Why is this Michigan treasure hunter finding clothing buttons at paper mills?

Recently, a post in the Facebook group Michigan History gained quite a bit of attention. The post was made by local treasure hunter, James Stottlemyer, who shared photos of a number of buttons he found at an old paper mill site. You can see a few of those buttons on his Instagram:

Confused by why buttons were being found at an old paper mill? You're not alone. Thankfully, Stottlemyer also shared a brief history of the early practices of paper mills. His post reads, in part,

Beginning in the late 1600’s in America, paper was made out of the pulp from old rags. Young women would go around and buy peoples old clothing to scrap to make into paper. The clothing was put through a shredder, boiled with chemicals, and rolled (or hand-screened in the earlier days) into sheets of paper.

Apparently, this was a practice until the Civil War when clothing shortages forced paper makers to find another solution. There's an incredibly detailed and extensive article about 'Paper Through Time' from Iowa University which you can read here.


Now, Stottlemyer is sharing his finds on his newly created Youtube channel. Watching it, you can tell how passionate he is about what he's digging for and what he's finding. In fact, I've never encountered a person with so much knowledge about buttons. You can see his entire video below:

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But, let's take a look at some of his most unique finds and the history behind them:

Michigan Treasure Hunter Uncovers Civil War Era Buttons at Old Paper Mill

Michigan treasure hunter, James Stottlemyer, has unearthed historical, civil war era buttons at an abandoned paper mill. Check out his coolest finds and the stories behind them...

Stottlemyer recently gained some attention after, incredibly, finding a piece of Battle Creek history by a dumpster in Detroit. Read more below:

Treasure hunting seems to be one of those things that calls to the inner child in all of us. Unfortunately, not all of us have the time or capability to answer that call. Thankfully, Mr. James Stottlemyer continues to share his finds for all of us to enjoy (without having to do all the digging). Follow along on his adventures on Instagram or Youtube.

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