Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Depression Hits Buzzardtown

by David Parmer
Buzzardtown was feeling the effects of the Great Depression in 1936. The country overwhelmingly elected Democrats to office in 1932 on their promise to end the hard times but four years into Franklin Roosevelt’s first term found Buzzardtown worse off than before. There was no end in sight for the national blight. Fathers of families were hoboing around the country looking for a chance. School enrollments plummeted as young men enrolled in CCC programs and others left to try to find work. Farmers could not pay their property taxes, let alone mortgage payments. Foreclosures were at an all time high. People were having a tough time finding enough to eat.

Uncle Zeke put to verse a description of the hard times in the Buzzardtown community.

Nineteen hundred and thirty six
Found Buzzardtown in a heck of a fix –
Grafton Riffle just had one penny,
And Bill Beckner didn’t have any.
Mrs. Sharp was all in a splutter,
For she only had a spoonful of butter;
C. H. Chrislip had one bite of meat,
And Uncle Zeke had nothing to eat.
It took Joe Jeffries about one hour
To hunt up a spoonful or two of flour;
Wade Mick had a piece of a cracker,
And A. C. Sharp one chew of tobacker.
Early Riffle put out the word
He only had a ham of a bird;
I hope we’ll all have nothing to fear,
And plenty to eat throughout the year.

"Buzzardtown" was the name weekly columnist Patrick Newton Blake (AKA Uncle Zeke) gave fondly to his community around Oil Creek and Posey Run. For more on Uncle Zeke see the Oct. '06 entry, Uncle Zeke From Buzzard Town

. . . . . . .
Why Buzzardtown?
P.N. Blake, who styled himself "Uncle Zeke," called his neighborhood Buzzardtown. Generally he spoke of his immediate neighborhood in the Oil Creek/Posey Run/Road Run area when referred to Buzzardtown. But why Buzzardtown? There's a lot less road kill along Oil Creek than along busier back roads. There are no large roosting areas for vultures that would make them noticable in the area.

Bill Beckner recently figured out where the old guy got the name. Bill noticed the sky over the juction of the creek & runs is a popular spot for raptors riding the thermals. On a sunny day from March through November you'll probably see actual buzzards, like the turkey vulture to the left, riding the thermals over the waterways but you'll probably see other raptors as well: hawks, falcons, maybe an eagle!
For more from Bill Beckner see
the Sept '06 entry Red & Josie Beckner
the Nov '06 entry Sweet Potatoes

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