​​​Clay County 1890 Jail Museum 

 

Smelter or Food Processor?

as shown by Ned Coleman to JD & Leslie Evans and Tommy Lyde 


Immediately to the west of the gas plant on Lone Star Road in Clay County, is property once owned by Ned Coleman (now deceased). App. 50 yards west of his property line is a gas plant injection well, and 20 yards southwest of that is this rock. This rock is app. 10' x 5' and 3 or 4 feet high, and is oriented north to south. It is located near a small stream that only runs dry during summer months. Carved into the rock is this feature.


The drain runs west to east from the flower pot shaped hole. It is obviously man-made as evidenced by the symmetry in depth and width of the drain line and the fact that the hole has a flat bottom. The area to the right side of the drain is well worn as if something was scraped or rubbed on it. This amount of wear surely indicates many months or years of wear. Notice how level the drain is. We spent some time examining the area below the drain, but since we didn't have the land owners permission to dig, we found nothing.


One theory has it that Indians collected water from the stream and used the worn area to crush nuts or grains and mixed a dough for bread in the hole.

    

I once saw a drawing on a University of Texas website, of Mexican peons returning with donkeys, to Mexico from Texas. Each donkey was outfitted with a rack holding ingots of copper. Each ingot was app. 6-8 inches across, flower pot shaped, with an iron rod coming out the middle that was used to hang it on the rack. If the drawing was accurate, it could fit this hole. The rubbed area could have been used to crush the copper for smelting. Melted copper could have been poured into this hole and an iron rod placed in the middle, and the drain would allow impurities to be drained or skimmed off. Notice the rust colored stain near his arm. No scrapings were made since we did not have the landowners permission. This theory has some validity since copper could be picked up off the ground in this immediate area during the 1400's and 1500's according to writings of early explorers.

    

So, food processor or part of a primitive smelting operation?