Monday, January 10, 2011

Time and a Kentucky Creek

Kinniconick is a creek in Kentucky.  A reverie is a pleasant memory.  This blog is a collection of good memories and a history of the stream.   

                                           Chapter One

               TIME  AND  A   KENTUCKY  CREEK

 “There will always be the great rivers flowing.”

Those poetic words were written by Thomas Wolfe in his best-selling novel, “Of Time and the River”. He could not foresee, back in 1935, that earth’s population would more than triple and water resources would run low.  Human need and global warming have taken their toll, and in one century, after eons of creation, many of our great rivers cease to flow.  In the single span of a centenarian’s lifetime, the work of two billion years has been laid waste by man.  This paradox, eternity versus a nanosecond of time, is beyond our ability to comprehend.

French explorers discovered the Ohio River about three hundred and fifty years ago.  (The Ohio is a “young” river, but it had to wait two million years to be “discovered”.)  About seventy five years passed before the French mapped the beautiful river, setting bronze markers at the mouths of its tributaries.  As they floated their canoes down the Ohio, they probably placed one just downstream of present day Portsmouth, where a deep stream entered the broad river from the south.  On their maps it appeared as Connoconoque, a name based on a Shawnee Indian word for a kind of tobacco, a mixture of aromatic leaves and bark.  As settlers followed and opened up the West, the creek became known as Kinniconick.

                                          Watercolor by Winslow Homer

Thomas Jefferson floated on the Ohio and called it “the most beautiful river on earth”.  If he had ventured up the Kinniconick, he would have thought it to be the most beautiful creek on earth.  From the earliest days, this stream was a “creek” because its headwaters were only ninety miles upstream and someone had decided that a river must be at least one hundred miles long.  While no one would have questioned the creek’s beauty, who would have believed that the little stream was at least twice as old as the river? 

About five million years ago, a mighty river originated in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina and flowed northward, across Ohio, then westward to Illinois.  It is called the Teays River, and one of its tributaries was the ancient bed of Kinniconick.  For three million years, this river system carved the Appalachian Mountains, until the Ice Age sent glaciers and the Teays was dammed.  From this altered landscape and enormous flood, the Ohio River emerged in its present channel and Kinniconick settled into its original bed.  

During the life of the Teays, Appalachian plants from North Carolina took root in the Kinniconick valley as the flood carried their seeds northward. Glacial events in more recent eras transported fish species from the far north to the south, notably the muskellunge, and the exotic character of Kinniconick was created.

The first French canoe turned into the mouth of this stream in about 1725.  Those explorers found deep pools of clear water lined with sandstone boulders, gravel and sand. Virgin hemlock trees grew on the creek’s banks.  Oaks, tulip poplar, river birch and white pine flourished on the mountain sides. Water lilies, blue bells and trillium were in bloom, along with laurel and rhododendron.  The creek was different than all the rest. 

Kinniconick has survived into the twenty-first century. We can only pray that it will always flow.  My memories go back more than seventy five years and I remember the tales of my father and grandfather before me, so I have stories to tell.     



 

       


24 comments:

  1. Wonderful, Ken! I can't wait to read those stories!

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  2. p.s. I loved finding out about the geological history- I wasn't aware of the part about the Teays River.

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  3. Having grown-up on the banks of the Kinniconick along State Hwy 59 and Hwy 2524, your blog has made me incredibly homesick. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There is a place on our farm called 'High Rock' and one can see the entire valley from it. The Kinniconick was our playground.

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  4. My sister (Amanda that posted earlier) sent me this link and I'm so glad she did. I loved reading these posts. Kinney is beautiful and was a wonderful place to grow up. My parents are still there. You mentioned Field Stafford and warm memories came rushing in. He and his wife lived right down the creek from us. They taught me to hunt when I was a kid. I always knew him as "Shotgun" and she was "Boots". They were wonderful people.
    Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  5. To Mary....you made me happy when you remembered Field Stafford and his wife. They welcomed me and shared their beautiful place on Kinney, Liles Eddy, one of my favorite stretches of the creek.

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  6. Thank you for posting this. I am not too familiar with the Kinniconick area but you have given me a better picture of it. I recognized many of the names you have mentioned as people on my family tree. My German relatives also called the Kinniconick home at one time or another. By the way, Teays Valley is close to my current home in Circleville, Oh.

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  7. Ken, Great stories - can't wait to read more. I also enjoyed the link to Sharmon's site and her stories and pictures. It reminds me of my childhood on Kinny. We lived in Portsmouth, but had a fishing camp on lower Kinny for about 10 years, then moved to upper Kinny on some property owned by Henry and Ruth Bate - just a mile or so down stream from Shabo Mekaw. That area was so beautiful. I loved just drifing down Kinny with a fishing pole in my hands - what a great way to grow up.

