Cheery Tree Joe and Cherry Tree Article 10 Jun 2003 Indiana Gazette

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Cheery Tree Joe and Cherry Tree Article 10 Jun 2003 Indiana Gazette - Cherry Tree Borough Legendary figure tied to...
Cherry Tree Borough Legendary figure tied to borough By PAT RICH Gazette Staff Writer CHERRY TREE — This tiny borough in Montgomery Township was once famous for a legendary figure. Cherry Tree Joe, whose real name was Joseph McCreery, was born near Muncy to Hugh and Nancy McCreery. He moved to Indiana County when he was 13. As a youth, he loved to show off and was strong, quick and agile. He would make a floating log spin, just to see how well he could handle it. As an adult, he was one of the biggest and strongest lumbermen in the area and soon became known as the next Paul Bunyan. One of the stories about Cherry Tree Joe dealt with his great strength. One day, he was racing rafts down Clearfield Creek with his friend Bob McKeage when he realized that the other raft was going to pass him. He reached out with his long arm and pulled out a 150-foot white pine by the roots along the shoreline. He swung it across and set it down, straight up, in front of McKeage's raft. That ended the race. In numerous historical accounts, the late R. Dudley" Tonkin, a lumber industry historian, recalls that Cherry Tree Joe was about 6 feet tall, weighed 200 pounds and had a beard; He married the former Eleanor Banks of Blairsville and they had eight children, all boys. He later had six grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and 23 great-great-grandchildren. Joe had a cabin somewhere in the hills of Indiana County on Creek Without an End, where he kept moose, cows and a panther for a house cat. Joe's wife cooked on a griddle 6 feet square and used a side of bacon to grease it. When rafting, he never carried a light because his singing voice and whistle could be heard for miles. One day, as legend has it, he single-handedly broke a 10-mile log jam at Buttermilk Falls. His most memorable exploit, which gave rise to a ballad in his memory, was his biggest failure. In 1871, a state law was passed that enabled people to make improvements on small, non- navigable streams. • While local residents were Cherry Tree Joe discussing ideas to clean up Chest Falls near Mahaffey, Joe came up with the idea of using dynamite to blow out the rocks. The explosion caused very little rock to move and the falls were still a hazard. Every time a raft wrecked there, people blamed Joe. In 1861, he enlisted in the llth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry at the age of 56 and was discharged the following March after losing a leg. After that, historical accounts called him "Contrary Joe" due to his short temper. Joseph McCreery is buried in the Cherry Tree cemetery. (Indiana Historical and Genealogical Society photo)

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  1. Indiana Gazette,
  2. 10 Jun 2003, Tue,
  3. Page 11

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  • Cheery Tree Joe and Cherry Tree Article 10 Jun 2003 Indiana Gazette

    2zpool – 13 Sep 2013

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