Saturday, September 11, 2010

Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference

A slight departure from the usual posts...

The 6th annual Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference will take place Saturday October 9th on the campus of Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio.

The conference will feature 4 invited speakers who will give presentations on their research into the archaeology of conflict. Topics include an Indian trading post, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War. A fifth guest speaker will give an evening lecture on the excavation of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War.

Submissions are being accepted for poster presentations on any aspect of historical archaeology. Student submissions will be entered into a student poster prize to be voted on by attendees. Winners will receive a cash award.

A series of small roundtable discussions will provide opportunities for individuals with similar research interests and career goals to interact. These discussions will be led by experts in each area.

All attendees must register for the conference. The cost is $20 per person. Undergraduate students can register for $15 if they include a copy of their student ID with their registration materials. This cost includes a catered lunch and morning coffee/tea. The deadline to register is Monday, September 20th. The deadline to submit poster titles and abstracts is Friday, September 17th.

Additional details and registration forms are available at:

Please send questions and poster submissions to

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yep, got it!

I am confident that I know the approximate location of the Atzerodt Brothers carriage factory. Their 1857 advertisement in The Port Tobacco Times places the shop opposite the dwelling of Dr. Neale, and that is roughly on the east side of Main Street and High Street (see map) and includes the Hamilton lot and a portion of the lot immediately to the north.

This is the lot on which Griffin Carter operated his vehicle shop from at least as early 1842. Blacksmith Charles E. Wade probably succeeded Griffin, after the Atzerodts ceased operations, first working briefly for Carter than acquiring the operation for himself. Given widespread changes in industrial production after the Civil War, and especially in the mass-production of wheeled vehicles, Wade probably did little in the way of manufacturing and increasingly concerned himself with repairs.

If I'm correct, the Carter-Atzerodt shop is on the land of the Wade family, just south of the house in which they now live. There is no evidence pointing to the Atzerodts' shop, or any other shop, behind the Chimney house.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Atzerodt Carriage Shop Site Suspected!

Readers will note from previous postings that we have looked for the carriage shop and house of Lincoln conspirator George A. Atzerodt. Previously the team focused on the land immediately behind the Barnes-Compton, or Chimney, House. The reason for doing so was a sketch and remark made by George Townsend in his 1865 book on the assassination of President Lincoln. We had reason to question the veracity of the sketch, April having pointed out several inconsistencies.

Today, while working on our final report for the Preserve America grant, which funded our exploration of Civil War era Port Tobacco, I put together several bits of information that resulted in the formulation of a hypothesis: the Atzerodt carriage shop and the house in which George Atzerodt lived with Mrs. Elizabeth Wheeler might have been leased from wheelwright Griffin Carter, and that property lies on the east side of Chapel Point Road, where we have not undertaken any archaeological investigations, directly across from the road that runs west to the courthouse.

There were three individuals listed for Port Tobacco in the 1860 census engaged in the horse-drawn vehicle trade, and three others in the 1870 census. Only two (Griffin Carter and Charles E. Wade) owned land and their holdings included the Hamilton lot (a portion of the subsequently named Dr. Neale lot) from as early as 1842 until 1895. It is possible, and even likely, that Rufus Vincent, John E. Daily, and Charles E. Wade worked for Carter, and subsequently (by 1870) Washington Pye and Ralph H. Way worked for Wade, Carter having died by 1866. If true, the Atzerodts may have leased the carriage and wheelwright shop in 1857 from the then 52-year-old Carter. All of the deeds from 1852 onward note that the lot was situated on the east side of the road that runs south to north through the village, with the lot of the late William Boswell on the north and most of the east side, and the lot of John Hamilton on the south and part of the east side. The 1852 deed also places the lot “under the hill at the head of the street running east from the courthouse” (Land Records RHM 1/401, May 4, 1852).

This chain of title is partial and may include errors, especially because Lot 59 was divided and conveyed in small portions; e.g. Land Record JHC1/450, dated October 1, 1860, wherein Griffin Carter conveyed a northern strip of his houselot to Dr. Bennett Neale whose houselot bordered the north line of Carter’s houselot. The chain of title is integral to the proposition that Griffin Carter’s house and shop were on the east side of Chapel Point Road opposite the road that leads directly east of the courthouse (shifted slightly since the 1970s). Other archival data might be sought to determine whether the Atzerodts had leased Carter’s shop between 1857 and 1859.
, and, of course, archaeological survey should uncover the remains of 19th-century vehicle making and repair.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Westward Expansion

Greetings from Denver!
It was a long road trip out here but I arrived mid week and have been unpacking and settling in to my new apartment...and doing some sightseeing too!

Here's some highlights and photos!
BBQ road trip:Lexington KY - Billy's BBQ...averageOwensboro KY - Moonlite BBQ Inn...buffet style and very good
St. Louis, MO - Pappy's favorite!
Kansas City, MO - Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue...not what you would expect but very good!

While in Kentucky we visited the Maker's Mark Distillery. We did a tour and of course went to the tasting room! Oh's in the middle of nowhere!
We also went up to the top of the Arch in St. Louis! Great views but nothing compared to Mt Evans in Colorado. About 2 hours west of Denver is the highest paved road in America at 14,130ft! A hair-raising drive up and around a narrow road with no guardrails! Summit Lake is about 1000ft lower and was absolutely gorgeous:

It was cold and windy that high up and we did get a little lightheaded and short of breath but it was absolutely worth it.

Classes don't start for another week but I have lots of work to do to get ready. I'll try and update on the happenings of the "GAC Denver office" when I can.