In Late 1977, I took a solo drive in my hand-me-down Ford on an overcast Sunday evening from Greensboro to Maxeys, Georgia. Nature called and I stopped to listen along the dirt and gravel road at a kudzu jungle in thick piney woods. After listening to the message, I realized I was without any sort of cleaning apparatus. Through the dead kudzu, I spied a glint of white, only a few yards distant. Waddling to the spot, I finished my job–so much relieved. Then, my eyes told my brain what I had done. I had cleaned myself with the newly pressed sleeve of a 19th century man’s dress shirt. It started to drizzle as I glanced around at the pile of trash from whence I had procured the much needed rag. It was a dump-truck load of stuff, rising some 4 feet above the plain. Jars, books, clothes, jagged broken glass, plates, hats, and bric a brac galore. It continued to drizzle and darkness descended. I opened my trunk and filled it to the brim. I made a final glance around and realized that I had only scratched the surface of this veritable goldmine. Driving away, I vowed to return.
I made my way speedily back to the fieldhouse next to the funeral home, where I was the house mother, and I began unloading boxes from my trunk into the dining room. My fellow archaeologists, dumpster diving buddies, and curiosity collectors gazed in amazement. Where from this find, they inquired. Eyes were wide as I distributed my newfound wealth. Tomorrow, I will take you tomorrow.
The next afternoon, tired from a day of digging, we piled into Paul’s baby blue econoline van and drove back to the dump. Crunching glass and giggles, we filled the van to capacity with all sorts of tattered and slighly damp treasures. There were books and letters and tiny shiny things. A woven coverlet fragment for Leslie, gifts for the whole fieldhouse family. Joel grabbed stacks of letters and threw them in his duffle bag. Paul and I did the same. It was a sensation. And we made a few more trips in the days following as the pile dwindled and the mildew set in.
Months later, Jerald and Lisa returned to the dump on another pilgrimage, only to find another fresh pile. Dresses and hats from bygone days, enough loot to fill Jerald and Lisa’s haunted house on Wildcat Creek. It became the stuff of legends.
Decades passed, then I learned from Lisa, that the old Durham place, the source of the dumped material, had been robbed, around the time of my initial discovery in 1777. Was this the dump for the stolen items that could not be easily fenced?
The Maxeys’ Dump was a most exciting find. It was a living archaeological site that several presently active archaeologists were immersed in. We observed the deposition, the plunder, and the decay. Or at least part of the decay, as I have not returned to visit the site in over 25 years….
Calhoun, Charles H., Sr., 1965. “Dr. Lindsey Durham, A Brief Biography.” and “The Durham Doctors, Biographical Sketches.” Privately published booklet, 53 pp.
Gay, M., 1892. Life in Dixie During the War, edited by J.H. Segars, Reprinted by Mercer University Press, Macon [See pages 303-304 for Durham discussion].
Lavender, Billy, compiler, 2005. A Pioneer Church in the Oconee Territory. A Historical Synopsis of Antioch Christian Chjurch. I-Universe. 436 pp. ISBN: 9780595797257