Fifty years of searching for history

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By Rich Creason | For The Times-Post

Five decades ago, I made a decision which has changed my life (and Susie’s) in a good way.

I was driving home from work in Pendleton, and I passed a small building at the corner of State Road 67 and Huntsville Road. On the southwest corner of that intersection was a metal detector shop.

I stopped and went inside where I met the owner, Lee Sanzo. The small display room contained a variety of metal detectors and a collection of coins, buckles, Civil War relics, and many more items that could be found with one of the machines for sale at this business.

After talking with Lee for a while and listening to his tales of finding lost and buried treasure with assorted metal detectors, I was hooked. I went home that day with a new White’s Coinmaster IV.

At that time, 1974, this was a fairly good detector and only cost about $200.

This was a start of a hobby that would follow Susie and me across this country and parts of Canada.

Our daughter, Angi, was born that year, and four years later, she had her first detector also.

The three of us searched our yard, our neighbors’ yards and most of our relatives’ properties with our new machines.

Like most other folks starting this hobby, we found a lot of nails, pulltabs, aluminum foil and other assorted trash.

We also uncovered a large assortment of coins, mostly new, and a few rings and other pieces of jewelry.

As we became more experienced, we began attending seeded hunts. These are events where we paid an entry fee, and along with others, got to try our luck at finding buried coins and tokens good for a variety of prizes.

These hunts are usually put on by a local metal detector club at a campground or farmers field.

My first event of this type was at a campground in Chesterfield.

I knew nothing about how these things operated, but I had read about them in a couple treasure hunting magazines.

It only cost $10 for two days. I found a lot of coins and prizes. Some of the entrants actually won brand new metal detectors.

Susie and Angi came to watch me on the second day.

I had so much fun, I told them one of these hunts would be held the following weekend at a spot near Seymour.

I told them we were going!

Since it was another two-day hunt, I went and bought a tent, sleeping bags and everything else we needed to spend two nights camping in a field with a 4-year-old. What followed was another great weekend.

I told Susie we were headed to Kentucky the following weekend for another treasure hunt.

She told me if we were going to do this all the time, I had to go to Wray’s Treasure Shop who was putting on the Seymour hunt and buy her a new detector. I also got Angi her first detector.

After Kentucky, we traveled to a hunt in Illinois, then Michigan and Ohio.

We became more experienced at our new hobby, began finding more stuff at the seeded hunts, found other yards we could get permission to search, and entered Angi in the kids’ hunts, then the junior hunts, and finally the adult events.

Besides the one- and two-day events, we started attending Treasure Week in Seymour.

This began as a weekend hunt two weekends in a row, then filled in the weekdays in between, until it became a week-long activity.

We began searching for more hunts, further from home. Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York, North and South Carolina, Florida, and even Ontario, Canada are places we traveled to seeded hunts.

We joined the East Central Indiana Treasure Hunters Club in Hartford City, and learned a lot of the fellow members spent most of their detecting time searching farm fields where old homesteads existed back in the 1800s. Older, more valuable coins were hiding in these spots and even some Civil War relics can be detected on these old sites.

While I am getting older, and it certainly is getting harder for me to bend over to dig each target, we still detect as often as possible. I am just getting a lot slower at it.

We find newcomers interested in the hobby, both young and old, and teach them how to use a metal detector.

Almost any yard that is 40 or 50 years old has a lot of lost items just waiting for someone to find.

If any of you readers would like to learn this hobby, just contact me and we can probably spend some time teaching you some of what we have learned during the past half century.

Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].