George Holcomb Prosser Collection
13 Tennessee Creek





Oh, we had gone to Wolf Creek
And stopped at Owen's Farm

To fish or look at mountains
And do no bit of harm


Old Bob and Bill and Shorty too
And Nick, he was the leader,

That guided us and did it well
As you will find my reader.


I did not go, but stayed behind

To see about a dog
But I was there in spirit, boys

Crossed each and every log.


A neighbor drove us to the top
Of the Blue Laurel Section

Prom there we started out on foot
In Tennessee Creek direction.


We knew the stream was posted
Stikeleather made them large,

But we knew ways and means to beat
A simple trespass charge.


We traveled single file along
The narrow mountain trail

And after darkness gathered round
Our lantern had to fail.


With flashlight dim and a few stars,
We crept through woodsy mist

Round rocks thru slasn and over logs
A rod clutched in our fist


Oh, it was down hill all the way
And Nick gained fifty feet

When he stepped on a sloping rock
And slid down on his seat.


He wasn't hurt that we could see
His trousers sure looked weak

There was a scratch upon his thigh
And red streaks on his cheek


We finally heard the stream below
We'd come five miles you see

To camp and fish upon this jewel
Of highland mystery.


Old Bob got perched upon a rock

To fish out in the dark
Down in a hole he could not see
As happy as a lark.


Well, Hick, he kept the fire bright
And Shorty got the wood
He slid it down the sharp incline
And did the best he could.

To keep from falling in on us
I tell you it was steep.
While Bill boiled coffee for the group
Before we tried to sleep

We had no blankets nor a place
To stretch out to retire
And every time we nodded off
We'd slip into the fire.

The night was cold, we did not sleep

And wood got hard to find
When daylight came, we stirred about

To see where we had climbed.


There was a trail the watchman took
To guard the precious stream

And where the going was too steep
A home- made ladder leaned.


We knew he soon would be along

Upon his morning stroll
So we must fish and be away

Before he  touched our goal.


We stepped into the clear cold stream
Oh boy, the trout were fun

And every time we flicked the fly
Two fishes rose as one.


We caught a flour sack full too soon

And we were loath to quit
But old Bob said, "Now come on boys
We still have time to feit".

We started up, Bill turned to Nick
"How much if we submit"?
We can get off, its worth the price
Let's give that stream a fit.


Old Bob went on and took the fish
We dropped into the stream

To fish two pools and catch six trout
Then saw a gun barrel gleam.


He shoved it in our face and cried

"Come out of there you birds
This land is posted, you are caught."

In many awful words.


We reeled our lines in, stowed our gear

And slowly climbed the wall

The shot-gun watched us close to see
We didn't try to stall.


We walked ahead as prisoners should

With two barrels at our back

But stopped to argue and explain

And to try some other tacks.


We said that we were Enka boys

And must have gotten mixed

In darkness took wrong trails so as

To get in such a fix.


Nick asked him meekly what he'd do  

If he were in our shoes

Submit he said and pay my fine

As other folkes do


"That's what we'll do;" the guard relaxed

And then set down his gun

We talked awhile and moved about

And joked as though in fun.


The warden stepped to cut a twig

Of blackgum for his snuff

Bill eased beside the gun and stood

At ready, 'twas no bluff.

"Oh we'll submit. you have our names
But we won't go  to  Gleason".
We told him flat and he agreed,
Without a gun 'twas reason.

We'll send receipts, you will be cleared
We're glad  you saw the light"
To Maxeys,  he was right
Then turned around and took the trail

I knew this Justice of the Peace
An old time friend was he
And when we stopped him hoeing corn
It pleased him we could see.


We told him of our mission there

Of how the fish had struck
Of Jim Stikeleather and his guard

Of work and other truck.


"Well boys"? said he, "its past noon time

What say we get it over,
Set on that fence and I'll take charge

The court please come to order."


He stood before us in the road

His well worn hat in hand
As we plead guilty to trespass

On old Stikeleather's land.


He told us of the law and said

That it must be obeyed
But from the twinkle in his eye

We knew folks sometimes strayed.


As he talked on his store teeth slipped,

He nearly choked then said,

"This fine helps pay for our kid's school,

One dollar each, Oh Red


Tell Mother, we have guests today

And bring my receipt slip

Court is dismissed,

You go .wash up

And I will find a nip."


We visited and filled out our hides

With many things toeat,

Then smoked and talked awhile of silk

That's made at Enka neat.


We thanked our hosts, and got our gear
Then as we turned to go,

Our friend said, "Boys take this along

It's homemade stuff you know."


"It is a shame," our Snorty said

To post a mountain stream
And tell the folks who live about

"Read that, Stay out I mean.'"