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Thread: 1852 schoolhouse yields... nothing?

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  1. #1
    us
    Nov 2011
    Southwest Michigan
    Ace 250
    36
    4 times
    Metal Detecting

    1852 schoolhouse yields... nothing?

    Got permission to hunt an 1852 one room schoolhouse that was operational for more than a hundred years. Same family has owned the land for last 90 years. They said its never been hunted, never had dirt taken in or out.

    Have spent 8 hours there and havent turned up a single coin. Nothing. Lots of nails though.

    This doesnt make sense to me, not one kid dropped anything there ever?

  2. #2
    us
    Sep 2007
    New Jersey
    Whites V3i and DFX
    3,212
    790 times
    It's most likely been hunted a bunch of times. Maybe without them knowing. A old school house is in the book of places to metal detect 101.
    deepskyal likes this.

  3. #3

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    6,117
    1778 times
    Banner Finds (3)
    First of all skoivu, when someone says "such & such place has never been hunted before", that doesn't necessarily bear true. EVEN when it's the property owner himself telling you that. There's just too many scenarios (even if the property owner insists they would "certainly know", where this may not be the case). For example, I've been at stage stop locations I've researched out, 20 yrs. ago, via a ranch-hand, or some kin-folk who said "I don't see why not, help yourself", etc... Then 10 yrs. later, I decide to take some more stabs at it, and show up at the door again, and this time it's the wife, or son-in-law, or new owner of the house, or whatever, answering the door. They might say "go ahead, help yourself. No one's ever hit it before". And inside, I'm chuckling, because I know that I myself hit it 10 yrs. prior, when someone else had answered the door, or a ranch-hand leaving the gate winked at me and said "go ahead, but just shut the gate on your way out", or however I might have gotten in before. Then flash forward to the present, and I show up again, and again, whomever is saying "sure", says ".... and it's never been hunted before". This has actuually happened to me before, at several places! And what humorous, is the current owner (or person answering the door or whatever) just "assumes" that they'd have been privy to the info, if their wife, brother, son, or laborer had said "yes" to anyone 10 or 20 yrs. earlier. Or quite frankly, if the place (school or stage stop, or whatever) is out in the boonies, persons might have just helped themselves at some time in the years past.

    So there's many reasons why your permission granter person may simply not know any better, and that it was hunted by persons who left you the nails, d/t they disc'd out the iron.

    And a word about 1-room school houses. If your site truly was "virgin", it does seem odd that after 100 yrs. of use, that there wasn't any coins there. When did it cease operation? Because if it was before ........ say ....... 1940, then it may be true, that there wasn't any coin losses there. Did you get other indicators like buttons, suspender clips, pencil eraser tops, etc....?

    I have researched out one-room school house sites here in CA that we KNEW for a fact they were virgin, because the source info we used to sleuth them out, was only just then released in a history book. And once there, found indications that we were the first ones. You know, like brass doohickeys, suspender clips, overall buttons, etc... And what was odd is, that if the school were abandoned and gone before 1920 or so, we found that they RARELY ever had coins at them. Even ones that had a documented 20 or so years of usage (1880 to 1900, or 1890 to 1915, etc...). Because you see, oft-times those schools had as little as only a dozen or 15 students (typically just 2 or 3 families in the area, sending 3 or 4 kids each). And back in the day in country life in the 1800s, there was absolutely no need for kids to carry or have money. There was no school lunch programs, etc... in those days. So unless the school doubled for use as something else where adults would have used it too (grange hall, church, dance-hall, etc..), then it's entirely possible that the kids who were there, simply had nothing to loose. This all changed in the '30s and '40s though:

    The same demographics can be seen at school yards in the inner city too: If you talk to old-timers who were the first to hit some inner-city-urban school yards, back in the old days (mid 1970s and earlier), they will tell you that even then, the vast majority of the silver we were finding, was '40s losses and later (ie.: mercs, roosies, washingtons, worn SLQ's, etc...) Even though we might be hunting elementary school yards built in the early 1920s, we didn't get any barbers, or early crisp '20s loss silver coins, it seemed. At first, we'd think "it's because we're not getting deep enough". But flash forward to the days & age when depth was no longer an issue, and we reached deep enough that those occasional crisp green '10s wheaties, or the crisp low-circulation '20s mercs were within our depth range, yet the #'s of silver coins and IH's, etc... never compared to the volume of silver coins that came out of those SAME schools, which were clearly '40s/50s losses.

    The reason is, that starting in the post WWII times, prosperity was much changed. Kids started to have a few coins in their pocket. School lunch programs came into being, so kids had reason now to bring their coins to school. So there may be some truth to what 90+ yr. old folk will tell you, that when they were kids, they didn't have 2 nickels to rub together. But heck, when I was a kid in the 1960s, we always had coins, for some reason, in our pockets.
    austin and TerryC like this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  4. #4
    us
    Nov 2008
    PA
    Minelab CTX / XP Deus
    125
    15 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I don't care if it was hunted before. Nobody gets it all. There are targets between the nails. You need to unmask the good stuff that is remaining. I never used an Ace 250 so I can't comment on the recovery speed. Maybe your at a site that is too much for the detector.
    TerryC likes this.
    Swinging a detector on a beach is about as good as it gets

  5. #5
    Ism
    Ism is offline
    us
    Jun 2009
    Michigan
    Tesoro Vaquero Whites TDI Minelab Sovereign GT XP Deus
    553
    136 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Try moving away from the school house. Others have reported finds farther away from the buildings than you would imagine and I have discovered the same.
    When it comes to detecting, you will always find me "out standing in the field".

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    us
    Come out from under your bed today...... DO SOMETHING!

    Jun 2008
    Yarnell,AZ and Titusville,FL
    Right now: Garrett GTA 500, ACE 250, Fisher Impulse 8, Gold Bug 2, Whites GMT, Vibraprobe 570, and Falcon MD20
    4,266
    1602 times
    Coinshooting, Gold prospecting, and Nuggetshooting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ism View Post
    Try moving away from the school house. Others have reported finds farther away from the buildings than you would imagine and I have discovered the same.
    Goodmore hinted at the way to go. Dig all the nails. You have permission! The goodies are there. You must WORK for them! Also, look for "draws" that kids hang around. Trees, doorways, corners. Back off and look for depressions or rises that may have had gym equipment in/on them. Swingsets will show depressions in a row. Right under the swing "start" and at the ends where the bars allowed climbing are best. You MUST keep at it till you find the prize! You will walk away a better detective detectorist afterward. NO PLACE is ever hunted out! TTC
    Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalms 144:1

  7. #7
    us
    Nov 2011
    Southwest Michigan
    Ace 250
    36
    4 times
    Metal Detecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    First of all skoivu, when someone says "such & such place has never been hunted before", that doesn't necessarily bear true. EVEN when it's the property owner himself telling you that. There's just too many scenarios (even if the property owner insists they would "certainly know", where this may not be the case). For example, I've been at stage stop locations I've researched out, 20 yrs. ago, via a ranch-hand, or some kin-folk who said "I don't see why not, help yourself", etc... Then 10 yrs. later, I decide to take some more stabs at it, and show up at the door again, and this time it's the wife, or son-in-law, or new owner of the house, or whatever, answering the door. They might say "go ahead, help yourself. No one's ever hit it before". And inside, I'm chuckling, because I know that I myself hit it 10 yrs. prior, when someone else had answered the door, or a ranch-hand leaving the gate winked at me and said "go ahead, but just shut the gate on your way out", or however I might have gotten in before. Then flash forward to the present, and I show up again, and again, whomever is saying "sure", says ".... and it's never been hunted before". This has actuually happened to me before, at several places! And what humorous, is the current owner (or person answering the door or whatever) just "assumes" that they'd have been privy to the info, if their wife, brother, son, or laborer had said "yes" to anyone 10 or 20 yrs. earlier. Or quite frankly, if the place (school or stage stop, or whatever) is out in the boonies, persons might have just helped themselves at some time in the years past.

    So there's many reasons why your permission granter person may simply not know any better, and that it was hunted by persons who left you the nails, d/t they disc'd out the iron.

    And a word about 1-room school houses. If your site truly was "virgin", it does seem odd that after 100 yrs. of use, that there wasn't any coins there. When did it cease operation? Because if it was before ........ say ....... 1940, then it may be true, that there wasn't any coin losses there. Did you get other indicators like buttons, suspender clips, pencil eraser tops, etc....?

    I have researched out one-room school house sites here in CA that we KNEW for a fact they were virgin, because the source info we used to sleuth them out, was only just then released in a history book. And once there, found indications that we were the first ones. You know, like brass doohickeys, suspender clips, overall buttons, etc... And what was odd is, that if the school were abandoned and gone before 1920 or so, we found that they RARELY ever had coins at them. Even ones that had a documented 20 or so years of usage (1880 to 1900, or 1890 to 1915, etc...). Because you see, oft-times those schools had as little as only a dozen or 15 students (typically just 2 or 3 families in the area, sending 3 or 4 kids each). And back in the day in country life in the 1800s, there was absolutely no need for kids to carry or have money. There was no school lunch programs, etc... in those days. So unless the school doubled for use as something else where adults would have used it too (grange hall, church, dance-hall, etc..), then it's entirely possible that the kids who were there, simply had nothing to loose. This all changed in the '30s and '40s though:

    The same demographics can be seen at school yards in the inner city too: If you talk to old-timers who were the first to hit some inner-city-urban school yards, back in the old days (mid 1970s and earlier), they will tell you that even then, the vast majority of the silver we were finding, was '40s losses and later (ie.: mercs, roosies, washingtons, worn SLQ's, etc...) Even though we might be hunting elementary school yards built in the early 1920s, we didn't get any barbers, or early crisp '20s loss silver coins, it seemed. At first, we'd think "it's because we're not getting deep enough". But flash forward to the days & age when depth was no longer an issue, and we reached deep enough that those occasional crisp green '10s wheaties, or the crisp low-circulation '20s mercs were within our depth range, yet the #'s of silver coins and IH's, etc... never compared to the volume of silver coins that came out of those SAME schools, which were clearly '40s/50s losses.

