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.

Wetlands

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.

Logtown

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.

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A Winslow Auction and A Muren Reunion

This past weekend my mother and I found some pleasant diversions in Winslow, an auction and a reunion.

We spent the morning hours at an estate sale on Porter Street.  One of my Grandma’s former neighbors, Eva McCord, recently passed away.  Her home was on an immense hill next to the grade school.  When we were children and played Red Rover on that slope,  she would come outside and yell at us to get off of her property.  She was quite eccentric and regularly dug through the school’s trash dumpsters.

I, the lover of old paper that I am, found a few things to drag home that I think Miss McCord had drug home from a trash bin somewhere.  In fact, I am sure that the old Bibles I purchased were a dump rescue because Miss McCord had written a note and placed it inside of them, “I found these Bibles at the dump when there was open dump & they are Grandma and Grandpa McCord’s bibles.  Writen by Eva McCord”.  I remember open dump on Cato Road in the 60s.  People placed the good stuff on the edges and others could take it.  I don’t know what I will do with the Bibles, try to return them to some family members, or put them on Ebay to see if I can find the family members.  There was family at the auction, but they obviously didn’t want such a fantastic treasure.  I would give anything to be reunited an old family bible from one of my ancestors,  but that is just me.

There is also an old book, which she had covered the pages of  in scrapbook fashion with clippings and articles all related to Prohibition.  She cared deeply about the Temperance Movement.  There are also little radio talk show books by Sam Morris, “The Voice of Temperance”.  I am especially fond of “The Female Bar Fly”.  The really sad part of that sexist story is that it is a tad bit prophetic.

Me at our house in Muren, the little house in the background is where my parents lived with I was born in 1960.

Me at our house in Muren, the little house in the background is where my parents lived when I was born in 1960.

Later in the afternoon, we attended the Muren reunion held at the Winslow Community Center.  There were a number of Sharps, Barretts, Bolins, McCandless, Youngs, Reeds, Brewsters and other in attendance that grew up in Muren.  My mother had a fine time visiting with everyone, some of whom she hadn’t seen for probably close to 50 years.  There was good food, old pictures and congenial company.

Muren General Store in the early 1900s.  William R. Berlin is man in the middle in white shirt.   Link to jwww.jddedman.com

Muren General Store in the early 1900s. William R. Berlin is man in the middle in white shirt. Link to http://www.jddedman.com

I don’t believe there was an inch of Muren that we did not explore as kids growing up there.   We picked wild asparagus in the spring and cracked black walnuts from Grandma’s trees in the fall.

John and Allie Young of Muren.  Family of and submitted by David Young, Colorado

John and Allie Young of Muren. Family of and submitted by David Young, Colorado

We learned to swim in Muren Pit.   I can still remember the anticipation of driving down that old dirt road with the sandstone highwalls, walking down that narrow washout path, and  my mother warning us not to go out too far because of the drop offs.  My dad would hover at the drop off point so none of us could drown.  For those of you  not growing up swimming in the strip pits, the drop off is where the shovel dug deeper, it gets deep very fast and is nearly bottomless.

Remaining Portland Cement Mine Company house built in early 1900s in Muren.  2007

Remaining Portland Cement Mine Company house built in early 1900s in Muren. 2007

 

J.C. Muren was the man that Muren was named after.  In the late 1800’s Muren was called Carbon,named after the Carbon Coal Mine operating in the area.  In 1890, Carbon had it’s first post office.  Being that there was already a town and post office in Indiana named Carbon, the  village had to choose a new name and became known as Sophia.   Sophia was the wife of Alex Wiggs and the postmistress.  Her husband also ran the company store where the post office was located.  In the early 1900s it became Muren, named after the underground mine operating in the village from 1904 to 1921.  The post office was replaced by a mail carrier early on.  The first mail carrier was George Pirkle.  In the summers he drove a buggy with one horse, but during winter and rainy season he used two horses.  When the roads became impassable, he unhitched the wagon and rode horseback.  By 1900, Muren had many stores, a hotel, a school, a church and a train depot.

