Arrow Rock, founded in 1827, is located in West-Central Missouri along the Missouri River. African-Americans in Arrow Rock and in Central Missouri have a long and significant history, that until recently has gone largely unnoticed. West-Central Missouri is historically known as the "Little Dixie" region. The Little Dixie region was settled by American immigrants from the Upper South states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, and from the Carolinas. These settlers brought with them not only their material culture and agricultural system, but also their enslaved African-Americans. During the ante-bellum period, the Little Dixie region, which includes Arrow Rock and Saline County, had the highest percentage of black population in the state. African-Americans were responsible for clearing and cultivating the land, were domestic help, and provided industrial labor. At the outset of the Civil War, many enslaved African-Americans fled their masters, moving into cities like Arrow Rock, creating their own villages, or moving out of the state altogether. In the cities, African-Americans lived in segregated neighborhoods and became self-reliant by establishing their own businesses, schools, and churches. Arrow Rock had a large influx of freed African-Americans who lived in a segregated area along Morgan Street, which includes Block #30.
On Block #30 (23SA451), archaeology has the potential to interpret African-American history from slavery to freedom in an urban context. During slavery, Block #30 can define industrial slavery from the Caldwell & McCumber pottery factory. After freedom, Block #30 can explore Arrow Rock's African-American community through: 1) the domestic lives of three family residences, 2) a black owned business of a store, restaurant, and bar, and 3) community support and social life of the Masonic Lodge.
Between 1856 and the 1870s, Block #30 was the site of a stoneware manufacturing site operated by Caldwell & McCumber. Census data indicate that Mr. Caldwell owned one male slave. If this slave worked at the pottery factory, or if Caldwell & McCumber rented or owned other slaves as factory workers, their presence might be established during this project. Archaeological evidence of the pottery factory may include kilns, outbuildings, stables, and possibly the residence of N. G. Caldwell. After 1880, African-Americans purchased and constructed three residences and the Brown Lodge No. 22 of A. F. & A. M. Colored Masons on this site. African-Americans occupied Block #30 until the 1950s.
Archaeological remains of the African-American component should include residence foundations, wells, privies, other outbuildings, and midden areas. Currently, only the Brown Lodge is still standing. The lodge is a two story frame structure with the Masons hall on the second floor. The first floor was used as a store, restaurant, and bar.
The Friends of Arrow Rock have recently received a Missouri Humanities Grant to conduct archival and oral history of Arrow Rock's African-American heritage. Past and present residents of Arrow Rock are volunteering to support this project. Information compiled from the Missouri Humanities Grant project will be used to compare and interpret the archaeology of Block #30. The Friends of Arrow Rock also are planning to restore the Brown Lodge as an interpretive center for African-American heritage.
During the 1996 Missouri Archaeological Society field school on site 23SA451, the east half of Block #30 was investigated. Posthole digger tests were spaced at 15-foot intervals across the site to provide locational information regarding structure and midden features, artifacts, and site stratigraphy. Soils were screened in 0.5-foot levels and recovered material was bagged separately. A total of 88 posthole tests was excavated. Post hole tests revealed possible kiln locations, pottery waster dumps, and artifact middens.
The MAS field school also excavated five three- foot square units around the standing Brown Lodge. The units were excavated at 0.2-foot levels with each level screened and bagged separately. A float sample was also taken from each unit level. Units 1, 2, 3, and 5 were placed outside doorways to collect artifacts from secondary adjacent middens on each side of the structure. Unit 4 was placed 12 feet behind the lodge in an attempt to recover artifacts from the second story balcony entrance to the Masons Hall. The units revealed 12 cultural features and numerous artifacts associated with both the Brown Lodge and the pottery factory. Features included post holes, limestone piers, a gravel walkway, and a brick foundation or floor. Artifacts included bottles, ceramic tablewares, toys, buttons, animal bone, salt-glazed stoneware sherds, unfired potter's clay, kiln furniture, and salt-glazed bricks. The artifacts are currently being processed, analyzed, and temporarily stored at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville's (UTK's) Historical Archaeology Laboratory. Tim Baumann, a doctoral student at UTK, is planning to write his dissertation on African-American components at the site. Deb Krause, a masters student at the University Of Missouri, Columbia, is using artifacts from the stoneware pottery factory for her thesis.
A joint archaeological field school was held by the Missouri Archaeological Society and the UTK at the Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site.
For further information at the MAS contact Dr. Dan Elliott or Melody Galen at (573) 882-3544, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information from UTK contact Dr. Charles Faulkner or Tim Baumann at the Department of Anthropology, 252 S. Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, (423) 974-4408, or by e-mail: email@example.com.