UA-WRI Research Station - Historical Archeology

Moser, an Ozark Farmstead (3BE311)

General Information
Current Projects
Carden Bottom
Cherokees in Arkansas
Historical Archeology
French Colonial
The Ashley Mansion
Old Washington
Moser Farmstead
Riverine Arkansas
Ghost Boats

Back to Stations Page

Looking north into the cellar under the kitchen ell, with the stone work for the cellar entry visible at the top.

In the early 1980s, the planned new right of way for the realignment of US Highway 71 in Benton Co., carried the new roadway directly across what has become known as the Moser Farmstead site, 3BE311. The farmstead had been established in the 1870's and abandoned and demolished by 1920. Initial examination indicated the site contained rich deposits of late 19th and early 20th century artifacts, and also showed that there were informants who knew the farmstead well. These potential data gained additional significance from the fact that the site happened to be located in the Ozark Highlands, a locale of mythic significance, about where it is often commonly supposed that frontier lifeways persisted into the 20th century until the region was overwhelmed by modern life. The site was excavated by the Arkansas Archeological Survey in 1983.

Rococo pattern ceramics excavated at the Moser farmstead site, manufactured by Dunn Bennett and Company, Burslem, Staffordshire, England, 1887-1907.

Rich ethnoarcheological data generated about the Moser farmstead site permitted exploration of connections between material culture and values in the context of industrial production of consumer goods. Documentary, archeological, and informant data suggest aspects of the framework of meanings and symbols that families at the Moser farmstead expressed in their choices of certain goods from world output. Those goods, from canning jars to agricultural implements to dishes, were incorporated into an agrarian world view that served to mediate between the powerful and expanding economic and social forces of the capitalist world system in the Gilded Age, and the rural ideals of self-sufficiency and interdependence in the community in which they lived. The Moser inhabitants thus were able to transform products of industry into markers of tradition through symbolization, even as they were drawn more closely into regional and national systems of marketing for their agricultural products.


Moser location map Fig. 1

Figure 1. Location map for the Moser site, 3BE311.

The Moser site Fig. 2

Figure 2. The Moser farmstead site, looking northwest. Skip Stewart-Abernathy (on right) is interviewing Mr. Dallas Moser, who grew up at the site and provided much of the oral history information that made the project such a success.

Plan of Moser farmstead Fig. 3

Figure 3. Reconstructed plan of the Moser farmstead, about 1910.

Marked ceramics Fig. 4

Figure 4. Selection of marked ceramics excavated at the Moser site. These finds by themselves called into question the myth of isolation in the Ozarks.

Toys Fig. 5

Figure 5. Children's toys excavated at Moser, including clay marbles, porcelain doll parts, and a reed plate from an harmonica.

Map of excavations Fig. 6

Figure 6. Excavation details including the cellar under the kitchen ell, and the cistern the key hole-shaped feature.

Product How Left Farmstead Destination
Products Direct to Consumer    
  Corn, Clover Hay (as expected surplus) Delivery Bill Vandover's Livery
Stable, Rogers
Products Sent Through a Collector    
  Mules, horses (primary product) Pickup Traveling livestock buyers, who assembled train car loads for regional and national markets
  Hogs (primary product) Pickup or delivery Charles Jure's Walnut
Street Meat Market, Rogers, for local use
  Chicken and eggs (secondary product but year round) Delivery Alexander Holmes' General Store, Covell, or other general stores in Lowell
    or Delivery grocer in Lowell or Rogers
    or Pickup weekly peddler run by general store in Lowell
  Butter (as expected surplus) Pickup weekly peddler out of
  Apples Pickup or delivery one of several apple dryers or vinegar makers in the area, processed and shipped out to regional and national markets by train
  Small grains, i.e. wheat, millet Delivery Phillip's Mill, Cave Springs, destination unknown to informants

Ceramic Vessels Date Range
(1) United States  
  Goodwin Brothers
East Liverpool, Ohio
1917 to present
  Homer Laughlin
East Liverpool, Ohio
1908 to ca. 1929
  Sebring Pottery Company
East Liverpool, Ohio
1887 to 1940
  Sterling China Co.
Wellsville, Ohio
1917 to present
  C.C. Thompson Pottery
East Liverpool, Ohio
1890 to 1910
  Union Co-operative Pottery
East Liverpool, Ohio
1894 to 1900
(2) England  
  H. Alcock & Co.
Cobridge, Staffordshire
1891 to 1910
  Dunn Bennett & Co.
Hanley, Staffordshire
1887 to 1907
  W.H. Grindley & Co.
Tunstall, Staffordshire
1880 to 1960
  Johnson Brothers, Ltd.
Hanley, Staffordshire
  Alfred Meakin
Tunstall, Staffordshire
1891 to 1897
  J. & G. Meakin
Hanley, Staffordshire
ca. 1907
  Sampson Bridgwood & Sons
Longton, Staffordshire
1870 to ?
(3) Europe  
  "Made in Germany"
(unknown manufacturer)
1891 to ?
(4) Far East  
(unknown manufacturer)
ca. 1900
Glass Vessels:
Product Embossing Bottle or Contents Manufacturer Date Range
(1) United States East Coast
  "Ayers" Dr. J.C. Ayers &. Co.
Lowell, Massachusetts
1854 to 1899
  "Vaseline" Chesebrough Mfg. Co.
New York, New York
1908 to present
  (none) Maryland Glass Corp.
Baltimore, Maryland
1907 to present
  "Dr. Jayne's Expectorant" Dr. D. Jayne
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1842 to 1891
  (none) W.M. McCully
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1870 to 1886
  (none) Mason Fruit Jar Co.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1885 to 1900
  (Hero cross) Hero Fruit Jar Co.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1882 to 1900
(2) United States Midwest
  "Eddy & Eddy's
Flavoring Extracts
(assumed St. Louis)
1870 to 1920s
  "St. Louis, U.S.A."
"Dr. King's New
Discovery for
H.E. Bucklin & Co.
Chicago, Illinois
ca. 1886
  (none) Streator Bottle & Glass Co.
Streator, Illinois
  (none) Louisville Glass Works
Louisville, Kentucky
1855 to 1885
Canning Jar Glass Lid Liners Date Range
(1) United States East Coast  
  Clyde Glass Works
New York, New York
1870 to 1886
  Mason Fruit Jar Co.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1885 to 1900
(2) United States Midwest  
  Nail City Lantern Co.
Wheeling, West Virginia
1878 to 1890


