Painted Post Area Artifacts
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A peg from the original wood mills in Gang Mills. I found it a year or so after the flood of '72, while walking along the river's edge. The flood had washed away the river gravel exposing several foundation post that were driven into the river bottom on the site of the original mills. And when the river was in a low stage, I worked the peg out of one of the post.
A draw knife found in the center of the circle drive in front of the former Imperial Club in the early 1970's. I was metal detecting and the draw knife was about a foot deep in the soil. I've often wondered if it was used to build the original William Erwin House in the 1850's.
I found the above relic during the 1960's near the river where I've previously found numerous Indian artifacts. I thought it was an effigy, but had no idea if it had a practical use or not so I took it to Elsworth Cowles, the curator of the Town of Erwin museum at the time. He told me it was an effigy stone made by the Indians that could have also been used as a "shaft straightener" (arrow straightener). He was quite surprised to see it still had some of the original red pigment the Indians used in coloring objects (the red still shows today.)
This was found on the river bed near where the Conhocton and Tioga merge to form the Chemung at Painted Post. I hadn't a clue about this artifact, but knew it had been worked by the Indians and it fits a hand perfectly. So, once again, I went to Elsworth Cowles and he explained to me that it was probably used to crack animal bones to get to the marrow. After the bone was cracked or split by the larger end, the tool was turned around in the hand and the narrow end was used to scrape out the marrow. He also told me that the tool had been used for many years because narrow end was greatly wore down from what once was a tapered point.
A grinding wheel I found in the 1960's near the site of where Elsworth Cowles had located many relics he believed was from either the William Harris or an early trader's cabin. Many of Elsworth Cowles' finds, including the above cabin relics, can still be viewed today in Wavery, N.Y. at the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies (SRAC).
An historical marker located at the rest area on route 15 south, near the Corning Inc. Erwin Plant. Simon Spalding (an ancestor of mine) was a Captain with the Sullivan - Clinton campaign and was with the only detachment sent into the Painted Post area. Spalding's detachment destroyed an Indian village that was located on the river flats, near the Canisteo river bridge on the Indian Hills Road.
I found this old mirror, a few months after the flood of '72, on the railroad bridge that crosses the Tioga river in Gang Mills. The flood waters had washed it up on the bridge and the mirror glass was missing. I've learn these mirrors were made and sold by traveling salesmen in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The salesman would carve the likeness of the buyer on the reverse side. Carved on the handle (photo # 13), on the mirror side, are the letters "NWB". I'm not sure if they're the owner's or salesmen initials.
This Indian artifact is referred to as a pitted, lap or anvil stone. I found this near the effigy stone (Number #4). The Indians would commonly use the A side of this stone, with the B side set upon the the ground, for cracking nuts such as acorns. The B side was set in their lap, with the A side down, as they would chip tools, scrapers and arrowheads against the stone's surface. They may have also used the B surface for cracking small bones. This particular artifact has had much use as is evident by the depth of the pitting on the A side and the working marks on side B.
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