A family tradition, carved in stone
By Molly Moser
After a heavy rain, a young Billie Smith discovered an arrowhead in the Millville area. “The very first one I found was when I was six years old,” remembers Smith. It would be the first of many, a welcome addition to the collection of arrowheads, scrapers, drills, grinding stones, bone tools, and other artifacts found around the Smith family’s century farm on Pumpkin Ridge.
Smith’s grandparents traded with Native Americans, who traveled up the Turkey River by canoe. Eggs and chickens were exchanged for blankets and baskets, which were used and enjoyed by the couple. “My grandmother had a woven basket with handles. She always gathered eggs with the darn thing,” chuckles Smith.
Like the farm, many of the artifacts in Smith’s collection have been in the family for over 100 years. In particular, two grooved, rounded stones, which Smith suspects were once used as grinding stones, were handed down from his grandfather to his father, and then to him. Smith remembers playing with the stones as a child. His grandparents used them as doorstops, but Smith protects and displays them as part of the family collection.
Smith does much of his own research, studying each piece in the collection. He’s learned about the ways various tools were made by Native American tribes, especially the Sac and Fox that lived in the vicinity.
Continued in the pages of The Guttenberg Press