Gun shop owner continues search for Civil War-era artifacts in Marion County

Published: Jun. 21, 2021 at 1:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON, Texas (KLTV) - A Marion County man, using a metal detector, has found what he says are Civil War era military items in the city limits of Jefferson.

Tom Moss just can’t help but wonder: what is lurking underground?

“A piece of iron,” Moss said waving his metal detector.

“One of my hobbies is metal detecting, and it’s had a bad name from archeologists. They have a permit to be looters and we don’t,” Moss said.

Tom says they do work together at times ... the archeologists, not the looters.

“We also try to preserve relics that come out of the ground. The stuff that’s been in the ground here for 150 years is disintegrating,” Moss said.

And that ground is near what Tom says is the only standing Civil War magazine in existence. He doesn’t search around the magazine since it’s a historical marker. He goes to the adjacent lot.

“I’ve been waiting twenty years to dig out here. I got here in 2000. I knew the place was here. And I never had permission, so I didn’t come out here,” Moss said.

But he has standing permission to do some walking now, and has found some pretty interesting things.

“This is all Civil War. These are mini balls. These are from that era. Percussion caps from the muskets. As the Union Army started upgrading their gear, they started having breech loaders,” Moss said pointing at some artifacts he had found.

Tom says those items date back to the mid 1860s. He says there were no battles in Jefferson, but he believes there was a camp in the area due to one find.

“Shoulder scale that was worn by artillerymen. They wore them on their shoulders like so. A vestige of antique armor,” Moss said.

He actually found a bunch of those.

“They were being done away with around 1868 and that’s probably why they were thrown on the trash pit,” Moss said , “It’s almost like an addiction because you’re looking for the next one. You’re always looking for your next fix and it doesn’t ever end.”

One thing’s for sure, out there somewhere in all that dirt is the big one.

Tom Moss has a gun shop in downtown Jefferson where he displays his good stuff. It’s called the Mason Dixon Line.

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