Friday, April 19, 2013

Lucy Davis Maggard Coberly

Pioneers who traveled the wagon trails to the West braved many dangers and to survive the trip one had to be fearless. Their adventures inevitably became mixed with fiction in “tall tales” of the wagon trains. Consider this tale of screaming, disembodied teeth in "Bravos of the West" by John M. Meyers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Flint of Flint Creek

In Flint Chips No. 3, Dan Meschter related a story of a Hudson Bay Company prospecting expedition to Henderson Creek in 1849, long before the settlement of the Flint Creek Valley. Meschter's source was a letter to the "New Northwest" newspaper in 1875 by William Graham, a pioneering prospector who heard the tale from the H.B. Co. manager, Angus McDonald. Angus' geographic reference is "Arrow Point". That must have been the huge flint quarry at the "The Eyebrow", which seems to have been a major flint source for millennia. The Eyebrow first appears as a geographic name in this spot on the 1958 topo map of the area. We continue that usage (for now) while recognizing that earlier geologic work by Pardee uses "Eyebrow Hill" to denote a different topographic feature, a hill near the mouth of Douglas Creek on the east side of the highway. 

The Eyebrow is one of the archaeological sites covered by Patricia Flint in her excellent UM master's thesis on local archaeologyThis quarry is no doubt the reason the creek just to the east is called Flint Creek, and that the Hellgate River was called the Arrowstone by early geographers.
The term "flint" is a slight misnomer, as "flint" is a variety of chert, a sedimentary form of silica, while the silica at the Eyebrow is hydrothermal in origin, and would better be described as chalcedony. Nonetheless, since "Chalcedony Creek" doesn't have the same ring as "Flint Creek", we will refer to the stone at the site as "flint" for historical reasons.