Many years ago I was on eBay looking at metal detector accessories and metal detecting finds and came across a pamphlet for sale that had several historical tours of the county. I purchased it and then didn’t think much about it. Even after I got it I put it on my book shelf figuring when I had time I would go through it.
It took me several months to get back to it, I had actually forgotten about it! I opened up this really thin pamphlet and it took me just seconds to realize what a wealth of information for metal detectorist was hiding within its pages. Every one of the tours started from the fairgrounds and went something like this –
Leave out of the west gate and head north for 1.2 miles. The house on the left was built in 1802. Keep driving north 1.5 miles and turn east. The corner house was built in 1806 for the Johnson family and the bricks were made on site. Drive 3.2 miles and on the north side of the road was the first church in the township that burned down in 1932.
My nose stayed in this book from front to back then starting over and reading it again and again. Pulling up google maps and trying to get an idea of these places. One of the most interesting places for me was a town site that disappeared by 1835. It was a pretty significant town even having a post office which was pretty rare for such an early town site in Ohio. It consisted of about 10 houses, the post office, a tavern, church and a hotel.
The main reason the town disappeared was once the canal was built the headwaters was just a few miles up the road and they figured it would be better to relocate up there. I suspect many of the houses stayed inhabited for several more years but I am guessing the business’s quickly pulled out and set up shop in the new town.
One of the things I expected before I started metal detecting was I would find the town to be in one concentrated area. Instead, what I found was the site spread over several thousand acres that I know of so far. If you look at the map at the bottom of the page the distance between house site 1 and the tavern is just less than a mile in distance.
The first site I detected was the site with house1 (no longer standing) and the same field contained the one headstone. When I arrived I went to the one headstone and quickly seen other headstones stacked all around it and most of them buried or barely protruding from the ground. The headstone standing was late 1800’s but the ones buried were much older so I quickly realized I was on to something here.
I turned on my metal detector and started on the east side of the headstone. I picked up a few buttons but not a lot and started working my way to the west side of the headstone. There was a lot more debris and a lot more signals. I was picking up buttons and relics every few feet it seemed like. I spent a few days metal detecting that area hard before I decided to check the rest of the field. I didn’t come across much more until I got all the way down to the end of the field where I found my first house site (house site1) I didn’t find a lot there but what I found was good. A few really good buttons and the 1795 Spanish Half Reale.
I had tried to get permission to metal detect the field to the east originally (the field east of the 4 modern houses) but the land owner didn’t give me permission. Fast forward a few years and I started metal detecting with a guy who went to school with that landowner’s son and quickly got permission. That field gave up a lot and I expect that is where the tavern sat. A lot of buttons, early large cents, buckles, musket balls.. all the usual relics. It also gave up a nice colonial copper for my friend who got permission, he found it around house site 3. Directly across the street was another house site, nothing to significant came out of there that I recall but overall a lot of great coins and relics came out of these two field sites. A few years later I met another guy and I am telling him about the site and he knows the landowner where house 5 and the other cemetery sat. Again, this site produced some really nice coins and relics.
After years of metal detecting it I feel like I know where most of it was located but there is still a lot to explore and figure out. While the canal was being built it was said over a thousand men camped close to the town. There are still a handful of house sites that I believe I haven’t found. Now, living over a thousand miles away I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to metal detect there again but I can say it was and always will be one of my favorite sites ever to metal detect.