Lost and Found

Hiram de Witt, of this town, who has recently returned from California, brought with him a piece of the auriferous quartz rock, of about the size of a man’s fist. On thanksgiving day it was brought out for exhibition to a friend, when it accidentally dropped on the floor, and split open. Near the centre of the mass was discovered, firmly embedded in the quartz, and slightly corroded, a cut-iron nail of the size of a sixpenny nail. It was entirely straight, and had a perfect head. By whom was that nail made? At what period was it planted in the yet uncrystallized quartz? How came it in California? If the head of that nail could talk, we should know something more of American history than we are ever likely to know.

— “Springfield (U.S.) Republican,” quoted in The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star, March 1, 1852