Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




In the mid-1950s, Sam Whiteside conducted excavations at the Henry Chapman site, his site P-5 (41SM56), on Prairie Creek in eastern Smith County, Texas, some 18 miles east of Tyler, Texas. Mr. Whiteside was an amateur archaeologist who discovered and explored numerous sites up and down Prairie Creek as well as other important sites in Smith and adjoining counties. The Chapman site was one of the first sites to be investigated by Mr. Whiteside, and the major part of the work took place there in 1957 and 1958.

In August 1957, the site was visited by Edward B. Jelks and Leroy Johnson, who viewed the excavations and examined artifacts collected from there. Mr. Jelks, in notes on record at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas, on August 21, 1958, indicated after observing the artifacts from the Henry Chapman site that the ceramics indicated an Alto focus occupation. He recognized Hickory Engraved and Holly Fine Engraved wares as well as Dunkin Incised and possible Pennington Punctated-Incised sherds. He mentioned that no Crockett Curvilinear Incised or Weches Fingernail Impressed sherds were present (two common types present at the Alto focus type site, the George C. Davis site [41CE19]). E. Mott Davis also visited the site in late 1957, and in February 1959, Davis, Lathel F. Duffield, and William A. Davis collected skeletal material from the site. In a June 15, 1958, newsletter from the East Texas Archeological Society (ETAS), Mr. Whiteside described excavations at the Henry Chapman site that had revealed refuse pits, post holes, and an abundance of pottery sherds indicative of an Alto focus occupation.

In the summer of 1983, Mr. Whiteside visited the University of Texas Field School at the George C. Davis site, where he loaned some of his notes and collections from the Chapman site for recording purposes (these are on file at TARL).

After Mr. Whiteside’s death, his family graciously allowed me access to his notes and artifacts. Not all of the artifacts have survived, having been stored in paper bags and subjected to several moves, but thanks to Mr. Whiteside’s writing lot numbers on artifacts and listing them in a journal, a majority of them have survived, and thus are suitable for study. Although 50 years have passed since Mr. Whiteside’s work at the Henry Chapman site, it is my intent to now make that work public.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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