Long before any white man came to Ohio, the American Indians lived in small villages along the Mahoning River, hunting the deer and buffalo that came to the river valley for its salty waters. The word Mahoning comes from the Indian word meaning “at the salt licks.” A wide buffalo trail followed the Mahoning River and provided the Indians a route between the hunting grounds in the Alleghany Mountains in the east and the rich grass lands in the west. It is not surprising that a large boulder standing on a plateau high above the river on the east side of Youngstown was chosen as the meeting place for many Indian tribes to hold their seasonal celebrations and conferences of war. This great boulder was known as Nea-To-Ka, or Council Rock.
Long ago two fur trappers were camping along the Mahoning River when they heard the local Indians tell of the horrible event that occurred at Council Rock. The Indians said that back in the year 1755 about 3,500 Indians of the Seneca, Shawnee, Mingo and Delaware tribes gathered at Council Rock to celebrate their victory over the British forces lead by General Braddock and a young captain named George Washington.
The celebration feast had just begun when a violent wind storm suddenly descended on the assemblage. Trees were blown over and crashed down on the tepees, killing squaws and children. In the middle of the storm one single flash of lightning struck, splitting the great boulder where Indian tribes had gathered. Fearful that the Great Spirit was displeased with them, the Indians quickly buried their dead – 300 in number – and hurried away. This was the last feast ever held at Council Rock.
Council Rock, Youngstown, Ohio
Now 250 years later you can visit Council Rock and place your hands in the great split believed to have been caused by a single bolt of lightning. Standing beside Council Rock you can easily understand why the Indians felt that this single boulder held some kind of mystical powers. The rock is as large as a small automobile and sits all alone on level ground near an entrance to Youngstown’s Lincoln Park. Recently some local group painted Council Rock a dark green color, but this only adds to rock’s long colorful history.
The word legend can be defined as a collection of stories told over and over again. The word may also refer to some person who is greatly admired for his or her exploits. Mr. Karl Granger fits well into both definitions as he is considered a legend by the long time residents of the Village of Poland, Ohio. His name only needs to be mentioned to bring a smile on face of the story teller who knew him as a neighbor, a Boy Scout leader, and a leader in the community.
The Riverside Review would like to print a collection of stories involving the exploits of Mr. Granger. Adding your story to this collection would be helpful in perpetuating the memory of Poland’s Legend who in died in 1986. Please call or write.