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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Private Cecil Hannah: First U.S. Casualty in Western Hemisphere, World War II


 
 Cecil Hannah

Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom; Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

– “Lead Kindly Light” by John Henry Newman

On March 9, 1942, Mrs. Pearl Hannah received a telegram informing her of the death of her son Private Cecil Hannah, 23. The message from the War Department stated that Private Hannah died on the Dutch West Indies island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela, as a result of a gunshot wound.

No particulars were included to explain the nature of the wound, but relatives assumed Private Hannah was wounded February 16 when an enemy submarine shelled oil installations on the U.S.-garrisoned island.

The telegram said the body would not be brought to the United States during the present conflict, but on termination of hostilities, the War Department, if possible, would bring the body to the home for final interment.

Private Hannah, who died of his wound on March 6, 1942, was reported to be “the first American soldier to give his life for his country in an actual attack on the Western Hemisphere in World War II.”

Some time later Chaplain Ambrose J. Sullivan reported the following in a letter to Mrs. Pearl Hannah:

“The Lucasville soldier frustrated an attempt of two of the enemy to sabotage millions of gallons of gasoline and an enormous refinery. The pair opened fire on the soldier. Private Hannah returned the fire and advanced and the men fled, but in the meantime a bullet hit him in the leg.

“A large artery was severed and the soldier died of loss of blood and shock despite immediate first aid and attention of doctors.”

An entry in a journal by fellow soldier Arnold Douglas Ward added this commentary: “Shot by two unknown assailants while on Post #2 at Lago Oil Co.”

Chaplain Sullivan conducted a full military funeral March 7, which included all men from Private Hannah's forces who were not on duty at the time, representatives of the Dutch Army, the American Legion post and the American colony. Burial was in the American military cemetery at San Nicolas.

Cecil Hannah's death presents local historians with some interesting questions. First and foremost, was Hannah the first war casualty in an attack on the Western Hemisphere as reported by the Portsmouth Times in 1942? I found no further verification of the unfortunate holder of this claim. Yet, I found nothing to dispute this fact. 

And, perhaps even more baffling – What are the exact circumstances of this so-called “sabotage” that resulted in Hannah's death? Much is written about the February 16th attack, but I found nothing much about the raid on March 6th. The lack of detail is disturbing.

Lago Refinery on Aruba

Aruba

Tiny Aruba has played an important role in World War II. Aruba was home to two of the largest oil refineries in the world during the war against the Axis powers, the Arend Petroleum Maatschappij, situated near the Oranjestad harbor and the Lago Oil and Transport Company at the San Nicolas harbor.The refineries of one field alone at Aruba produced more oil than any facility controlled by the Axis.

The fuel refined at Lago was used by the Allied air force and that made the island a vital point in the Western Hemisphere – vital for the Americans to defend and for the Germans to attack. The main product was 100-octane aviation gasoline and the primary recipient was Great Britain. Having the superior fuel was considered the critical edge that gave the RAF victory in the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940.

Aruba – its oil installations and tankers – became the target of the first attack on the Western hemisphere. Even before the first bloodshed in Europe, the secret service of the Aberwher had sent numerous spies to Aruba to plot sabotage missions against the petroleum refineries.

The first enemy attack against American soil occurred early on the morning of February 16, 1942, when German submarines shelled a Standard Oil refinery on Aruba Island, in the Netherland West Indies off the coast of Venezuela, and sank three tankers with the loss of twenty-three lives. The attack resulted in the disruption of vital Allied fuel production.

* Note – Another report says four Allied ships had been sunk, and at least 47 Allied merchant sailors were killed, and several more received wounds.

In those days there was no black out at all, the target lay there, fully lit. The site Historia di Aruba reports: “Some Arubans, not yet aware of the importance of a black out during a bombardment at dark, switched on the lights at home and even took the car and headed for the coast, their headlights switched on, hoping to catch a glimpse of the submarine.”

* Note – Security had failed. The Neuland Group of submarines already had detailed information about their targets. A Spanish ship’s officer (Naval Reserve Officer) had reported on harbors in Curacao: “open, not mined, no black-out, large stores of petroleum on shore. 20-25 tankers, mainly enemy, always there.”

After the firing of the torpedoes at ships lying off the coast or in the harbor, the U-156 emerged and the crew hurried to prepare the heavy artillery on deck of the submarine for the bombardment of the refinery. In the excitement of the moment, the deck gunner forgot to remove the plug from the end of the cannon barrel and the muzzle exploded while firing the first projectile; the deck gunner was killed instantly and an assisting crew member was seriously injured.

This fatal error spared Lago almost total destruction, because after the loss of this cannon, the U-boat only had a much lighter gun on board. That was used to shoot at the refinery and at the surrounding buildings, but the damage was only minor. Sixteen rounds from the 37mm AA gun were fired, but only two hits were found by the Allies: a dent in an oil storage tank and a hole in a house.

Time Magazine reported on the shelling of Lago and carried this eyewitness account from Associated Press Photographer Herbert White: “A mile offshore a submarine lay on the surface, pouring shells at the island. Already two tankers in the harbor were on fire, flaming oil spread over the water. The harbor scene was like a raging forest fire right in your own front yard… The blaze was shooting up high over the waterfront. I could see the decks of [one] ship as a mass of flames.”

Later, historians made much about the “monumental error of placing the tankers within the narrow confines of the harbor instead of anchored in the roadstead.” It seems fate also played a part in saving the installation.

According to Historia di Aruba, Aruba escaped that night and not only because the bombardment of Lago failed: there also was a ship, loaded with 3000 tons of TNT (dynamite), in the harbor. The 'Henry Gibbons' just had not yet set sail when the torpedo attack started. The crew still wanted to have a cup of coffee before taking to sea … If it had been a direct hit, the devastation on Aruba would have been unimaginable.”

Threats to Lago may have ended, but German activity persisted. A report on February 22, 1942, expressed five submarines were still believed to be in the area and that the Norwegian tanker Konesgaard had been torpedoed the day before off Curacao and that today “a Dutch coast patrol vessel fired unsuccessfully on a submarine which had surfaced just off the entrance to San Nicolaas harbor.”

In messages sent on the 24th Consul Standish reported that the American motor tanker Sun had been torpedoed fifty miles northwest of Aruba at 10:00 a.m. on the 23rd and that the Panamanian tanker Thalia had been sunk in the same area. Although badly holed amidships, the Sun was able to make it to San Nicolas harbor.

In April there was an attempt to shell the Curacao refinery and submarine activity continued in the Caribbean until 1945.

Private Cecil Hannah

Cecil Hannah was a private in the U.S. Army, C Company, 166th Infantry Battalion. He was drafted and enlisted on February 7, 1941 at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio. Hannah was killed in Aruba on March 6, 1942. He was buried in the American Military Cemetery in Savaneta, Aruba. In February 1947 his body was transferred to the Lucasville Cemetery in Lucasville, Ohio. 

 
Honda Knot Under Golden Gate

* Note – A later article (1948) in the Portsmouth Times stated that “two Scioto County soldiers were among the 1.150 servicemen whose bodies are being returned to the United States from the Caribbean and South America aboard the (United States Army Transport) Honda Knot, the army announced today.” The ship was to dock in San Francisco.

The article continued … “The local men are 2nd Lt. Lewis Warren, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Warren of Sciotoville Route 2 and Pvt. Cecil Hannah, son of Mrs. Pearl Hannah of Lucasville. Lt. Warren, a pilot in the ferry command was killed June 7, 1944 in an airplane crash in Natal, Brazil. He was 22. Pvt. Hannah, first soldier fatality from Lucasville during the war, died of a gun wound on the Dutch West Indies island of Aruba off the coast of Venezuela in March 1942.  He was 23."

