Hopefully, by now you have a huge red circle around the date October 20, 2013, and have made plans to attend the Comanche County Historical Museum’s arrowhead unveiling and fundraiser. It takes quite a budget to operate anything anymore, and the museum is certainly no exception. Museum volunteers will be serving Henry Adcock homemade pies along with the other finger foods for which the museum is known.
Apparently, Lewis and Myrt Shanks touch many lives and were very instrumental in teaching others about Native American custom as well as about the world of nature in general. Today, reenactor and living history expert, Cris Bloyd, relates memories of Mr. and Mrs. Shanks whose collection museum directors will be unveiling on the 20th.
Lewis and Myrt Shanks were a very positive influence on me when I was a young boy. Sam Huffman and I practically grew up in their home – spending all of our tree time hunting or fishing with Lewis. Lewis coached us youngsters on shooting and how to set a trot line. One of his rules was that we had to eat whatever we shot except for jack rabbits, which were only good for dog food. Myrt would freeze our dove, quail, squirrel, and deer for a yearly “game supper.” She cooked our harvest and invited other church members to join our feast. Myrt and Lewis were two of the most hospitable people God ever created. No one was ever turned away from their home.
Lewis’ knowledge of Indian artifacts was endless. He never tired of studying arrowheads and other stone pieces that he and Myrt found on their farm.
He’s say, “Now Cris, this one type of arrowhead was shafted in something stouter than wood. I think it was set in a bone socket. Nearly every one you find like this is broken n the same place. Notice how it doesn’t have any flutes to tie it to a wooden shaft.
“Now, see these notches hacked in this one…some Comanche picked it up and did that so he could tie it onto an arrow shaft. I think by the time the Comanches came to this country, there were enough old arrowheads lying around that they didn’t have to make any.”
Lewis told me that years ago Comanche County had been full of Spanish artifacts. He remembered, as a young man, seeing old helmets and breastplate armor lying in a creek bottom.
He said, “That was just junk to folks back then…they dammed that creek for a lake with that old armor still lying at the bottom of the creek.”
Lewis said that over the years he had found every known type of stone artifact except a flint fish hook. He estimated that nine different Native American cultures had camped on his farm at some time.
When Lewis wasn’t hunting arrowheads, he was trying to piece together the pieces he had found. No partial was ever discarded. He even tried his hand at carving arrowheads himself. A professor of Archeology visited him one day to see his collection. One arrowhead really caught his attention and after examining it for some time, he told Lewis that, in his best estimate, the piece in question had been made about 500 AD. Lewis just smiled – this particular arrowhead was one he had made just two weeks before.
Indian artifacts and culture was such a part of Lewis Shanks that he could even tell if the person who made an arrowhead had been left or right handed. He told me that he had found several examples of arrowheads that had been made by predominately left handed craftsmen.
He said, “Cris, I guess this one tribe was sort of like the Benjamites in the Bible, all left handed.
Be sure to come see us on October 20!