I remember once, around 1979, taking a walk with some neighbors down that road. We went first to the cemetery in the woods behind my house, then cut down down the ridge to Bucket Run. Emma (pronounced Emmy) was with us, and she showed us where her first home had been, a rough cabin that still had her iron bedstead inside. She remembered who had lived in the empty houses, and where the old schoolhouse was.
Emma told me about the baby that was found under the schoolhouse, wrapped in blankets, dead. No one knew whose baby it was. She talked about a murder, I think, on Trace Fork, something about a young man and a young woman and a barn. Emma had many stories that day, and I wish I could remember them all. (Years later when I asked her about these stories, she did not remember them.)
I had not been down Bucket Run in years. But a few weekends back, we noticed that the road was graveled. Graveled! It was done by the gas drillers, of course, so that they could access their well sites. We took advantage of the gravel and made a quick trip up Bucket Run. Here is what we saw:
It looked okay, but we could see a ford ahead.
Muddier and muddier!
Which was around? Larry headed to the left. The right looks a little troublesome.
Only one way through this one--up the middle.
Surprise! Someone was living up here? or is it a summer camp? Years ago a family lived here, I remember, but I thought the place was vacant. Looks very nice now, well cared for.
Bucket Run follows its happy rocky path in and out of the road.
Evidence of drilling. We didn't recognize this place--where was the road?
Aha! There, meandering off to the right. I tried to remember the building ahead...
It was the house we always called the Brown Place. Not because of its color, but because of the family that owned the land up until about 15-20 years ago.
A door long disused, like much of the farmland on Bucket Run.
According to Emma, this holler was a busy place when she was young. The houses were full of people who worked on the bigger farms on Trace Fork. They were paid for their work with buckets of pickled corn and beans, hence the name, Bucket Run.
We did not venture up to the old log cabin that is near the head of the holler. The last time I saw it, about 10 years ago, the roof have given way and the cabin was on its way to ruin. I hated to see that because it was a well-built place, with dovetailed corners and big logs. But because of its inaccessible location, there was no way to retrieve the logs without cutting some road, even assuming the owner would have been willing to sell them. I remember a primitive cabinet in the cabin, and newspapers on the walls (used as wallpaper to keep out the drafts, no doubt) dating to the 1930's. There was a log barn once, too, and a chicken coop and pig pen.
I was glad to see Bucket Run again, although the changes wrought by the drillers were startling and will probably bring more change because the road is somewhat more passable. We plan to go back soon, and walk up to the site of the old log cabin. I feel sure there is little left to see of this old homestead and perhaps that is as it should be. The buildings were constructed from the produce of the land, and so they return. Dust to dust.