The entire repatriation and overseas burial program was conducted from 1945 to 1951, at a cost of $200,000,000 in 1945 dollars (several billion today). It was the most extensive reburial program following a foreign war. The arrival of the Honda Knot officially initiated what one observer called the “most melancholy immigration movement in the history of man.”

Cecil Hannah was born in Alcorn (Rock House), Kentucky on April 4, 1918. Before entering the service, he worked for a dairy in Delaware, Ohio. He was also a resident of Madison County. He had received his army training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The regiment moved to New Orleans, and 1st Battalion was detached to Task Force 1291, serving as a garrison unit in Aruba and Curaçao in the Caribbean.

Private Hannah was home on a short furlough before Christmas in 1941. About six weeks before his death, the family received a card from him saying he had landed safely at his new post. The card, however, did not disclose his location.

Cecil was the son of John and Pearl Tackett Hannah. His father, John Hannah, was a member of a group which was drowned in the Ohio River in 1930 during a severe storm. Cecil was survived by his mother; four brothers – Jack of Baltimore, Sterling of Lucasville, William and Charles at home; a sister – Mrs. Carl Bennett of Columbus; a half brother – Dow Allard MeNeer of Lucasville; and a nephew – Clarence, who made his home with the Hannahs in Lucasville. A sister preceded him in death about five years before his death.

 

The Mystery

The lack of details about enemy action in Aruba on March 6, 1942 is puzzling to say the least. Cecil Hannah was reported killed while on sentry duty by “unknown assailants.” What exactly does this mean? Were the attackers German spies, Nazi sympathizers, or someone else? Who was involved and why isn't the report clear about what was evidently a major attack, after February 16, in Aruba? I hope someone can attain a full U.S. Military report on the death of Hannah.

As stated previously, Chaplain Ambrose J. Sullivan wrote:

The Lucasville soldier frustrated an attempt of two of the enemy to sabotage millions of gallons of gasoline and an enormous refinery. The pair opened fire on the soldier. Private Hannah returned the fire and advanced and the men fled, but in the meantime a bullet hit him in the leg.”

Here is a journal entry by fellow serviceman Arnold Douglas Ward concerning the event:

Time elapses quickly. One month today since we landed - one dead already Pvt. Cecil Hannah from Lucasville, Ohio, killed in the line of duty – Shot by two unknown assailants while on Post #2 at Lago Oil Co – shot in leg and died at hospital from loss of blood. Funeral held here in library terrace. Impressive, unique native hearse. Looked like station wagon, only not like one upon closer inspection. Doors and body were carved – after ceremony – or service (during which we sang, “Lead Kindly Light” with Lt. Drove field playing organ). 8 black plumes were mounted on top of hearse before departing for cemetery. Three volleys fired at grave.”

Further notation by Ward under the headline “Taps for Private Hannah” ...

Private Cecil Hannah was fatally shot while on guard duty as a sentry at Aruba. He died while on duty at a lonely post. The words are simple to say, but the act carries the thunder of revenge and the utmost in loyalty that a man can give. Private Hannah would not want a eulogy. He would more than likely appreciate having his life back long enough to know that he had not given his life in vain; long enough to see the victorious end of this war; long enough to know that those he loved back home can live in the peace and security they deserve. While Private Hannah cannot have his life back, there are plenty of us here to see that his desires are fulfilled in a silent pledge 'to carry on' as Taps ring out over the Caribbean waters for our first comrade 'over there.'”

I know enemy activity did occur after the major attack on February 16. For example, here is an account posted February 21 ...

“San Nicolas also experienced incendiary flares night before last - possibly an attempt of submarine to illuminate the town for shelling. Entire island is and has been in blackout for past week. We are alerted from 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at which time we man our posts, pill boxes and other vantage points in the camp area. This is Feb. 21st 8:00 PM and alert is over.”

In one listing of “Other Victims” on the site Antilles At War, Cecil Hannah appears. The notation there reads: “This group of victims is comprised of different categories. In it are a number of Antillean victims with incomplete or insufficient data, making it difficult to recognize them as official war victims at this time. Also there are a number of Netherlands and foreign persons who did not die as a direct result of enemy action. They are however recognized as war victims in their countries of origin. Some of them remain buried on the islands, most of them were transferred to cemeteries in their home countries after the war.”

I wonder if this clue to Hannah's story could help reveal more descriptive details. If he was an “other victim,” then the Sullivan and Ward reports beg for clarification. It is my hope that someone can read this entry and further inquire about the fate of Cecil Hannah. I am sure answers do exist in reports of the war. Perhaps family or American Legion officers could obtain more information from government sources. It has come to my attention that relatives do not even know about commendations such as a Purple Heart. It is a sad end for a true American hero.

Sources

“2 More Bodies En Route Home.” The Portsmouth Times. March 31, 1948. http://www.minfordfalcons.net/LewisWarren.aspx

“Antilles At War.” http://www.antillesatwar.com/other-victims/

“Chaplain Tells How Lucasville Soldier Died As Hero on Aruba.” Portsmouth Times. March 17. 1942.

C.J. Christ. “Aruba produced plenty of gas during World War II.” Courier. August 7, 2005.

William C. Gaines, “The United States Coast Artillery Command on Aruba and Curacao in World War II.” The Coast Defense Study Group Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 2, May 1997, p. 21. (pages are estimates as article was taken from Internet posting.)

Historia di Aruba Aruba and World War II http://www.historiadiaruba.aw/index.php?Itemid=26&id=12&option=com_content&task=view&lang=en

Dan Jensen, “A Short History of Lago Oil & Transport Company, LTD, Aruba, N.W. I.” Monograph 2003, p.13 and Table 1.

“Lucasville Lad In Army Killed.” Portsmouth Times. March 09, 1942.

“Peter C. Ward.”
http://www.lago-colony.com/PETER%20WARD,%20FATHER,%20ARMY%20ARUBA/PETER_WARD.htm

Arnold Douglas Ward. Journal on Aruba During WWII. 38th Division. http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforums/showthread.php/58118-My-father-s-journal-about-his-U-S-Army-unit-on-Aruba-during-WW2?styleid=39

“When Lago Was Lucky.” http://www.lago-colony.com/BURSON_LUCKY_LAGO/WHEN%20LAGO%20WAS%20LUCKY.pdf


Monday, April 16, 2018

"Our Native Land" -- Scioto Trail Connections




The name which the Shawannees give (the river) Siota has slipt my memory, but it signified 'Hairy River.' The Indians tell us that when they came first to live here, deers were so plenty,that in the vernal season, when they came to drink, the stream would be thick of hairs; hence they gave it the name.”

The Journal of Rev. David Jones, 1772-1773

In a previous entry, I wrote of the Scioto Trail and its importance to Native Americans and to early white settlers. I want to follow up on that report with some more local history that occurred in relation to the early settlements on and nearby the trail. The links I discovered uncovered interesting information about famous Native Americans and about significant archeological finds. I hope local historians will use this blog to further investigation into our beautiful homeland.

Ancient Mound Builders populated our area before their mysterious disappearance. And, the Fort Ancient peoples are now accepted as an independently developed culture that descended from the Hopewell culture (100 BCE–500 CE). Much later, groups like the Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, and Wyandot re-filled some of Ohio (the Shawnee in particular are known to have lived in the Scioto Valley), but by then, their way of life had changed much from pre-contact times, looking much less like Fort Ancient and much more like the Euro-American pioneers who would, in the mid-late 1700s, begin to push them out of Ohio.

