The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Fact or Fiction - Legends
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

"Indian Earth Works" at Rorick's Glen, Elmira

Article: Fact or Fiction - Legends
Chemung County 
Article by Helen McDougall Samson 1976
Sent in by Walt Samson
Retyped by Debbie Hansen
Postcard of Joan NASH O'Dell
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MAY 6, 1976




A legend is a story that cannot be verified as a historical fact or it may be a myth. This region has a few Indian legends and a few tales of the early settlers that have become something like legends through the years of retelling with resultant changes and additions.

One that remains from the days of the first inhabitants concerns the deep ravines in the Hillside near Roricks. They were said to be the result of the copious tears wept by an Indian maiden whose lover left her sitting on the mountain to wait for his return. He never came back and this may be the first instance of water erosion in the county.

The cross on the hillside on the Narrows road has been called a memorial to another lovely girl who threw herself to her death from the top because of another faithless lover. However, the cross was actually erected by Eugene Berthod, a young Frenchman who thought it was a nice spot for a cross and perhaps, in memory of his mother back home.

The story concerning Eldridge Lake is longer and has nothing to do with the tales regarding the depth of the water. It is more fun to believe that the lake has no bottom or that it has a connection with Seneca Lake than to know that it is only 39 feet deep. The romantic tale of the Indian warrior and the beautiful, mystical maiden help to make up the facts of the case. There was a rather large Indian camp on the north bank of the river. A youth from the settlement caused much worry to his relatives because of his long and frequent absences from home. He brought no game and his mother decided he must have been affected by the evil eye. However, Owenah had a much stranger experience.

While hunting, he had been separated from his companions and wandered upon the little lake, bottomless and evil. He heard a drumming like that of the partridge and then saw a wonderous sight. A white canoe floated on the dark waters and in it was a fair maiden, dressed as were the girls of his tribe and wearing a garland of flowers. She called to him and told him where he might find game. He returned day after day. She told him her name was Newamee and her home was the waters of the lake. He asked her to return with him as his bride but she could not live away from the water. He was not adapted for underwater living, himself so there seemed no happy ending for the lovers. At last, in a blinding flash of light and in the darkness of a great storm, the waters opened for Newamee and she disappeared forever. After many days of searching, Owenah’s friends found his dead body floating in his beloved’s white canoe on the surface of the mystic lake.

A trail over the hill along the river was known as Wixon’s Trail in early days. A man by that name, a very strong fellow, bought a 200 pound barrel of salt at a Big Flats store and wanted to bet that he could carry it all the way home to his farm near Hendy Creek. He had a few takers and started over the mountain on a route he knew. He did carry the salt up and over – 50 pounds at a time and he claimed his money. It was effused and his little trick didn’t work. However, he did have his salt home safely.

There must be many of these tales that have never been written. In pre-television days the storyteller was a welcome visitor and families never tired of the humorous tales told by the grandfather who knew the characters in the story personally.

First Added to the Site  on 22DEC 2002
By Joyce M. Tice

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The History Center on Main Street, 83 N. Main Street, Mansfield PA 16933