Columnists
Want to learn how to make arrowheads?
By Wilford House
Jan 11, 2020
Print this page
Email this article

I moved back to the Bonham area in early 2019. I was born in Arkansas, but grew up in Fannin County. We had gone to West Texas several times to make money to live on during the great depression, and in 1939, instead of returning to Arkansas, we stopped in Whitewright, and Dad found a farm to sharecrop. The area was, as I have heard over the years, "covered with Indian arrowheads." 

And the area was indeed rife with artifacts. After almost every rain we could walk along the "wash" areas and find several arrowheads, musket balls and mini-balls. As a six year old, I thought that they could be found anywhere since they were so abundant. Such was not the case however.

As I would sometimes carry one of my finds to school to show one of my classmates, they would look for something to trade, so they could have a "real Indian arrowhead" and there were none on their farm.

I began to have an interest in how the arrowheads were made and used, how the arrows were made, and other aspects of Native American technology. Of course I was able to find out loads of information, from my friends and classmates. Alas, when I was 42 years old I found that not everything I learned as a nine-year-old was valid truth.

As a matter of fact, EVERYTHING I had priviously "knew" to be true, was incorrect. That reall got me to thinking about Indian artifacts, and their technology.

When I would return to the area to visit relatives, I would naturally run across school chums, and I would relate to them how the knowledge we had as a nine-year-old was wrong, the conversation would look something like this:

"Billy, you know how we were taught that the Indians made arrowheads, well they did not make them that way."

"They didn't, how did they make them?"

"They would take a rock, and then get a bigger rock and knock flakes off until they had an arrowhead."

"Really! Show me."

I would pick up a rock, then a bigger rock and try to duplicate what I had seen done. When I would finally give up I would say something like, "Well, I can't do it, but thats how they did it."

His reply would be something like: "Yeah, sure."

Then I would be forced to try to convince them, of course without avail. I finally decided that I must learn to make them the way I saw it done, not how I was told it was done.

I got me a book on the subject. Of course anyone can learn anything from a book. Wrong. For one solid year I tried to use the book to make an arrowhead. In that year I did not make a single thing that resembled an arrowhead enough to claim that it was my first and keep it.

About a month after I had given up the idea of making one "by the book," I learned of a commemorative area, founded on the site of a Mississippian culture campsite that taught a seminar once a year on how to make them. I signed up, and about 3 o'clock on Saturday I made my first point. I still have it. It is not pretty, but nonetheless a "keeper."

Over the years I have made hundreds of points, and taught a large number of people to make them as well. Obviously, when I got back to Fannin County I thought I would find a group of like-minded individuals with whom to share my hobby. So far the nearest group I can find is in the Paris, Texas area.

Is there simply no interest in the art of flintknapping, or is it just that there is no one around to help folks get started? My name is Wilford House and  I am willing to help folks that have an interest, or would like to have an interest. My phone number is : 318-230-6830.