The nearest well-documented Fort Ancient village is the Feurt Village site along U.S. Route 23 and just north of Portsmouth. Just north of that, near the south edge of Lucasville, is the Schisler Village site, though this site is less well documented. I will reveal much more about the Feurt and Schisler sites a little later in this entry.

It is possible that there are many 18 undocumented Fort Ancient sites in the floodplains above and below Piketon. However, there is little information available for the area concerning the period from 1650 to the 1790s, when Euro-Americans began flooding into the Scioto Valley. This period in Ohio is referred to as the Protohistoric period. It indicates the brief time when European manufactured goods such as beads, axes, knives, and kettles are traded into an area but before there are any historic records.

Several individuals are known to have traveled through the area and written journals during their travels, including Christopher Gist in 1750, William Trent in 1752, and the Reverend David Jones in 1772-1773. Since both Gist and Trent were visiting the Shawnee towns at the mouth of the Scioto and traveled back and forth to Pickawillany, a Miami town with an English trading fort near modern day Piqua, Ohio, it is likely that many other Euro-Americans also were traveling around southern Ohio in the early-mid 1700s.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy (2015) ...

Several historic maps (e.g., the Mitchell 1755 map, the Pownall 1776 map, and the Hutchins 1777 Map (all shown in Smith 1977) show the famous Scioto Trail running north-south along the Scioto River, but only two Native American villages are shown in the lower Scioto Valley. A Delaware village of as many as twenty families (Smith 1977), that of Wanduchales, is present on the Mitchell 1755 map and reappears on the Pownall 1776 and Hutchins 1777 maps.

One wonders, however, if the village was still there in 1777 or if Hutchins had just copied over its location from the earlier maps. Smith (1977), likely informed by Christopher Gist’s journal, suggests that Wanduchales’ (or Windaughalah) town, also known as the Lower Delaware Town, was founded as early as 1738 and was located on the east side of the Scioto River in Clay Township, Scioto County.

The only other Native American village or town to appear on any maps of the lower Scioto valley (i.e., below Chillicothe) is Hurricane Tom’s town, which is shown on the west side of the Scioto River, opposite its confluence with Salt Creek and near what today is the small town of Higby. Many Shawnee villages are known from the Portsmouth area and around Chillicothe, but none have been recorded near Piketon.”

* Note – Piketon was originally called “Jefferson,” and it was laid off on what was called “Miller's Bank” in a tract ceded to the United States (Virginia Military District). About 1795, early settlers from Kentucky, known as Mr. Miller and Mr. Owens, quarreled about the spot. In the fray Owns shot Miller, whose bones may be found interred near the lower end of the high bank, which was then in Washington County, the Scioto being then the line between Washington and Adams counties. Owens was taken to Marietta, where he was tried and acquitted.

 
Artist Daniel Huntington -- Washington and Gist Crossing Allegheny River
 
Christopher Gist

Christopher Gist, (1706-1759) was perhaps the best known early explorer of the Ohio Valley and its tributaries. Gist provided England and its colonists with the first detailed description of southern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky. While Daniel Boone is generally given credit for opening Kentucky to white settlement, Gist preceded the frontiersman by more than fifteen years.

Through his connection to the Ohio Company, Gist developed a close association with George Washington. Traveling with Washington to the Ohio Country in 1754, Gist served as scout, messenger, and Indian agent. It was Gist’s reconnaissance that alerted Washington to the French presence at Great Meadows and allowed for the subsequent massacre of Jumonville’s forces. Gist was also at the battle at Fort Necessity the following month. During this time with Washington, Gist solidified his place in history, twice saving the young colonel's life.

Earlier, in the autumn of 1750, the Virginia Land Company employed Christopher Gist, pioneer and woodsman, to explore its alleged possessions on the Ohio and the tributaries of that river. On January 16, 1751, Gist and company crossed the Licking, on on the 19th, they arrived at a small Delaware village bearing the name of Hockhoeking. From there, he passed on to Maguck, another Delaware village, situated near the Scioto. And on January 24, they went south fifteen miles to a town called Hurricane Tom's Town near the present Pike County border, approximately four miles from Salt Lick Creek.

Not only was Gist a trained surveyor, but also he kept three detailed journals that attest “to his thoroughness and intelligence.” His writing presents impressive descriptive abilities. Here is his account of Monday, January 28, 1751 in which Gist describes the Delaware Chief Windaughala and his people:

We went into Council with the Indians of this Town, and after the Interpreter had informed them of his instructions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, and given them some Cautions in Regard to the French they returned for answer as follows. The Speaker with four strings of Wampum in his Hand stood up and addressing himself as to the Governor of Pennsylvania, said 'Brothers, We the Delawares return You our Heart thanks for the News you have sent Us, and We assure You, We will not hear the Voice of any other Nation for We are to be directed by You our Brothers the English, & by none Others: We shall be glad what Our Brothers have to say to us at the Loggs Town in the Spring, and to assure You of our Hearty Good will & Love to Our Brothers We present you with these four Wampum.' 

This is the last Town of the Delawares to the Westward – The Delaware Indians by the best Accounts I could gather Consist of about 500 fighting Men all firmly attached to the English Interest, they are not properly a part of the Six Nations, but are scattered about among most of the Indians of the Ohio, and some of them amongst the six Nations, from whom they have Leave to Hunt upon their Land.”

Chief Windaughalah

On the east branch of the Scioto, in the present Clay Township, Scioto County, there existed a small village of about twenty Delaware families (and also “a Negro man that belonged to the chief”). There dwelt Windaughalah, a great war chief during the French wars. His name implies “ambassador.” He was a prominent counselor in peace times named in many important treaties.

Christopher Gist, himself, wrote in his journal under the date of January 27, 1751, that the town last named was a small village of the Delawares, and that he lodged there "at the house of an Indian whose name was Windaughalah, a great man and chief of this town, and much in the English interest." Later, this town was abandoned. Windaughalah lived at Tuscarawas in 1762, where he had the figure of a water lizard tattooed on his face above the chin; he was then named Swe-gach-shasin.

This chief appeared at a conference held in Pittsburgh on July 5, 1759 between George Croghan, Deputy Indian Agent with chief responsibility for the Ohio region tribes, and the Indian chiefs and warriors of the Six Nations, Shawanese, Delawares, and Wyandots. Windaughalah was also at a conference between Governor Hamilton and many other Indian nations. And in January 1785 at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh, while representing the Delawares and Wyandots, the chief executed a deed to the State of Pennsylvania for the remainder of their lands within that state. As the oldest, or the “Council Don,” he signed the agreement first.

Buckongahelas, was the son of Windaughalah. Buckongahelas is the subject of the famous Journeycake account, and his lineage reveals the story of the first American Indian to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the United States. Aren't the connections to local history simply amazing?


 
Artist Depiction of Buckongahelas

Buckongahelas

Buckongahelas first received the surname “Journeycake” after Indians of another tribe kidnapped the little boy at age six. After escaping from his kidnappers several months following his abduction, the child, known as “The Buck,” survived by eating a large corn cake during his return journey to his father, Chief Windaughala; thus, “Buck” earned the name “Journeycake” from his father and the other tribal elders.

Buckongahelas grew up to become a mighty war chief of the Delaware Nation, who would in his life meet with presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Three of his sons were murdered in separate incidents. One son, the teenager Mahonegon, was shot in the back in a forest that then was part of Virginia, later West Virginia in June 1773. His murderer was Captain William White, a white man who had killed several other Indian individuals and families. (Local legend states that the current Upshur County Courthouse was built over the grave of Mahonegon.) 

