Eighty miles west of the Atlantic, twenty miles south of Virginia, and two hundred years past memory, the small Meherrin River joins the Chowan, holder of pirate treasure and backdrop to a few colonial plantations.
No one has heard about this river, because its namesake, the Meherrin Tribe, registered its holdings in the appropriate court house in the 1750s. Individual Meherrins still hold title to ancestral land nearby. With deeds to their land, the Meherrin didn’t have to fight a losing war for their land as did the Tuscarora, whose name graces a beach a few miles downriver.
My teenaged grandfather used to canoe down this river during the Great Depression. He and his friends made their canoes out of castoffs from a veneer factory near Murfreesboro. “They just said, ‘y’all take all that stuff; we don’t want to burn it.'”The only interruption on his trip was the cable that spanned the River at Parker’s Ferry, twenty feet to the right of this view.
They caught fish and cooked them on the banks where they slept. When they had to return to family, chores, church and school, they offered fish to trucks that took the ferry, and the drivers would drop them, canoes and all, near home.
I don’t know how he stood the deer flies. I varnished myself with bug repellent and sustained eighteen bites. And that while wearing canvas pants, coat and hat to paint this picture. Even then part of me was underwater on the ferry ramp so that I could get a view.
You can find a good picture of the ferry in operation here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/08/3919675/best-kept-secrets-100-counties.html. Select the picture at bottom right if you follow this link.
Some pictures come from stories. Some occur when the story is over and our work is done and there is peace at the last.