bridges, fords, ferries
- Most archaeological digs take place around forts, buildings, battlefields, etc.
I wonder if anyone has heard of whether any systematic investigations have been made of places such as the ford on the Thames at Delaware, or the Grand River ferry referred to in Glenn Stott's posting?
After all, if you drop something whilst strolling around the grounds of a fort or barracks complex, you just have to bend over to retrieve it (unless it fell in the "loo", of course: I am told archaeologists regard them as rich grounds in consequence...).
But if it falls in to the water... And what place is more likely for accidents to happen than a ford or ferry, where goods are being transshipped etc? Infantryman Shadrach Byfield mentions retrieving the sword of a sergeant of the 41st who dropped it in to the chilly waters of the Niagara River while getting out of a boat on the dock of Fort George - and nearly dying from pneumonia as a result.
Note: no postings referring to "ferries", "bending over", etc., please...
- From: Jim Yaworsky <yawors1@...>
I wonder if anyone has heard of whether any
systematic investigations have been made of
places such as the ford on the Thames ...
from: The Chatham Daily Planet Newspaper
"The boat had been sunk ( by General Proctor during his retreat ) in twelve feet of water, just above the present Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge, and as the years went by, the sand covered over her and her location was soon forgotten. The building of the railway bridge, however, threw the current against the bank and recently the sand and mud was cleared away. In the summer of 1900, two log fishers prodded upon her and reported their find to Mr. E.B. Jones, Superintendent of the Water Works."
Apparently, when Mr. Jones had been informed of the discovery of the sunken ship, he believed it to be, from certain evidence on hand, one which had been engaged in the War of 1812, and so he proclaimed to the public.
His proclamation was disputed by the Kent Historical Society which counter claimed that the relics were those of a barge belonging to the Eberts Brothers and which had sunk in the area some time around 1860.
.......... searches of the wreckage revealed evidence to support Jones' contention. When it was revealed that cannon balls had been discovered among the ship's debris ...... the general public accepted, as fact, that the submerged boat was indeed the General Myers.
... March 23, 1901, a committee was formed, whose mission it would be to raise the former gunboat ..... salvaging a number of valuable momentous including seven six-pound cannon balls, two twenty-four pounders and a quantity of grape shot. Contrary to some historical accounts, which had credited the General Myers with being a two masted vessel, it now became apparent that she had been a single master and sloop-rigged ... it had become obvious that the ship had not only been burned as a result of an explosion but also that she had been scuttled, as evidenced by the several bored holes found in her hull.
At this point, June 10, 1901, the boat was towed down the Thames River and hauled up onto Tecumseh Park where it was blasphemously suggested that she should be used for pen holders, canes and furniture, unfortunately the irreverent idea took hold. She was dismembered and disposed of in the form of nick-nacks.
If she had been able to sleep a little longer and brought to light in a more informed age, she would may have been enshrined and be on display in the park as a similar war ship is displayed at Wasaga Beach, "The Nancy".
Taken from: "Rails to the Heartland" a pictorial history of Kent's railways written by John Rhodes. April 1991.
This is the only known "Official" investigation of river treasures in
the Chatham, Ontario area that have been recorded. A re-enactor
living one farm away from the actual Battle of the Thames Battle Field says that for over twenty five years he can remember finding gun parts, arrowheads, etc on the battlefield and in the river near the site.