Article from the Backbenders Gazette of December, 1999
(not entered into any competition with the South Central Federation of Mineral Societies or AFMS)

The following is an article by the PMNS Curator


© 1999 Terrell William "Terry" Proctor, J.D.

The November Field Trip of the Paleo Section was made on Sunday, November 14, 1999. The HGMS Paleo Section has made a number of trips, over the years, to the Brazos River just West of Bryan, Texas, known as Whiskey Bridge. This site has been dug for years by classes from Texas A&M and the University of Texas, as well as others.

However, a new aspect to this trip has been added on the past several trips. Several years back when the Paleo Section had a field trip there, I a man named W. Terry Stiles. Terry is the Administrator of the Veterinarian Hospital at Texas A&M, lives in College Station, and has a ranch about three miles from Whiskey Bridge. Terry has invited us out in the past, and again on this trip, to visit him at his ranch, after our morning dig at the Brazos River.

Those who attended this dig were: Mike and Alexi "Lexi" Bieneke, and their daughter and ???; Duanne Clark; John & Bobbie Emerson; John & Bonnie Linder; Christopher Proctor and Joshua Proctor (two of my grandsons); Peter, Alicia and Callie Ragusa; Pauline Singleton and me. My grandson Joshua found a small shark's tooth and there were a number of really good conus shells found, including a number by Alicia Ragusa and her daughter Callie.

The weather was very nice, as it was not too hot, as it is in the summer here, and it was just very pleasant. I carried out some lumps of fossiliferous material to put into water and let it melt down, back in Houston, and then pick out the shells. In the past, I have found with material from the Little Brazos River, that this resulted in excellent shells being recovered. John and Bobbie Emerson said that they had experienced in the past that the material would not melt down, event with effort. Some of what I brought back didn't have much in it, but it did break down pretty well. You have to be careful not to homogenize it too much, or it destroys the very fragile material captured in the hardened mud. It depends a lot on which lump you have, as I have also experienced what the Emersons said, that material is just too hard to break down.

The area where we dig is on the West bank of the Brazos River, just after you cross the Highway 21 Bridge (Whiskey Bridge). Just as you cross the bridge, you do a U-turn to the right to go onto a plainly visible area where cars regularly park to dig. Then you walk down a steep incline, including a little exposure to poison ivy, and arrive at the river bank area. Digging is good all along this Western bank of the Brazos River for hundreds of feet North.

In the past I have brought back some concretions. They are ugly and heavy, but occasionally they have something inside, around which the concretion formed. The Brazos River was very low due to the drought in this area this summer. This meant that areas were exposed which normally are not exposed, but it also meant that there had not been any rainfall to erode away any new fossils. However digging at this location is easy and only a sharp tool, screwdriver, spoon, towel or similar tools are needed.

The fossils are very fragile however, and it is a good idea to bring toilet paper to wrap them in. The conus are lovely shells with a very flat end, but they are very fragile and break easily.

About 1:00 PM we went to Terry Stiles Ranch, about 3 miles back toward Bryan and to the South of Hwy 21. Terry again barbecued chickens for us, along with baked beans. Others brought salads, chips, cold drinks and Pauline Singleton brought home-cooked pecan pie which is really yummy. As usual, Terry had laid out on a table a number of the fossils and Amerindian artifacts which he has found on the river. Terry has found really wonderful fossils, including Mammoth tusks, bones and this time he had an Amerindian grinding stone.

Terry has a dog named Ranger who is quite a character and the kids present, including Terry's daughter, Kelly, played with Ranger and his other dog. Terry also had a golf cart this time and the kids loved riding around on it. He also has a trampoline which the children love to jump on.

The Ranch which Terry owns has hundreds of feet of frontage on the Brazos River, which the Paleo Section members descended upon to look for fossils on the beach and in the river banks.

A great time was had by all. Unfortunately, only a few days later, this area suffered the loss of the lives of 8 students at Texas A&M in the bonfire tower collapse, only a few miles from where we were digging. We offer our prayers and consolation to the families of those students who were killed and for students and their families of those students who were hurt. A&M is a great national school and this is a great area. We are happy to have such a good dig site close and a good friend like W. Terry Stiles to share his Ranch with the Paleo. Section

P.S. At the November 16 meeting, Terry was made an Honorary Member of the Paleo Section, by unanimous vote of the Section at its meeting. His dues were paid for him and we have invited him to come visit us when he is able and to bring is grand collection to a Paleo meeting.

Contact: Terrell William "Terry" Proctor, J.D. c/o T. W. Proctor & Associates
630 Uvalde Road, Houston, Texas 77015-3766
Phone: 713) 453-8338 FAX (713) 453-3232 eMail: auraman@swbell.net
Other Websites: https://terryco.us and http://www.terrylaw.us.