Friday, December 31, 2010

The Bridge to Bowman's Cemetery

 Everyone knows that Bowman's Cemetery is out in the middle of nowhere.  It is nestled quietly in the forest, surrounded by trees and right by a little stream.   In order to get to it, you have to cross this bridge.
I have driven across this thing multiple times over the years.  Until this week, I never bothered to look at the bridge itself.  My goal was always the Cemetery.   Since G12 has added Historical Research to our title (Ghosting 12 Paranormal Investigations and Historical Research) I have been looking at all kinds of things, items, and places a little differently.  Like this bridge.  Briana, Will, and I actually went and looked at the bridge itself for a change, and then the cemetery.  (Couldn't not go to the cemetery.  We are ghost hunters!)
 I know nothing about bridges.  There is a website I seek council at from time to time about them.
They have listed many of the older bridges in Columbiana County.  There is a bridge listed on  this web site that looks like what tthe Bowman Bridge might have once looked like:

This is the right side of the bridge  up close.  See where it looks like timber was used to shore it up?  How old is that?
The left side of the Bridge is in even worse shape and harder to see with the fallen tree.  Beneath the metal pipe that the water is running through is another metal pipe.  The newer one was just set right on top of the old one.  It almost seems like this bridge was built layer after layer of different bridges.

This small section of stone work caught my eye immediately because it looks like the locks for the canal system, complete with a facing.  When was this bridge built?   According to the cemetery books, it is referred to as "remnants of a steel truss bridge with a cut stone foundation on an abandoned road."
Bowman's Cemetery has no beginning date that is known and since many of the grave markers are wooden crosses, it is difficult to tell how long the cemetery has actually been there.  One of the oldest grave stones  is for that of a man named Moses Dickey who died in 1835.  He fought in the Revolutionary War.  Has Bowman's been there since 1835? (I only ask such an obvious question because it was a common practice for family members to dig up relatives and move them to other cemeteries for various reasons.  i.e. to be layed to rest with other family members or when cemetery grounds are sold and the cemetery has to be moved like the 5th Street Cemetery in East Liverpool) The 1835 time frame  would fit with the little piece of wall pictured above. That was around the time  the locks were being built.  Perhaps the makers of the locks built this too. 
However, there was at one time, or so rumor goes, a Mill around here called Bowman's Mill.  Of course.   Perhaps this piece of wall was once part of that Mill?     I did email the guys on the Historic Bridges web site and asked if they knew anything about this bridge or by the pics, around when bridges like this were made.  I hope they can shed some light on this interesting puzzle.  Here lays more history long lost in Columbiana County.  It is a mystery waiting to be solved.  Well, we're working on it.