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Matamoras Minute: Small gatherings

A threesome enjoys each other’s company at the Shannon’s Point location. The panorama of Matamoras and the Ohio River Valley is spread before them. (Photo provided by Jim Moore)

To follow up on the topic of last week’s column there were other sites round and about Matamoras where smaller picnics were traditionally held.

These included Cline’s Grove in Monroe County. Located beyond Brownsville it was near Greenbrier. The Cline family was only one of the groups who made this their annual site to gather and share history as well as family updates.

Folger’s Hill beyond the Matamoras Cemetery was a favorite for Sunday school classes of various denominations. At other times the entire congregation of these various churches would decide to set a separate date from just the classes’ gatherings and spend the day and evening in fellowship and dining. One special nearby site was referred to as “the Indian caves” and the youth would often break away to adventure there.

Miller’s Grove was on County Road 138 beyond the crossroads known as “Yellow House.” This cluster of oaks was also called the Washington Hall Picnic Grounds as the church was only a mile from the site.

McCaslin’s Knob, located a short distance into Monroe County, is a high spot which reveals a panoramic view of the countryside. Sized for a small group it was a popular spot from the 1920s through the 1940s.

When the cookout was finished the participants would remain until after dark to trace the paths of car lights that could be seen running along many branches of county roads.

Returning to town one of the most likely spots to see a small picnic was at “Shannon’s Point.” This is the area where most pictures of “bird’s eye” views of Matamoras are taken. Its location is roughtly one-half way up the hill commonly called Duncan/Corbett Hill. The climb is not for just anyone. Only those physically fit would care to scale its steep slope.

One last important group which often gathered outdoors was the ’04 Farmers’ Club. It was given this title due to the date of its organization in 1904. The group included dedicated farmers and landowners. The club met every month and food was always on the minds of the members. Tables groaned with the weight of all the food and none attending likely counted the calories.

The organization lasted until 1917 when World War I came to the United States.

But in the early 1930s some of the women who missed the comradery of years past created the Riverside Garden Club which also featured picnics. This club continued until the late 1960s.John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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