Remembering Turner’s Spring on the old State RoadPublished 5:54pm Thursday, August 29, 2013
Turner’s Spring, located on State Road H912 1/4 mile west of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, has been a refreshing, cold water, wayside tarrying place for more than 190 years. It was named for Haskell Turner whose family- owned property on both sides of the road in this vicinity for many years.
The spring’s history, however, harkens back to the building of the old State Road in 1820. Travelers along the toll (yes, toll) road, after it crossed over the Upper Warriors Trail (the present day Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11), found a magnificent natural spring flowing from the north side of an unnamed peak into Barton Creek, on its way to the South Tyger River.
It was both a pleasant and a necessary rest, just before the road began a steep climb to reach Callahan and Old Indian mountains.
In 1820, it was known as Humpy Sod Barton’s Spring. Precisely which of the numerous Bartons, who had (and would continue to have) homesteads in the surrounding area, might have been called by that somewhat amusing nickname, is left to conjecture.
For well over 100 years, the spring remained open to the elements in a natural flow to the creek. Travelers in thousands of pioneer wagons paused at the spot.
After it became known as Turner’s Spring, the openness was covered and a pipe inserted through which the water flowed. This made drinking and filling containers much easier.
In more recent times, the rusting pipe was replaced by a V-shaped wooden trough. A wooden bridge spanning the creek gave way to the ravages of time and age, and a tree was felled for use in walking across.
When the Dark Corner Films production crew and I videotaped a DVD documentary segment at Poinsett’s Bridge four years ago, we planned to do a segment at Turner’s Spring on our way back to the studios.
We arrived at the site, loaded ourselves with video cameras and supporting equipment and nervously walked across the “foot-log” to the other side of the creek…only to discover that 12 years of drought had depleted the aquifer feeding the spring. Not a drop of water was coming from the trough.
Since that time, the Upcountry has experienced a welcomed period of moisture, which has begun to return the area to a more normal, and needed, rainfall. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough to fortify the natural aquifer and Turner’s Spring remains only a pleasant memory in the minds and hearts of Dark Corner residents.
With more than 23 inches of rain in the past three months washing away steep driveways in this part of the Corner though, I’m going to check out the old pull out at the spring location next time I go to Poinsett’s Bridge to see if it just might be flowing again.