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Boiling Springs: Pioneer determination (part two)


By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

  The story of the Boiling Springs area continues in the same time period and will be traced back to some of the known original pioneers.
  Orville Kenneth (Ken) Hollenbeck, whose grandfather owned Boiling Springs – Ellsworth property, was born in February 1939. Spending part of his childhood there, he was the fifth generation to live in the area.
  “While growing up in Boiling Springs, there was a store, school and churches; they had dances and music at the Ellsworth schoolhouse,” says Hollenbeck, “but I remember no other commerce or trade. There was no tie rafting industry while I was growing up. As a child I went gigging and fishing where the bridge is now.”
  Ken also hunted; his dad gave him his first .22 gun when he was five-years-old. He remembers there were no turkey or deer to hunt, but there were geese, squirrel, opossum and muskrat.
  During that time period, Ken remarks, “You might not know your neighbors because of the restrictions in travel.”
  “In the 1950s there was a low water bridge. There was also a swinging foot bridge that the kids would use to go to school. The bluff on the river overlooks what is now the resort.”
  After moving to Licking, Ken attended first grade in 1945 and graduated in 1957. Ken then joined the U.S. Air Force in 1958, served 32 years, retiring as a Brigadier General. He also served in the National Guard. Ken is from a family of military servicemen. After traveling in the service, he returned to Licking in 2004.
  During the depression, industry in the area was mainly farming and logging.
  Ken’s father, John Orville Hollenbeck was a hunter, fisherman and postal deliverer. He built a two room cabin at Boiling Springs in 1940, which has since washed away. During his lifetime he lived in Boiling Springs, Success and Roby.
  The community was at its largest during the late 1800s through the early 1900s.
  Orville Monroe and Alta (Platter) Hollenbeck were Ken’s grandparents. Alta was the oldest daughter of George Matthew and Sarah (Trusty) Platter. During the 1920s Orville rode the rafts.
    George Matthew Platter, the oldest son of John Oliver (Jack) and Sarah Nancy (Smith) Platter continued the operation of a grist mill built by John Oliver, until the original home was destroyed and the grist mill damaged in the April 1893 cyclone. The Platter house on the hill above the springs was built. The front of the home had a one-room store and the Raftville post office, said to be originally established by Mr. Jeff Bridgewater and later discontinued by President F.D. Roosevelt, one of many discontinued. Ken Hollenbeck was born in this second Platter home. They also farmed a homestead of 40-acres. George and his wife, Sarah (Trusty), had twelve children, ten living to adulthood.

  It has been said that the family was very lively and social, with almost everyone playing musical instruments or singing.
  From the “History of Ellsworth” by Nancy Platter Pittman: “Many men boarded at George Platter’s home while working as rafters on the river. Platter was a rafting contractor and had several men working for him. Nathanel (Fan) Borders was one of those workers, he had his right hand off, but he really could play a violin. Someone would tie the bow to the stub of arm and you’d never believe his hand was off if you didn’t see him playing. None of them were there but a few days, then on down the river on rafts they would go. When they delivered the rafts to Arlington, they’d come back to nail in another two or three rafts.”
  In 1933 - George and Sarah Platter reportedly sold the place and moved to Success, making their home with their daughter and son-in-law, Everett and Nancy (Platter) Pittman. George passed away in the early 1940s and was buried at Smith-Cavaness Cemetery.
  John Oliver (Jack) and Sarah Nancy (Smith) Platter bought a farm on the Piney River about 1/2-mile from Boiling Springs, circa 1865, family rumor said possibly from the Indians. Indian artifacts have been found at the resort area, reportedly plentiful until about 1916, and the Trail of Tears crossed the river at Boiling Springs. In the “History of Ellsworth” by Nancy Platter Pittman, she states that John O. Platter acquired the old Baldridge farm.
  They came to the area with their son, George, daughters Nancy and Maggie, brother-in-law, Henry Smith and his son, Warren. An 1876 Texas County Census lists their children as George, Catherine (possibly Maggie), Jacob and Nancy. The Platter house, a Victorian home was originally built by John (Jack) Platter, circa 1865 – 1870. Platter also dredged a ditch down to what is now the resort area, constructed an earth and rock dam and built a grist mill. (Until recently a canoe store was located on the grist mill site.) At one time he also owned the Covert Trading Post nearby. John passed away in 1891 and Sarah in 1898; both died at the farm and were buried in the old Smith-Cavaness Cemetery.
  Ellsworth men have been soldiers in the Civil War, both Federal and Confederate, sometimes even brothers, World War I and World War II. As with Ken Hollenbeck, their descendants have continued to serve our country in the military.
  Pioneer determination led to homesteading, farming, hunting, fishing and beginning in 1815, a timber industry in the Boiling Springs, Ellsworth and Raftville area. There has been, over time, four or five sawmills in addition to the tie rafting industry. The area continues to be enjoyed as a resort and tourist location, and home to many.

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