Stage's Pond State Nature Preserve


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Stage's Pond Local Lore

Stage's Pond is an area that has attracted public attention for a number of years.  The pond itself had been used as a fishing and duck hunting area for decades.  The rich woodlots provided a squirrel hunter's paradise.  In discussions with old-time area residents it was learned that Stage's Pond played a significant role in the Walnut Township area in terms of recreation and esthetic enjoyment.

Residents tell stories of years past when thousand of waterfowl would converge on the large and small pond areas during migration.

One story states that on a Christmas Day years ago, over 3,000 ducks were on the small pond near the south end of the preserve alone.  Upon taking off, "the sky turned black with ducks."  Although Stage's Pond State Nature Preserve does not lie directly in the path of any major waterfowl migration routes, it does provide a resting and feeding stopover for ducks and geese flying up/down the Scioto River Valley.

An old story that pops up from time to time is that of the wagon and team of mules that lie at the bottom of Stage's Pond itself.  It seems that it all began on a hot August afternoon back in the late 1800's.  The farmer who lived on Ward Road across the street from the pond, had just finished a day of putting up hay when a frog-strangling summer thunderstorm blew up.  The water level of the pond at that time of year was low, exposing the organic mud flats.  While the farmer was in the house getting a cool drink, a loud clap of thunder spooked his team of mules who were hitched to the wagon.  In terror they bolted down the drive, across the roadway and straight onto the mud flats where they soon began to bog down.  The more they struggled, the deeper they sank until soon all the farmer could do was hopelessly watch them slide below the surface to their death.  This story was verified by an elderly woman who claimed to be a descendant of the old farmer.

Stage's Pond has the distinction of resting with-in the heart of Native American country.  This region, including the Scioto River was home to the clans of the Shawnee Nation.  The name Shawnee means "people-of-the-south".  The closest Native American town to Stage's Pond was to the south along the Scioto river.  "Kispoko Town", was situated on the east bank of the river, across from the Pickaway Plains about midway between present day Circleville and Chillicothe.  This town was peopled by the Chalahgawatha sept of the Shawnee tribe, one of five clans making up the Shawnee Nation.  The principal Chiefs of this area were the legendary Chief Cornstalk (Hokolewqua) and his giant sister, Grenadier Squaw (non-hel-e-ma) who stood at six and a half feet tall.  Many today believe the name Chillicothe came from the Native American work "Chalahgawtha" as a result of anglicization down through the years.  

The plowed farm fields surrounding the preserve have traditionally yielded arrowheads, axes, spear points and other artifacts for hundred of years.  Because this area was nearly all forested centuries ago, it seems logical that roving Shawnee hunting parties would have camped and hunted the rich woodlands now known as Stage's Pond State Nature Preserve.

A special thanks to Mark Howes, Preserve Manager for providing this information for the web site.

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