Traveling Celt

The story begins in the 1967, when I was nine years old. My family had moved to the Cumberland Indiana area in 1963 from the then suburbs of Indianapolis. Today Cumberland Indiana is built up with suburbia, but in 1963 this was far outside the city limits of Indianapolis.

Cumberland was founded in 1831 on US 40, also known as the National Road and Cumberland Road. A large German population settled in the area, and names such as Plonges, Pranges, Holzhousen, Mithoffer, and Franke were common at my school. Many of their ancestors are buried at the St. John Evangelical church founded in 1855 by the German settlers which gave rise to the roads name the church sits on; German Church Road.
6.25 inch flared bit found by Jeff Anderson 1967 in Marion County Indiana on Holzhouse Farm.

In 1967 Mr. Holzhouse, an elderly farmer who lived on 30th street between Cumberland Road and German Church Road, was retiring from farming. My family attended the estate auction to see what sort of goodies could be had at bargain basement prices. With five children, my mom was always on the lookout for a good deal.

The auction was bustling with activity. I remember vividly walking through the old barns as the crowds of people reviewed the items up for auction. As a small child, every thing was exciting and the auction seemed huge. All over the farm the auctioneer's voice boomed with constant chatter. I got bored and I was walking around the back of the farm where the orchard trees meet the tilled farmland when I spied a different looking rock. This rock was long and had a sharp edge on it. I thought I had found a sort of wedge used by the farmer to split wood.

What I had found was a finely made granite celt. I picked the celt up and carried it back to the barn where the auction was at a fever pitch. I walked around the auction looking at the relic and playing with it. Hey; I was only nine.

6.25 inch flared bit found by Jeff Anderson 1967 in Marion County Indiana on Holzhouse Farm.

The years passed, the celt laid in a cupboard over the washer and drier in the garage. Occasionally I would get it down and look at it. Being a small boy, I had never associated the Indians with living in the area of Indiana I was growing up in. I thought the Indians had lived out in the Wild West, after all that's where they were in the TV westerns. Life went on and I moved away to St. Louis Missouri in 1978 where I got interested in collecting Indian artifacts in earnest. When I moved back home to Indiana in 1983 the celt traveled with me. Coming home it was one Indiana find in a large group of relics found in Missouri.

My searching for Indian relics has been a regular part of my life, and associating with others who have an interest in artifacts has grown to include many others. In 1984 I met Tom Sheets, another Indianapolis resident, at an auction in southwestern Indiana and we became friends and hunting buddies. On June 6 1987, I traded the celt to Tom Sheets for four points, a dalton, St. Charles, Agate Basin and a side notch triangular point, with the understanding that should he not desire to own the celt any further, that he would trade it back to me. (see entry #64)

In 1992 Tom had decided to sell his artifact collection. Unbeknownst to me, Tom had consigned the flared bit celt to be auctioned with his other prime relics at the Old Barn auction house in Ohio. I was not to find out about the auction until months after it had taken place. This is not the kind of news one likes to hear and needless to say our friendship went into a cooling period. Time passed and we started to hang out more and more, searching for artifacts and attending relic shows. I had never forgotten about my celt, and what occurred, but like other events in life, I was able to put it behind me and move on. Tom married, I divorced, life went on and we searched for relics often again.

Flash forward to Saturday December 26th 1998, the Christmas holiday. My sister's family was visiting from Michigan and the family had been having holiday gatherings. I rose Saturday morning at my usual time, 5:30 in the morning, and proceeded in my normal daily routine of showering, dressing, and having my coffee. I then sat down at the computer, closing my office door to keep the noise to a minimum so as to not wake other family members in the adjacent bedrooms. The loud sounds of deep sleep would occasionally make my ears, so I knew that anything but loud sounds would not disturb them from their slumber.

As I worked on my financial reports, I thought about Tom and his call the previous evening. He mentioned that he was traveling up north to see a friend and who was interested in hardstone relics such as celts and axes. He had asked me about the spud and ax that I own and if I would be interested in selling them. I had told Tom that I would sell the ax and would think about the spud. On this Saturday morning. I gathered the ax, spud, and adz from their display case and shelf and packed them for Tom to take with him when he stopped by on his travel north.

Tom called me on Sunday afternoon. I was kind of lazy that day, and had been hanging around the house not doing anything special. Tom asked me what I was doing and if he could come over later. Sure come on over anytime, I will be here was my reply. Before too long Tom showed up knocking at my door. As he spun his tale of travel, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a large object surrounded by bubble wrap.

Handing me the package, Tom said to check out this item that he had gotten, then continued with his yarn about the discussions he had had with the other collector As I unwrapped the package I could see that the relic was fairly large. More and more bubble wrap came off until I was holding an exceptionally finished flared bit celt. As I looked at the celt, I felt a strange tug of recognition. This was my celt, which I had not seen in over ten years! Merry Christmas Tom said and shook my hand. I could not stop smiling as I turned the relic over and over looking at its perfect outline.

I started writing about Tom giving me my celt back on December 30th of 1998 three days after receiving the relic. Yet due to a busy work schedule and life in general, I could not get this completed for almost a complete year. Finishing the tale November 20th of 1999.

By: Jeff Anderson
Wednesday November 29 2000
© 2000 Jeff Anderson