Digging Up the Past


This tale begins in June 1998, when Cindy Krouse travels to Massachusetts to meet Kirsti's family, go digging for diamonds at the Herkimer Diamond Mines, see that great place where CB & Kirsti found buttons and to attend her first NERBA Show. 

A little history of the Loudville Lead Mines is needed - as well as interesting:

The first discovery of the lead vein was made in 1678. Some work was done at the mine from 1680 to about 1697. In these early mining days, miners probably worked by hand with forged iron tools and used black powder for blasting. From 1765 to 1770, the deposit was again mined for lead. Much of the work was done by a group of men led by Vermont's Ethan Allen, who had bought up the land. Some of the lead they produced was used to cast bullets for George Washington's Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. The mine then lay idle until 1809, when it was re-opened. Work continued until about 1832 when the mine again became idle. Operations at the mine resumed in 1851, and ended in 1865.



CB & Cin at Rock Spot - Found bird nest - brought it home - mites crawling all over it & anyone who touched it!

Rock found at site - size actually about 1" - crystals sweet!


Possible old cellar hole at site - Right photo is close-up and shows handles of what might be a bicycle? We didn't go down into this pit, but get a machete & ...

CB at site prior to Cindy's visit (1996 or 97)

Here's some of things we dug up at Loudville:

Please sing either "Working in a Coal Mine" or "16 Tons" as you browse these!

Above are close-ups of the bones, buttons, findings, crystals, rocks, shards of crockery, coal and something that is frayed or worn leather - feels like animal skin with a bit of fur -

See those two big grey things? I'm assuming that they are sharpening/honing stones - knives and axes would need to be sharpened often - they are glittery in the light - quite beautiful! There was one long stick of this stuff that may still be there!

I wonder if we found any galena, since it was one of the minerals mined here (other minerals found at this site are wulfenite, lead, pegmatite, gneiss/granite, pyromorphite, barite

Plain White China Buttons 


The same bunch of buttons are rearranged in each photo - one photo shows all of the buttons. There are a couple more containers of stuff, but most of the china that I found is here. We did find other types of china buttons (calico +). These are all plain white - I cleaned them by soaking them in warm water & bit of Dawn - when that didn't get the rust off, tried adding some other gentle cleaners: diluted peroxide once, then peroxide. Used a soft toothbrush to see if that would work - Nah - so, here we have the results of the cleaning. Still some rust spots on some of the buttons, but most of them look pretty good. What you do not see here are some three-hole dimi - all plain white.

I haven't got a photo from Cin of her finds that brought home, and CB has his stashed somewhere (and I do not go into his room unless invited). Cin has never sent any show & tell of her ownm sad to say.


Let's Go to Herkimer Diamond Mines!

We had a little log cabin rented on site, so we could come & go as we wished. Herkimer also has a KOA Camp site across the street. Nice to be able to stay on site instead of having to come & go from a motel - most of the motels in the area are quite a distance away from the mines.

This two-room + bath cabin slept four - Cin had to share a twin sized bunk with Kirsti - CB & June had twin beds in the tiny room at the rear. Had to go thru the tiny room to get to the bathroom. Kitchen had the amenities needed for quick meals, but not for any "real" cooking. Great porch with a large swing! The cabins all have their own area in front with a picnic table and campfire pit. We hot-footed it down to the little store by the KOA to get marshmallows and a few other things we'd forgotten to bring with us. There is also a nice built-in pool at the KOA, which we used to cool our feet - had brought no bathing suits, because we didn't know about the pool!

It was hot - made worse by hot flashes! Hardly any mosquitoes, which was a blessing! We used the campfire, sang Girl Scout songs, roasted marshmallows over the fire we'd made and lay in the grass to look at the stars at night - so many shooting stars!


From the top: Cin, June (Kirsti's Mom) and Clarence (CB) on the steps of Herkimer cabin.

Cin at the campfire area - KOA in background

CB making sure the fire is out

CB Loves Cin!!

Kirst at top of totem here (she's now svelte - 2013)


Cin waving at us

CB in one of the rock "pits"


Leaving Herkimer - On to NERBA

Woo Hoo! Cindy & Micki meet for the very first time!

Lessons, lessons!!

Cin & Betty K

Shirley Clark & Marian Hurley

Button Bytes at NERBA

Nancy & Micki

Petal, on the far right, came all teh way from Australia to be with all of us!

That's about it for this joyful time...


More Rocks & Photos



Updated Friday, September 29, 2017


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