The story we share with you today is from “Brown County Remembers” and was written by Chattie Wade Miller.
There is an old road in Jackson Township, Brown County, which has extremely interesting history.
It ran west out of the town of Bean Blossom across the hill and dale ending up some many miles away on Carmel Ridge and is now known as “Lawson Road.”
On one end of this road a man who was so quarrelsome none of the neighbors could tolerate him. On the Carmel Ridge end of the road a man was accused of chicken stealing. Both ends of this road are now closed to traffic.
First out of Bean Blossom this road crossed the John Turner Hill. On top of this hill just west of the road had been an old Native American camping ground. Not longer than a few years ago, arrowheads and all kinds of Native American working tools broken up by years were plowed up there.
At the foot of this hill is, or was, a never-failing spring of cool, clear water. Tradition has it that Daniel Boone in his wanderings made camp at this spring.
Just beyond this spring the creek bends and has cut a huge bluff. This bluff was known as “Hunnicutt Bluff” because during the Civil War a deserter being chased by federal officers jumped off the bluff and into the creek below. Mr. Hunnicutt escaped capture.
The Lawson Road crosses Bean Blossom Creek angling northwest. Here it is joined by what is known as Railroad Road. Not far up this road lived an elderly couple who hid out all night in their big old barn from the Native Americans. I remember as a child seeing the remnants of this building.
Also, back in that day, when a death occurred the bodies were not embalmed, they were laid out in the homes. Neighbors and friends would come to spend the night with the family. At night the men present had to build a big bonfire in the yard and keep it going all night to keep the wolves and other wild animals from prowling around the house.
Where Railroad Road joins Lawson Road on top of the hill an old log cabin stood on the right. During the Civil War a band of Knights of the Golden Circle, along with deserters and draft dodgers, holed up here. They tramped the ground in the daytime unafraid and foraged at night for their food. The Knights and the Golden Circle were southern sympathizers.
These men could be seen by the women whose husbands were in the service, and who had been left at home with the responsibility of children, home and farm. These women were becoming desperate. Among them were my grandmother, Emaline Helms Snider and my great-grandmother Sally Long Snider. My mother, Mary Jane Snider, was a 3 year old child.
Living in the same neighborhood was an older man who was too old for the-army, Mr. Whitman. He was determined to get this notorious gang out of the neighborhood and rode horseback to Fort Benjamin Harrison to ask for help
A company of soldiers with horse drawn cannon started for Brown County. They were about halfway there when the “Hilltop Gang,” being notified of the cannon and it purpose dispersed.
One night during the war my grandmother and my great-grandmother were sitting by the fireplace in their cabin with several of the neighbor women, smoking their pipes, when the door burst open and a Union Soldier entered. Without a word he searched the cabin thoroughly. Then he left. He was looking for deserters.
When all of this was occurring, my great-grandfather, William W. Snider (known as “Tobacco Bill”), was in the 126th Infantry Indiana Volunteers with General Sherman in Georgia. He was one of the foot-weary soldiers who marched through Washington at the close of the war.
Lawson Road continues over the hill to Oak Ridge Chapel and Cemetery. Before reaching the cemetery, there is a valley cradling Dunaway Creek. This valley was known to oldsters as “Witch Hollow.” Years ago, a woman living in this valley became “bewitched.” She threw herself on the floor and fell down in the yard screaming. Neighbors went to help, but to no avail. Finally, the spirits left her. She said she heard them “go out under the door, sounding like a swarm of bees.”
Farther up the valley where it narrows to just a creek between two wooded hills, lore has it there lived a family who sent their 10-year-old son on an errand in the hills and he never returned. No evidence was ever found of him. It was finally decided that he had been captured by the Native Americans.
There used to be many cabins in that valley, but all signs of the cabins are gone. This was a very desolate valley. When the creeks flooded after storms it washed my father’s wheat shocks down the valley and piled them against a fence.
— Submitted by Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society