Cochran, Robert, and Michael Luster
1979 For Love and Money: The Writings of Vance Randolph. Arkansas College Folklore Archive Publications, Monograph No. 2, Batesville, AR.

Compton, Neil
1982 The High Ozarks: A Vision of Eden. Ozark Society Foundation Little Rock, AR.

Edwards, Mike W.
1970 "Through Ozark Hills and Hollows". National Geographic 138:657-689.

Faris, Paul
1983 Ozark Log Cabin Folks, The Way They Were. Rose Publishing, Little Rock, AR.

Godsey, Townsend
1977 Ozark Mountain Folk: These Were the Last. The Ozarks Mountaineer Press, Branson, MO.

Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, Editors
1983 The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Massey, Ellen Gray
1978 Bittersweet Country (The Ozarks). Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY.

McDonough, Nancy
1975 Garden Sass: A Catalog of Arkansas Folkways. Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, NY.

McNeil, William K.
1987 "Perspectives on Arkansas Folklore: Some Erroneous Assumptions". Arkansas Historical Quarterly 46(3, Autumn):282-294.

Miller, E. Joan Wilson
1968 "The Ozark Culture Region as Revealed by Traditional Materials". Annals of the Association of American Geographers 58:51-77.

Minich, Roger
1975 Hills of Home: The Rural Ozarks of Arkansas. Scrimson Press, San Francisco, CA.

Rafferty, Milton B.
1980 The Ozarks, Land and Life. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK.

Randolph, Vance
1947 Ozark Superstitions. Columbia University Press, NY. Reprinted 1964, as Ozark Magic and Folklore by Dover Publications, Inc., NY.

Rayburn, Otto Ernest
1941 Ozark Country. Duell Sloan and Pearce, NY.

Rhodes, Richard
1974 The Ozarks. Time-Life Books, NY.

Rydell, Robert W.
1984 All the World's A Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

Sizemore, Jean
1994 Ozark Vernacular Houses: A Study of Rural Homeplaces in the Arkansas Ozarks, 1830-1930. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR.

Smith, Kenneth L.
1967 The Buffalo River Country. Ozark Society Foundation, Little Rock, AR.

Stewart-Abernathy, Leslie C.
1985 "Of Chickens, Sir Walter Scott, and the Columbian Exposition of 1893: A View of the World Economy from an Ozark Farmstead Before the Great War". paper presented at the l985 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Boston, MA.

1986a Moser, Independent But Not Isolated: The Archeology of a Late Nineteenth Century Ozark Farmstead. Arkansas Archeological Survey Research Series No. 26, Fayetteville, AR.

1986b "The Moser Farmstead: Ethnoarcheology in Pre-World War Ozarkia". Pioneer America Society Transactions 8:27-36.

1987 "From Memories and From the Ground: Historical Archeology at the Moser Farmstead in the Arkansas Ozarks". in George Sabo III and William M. Schneider, editors, Visions and Revisions: Ethnohistoric Perspectives on Southern Cultures. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. pp. 98-113.

1992 "Industrial Goods in the Service of Tradition: Consumption and Cognition on an Ozark Farmstead Before the Great War". in Anne E. Yentsch and Mary C. Beaudry, editors, The History and Mystery of Historical Archaeology, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. pp.101-126.

Stewart-Abernathy, Leslie C., and Robert H. Lafferty III
1982 Testing of the Moser Site, Benton County, Arkansas. Arkansas Archeological Survey, Fayetteville, AR. Submitted to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, Little Rock, AR.

West, James
1941 Plainville, U.S.A.. Columbia University Press, NY.

Wigginton, Eliot, Editor
1972 The Foxfire Book (Appalachians). Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY. (cf. also later volumes in the Foxfire series)

Wilson, Charles Morrow
1935 Backwoods America. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.


In the Arkansas Ozarks:

In the Missouri Ozarks:

Back to top of page

Home | News | About | State Archeologist | Education | Publications | SRP | Related


Copyright 2001, Arkansas Archeological Survey, Revised - Summer 2007
We welcome your comments.