|The bogus Brush Creek township stone tablet,|
watched over by J. F. Everhart, historian and huckster
The book's illustration (above) was made from a photograph of the stone taken by a Zanesville photographer, William T. Lewis. The second document Everhart included in the story, was the text of Lewis' sworn statement of March 16, 1880. Lewis stated he worked at the Smith Gallery, and had "between December 20, 1879, and January 10, 1880,...photographed for Dr. J. F. Everhart an engraved stone, said to have been exhumed from a mound in Brush Creek Township...." From this point on, Everhart painstakingly and pompously explained how he, and he alone, brilliantly translated the message of the Brush Creek hieroglyph (which appears to have a message akin to passages found in the Old Testament), to the cheers of the scientific community world-wide.
|Cardiff Giant being "exhumed", Cardiff, New York, 1869|
real, while the one in Cardiff, N.Y. was a fake. The phrase, "there's a sucker born every minute", came into being in response to news stories about the number of people willing to pay to see such obvious fabrications. (The sucker phrase has been wrongly attributed to P. T. Barum. In fact, David Hannum, who purchased the original fake Cardiff Giant from its creator, coined the phrase.)
Who was responsible for the Brush Creek hoax? A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch by Ohio History Connection archeaology curator Bradley Lepper says "Dr." J. F. Everhart himself was the culprit, concocting the story to boost the sale of an otherwise boring book. This fact came out because Everhart was not only a huckster, he was a bit of deadbeat. It seems, according to the article, Everhart didn't pay the excavators, and one of them sued him. During the court hearing, another workman "testified that he'd never been paid the $15 he'd been promised to carve the inscription on the slab and give it 'the appearance of ancient work'", giving added meaning to the word "chiseler".
Everhart, J. F. History of Muskingum County, Ohio with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers. [No place of publication given] J. F. Everhart & Co. 1882 [Note: Google J. F. Everhart, and you'll find no information. Goodreads lists the author as "Albert Adams Graham, J. F. Everhart". A google search for Albert Adams Graham revealed only that he was a Columbus publisher who spear-headed the formation of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society which is today known as the Ohio History Connection. Adams name, as author or publisher, appears nowhere in the front-matter of Everhart's book.]
Eschner, Kat. "The Cardiff Giant Was Just a Big Hoax"; article; Smithsonian.com/SmartNews;
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/cardiff-giant-was-just-big-hoax-180965274/. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
"Cardiff Giant"; article; Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Giant. Retrieved April 30, 2019
Lepper, Bradley. "Archaeology: Were Ancient Writings, Giants Pulled from Ohio Burial Mounds? Ummm, No"; article; The Columbus Dispatch; https://www.dispatch.com/news/20190127/archaeology-were-ancient-writings-giants-pulled-from-ohio-burial-mounds-ummm-no. Retrieved April 30, 2019.