OLD WELLS AND SPRINGS IN HAMILTON AND VICINITY
Narrators: Mrs. Gertie Cavanaugh, Joe Davis, and Guy Thompson
The 1934 drought has brought back many abandoned wells and springs and caused much discussion among older folks on the subject.
Guy Thompson says that his father Asa Thompson came to Hamilton 1867. He was a cabinet maker (furniture maker) but there was little demand for his work. He knew something of well digging so he and a partner bought a hand-bore with a board fastened at the top. By the two pushing at the ends of the board, they bored a well. One of Asa Thompson's well was on the premises of the present J.M. Hill home, then occupied by the shack of Carr Taylor, a negro here in the seventies. Mr. Thompson made a good living out of wells for a few years for the new homes established here in the 1868 boom.
Another well digger of the late sixties was Martin Christiansen, father of Mrs. Cavanaugh. He came here as a farmer and used the well digging to help out his earnings. Two well known wells were dug by him and his brother John. One was on Mill street south of Parker's grocery, now covered by the pavement. This had a chained tin cup and a horse trough on two or three sides. Many people in this section got their water at this public well, till they sank a cistern or well. It was good water. Another Martin Christiansen well was the old one just south of the old Houston-Spratt and Menefee Bank (present C.A. Martin stand). This well served thousands of people for a refreshing drink and thousands of weary horses too at the horse trough. During the drought of 1934 it has been restored to usefulness and shows a steady stream of water even when subjected to a heavy drain.
An old well dating to the seventies now closed up, stood on the partnership line between the Moore home (Houghton Funeral Home) and the George Rohrbough home (Mrs. Mary Kautz house) on Broadway.
The old McCoy well dug about 1870 by Wm. McCoy when he started his general store on South Broadway was closed up when the Hawks garage was built on that site. The old McCoy cistern by the McCoy home on same lot is still in usable shape and stands in the garage about half way back.
Another very old well still going strong was the old A.G. Davis well dug for the Davis family use when they left the Davis hotel and moved about 1859 to a house across the street on the present site of Citizens Trust Company. This well 80 feet deep was put in good shape several years ago when Eb Galpin built the brick building now occupied by the George McPherson Produce store. It stands inside by the south wall.
Another old well still much in use is the one built by O.O. Brown in the early seventies by his two store buildings on south Broadway. Its water is so excellent that today you may see people taking a walk to get a drink there. It was long known as the Stoller well and now the place is Souders property.
An old well recently was brought to light on the Will Gay farm near Mirabile. This well may well be nearly 100 years old. It is on the old Lexington trail, and probably many a Caldwell county pioneer of the thirties and forties drank there. It is going strong.
Abner Frazier of the New York township recently dug out an old spring for the sake of his neighbors. The exact location of the well had been forgotten but he had heard his father say that grand father Frazier used it, and knowing its general location it was re-discovered and flows very strongly today.
Another old spring which has come back in 1934 is Ponce de Leon. In the early eighties, this was a well known spring at Bonanza, then in a boom. Picnics were held there for the water was held to be medicinal (Bonanza just missed being a real town because of quarrels among the leading men). Then Ponce de Leon ceased to flow for Shoal Creek changed its course and hid the spring. In 1934, owing to dry weather, the creek went down and the spring appeared again and is giving a fine volume of water.
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