Have you ever had one of those weeks? Or months? I have and this has been one of them. Suffice to say that as much as I love my dead relatives, the living ones come first. And to my fellow bloggers out there on the internets—take a lesson from me … always have a few posts “in the bank”!
Now where was I? Oh yes, the Haworths on the Holston.
Our new friends Carmen and Susan took us down the road and introduced us to their neighbor Gilbert. A WWII veteran, he’s lived in the area a long time and his property is literally right on the river. We caught him working in his yard and tending his dairy goats but he was kind enough to stop and show us around.
Just down the road a bit from his house is the location of the old Indian Cave ferry. The ferry operator’s house is still there. The cave itself is just on the other side of the river, hence the name of the ferry crossing. It looked to be formed from limestone, but we didn’t have time to do much investigating. (I’m adding it to my list for the next trip!)
Interestingly, the area of Missouri to which the Haworths emigrated after the Civil War has a similar limestone geology. The Holston River is also the border between Jefferson and Grainger counties. Gilbert told us that back in the day, politicians would make speeches from boats in the river so they could talk to both counties!
Between the ferry operator’s house and the riverbank is the biggest willow tree I have ever seen. According to Gilbert, it is probably 200 years old, which is amazing given that willow wood tends to be soft, and the trees short-lived. In Oklahoma, they tend to blow over in a strong wind.
The legend is that once upon a time, a weary traveler came to the ferry for passage across the river. He had walked a long distance and was carrying a walking staff made of willow wood. Either in gratitude or as payment for his fare, he thrust the staff into the ground where it took root. Now that I think about it, the willow tree is a lot like Gilbert himself… a survivor and full of stories