My great uncle, Wesley Bolin, Great Grandfather, Aaron Bolin and friend, Tuffy Wade in Muren in the 1920s.

My great uncle, Wesley Bolin, Great Grandfather, Aaron Bolin and friend, Tuffy Wade in Muren in the 1920s.

By 1900, there were 50 or more houses in the town.  Company houses were built from tile and Portland Cement after David Ingle built the large Ingle dairy barn on Ayrshire Road, one of seven on his property.  It was durable and inexpensive.  The row of Company mine houses were on the Muren Road, or Orchard Hill Road as it used to be called.  There is only one left standing in the area, and maybe another one covered in siding.  You rented the houses from the mine owner and shopped at the company store with mine tokens you were paid.

A Portland Cement brochure with the Ingle Barn in Ayrshire on the cover.  Early 1900s.

A Portland Cement brochure with the Ingle Barn in Ayrshire on the cover. Early 1900s.

My great grandparents, Aaron and Maggie Dixon Bolin at a Muren Store

My great grandparents, Aaron and Maggie Dixon Bolin at a Muren Store

Most of our ancestors from the area were coal miners or made a living associated with the mines.  My family, the Dixons and the  Bolins, migrated here from Perry county to work the coal mines.   We still have family in the mines and can point out the remnants of the old mines in the area.   There were several injuries and deaths in the coal mines.   March 25, 1906  Elisha Copeland was killed by falling slate at the Muren Mine.  His wife was pregnant with their 5th child.   March 7, 1915  Alex Wiggs was killed by falling slate.  His wife Sophia, was the one the town had been named after.

 

John Young's Miner License, submitted by David Young, Colorado

John Young’s Miner License, submitted by David Young, Colorado

 

Young Family Gathering at Muren  Submitted by David Young, Colorado

Young Family Gathering at Muren Submitted by David Young, Colorado

My parents, James and Nell Hair Lynn, married at Muren Church of God, February 28, 1960.

My parents, James and Nell Hair Lynn, married at Muren Church of God, February 28, 1960.

Muren Church of God, where my parents were married nearly 50 years ago, has now moved out to Highway 64 where Kirby’s Drive Inn used to be.  Kirby’s Drive Inn was the place to be in the summer during the 60s.  The local boys played music on the bandstand.  We’d have a mug of root beer delivered to our car on a tray that hung on the window.  If we had the money, dad would buy a gallon in a glass jug to take home.

Two passenger trains passed through Muren daily.  The train was also used to ship livestock.   The old depot stood in between the railroad tracks.  There was a church on the corner of the Ayrshire Muren Road that was dilapidated when my dad was a kid.  They used to go in there and play the old piano that had crashed through the rotten floor.    The creosote plant purchased the land and it is now torn down.  The creosote plant owns all of that land now.

 

My great grandparents, Aaron and Maggie Bolin and great great grandparents, John Wesley and Louis McMahon Dixon at the Muren Train Depot in the early 1900s

My great grandparents, Aaron and Maggie Bolin and great great grandparents, John Wesley and Louis McMahon Dixon at their gas station in Kentucky.

Seated:  Unknown, Evelyn Bolin, 2 Simmons girls, Bessie Davis Simmons, Maggie Dixon Bolin, standing:  Joda Simmons, Lorene Bolin, Odyne Simmons Sharp and baby, Charlie.  Early 1900s

Seated: Unknown, Evelyn Bolin, 2 Simmons girls, Bessie Davis Simmons, Maggie Dixon Bolin, standing: Joda Simmons, Lorene Bolin, Odyne Simmons Sharp and baby, Charlie. Early 1900s

Muren holds many memories for me.  I drive through there every now and again.  I will attend the next reunion and hope to see everyone there.