Recently, I was asked by a friend about some local information, and when I went into research mode, I pulled out some older manuscripts, and came across this bit of lore, to add to the Warren County Barren River legends. It follows along with the Middle Bridge and Lilanthal’s Curse legends, in that it involves a girl… Of course it involves a girl! But no treasure. Sorry!
The following account was taken from page 9 of Emory H. White’s manuscript, The Barrens (c. 1986). Mr. White was born at Martinsville, on Barren River.
“Samuel and Andrew McFadin (sic.), Revolutionary War veterans from North Carolina, built a station on the north side of Big Barren River near the mouth of Drake’s Creek in 1785. It was a popular stop-over on the Cumberland Trace. A little later the first cabins were built several miles downstream at the present site of Bowling Green. About 10 miles east, or upstream from McFadden Station, between 1785 and 1790 Hudson “Hook” Martin established a station on the Old Settlements trace. It is said he was so-called because he had lost a hand and had a hook as a replacement.
“There is a story that relates that Martin had a very beautiful daughter, Some explorers or hunters stayed for a while at Martin’s Station, and one of the hunters fell in love with Martin’s daughter. A duel was fought between the hunter and the girl’s brother, who wished to avenge her loss of honor. The girl threw herself over the bluff by the station and was killed where the Big Spring flows into Barren River. Each year, on this same night, if there is a full moon, the water from the spring runs red. However, I have never met anyone who has observed this phenomenon. By 1820 the station had become known as Martinsville and the store was operated by a William Martin. When this settlement was abandoned many years later, all the land was bought by Ed White.”
AN: Emory H. White was a school teacher, and as I said at the beginning of this section, he was born in the Martinsville area. He had relations buried in a few of the cemeteries in this area, and he spent many hours in research on the origins of place names along the Big Barren River in Warren County. Hope you enjoyed this version of events from the long ago past. We may never know the truth, as so many legends abound… But it seems it was definitely about a girl!