Rickey Robertson (ATT Monthly Contributor)
Peason Ridge is a very unique place located in Natchitoches, Sabine, and Vernon Parishes that was beginning to be settled even before the days of the Free State or No Man’s Land as it once was known. The first inhabitants of this area were the Native American’s, such as the Caddo, Ai’s, Adai, and other Louisiana tribes. And of interest are the many artifacts that have been found pertaining to the Plains Indians, who may have come this far east trailing the herds of buffalo that once forded the Sabine River to graze across locations on Peason Ridge. The land was full of game for hunting and much needed fresh water and the Native American’s lived a peaceful and wonderful life. And when the settlers such as the Dowden’s, Odom’s, Airhart’s, Grant’s, and other families came they had a peaceful existence with these various tribes. They lived and hunted the lands together and subsisted with one another. There were many old homesteads on Peason Ridge and many many locations where Native Americans had camps and villages. Today it is hard to find any of the old locations since there has been so much military training that has taken place and is still taking place plus building, digging, and construction throughout the range. But there are still a few locations that have not been destroyed and that take us back in time. One such location is the Wolf Cave of Peason Ridge.
Located out near where the springs that feed both Stage Stand Creek and Sandy Creek come running through the sand and rock hills is a very special place known as the Wolf Cave. The cave was formed by water run off over the large rocky plateau and flowing where it would wash away the sand and dirt and a cave began to form. And it took hundreds of years to actually form this cave location. This cave is now protected by a large rock overhang nearly three feet thick. Over the many years that it has existed the water has continued to erode and enlarge and expand the cave. This cave is about 12 feet in depth and nearly 40 feet from one side to the other. A rather large place and from its existence you can tell that animals and yes even humans have used this location for shelter from the weather. A good place to be warm and dry from the elements! And fresh clear spring water flowing right by it.
In December 2019 my friend Johnny Rivers and I were exploring some of the old home sites and the old stage stop area and we decided to stop and visit the cave. When we got to the cave and looked around I noticed something out of place there and I pointed it out to Johnny. Just under the lip of the cave and protected from the weather was several palmetto plants. What makes this of importance is that the Native Americans carried “saw palmetto” with them and would plant it near their campsites and camp areas. Palmetto was a plant that the Indians used a one of their medicines. And growing just inside the cave was palmetto. This lets us know that Native Americans did use this cave as a place of shelter for a long enough period that they planted the palmetto bulbs there to grow. For generations this palmetto continues to grow where it was once planted. And there are even some old burned looking charcoal pieces of wood lying around, possibly from an old campfire or even from the woods fires that still take place there. And Peason Ridge is noted for its many Native American locations and this is just more evidence of the use of this area and the resources found there. Just a few miles from this location is Eagle Hill, one of the largest of the Native American sites on Peason Ridge. And incidentally that location of the Stage Stop on Peason Ridge is less than a mile from this location. And part of the old stage road runs right by the cave!
Throughout Peason Ridge are many wonderful and beautiful locations filled with history of the region and of our ancestors. Let us always remember this history and hope that this magnificent cave filled with history will be spared from destruction.
Categories: Special Feature