Have you pondered anymore about the "Unknown Creek"? Or did you recognize it immediately?
For those wanting to reminisce somewhat, please continue reading. For those of you
that do not need a reason to travel back in time, please feel free to skip to the
end of this text.
Lewis Creek, as I knew it, was one of the first creeks that I ever saw, waded or
tried to drink the water from. To this date, I don't know its' source, nor have I
ever been to where it starts. Somewhere above McHenry this creek flows Southwest
through Ohio County to the Green River. It empties into the Green about half way
between Rockport and Ceralvo. Highway 62 crosses Lewis Creek at Rockport and we
always called the old bridge, Pet Render Bridge. This time frame was in the mid-Twentieth
Century. Since then, the bridge was replaced years ago and I guess that it is still
called "Pet Render Bridge". The way we pronounced the name was Pet Render Bridge and
it was sometimes hard to make out what was being said unless you know what was being
talked about. In those earlier years, Highway 62 would be covered, in several places,
with flood water in the spring of each year and this bridge area was one of those
spots. While school may not have been canceled during this "Flood Time", most of
the local kids would try to make this flood event and try to ride bicycles across
the high water. Going from the Rockport side of the bridge to Roy Hoskins' place
was a feat to behold. Most of the times we were successful, but at times it got deeper
than the bike. The new bridge and the levee build-up in the sixties corrected this
problem...... Well, it was not a problem to us teens and pre-teens, it was a place
to play for a few days before the headwater and/or backwater went down.
An Old Iron Bridge.
This is not actually the "Old Iron Bridge" on the Ceralvo Road, as mentioned in this
web page, but is a very close resemblance. Hope it is close enough for those of you
that remember the old bridge.......
The first time that I ever remembered seeing
Lewis Creek was during a "Walking Trip" to the Old Iron Bridge, that crossed the
creek just before Curtis G. Maddox's old place, and on the road from Rockport to
Ceralvo. Juanita Park was a Kennedy then and taught third grade at Rockport. While
it never became a yearly event, some of the teachers at Rockport, in the forties
and fifties, would take their class on a short trip and in some cases, it would be
a walking trip. Can you imagine a teacher now days starting out with a class of about
thirty, third-graders, travel down a busy highway, and head out to a bridge some
three miles or so from the school. Me neither as you would need a police escort,
road guards, probably safety equipment and who knows what else. I don't remember
taking any thing to eat or drink with us, but am sure that something was available
if needed. I am sure that I was quite impressed with this old iron bridge and a
creek flowing under it.
Since that first trip, I have hunted, fished, and hiked the old creek from the Green
River to the Pet Render Bridge. While squirrels, rabbits or other game were never
plentiful in this area, it was a good area to hunt. It got to be crowded at times
and competition became keen to see who could get to a certain place, or a certain
tree first, if we were squirrel hunting. There were places along this old creek
that a person could occasionally spot a "Swamp Rabbit". To kill a swamp rabbit, you
had better have a good rabbit dog and it would be helpful to have packed your lunch
as this hunt could last a few hours. A few miles above the old iron bridge, going
up Lewis Creek, a ditch empties into Lewis Creek. We called this ditch the "Drudge
Ditch" or "Grudge Ditch" depending on how it was slurred. Think that the government,
years ago, dredged out a smaller drainage ditch to alleviate flooding and the "Drudge
Ditch" was born. Now if you had the stamina and could hike up to the grudge ditch,
you were beginning to get into an area where the woods seem to be your woods. Bob
Decker would tell of a tree, "Up the Grudge Ditch", that was so tall that if a squirrel
was in the top of the tree, you had better wait until it came down, as it was out
of range of a normal gun. Oh yes, I found this tree and several more just like it.
Then, I would repeat the story that I had to wait until a squirrel came further down
the tree before I could make a clean kill.
Then and now. Surprise, this old creek will now support life. From the first time
that I ever saw this old creek, the water was "Acid Water" and fish, nor any other
aquatic life could survive. "Coppers Water" was the norm for creeks in this area
and Lewis Creek was one of the worst. While we could and would drink from the Green
River, most of us never was able to swallow much water from Lewis Creek. The source
of the problem was the "Runoff" from all of the old underground mines in the area.
Now, a lot of this "Runoff Water" or "Coppers Water" has been treated and most of
the creeks are flowing with clean water. Surprise to know that some of the water in
our area is cleaner, in this regard, than it was fifty years ago. Don't think that
the Green River has faired as well. Sorry to say that most of the rivers in West
Kentucky are polluted enough that it is advisable not to eat very much of the fish
taken from these waters. But, that is another story.
Hum, did not intend to write a chapter on this old creek. Just took this picture
last fall and was reminded of days gone by.
Thanks for looking and for reading.
Web Page by jrd from a stat made in 2002.
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