Annual Antique Tractor Drive

This year on Saturday, September 22, the 5th Annual Antique Tractor Drive meandered through a lot of Patoka Township and my old stomping grounds.  For those of you not familiar with the group, each year they take their old tractors and do a drive through some historic parts of Pike County.  This year about thirty six drivers participated and three wagon loads of  onlookers rode along after meeting up at The Trading Post about 10 am.  I had to work and was unable to ride so Sherry Lamey shared the information and Terenda Wyant shared her photos with me for this post.

For this blog, I’m not going to use the road numbers now assigned but the names we always called them (and still do most times!).

Meeting up at the Trading Post.

The group started out down Hathaway Station Road to wind up at Ashby Cemetery as their first stop.  Ashby Cemetery sitting out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by land that is now coal mined was once a thriving little community.

Ashby was named after the family members of Benjamin and Margaret (Burdett) Ashby from Hampshire County, Virginia who settled there soon after they were married in 1813 after temporarily residing at White Oak Springs.  Their graves are located in Ashby Cemetery.  Benjamin died in 1881, Margaret in 1860.   Thomas English, a native of Vermont, taught in the pay schools  of Pike County.  His first school of this kind was in the Ashby neighborhood in the year of 1844.  Benjamin’s sons and grandsons became large landowners in the area and successful businessmen.  If I remember correctly the little Ashby Church was burned during an act of vandalism several years ago.  

Tractor drive

They then drove over to Scottsburg Road to wind up at New Liberty Church and Cemetery near Coe.

 Coe used to be called Arcadia and was laid off in 1869 by Simeon LeMasters.  I don’t know much about the history of this church and cemetery.  If anyone does, tell me about it in the comment section below.

Old Barns on the drive

Next they went across the road through the old South Fork areas and wound up on the Line Road.

 It is the Meridian used for old grid mapping systems that divided the county into the North and South sections, now it’s called Meridian instead of the Line Road.  Division Road divided the East and West.  Many of Pike County’s early settlers settled along the Line Road.  It runs through what is now the Patoka National Wildlife Refuge.


Patoka Grove Church was their next stop.    Other friends and neighbors joined them there for a dutch treat lunch by the Pike County Young Farmers in the churchyard.  Some guitar music, singing and fiddling was provided by Norb Wehr and Freddie Hopf from Dubois County and enjoyed by all.   You can read more about the history of Patoka Grove Church on this past blog post.

Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery

Stopping at Patoka Grove Church and Williams Cemetery on the route.

Pike County Young Farmers lunch in the churchyard.

Picking and fiddling at Patoka Grove Church.

The group left Patoka Grove Church and wound their way down to Snakey Point.  You can read more about the history of Snakey Point on this past blog post.

Snakey Point and the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge

The group then wound around on the old Winslow Oakland City Road, the one used before the Highway 64 was built and where the old community of Ingleton was located.  Like other old areas named for the families that lived there, some may have heard it called Whitman and Wiggs.  We’ll just say they wound around and came back up H Pit Road and stopped at the church again for a pit stop before heading back down # 7 Road to Muren Road and the old coal mining community of Muren.

In Muren they went past the old coal mine houses, one of which is featured at the top of my blog.  For more about Muren read these past blog posts.

A Winslow Auction and A Muren Reunion

My Grandma and the Early Years at Muren and Turkey Hill

Muren 2010 and 1965

Then they turned onto Ayrshire Road and went through the bottoms and around Kitchen Corners to the old Ingle Barn where only the silo stands today.  The Meyers family owns it now and has done a wonderful job of keeping it cleaned up and retaining some of it’s history.  They had their dad, Ab Meyers old tractor sitting there for the drive.  The house across the road is the one that David Ingle gave to his black butler and family and they became caretakers of the barns and property.

The silo of the old Ingle Barn remains.

They then turned into Logtown and rode past the remains of the old coke ovens down by the railroad tracks across from where the old Ayrshire store was.  The old beehive ovens are built in a row, double with ovens on the front and back.  For more history of Logtown see this blog post.


After leaving Logtown they drove back down Ayrshire Road and over to where they started at the Trading Post.

Jim Capozella followed along in his truck to serve as aid if needed by anyone.

Ms. Burns of the Pike Central Digital Design and Visual Communications department came out and did the interviews with the drivers.  Their group helps put together the dvds.

DVDs are for sale of the historic tractor drives.  Not only is it the scenery, but inserted are interviews with folks telling of the history of these places.   If interested, let me know and I will try to put you in touch with the right person to order a copy.


Snakey Point and The Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge

Snakey Point is a part of The Patoka River Wildlife Refuge located in Patoka Township, near the Gibson County line.  Established in 1994 as Indiana’s second national wildlife refuge, the refuge currently contains 6,149 acres. Its proposed boundary stretches for 20 miles .   When completed, the refuge will cover 22,472 acres including 7,000 acres of rare bottomland forested wetlands.

