A third type of writing implement is also represented in the Williams farmstead assemblage by modified carbon battery cores. These are hard carbon rods from dry-cell batteries that were removed and sharpened on the ends. These carbon rods would have been used as pencils to leave black marks on hard surfaces such as sheet metal and limestone rocks.
Historical evidence indicates that Ransom and Sarah, both former slaves, were illiterate. But the abundance of writing implements indicates that they felt it was important for their children to learn to read and write.