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  8. I remember Mr. Bates. He was a school teacher as I recall and was very protective of Kinney (especially when Wildlife agents were using electric shock to capture native muskies). So your place was on Pine Eddy, a paradise back then and hopefully unspoiled now. Its been over thirty years since I drifted my canoe there but I can still see the Bates small glade on one bank of the Eddy.

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  9. Just finished reading chapter 8 on Pine Eddy...that is were we had our fishing camp on Henry Bates' place in the 70's. Believe his sons (Fred & Mitch) still own the farm. Fished the Eddy many times and swam in the Round Hole. The swinging bridge was there, but in disrepair. My parents were friends of Henry & Ruth (I think she was a Stamper). My dad caught his only Muskie in Pine Eddy. Yes, Henry was a school teacher (retired when I knew him) and I remember him telling stories of the shocking of Kinney. Really enjoyed your stories. Thanks for posting them.

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  10. I created this blog with the hope that people like Jeff would discover it and remember Kinniconick. So it is heart warming for me to hear that my love for the place is shared by others. Thanks Jeff.

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    1. Anybody know the name Daniels ? I am a Daniels descendent, my Great grandfather built a cabin for his family and future generations of the family to enjoy. It still stands then amazing memories continue!

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  11. Thank you for sending me the link to your blog, Ken. I enjoyed reading your posts. My paternal ancestors lived in Lewis County at its forming. My father grew up fishing and swimming in "the crick." I did the same many times in my childhood summers. I'll pass along the link to my Uncle Don who still lives there.

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  12. Here's a crazy one--today learned about the Kinniconick for the first time, bc we're selling our home and cleaning out the basement file cabinet--bottom drawer was always the map/travel drawer. Have enjoyed today looking thru brochures and guides of places we've been ad they head for the garbage can--some more than 20 years old--but one is a guide booklet to the Maysville area and has info about surrounding counties, one being Lewis. The first paragraph tells about the Kinney. Looked it up just now and found this blog. Dying to tell my husband, let's pack up and go!

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  13. I wish! And we were just in Maysville for first time in years last December--knew nothing about Lewis County.
    From NW Ohio--next trip south there will be a side-trip to a certain beautiful creek! Thanks.

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  14. Wonderful article and great info on the history of Kinny. I have lived in Garrison, ky my entire life and have wonderful memories of fishing and exploring around the mouth of the creek and the surrounding banks of the Ohio River. My wife and I now kayak and fish in several areas of the creek. She is not originally from here but has fallen in love with the beauty of Kinny.

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  15. The canoe was always my favorite craft but I'm sure your kayaks do a good job navigating the shallows of Kinney. It warms my heart to hear from folks who are inspired by that wonderful stream. Thank you for writing.
    Ken

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  16. Fred Bates, John Zornes here. I knew you and the Goodwins, who lived in the house across the crick on the hill and went to school with them. I should have read all of the comments before commenting on Chaptor Twelve. We had an old swingin bridge over on the Pugh farm, Ken. The Pugh farm is across the crick from Shabo Mekaw. I walked out that lane and across the swinging bridge many a time. Dang.... getting late... but so much to say... Take care Ken...Sharmon...Todd....

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  17. And, I just sent Rusty a link to this blog.

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  18. I keep meaning to visit this area. I descend from John Bloomfield, a miner who died in Echo, Buery, WV. His mother was Melissa Elizabeth Zornes, daughter of Jeremiah/Jerry Zornes. And my other grandparents lived in this area...Benjamin Burt and Priscilla Evans.

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  19. My stomping grounds were generally from the upper end of Beaver Pond and downstream as far as a camp known as Tetonia (I think I have the spelling right). My uncle (Pete Wilson) had a camp about a mile downstream of the old hotel and I spent hours and hours in a "hole" known to us as "Big Hole." Our mode of transportation was two flat-bottomed john boats built by my grandfather (Frank Wilson, Vanceburg). They were perfect for dragging over riffles. Just curious, but my grandparents spoke of a place they called White Pine Eddy. Do you have any idea if this is one and the same as Pine Eddy or are they two different places?

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  20. Pine Eddy does appear on some old maps as "White Pine Eddy", so your grandparents knew about my favorite spot, Frank. One steep hillside along the Eddy was covered with big White Pine trees and I assume that hundreds of years ago those trees grew in abundance along Kinney. The flat bottomed john boats are familiar to me. As a boy I fished with my Dad in one and it always leaked! Good to hear from you, Frank.

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  21. Are there more chapters to this read ??

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    1. There are 30 chapters in the blog. You can click on "newer" or "older" posts to find chapters that might interest you. Thanks for commenting.

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