My Momma and I decided to walk the trail at Maxey Marsh yesterday. It was drizzling some rain then the sun popped out. The fall colors were glowing. It was gorgeous. We drove the roads at the newly opened area of the Sycamore Land Trust. My Momma had not been out there for years, since it had been the old curvy Massey Road. We talked about the man who had all of the old cars in sheds and truck beds that Dad used to trade with. I wanted to share the photos of our outing.
From the Sycamore Land Trust Page: The Columbia Mine Preserve is now open for public use and enjoyment! Visitors are welcome to engage in passive recreational uses, including hiking, bird-watching, and photography. A Grand Opening Ceremony will be held on November 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm.
My friend Amber hosts a blog with nature photos taken around here. Check it out at : http://www.pikecountywilds.com/index.html
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have been breaking record after record for the heat hereabouts. We had a ten day stretch of over 100 degrees. Now the humidity is setting in and the 100 degree days seem so much hotter.
The last week, rain showers have been hitting and missing us. Today we had rain in Winslow and they didn’t out on Number Seven Road. But now it is like a sauna out there. It was good for the plants and cooled the house roof off though.
This was the outside temperature on my way to work one of the days.
The grass in the yard crackles under our feet.
These cactus are flourishing 🙂
Crabgrass never dies. It is thriving and stealing the water I give my roses.
I am not sure what this plant is. It showed up this year all around the edges of my sidewalks. Some kind of succulent weed? Or did someone plant it?
Most corn is lost in the fields. Just brown and a few feet tall with no ears. This field on Number Seven Road by the old Rogers place is looking pretty good.
A brush fire started over on Highway 64 near the Line Road. It burnt 620 something acres between the Highway and the Number Seven Road, and between the Line Road and the H Pit Road. It was way too close to our little Patoka Grove Church for comfort. Thanks to the firefighters it was brought under control before it damaged any homes.
Snakey Point is drying up.
In some places north of us the Patoka River is pretty low. It is spring fed around here.
Mold is growing on the houses and roofs. I can’t wait till fall to wash it off.
The tomatoes are practically stewing on the vine.
Pray for rain and cooler temperatures.
Pioneer History of Indiana by William Monroe Cockrum 1907
Pages 177 through 180 of 638 pages
Data of the recapture of three Kentucky women from the Indians in what is now Pike County, Indiana, was furnished the author in 1855 by William Leathers, son-in-law of John Severns. The story is as follows:
In 1795 John Severns was on White river hunting, when he met two Indian trappers one of whom he had known intimately during his captivity among the Indians. They had been in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company, of Canada, for several years but had come south to do a little trapping on their own account and had a large number of traps with them, mostly for beaver. Severns told them of the many beaver and beaver dams along the Patoka river and its tributaries.*
After talking the matter over the Indians agreed that they would hunt bear for awhile and put in the late fall and winter trapping for beaver, all of which was carried out. From the start the three men bad all they could do to keep their traps set and care for their peltry. The intention of the trappers was to stay a few days in the neighborhood, catch all they could and then go on farther. In this way they thought they could go over the best trapping territory during the winter. The weather had become pretty cool and the trappers had made their camp against a bluff bank of the river where a thick vein of coal was cropping out. They built their fires against the coal and had a good one. This camp as the river runs was from 35 to 40 miles from Mr. Severns’ home. They had been there several days and had become pretty well acquainted with the surrounding country when one morning as they lay in their comfortable quarters a little before day they were startled by the firing of several guns not far away. They would have thought it was Indians shooting at a bear or a gang of wolves prowling around their camp had it not been for the loud hallooing and the screaming of a child or a woman, that continued for some time. The trappers hastily put out the fire and got into a position to defend themselves. In a short time daylight came and Severns and one of the Indians determined to reconnoiter near their camp. On going up the river some distance they heard talking and were satisfied that it was white people. The Indians slipped away and went back to camp while Severns went in the direction of the talking and soon saw several men and women sitting around a fire. One man, who was on the lookout, saw Severns and seeing that he was a white man, called to him and when he got to the party he saw seven of the hardiest type of Kentucky backwoodsmen and three women. One of the men was wounded by a ball through the top of the shoulder. The women’s clothing was badly torn and their feet almost bare. They looked weary and careworn and the stop had been made to make some covering for their feet so they