Collecting Fossil Plants and Animals
in the Pennsylvanian Deposits of the Will County, Illinois Coal Measures
The Field Notes of George Langford, Sr. in the Years 1937-1960.
Prepared and organized by George Langford, Jr., 1973.
Copyright George Langford, III, 2010
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Braidwood Coal Company Mines
We made a visit to this place in the  Fall of 1937 but did not do very well.  It is quite a large area and we thought that the spot in which we collected was characteristic of the place as a whole.  We found many nodules, but they were all shale, much weathered, and containing only a few common forms, characterized by Ptychocarpus unitus, Asterotheca miltoni, Annularia radiata, and some Odontopteris.  The nodules split very easily.  We soon tired of what we found.

But before the Summer of 1938 we had become thoroughly acquainted with the spottiness of all our collecting sites.  One restricted spot would yield good things, and adjoining spots would give us very little.  We had learned too by this time, to a considerable extent from the outward appearance of the nodules, just which ones would be most likely to produce something worthwhile, and which ones would not.  We always gave all kinds a tryout, but in general learned to avoid the black or brown nodules, rusty and rough ones, and those that lacked symmetry.  When there was much claystone or sandstone, we did not do so well, but where there were smooth, symmetrical nodules and much light, blue clay, we went over everything with great care.

In July 1938 we went in [by] the Truck Road to Locality No. 20 on the Truck Road where we were about halfway between the Braidwood Coal Company Tipple (north) and where the cranes were working (south).  The entrance to this area bore "No Trespassing" signs, and we had no sooner parked and [started] looking over things, when the superintendent appeared and wanted to know our business there.  We satisfied him and were welcome from then on.  He directed me to where the cranes were working, and we went there but found only black nodules, which when split, proved to be of the bomb variety and the plants poorly preserved.  So we went back to where we had first stopped and did so well the first time, that we were convinced that we had come upon a choice collecting locality.  There was much blue clay and many smooth, symmetrical nodules.  Many of the latter were big ones, a kind we were very anxious to find.  As usual, most of the big ones we found contained "wood," that is, parts of tree limbs without any definite exterior pattern.  But occasionally one of them contained something good, generally a large frond.  We considered a nodule big when it was as large as a man's hand.  We found some very big; that is, as large as a man's foot.  Not a few were shaped like the sole of a man's stockinged foot and nearly as large.  Up to this time our largest nodule was foot-shaped and eleven and five-eighths inches long; weight eight pounds.  It was a chain of Annularia stellata sprays, found by George Jr. on Locality No. 3.

The collecting was good in Locality No. 20, so we made a number of visits there.  We could park our car close to the place, and this helped a lot in the very hot weather.  It was boiling hot on those clay heaps with the hot sun scorching us, and at noon we were very glad to get back to our car, where we could sit in the car, relatively cool and comfortable, eating our lunch of coffee, bananas, sweet crackers, and of course plenty of cool water.  This was a working diet that agreed with us perfectly.  On the return trip we generally stopped in Joliet about 4:00PM to 5:00PM to have lots of cool water and a fat malted milk.
[unsigned, but in the handwriting of] George Langford, Sr.