Trash or treasure?
By Robbie Scifres
Special to The Leader
I want to share a story that is only sixty or seventy years old. Dr. Pettey shared with me a story about him and his father taking a walk down a road that was being widened. They came to a big shade tree and decided to rest for a few minutes before going on. As Dr. Pettey sat there he noticed an odd little circle in the dirt and he began to dig it out. He saw it was some kind of green glass bottle and his father told him not to bother, it was probably just an old wine bottle, but Dr. Pettey kept digging. Soon he had the bottle out of the ground. It was green but it had been hand blown, it was big enough to hold a couple of gallons of liquid and it still had part of a woven, straw cover on the bottom. It was about a foot or two high and the wax and cork seal were gone but he immediately recognized it as a Dimi-John used by the Spanish to transport wine, olive oil and other liquids to East Texas.
This story is important to me because many people do not realize that they may be holding a treasure and think it is trash or holding a treasure and it may be trash. If you have old journals, letters, some tatted lace, you may have a treasure. If in doubt you can call or take the item to a nearby university or antique shop. East Texas is full of buried “treasure”. Many re-supply parties buried goods when mules died or they were afraid of bandits and Indians. They carefully marked the spot but sometimes they would die or not come back that way.
The next time you are digging in your gardens and flower beds keep that in mind because that old bottle would be valuable to someone, that old silver spoon might be a link to your past. Or those letters tied up with ribbon you found in an old trunk may have a story of their own.
If you have any questions or comments I would like to hear from you. You may contact me at 575-291-9918, I am always wanting to talk about East Texas history. Robbie Scifres
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