could travel, but they were very short of suitable material. Severns told them that if they would wait until he could go to his camp, less than a mile away, he would provide them with all the material they needed. The proposition was gladly accepted and he soon returned with the saddle of a deer and a dressed buck skin. While he was at camp he advised the Indians to keep close as he did not know much about the people, only that they had recaptured three white women from the Indians and had killed several of the latter and that he might go a little way with them to find out what he could. The moccasins were soon mended and the party started on the long return trip. Severns went with them for a few miles and learned that they lived in central Kentucky and that nearly all of the men of their settlement had gone to a salt spring to make salt. While they were absent six Indians attacked two houses and captured the three women. A boy not far from one of the houses saw the Indians and ran to two men building a cabin and gave the alarm and then all the other families ran to the fort not far away. A runner was sent after the men at the salt spring but it was nearly two days before they could get back and start after the Indians. After that they followed them on the run as they knew the Indians would make haste to get back over the Ohio river. When the Kentuckians had crossed the river they had no trouble in following the trail because most of the way they were on a trace that crossed at the ford where Severns found them. “Last night about eleven o’clock,” one of the men told Severns “our out runner came back to the party just after we had retired for the night and told us that he had seen a little glimmer of fire about a half mile ahead. Two of our men went back with him and in about an hour one of them came back and said they had located the Indians and that they were all asleep except one who was guarding the prisoners and that as well as they could count them as they lay, there were six Indians and the three women, and that their camp was at the foot of a bluff. He left the other two on a hill about a hundred yards from the Indians. There was a small valley between them and they had a clear view of the camp. The rest of us went to the hill and after a whispered council decided to deploy out so as to reach the camp from the south and east sides and as soon as we could get near enough, to charge the Indians and kill them before they could defend themselves. The men who are husbands of two of the women were to look after them. In creeping up we found the little valley covered an inch or two deep with water from a gushing spring near the Indians’ camp which greatly delayed our attack and it was nearly five o’clock when we rushed on them, killing four before they could use their guns. The one left on guard shot one of our men in the shoulder and he and another one got away, the guard with a broken arm.”
After hearing his story, Mr. Severns wished them a safe journey and returned to camp. That afternoon the three trappers went to the battle ground and found four dead Indians which they placed in a large hole made by the uprooting of a tree that had blown down, piling brush, dirt and rocks on them. The Indians were greatly alarmed and Mr. Severns could not induce them to stay longer, so they went down the river to Severns’ home and then took their traps and went north.
The only certain location of this battle ground is the Patoka river and Severns’ home but the distance and outcropping of the coal makes it certain to my mind that it was Massey’s Bridge where the trappers’ camp was and that the Kentuckians crossed at Martin’s Ford about a mile up the river from the bridge and the place where the battle was fought and the women rescued was at Martin Springs. The hill the men laid on when planning to charge on the Indians, was I believe, where the Martin cemetery is now located.
Author’s Note. I have heard hunters say that there was no place in the western country where there had been more beaver than on the Patoka river and that many had been caught as late as 1835. To this day the signs of their industry are to be seen in many places.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I found this postcard in a box of old stuff from an estate sale several years back. It is postmarked from Stendal . It looks like the boys are maybe stonecutting. It appears many a stone had already been cut from the old stone walls. There is no year on the postmark, but others in the box were from the late 1890s to the 1910’s.
I don’t remember being interested in structured history class growing up. I do remember being interested in Indiana History though. When we started reading about the Underground railroad and Col. Cockrum and runaway slaves at Snakey Point, I started paying attention. That was part of my old stomping grounds. Speed Erwin’s school bus stopped shy of it every morning when we picked up the Boyd kids. In fact, I bought a copy of the very same history book we used at a library sale one summer. It has Renee Woods and Sheila Barrett’s names in it. They were both friends and in my class at school. I remember learning about the old Yellow Banks Trace which ran through Winslow. My Grandpa called it the Old Winslow Stendal Road. There was an East Yellow Banks Trace and a West Yellow Banks Trace and they both met at a point on the River near Winslow now called McCords Ford.