 

* Background Note – John and Samuel Pringle, local settlers of the area, had enlisted in the Army where they served at the British Garrison at Fort Pitt during the French and Indian War. The Pringle brothers left the fort without permission in 1761 and wandered the Buckhannon Valley wilderness as trappers and traders for several years before taking up residence in the hollow cavity of a large sycamore tree from about 1764 to 1767. The tree, located near the confluence of Turkey Run and the Buckhannon River in present Upshur County, supposedly had a cavity so large that an eight-foot fence rail could be turned inside it.

Upon John Pringle’s 1768 return from the trading post on the South Branch, where he had gone to buy ammunition, the brothers decided they were no longer considered renegades and left their tree home. By 1769, they had led a small group of settlers back to the Buckhannon Valley to begin a permanent settlement there.

Chief Buckongahelas (for whom the Buckhannon Valley is named) had welcomed the Pringle brothers and their friends there, but following his son’s murder, he “turned his face and heart away from white skins – and joined the British in the Revolutionary War.”

After the Revolutionary War, the United States claimed the Ohio Country by right of conquest through its defeat of Great Britain. In the late 1780s, Buckongahelas joined a Shawnee-led confederacy to try to repel the American settlers who had begun migrating west of the Appalachian Mountains, using the Ohio River to penetrate the territory.

The confederacy won several battles against the Americans in the Northwest Indian Wars. Buckongahelas led his warriors in helping to win the most devastating military victory ever achieved by Native Americans in the United States, in 1791 against General Arthur St. Clair, who lost 600 troops. The Delaware described Buckongahelas as their own George Washington.

The confederacy was finally defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The British failed to support the Indian confederacy after this battle, and Buckongahelas signed the Treaty of Greenville on August 3, 1795. By this treaty, his band and other Lenape ceded much land in Pennsylvania and Ohio to the United States.

The Delaware were coerced by the U.S. government to move from their lands more often than any other American Indian tribe. The U.S. government forced the Delaware to leave their “forever home” on their reservation between Leavenworth and Lawrence in Kansas, where they had lived less than 38 years until railroad officials coveted their land and railroaded them into Indian Territory. At the end of the line for the tribe, the Delaware Nation didn’t even have its own reservation, as promised by the U.S. government, but were ordered to move onto Cherokee lands.

The book, Journeycake Saga, follows three of Buckongahelas's other sons, Kistawa, Whapakong, and Solomon, as they struggled to adjust to the wave of settlers who washed unto the shores of the country into their lands. Kistawa and his brother Whapakong both were murdered separately within one year. Watomika, son of Kistawa and the French woman Marie, witnessed the deaths of both his father and his uncle. Watomika holds a special place in American history.

 

Watomika

At the age of eleven, the grief-stricken Watomika, or “the Swift-Footed One,” was taken to Marietta College in Ohio in 1834 where he received his first literate education. It was there he was converted to Christianity and where he prepared for ministry in the Presbyterian church. It was some twelve years later, however, while on a visit to St. Louis that he was confirmed into the Catholic church and later entered the Jesuit Order.

In his later years Watomika become the first Native American ordained a Catholic priest in the United States. He took on the name Father James Bouchard and became known as the “Eloquent Indian.”

Pat McNamara of Patheous described Father Bouchard as “an orator of premier rank who held forth in the baroque style of his era as preacher, lecturer, and conversationalist, he had no equal in California. For three decades, audiences listened in open-mouthed amazement to the eloquent Indian, charmed by the sound of his silvery voice, by the power of his nervous eloquence.”

Msgr. Patrick Riordan, Archbishop of San Francisco would reserve the following words of praise at the time of the priest's death in San Francisco on December 27, 1889:

"To no man in all the West is the Church of God more beholden than to Father James Bouchard of the Society of Jesus. He kept the faith in the mining districts; he sustained the dignity of God's Holy Church in the midst of ignorance and misunderstanding and everywhere championed her rights. My debt to him, and I speak for my brother bishops, is incalculable.”

*Note – Bouchard's Uncle Solomon, the fourth son of Buckongahelas, died in bed of old age after an exciting life as a guide for the famed explorer of the West, John C. Fremont, whose life Solomon saved when he led him out of a wild prairie fire. 

 
Father James Bouchard

Schisler Village Site

On Thanksgiving Day in 1942, Philip Keintz and H. R. McPherson were digging in the Schisler Village Site of the Fort Ancient Culture, on the east side of the Scioto River, about one mile south of Lucasville. Keintz reported they had spent a number of days at this site “with only moderate results.” But, on that day they came upon a burial. The account of the find ...

“Soon were found seven nicely-chipped triangular arrow points of dark-gray flint, from one and one-fourth to one and one-half inches in length; one flint blade of similar material two and one-fourth inches long; two flint drills from one and three-fourth to two and one-fourth inches long; five nice flaking tools of antler from two and one-half to four and one-fourth inches in length ; one very fine cutting instrument fashioned from a beaver tooth and about three inches long; seven broken-off antler tips intended as a 'stock supply' for arrow points or flaking tools when needed; and two paint stones of limestone burned to a reddish texture – in all twenty-six items, pipe included.”

It was the pipe found that day that drew the greatest interest. Here is the description:

“It is cut from reddish-brown, compact -grained sandstone, and is admirably and boldly executed. The pipe is two and five-eighth inches in height, two and one-fourth inches in diameter find may be considered 'roundish' in cross-section. However, it is slightly oval with the greater diameter from the front to back. The bowl is one and one-eighth inches in diameter and practically two inches in depth. Workmanship i n connection with the inner carving of the bowl is equally as good as that of the exterior. The interior of the bowl is slightly blackened, apparently from smoking. The stem hole tapers from one-half to three-sixteenths of an inch . The pipe is outstanding not only from its numerous fine characteristics but also from the story it mutely depicts regarding the style or method of cutting end wearing the hair. 

“It is sculptured t o denote the hair as cut and hanging in "bobbed fashion" on each side and entirely around the back of the head. The outer layer of the hair at the back of the neck was bobbed, while the under layer in the same area is bobbed about twice as long as that above and at the sides of the head. The hair on the top of the head was permitted to grow long and evidently was divided into two queues …

“Another very interesting feature is the co-called 'weeping eye' design beneath each eye. This unique design has been noted previously in Ohio, where it was carved on objects of stone, bone and shell found at the Madisonville Village Site of the Fort Ancient Culture. The same design has been noted on shell gorgets from the Temple Hound in Oklahoma, from mounds in Tennessee, " ' and from other southern states. An interesting viewpoint of the weeping eye design may be obtained by looking at the pipe upside down. In some instances the design appears in a somewhat different form - sometimes having three points downward. An interesting sidelight in connection with the type and variety of artifacts found with this burial, is the similarity to two others which may bo mentioned at this time.burial about three miles northwest of Circleville, discovered by Mr, H. R. McPherson in December, 1946.” 

 

Sources

Carmean, Kelli (Winter 2009), Points in time: Assessing a Fort Ancient triangular projectile point typology, Southeastern Archaeology, p. 2


Christopher Gist's Journals: With Historical, Geographical and Ethnological ...William McCullough Darlington.

First Indian ordained a priest in the United States Book highlights Kansan Father Bouchard and his Delaware family. The Southwest Kansas Register. September 14, 2014 Page 11

Charles A. Hanna. The Wilderness Trail, Volume II. 1911.

Henry Howe. Historical Collections of Ohio: In Three Volumes ; an Encyclopedia of the State. Volumes 2-3. 1907.

Pat McNamara. “First Native American Jesuit.” Patheous. September 06, 2009.

Albert M. Pecora, Ph.D. and Jarrod Burks, Ph.D. OVAI Contract Report #2012-4 Phase II Archeological Investigations of 33PK347...(PORTS). Pike County. April 28, 2014.

