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Pidcock Creek Cooper Mine
Upper Makefield, PA
I was lucky enough to be born into a young family whose members lived very long lives. As a result, I was able to experience the stories of my Great-Grandmother and her relatives who would give me the details not only of their lives - but of the lives of their Parents, Grandparents, and Great-Grandparents.
"Uncle Woody" was my Great-Grandmother's brother. I could listen to him for hours, and when I was lucky enough to be around for one of his visits - I did.
In their younger days, they lived at the base of Bowman's Hill on River Road. The Hill itself was originally named Beaumont's Hill, after the the family who lived on the other side of it. My Great-Grandmother would marry Stryker Beaumont, and it was how the Rossiter Family, on one side, became connected forever to the Beaumont Family on the other.
But that is a whole 'nother story.
One day Uncle Woody started to tell me about the "old viking cooper mine" near Pidcock Creek and at the bottom of Bowman's Hill. The key word here was "Viking." "Oh that's what I always heard as a kid and never had any reason to doubt it. It was always here, and they told me the Indians said they didn't build it but white men did. That would be impossible you know, unless it was the Vikings."
One day I set out to find this Mine but I did so in the Spring. I couldn't find it. But once winter hit, I set out again to look. There it was. You could see a stone ramp from the creek leading up the slope to an opening which is now partially blocked by a huge boulder. So it exists, for sure, but I've often wondered how the history books properly explain it's existence.
Captain Kidd's Treasure
Upper Makefield Township, PA
As my memory serves me, I am probably combining many different stories into one here. But considering Bowman's Hill was often the topic of conversation here is how I remember it:
Part of the hill was part of the Rossiter Farm. When the Commonwealth wanted to make it a park they offered the going rate and took it. Uncle Woody said "of course my Father was upset about it, everyone was, but what could you do?" I also remember him telling me that "my Father even gave them the stone for the Tower they built there, that came off of our property." From here I remember him telling me there were "graves" near the top of the hill. He also started to discuss the rumor that "Bowman's Hill" was named after Dr. John Bowman who was said to have served with Captain Kidd "at some point" during his Pirate hunting campaign. Eventually, so the story goes, Bowman got off the ship as it sailed toward New York and settled near the hill that now bears his name. Once Kidd was arrested and declared a Pirate himself, Bowman supposedly burried his treasure "somewhere" on this very hill.
Woody would tell me "I heard many stories growing up, some say it wasn't really him, same name but different person, but I heard about many people believing in it. One story I heard was someone up there digging around and actually having a treasure map too. As kids we would play and explore that hill thinking about where the treasure was burried and we had so much fun doing it."
The Indian Tree
Often I listened to Woody talk about the "Indians." He always told me he was impressed by the respect the older folks had for them:
It wasn't like in the movies, not around here anyway, and I heard about a lot of good memories growing up about them.
Your family owned a lot around here, in fact, they owned our Farm house before we moved in. His name is still written on the beam there. They also owned a man-made lake...you've seen it leaving New Hope on the way to Lahaska. Well for a time there was a woman, an indian who lived there, and Beaumont didn't mind at all. They let her stay as long as she liked.
Woody then shared his own "Indian" story with me: My Father had a farm with five daughters, and they were put to work. Once I came along, they put me to work too. It's just how it was back then. It was hard to find help, and even when you had it most of the time they would not last very long. So I was helping my Father clear trees on our land. I remember cutting down tree after tree when we came to one where the Indians had carved a picture into it. It was a fire, Indians, and guns stacked together. It was really neat. My Father made sure we didn't cut that one down and we moved on cutting the rest around it down but not that one.
Well, it wasn't long after that a storm rolled down the river and blew that tree over. By cutting down all of the trees around it, it no longer had any protection. That was sad really, and my Father wasn't happy about it at all. He always blamed himself for that happening.