Butch Kelley Identifies Artifacts

Butch Kelley Identifies Artifacts

Enjoy this excerpt from our book, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site, Lost By an Historian’s Map, Found By a Soldier’s Clue. Local historian, Butch Kelley, visited our home in November of 1998, a month after we notarized our discovery, and offered his expertise with identifying artifacts I found at Sand Creek. He identified something that shook me to my core. 

Butch Kelley visited a month later to look at bullets and other artifacts I found. Butch is a local historian and an Indian wars cavalry re-enactor. He portrayed a soldier in Son of the Morning Star, a TV mini-series about George Custer and events prior to the Little Bighorn. He looked at a cavalry carbine swivel from a carbine belt, some spurs, a bit, and ‘three or four things that could be identified as military,’ he said. 

‘Is there anything else?’ Butch said after looking at hundreds of artifacts. 

Wasn’t this enough, what more could he want? I had some 5-gallon buckets full of things like barbed wire, fence staples, round nails, and even a hubcap from a Model T Ford.  

Well,…there was the piece of cast iron on the dash of my pickup. It didn’t seem worth mentioning. I thought about putting it in my bucket of junk, but I didn’t know for sure what it was, so there it stayed, and it sometimes bounced awkwardly, hitting the windshield. 
I went to get it. There were some threads in it that could have had something like a pipe screwed in it. I handed it to him, thinking it was worthless. 

‘Do you know what this is?’

I had to admit that I didn’t. I thought it could be a broken piece of a windmill weight. The old windmills had counterbalance weights instead of tails that are common on them today. Some of the early weights were ornamental and looked like barnyard animals like horses, pigs, or cows. Some were just simple round balls. Perhaps, the threads were where it screwed into the windmill.

‘I’ll tell you what this is.’  

He straightened his shoulders and looked directly into my eyes. 

I was not prepared for what he would say next.

To see the rest of this story, you can read it in our book, which you can purchase here. Please leave us a review and star rating. If you are in the Lamar area and would like for us to sign your book, please contact us once you’ve received it, and we would be glad to sign it for you! 

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