YOUNGS CREEK, MEMORIES, AND ME
By Joe Cisco
Young's Creek, a meandering stream, gets its start from several small streams, starting in Pleasant, Franklin and White River townships [Indiana] and flowing in a generally southern direction until about road 100 N. Then it turns east and back north to near road 200 N., then resumes its southeasternly direction crossing State Roads 44 and 144 to about one-third of a mile south of State Road 44, where it turns in an easternly direction. On the south side are some of the highest, almost perpendicular banks along the entire creek. It continues on its way in an easternly direction through Province Park, where it turns south and continues on out of the City of Franklin, eventually emptying into Sugar Creek, near road 500 south.
This story concerns Youngs Creek as I knew it from the high banks to the City of Franklin.
When I was approximately eight years old it was a treat to be taken by my dad on it fishing trip up Youngs Creek and it was rare if we failed to catch a mess of fish, consisting mostly of butter bellies (sun fish) and yellow bellies (mud catfish). If we had soft crawdads or minnows we could add small mouth bass to our stringer of fish.
By the time I was ten I was allowed to go fishing and swimming with my brother, Leon, and other boys. In the winter Leon and I would set a few traps. Fur was very cheap then. A good muskrat was worth twenty-five to fifty cents and a star skunk, one with a small white spot on the head and no other white, would bring fifty to seventy-five cents. We never made the big time but twenty-five or fifty cents was a lot of money then, especially to young boys.
By 1929, I was trapping all winter and making fairly good spending money and continued to trap until the winter of 1937 and 1938.
As summer approached, my trapping companion John Henderson, and I decided we should try pearl hunting which was a fairly good deal for me as it turned out. I found seven nice pearls that I could sell or trade, but John was less fortunate. He did not find any of value. However, he made up for it in trapping as he caught more muskrats than I did.
In the spring we started swimming, sometimes as early as the first of April and it would be so cold we would jump in, make a circle, and get back out.
There were four well-known places where we swam (skinny dipping), all west of Greenlawn Cemetery. The first was white hole, about three hundreds yards west, where we could dive from the roots of a large sycamore. The water there was about six feet deep for about five feet out from the tree and then shallowing up quickly. This is where I learned to swim by lying on a board and paddling about with both hands and feet. I also learned to dive there.
At ten years of age I found my first Indian arrowhead and this began a hobby that I have continued to the present day. I hunted the fields on both sides of Youngs Creek from Greenlawn to the previously mentioned high banks. I have found over one hundred unbroken arrowheads and a cigar box full of broken ones, four celts, two axes, and three pistols. Most of these were found in three places. One was where Country View Mobile Home Estates, another was the next field east of Country View, both being on high ground and having big springs flowing from the foot of the hill to the south; and the other being the field just west of Greenlawn that is now part of Greenlawn and running west to the Creek. All of this field is covered by U.S. 31 and by trash.
In my many years of hunting, swimming and fishing along and in Youngs Creek, I found several interesting items. One of the most interesting being a mastodon tooth, six inches tall and four inches wide, weighing three pounds. I have spent many hours searching but, so far, have not found any more teeth or any other part of this large animal.
Over the years several changes have been made in the creek bed. At the northeast corner of the cemetery, the creek flowed to the east for approximately one hundred yards before turning south and joining its present bed and continuing in a south-east direction to the Main Street bridge. Before the change in the creek bed from east to south, a thirty inch tile emptied its flow of fresh water into a channel about ten feet wide, twenty inches long, and four feet deep that flowed into Youngs Creek as it turns south.
In the late summer of 1925, for two or three days, the above channel was so full of fish you could throw a bare hood in and snare the fish. This was caused by the polluting of Youngs Creek by tomato canning by-products that came from the Whiteland cannery storage pond when the dike broke.
Around 1927 or 1928 a new bed was dug to allow a more southeastern flow. The new channel was from four to six feet deep and soon became one of the best, if not the best, small mouth bass fishing areas in central Indiana. During the summers of 1930 and 1931 I know over one hundred and fifty bass, the largest over four pounds, were taken from this area, and I can truthfully say that I caught my share.
The creek was also changed from the old railroad bridge to just west of U.S. 31 A large sycamore grew at the west end of this change and under this tree I watched several local people play poker on Sunday afternoons. Apparently they had played for a good many years as you could almost always find an Indian Head penny or two after high water had washed the loose dirt away. But now the tree is gone and so is the surrounding area where the pennies were found.
To my sorrow, the years have taken their toll. The swimming holes no longer exist, the fishing is just fair, and finding Indian artifacts is almost a thing of the past.
Yes, I still take an occasional walk along the creek and memories come flooding back. It is winter now, but come spring, and God willing, I will once again take this walk down memory lane.
Originally published by Sharon (Cisco) Parish in the Nostalgia News