Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T. E. Story #58

There is old beat-up sign at the crossroads that says that it is 3 1/4 miles to Broad Creek.  I told Josh that we would stop for lunch and we would make it a cold lunch stop.  That will save some time and effort at least.  The river side of the road continues to be fallow fields as far as we can see.  It is probably somewhere between two and three miles to the river (Potomac) and the sketch map that I have shows the road first closing that distance slightly, and then going inland as the shoreline of Broad Creek Bay indents into the river bank.  On the landward side of the road are cattle feeding behind a rickety wire fence and in the distance smoke curling up as from a chimney.  That is probably the home of B. Kirby.  As we pass the dirt road leading to Mr. Kirby's house and small barn we see that it is not well kept and there is no name sign.  The next house down the road will be on the right side and that will be C. Rosier's place.  The fields to the right of the road are fenced with a split timber fence.  I see several men working to repair the fence in one place.  The house comes into sight and it has two barns and two other outbuildings.  Josh pulls the carriage over to that side of the road and using my pocket spyglass I can see that one of the barns is resting on a stone wall and foundation.  This barn is the older one of the two, and would make an excellent fortification base.  I will mark that down.  I carefully put the glass away as Josh keeps a steady pace with the wagon.  Directly across the road from the Rosier entrance is the entrance to the A. Brook House with a small sign also reading that this dirt track is a through track to the Uniontown--Broadcreek Road in 1 1/3 miles.  Just below the dirt track the forest starts again, it is a second growth woodland with lots of brush.  This woodland extends to both sides of the road and as we move further South the trees get much bigger and I believe we are now viewing a first growth woodland.  There is no fencing on either side of the road.  The road is cast in shadow and the gravel Macadam surface has given way to a dirt road.  This would be a real mud-hole in short order with artillery or heavy wagons moving over it.  Also the road dips into a cut below the surface of the ground above by about four feet.  There is evidence her of large puddling of water during a rain.  It is dry now, but it will not take much to collect water here and with the shade it will take a long time to dry out.

Just past the dip in the road is a road junction.  The right hand road -sign says that the road goes on to the "Dangerfield's Fishery" and then tacked on below that sign is a new board which notes the B. Elders house and Notley Hall at a distance up the road of 4 1/2 miles.  This will be a road for Hezzie to ride.  The road is a two track, one horse carriage, road, which probably means that the fishery does all it's outgoing and incoming fish and supplies by boat.  This would mean a significant pier, something to note.  In another quarter mile we site the next bridge.  This one is over Henson's Branch.  So I ask Josh to pull the wagon over and while I wander over to the bridge, he will be checking the wagon wheels for grease.  The bridge rests on a double set of timber uprights.  A quick look under the bridge reveals that the timbers extend into the creek and they are badly corroded by river water and green moss.  The timbers are about 10" in diameter and look to be pine.  This bridge is only good for light carriages, infantry, and cavalry.  We are back on the road in ten minutes, and I continue my description; Henson's Branch is about 30 feet wide at the mouth and the canyon that it runs in has steep banks (30 degrees) and is probably 40 feet deep.  The branch itself has dark water just North of the bridge in sunlight, so I would estimate something over ten feet deep in the canyon.  The branch runs deep in it's canyon North, out of sight.  It is my belief that one would either have to re-bridge the Branch or go a long way North to ford it effectively.

In another quarter mile we come to a T-intersection with a road leading directly East.  The road has no signs to tell where it is going.  This will be another road for Hezzie to ride.  The road has a gravel base but looking down the road it does not look heavily traveled.  In another one/half mile a church steeple is seen to the left and soon there is a nicely graveled road leading to the left.  The appears to be some trees in back of the church and a good place to stop for lunch.  As we pul into the lot behind the church there are four wagons already parked there, and one of the men standing on a wagon seat shout to the others, "They're here!!"


All the Best To You and Yours;

Your Good Friend;

Jim Mathews

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