Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lock 3

Lock 3 in Independence County.

Old Lock 3 sits on the upper White River in Independence County.  Back in the 1940's there was a lock house sitting above old Lock 3, but all that remains now are some concrete stairs and ruins.  There are Lock and Dam #'s 1, 2, and 3 spanning White River and all are located in Independence County.  Historic pictures are available through the Library of Congress online:

My dad's side of the family lived in this area and fished from this Lock as kids, and hunted the land for food. The location has been passed down to the younger generation as way of preserving our family history and out of pride. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ruddell Mill

(Originally posted at Exploring Izard County)

Following are photos of the remains of one of the earliest mills in the White River Valley, The Ruddell Mill just outside of Batesville in Independence County. Not only is the mill significant for the role it played in the early industry of the White River Valley, it was built by a significant character with close connections to one of the great figures in American history, Tecumseh.

 Ruddell Mill was built sometime around 1830 by John and Abraham Ruddell. Abraham (also known as Abram) along with his brother Stephen, was taken captive by the Shawnee after a raid on Ruddell's Station in Kentucky in 1780 during the Revolutionary War. The fort was named for Isaac Ruddell, the boys' father, who commanded and refortified the site the year before. After the raid, Stephen, the older of the two, was adopted into the tribe and became very close to Tecumseh. Stephen and Tecumseh grew up together in the same home and became as brothers. Abraham, however, was sold into slavery, bought by a mean and bitter widow of the tribe. Abraham's life among the Shawnee was very rough. He survived to settle and thrive living near the mouth of Mill Creek in the area we know as Ruddell Hill near Batesville.

It is said that Abraham Ruddell spoke in broken English until his death in 1841.  Ruddell was among the first settlers in the White River Valley, likely settling here as a result of his adopted Shawnee having occupied the White River Bottoms of modern-day Stone County by permission of the Cherokee Nation from 1817 to 1828. His reasons for not living among the Shawnee were likely legal. It was unlawful for a white man to own property in the Cherokee Nation of the Ozarks formed by The Treaty of 1817. John Lafferty's widow, Sarah Lindsey Lafferty, was forced to relocate across the River sometime after the treaty was signed.  In fact, Tecumseh's mother, Stephen Ruddell's adopted mother, Methotaske, lived across the river from Sarah Lafferty and  Abrahamm Ruddell in modern-day Stone County until she died. She,  Methotaske, is buried near Penter's Bluff.

The ruins were nominated to The National Register of Historic Places and were listed as they should be. The Mill Dam is an extraordinary piece of work as the rest of the stonework at the site is also. It's a remarkable place and likely one of the most significant historic sites in our area.

If you'd like a little better picture of Abraham and Stephen's  lives, you can download a great essay about the brothers by clicking here!

Another article written by our friend, Historian and Genealogist Dale Hanks, is available to read or download here.



Friday, August 27, 2010

Encountering the Ancients!

First published at Exploring Izard County

More photos below!

Video at Bottom of post!

Last week, the EIC Crew was invited to go along with Larry Stroud, Associate Editor of The Batesville Daily Guard, on an excursion he had organized to visit the sites of five notable stone inscriptions in Northern Arkansas. The expedition, dubbed "A Trip to FAR" (Five Arkansas Rocks) by author and archeological historian, Myron Paine, first traveled to Powhatan Courthouse in Lawrence County on Thursday to view the Powhatan Runestone. Also with the group was documentary filmmaker, Lee Pennington, of JoLe Productions and area history buffs, Charlie Berry and Steve Cargill. Freda Phillips of our Exploring Stone County site was also with us during the excursion.

The impressive runestone was found in the late 1970s near Lynn, Arkansas in a field above a sizable spring. After discovering the stone, the couple who found it, Cleamon and Elsie Nicholson, sketched the inscriptions and forwarded them to the President of the Epigraphic Society of Arlington, Massachusetts, Mr. Barry Fell, for study. Mr. Fell translated the runic inscriptions as follows:

"This Stone Ari cut for (his) Son Nikolas"

He suggested that the stone was a 500 year-old copy of a much earlier Viking grave stone. Our visit to the site where the runestone was found allowed the EIC Crew to offer a bit of insight that might support Mr. Fell's claim. Rick and I immediately noticed that surrounding the little knoll upon which the stone was discovered, were several ancient thong trees (see video below). Perhaps this was a sacred place revered by ancient Americans who came to honor the resting place of an important ancestor.

On Friday morning, having lost Freda and Steve, we set out to a place along Poke Bayou in Independence County to visit a very exciting site possibly created by a member of Hernando DeSoto's expedition during the 1540s. On a high ridge adjacent to Poke Bayou on a rock shelf, an insceription reads:

Ho dE Soto A D 1541

Note - The red "1" indicates an engraving that has sheered off from the rock face in recent years...possibly as a result of vandalism

The site is very exciting and offers one important piece of evidence to lend credibility to the authenticity of the carving. Another stone nearby has a series of holes drilled into it only a few inches apart. It is known that early Spanish explorers used aligned holes drilled into stones to mark directions or locations.

All of these sites were exciting for us to visit and we hope that our presence with the group helped add a little to the understanding of the study of Pre-Columbian Ancient American History. We encourage you to visit Myron's site as well as that of JoLe Productions to get an understanding of the approach both take to unusual monuments such as those we visited.

"A Trip to FAR" also visited several other sites Friday afternoon and Saturday after Rick and I had left the group. They include two important rock carvings that I hope we will one day get to visit and share with our readers.

Enjoy the photos!

Video Below!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Please be Patient - Posting to Commence Shortly!


I'm Denny Elrod of the Exploring Izard County and Exploring Stone County blogs. Because of the success of our original sites, we've decided to expand our reach to surrounding counties in order to create interest in preserving the natural beauty, history, and culture of our area.

We ask that you grant patience to us as we give thought on how to proceed.

We look forward to serving you in the future and appreciate your support of our endeavors!


Denny Elrod