Monday, December 22, 2008

Cooper's Defeat Creek

Got in a nice 13 miler on Saturday morning, but nadda yesterday other than 20 minutes of elliptical work. Major props to those who braved it; i'm not that tough.

In honor of our great start to winter, I thought I'd paste a local story from a winter day almost exactly 177 years ago. In Stark County, just south of Bradford and running west to the Spoon River is a creek called Cooper's Defeat Creek. The story behind that name is interesting. And we thought a winter run was tough:

“The winter of 1831-32 was the winter of the deep snow. The weather before Christmas being pleasant a party of four men was equipped by a trader by the name of John Hamlin, then of Peoria, who was buying furs for the American Fur Company. Fitting them out with an ox team of two yoke and provisions for their journey from Peoria to the Winnebago swamps, with goods to trade to the Winnebago and Pottawatomi Indians, they started on their journey. Soon snow commenced to fall, the air grew colder, and continued to grow more so as they went along, until they were compelled by the fierce cold and driving snow to abandon their team. In fact the snow was so deep that the cattle got swamped and they were left to their fate. With Boyd’s Grove in view, the men started, guided by a large tree and a light at the grove. A man named Ridgeway was the only one of the party who succeeded in reaching the grove. The other three, two of whom were William and Jerry Cooper (the other name forgotten), perished on the prairie near a stream southwest of Boyd’s Grove. The bones of the men and the cattle were seen in the spring following, also the sled, as the soldiers of the Black Hawk war were marching, all mounted, 260 strong, to make battle with the Sac and Fox Indians. The stream where the men perished has since been known as ‘Cooper’s Defeat.’”

3 comments:

blueollie said...

Those guys should have surfed to the Weather Channel Website prior to starting out. :-)

dirt_trail_runner said...

ha, what were they thinking??

John Butte said...

Happened upon your story of Coopers Defeat Creek. I grew up on a farm 1 mile north and 1 mile east of Boyds Grove, and attend schools in Bradford. Where did you find the story of how Coopers Defeat Creek was named?

Regards,