The most interest part of Augusta county, in some respects, is the strip of country extending from the iron bridge across Middle river, on the Staunton and Churchville road, up the river to the mouth of Buffalo Branch, and up that stream and Dry Branch to their respective sources. Middle river is throughout its whole extent in Augusta. From its head spring, near Shemariah church, to its mouth, near Mount Meridian, is only about thirty-five miles; but the length of the stream, in its meanderings, is not far short of a hundred miles. Beginning as a mountain rill, it broadens as it goes, and towards its mouth becomes a wide and beautiful river.
On the west side of the river, a little beyond the bridge, on the Dudley farm, is what remains of an ancient artificial mound. It has been plowed over for many years, and is now nearly leveled. Human bones, pipes and stone arrow-heads have often been turned up. It is supposed that, before the arrival of white people in the Valley, a battle between Indians occurred at the spot, and that the slain were buried there.
Going up stream from the bridge referred to, for about two miles, the road crosses the river seven times. This region is thickly settled, farm houses being close together on both sides of the river. At several points cliffs arise from the margin of the channel, making the scene picturesque and specially attractive. In one of these cliffs, probably fifty feet from the base and about twenty-five feet from the top, there is a hole which looks like the entrance to a cavern. Of course a story has been invented to fit the hole. It is related that in early times, when Indians were about, a white man on horseback was pursued by savages, and dashing to the top of the cliff, concealed himself in the hole, while his horse pitched over and was killed. An inspection of the place, however, shows conclusively that the incident as related could not have occurred.
But not far west of the cliff, on the north side of the river, the last massacre by Indians in the county took place. As supposed, it was on what has been known of late years as the Geeding farm, that John Trimble was killed, in October, 1764, his dwelling burnt, and his son and stepdaughter taken prisoners. A mile or more further westward stood then, as now, on the south side of the river, a stone house called the “Old Fort,” or “Old Keller House,” which was used in time of danger as a place of refuge by the people around. Why the Trimbles did not repair to this house is not known. At that time, it is believed, the younger children of Alexander Crawford were sheltered there, and thus escaped the slaughter which befell their parents at their home. The older part of the stone house is in a state of dilapidation, the gable end having fallen out, but the rafters and other timbers are as sound as they were a hundred and twenty-five years ago.
The stone house stands in a bend of Middle river, which, coming from the south, there turns abruptly to the east. Just at the bend
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..