- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) - Tom Smith watched a group of excavators dig up the remnants of the home and belongings of his great-great-great-great-grandfather’s family, some of the first settlers in Carroll County.

Dr. Chris Moore, associate professor in anthropology at the University of Indianapolis, led a group of archaeologists this past weekend in excavating and discovering the locations of the home, business and goings-on of the Baum family who lived in the area in the early 19th century.

Moore, along with university students, joined the public at the site, which is part of the Indiana bicentennial legacy project. He said anyone could participate in the excavation Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, along the Delphi Historic Trails.

The Baum family first came to Carroll County in 1825 by means of traveling by rivers from Chillicothe Ohio, in the south central part of the state. Daniel Baum, patriarch of the family, purchased land in 1824 and built a cabin the next year. The Baums also opened up the first store in the county, near their farmstead.

Tom Smith, who published a book in 2007 about the Baum family, said he’s taken an interest for many years in the history of his ancestors, who were leaders in the county in the 1800s.

“I’ve been working at this for a while,” Tom Smith said.

Moore said the main goal of the dig is to find artifacts belonging to the Baums that could tell them something about their lives, such as what did they eat, buy and use. Excavators already found pieces of pottery, glass, animal bones and broken harmonica pieces.

“It’s really interesting how well finding a piece of a broken harmonica kinda puts you into that time period,” Moore said. “Daniel Baum may have been sitting on his cabin with this harmonica, playing for his kids.”

The group started surveying the area two years ago in order to determine where to excavate for artifacts linking to the Baums.

Mark Smith, Carroll County historian, said the land where the Baums’ home once stood was also the place to several other important historical moments in the county, such as an Indian trail, the Lake Erie, Wabash and St. Louis Railroad and the Smith Dairy Farm, which sat next to the Baum occupation.

“This is a very layered site, historically speaking,” Mark Smith said.

The Baum cabin was also served as Carroll County’s first courthouse from 1828-1829, Mark Smith said.

“That’s the real gripping importance of the area,” Mark Smith said. “You usually think about legal matters being conducted in a marble palace courthouse - no. From 1828-1829, they were conducted here, along the Deer Creek, including the naming of the city of Delphi.”

Tom Smith, who grew up in Flora and now lives in Houston, Texas, said the houses belonging to his grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and great-great-great-grandfather still exist, except the one belonging to Daniel Baum.

“This is the last one, “he said.

The archaeologists dig about five centimeters at a time in the mapped out sections of the ground, Moore said, carefully cutting away tree roots and shoveling out dirt into mesh strainers to collect artifacts.

Moore said they found artifacts just under the surface, with some belonging to Native Americans. He said the changes of the land and the tree roots mixed up the historic pieces underneath the layers of soil. However, the deeper they dig, Moore said they should see sections of the dirt align with different time periods.

“Once we get everything mapped out, if we use real fine levels like five centimeter levels, we can start to see these nice little curves of where things increase and where things decrease over time,” Moore said.

They haven’t located any remnants of structures yet, Moore said, but they have a good idea of where the buildings could have existed. He said archaeological features, such as changes in the soil, can show possible former building foundations.

“And that’s what we’re really hoping to find,” Moore said. “What we can do is we can take the artifacts from those features and we can say all right, this feature dates from here to here, and that can tell us that window of time we know for sure all of that stuff is associated with the Baums.”

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, https://bit.ly/1KvtCKm

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com


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