So here we are on this Day 3 of our 5300+ mile summer road trip from West Texas to Indiana to Connecticut, back to Indiana to Florida and ending in NE Texas. The main reason for this roadtrip is to look at and hopefully purchase our "new-to-us" home-on-wheels. Along the way, we'll be picking up as many new geocaching counties as we can and seeing some of the sites along the way. So hop on board the GeoJeep and let's go see what we can find.
Well we didn't quite make it out of Missouri yesterday. We stayed the night in the town of Sikeston in Scott County. We were going to have dinner at the famous Lambert's, where they throw the fresh rolls out to you. But we weren't up for the long lines and over an hour wait! So we came back this morning to grab the geocache (GC2JC3X) for the county and take some photos.
Driving east on US-60, we crossed over into Mississippi County. We stopped for a quick geocache (GC4KW34) in Bertrand for the county and kept moving.
Further down the road I spotted this roadside historical marker and had to stop for a photo. "Rev. Owen Whitfield with the support of local landowner, Mr. Thad Snow, and 1500 black and white sharecroppers camped here in harsh January weather several days in 1939 to protest the plight of Boot Heel sharecroppers. The event received national attention. Owen and Zella Whitfield met with Pres. Roosevelt and ultimately received his support for the cause. This community has dedicated January 10 as Thad Snow - Owen Whitfield Day."
My next three geocaches were all in one corner of a park. There was a virtual geocache (GC710E) and two earthcaches (GC1A369, GC1A36F). Fort Defiance State Park is right at the corner of Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky as well as the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River. It is also the lowest elevation point in Illinois.
On November 14, 1803, Lewis and Clark landed here with their Corps of Discovery party. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and survey the recently purchased Louisiana Territory, their six days here was one of the longest stops made by the expedition. Their stay allowed Captain Meriwether Lewis to teach Captain William Clark how to navigate using a compass and a sextant. Because the 3rd Principal Meridian begins at the mouth of the Ohio River, astronomical observations at this point were crucial.
Above: nearly 175 million tons of goods are shipped via the Mighty Mississippi River each year. Below: Candy and her grand-daughter down at the southernmost point of Illinois and the convergence of the two rivers. The Ohio River is entering from the left. The Mississippi River enters from the right-rear and continues down to the far right.
Our last stop for today was just a few miles away in a town called Cache, Illinois (GCR01C). I can't find out much info on the community of Cache, IL other than it was laid out in January 1904. Found a newspaper article in April 1927 suggesting the town was flooded out. Then a few decades later the Cache River was rerouted to empty into the Mississippi River instead of the Ohio River. Whatever happened to the town, this bridge isn't singing anymore.
While researching the town for this blog, I came across some articles for a cemetery called "Seven Mile Graveyard" located between Cache and Cairo. The Find-A-Grave website had 7 memorials listed, but no photos. I came across another 8 newspaper articles of people that were buried there and added those memorials. Then I came across a more recent article of the cemeteries demise:
Excerpt from the Southern Illinoisan, April 30, 1999:
"The cemetery was incorporated in 1853. In 1878, many people who died in a yellow fever epidemic were buried there. By 1921, the cemetery was overgrown and unkempt. In 1955, the land was purchased and the cemetery was bulldozed and turned into a pasture, a piece of history turned to dust and memory."
So sad. Perhaps one day someone can further research local records and discover the location of the cemetery. Maybe even more names of those long forgotten souls can be discovered and added to the Find-A-Grave website. And if just one descendent can make that genealogical connection, even better!
Well we still had about 430 miles of driving to get to Decatur, Indiana by tonight. So the rest of my planned geocaches had to be bypassed. That's NOT something I like doing either. Tomorrow morning we go check out our potential new-to-us home-on-wheels!
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