Ohio Archaeologist, Vol. 1, Number 2. New Series - July 1951 Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society Columbus, Ohio

Charlene Scott-Myers. The Journeycake Saga. 2014.

VOL. 1 NUMBE R 3 New Series. October 1951 Ohio Indian Relic Collectors Society Columbus, Ohio.

Richard White. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991



Monday, April 9, 2018

Bricks, North Carolina -- Whipping Posts to Blackboards


 
Franklinton Center at Bricks 


During the boyhood of one still living, students at Bricks were told how this farm 
was once a place where 'unruly' slaves were sent to be subdued and 'broken in.' 
A spot was pointed out to us where the 'whipping post' stood – just 
in front of what is now the Guest House. It was impressed upon us 
that this was still a place where people were sent to be 'broken,' 
not as slave for a slave state, but as free men and women for a
 place of service in a free and democratic society.”
    Ross W. Sanderson, President
Board of Trustees,
Franklinton Center, Inc. at Bricks

A long time ago – if my memory serves me right it was the summer of 1971 – while I was working as director of West End Ministries Tutoring Program and serving as youth director for Bigelow Methodist Church, I accompanied a group comprised of Bigelow and United Church of Christ youth on a mission trip to a place called “Brick, North Carolina.” We were serving to help make improvements to what was once known as Franklinton Christian College. We worked there helping restore the campus of an old black institution located in Edgecombe County between Enfield and Whitakers.

I will never forget my stay at Brick. And, I am sure neither will any member of our youth group. We were all white and our community there that summer was all black. It was a joy of fellowship, work, and making new acquaintances. To say it was a successful cultural experience would be an understatement.

We even spent an afternoon in the hot Carolina sun chopping cotton – although I think it was more for our edification than for the sake of the crop. Nevertheless, all agreed it was brutal work. I did miss the opportunity to taste a pigeon, of which the local caretaker bragged was “fine fair.” And, for some reason I remember the fear that gripped the little community when one of our crews turned up a harmless snake while trimming brush. The locals ran for cover until we were convinced to dispatch the creature.

We also experienced firsthand the remnants of segregation in the South. I remember the local doctor's office still had a separate waiting room for black patients. Conversation included the continued fear of the KKK in the area. And, on one shopping trip to nearby Rocky Mount, I remember walking beside a black girl from campus and receiving an overwhelmingly large number of pointed stares from the white population. Being Yankees in a foreign land, we found new perspectives around every corner. But, rest assured, our Bricks hosts were most cordial and thankful for our visit. We loved each other in earnest. Many tears were shed when we headed back to Ohio.


 
Students at Bricks

Let me give you some history of the institution that hosted our work camp …

This was written of the area …

The fertile farmland of Franklinton Center at Bricks contains both tragedy and hope. The acres where tobacco and cotton once were harvested were part of a plantation known as the place to break unruly slaves. Through the ashes of that pre-Civil War horror, hope in the form of educational opportunity and leadership development was cultivated.”

Franklinton Center was once a plantation particularly known for breaking unruly slaves. The property was purchased after the Civil War by General L. G. Estes. Estes, while fighting for the Union Army, had been particularly impressed with the area. It is written that Estes was “better at being an Army General than a farmer” because he was unable to make the farm productive and lost it to Mrs. Julia Elma Brick of New York, who had lent him the money for the purchase. Thus, the “Bricks connection was established.

Mrs. Brick then approached Howard University to take the land to build a school to educate poor black children she believed would otherwise not have the opportunity for learning life skills. Howard showed little interest in establishing such a school. Instead, it ended up being the American Missionary Association (AMA), a philanthropic and former abolitionist organization begun by Congregationalists and known for setting up battlefield schools during the Civil War for the black soldiers.

The AMA's purpose was to provide for the education and the "Americanization" of all minorities of whatever race or nationality. Through Julia's gift of land and endowment, the organization took on the task of building a boarding school on the property. Financed primarily by Mrs. Brick, the Bricks School (the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Industrial and Normal School, eventually known as Bricks Junior College) opened in 1895 with one student.

The school soon became a success – by the end of the first year, the institution enrolled 54 students of whom 13 were boarders. Both boys and girls were admitted up to the fourth grade, although most of them were first and second graders. The 50-acre campus was situated on a tract of 1,129 acres. Eventually, it comprised three large dormitories in addition to a chapel, recitation hall, administration building, and shop where boys were taught blacksmithing, woodwork, mechanical drawing, the use of small machinery, and cabinetmaking.

Over the years enrollment at Brick increased, reaching as high as 460 students, 260 of whom were boarders. The school produced a variety of farm products and developed an extensive mail-order business in honey. Many black teachers—especially in the field of home economics—also served in nearby counties; others went on to graduate work in other institutions and became teachers, dentists, and physician.

According to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Brick School was so successful it was considered to have “played a key role in the history of education in the United States.” In order to meet the needs of the growing educated Black community, the Brick School became a junior college in 1925. Changes in the Southern political climate, educational focus and the Depression led to the school closing in 1933. For many years, parcels of the land were then leased to sharecroppers.

 
Thomas Inborden
 
Thomas Sewell Inborden – Bricks Educator

Thomas Sewell Inborden, renowned black educator at Brick, was born near Upperville, about sixteen miles from Winchester, Va., the son of freeborn parents. His maternal grandmother was descended from a distinguished white family from the "upper neck" of Virginia.

In 1882, after attending a local public school, Inborden left home, on foot, to go to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked as a bellboy and waiter in the Forest City Hotel for sixteen months. He saved sufficient funds to enter preparatory school at Oberlin College, where he remained for four years.

In 1887 he went to Fisk University and four years later was graduated with the B.A. degree. He then joined the American Missionary Association. Affiliated with the association for over half a century, he was first assigned as pastor of a church in Beaufort, North Carolina, and remained there for three months. In the fall of 1891 he went to Helena, Ark., to organize a high school, and two years later he was sent to Albany, Ga., to establish the Albany Normal School.

Transferred to Bricks, Inborden was the organizer and first principal of the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Industrial and Normal School, where he began work on August 1, 1895.

During this period, attendance at the annual farm meetings for African-Americans grew from 5 to approximately 2,000. Inborden inspired many blacks to seek the ownership of land, and he was instrumental in the founding of the Tri-County Federal Farm Loan Association, which was run by blacks.

Inborden also organized the first YMCA Conference for blacks in the South. He served as president of the North Carolina Colored Teachers Association for two years, of the North Carolina Fair Association for two years, and of the North Carolina Negro Farmers Congress for eight years. In addition, he was chairman of the Jury of Awards for the Negro Building at the Jamestown Exposition in 1907, a member of the Negro Sociological Congress, and president of the Eagle Life Insurance Company of Raleigh. He held several honorary appointments by North Carolina governors.

Thomas married Sarah Jane Evans, the daughter of freeborn blacks who had migrated to Ohio from North Carolina about 1854. She was a graduate of Oberlin College and a teacher for thirty-six years. Before her death on May 12, 1928, the Inbordens had seven children, three of whom grew to adulthood. Thomas Inborden died March 10, 1951, in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. 

 
Franklinton Students

The Bricks and Franklinton Union

Then, in a union of two separate entities – Brick School and Franklinton Christian College – Franklinton Center at Bricks was transformed into one of the first accredited schools for African American in the South. The schools merged in 1954. Franklinton Christian College was started by the James O'Kelly Christian Church in 1871 to train black leaders for local churches. Many of the AMA schools still exist, including United Church of Christ-related historically black colleges. 

Present Day

Today, the property is known as the Franklinton Center at Bricks is a conference, retreat, and educational facility focusing on justice advocacy, young people, and leadership development. As a ministry of the United Church of Christ, it is staffed and managed by Justice and Witness Ministries, specializing in issues of racial and social justice.

