Thursday, April 19, 2018

HGB Ep. 254 - Old Town Spring

Moment in Oddity - The Nocatula Legend

In 1754, war broke out between the French and English. They were fighting over ownership of the Ohio Valley and both sides reached out to various Native American tribes for aid in their efforts. Cherokee villages were raided by rival tribes loyal to the French while Cherokee warriors were out fighting for the English. The Overhill Cherokees demanded that the English provide their villages with more protection, so they built Fort Loudoun, which was located at the mouth of the Tellico River, on the south bank of the Little Tennessee. The French began to lose, so they changed tactics and told the Cherokee that the English would eventually drive them from their lands, but they promised that they had no interest in settling Cherokee lands. this caused the Cherokee to switch sides in 1759 and they raided English settlements. They eventually laid siege to Fort Loudoun. An officer who was wounded in the fight, staggered into a Native American village. The chief took pity on him and his daughter, Nocatula, nursed the officer back to health. The two fell in love and the officer was accepted into the tribe and given the name Connestoga. Soon he and Nocatula were married. There was a problem though. Another member of the tribe was in love with Nocatula and he hated white men. One day, he plunged a knife deep into Connestoga's chest. Nocatula found him dying and pledged her eternal love to him and then she plunged a knife into her own chest. The chief buried the couple and in Connestoga's hand he placed an acorn and in his daughter's, he placed a hackberry. These two seeds grew into healthy trees and thrived for over 150 years before they eventually died. People in the town planted two more of the same trees over the graves, but they died and the legend claims that the couple rejected the replacements. Today, the stumps of the original trees remain as symbols of the couple's everlasting love and if this legend is actually true, it certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Booker T. Washington Born

In the month of April, on the 5th, in 1856, African-American educator Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. Washington was nine-years-old when the Civil War ended. He taught himself the alphabet and worked as a houseboy for a white family where he learned many of his values. He was educated at Hampton Institute, one of the earliest freedmen’s schools devoted to industrial education. He went on to one of his greatest endeavors when he founded Tuskegee Institute in 1881. This was a black school in Alabama devoted to industrial and moral education and to the training of public school teachers. He created a national political network of schools and became black adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. His widely read autobiography, Up from Slavery, is a classic. Washington's health deteriorated in 1915 and he was diagnosed by two different doctors with having Bright's disease. He was told he only had a few days and he asked to be taken to Tuskegee to die. He made it there on November 14, 1915 and died a few hours later at the age of 59. He was buried on the campus of Tuskegee University near the University Chapel.

Old Town Spring (Suggested by and researched by listener Dolly Ruther)

Old Town Spring is just outside Houston in Texas and started as a railroad boomtown in the mid-1800s. It then became a farming community that grew cotton and sugar cane, followed by a saloon town and finally today, it is a quaint shopping district full of historic buildings brought in from other towns. This is home to the Texas Heritage Festival and Texas Crawfish Festival. It is also home to a plethora of ghosts, both young and old. Each shop seems to have its own story. Listener Dolly Ruther joins us to share her experiences with the history and haunting of Old Town Spring!

Dolly shared nearly an hour of the information she gathered from shop owners, a ghost tour she took and the book, Haunted Old Town Spring by Cathy Nance.

Spring is a quaint little town that sounds like a fun excursion off the beaten path. A welcome respit from the big city of Houston. Could many of these shops really be haunted by ghosts of the pasts they brought with them when they were moved to town? Is Old Town Spring haunted? That is for you to decide!