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The Prater's Creek Gazette


 15th Issue Fall 2007

Log Cabin Photo

The Hillbilly Doppler reports: Partly rowdy with a 100% chance of  Raisin Cain.


By Irving O. Tarbox


pot diggingWhen Zeke Mahaffery was putting up an illegal trotline across the creek one day back in June, he never thought he’d unlock ancient secrets of Prater’s Creek, S.C.

After Zeke had put out his line, he was digging a hole to bury some dirty magazines. It seems he had bought them at the Plez U store over in Pickens, and he was afraid his mama would find them. The forty nine-year-old bachelor told the Gazette that “Well it was Thursday, the day mama cleans the house, and I knew she’d find them”. Zeke decided to kill two birds with one stone, and bury the magazines where he was going to set out his trotline.

As he was digging a hole, he came upon something that looked liked pottery. pottery“Why, I thought I done come upon some buried treasure” Zeke said, “and I started digging faster and faster!” But Zeke came upon a different kind of treasure. He collected the shards in a gunnysack( “I liked the purty colors” Zeke told the Gazette) and carried them to Livwright’s General Store. He was showing them to some people at the store when a gentleman inquired as to where Zeke had found them, and asked if he could take a closer look. “He was a perfessor over at Clempson College” Zeke said. Indeed, it was Professor Justin Higgingbottom, Head of the Studies of Old Things at Clemson University.

Professor Higgingbottom asked Zeke if he could borrow the pieces of pottery to carry back to the university and run tests on them to see how old they were. “I told him ‘sure’”, Zeke remembers, ‘cause Livwright’s said they wouldn’t give me anything for them. Said it was just 'junk'.”

The professor got Zeke to show him and his fellow scientists where he had dug the shards of pottery out of the ground. Professor Higgingbottom and the other scientists found more pieces where Zeke had set out ancient potteryhis trotline.

After Carbon-14 dating was done on the shards, and with the help of scientists from the Museum of Old Broken Pottery, it was determined that the pieces were close to 400 years old. Not only that, after being cleaned up, and pieced back together like some ancient jigsaw puzzle, Higgingbottom and the others were able to see that images were on the pieces of pottery. “The images seemed to tell a story” Professor Higgingbottom told the Gazette, “a very compelling story. You can see that there was a great party thrown by the Native Americans for the early white settlers on the banks of the creek that we now call ‘Prater’s Creek’. You can see by these images that there is a still and a band playing, fronted by an old white medicine man. A ‘shaman’ if you will. The medicine man approaches a young girl less than half his age. Now we don’t know exactly what happened next, because an important piece of the pottery is missing. But in the next piece the young girl is slapping the medicine man in the face!”

When hearing about the historical find, Grandpa, of The Drovers Old Time Medicine Show, told the Gazette, and everybody at the barbershop “I told y’all my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa lived with the Indians and they taught him how to turn his likker into elixir!”

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