DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
KINGSLAND — When Rocky Moorhead was about 12 years old, he would hunt arrowheads on his grandfather’s ranch. As Moorhead combed the fields, he discovered something that would take him far beyond those East Texas lands.
“That’s where I got interested in rocks,” he said. “It was something as simple as going out and finding arrowheads. But, I never got over it.”
No, Moorhead never did. If fact, that early interest in rocks and arrowheads grew into a hobby and a business of not only hunting for geological pieces but also history.
Moorhead, 83, has searched for gold, precious minerals and gems as well as “relics” across the country. As he walks around his Kingsland store, Treasure Hunters Supply and Rock Shop, Moorhead shows off his collection. On the wall, visitors can look over the numerous antiques and relics he has found over the years.
Despite his eight decades, Moorhead can recall a bit of history of each piece.
Lining the shelves high above the shop floor, Moorhead displays bottles, telephone-pole insulators and other pieces of glass. He pointed at a couple of bluish- and purplish-tinted bottles.
“Usually, you can tell if a bottle is from before 1915 or around that time if it turns blue after being out in the sun,” he said. “It does that because the sand they used to make those bottles had manganese in it.”
Nothing beats experience and knowledge when it come to treasure hunting, whether it’s sluicing the Llano River for gold or looking for relics or other valuables with a metal detector. And it’s a good bet Moorhead has probably hunted it.
“You just never know what you’re going to find next,” he said. “It’s the thrill of finding things.”
In 1965, Moorhead opened up Treasure Hunters Supply and Rock Shop in Texas City. In November, he relocated the shop to its current location, 1060 RR 3404 (Slab Road) in Kingsland. He’s open 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Inside the shop, people can find just about everything they need to get started in treasure hunting or upgrade their equipment if they’ve been doing it for years. He offers a full line of metal detectors (from the basic to the more advanced) as well as sluicing supplies, pans and lapidary equipment.
While most people thing about Alaska or the Western states when it comes to gold hunting, Moorhead said the Llano River and Big Sandy Creek are considered two of the best panning locations in Texas. Of course, he pointed out, it’s not quite the caliber of some rivers in Alaska or California, but it offers folks a good place to do a bit of local panning.
If panning or gold hunting isn’t on your list, you might want to explore relic or treasure hunting. And a good metal detector gives you a chance to “discover” things where people have gathered.
“Anytime or any place people gathered or had some event, there’s a good chance they left things behind or lost them,” Moorhead said. “Sometimes, you could find something that’s a piece of history or it could be as simple as a watch somebody lost. That’s just the wonderful thing about this, you never know what you might find.”
One of the greatest things about treasure hunting, Moorhead said, is it’s a great family activity.
“Anybody really can do it,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what age. Look at me, I’m still doing it. And it’s something kids really get excited about, especially after they’ve found a few things.”
Who knows, those few coins you and your child find while searching a beach could trigger a lifelong love for history, geology and, yes, even treasure hunting.
Call Moorehead at (325) 388-9992 for more information.