30 years ago, my friend, the late Milford Webster, and I, occasionally along with Tim Pryor and Milford's son Mike, would detect together. Milford was the researcher in those days, and I was new to the hobby, basically learning my machine by hitting the yards of friends and relatives plus some public places. The year 1987 changed everything. As I wrote in my first book, Milford became friends with a fellow named Larry, who let us in on some sites he was working around Salisbury.
Milford tracked down the location of an old house mentioned by Brice Stump in one of his books as being the setting for some British raids and some buried gold, so we went there and got permission and started finding a few relics, but no old coins. Milford decided to invite Larry in appreciation for letting us hunt with him and he asked if a couple of friends could come. Seeing that it was a huge property, we didn't have any objections.
That's when we met Bill Draper and Doug Wilkerson. Doug amazed me with his Fisher by finding a metal cap to an aspirin bottle 10 inches down and was able to probe for it with a rounded screwdriver tip and recover it without hardly leaving a trace in my back yard. Doug was so good with the screwdriver that he could tell whether it was metal, glass or brick by its sound. That day we went on an amazing treasure hunt.
Milford and I didn't have much luck that day (I would later with my oldest coin Ė still, after all these years), but Bill, Larry and Doug all found colonial coppers. On that day, we found that it would be better if we joined forces, and formed a club, so that we could make sure we didn't accidentally hunt on somebody else's spot. That was OK as long as the club was small, but as it grew, that aspect was harder and harder to keep straight. I think it's probably a good idea to put together a list of all club sites, as a matter of fact.
Forming a club gave us a sense of purpose. By pooling our resources and talents, we were able to travel all up and down the shore looking for places to hunt. We also came up with the concept of the club hunt, a monthly come-at-your-own-risk exercise. We also could swap magazines and participate in pay hunts put on by other clubs, which gave us the idea to do our own. Today, the club is huge compared to those days in the late 1980s. It's still a great club to be in, but to get the most out of it, you have to put something into it besides your dues. That's what I do as an officer. That's what all members should do, and if so, the club will always be a great group to be in. So, if I donít see you at the meeting, maybe I'll see you in the field (now that itís cooled off).
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