Ghost Bridge Road

Have you ever taken a trip (drive or other forms of travel) where you set off for one kind of adventure and end up having a completely DIFFERENT kind?

Well, this is one of those stories.  I set off for Central Illinois with my regular ghost adventure buddy, John Hoblit.  We were returning from something (neither of us remembers exactly what) and decided to stop at Lincoln, Illinois where John’s father’s family hails from.

John had mentioned this road that leads to an abandoned bridge called “The Ghost Bridge”.  Well, I, of course was up for that!  John had done some research through a cousin of his named Leigh Henson and Troy Taylor’s website that talked about this bridge that was located between two old cemeteries.

We arrive and find the gate that leads down this old road. (The following picture is from John’s cousin, Leigh Henson).  These are the kinds of places I LIVE for.

It is about a 10 minute walk (taking time to slap the mosquitoes!)  The road winds through some pretty dense trees with a few clearings that show the field that surround the area.

So we come around the corner and there it is…the last remnants of this old bridge.

This is where I find out the great part.  This used to be a part of the famous Route 66 road!

Much of the information to follow came from Leigh Henson’s award winning website: http://findinglincolnillinois.com/rte66atsaltcreek.html

Salt Creek ( which was called Onaquispasippi by the Native Americans. I know what you are thinking and I completely agree!  Salt Creek is SO much easier) is the largest stream in Logan County and has been important to this region.

Its history began with the Native Americans and even includes a land dispute settled on the banks of the creek by none other than Abraham Lincoln himself!  The churches in the area used it for their baptism rituals which back in the 1850’s included total immersion in the creek.

So, where (most of you are probably thinking) does the Ghost from Ghost Bridge come in?  I, too questioned this.  I imagined a great story of a love between a Native American girl and a local white boy where both families refused to accept their love and the young lovers took their own lives rather than be separated.  I even though that maybe the stories of Boone Hoblit making his moonshine to sell continued on after his death with him chasing visitors away from the road so no one would reveal his secret.  But this is not the case.

In my research I found no such story.  My buddy John even called the local library in Lincoln.  He was assisted by a very helpful librarian who gave him a website that she assured him would prove interesting.  Imagine his surprise when the website turned out to be of the ADULT kind! (seems that the Logan County tourism website had changed their address and did not inform their local library!)

That is what I meant in the beginning when I spoke of thinking I was in for one type of adventure and having a completely different one.  The cemeteries on either side of the old road are very beautiful and peaceful and Troy Taylor talks of another in close proximity, the Old Union Cemetery on his website.   But the reason that this particular bridge is called a Ghost bridge is because that is what the people who seek out such abandoned sites call them.

Even though there is no great story behind the name, I felt that this place deserved to be mentioned.  As I stood there, with the light from the sun setting around me, it was easy to picture it as it once was.  It has that sense that places of the past carry with them.  The ability to, just for a second, transport us back. These places share their layers of history, from the days of Native American hunting and fishing, to the baptisms of the 1850’s, to the bootlegging of the 20’s and 30’s.  I hope you take the time to visit if you are ever in this area.

For more great tales of this area, please visit Leigh Henson’s website: http://findinglincolnillinois.com/rte66atsaltcreek.html

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events

Jehial Harmon

Jehial Harmon was born in Suffield, Connecticut, Oct. 5, 1762.  This made him only  12 years old in April of 1775 when the Battle of Lexington  (and the beginning of the Revolutionary War) occurred.  Jehial’s older brother served in the army but Jehial’s parents thought he was too young to go with his brother.  The parents finally relented in 1779, when Jehial turned 16.  His brother was ill and was forced to leave the service.  Jehial joined up and from all accounts fought bravely.

Jehial survived the war and went on to have a family.  Some of his children came to the “west” to settle and start families of their own here in Rockford.  Jehial came to live with his children in 1844.  He died here in Rockford on March 3, 1845.   Jehial was buried at Greenwood Cemetery.  His grave was marked June 14 1902. “Connecticut in the Revolution.”

Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events

Barbara Hamilton

Barbara Hamilton was only 14 years old when she died on June 6, 1909 in her home on North Second Street.  She had been ill for a while, in fact, her parents had just brought her  home from a hospital in Chicago where she had spent a couple of months struggling to get better.

Little Barbara took a turn for the worst and her father was called home from a business trip to Minneapolis.  He was a successful attorney. He made the journey by from Minneapolis to Janesville  by train and the rest of the journey by “automobile”.   He got to her bedside just a few minutes before she passed away. Unfortunately, Barbara was unconscious and the father voiced doubt whether she knew he was there.

Before her illness Barbara spent time riding horses and was a member of the Children of the American Revolution.

Barbara was said to have been a very sweet young girl and that everyone who knew her loved her.  She was the Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Hamilton’s only child and they were devastated when she
died.

There is a legend surrounding this little girl.  It seems she loved horses and when her beloved horse passed away, rumor has it that the family buried it here in this hillside so that it could be close to Barbara.  Psychics visiting the area in Cedar Bluff have been confused and startled to see a horse running through the cemetery.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events