24. The Strange Case of Scenic Drive

There’s nothing unusual about the house on Scenic Drive.  Scenic Drive, itself, is quiet. On one side of the street is a wooded lot where people often walk their dogs.  On the other side are long, over-sized brick ranches.  And this one is no different.  It sits at the top of a hill and has, by all accounts, a cheerful disposition.

Still, most dogs still won’t go in the front yard.  There’s a way that the hillside is cut away that suggests something hidden and you’d think that the dogs would be curious, but they’re not.  Most will, if given the opportunity, cross the street to avoid going too close.

It is, strangely enough, the old bear cave. When the zoo was out here, this is where the bears were.

And the story goes that they will still follow you, the bears.

It’s a rite of passage for Lipscomb students to walk, alone, in the dark down that street, starting at Glendale Lane, and heading north.  If you are brave enough, your friends will wait for you where Scenic hooks to the right and becomes Tower Place, and cheer you on.

Most kids never get that far. They say they hear the noises coming from the cave and they either turn back towards Glendale or, if they are too far, they’ll scramble through the wooded lot, back towards campus.

This has lead to a companion ghost story, of a lone young college student, who, if female, had just gotten engaged and was walking to her parents’ home to tell the the news when she was hit by a car.  So violent was the impact that the ring went flying and was never recovered.  Or, if male, that he was walking to hisbeloved’s parent’s home to ask them for her hand in marriage when he was hit by a car. And so on.

In either case, it is said that, if you drive down Scenic at night, often you see him or her walking slowly down the street, searching for that ring.

Um, Everybody, I Found Timothy Demonbreun!

Just kidding. Not that Timothy Demonbreun, but some other one, not the Demonbreun I thought I’d find.

Hunting Demonbreuns

Today the dog and I are off in search of Jean Demonbreun, the youngest son of Timothy and Elizabeth.  I hear he’s up in Coopertown, which will be a lovely drive.

Shoot, there’s a lot of good stuff going on this weekend here in Middle Tennessee. Horses at the Stones River Battlefield. Haunted tours. And (and this one I’m actually sad to be missing) Pit Bull Awareness Day!  People, look at that poster! With my whole heart I want that poster hanging in my house somewhere. If you are in East Nashville today, it is your moral imperative to try to score me a poster.  I mean, look at that, if the white went up her nose onto her forehead, that could be Mrs. W.

And I bet there will be puppies to see. And I’m just saying, there is nothing happier for me than seeing Mrs. W.’s big belly in need of some scratching. I cannot imagine the awesomeness of a pit puppy’s belly.  Holy god.

So, the first few days of my vacation are shaping up thusly: Hunt Demonbreuns (and check out the Fall color) on day one. Day two, pee in a large plastic container all day (which will keep me close to home, obviously). Day three, deliver pee and head off to the state library and archives to hunt for more info on Elizabeth Bennett.

I do have one nagging question.  What happened to Joseph Durard/Durratt? When I thought that reports that Elizabeth was buried on her old property were true, I thought maybe Durard was actually there, not Demonbreun.  But it’s pretty clear now that it’s Jean’s property that was along Little Marrowbone Road and that it was much farther east than the graveyard.  Durard could be buried just about anywhere, one supposes.

And I’ve been thinking about that article that locates Demonbreun’s grave not in the city cemetery, but in the old city cemetery, up near the French Lick. And identifies the body mover not as Elizabeth, but as Jean.  (We know Jean was the one who stuck up a gravestone for her).  This seems right to me.  That, if he was moved, it was by his youngest son.

I also keep thinking about the family stories of Bennett fighting off Indians and of Tim’s wife succumbing to grief after Indians scalped her youngest child.  If Bennett was Native American, it just makes me feel like all those stories are a little more complex than they seem on the surface.

Ooo, speaking of complex families, I was able to confirm for my dad that he did have a relative (a great grandfather) named George Washington Heistand AND that the family stories of him having a brother named Abraham Lincoln Heistand were exactly true. Born in 1864.