Last week I wrote about my fall break trip and the story seeds I found along the way. A sign I have seen along the way several times now on the same route is “Little Laughery Creek.” I like the way it sounds. I picture water bubbling along over a rocky bed, green banks dotted with shady trees, and sunshine streaming through and glittering off the water. I can hear the happy sounds of flowing water, the merry laughter of children playing, and the quiet contentment of fishermen. I imagine different stories that might take place there. Maybe Little Laughery Creek runs through the pasture of a family farm and the story will be about the children who grew up playing on its banks. Perhaps a solitary hiker stumbles upon it. The creek could inspire a nonfiction piece. It is a seed… I am not sure yet how it will be planted and what will grow from it.
Since Little Laughery Creek is a real place, I decided to research and see what I could find out about it. Imagine my shock at finding that the name is a result of a mispelling! It started out to be Lochry Creek, named for Colonel Archibald Lochry. It was the site of a Revolutionary War battle! Lochry and his soldiers were trying to join General George Rogers Clark in a battle for Detroit, traveling the Ohio River and ending up on this tributary creek. Neither Lochry or Clark were aware the British had Indian scouts following their movement. When Lochry’s hungry men killed a buffalo and stopped on the creek bank to prepare a meal, they were ambushed. Forty soldiers were killed. The others were taken prisoner. Those who were wounded and could not continue the march, including Lochry, were executed.
After recovering from the shock of these facts, I found a lot that is close to my imaginings. The creek is decribed as gorge-like, a feature which has kept it unspoiled by development. Its banks are lined with trees like the giant sycamore, yellow poplar, buckeye, walnut, elm, maple, oak, white ash, dogwood, redbud, and cedar. Wildflowers like bluebells, buttercups, Dutchman britches, trout lilies, and wild blue phlox bloom nearby. Blue heron, Canada geese, owls, and hawks fly overhead. White-tailed deer, beaver, mink, foxes, coyotes, racoons, squirrels, and rabbits roam the forest. Large and small-mouth bass, bluegill, catfish, shad, and sunfish swim the waters along with otters. Freshwater mussels can be found in the creek bed.
Laughery Creek is a premier fly-fishing site. It boasts campgrounds with names like Tipsaw Lake, Cold Ass Creek, Foggy Bottoms, and Paint Creek Dam. Need supplies? Stop by Wormies Bait and Tackle!
The creek is spanned by bridges built in the 1800s. The Laughery Creek Bridge, also known as the Triple Whipple Bridge, was constructed in 1878. The Busching Covered Bridge was built in 1895. Both are picturesque reminders of days gone by. Both of these can be found on bridgehunter.com (who knew?) with lots of photos and lively discussion from bridge enthusiasts.
Here are a few photos I collected:
With all of this, I guess I now have a whole packet of seeds for a Little Laughery Creek story! I don’t think I will plant them, though, until I visit Little Laughery Creek in Versailles State Park in Southern Indiana. I’m going to have to talk my sister into a little road trip…