Early pioneer, Gresham Callahan, left indelible mark on Dark Corner
Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Indian fighter, pioneer, trapper and trader, Gresham Callahan, came to the mountains of the Dark Corner in the very early years of the nineteenth century. He first appeared in the census of 1810.
He settled at the foot of a mountain that bears his name. The modern day roadway that traverses the route of the old State Road passing by his mountain is now aptly named Callahan Mountain Road.
A higher mountain on the opposite side of this roadway is called Old Indian Mountain. There are some who say that this mountain, too, is named for Callahan since one of his numerous nicknames was Old Indian. Others say the mountain was named for an aging Cherokee chief.
In any event, Gresham Callahan was the first known resident of a log cabin built at the foot of Old Indian Mountain around 1810. Log cabin experts consider it an unusual structure because it was started in the Cherokee style of construction and finished in the style of white settlers to the area.
Located a short distance from Poinsetts Bridge, built on the old State Road in 1820, the cabin was Callahams residence at the time of the bridges construction. The State of South Carolina paid Callahan and three other settlers small amounts of reparation for damages to their crops in converting the Indian trail into a usable toll road.
The grizzled old trapper and trader was buried on Graveyard Hill, a small ridge between Old Indian Mountain and Little Mountain, to the northeast of Callahams mountain.
The log cabin came under the ownership of John H. Goodwin at some point. He sold it along with 300 acres to the Rev. John Jack Gosnell in 1875. Three generations of the Gosnell family lived in it.
A portion of the 300 acres was sold to the Blue Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America for a camp, named Camp Old Indian, in 1927. Luther Gosnell, the last member of the family to live in the cabin, was caretaker for the camp until his death in 1941.
After 1941, the cabin was used for a few years as part of camping activities but then fell into disrepair since the scouting organization did not have funds to renovate and maintain it.
In 2009, three men with ties to the scouting adventure at Old Indian were instrumental in the removal of the Gosnell Cabin from the mountain and its restoration in&bsp; the Mauldin Cultural Center at the intersection of Murray Drive and East Butler Road (County Route 107). The official historical marker is installed at 101 East Butler Road, Mauldin.
The ghostly tale of a phantom baby crying, in our last column, can most likely be explained by a natural phenomenon. Pumas (relatives of&bsp; present-day mountain lions and bobcats) were native to these mountains in the early days of settlement. Their calls were often mistaken for a frightened babys cry. A visitor to the mountains would probably not have been cognizant of that fact.