Mormon History

Fascination With Brass Plates - 1821

  Western Farmer September 19, 1821

DISCOVERIES  ON  THE  CANAL.

The operations on the eastern section of the grand canal have advanced to Schenectady flats, within about two miles of the city. The work is progressing with remarkable spirit, and promises completion much sooner than its warmest friends had originally expected.

At a point 11 miles west of Schenectady, in the town of Florida, several curious things have been discovered; partly aboriginal and partly European... Under the latter head may be classed certain other things recently found, such as.

1. The blade of a large knife.

2. A stout nail whose point is bent up as it by driving against a hard and resisting body.

3. Several plates of brass, which probably belonged to cartouch boxes...

These disclosures of the materials that are concealed under ground, furnish the Antiquarian and the naturalist, interesting materials for speculation as to the operations of art and of nature in past time.   Nat. Adv.


Natural Curiosity. -- A stone about eight inches in length and five in breadth was lately found on the residence of the Rev. H. R. Powell, in the town of William in this County, with four or five pieces of Iron or Steel appearing on its surface, similar to the heads of large spike nails. -- On breaking the stone, they were found to be small cubic locks of steel, penetrating from the surface about half an inch in depth. In interior surfaces of the blocks, appear to have been polished smooth with indentings where the blocks lay, as smooth as marble, although the stone itself was rough and gritty. But the greatest curiosity is, that one of the blocks was completely buried in the stone, about a quarter of an inch or more below its surface. The only conclusion that can be made, respecting which, is. that the stone has frown over it.  Communicated.

Note: Probably the "cartouch boxes" alluded to were antique cartridge boxes carried by infantry soldiers during the War of 1812 and before. Discarded empty boxes would have disintegrated over time, dislodging their protective metal plates. A set of brass plates, assembled from such sources, might have appeared as quite a curiosity to civilian villagers of the 1820s. 

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