Dobyns estimated that he had made more than 50,000 arrowheads over the previous 40 years. He was taught by James Billy of the Umatilla Indian tribe, who was the last of the tribe’s arrowhead makers. And Dobyns said there was one sure way to tell his arrowheads apart from those made by long-ago Native Americans:
“Mine are better.”
Dobyns plucked a palm-sized piece of obsidian from a group of stones collected at Glass Buttes near Burns and along the Paulina-East Lake Road in central Oregon. Cradling it in a leather pad in the palm of his left hand, Dobyns plied a sharpened 10-inch piece of deer antler with his right along the edge of the rock, chipping away pieces of the stone all along the outer edge. As his arrowhead began to take shape, he used smaller, finer antler pieces to make precision chips.
|Harold Dobyns displays some of his hand-made arrowheads and the tools he uses to make them on May 31, 1965. (EO file photo)|
And fakes are easy to spot, since they aren’t weathered, Dobyns said, but that’s not a sure-fire method of detecting phony arrowheads, since he could turn out a weathered-looking arrowhead using cold cream, certain chemicals and the oven in his kitchen.
It is a hazardous hobby, though. Dobyns related that he’d had two chips of rock lodged in his eyes, and his hands were covered with tiny scars caused by th razor-sharp flakes of stone. But he didn’t like to be idle, so the Pendleton man was pondering a return to the World’s Fair, where he would demonstrate the ancient art.
Author’s note: After publication of last week’s Vault column (“Gravestone confounds Pendleton gardener,” May 19, 2018), intrepid reader Caren Fowler did some investigation and found a Dee Freeman Horwitz, born April 25, 1886, who died Sept. 1, 1983, in Spokane, Wash., at the age of 96.
Further investigation into Ms. Horwitz on Ancestry.com found she was born in Missouri and married at least four times: first to Mr. Horwitz, whose information was not found; second to Charles E. Lewis of Stanfield on June 20, 1928, at age 42; third to Peter Van Dyke of Pullman, Wash., on April 10, 1939 at age 52; and for the fourth time to Charles Summers of Tulare, Calif., on Dec. 5, 1952, at age 66.