough to share the find with. Thinking others might like might like to see before I broke the clod open, I wrapped the clod in a paper towel I had in my pocket. When I got back to the main group, people asked if I had found anything and I got to show off the coin in the clod which fueled a lot of speculation as to what it could be. Guesses included pulltab, silver three cent, half dime, aluminum play money and a half reale.
The next event was the seeded token hunt. There were 45 green painted cents that were prize tokens as well as a handful of Buffalo nickels scattered over the surface of a portion of the cornfield where the stubble was flattened. Almost everyone darted around the field looking for the targets. People left the field as it got harder and harder to find the planted coins. Amazingly, all the prize tokens were found! The most tokens found by any one person was six. Diggers then exchanged their tokens for prize boxes which contained old coins, many of them silver, including an 1877-S Seated Liberty half, Barber quarters and dimes, newer silver quarters and dimes and other old coins.
The Diggers then enjoyed a great lunch of fried chicken, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and baked beans as well as other snacks and treats brought by members. Following lunch was the raffle. Raffle prizes included a Garrett ProPointer, a small fireproof safe, a Lesche digger, a Morgan silver dollar, two Walking Liberty Halves, a finds pouch, a metal water bottle, a Roman coin, some assorted foreign coins and even some peppers!
Jared then asked who had found coins or anything else interesting that morning. Several members reported finding Wheat cents, a pocket spill of a 1939 Walking Liberty half, 1940 Jefferson nickel, two Wheats and two 1943 steel cents was discovered near the tile factory site. By this point almost everyone was itching to discover what the coin was, in my pocket, still in the clod of dirt. We did a reveal and it turned out to be an 1810s silver Spanish half reale!
After that excitement, some folks decided to call it a day, while others returned to the fields to see what else might turn up. I did not hear of any other coin finds from the afternoon though Doug Schilling found an old brass stirrup and Gary Fishman and I both found small lead "musketballs."
While nothing turned up that we could attribute as belonging to the Ross family, it was still a fun day full of great people and friends, detecting and history seeking.
Slow going, but in review, a good week. An Excelsior Boy Scout Shoe token
[Version I, Type II, Variety A2] four Mercury dimes, a silver ring, an 1899 Indian Head cent and a streetcar smashed 1910 cent. Sites included two 1920s schools, a newer school on an old site and some park construction.
Met up with an old friend and did some searching. Ended up with 22 wheat cents, a 1945 Mercury dime, 1926 Buffalo nickel and a neat token that was part of a pocket spill with four wheat cents. The funny thing was the "tails" side of the token was facing up when I flipped the plug open
The token is fairly common and is a "heads and tails" coin - literally! It says Gus' Good Food Matching Coin on the front and the address and phone number on the back. Gus' Good Food was a restaurant in Chicago. They served Italian food and were "famous for steaks and green noodles." Someone online reminisced that the restaurant had a nautical theme and the bartender would ring a ship's bell when people walked in to signal the host how many people were in the party, hence the "Bing Bong" in their advertising.
Checked out a site that has had a few school buildings on it over the past 80 years, the last built just a few years ago, hoping against hope to find some of dirt around the oldest site intact. Picked up a few wheat cents and searching along the edges turned up a 1951 dime and a 1953 quarter. I did locate part of the old pea gravel playground area, and that was tough digging for a few wheats. Stopped at another school on the way home and found a couple more wheats, a 1944 dime and wheat in one hole and a nice big brass skeleton key.
Drove by a small sidewalk project I had spotted in the dark last night downtown. Might be worth a go but it'll be a challenge. If we get rain it will be impossibly muddy. Instead today I went back to the school that gave up two Mercury dimes last week and I picked up two more along with some wheats and clad. That takes me to 40 silver coins for the "year" though I only picked the detector back up at the start of September!
1918-D Mercury dime
1940 Mercury dime
1913 Wheat cent
1921 Wheat cent
Back at the sidewalk project. Less than two hours searching over two days. The copper slug was a fooler at first, the diameter and thickness are nearly exactly that of a large cent. Best finds were a 1906 Indian Head cent and a 1918 Buffalo nickel. All these coins were virtually laying on the surface.
Detected again at the sidewalk construction project, seems like I find something every time I go back. Also spent some time at an old school and a park in the neighborhood.
1903 Indian Head cent
1918 Buffalo nickel
1943-P War nickel
1935 Mercury dime
1944 Mercury dime
1947 Roosevelt dime
Sterling silver ring
Well, some old dirt was moved around on the sidewalk project in my neighborhood today. As a welcome home from Maine, I found this heavily gilded Ohio medallion. I noticed the interlocking three circles at the base of the wreath and I had a clue what it was from. I believe it is part of an I.O.O.F. badge. I found a similar one for Wisconsin online (pictured below) that includes the top bar and the ribbon. My broad guess based on the design and quality would be that it dates from 1870-1910. The 1923 Mercury dime and the Canadian dime came from another park I stopped at briefly to receheck a spot I had hunted well two years ago.
