From the ground a man stood looking up at the balcony. He had traveled a great distance to see someone this day. On his chest was a button he had purchased to show support for the man he came to see. It was a bright and glorious day and in his chest was the beating of his heart to a patriotic beat. The man he came to see was the new President. As the crowd grew quiet he saw who he came to see step to the balcony. He was tall and was dressed in a brown suit wearing silver shoe buckles and diamond knee buckles and a beautiful sword. It was President elect George Washington, truly a man above men. He had captivated the attention of the infant country by his heroic leadership in the American Revolution and now the thirteen colonies needed a decisive leader.
As the day passed, the man started home to his small farm in North Carolina. Back to his life, he couldn?t help but be filled with a feeling that good times were coming soon. Readying himself for bed, he removed the patriotic button from his chest and placed it in a keepsake box beside his bed. He would often times take it out looking at it to encourage him through the hardships that would inevitably come. As he looked at the button, he saw the ovals around the half-dollar sized brass button. These told him of the union of many people in various states that supported the countries new cause. In the center the statement ?Long Live the President? denoted the cry for long life to a wise and loved man. In the middle of the button was the scripted GW in his own script signifying his personalized vow to lead a struggling country into freedom of tyranny. As he clenched the button in his tightened hand he couldn?t help but feel the power of union.
Two hundred and twenty years later I walked the ground of the location where this man lived and worked. How it got to this place may be in conjecture, but somehow through the years I was able to find a window into the countries historic past. Swinging my detector with my friend, Mike, we were unaware of the historical encounter we would have this day. For three days we dug many items that took us back to the 18th century and early 19th century. We knew we were close to something big when we immediately began finding many flat one-piece buttons, an 1813 Peruvian reale, Georgian period clock winding key as well as musket balls and square nails. We knew we were close to a find of a lifetime, but where was it. As the targets grew fewer and fewer and the ground grew quiet, I decided to hunt more slowly and to hunt the fringes of the location. Reaching my coil into the brush on the edge of the open clearing I received a broken sound and registering five inches deep on my trusty White?s Spectrum XLT. I eagerly dug into the hard, red earth being careful to make it large enough to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging the target. Rolling the plug over, I looked for what my target had detected. Then there it was covered in dirt-a large half-dollar shaped object. Picking it up, I called my friend over to witness the find. Looking at it, we agreed that it appeared to be a dandy button from the 18th century and thought nothing more of it.
Dandy buttons were large, over-sized buttons worn by affluent people of their time to denote wealth and status. I had found many of them and they always denote age to a site as well as a wealthy person. It also fit with the other items that had been found on the site and confirmed yet again that we were where we should be looking. Thinking nothing more of it, the button was put it into my pocket with the other items found that day.
As I continued hunting and the sun beat down on me, I decided to take shelter in the shade and get a cool drink of water. Mike continued to hunt, fighting the heat and the bugs with every swing. While resting in the cool shade, I decided to pull the button from my pouch and splashed water from my bottle on it to see if there was any other detail that may be present. Immediately there was evident great detail around the rim. I instantly recognized the pattern to be a possible George Washington Inaugural button of the linked states variety. My heart was racing in my chest as I let out a yell to my buddy to come and look. I was shaking at the possible historical significance of this item and still couldn?t believe it was what I thought. I couldn?t hunt anymore though I tried. My mind kept coming back to the button- that glorious button and the day that it marked- 4 March 1789. How had it been lost? Who was the original owner? Did he indeed look up at George Washington and watch the inauguration? So many questions, yet I had been privileged to have a quick glance in through a sliver of time.
As I made the three hour drive home my mind raced. I needed confirmation of this find. As I got home I raced into the kitchen and ran water over the button. The water gently loosened the dirt that still covered the button so that it was indeed well recognizable. I then compared it to my Albert?s reference guide. There it was in print before me- a linked states variety George Washington Inaugural button c. 1789 with only 55 known to exist. What an incredible find and in such great condition after 220 years of waiting for me! I also found out it was in a scene from the movie ?National Treasure? starring Nicholas Cage. The chances of finding this type of historical iconary are very rare and I had found it that day! As I held it in my shaking hands, heart pounding, I uttered the very same words that were shouted as the man stood at the balcony on that day- ?Long Live the President!?Linkback:
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