Back in july, Kathy and I went in search of some property I had in Ripley.. For some background, My Grandfather gave me and my cousin Mike Morris a couple acres of ground in the hills around Ripley for our service in the Vietnam War. He was upset that we didn’t get a parade, so this was his gift. I haven’t been up there in years but we were determined to reunite with it. The roads had been changed since I had last been up there, they rerouted Chicken Hollow Road, and it no longer led to the promised land. However, North Pole Road went through to Howard Ridge, which went through to Howard Hill, which went through to Devore road. We had made it, though on roads better suited to cows and John Deere’s. When we were kids, my Grandpa and Grandma, Art and Nellie Specht settled up there for God knows what reason. He built a house, mostly out of an old barn on the property, and me and my brother Jim had to pull construction duty in the summer time. We pulled down that old barn and hauled all of it up to the house site, which seemed miles at the time, but really was only a couple of hundred yards. We had a lot of neat memories of the place. His dog had gotten bit on the nose by a rattlesnake. My Dad’s old car had plummeted down the hill when the brakes went out. Good times.
I dragged Kathy into the woods in search of the barn’s foundation to make sure I didn’t just halucinate about the past. It was straight down hill the whole way, with all the distractions of the woods… ticks, spiders, giant anthills, deer, webs, stange noises.. She was about to bail till she saw the rocks in the creek… that did it. They would look so good in the back yard. Groan. But like a good soldier, I did my duty and hauled a bunch of them home.
On the way out, we investigated an old house and graveyard that dominated the area on a nearby hilltop. The biggest gravestone in the place belonged to Cyrus Howard, and he seems to be the partiarch for the surrounding area. There were a lot of Howards in that graveyard. It sat on top of a hill with a commanding vista… The house must have been Cyrus’ place. The date on the house was 1848, and that fit’s with his gravestone. His stone was very interesting as it describes his demise as being robbed and mortally wounded in Ripley, on the night of Feb 14, 1877…He died around two weeks later… The oldest gravestone you could still read was 1810, 2 years before Cyrus was born… There were still Indians around then!
All in all, it was a great afternoon, I only got 3 ticks. We have some pics in the Gallery…