Last day in Bangor. Checked out two more parks and revisited another.
1871 Prince Edward Island large cent
1905 Indian Head cent
1905 V nickel
1914 Buffalo nickel
1885 Seated Liberty dime
1935 Mercury dime
1943 Mercury dime
Small sterling silver ring
A few wheat cents
Spotty rain wasn't going to keep me away from the hillside park I had discovered on Sunday. I also sampled two other parks.
1847 Large cent
1902 Indian Head cent
1943-P War nickel
1892 Barber quarter
Silver WWII era Marine Corps sweetheart bracelet
Round gilt button
A few wheat cents
Returned to the same park as the previous day and also visited part of another park.
1899 Indian Head cent
dateless Indian Head cent
1916 Mercury dime
1942 Mercury dime
1936 Washington quarter
A few wheat cents
Started out in an old city park found on an 1870s map.
1898 Indian Head cent
1860s Shield nickel
1908-D Barber dime
1917 Mercury dime
A few wheat cents
Met up with some old friends and Dayton Diggers
at an old park in their city. The 1920 dime was my first target of the day, the Wheats and Indian Head were all in one small area.
Discovered in the side yard of an old school.
Copper or brass spike marked "CITY" on top about 2" long. No clue what it marked or when it dates from, but being solid and heavy, it's got some age to it. Nothing else today except a bit of clad and some trash. The coin in the picture just for scale.
This saloon token was found at a 1920s school. John Clendenin is listed in the 1913, Newark, Ohio City Directory as a bartender for White & Meier Cafe. White & Meier also had the Bazaar Saloon. White & Meier issued their own aluminum tokens for that saloon in about 1917.
John B. Clendenin, Jr. was born October 22, 1880 in Gallipolis, Ohio, son of John B. and Elizabeth McGuery. He married Mildred Myrtle Houke (Houck) at the First M.E. Church in Newark, Ohio, on October 7, 1915.
The Newark Daily Advocate of June 15, 1895, reported that John's father, (Captain) John B. Clendenin, Sr. had started serving a sentence of three years for grand larceny at the Ohio
By 1915 the Clendenins had moved to Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1917, John was manager and owner of the Libby Hotel at 444 Second Avenue. The Clendenins lived in the back of the first floor of the hotel. The Clendenins ran the hotel until the mid 1960s. John died December 22, 1967.
Some construction and excavation at a local park turned up the Spirit of 1776 watch fob, a 1931 Canadian cent, a folded aluminum AA token and a sterling silver spoon with the name Irene engraved on the handle. There were also a few Wheat cents and some clad coins.
This pinback enameled badge from the Columbus Dispatch Playground Safety Council dated 1934 was discovered in what was the backyard of a razed house. Over the course of a number of hunts at this site, I kept turning up Wheat cents. I could probably head over there again tomorrow and find another one or two more. Other notable finds from this house site included a silver Roosevelt dime and a 1945 Washington quarter. Two good merchant tokens turned up. One was an aluminum 5 cent token from Henning's Cafe in Elyria, Ohio, circa 1915-1920. The other was a great Columbus token for a saloon located in a building I had already done research on for another non-detecting project. The brass token was good for 5 cents at Maggie (Margaret J.) Donovan's Saloon, located in the building she owned at 1533 Mt. Vernon Avenue
and dates from circa 1893-1908.
It was another year with no time for detecting. I did get out about a half dozen times and found an 1841 Seated half dime, one of my favorite coins and a detecting first for me. Some Indian Head cents, a few silver dimes, a 1912 nickel and some Wheat cents were about all I added to my collection.
Other things more important than detecting took over in 2011. The year started out more-or-less as usual, but then some tough decisions needed to be made. At first I thought I could manage to juggle everything and continue all of my many metal detecting related activities, but I was already over-extended. Eventually I had to hand over the reins and bow out of the Central Ohio Metal Detecting Association and despite my best efforts and intentions, stop editing and publishing Ohio Metal Detecting magazine. Everything detecting related was, out of necessity, put aside and in some cases rather abruptly and without apology or explanation.
In looking back at some of my posts on the Buckeye Treasure Hunter Forum, it helps me remember some of the finds made earlier that year. A gold plated 1883 "racketeer" nickel, a number of Indian Head cents and older nickels, the usual assortment of silver coins, some oddball foreign stuff, some toys and a few pieces of silver jewelry.
I do remember several hunts from the spring. There was a hunt with Dave at a local park where there was some dirt being moved around and I found an 1887 Seated dime. There was a hunt with Steve Greene of the Dayton Diggers where I picked up some silver coins and an unexpected 1820 large cent. I know I did some other detecting too as opportunities arose or I made time to get out and away, and remember finding a 1903 Indian Head cent at a hunt with the Central Ohio Metal Detecting Association at Franklin Park in Columbus.