I love the fall season. I am not particularly fond of horror stories, but I love listening to a good mystery or urban legend over a gleaming campfire. While it is totally against board policy or fire codes in the school, I still create a “campfire day” for my students somewhere around Halloween. We have s’mores (recipe at the bottom), black out the room, and tell Lewisburg Urban Legends around a gleaming campfire displayed on the smart board. Yes, we are learning! We analyze stories, make predictions, and learn the elements of suspense. We also learn the art of storytelling, how to hook a reader in, and how to write a cliffhanger. We read and analyze one of the most famous scary stories of all, “The Raven.” We talk about satire and create comic strips of the story. We close read the poem, talk about poetic devices and how they create the mood of the poem. We read the play, Sleepy Hollow, act it out, and talk about how to approach reading a play differently. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But, it’s fun. The kids enjoy it, and I have fun teaching. And in the end, we celebrate what we have learned with a good old-fashioned campfire day where we share what we have learned and fellowship.
The following story is one of my Lewisburg favorites that I share on campfire day. Enjoy!
Next time you are travelling south on Bethel Road, look out the window before you get to Miller Road on your left and Cat and Cow Vet Clinic on your right. You’ll see that the road crosses over a ditch, an un-named we weather creek that empties into the Coldwater River. Nowadays, guardrails line that spot on the road, but back when Bethel Road was just a dirt road, a wooden bridge spanned the ditch. The locals called it Glover’s Bridge.
Nobody in our family ever knew the first name of this Mr. Glover, but we all knew why that bridge came to be known as Glover’s Bridge. Back before my great-grandfather’s time (he was born in 1899!), a notorious horse thief was in the area and his last name was Glover.
As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for the local folks to tire of Mr. Glover’s criminal activities once he showed up in the community with his horse-stealing ways. The folks got together and formed an old-time version of a neighborhood watch committee. Since Mr. Glover never could resist other people’s critters, it wasn’t long before he was caught red-handed—stealing a team of young, green broke horses.
The neighborhood watch group immediately threw a party (and a lasso!) right there on the spot—which happened to be somewhere on what’s now Bethel Road and Craft (Lewisburg). Soon, Mr. Glover was dangling from a tree with a noose around his neck-and an old-fashioned hanging. And just in case he wasn’t already dead enough- or maybe because of his love of horses-the watch committee then tied the rope to the back o f that team of young horses, and fired a shot in the air. Down the road they flew; Mr. Glover still attached to the other end of the rope. That really spooked those young horses (a gunshot, a flopping limp body). They weren’t used to that, so they took Mr. Glover for a nice long final ride. Well, it was really more like a final drag…Mr. Glover either came off his rope or maybe the horses just stopped—heaving and panting and sweating there at the bridge. But for whatever reason, they stopped there which was a convenient location for the watch committee. The ditch and steep bank made an easy place to dig a shallow hole for a grave and to this day there lies Mr. Glover.
Back then, that stretch of Bethel Road was lined with trees. In places the branches actually met at the tops forming a canopy over the road. It was shady and spooky (especially if you knew about Mr. Glover lying near that bridge somewhere). Generations of children were scared of that spot, my great-grandfather included. My grandmother (born in 1930) recalled fear of the place. Every time she’d cross Glover’s Bridge, she’d always holler our, “What are you doing, Mr. Glover?” And he’d say nothing… My father and aunt would always say “Hello, Mr. Glover” whenever they would cross that ditch on their ponies. It was funny how those ponies would always get skittish in that spot.
In fact, people who didn’t even know the history of Glover’s Bridge would remark about how their normally calm horses would always get nervous there.
The Dyes who own that pasture that holds the remains of Mr. Glover had two strange incidents that occurred about 10-15 years apart. In both cases, a horse somehow fell off the steep bank breaking its neck. They’d be discovered dead with a grimace on their faces lying in a twisted heap beside that ditch at the bottom of that steep bank. Probably right on the gravesite of Mr. Glover still somehow taking away another man’s good horse.
So, next time you’re going down Bethel Road and cross the guard rails, remember to ask Mr. Glover what he is doing, and, hopefully, he will say nothing…
Fireless S’mores Recipe: graham crackers (cinnamon), marshmallow cream, chocolate icing