Real Pioneers…

Recently Butch Holcombe, publisher of The American Digger magazine, mentioned my website, and also went on to say that  I was one of the true pioneers in the hobby. While I appreciate that kind comment, I must take umbrage to it. I am most certainly not a pioneer. I didn’t blaze any  trails, nor did I ever enter into unknown territories. I will accept the term “oldtimer” or “old fart”, but not pioneer.

I got to thinking about who are the real pioneers in this great pastime, and started jotting down names. I hesitate to share them only because I will surely leave a few  out. Let me know your thoughts on this, and tell me who I left out, and who “inspired” you most early on.

Then again maybe pioneer is not the word to use here…. Perhaps hero, inspiration, teacher or mentor might be a better choice? I also could have added a  lot of great people involved in the manufacturing arena, but tried to keep to those who really did it “in the field” (and yes John Howland, I know you did it in the field quite a few times, but I am talking about something entirely different).

A few names that came to mind…..

Charles Garrett, Richard Ray, Abe Lincoln, Hardrock Hendricks, Karl von Mueller, Glenn Carson, George Mroczkowski, Ken White, Sr., Roy Lagal, A. M. Van Fossen,  A.T. Evans, Bob Marx, Roy Volker, Rocky LeGaye, Jimmy Sierra, Ray Smith, Bill Mahan, Ernie Curlee, Ty Brook, Jack and Eleanor Hube, Betty Weeks,  Lucile Bowen, Paul Tainter and Michael Paul Henson, Mel Fisher and Karl Fismer.

Karl von Mueller and some bald guy….

I’ve read about these people, their adventures, and was privileged to meet most of them. Fascinating individuals and true pioneers….

Here again, I know I am forgetting a few others, and hope you will help add to this list, if not for any other reason, than for the fun of it. You can email me at, or you can enter a comment here on my blog……



Larry Bateham emailed me the other day and shared the following…”Just wanted let everyone know what’s happening. I go back to work on August 1st with no  restrictions.  I am taking preventative chemotherapy for a while, but only 1 day a week with 2 drugs. Everything is still good, no signs it has gone anywhere. This is just to increase  the odds of nothing else happening. Had my first treatment yesterday, and I feel fine so hopefully it will continue with no problems.”

Terrific news Larry, stay in touch. You have a lot of friends in this pastime who care….



Found this artilce and found it rather amusing. What a shame. Cannot imagine the tension, the feedback, the guilt and the sense of loss…..

Cognac Shattered by Customer



Filed under Metal Detecting

4 responses to “Real Pioneers…

  1. Joe

    Do you have an Van Fossen Stories??…I consider him one of my mentors…I use to go visit him in his downtown Houston shop to shoot the bull…and many times he shut down his shop just to go Treasure Hunting with me……I miss him….Joe

    • Joe, I am sorry I do not. I met Van a few times, usually at shows or hunts here in Texas. Was always impressed with this finds and stories. Maybe someone else can help with a story or two here.

  2. Larry "Packrat" Bateham

    Of all the names you mentioned I heard of them all and met many of them The 2 I was closest to were Betty Weeks and Lucy Bowen Bought my first detector from Lucy in 1971 and Betty will always be my Treaasure Hunting Mom Worked with her on many hunts and she taught me alot about helping other hunters

  3. Thanks Larry, two great gals for sure. Someone suggested one more to add to the list…..Indiana Jones!

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