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Superior, Nebraska
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July 24, 2014     Superior Express
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The Week of July 21, 2014 The Leader Page 5 Oregon Trail Continued from page 4 another signal from the detector, this rime I recovered a military button with an eagle design on its front. On the breast of the eagle was a shield with the letter "D" on it. In less than half an hour several bullets and a military button had ,been found and I was left with many questions about my finds. What time period were these items from? Why were the fired bullets here? What kind of guns were they fired from? What did the "D" on the button stand for? Knowing it would take time to research and hopefully learn some of the answers I continued to search thinking more discoveries could help verify that this was actually an Oregon Trail campsite. It w as next decided to search on the flat meadow where there was room to circle a wagon train and camp. In this area the detector sig- nals were much more frequent. Many of these detected items were square nails of various sizes. I learned later some of the nails were from the shoes of oxen, mules and horses. I finally started to fred things that confirmed this was indeed an Oregon Trail campsite. Within this area, three pocket knives were found (fig. 2), all with their blades still in an open posi- tion as if their owner' s were using them, laid them down, and went off and forgot them. In those days a pocket knife was a very useful and much needed tool, it would have been a considerable loss to its owner as it would have been diffi- cult to replace. Experience The QSI Advantage F/ 4 Eating utensils from that time as cast iron toys (fig 5) belonging period were also found, the most to the children who were making interesting werecastiron, two tined the dangerous and exhausting trip forks (fig. 3), some with their bone with their parents. A misplaced toy handles still partially intact, left behind at the last camping lo- Two important finds for dating cation was probably a temporarily this site to the Oregon Trail days sad loss to a child as there was no were coins, coincidently they were way to replace a store-bought toy both of the same denomination, on the uninhabited Plains. How- half dimes with early 1850s dates! ever children have great imagina- (fig. 4) These small silvercoins are tions and I'm sure makeshift toys a little less than five-eighths of an soon replaced the lost ones. inch in diameter and most likely Before becoming involved in were easy to lose. this search of the past, we couldn't The recoveries m~de that first have told you what the difference day pretty well established the fact was between a mule shoe and a that Oregon Trail campsites could horse shoe (see fig. 6) nor did we be pinpointed with the aid of metal realize that in order to shoe an ox a detectors. From that day on, our right and left half-shoe (fig. 7) was search became more involved than needed for each foot. The ox has a we expected. With most potential cloven hoof (two halves) and each sites under agriculture, succeed- half had to be shod separately. My ing searches with detectors was dad was the first one to recover one extremely time consuming andof these "two-part" oxen shoes. rarely productive. However, over His find was an example of a badly time some new and different items worn shoe and it took us quite a turned the search into a continuing while before we found someone learning experience. We found sev- who could correctly identify it for eral other campsites, each contain- / us. ing trail related items. Occasion- It soon became apparent we ally unusual items were found such floe+ $ho M.I Show I III I I IIII IIII Ethanol Plant near Adams, NE seeking Production Operator Maintenance Technician Commodities Accounting Assistant Job descriptions and application form available at www.eenergyadams.com EOE & Drug Free Workplace Please mail completed application and resume to: E Energy Adams Attention: Human Resources 13238 East Aspen Road Adams, NE 68301 Or email to: contact@eenergyadams,com need additional information to ing up a grade. identify our finds, although many Wanting to know more about items were identified by visiting the immigrants and their expeti- museums that had Oregon Trail ences while traveling the Oregon related items on display. I eventu- Trail through Nebraska led to a ally acquired a book for the identi- another book tiffed The Great Platte fication of the numerous and great River Road by Merrill J. Mattes. If variety of bullets that are found youhaveanyinterestintheOregon along the trail. One fact which was Trail, I highly recommend this noted was that the immigrants liked book. Much of its content was taken to fire their weapons, including fromtheacmaldiariesandjournals fired bullet groups into nearby hiU- kept by the trail's travelers When sides that suggested target prac- reading this book, you will gain a rice. It was also noted a good num- better understanding as to how dif- ber of fired bullets were located Continued to page 7 where the draft animals were pull- 16' x 7' Overhead Door. One Entry Door Pnce Includes DELIVERY & INSTALLATION On Your Level Site Travel Charges May Apply FREE ESTIMATES AND ON-SITE CONSULTATION 800-374-6988 Quality Stl~Ctllrelr~ I1~ MATERIAL KITS NOWAVAILABLE Call now [t fret the work done quickly! .Dropped footings ,Bowed/cracked wails ,Drain tile/sump pumps ,Structural repairs Insured. 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