Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Mason Robinson holds a WWI Civilization War Victory Medal which he found buried in his garden near McAndrews Road in Medford.
World War I Victory Medal found by Medford boy and his dog
With a little help from man’s best friend, 11-year-old Mason Robinson dug up a century-old war medal in the yard of his house east of Medford.
The find also unearthed a little-known history of the family home and provided fun lessons about the geology of the area, known before the 1960s as Buckshot Hill.
Mason and his dog found the World War I Victory Medal, adorned with a winged victory, the words “The Great War for Civilization” and 14 countries, while playing in his backyard.
Mason’s mother, Asia Robinson, posted on social media to collect clues and share the discovery.
“Mason brought this old little medal a few days ago. We washed it and I googled it using keywords/images on it. Come and find out that this is a World War I Civilization War Victory Medal. They were produced in 1914-1919.
An example of the reverse side of the First World War medal Mason Robinson and his dog, Stella, found in the backyard.
The medal was designed by James Earle Fraser under the Commission of Fine Arts. It was originally to be established by an act of Congress, but a bill authorizing the medal was never passed, leaving military departments to establish it through general orders instead.
The War Department issued orders in April 1919 and the Navy in June of that year.
The century-old piece of metal was found, Robinson said, when the Rottweiler family, Stella, aka “The Digger,” performed their weekly ritual of inspecting mole and gopher holes on the family property.
“At first I thought it was closer to our garden, but it was actually next to this big hole our Rottweiler must have dug,” she said. “When the moles come to the garden, she’ll put her nose in the hole and then she’ll start digging right next to it.
“I’m sure he was buried and she dug him up. We are in this garden all the time, every day, and we have never seen it before.
Robinson, who bought the property with her husband, Evan, in 2012, said she had fun looking at the coin and was in disbelief it might have been in the ground for more than a year. half century.
The area along McAndrews Road was known historically as Buckshot Hill, after the buckshot-sized pieces of gravel found throughout the area, according to Medford historian Ben Truwe. Before it was officially named McAndrews Road, the east-west lane near the foothills of Medford was nicknamed Buckshot Road.
A deed bearing the name LL Poutre shows a possible sale in 1943 to William L. and Louise E. Bruchman, but it is more likely that a member of the Poutre family lost the recently unearthed jewel.
An example of what the front of the coin looks like.
“Looks like they were made and distributed between 1914 and 1919. I had goosebumps when I remembered about a month and a half ago these people who stopped in our driveway and just looked at the house, told us they were the original owners of the land and the house was built before the 1920s,” she said.
“This lady was like she was in the late 80s or even 90s. Her story was that they moved there and built everything by hand and camped while the house was being built. … Her parents built the house and she is almost 90 years old.
Robinson, who cares for children with special needs, said the first owner did as well.
“The woman said her mother had taken care of disabled children, and that’s how the mother allowed the house to be built,” she said.
According to an article in the 7 December 1958 issue of the Mail Tribune, a woman named LL Beam ran a house nicknamed the Dollhouse, then located on Buckshot Road. The home was a residential facility, which prepared severely disabled children for eventual transfer to the now defunct Fairview Training Center, a disabled asylum with a dark past and steeped in history.
Most of the children would be under “social sponsorship” to cover the $85 per month.
In a March 11, 1954 article in the Mail Tribune, LL Beam wrote a letter to the editor describing, through the eyes of a baby in her care, the horrors of Fairview.
Robinson said it was interesting to learn about the history of her property and the connection to caring for children with special needs.
“When I moved in 12 years ago, I opened a home daycare. I did for a few years when I got pregnant with my last child, but I still have a special needs child that I take care of all week,” Robinson said.
Mason Robinson said it was just fun to find something “really old” on his family’s property and learn about the history of his home.
“When I first found it I thought it was like an old dollar coin or something until I washed it and saw all the the letters and the designs and the countries on it,” he said. “I hope we can return it to the owner or the owner’s family.”
Asia Robinson said she hoped recent visitors would hear about her discovery and return.
“When they passed, they told us that they would come back one day and bring us a book that they had written about the construction of the house and the depression that they had been through, and all the ancient trees that they had felled to build the house,” she said.
“We found a lot of random things around the house when we were renovating or working outside. When I was digging an area for my flower bed, we came across some awesome old Hot Wheels and other random stuff. which you could tell were from a long time ago. It’s nice to think of kids playing in the yard, and I wonder if some of them were from the kids who were at home,” she added.
“We all know how kids are going to pick up anything and take it outside and drop it off. I wonder if the medal was from the family camping on the property or if it was years later and one of the kids in the house was playing with it and took it outside and picked it up lost? We may never know for sure, but it’s fun to think about.
Contact freelance writer Buffy Pollock at [email protected]