BRACEWELL HOMESTEAD BUILT ON INDIAN VILLAGE SITE

 

About a half mile south of the site of the old Bracewell homestead, (which is still in the family), on the crest of a hill is a small outcropping of rock.  The rocks are common sandstone with a coating of platen indicating their long exposure.

In several of these rocks are holes, some ten inches in diameter and twelve inches deep, which were obviously man made.

Although the last known camping grounds of the Bedia tribe was near Village Lake the tribe was known to have ranged the entire area between North and South Bedias creeks.

The Bracewell homestead was apparently an Indian village site at one time.  One can easily see why this site would appeal to anyone whose life was completely attuned to nature as was the Indians.  The site overlooks a small clear creek, which supplied drinking water, and is just above the “Blue Hole”, a small, shaded, deep soapstone bottomed bend in the creek which would have been a watering spot for wild game which the Indians hunted.

Blue Hole probably served as a bathing place for the Indians just as it did for many Bracewell children later on.  The water seemed like ice on a hot summer day.  The spot no doubt provided perch and frogs for the Indian diet.  The site has a liberal supply of hickory trees, some bitter pecans, and many oaks, all of which supplied food for the Indians.  The low places along the creek are thick with blackberry vines, and mulberries, huckleberries, persimmons, and both “cutthroat” and muscadine grapes are plentiful.

Close examination will reveal arrowhead flakes around the rock outcroppings indicating that the Indians made arrowheads at this spot, apparently from rock brought from other locations or traded for.

The clearest evidence that the Indians occupied the land for a long period was discovered in the early 1930s.  One morning, when Earl Bracewell went into the barn, he was surprised to find that one of his hogs, which had been penned in the barn, had rooted up the remains of an Indian.  The remains of the Indian body were few, but it was apparently an adult male.

Many large hide scrapers were also uncovered with the Indian remains.  David Bracewell has a collection of these today.  Several other pieces are held by other family members at the present time.

It is possible that other undiscovered Indian graves are located near the one already uncovered; Indian burial sites became sacred grounds and were usually used for generations.  One can still visit the Indian village site in the family sedan, provided there has not been a recent rain on the dirt roads.

Also, of interest would be the Bracewell home site which still has the plum orchard, pear tree, walnut tree, as well as the lilies, phlox, and other flowers which still bloom.  The original seed for these plants was put in the ground thirty, possibly fifty years ago.  This site will amaze some, as it did me, who labor each weekend, sometimes without success, to keep yard plants growing.

Undoubtedly there is something special about this place which the Indians chose, the Bracewells chose, and which brings back memories for so many of us.

                                                -----Copied from “The Reunion” Vol. 1, June 1971