Snakey Point Marsh at Sunset

The Pike County side of Snakey Point or the Big Pond as it used to be called is located on what is now CR 350 E.  Or if you are from around here, you may know it as No. 7 Road, prior to that it was called the Old Wagon Road.  If you are like us, we just call it the back road to Oakland City.

Boat Ramp at Snakey Point

In the early 1850’s, Col. James W. Cockrum operated an Underground Railroad way station in his barn cellar in Oakland City for runaway slaves coming out of Kentucky. Col. William Cockrum, James’ son, wrote about their experiences: “If slave hunters showed up, the slaves were moved from harm and safely hidden in the thick brush and tall grass [cattails] in what was then known as the Big Pond, about two miles east of Oakland City.”  Slaves were then moved on into Winslow to George Dean’s or to Petersburg .

Snakey Point Marsh was actively farmed from the early 1900’s up until the 1930’s. The Snakey Point name was first used in the 1850’s. Naturalist John T. Hanover was bitten while capturing a venomous snake presumed to be a water moccasin. This occurred near a high bank on the north end of the marsh near what is now known as the Indiana Southern Railroad. No venomous snakes are now known to occur in Snakey Point Marsh. Midland water snakes, rat snakes, black racers, or the threatened copperbelly water snake may be found around the marsh and all are non-venomous.

Family Fishing on the Line Road 1980s

The Patoka River NWR is recognized as an important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, and is home to 380 species of wildlife. The river valley is home to at least 20 plant species and 62 animal species considered as threatened, endangered or of special concern by the state of Indiana. Twenty-one species found here are on Audubon’s WatchList of birds in decline.

Several years back in the early 2000s, my brother called me and told me to bring some binoculars and meet him at Snakey Point.  It was the first year a bald eagle nested there.  The nest was directly across the marsh from the road.  It looked like a small car stuck in a tree it was so huge.  The kids and I stood there for a while on the side of the road watching.  You could see their heads moving around in the nest.  Finally one flew out and glided over the water to pick up a fish.   It was one of the most memorable things I have ever seen.   The kids will never forget it either.  The eagles have more recently nested around the bend where you can not see their nests from the road.

Moon Rising over Slough next to the Line Road Bridge

 The sloughs of the old river before the dredging have been favorite fishing holes of my brothers for years.  Along the Line Road, the old iron bridge has been replaced with a nondescript bridge.  Next to the bridge is the old slough that will take you back to the Old Bluff.  The Old Bluff was at the end of the Aberdeen Road.  Before the area was mined a second and third time, we would hike that road from Aberdeen to the River Bluff.  We have found some arrowheads and a broken axe head there.

Old Line Road Bridge

New Line Road Bridge

 Beaver, otter, ducks, geese, herons , deer, muskrats, snakes and birds are just some of the critters that are common sights in the area.  Snakey Point is open to the public for hunting, fishing, and bird watching.   And it is just a nice drive to take in the evenings when the sun is setting.  Turn left and drive back through the old Winslow Road and the old area where Ingleton was located, if it isn’t under water.  The beaver have expanded the wetlands extensively in the area.

Old WInslow Road, Ingleton Side of Marsh

Old Bridge on Old Winslow Road, Ingleton Side of Marsh

According to the Gibson and Pike Counties 2005 Fish Management Report, a total of 553 fish were found here, representing 19 species, was sampled that weighed an estimated 259.87 lbs. Bluegill ranked first by number followed by gizzard shad, redear sunfish, and largemouth bass. Bowfin ranked first by weight followed by gizzard shad, shortnose gar, largemouth bass, and common carp. Other nongame species sampled were 14 spotted gar, 12 warmouth, 12 orange spotted sunfish, 5 brown bullhead, 5 brook silverside, 3 yellow bullhead, 2 longear sunfish, 1 silver carp, 1 smallmouth buffalo, and 1 golden shiner.

 It may be in the middle of nowhere and may be often overlooked by us that have grown up around it.  I’ve heard it said that it has been featured on television fishing shows and that Kenny Chesney found the fishing good there.  Sometimes the best things in life truly are in our own backyards.

I have a friend, Kaye Walker, whose family were the Davis and Drew families from the Muren area.  She recently took some fantastic nature photos of Snakey Point that I would like to share with everyone by adding them to my post.  Thanks for allowing us to view your photos Kaye!

Elderberry at Snakey Point

Tiger Lily at Snakey Point

Wildflowers in the Wetlands

Wildflowers in the Wetlands

Snakey Point




Snakey Point Dam

Snakey Point Dam

Snakey Point

Field in Wetlands

Ducks swimming down the Patoka River at the Line Road