Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cagles Mill Lake & Lieber State Park

One of the local residents enjoying his lakefront property.
After losing so much of the day in Terre Haute, we had to modify our plans for a night’s sleep, and chose Lieber State Recreation Area near Cloverdale, IN. Our paddling destination at the state park would be Cagles Mill Lake, a 1,400 acre lake created in 1952. This area was in the Wabash River Valley, and had been home to the Miami, Shawnee, and Potawatomi tribes.

There's that old question about whether a tree falling in the forest makes
a sound if there's no one there to hear it.  It undoubtedly can cause a lot
of damage.  It was a blessing that this huge oak decided to crash through
a children's playground in the middle of the night when no kids were there.
The tribes began to feel the crush of white Western expansionism as early as the late 1700’s. Frequent conflict culminated with the Battles of Tippecanoe and Fallen Timbers. The unique Ten O’Clock Line Treaty was signed in 1809 as a way to assign lands separately for whites and Indians. The shadow cast from a particular tree at 10 O’Clock on treaty day would put settlers south and west of the line, and the tribes north and east. That line crosses what is now Lieber Recreation Area.

The lake was still flooded, but you can see the lines along the
surrounding hills as the levels dropped.
On Mill Creek at the head of the lake is Cataract Falls, the largest waterfalls in Indiana. This explains why some locals call the lake Cataract Lake. Below the dam at the opposite end was Cagles Grist Mill, for which the lake was named. It was destroyed by fire in 1975, but the low-level dam that was at the mill still remains in place.

The marina store and piers are on floats, but all the fixed walkway
is under water, as were the beach, bathhouses, and parking lot.
It was late when we arrived, only 45-min. before the check-in gate was closed for the night. It would mean setting-up camp in the dark, but I was concentrating on paddling. I told the girl we’d stay a couple days so I could paddle the lake. I asked where we should launch, and she said, “Well, the marina is closed. It’s underwater. We’re at 16-ft. above flood stage.” I tried to sympathize, saying how horrible that was. She said, “No, that’s great. We were at 40-ft. above flood stage.”  The storms that had brought devastating tornadoes to Oklahoma, dropped heavy rains on the Southern U.S. as they moved east.

The Herbert cemetary, established by the pioneer settlers that came
to farm this area.
We were camped in Poplar Grove Campground. We were to learn that the lands were the former farmlands of the Herbert family. Their family cemetery is located about a hundred yards behind the restrooms and showers. The stones that could be read introduced us to a number of generations of the Herbert family. Maria, wife of Joseph Herbert, was born five months after the beginning of our War of Independence in 1812. She died in 1890, having out-lived Joseph by four years. Homer Herbert died there in 1879 at one-month of age.

Maria Herbert.

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