 
Site of the Whipping Post

Two of the original buildings are still on the acreage and a Magnolia tree stands as a grim reminder where the whipping post is believed to have once been. Now, the campus also has modern, dormitory style rooms, large conference rooms, a swimming pool, and a cafeteria style dining hall.

The center offers opportunities for conferences and workshops on church and community leadership education, rural, racial and social justice, spiritual growth and development, as well and community and family activities. The Center hosts and trains visiting groups and also serves the local community. The center weaves rural justice, hunger issues, environmental racism, and workers’ rights into its programmatic focus.

Ms. Vivian Lucas, director of the Franklinton Center at Bricks shared the importance of the center being an actively involved partner with the surrounding communities. Although times have changed since the days of the Brick School, the area still has one of the highest poverty and illiteracy rates in the country.

As part of the UCC ministry the center offers youth and adult literacy classes; nutritional, sustainable agricultural; environmental awareness; diversity appreciation programs and more, now or in the near future. “God is still speaking…”

The Bricks Museum at Memorial Hall offers a collection of historical documents that include photographs, paintings, artifacts, journals, and materials from the many lives of the site, including an early 20th-century post office and various schools.

I often think about Brick, the work, the people there. I am so thankful for the experience. The taste of the South at the time helped solidify my beliefs and understandings. You see, my brother lived in Gulfport, Mississippi in the 1960s, and on trips to his home I also experienced the full-blown segregation of the time. I saw the segregated restrooms and other public facilities. I visited the hateful separation and felt powerless to interfere. I was young, perhaps too young to fully understand. But, while staying in Brick at the age of 20, I absorbed an experience that rang clear as a church-house bell – I realized we are all God's precious creatures, no matter what color or persuasion. Black and white, we can live together in love and harmony just like we did in Brick. I've never forgotten that.

Sources:

“Franklinton Center at Bricks.” A Ministry of the United Church of Christ.
http://www.phillipsbricksalumni.com/clients/56168/File/Historical%20Presentation%20
on%20The%20Franklin%20Center%20-%20Formerly%20Known%20as%20Bricks%20School.pdf

Anthoy Moujaes. “UCC volunteers unearth history at Franklinton Center at Bricks.” http://www.ucc.org/news/UCC-volunteers-unearth-history.html. January 28, 2013.

Stella Perez. “Planting Seeds…from heritage to future visions for the Franklinton Center at Bricks.” http://www.scncucc.org/voices/2012/08/ucc-conference-church-life/planting-seeds%E2%80%A6from-heritage-to-future-visions-for-the-franklinton-center-at-bricks/. August 25, 2012.

William S. Powell, Ed. “Inborden, Thomas Sewell.” Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes. 1979-1996.



Scioto Trail -- What Do You Know of This Historic Path?


 

This country was the home of the red men, a home from which they were loth to part. God had given them this beautiful valley of the Scioto for their home. It was a migratory field for the restless buffalo; the elk and the bear roamed its wooded hills; the deer and wild turkey made it their home; the valleys and the upland were filled with small game; fish sported in the cool and pellucid (translucently clear) waters of its rivers and creeks, and in shadowy nooks, near bubbling springs and crystal fountains, the aborigines built their wigwams. It was a paradise for the hunter, and the Indians liad roamed lord of all.

In 1795 the valley of the Scioto, with its wealth of forest and stream, with its high and rolling upland, bold bluffs and nestling valleys, became the property of the palefaces, and that which stood for centuries in its wild and rugged grandeur was, ere long, to assume a prominent place in the future of our State.”

History of Lower Scioto Valley, Ohio. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co. 1884

Too often we overlook the grandeur of the land which we call home. Becoming so accustomed to our surroundings, we fail to uphold the natural gifts that bless our being. Thousands of years ago, Native Americans began peopling this valley and here lived in harmony with Mother Earth as they carefully nurtured the land they so loved. It is left to us to be good stewards of our surroundings.

One way which we can do that is to study the annals of the footsteps of those who came before. The very paths of old can reveal much about the significance of our natural history. The original traces or paths through the dense forests of Ohio were created by animals – such as buffalo and deer – in search of food, water, and salt licks. These narrow, well-worn trails were often just wide enough to allow passage in single file. They were ideally far enough from streams to avoid swamps and lowlands, and they sometimes followed the ridges, and became known as “high-ways.” Ravines and their attendant creeks made travel difficult as well.

Along these trails the aboriginal Ohio peoples traveled whether engaged in warfare, the hunt, trade and barter, or migration. Later the trails served, together with navigable streams, as the only means of entrance for the white traders and settlers who pushed their way into the country west and north on the Ohio River. Thus the trails in great measure determined the course of improved highways and in this way strongly influenced the location of early settlers' communities and towns.

Such is the case with our very own Scioto Trail. This trail has long been of striking importance, running north and south through the state, between Sandusky Bay and mouth of the Scioto River. Ascending the Sandusky River, crossing the portage and descending the Scioto to its juncture with the Ohio River, the Scioto Trail crossed the Ohio and joined the famous "Warriors' Path," leading far into the southland. Surely the likes of Boone, Tecumseh, and scores of other famous frontier figures employed the old Scioto Trail.

The Scioto Trail's link with the Warriors' Path was crucial for Native Americans. For centuries, the Cherokee and the Shawnee traveled through the Cumberland Gap along a game trail known by the Shawnee as Athiamiowee, translated as “path of the armed ones.” Both tribes traveled the path in and out of Kentucky, using it as a hunting ground. Bitter enemies, these two tribes regularly attacked one another. As pioneers began to come through Cumberland Gap in the late 1700's, the trail became part of what was known as the Wilderness Road.

Together these trails – the Scioto and the Warriors Path – constituted one of the greatest passages of the western country. The principal towns were the Sandusky towns near the bay ; the Pipe's towns, Half King's town, Wyandot's town, in the vicinity of the upper rapids of the Sandusky river; Mingo and Delaware towns in Delaware county ; Old Salt Lick town and Mingo town in Franklin county; Maguck and the Chil- lieothe towns in Pickaway and Ross; Hurrican Tom's town and Wanduchale's town further south and Chillicothe on the Ohio, or Lower Shawnee town, at the mouth of the Scioto.

Thus, the Scioto Trail was the walkway of the Shawnee from the neutral hunting ground of Kentucky to the fishing grounds of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie. It was used for predatory raids upon the early settlements of Kentucky and the flatboatmen of the Ohio.

The local segment of the trail lies upon the second bottom of the broad flats (U.S. 23) and leads up past the loops of the Scioto, until the narrower valley through the gap in the Pike County hills causes it to rise from the river and cross the ridge. Much of the old trail is covered today by U.S. Route 23 and is easily recognized.

The path leads through Wakefield over the hills northeastward , descends into the flats at Waverly to rise again over billowing hill tops, and descends northeasterly to the flats below Chillicothe.

Mound City testifies to its antiquity. From the heights to the south of Chillicothe is the triple ridge of Mount Logan, and beyond it Rattlesnake Knob standing above the Pickaway Plains to the north. Passing directly through the meadows, after crossing the river at the north edge of the present town, the trail touches Mound City in the Camp Sherman area and moves over the rolling prairie, with retreating hills to the right and willowy loops of the river on the left.

It passes the famous view of Mount Logan, where the sun rises over the three peaks, a scene which suggested the Seal of Ohio. After crossing Kinnickinnick Creek it entered a region replete with Indian history. It reaches into the Pickaway Plains proper where the rolling prairies studded with ancient isolated trees grow as they did in Indian days. Once among them, one mile east of Nash Corners, was the famous Logan Elm, where the great Indian made his tragic and eloquent address to the Royal Governor Dunmore and the victorious Colonel Lewis. This point lay upon the trail circling the plains that bound the bordering Indian Villages.

Many natural landmarks still stand in the Pickaway Plains to recall Indian habitation. Among the prehistoric mounds is the Burning Mound of the Shawnees, southeast of Circleville. There are several large elms adjacent to the aforementioned site of the Logan Elm that are probably almost as old. Beyond Congo Creek, on the southern bank of which stood the Logan Elm, and over Scippo Creek, the trail leads past the lookout hill in the center of the Plains known as the Black Mountain. Up Scippo Creek a short distance lay Cornstalk's Town and the town of the Grenadier Squaw. 


Signal Tree Near Richmondale


* A Note of Special Interest

An amateur historian named Tom O'Grady tells of his recent discovery of a “signal tree” on Weddington Hill, south of Richmondale, Ohio. Do you know what a signal tree is?

In order to live and work efficiently, these tribes needed a way to navigate their land and communicate with one another. Called "marker trees," or "trail trees," saplings were carefully bent by a local Native American tribe, forcing them to grow in unnatural shapes. They became guideposts essential to the Indians' way of life. The shapes of the signal trees varied depending upon the tribe and the message being relayed. The trees are typically made from those of the hardwood family, such as oak, maple, and elm.

These unique formations communicated a special message to the tribe members. Some of them stood as a geographical divide said to mark the boundary between two local tribes. Others, like highway exit signs, pointed tribespeople to water sources, medicinal plants, and special burial sites. They were also used to indicate safe-crossing points at rivers, rock or mineral deposits for tool-making, and the burial sites of their ancestors.

Tecumseh and His Pan-Indian Campaign

Tecumseh, himself, made epic journeys on many Native American trails arguing the need for inter-tribal peace and unity to counter the land hunger of the United States. He and his brother, the Prophet Lalawethika, with the help of runners and riders, used established Indian trails and waterways to organize the so-called “Pan-Indian Campaign.”

With his skills as an orator and leader, Tecumseh labored to unite American Indian tribes into a strong confederation to prevent further division of tribal lands and to resist the advance of white settlements. This "constant motion" gave rise to so many stories of Tecumseh visiting Indian communities that the exploits resembled an aboriginal version of the "George Washington slept here" legend. His love and duty for the land evoke understandings felt to this day. 
 
All present-day residents of the Scioto Valley should be mindful of Tecumseh's allegiance, a great heritage that continually challenges us to honor and be ever appreciative of the land on which we live. Largely without conscious recognition, we tread upon the same pathways once taken by native inhabitants. 

In 1811, Tecumseh warned of the fate the American Indians would suffer unless they united to resist the white man. Do we properly respect what we once usurped? It is not without anguish that we better understand the obligations of our settlement. From the words of the great Shawnee leader ...

... but what need is there to speak of the past? It speaks for itself and asks, Where is the Pequod? Where the Narragansetts, the Mohawks, Pacanokets, and many other once powerful tribes of our race? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white men, as snow before a summer sun. In the vain hope of alone defending their ancient possessions they have fallen in the wars with the white men.

Look abroad over their once beautiful country, and what see you now? Naught but the ravages of the pale face destroyers meet our eyes. So it will be with you Choctaws and Chickasaws! Soon your mighty forest trees under the shade of whose wide spreading branches you have played in infancy, sported in boyhood, and now rest your wearied limbs after the fatigue of the chase, will be cut down to fence in the land which the white intruders dare to call their own.

Soon their broad roads will pass over the graves of your fathers, and the place of their rest will be blotted out forever. The annihilation of our race is at hand unless we unite in one common cause against the common danger, and thus escape the common fate.”

Your people, too, will soon be as falling leaves and scattering clouds before their blighting breath. You, too, will be driven away from your native land and ancient domains as leaves are driven before the wintry storms.”

Sources:

“The Ancient Ohio Trail.” http://www.ancientohiotrail.org/routes/lower-scioto-valley.

Emmit A. Conway, Sr. “Trail Signal Trees.” http://www.oldeforester.com/Sigtree.html.

Historic American Indian Tribes of Ohio.” Ohio Historical Society. www.ohiohistory.org.

History of Lower Scioto Valley of Ohio

Indian Trails and Towns in Ohio.” http://ohiomounds.com/?page_id=28

Cassandra Lewis. “These Trees Have Secret Native American Codes. Their Meaning? Brilliant!”
https://www.littlethings.com/native-american-trees/.

“Remarkable Ohio: Scioto Trail.” The Ohio Channel. https://www.ohiochannel.org/video/remarkable-ohio-scioto-trail.

“Warriors' Path.” Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. https://www.nps.gov/cuga/learn/historyculture/warriors-path.htm.


Frank Wilcox, William McGill, Richard S. Grimes. “The Scioto Trail or Warriors' Trail.” Ohio Indian Trails.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

"Kendall's Fancy" -- The Lucasville Bluebell of Fact and Legend


 

But when I looked upon the bank
My wandering glances fell
Upon a little trembling flower,
A single sweet bluebell.
    Anne Bronte
In 1991, Nell Bumgarner wrote a simple account of a flower in A Backward Glance, Volume II published by the Lucasville Area Historical Society. I know that Nell adored the woods and loved to share her in-depth knowledge about local natural settings. She feared such knowledge was being lost. She once wrote …

What, oh what, has come to pass? No wonder our world is in such a sorry state. Children, and even grown-ups, stare blankly when I ask – in earnest and really wanting to know – 'Are the deer-tongues in bloom?' Maybe a grown-up might seem more comprehending after rephrasing of the question: 'Have you noticed any dog-toothed violets blooming yet?' Not a violet at all, 'trout-lily' in proper parlance. Yet where can I find one single person who cares? Once queen of the sciences, botany has been exiled to the status of castaway.”

This precious gift of botanical knowledge was largely bestowed upon Nell by her father, Benjamin Yeager, and, of course, she loved sharing that interest with Guy, her doting husband. I will never forget how she expressed to me the importance of possessing such wisdom. After talking with Nell, I began to be much more aware of the charge to understand our own natural settings.

Getting back to that flower, here is the entry ...

About a century and a half ago in Lucasville, a flower, so fragrant and so sweet in appearance with its thick, light green leaves, growing about ten or twelve inches to blooming in early spring, was called by interested natives 'Kendall's Fancy.' In its initiation from woodland to the growing community, it was discovered in its native habitat by William Kendall Jones, son of David and Rachel White Jones. Kendall, or 'Ken' as he was commonly known, was attracted to its modest appearance and delicate fragrance.

He gathered up a plant and transferred it to the yard of his wife, Rachel Morgan Jones, daughter of Thomas and Rachel McDougal Morgan. They lived in the two-story structure on the corner of U.S. Route 23 and Scioto Street, a home later owned by Young's. As time rolled on, the flower's popularity rose, and many of Lucasville's citizens had what would simply come to be known as 'The Bluebell' in their gardens and flower beds.”

 

Now believe me, I searched and searched for this particular variety of flower. I could find no reference to “Kendall's Fancy” anywhere. But, as often happens when researching one topic, other pertinent information springs to the fore that warrants examination. I found a mountain of information about the bluebell. I want to share it with you. I hope Mrs. Bumgarner approves of my entry is she chooses to view the blog from her heavenly seat.

Campanula rotundifolia – commonly known as the Bluebell, the Bluebell Bellflower, the Harebell, the Bluebell-of-Scotland, the Blue Rain Flower, Heathbells, or Witches Thimbles – is a flower that grows naturally in wooded areas of the United States, in USDA zones 3 to 8. Native to England and Scotland, the bluebell is a perennial plant named for the shape of the flower which looks like a tiny bell. These flowers grow in clusters and are usually, but not always, blue as the name implies. Bluebells can be a creamy, off-white color. The cream-colored bluebell is rarely found in nature. This plant has long stems and narrow leaves. It grows to be 12 to 18 inches tall.

