A past column on Kinniconick Creek brought several responses, by telephone and by electronic mail, from readers with fond boyhood memories of life on the Kinniconick.
Some readers will recall reading parts of this column four or five years ago. I must rehash because I’m out of town for the weekend.
Terry Frazier grew up in South Webster, but his father was transferred to Olive Hill, Kentucky, when he was 13. This was in the mid-1950s.
At Erie School he met Jim Schnell and Jay Henthorne, who, like him, were teenage boys looking for adventure. And they found it during summer stays at a cabin owned by Schnell’s parents on Kinney, about 20 miles away.
The cabin had a coal oil lamp, a wood cook stove and an outhouse. It stood in the deep woods along the creek at a place called Teutonia, an island that once held a lodge. It was built in the late 1800s by some of Vanceburg, Kentucky’s most elite citizens. They met there to discuss and settle the big issues of the day, as well as fish for muskie and smallmouth.
“The lodge, or hotel, was still there, as well as the swinging bridge the guests used to get out there,” Frazier said.
Our young heroes Terry, Jim and Jay would be dropped off by a parent and spend several days at a time at the cabin. Here they learned many of life’s lessons, including accuracy and safety with a .22 rifle, how Prince Albert smoked in a pipe can make you green around the gills, that robbing a bee tree can lead to much discomfort and few rewards, and the difficulty of fording the creek in a 1952 Studebaker and a 1951 Ford following a heavy rain upstream.
It was Jay who was sawing off the limb with the wild beehive in it when the bees swarmed out and nailed him.
He slid down the trunk of the tree and hit the ground shouting, “God bless America! God bless America!”
But his pain was not altogether from the bee stings.
“He had some kitchen matches in his pocket.” Frazier said. “The friction created by sliding down the tree ignited them, burning a hole in his pocket and a blister on his leg.”
MORE ON TEUTONIA
The late Dr. Herbert Bertram wrote several stories about Kinniconick Creek in his 2001 book, “Three Shorts and a Long.” One of them is titled “The Legend of Teutonia,” found on page 34.
The men who built the lodge, Bertram reported, “were pillars of their community, church going, and well respected, conservative citizens.”
The location of the lodge was enhanced by the fact that it was several hours journey by horse and buggy and in a very sparsely populated section of the county.
The great round table where they “pondered and discussed all weighty matters” of the community, state and nation “had little bins facing each seat where they could place important documents or other necessities for pleasure as the evening progressed,” Bertram wrote.
They had engaged John Morgan to cook for them as they handled all these weighty matters. One day when they ran out of “supplies,” Morgan took the team and wagon on the nearly all day journey to town and back for replenishments.
When he returned his goods included two barrels of whiskey and a sack of flour.
A Mr. Hamond asked Morgan, “Why did you get all that flour?”
Whereupon Judge Pugh snapped, “Shut up, Lewis! After four nights and three days of poker and liquid refreshments I believe I’d like a biscuit.”
MORE ON KINNEY
Kinniconick Creek, a long, winding, rock-bottom stream, begins and ends in Lewis County. It was apparently named by the Shawnee. It’s name is believed to have meant “falling water.”
It heads up on a hill near the Lewis-Fleming County line, a few miles east of Wallingford. It drops nearly 700 feet before entering the Ohio River at Garrison.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were a number of fishing camps and private cabins along its banks. The flood of March 1997 ruined many of them.
In 1888, W. E. Barton penned an 18-stanza poem about the Kinniconick. One versa says:
“There the sycamore tree and the butternut grow
And the dew from their branches makes ripples below.
And the birch and the willow grow slender and thick,
On Kinney, dear Kinney, sweet Kinniconick.”
Dr. William M. Talley, who published “A Trip Down Kinniconick” in a 1972 edition of the Lewis County Herald, called the clear, tumbling stream “a natural and historic treasure of Lewis County.”
The creek, he said, can easily be recognized as having a natural beauty and charm that is quiet unspoiled and rare these days.
“It should be high on the list of natural and historical sites that must be preserved,” Talley wrote
A free trout derby is coming up near the end of October, 2012. Itwill be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 on Roosevelt Lake, just off Ohio 125 in Shawnee State Park.
The event is for kids 13 and under and seniors 55 and over, all of whom will be fishing for fun and prizes.
Catch a tagged fish and win a special prize.
Personnel with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will provide instructions on paddling a canoe.
Sponsors for the event include the ODNR, the Civic Forum, Walmart, Southern Ohio Medical Center, the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co., King’s Daughters Medical Center and the Ohio Division of State Parks.
MEN OF VALOR
Monday, Oct. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m., I will be at the Portsmouth Public Library on Gallia Street signing my book, “Men of Valor.”
The 310-page book, just out from the presses of the publisher, the Jesse Stuart Foundation, consists of World War II combat stories of veterans from this area. I interviewed as many of them as possible and wrote their stories between early 2008 and mid-2011 while I was working as a general assignment reporter for the Portsmouth Daily Times.
These men, all in their mid- to late 80s, were teenagers just leaving high school when they answered the call to go and fight against an enemy on the far side of two oceans.
Across the nation these men were dying daily and taking their stories with them. The ones I reached agreed to tell what this terrible war was like so that future generations will know and remember. They are all good WWII stories, on land, on the sea, and in the air.
Sad to say, this past week I found at least nine of them have died since I interviewed them.
The book is priced at $20 even.
If you can’t get by the library to get a copy, you can order one by making a check out to me for $26, which includes the cost of handling and mailing, and send it, along with the return address you want the book mailed to, to me at 50 First Street, South Shore, KY 41175.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.