Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Onze

Another Paul Hadley painting on display at my Library is "East Fork of White Lick [Creek]."

 Click Photos to Bigify

According to long-time Morgan County Historian Becky Hardin (1908-1995):
  • "Mrs. Claude (Mary) Stokesberry's family asked artist Paul Hadley to paint a picture for her birthday present.  At that time she was living in Hadley's former home on Lockerbie Street.  He called one day making an excuse that he wanted to see how they had remodeled the house.  The painting was designed to fit over the fireplace, and is wider than it is high.  Since Mrs. Stokesberry has moved to a retirement home her son John has the painting."  [Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 17 (1976). Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]
John Stokesberry subsequently donated the painting to MPL.

The East Fork of White Lick Creek runs along what was once the eastern edge of Mooresville (when Hadley painted it) and then flows south until eventually merging with the White River near Centerton, Indiana (north of Martinsville, in Morgan County).  It is along the portion of the East Fork just past the intersection of state roads 67 and 144 that presents one likely location at which Hadley painted the Stokesberry gift.

Click the map images to bigify.

Map Excerpts Courtesy of Google Maps

Note the bend in the creek immediately north of Rooker Park.  That resembles the same perspective in Hadley's painting.  Here's an aerial view:

East Fork of White Lick Creek
Near Rooker Trace
(Early 19th Century Primitive Road)
Southeast of State Roads 67 & 144

I'm not sure if we can reach this point on the creek--it's private property--but I'll send my minions to check it out.  I'd better tag along, to make sure they don't get lost.

North end of Rooker Park
(Probable Hadley painting spot is in the woods at the far end) 

Getting close to the creek now--
Hadley may have been standing up ahead

Where I'd have been, if Hadley had painted moi into the picture

The trees are bigger and more plentiful, and the underbrush is overgrown, but the bend in the creek looks strikingly similar to Hadley's landscape.

Why is this location likely to have been where Hadley painted the creek scene?  It was within easy walking distance--Hadley never drove motor vehicles--and the area was heavily wooded near the creek, then as now. The land east of the creek was farmed in Hadley's day, but it is now residential subdivisions.  Admittedly, Hadley could have painted other bends in the East Fork, but many of these were not sufficiently wooded, even in his time.  Our candidate is as likely a location as any of the other possibilities.  Still, let's consider other options.

The East Fork of White Lick Creek also runs along the eastern edge of Pioneer Park in Mooresville, in a heavily wooded region.  Unfortunately, there aren't any sharp bends in the creek that resemble Hadley's painting.

 East Fork of White Lick Creek
along rear of Pioneer Park

However, if we move downstream toward Bridge Street, then we find an excellent bend that easily could have been Hadley's painting spot.

 East Fork of White Lick Creek
East of Samuel Moore Parkway (Old State Road 67)
and North of Bridge Street

Once again, we have the difficulty of reaching the creek bend on private property.  So these aerial views may be the best we can do.  My minions couldn't get close to the creek without traipsing through folks' backyards. Works fine for moi, but not a good idea for people.

Paul Hadley was often inspired by Hoosier landscapes and nature, and he captured them beautifully in watercolor.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

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