Volume 3, Number 3-4
Elm Springs is about three miles south and one mile east of the Marionville business district. Legend says this large spring has always offered free water to all who passed by. From Elm Springs flowed a steady stream of good water.
The early day settlers of this area decided this spring was too important to ever be owned by any private party. The residents chipped in enough money to buy the forty acre tract of land. They would donate it to the public. This would assure any area resident without their own spring a supply of fresh water. It would also be used by everyone in dry years when their own water supplies failed.
This all worked out fine until the surveyors came along. The forty acres purchased was found to be in Stone County and the spring located a little over the line in Lawrence County! The land owned was a forty containing a creek but the spring was on the property of a Lawrence Countian.
The boundary line made no difference in the need of water by the local citizens. The only thing a neighborly fellow could do was fence out the spring owned by him and needed by others.
The generous farmer just made a nice rainbow curve in his property line. This act let all people benefit from and enjoy the use of the spring.
Legend says the spring has never gone dry. Even the Indians camped here. The farmer who moved his property line fence was following an old tradition of sharing Elm Springs with one and all.
Today if you observe closely, you will see that the curve in the fence is still there. The people of this area still depend on the spring in times of drought.
In the early fifties, many hauled water from here when their wells and ponds dried up. As late as 1964, one man was still hauling water for his family's needs from Elm Springs.
The local residents refer to the place as Elm Springs, though there is only one spring. In all present day memories the spring has always appeared to be a part of the land in Stone County. The 40 acres of land has always been called the "public forty".
There are still a few beautiful old elms scattered around to shade a picnic lunch. There the birds still sing sweetly. The spring flows slow, but free to one and all who stop by.
Hope you have enjoyed this TALL TALE. Some day when out driving take time to stop at Elm Springs. Go taste the water. Share a little of the peace and quiet.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly