click to enlarge
June 28th 1909
My dear Dr. Matthew:
Yesterday I finished at Asley and came on down to Fairmount by a round about way. I drove out three miles north of Ashley to Mr. Dollars place looked over the bones and ground and secured the skull paying Mr. Doller $100 for it. This is a magnificent specimen, a young animal about fifteen years old I should judge from the condition of the epiphyses of vertebrate and limbs.
It was found by Walter Doller on his fathers farm 3 miles north of Ashley, Steuben Co. Indiana. He and another man were digging a drainage ditch when they struck the skull. The missing tooth was taken by this other man who is Edward Ferrier of Flint, Ind. From people at Ashley I learned that he had been offered five or ten dollars for it and the tooth may have been sold to some one else by this time. You had best write to Ferrier for it. I should have followed the matters up but would have lost another day in consequence and may not have secured it then for these people are souvenir mad.
Doller had taken out the skull which lay on its back with right tusk in position, nine feet long from tip to tip and with point curved outward as it lay with root in skull I questioned him particularly about this and do not doubt his statement. The skull is finely preserved somewhat cracked through the alveolus but I did not think it needed a bandage so simply packed with straw and sure it will arrive in good condition in about a week the agent said. Let me know when received.
Besides the skull there were 24 ribs complete parts of 10 sternal ribs and 2 sternal bones. Both scapulae perfect; right humerus complete; upper epiphysis of left acetabulum of right side, upper part of ilium missing; 11 vertebrae including 2 caudals and 9 dorsals not in succession.
These bones are in perfect condition as though just out of the flesh. He was not disposed to include them in the sale so I arranged with him to dig further in the face when the water goes down at which time I am sure he will secure more of the skeleton. In case he found more bones he was to write us again. I told him we would pay $100 for the rest of the skeleton providing there was enough of it to mount as a skeleton.
As he had taken out all these bones from a pit ten feet in diameter I expect to see more of the skeleton turn up when he enlarges the hole.
And now comes a great disappointment of which you have heard but this time from Mr. Mart. He sold the skeleton of Castaroides to the Field Museum in March. This was certainly a prize and easily worth $1000 as they describe it, but of course I have said nothing of value except that we always pay slightly more than anyone else. He received $275 for it. On account of high water they have not taken up the rest of the skeleton but have taken out at present all the leg bones and feet which were complete except three or four bones from left front leg. Forty vertebrae and twelve pairs of ribs and pelvis complete. Bones were all in good state of preservation. This skeleton was much larger than the one from which our skull came.
Could have secured this specimen without any doubt if the matter had been turned over to me in time, which makes the disappointment greater.
However there is a crumb of satisfaction in having come and talked it over with Mr. Mart and the newspaper man Mr. Baldwin.
Not far from the Castoides skeleton Mr. Mart has uncovered a very large Crocodile I should judge from the description. It is now covered with water and impracticable to dig out till fall. They have dug along one side of it finding the skeleton complete with skull attached and ribs in position. He says it is nearly 30 feet long.
I have arranged to come in the fall and have his promise of first refusal. He tells me of another skeleton that he took out several years ago near the same farm which was destroyed sometime later when his house was burned. This was undoubtedly a vary large broad-timed deer, larger than Megasceros. He has promised to look for the rest of this skeleton of which about half was left in the gravel.
This afternoon I drove out to a gravel pit 2 miles north of town where they are pumping up gravel out of a big pond. Bones have been sucked up in four places by the pump and at one place they say there was probably a skeleton. This pond can be drained at a light expense in about two days pumping at low water some time in October. I had arranged for this also. Saw a mammoth molar that came out of this hole, also the antler of a deer Hemionas? They described a large antler form last year probably Wapiti. This farm is 3 3/4 miles from the Gift farm where our mammoth came from.
Evidently this locality abounds in remains and it is very desirable to let people known that we want them. I have talked it over with Mr. Baldwin who advises writing a short article say not more than 500 or 1000 words describing the mammoth and showing a picture of our mounted skeleton from Indiana to give it local interest. Take this up with the American Press Association 45-47 Park Place and see if they will use it in their branch offices at Columbus Ohio and Indianapolis Ind where it can be used in the inside sheet (patent insides) of country and town papers. I believe such a course would bear good fruit.
I shall leave for Chicago tonight by way of Indianapolis and leave Chicago in the afternoon.
|BACK (index)||NEXT (1909-JUL-24)|