Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette Promo: Turkey Foot Rock

Turkey Foot Rock (circa 1860)
The latest issue of the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette is now on the newsstands. My contribution to the newspaper is an article about the legend of Turkey Foot Rock.

What, you've never heard of Turkey Foot Rock?

Turkey Foot Rock played a role in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which took place on August 20, 1794 – 220 years ago this August. During the battle, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne and his troops battled a confederacy of Native American tribes.

Late in the battle, one of the Wyandot chiefs jumped atop a large boulder and attempted to rally the warriors to keep on fighting. He was shot by one of General Wayne's men and was later buried (as the legend goes) under the rock. His fellow tribesmen carved turkey foot markings into the rock to honor his memory. The rock became known as Turkey Foot Rock (and the late chief was forever referred to after that by white men as Chief Turkey Foot).

The rock and its legend both became quite well-known in the area. At a time in our young nation's history when we weren't erecting monuments and memorials yet, the rock achieved prominence as a symbol and landmark of the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

It was featured on many picture postcards through the years. It was a place for boy scouts to hike to, and a great place to have a picnic. In other words, it was a beloved part of the scenery in the Maumee region.

Strangely enough, for a rock that weighs several tons, it even had a few adventures. It was moved several times (the last time ending up upside-down), and at one point was even stolen!

But now in 2014, it's virtually snubbed by snobbish modern-day historians who say the legend isn't true – even though an Indian skeleton was found under the rock when it was moved. Turkey Foot Rock sits forlornly in a park just off a frontage road to US 24 that is almost impossible to get to, with no signage to even guide you there.

So if all this sounds interesting to you, be sure to pick up your FREE copy of the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette and read "Turkey Foot Rock: The Rocky Story Behind the Legend." (For you locals, it's available at the Vermilion Farm Market.)

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