Callin’ the Lines

While doing some Bonepicker research I was reading through a notebook from 15 years ago, written while on a journey to Kentucky looking for Timoleon Love, a leading Overlander and Cariboo gold rush pioneer.

In the Lancaster county courthouse I met a lawyer who was helping folks with land records by listening to their story. “Nope, there were no Love’s in that area,” he said, referring to where we had been looking. "I know that holler. We lived near the tipple [a coal dump] you passed and downstream of there was all owed by the Whites. They had lots of land until they pissed and partied it all away. Drunks and whoremongers – that’s what they were – drunks and whoremongers.”

He later remarked how important oral history was in his country of hills and hollows and introduced us to a team working on land boundaries. They were mapping out borders by listening to old folks, the elders, mostly men, who could "call the lines". They could walk the land and call out the irregular boundary lines visable only to them as the lines jogged from ancient tree to creek to boulder. Many had changed as coal mines and tipples altered the topography of the land or a creek flooded or a tree fell. They remembered the history. My notebook reminded me of his words: "What we know is a lot more important than what was wrote down."

Such is the basis of the Bonepicker stories.

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