Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Black Folks.

  Fledgling American Crow from The Blackfork Bestiary.

  Blackfork Creek at FM 746.

Blackfork is the name of the creek where I live and have lived, in some location, for my whole life.  It merges with the Neches River, forms Lake Palestine, then flows on to the Gulf of Mexico.

  Tyler is always listed as being a location of the intersection of several Amerind trails used as a trade area and terminus.  Early Americans (indians) lived along the various water systems, so that one watershed would be full of a single clan/tribe/family.  The villages moved short distances every few years because of the reduction of firewood in their immediate area.  Their main industry was farming so they needed a place close to water, above the flood level with access to flat farmland along a creek bottom.  On a USGS map you can spot village sites at almost any elevation at an intersection of creeks with a flat bottom.  They especially prefered sandy soil.  Everyone lived on the same creek- the next system over was a different population so that walking upstream or downstream found your family, walking across country to the next watershed found strangers.  If you walked upstream far enough you walked out of your watershed and into the watershed of a quite different population who probably had something to trade, news, different set of young people to marry into, ect.  Downtown Tyler is the head of the watersheds of the Angelina, Sabine and Neches rivers.  Anyone who wanted to see, communicate or trade with strangers came through the courthouse area.  When European settlers arrived the trails, lines of communication and good farm sites had been set for generations.  As the indians left, died out or were absorbed the newcomers took over their lands.
  Caddo indians living up and down Blackfork in every good farming spot were closely related to each other and more distantly kin to other folks down the Neches all the way to the Gulf.  Their distant cousins and tribesmen lived on the other creeks flowing into the Neches, such as the Saline, Butler and Indian Creeks.  They weren't related at all to the folks living on the Sabine watershed and the folks living on the Sulphur, Trinity, Red or Brazos drainages were considered foreign and exotic.

  As a point of record I live in a house in Tyler at the sixth fork of Blackfork Creek above it's terminus with the Neches River.  Hence my aol email: Blackfork6.  "Six" is also the military radio call sign of the commander of any operation, (example, Annie 1, Annie 2, Annie 3,  Baker 1, Baker 2, Baker 3 would be radio call signs of platoons 1, 2, and 3 in companies A and B.  Baker 6 and Annie 6 would be the company commanders.  The battalion commander over both would be Snake 6 or Fox 6 or whatever he chose.  When he called "Snake 6 to Baker 6, over" they would know who was calling and who he wanted to speak to.)

  Yes, I realize that I don't have any battalions.

  Nobody notices but I do most of my photo artwork in Blackfork Creek.  Like the first inhabitants I consider everyone in my watershed kinfolks and all the landscape my home territory.  

  For the longest time, a friend of mine thought the name of my blog was "Black Folks".  I was always inviting him to go read the posts and look at the photos on "Black Folks".  Just google it up.  He couldn't figure for the life of him why I had named my blog "black folks".  Nor could he find it on google.  I just needed to speak clearly to solve his puzzle.  He was very relieved when we finally straightened it out.

  "Black Folks", by the way, would be a most excellent name for a blog.


the pistolero said...

Happy San Jacinto Day, Robert.

Windy Wilson said...

Interesting. I never knew that about "Six", I always thought it had something to do with "watch your six.", that is, watch behind you. So Doc Russia's "Domestic6" is his commander of his home.
Romantic, in a military sort of way.