08 August 2020

Per chance, what turns up on the farm...

A few months ago, I sat down with a new friend who has a real thirst for history as I do. Not long into our conversation, he mentioned how he used to hunt for arrowheads, then mentioned finding a few at a farm somewhere about where I lived. He said the barn's roof had "1865" on it. I said, well, that's MY farm. He said he found the arrowheads and a clay pipe bowl about 20' from the barn. That was 22 years ago.

Our farmstead was developed in 1865. The barn was built first and is situated into a high hillside with an open basement facing south. One winter, I went cross-country skiing into the field north of our property and while in the low area north of the hill, I realized that the hill was really part of a ridge that wrapped a large depression, possibly a glacial kettle, that wrapped the bowl to the east and north, then flowed into what was a natural creek, known as Brush Creek, to the west that runs through our property. This is prime ground for looking for arrowheads. It's sandy, and before no-till, the ground along the ridge would reveal artifacts turned up from the plow and erosion. We looked a few times when we first moved here in 2010, but without tilling, nothing "turns up." The first land surveys in the county, dating to about 1830, show remnants of a Native American settlement almost directly west of my farm, about a half mile away. This would be just southwest of Higbee Corner, along the westernmost ridge of that glacial bowl; our property being its southeast corner.

The arrowheads are pretty cool. I've only found 2-3 in my lifetime, on my grandfather's property. But the clay pipe bowl pushed me to research its origins. I found an exact match that was produced by Cornwall Kirkpatrick in Ohio during the 1850s. Kirkpatrick bought William Lakin's pottery in Point Pleasant, Ohio in 1849. The "elbow diagonal ribbed bowl" was produced by Kirkpatrick during the 1850s out of this little one-room cabin purchased from Lakin in 1849. The most interesting part about the cabin is that it was the birthplace of Ulysses Grant in 1822. Kirkpatrick moved on to Anna, Illinois by 1860 and continued to produce the ribbed bowl into the 1860s-the bowls being popular among soldiers during the Civil War.

The founder of our farm, Robert Schroeder, nor his son or son-in-laws, served in the Civil War. And based on Schroeder's anti-liquor sentiments (he was a minister), I also doubt his family smoked tobacco. However, a timber-frame expert that assessed our 1865 barn, thought that it likely was built by a professional barn builder rather than the family because of the skilled joinery and more sophisticated features on the barn. Could the barn builder have left more than his barn behind when he built it in 1865? I can imagine the barn builder pounding in wood pins into the mortise and tenon joints with this pipe held firmly in his mouth, only to set it down and be lost a mere 20 feet from the barn as he and fellow laborers raised the bents into place.

While I was asked, no, I don't plan to smoke it.

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Per chance, what turns up on the farm...

A few months ago, I sat down with a new friend who has a real thirst for history as I do. Not long into our conversation, he mentioned how h...