    The reason is, that starting in the post WWII times, prosperity was much changed. Kids started to have a few coins in their pocket. School lunch programs came into being, so kids had reason now to bring their coins to school. So there may be some truth to what 90+ yr. old folk will tell you, that when they were kids, they didn't have 2 nickels to rub together. But heck, when I was a kid in the 1960s, we always had coins, for some reason, in our pockets.
    TY for the long and informative post. I learned quite a bit from that.

    I suppose it could have been hit hard already and the owners didnt know about it. I guess that would make sense since I have literally found nothing but nails and modern can slaw. I know it stopped being functional in the 50's. Maybe stuff is still there but Ive put in a lot of time already and dont know how much more I want to do.

  8. #8
    Charter Member
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
    Treasure Probe IV, Minelab E-Trac. White's 6000 Di Pro SL. White's Eagle ll SL90, Minelab Excalibur, White's GM3 V-sat. White's TM808, VibraProbe, TinyTec, AutoScan, UniProbe, 15" WOT, 5X10 Joey, Stea
    3,795
    1157 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (2)
    As mentioned, dig the iron and other "junk" sounds. This will give you other info to go by, such as depth and age of the items. As Tom said, children before WW2 didn't have a reason to carry change to school. Naturally some did, but they were in the minority.

  9. #9
    us
    Jan 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
    Whites GMT, Goldmaster Vsat, 5900, Bounty Hunter Discovery 3300 and Falcon MD-20.
    294
    101 times
    Prospecting - Gold and Silver
    If it had a local trash dump or outhouse near it - you will probably find things of value there (ie. relics). Knowing where the locations of those are (70+ years later) may be a challenge, but could be worth your time.
    Last edited by jmoller99; Aug 01, 2012 at 12:24 AM.
    Whites GMT, Whites GM Vsat, Whites 5900, Gold Mountain King Cobra, Bounty Hunter 3300

  10. #10

    Dec 2006
    1,240
    100 times
    I have hunted quite a few old one room school sites and have found old coins at all of them. My area was nothing but rural farmland, but there were always at least coin or two to be found. As has been suggested, go slow, and dig the junk, also the coins from that long ago may be deep!

  11. #11
    us
    Apr 2009
    31
    I am in the same boat, got the go head to hunt a 1840 church yard. I spent 3hours there but talked with the owner for 21/2 hours and hunted 1/2 hour LOL, in the 1/2 hour never hit one coin new or old, I know there is something there and am going to do it in sections and dig it all. The owner has a small musem in the downstairs of the church of things that were found on the property and I told him he could have all the relics I find that im just intrested in the coins, he was happy with the deal. We will see what the etrac can find. Good Luck

  12. #12
    us
    Feb 2008
    Great Lakes State
    #7
    8,753
    990 times
    silver surfing
    I would dig the privy!

  13. #13
    us
    May 2008
    Wisconsin
    GARRETT GTI 2500, Garrett Infinium
    2,913
    567 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    2 things:

    Kids back then had no money. Why would they, their parents seldom carried it. I think Tom is right, money was more commonly carried post WW2. Look at the mintage numbers during that era.

    Back in the 1950s, it was common to find barber series, Indian heads, buffalo nickels, standing liberty stuff. Morgan dollars could be had at the bank for a buck.

    So, they were commonly carried in change then, some of which would then get lost. My point is that a lot of them were probably lost post WW2.
    "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." Friedrich Nietzsche

    "You ask where I live. I cannot tell you. I am a Voyageur, a Chicot, sir. I live everywhere. My grandfather was a voyageur; he died while on a voyage. My father was a voyageur; he died while on a voyage. I will also die while en route, and another Chicot will take my place. Such is our course of life."

  14. #14
    us
    Jul 2012
    Southern OR
    Etrac, AT-Pro, Sovereign Elite and Garrett Pro-Pointer
    39
    4 times
    Metal Detecting
    Is there an old baseball diamond on the schoolyard? I found coins there.

  15. #15
    us
    Oct 2011
    penn state
    ace 150, flea market digger
    2,373
    343 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    dig all signials i have dug nails that show up as nickles and wheat that show up as iron even zincs , do like other grid off a section and work every which way then move on to the next etc... happy hunting

 

 

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