This beautiful preform blade (Figs. 1,2) was found on the south side
of Dearborn, Missouri, by E. “Myers” Johnson. Dearborn
is a small town of 496, divided by the counties of Platte and Buchanan.
On the south side of Dearborn are the old fairgrounds where they
held an annual fox hunting competition with participants and their
dogs coming from all over the midwest. From 1913 through 1933,
Dearborn was one of the stops on the Kansas City, Clay County and
St. Joseph Railway (KCCC & SJ). Portions of the old rail-bed
are still visible to this day.
One day, when Myers was about 14 years old, he was out exploring
the woods south of the railroad tracks and found a few arrowheads
near a small creek. That creek runs into Bee Creek, which is a major tributary
of the Missouri River north of Leavenworth, Kansas. He knows the
find was prior to 1956, when he and his mother moved to Kansas City,
where she took a job at Commerce Bank. After growing up in the Kansas
City area, he also took a job working for Commerce Bank. His career
as a bank examiner brought him to Otterville, Missouri.
I met Myers in January of 1988 when I went to see him about a loan.
By this time, Myers had taken the position as President of the Otterville
Bank, a place he held until his retirement in 2008. He also was very
instrumental in helping me acquire my first artifact collection.
As the years went by, I would stop by the bank and show him some
of the nice artifacts I had found. One day, he said that he had found
some arrowheads when he was a kid and asked me to come by his home
sometime and see them.
A few weeks passed and I was at the bank making a deposit, when
he asked me if I was busy later that day. I said no, and he asked
if I would come by. After I got to his home, he invited
me in, and came out with a small box of arrowheads. Most of what
he had were small Woodland blades
(Snyders). However, one stood out, a very wide and colorful blade.
I was not sure what type it was, so I told him to bring it to my
local artifact show that was held in Sedalia, Missouri. At the show,
a local collector/ authenticator, Ryan Keele, identified it as a
Calf Creek preform made of Boone Chert, normally found in the southwest Missouri area. I inquired if Myers
would be interested in selling me the piece. However, he indicated
his daughter would probably inherit it. Therefore, since that day,
I had not given the blade much thought.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to both find and
acquire a nice artifact collection. I still enjoy the occasional
visits with Myers about artifacts and other mutually enjoyed hobbies.
I also feel lucky to continue a friendship with him after his retirement
from the bank. In January, 2017 he called and asked me to come by.
We began our visit in his sunroom, with the blade I’ve admired
for years sitting framed in the middle of the table.
He asked me to take it out of the frame and, as I proceeded to do
so, he began to talk. He said he had talked with his daughter about
it, and had decided to gift it to me. He said that since it had been
found in Missouri it should stay here, rather than going to England,
where his daughter now resides. I was completely surprised and told
him honestly, it’s too nice a blade to be given away. At that
point, he said there would be no further
Figure 2. The other face of the blade. It is exceedingly thin.
|discussion about money. He did ask one thing of me, to take it to
Ryan Keele and get it authenticated with the typology of the blade.
After a nice visit, I found myself excitedly bound for home and literally
jumping for joy. After showing my wife and telling her the story, I
proceeded to call Ryan and ask when I could come by. A few days later,
I stopped by Myers’ house to drop off the certificate, as he’d
I can’t express my profound gratitude and the honor I feel
to be gifted with such a nice artifact, from a man I proudly call
both mentor and friend. I continue to look forward to our visits
and each summer my wife and I face the challenge of making a batch
of our homemade salsa that is yet “too hot” for him and
his wife. After many years and batches of salsa, they’ve not
yet asked us to turn down the heat, so the quest continues. I am
very proud to have a such a beautiful and unique artifact in my collection!