The presence of bluebells helps identify ancient woodland – what Americans call “old-growth forest” – that has existed continuously since the middle ages. Before about 1600, planting of new woodland was rare, so woodland that was present at that time was likely to have grown naturally. Since bluebells flourish in natural woodland, they are a very easy way to identify ancient woodlands that could be of special scientific or historical interest.

Different Types of Bluebells:
    * Hyacinthoides non-scripta, grows in woodlands and in other shady places.
    * Hyacinthoides hispanica, also known as the Spanish bluebell shows up in gardens and can grow out in the countryside.
    * Hyacinthoides x massartiana is a common hybrid.
Winter is not here yet. There’s a little flower, up yonder, the last bud from the multitude of bluebells that clouded those turf steps in July with a lilac mist. Will you clamber up and pluck it to show papa?”

--Emily Bronte, from Wuthering Heights

The essence of the bluebell is said to bring a calmness, clarity and reconnection to our unique selves. How would one describe the scent of Bluebells? With great difficulty. Their scent cannot be distilled naturally like lily of the valley or lilac. Despite this, ever-fashionable perfumer Jo Malone has created a new fragrance called Wild Bluebell Cologne, which the manufacturer claims “evokes a morning walk in the woods, but is given a sexy new twist with the addition of jasmine and musk.” That sounds like a marketer's nondescript sales puffery to me.

However, Naturalist Matthew Oates tells us that flowers concentrate more energy on breeding during a drought rather than growing succulent stems. This means they produce more nectar and therefore scent in order to attract pollinators. "Bluebells smell best in warm and still weather," Oates says. "Also the plants make more reproductive effort when they are actually stressed to attract pollinating insects." That's a beginning to some olfactory understanding of this sweet flower.

The true scent? “We love native bluebells for their wonderful scent of cooking apple, mango, lychees, ginger and freshly mown grass, but that plant is in real danger,” says Dr Trevor Dines, a botanist for Plantlife. In truth, it appears that the actual smell of bluebells is an odoriferous mix-up of sweetness. Let's leave it at that.


A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.

--From “The Bluebell” by Anne Bronte

The popular flower has long symbolized humility – probably because of the way the bell shaped flowers bow down on the flower spike. The shape does resemble a nodding heard. Thus, it is easy to see how the bluebell is associated with constancy, gratitude and everlasting love. 

As bluebells begin to bloom towards the end of April, they have been long associated with St. George as that saint's day falls on the 23rd of June. Saint George, according to legend, was a Roman soldier of Greek and Palestinian origin and an officer in the Guard of Roman emperor Diocletian. He was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. Indeed, through his actions, George became a humble, venerated saint -- the bluebell being a seemingly appropriate symbol of the man.

Swedish botanist named Carl Linnaeus named the British Bluebell “Hyacinthoides non-scripta,” which basically means an “unmarked” hyacinth—to distinguish it from its classical ancestor of Greek mythology. In Greek Mythology, Hyacinths were said to spring from the blood of the dying Hyacinthus. The god Apollo shed tears that marked the flower’s petals with the mournful letters “AIAI” (“alas”) as a sign of his grief.

Considerable risk was believed to be associated with the flowers. In folklore, bluebells are closely linked to the realm of fairies and are sometimes referred to as "fairy thimbles." Should anyone ever want to summon the fairies, all they had to do was ring the plant as if it were an actual bell. But, on the other hand, if any unfortunate soul should ever actually hear the bluebells ringing, then this was a sign that their or a loved one’s time on earth would very soon end – thus, the name “Dead Man's Bells.” It is also lore that fairies were believed to cast spells on those who dare to pick or damage the beautiful, delicate flowers.

The realms of superstition record it was considered very unlucky to bring bluebells into the houses of anyone who kept poultry. If a person dare to ignore this advice, they would soon find a shortage of chicks, ducklings, etc. The reason being that the eggs simply would not hatch out.

Bluebells are widely known as “harebells” in Scotland. The name originated due to the hares that frequented the fields covered with harebells. Some sources claim that witches turned themselves into hares to hide among the flowers.

Don't pick bluebells? That is more than superstition to plucking the flowers in the United Kingdom. In 1998 the bluebell was included in the amended Countryside and Wildlife Act. It listed common bluebells as protected, and trade in their seeds and bulbs is prohibited without a special permit.The Common English Bluebell is a beloved treasure of Britain where its presence is said to indicate the ancientness of a forest.

 
Bluebells by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1899

Like most plants, bluebells have a medicinal history. Though little used in modern medicine, the bulb of the bluebell has diuretic and styptic properties. Dried and powdered, it has been used as a styptic for leucorrhoea, and Tennyson speaks of bluebell juice being used to cure snake-bite.“In the month when earth and sky are one, To squeeze the bluebell ‘gainst the adder’s bite.” Folk medicine uses the bulbs as a remedy to help stop bleeding.

The bulbs are poisonous in their fresh state. The viscid juice, also existing in every part of the plant, has been used as a substitute for starch, and “in the days when stiff ruffs were worn was much in request.” The only problem with this was that because it is also highly irritant the poor laundresses often developed painful sores, not to mention the discomfort of those who wore the fashion. From its gummy character, it was also employed as bookbinders' gum. In addition, it was also reportedly used as a fletching glue for setting feathers upon arrows.

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care.

From “The Bluebell” by Emily Bronte

The bluebell is easy to care for and spreads rapidly under the right conditions. This flower is a favorite of hummingbirds because of the shape of its blooms. The long, narrow flowers create the perfect cup for a hummingbird from which to take nectar.

The bluebell prefers partial sun with some shade in the afternoon. They do well when planted with ferns and other woodland plants. These plants do best when kept moist, so water them daily. Bluebells are useful for keeping the pest nematodes (a roundworm) under control.

I may not have found references to “Kendall's Fancy,” but thanks to Nell Bumgarner, I have found a wealth of information about the beautiful bluebell. Perhaps this entry will entice some folks to step into the woods and do some firsthand natural exploration. I am sure she would love to know that her historical entry inspired a few new walks in the woods. As Dr. Robert Emerson French noted in the volume Lucasville Lore, “My Aunt Nell probably isn't like yours. She's a peculiar person: distinguished in nature, not ordinary, eccentric, and sometimes contrary, yet dear and quite special to me!” That she was and that her memory will thankfully forever be.

This earth is one great temple, made
For worship everywhere;
The bells are flowers in sun and shade
Which ring the heart to prayer.
The city bell takes seven days
To reach the townsman’s ear;
But he who kneels in Nature’s ways
Hath Sabbath all the year.”

From “The Ministry of May” by Thomas K. Hervey

Sources

“9 Fascinating Facts About Bluebells — England’s Favorite Wild Flower.” Britain and Britishness. http://britainandbritishness.com/2016/04/bluebells-9-facts-favorite-wild-flower.html.



Athlyn Green. “Bluebell Flowers: Beautiful and Whimsical Perennials.” https://www.hunker.com/13427067/facts-on-the-blue-bell-flower. September 25, 2017.

Jamie Merrill. “Britain's bluebells now face a fight for their very survival.” Independent. April 25, 2015.

Louise Gray Short. “Sparse Seasons for the bluebells – though they will smell glorious. Telegaph.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2063969/Scent-time-From-rosehips-bluebells-traditional-English-garden-beauty-s-new-inspiration.html#ixzz5BlQMaabu