Across from from Mama Gene’s lake house, which we called the camp , at Bailey Springs there was a place where the land was flat and barely above water level. The edge of the water was sandy and pieces of small rock were everywhere. There were willow trees near the water’s edge . Since it was sandy I could easily pull my boat right up to the shore. Of course there is always a chance of seeing a snake around any water edge there and especially where people are not frequent visitors. The water was very shallow and only gradually got deep away from the shore. I don’t know what I was doing there the first time I went. I guess I was just checking it out as I did many places and I especially liked to experience areas that were not inhabited. No one lived there at that time.
I thought this could be a place were arrowheads might be because the natural rocks were sharp and various colors. This rock was of course flint that Indians used to make arrowheads. I do recall my first find. I saw a sharp piece of maroon rock protruding out of the sand. I pulled it out and it was a perfectly formed arrowhead about one inch long. I even remember placing it on the dash board of Mama Gene’s ‘55 chevy and it slipped into the crack in front of the window. It was several days before I managed to retrieve it. I had found one arrowhead before then in a farmer’s field back in Florence where a friend had taken me for the very purpose of finding them. After this first Bailey Springs arrowhead I continued to go back to that spot for several years and nearly without fail would find at least one. I found as many as four at a time on some occasions. It was such an exciting process.
|Bailey Springs On Shoal Creek, Florence, AL|
This tale has a sad ending. I kept those arrowheads, first glued to a board and then finally in a paper bag. I had them as an adult until 1985 when I was teaching school at Riverton Middle School. I heard that a person was coming to school to talk about American Indians and I took my arrowheads to show him. He was impressed and offered to mount them on a nice board if I would give him a particular one of my collection. I told him I would give that some thought. I had them in the teachers’ lounge because I did not have a classroom of my own. I left them there overnight and the next day I could find them nowhere. I do not know who took them and I still have a mild nausea when I think of what I lost. I did not value them as I should have or I would have already had them properly mounted and I would not have left them at school but I did. I don’t imagine they were worth a huge amount of money but I think if I had them now I would really enjoy touching and viewing them and finding out more about the people who made them. It would have been a nice thing to pass on to my kids but I wonder which one would have gotten them ?