ANOTHER "GREAT BOTTLE DIGGING STORY" FROM THE PAGES OF
ANTIQUE BOTTLE AND GLASS COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
THE MAGAZINE OF THE ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTING HOBBY
LUCINDA'S ROCK PILE
by Peter Samuelson
About a mile or soNorthwest of Duncan Lake in the town of Ossipee, New Hampshire ofPollys Crossing. Polly Allen was one of the inhabitants of thissmall community.
The Boston and Maine Railroad or Great Falls and ConwayRailroad as it was called in
The original settlers were the Abbotts. They built homes onthe hills above the railroad. They came here in 1815.
In November of 1996 I decided to visit what remains of thissettlement. I love history, especially the time period from about1820 until the turn of the century. Cellar holes, cemeteries andold bottles really fascinate me. Pollys Crossing was an idealplace to visit.
Most of the land had recently been logged for its stands ofoak and mixed hardwoods. The ancient wagon paths were difficultto follow. The loggers had pushed everything around with theirbulldozers and logging skidders.
The Abbott cellar hole.
After an hour or so of following old stone walls, I locatedthe first of several cellar holes. Near the back of an oldfoundation I noticed a small pile of rusted metal and brokenglass. Also there was a 1970's soda can. Obviously someone hadbeen here before - most likely looking for artifacts and bottles.
I poked around the outskirts of the property where I foundanother heap of broken glass. This too had been looked at byother people.
A quarter mile up the old path, I spotted a cellar hole. Thisone looked more interesting to me. There were several splitgranite foundations off to the side of the main cellar hole.These small foundations were outbuildings that were separate fromthe main house. Often, these buildings were blacksmith shops, saphouses or places to house animals.
Quite often these outbuildings had holes in the floors. Theold timers found this to be a handy way to hide their trash -heave it down the hole. Time and time again I have found bottleswithin the confines of these foundations.
By using a three-foot spring probe I began poking around thelargest of the outbuildings. I located many old cans and lots ofbroken glass. This place appeared to have been dug several yearsprior. Some of the broken bottles would have been dandies. Ifound pieces of peppersauce bottles, whiskeys and 1850's glassfrom the Stoddard, New Hampshire glass works. There were alsopieces of medicine bottles from the 1880's -1890's. What a nicepile of colored glass - all busted!
|The cemetery. (right) Lucinda's tombstone.|
The day was quite chilly. The temperature was in the 40's witha strong Northwest wind. I needed to warm up.
Finding a place in the sun, I sat down and tried to enjoy acold Vienna Sausage sandwich and a bottle of grapefruit juice.Some warm soup would have been more appropriate. Not being ableto warm up, it seemed like a good idea to move around.
Directly below me there was a large rock pile and a shallowravine. This looked like a good place to use the probe. Perhapssome trash had been thrown here years ago.
After about ten minutes of testing the area with the probe, Ilocated some glass near the lower end of the ravine. It was timeto dig.
The first bottle recovered was a common 1890's medicine.Before long, several more bottles appeared - household stuff andugly wine bottles. They were all buried in the soil, about eightinches deep.
Heading up the ravine, I came upon lots of broken cast ironand pieces of molasses and whiskey jugs. All this ended at thebase of the pile of rocks.
The rock pile was covered with a shallow layer of soil, mossand leaves. It didn't appear to hold much promise.
Cornucopia - Urn flask, circa
Using my digger (potato rake), I started pulling away the soilfrom the rocks. What a surprise I had!
In the pile of dirt and leaves was an undamaged Dr. LangleysRoot and Herb Bitters, 76 Union St. Boston. It was aqua in colorand from the 1850 era. It had lain directly on top of the rocks.I couldn't believe it wasn't damaged.
I continued on towards a larger sugar maple tree near the topof the rock pile. Pulling away soil from around the base of thetree, I noticed the lip of a bottle sticking out from under alarge root. Carefully, I removed the rocks and dirt from whatappeared to be another whole bottle. Out it came!
In my hands I held another Dr. Langleys. This one was abeauty! The bottle was a very rich aqua color. It was clean,undamaged and very crude. The glass held hundreds of bubbles. Itwas embossed 99 Union St. Boston with the 99 backwards.
The two Dr. Langley's Root& Herb Bitters
By this time, the sun was no more. It was late in theafternoon and I thought of heading for home. Something told me totake a few more minutes and re-probe the lower end of the ravine.
Within a short time I felt the probe hit some glass. Using ascrewdriver and a small digging tool, I dug around what I thoughtwas just a broken side-panel of a bottle. It was very dirty. AllI could see was what looked like some rough embossing.
Gently brushing off the dirt, I then realized what I had. Itwas a Cornucopia - Urn flask, the pint size. It was olive amberin color with an open pontil. This particular piece washand-blown in Coventry, Connecticut about 1830. Needless to say,I was very pleased.
Not being totally happy, I dug into the rest of the rock pile.All I found was a common whiskey flask and a few damaged 1890'smedicines. This was it for the day.
During the hike back to my car, I came upon a small cemetery.There were several small stones with initials only and one largestone. The large stone was that of Mrs., who at one time lived atthe old farm.
Her name was Lucinda. She was the wife of John F. Abbott.Lucinda died, April 29, 1873. She was 53. Her husband John musthave abandoned the place in later years. He is not buried in thelittle cemetery.
Since November 1996, I have returned to this area severaltimes. I have not found any more bottles, but the old foundationsand the little cemetery give me much peace.
Lucinda quite possibly handled the beautiful bottles manyyears ago. I visit with her in the cemetery and thank her forthrowing the bottles out in the winter months. They would nothave survived if she had done so in the summer.
Lucinda's rock pile was good to me. I shall return.....
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