Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens @ 24mm, ISO 200, f/10, 1/4 sec
So how did Mina Sauk and her father mountain, Taum Sauk, get their names? I am currently looking for an original and direct source for the telling of the legend of Mina Sauk. Here are a few paragraphs collected from the web that were originally published by the Kansas City Star:
The Legend of Taum Sauk Mountain ~ A Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story as told to John Russell, from the Kansas City Star, by “Old Uncle Jim Connelly” back in 1953, the summer after the park became accessible by automobile to the public. Uncle Jim, an ex-railroad worker, who for many years ran a service station and tourist court from his home near Ironton, knew a host of stories and Indian legends tied up with the mountain.
“Uncle Jim’s favorite story probably is one about Taum Sauk, the Piankashaw Indian chieftain after whom the mountain is named, and his daughter, Mina Sauk, for whom the beautiful waterfall on the northwestern slope of the mountain is named.
“Long before the white man came here,” Uncle Jim relates, “this land of flowers, now called the Arcadia Valley, was the hunting grounds of the Piankashaw Indians. The Piankashaws had a famous chieftain, Sauk-Ton-Qua. Because the name was hard for the white man to pronounce, he was later call Taum Sauk.”
“Taum Sauk was wise and although the Piankashaws were not as large a tribe as the Cherokees or Osages, he was able to hold his territory against their invasions. The Piankashaws lived in comparative peace in and around the Arcadia Valley, where they hunted and fished and raised a little corn in the summertime. In the winter they would move to the limestone bluff shelters along the Mississippi river and stay there until warm weather.”
“Taum Sauk’s beautiful daughter, Mina Sauk, was greatly desired by all the young warriors in the tribe. However, Mina Sauk met a young Osage warrior in the woods and lost her heart to him.”
“For a long time he wooed her secretly, but one day she was discovered in the arms of the young Osage. The young warrior was captured and taken before the chieftain. He was tried and condemned to death.”
“He was executed on the slopes of Taum Sauk Mountain, where a great porphyry outcrop form an escarpment overlooking Taum Sauk creek and facing Wildcat mountain. The young warrior was tossed from the parapet down a succession of benches on the mountainside, thrown from bench to bench with the spears of warriors. He fell bleeding and dying in the valley below.”
“The grief-stricken maiden was restrained by the tribal women from interfering with the execution. But at the fatal moment, she broke loose from her captors and threw herself to death on the same benches.”
“The old Indian legend says that this displeased the great spirit, and that the earth trembled and shook, and the mountain cracked. Then a stream of water poured forth and flowed down the rock benches, washing away the blood.”
“The place is still known as the Mina Sauk falls and along the edges of the rivulet, even today, there grow little flowers with crimson blossoms which the Indians believed got their color from this ancient tragedy.”
-I really like this story and think it could be something special if it were fleshed out more fully. I find it hard to believe that someone like Longfellow never picked this one up and turned it into a classic. But, I guess this part of the country has never had too many literary classicists. Maybe Woodrell can pick this up and give it a modern Ozark face. Someone should suggest this to him.
2 thoughts on “Seven Days of Mina Sauk Falls – Day Four”
This photo is beautiful – But the vantage point gives me vertigo just looking at it! Isn’t that funny!
Its so gorgeous – hope you have a good day ! Kathleen
‘Old Uncle Jim Connelly’ was my grandfather, James L. “Pop” Connelly, as he was affectionately known in his later years. Grandpa lived in Ironton and was instrumental in the creation of the original Taum Sauk Trail, in fact, he is referred to as “The Father of the Taum Sauk Trail”. He was known to many in the scouting community, particularly members of The Order of The Arrow Shawnee Lodge, who adopted and maintained the trail for many years, and was awarded The Silver Beaver, the highest honor given by the BSA for exceptional character and selfless service to the scouting community. A monument stands on the top of Russell Mountain in his honor, a rock cairn created over the years by scouts, who while hiking the trail would place a single rock on the pile as they passed. A great man, may he never be forgotten…