Monday, April 28, 2014


Gregory V. Boulware

Captain Willice Samuel stood looking over the edge of the cliff, peering down onto the East river Drive. The screaming sirens of emergency vehicles filled the normally quiet environment of park life. Speeding past the stopped traffic below, the EMR vehicles made their way up the hill to the spot where the kids were playing. The Strawberry Mansion Bridge was at a stand-still as was the East River Drive traffic. Nothing and no one was being allowed to move through the area. Traffic backed up all over. Ridge Avenue was being over-run with the over flow of rush hour traffic. Both river drives, East and West, were backed up in the East Falls area of Midvale Avenue into Henry Avenue. The downtown out bound traffic was a mess. The local news on automobile radios reported the traffic mess as an accident in the park.
They were not aware of the trouble that was amiss. Emergency vehicles were parked at the spot where the body of Lindsey Irvin lay at the bottom of the twelve hundred ft. drop from the cliff of the Strawberry Mansion roadway and bridge surface.

Jason was Malcolm’s best friend and classmate. They lived on the same small block in North Philly near 30th and Lehigh Avenue. Lindsey was Malcolm’s cousin. He lived on the block too. Leon was another member of this band of merry fellows. They were usually inseparable. Leon had to go with his uncle to get new shoes. He was not able to make the traditional Saturday morning trek. He complained to his uncle. He even attempted to trick his uncle into letting him go out with the guys. “Uncle Rue, we can go to the shoe store this afternoon just before dinner time. That way, you can make your stop at the barber shop and the liquor store on the way back.” His uncle looked at him with a curious eye and replied, “No. We been putting off this thing for a couple of weeks now. It’s time to get you some new shoes for school…No need in waiting til the last minute!”


The medicine men and priests among the Indians were usually merely those men who thought more deeply and strenuously than the average men in the tribe. These thinkers tended to live among the more successful tribes. To think, one needed at least some time free from the chore of procuring food.

Native American tribes did not call their medicine people "shamans." This is a New Age term often misapplied to Native American Spiritual Leaders by people of European descent, self-professed "medicine" people and their followers.

Native Americans, New Agers, and charlatans alike have radically augmented and revised the tenets of traditional Native American religions. "Crystal skull caretakers" sit beside Native American medicine men and medicine women, shamans and priests, and "Star Beings," rather than buffalo, are pondered. Outraged Native Americans have entered this fray, castigating those they see exploiting traditional Native American spirituality.

These medicine men or spiritual leaders were in a different class than the other men of their tribe. This special status was not dependent on their hunting and fishing. Contact with other tribes enabled thinkers to build and expand their belief frameworks, so medicine men or spiritual leaders were more prevalent in tribes that were accessible to outsiders.

As contemporary Native American religious flowerings are best understood by first examining the origins of Native American Spirituality, all of the contemporary sects are best comprehended in light of the traditional religions. As these differ from their New Age and Christian versions, each group is also unique compared to other traditional sects. These traditional sects are best understood as a conglomerate by investigating a few individual traditional Native American religions.

Indian medicine men, spiritual leaders, priests and shamans

Chief Gerald Glenn, the Medicine Man, was second only to the chief in importance and standing within his tribal group. His duties involved both religious interpretations and pharmacology. A good medicine man became adept at both and as a result, he was often thought of as one who possessed magical powers. Before William Penn’s holy experiment, human impact in the Pocono Mountains by Native Americans and European settlers was minimal.

The Pennsylvania Mountains was one of the last colonies to be settled in the northern region of the state. The region remained wilderness until pressure from European settlers caused and influx of Native Americans from Maryland and the Carolinas’. Glenn, a direct descendent of the Lenape Chieftain of the Penn and Lenape Peace Treaty, 1682, Chief Tammany who died in 1718, was his great-great-grandfather. His wife, a Huron Princess, reared sons who took over as Chief of Nations along the Delaware Water Gap. They lived in peace with the residents of Stroudsburg, founded by Jacob Stroud in 1799.

The villages of the mountains raised buckwheat and rye, a big crop with potatoes, maze, oats, cattle, sheep, and hogs. Chief of his village as well as Chief of the Northeastern regional Forestry and Parks Services, Ranger Captain Glenn; like his, people are also members of the Northwestern Indian Confederacy in the Mountains of Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. The tribal members are The Cree, The Creek, The Ottawa, The Seminole, The Huron, The Cherokee, The Algonquian, The Ojibwa, The Shawnee, and The Lenape Nations. Glenn continues his leadership in the protection of his people, their land, their tribal beliefs, and their heritage. Glenn’s mother was of Creek/Seminole descent while his father was the Tribal Chief of The Shawnee-Lenape (Munsee-Minisink) of Ontario Canada and the Poconos.

Willice Samuel’s family arrived up North from Georgia by way of Winnsboro, South Carolina. The family settled in Coatesville Pennsylvania, in or about April 1911.

Willice’s Great-Great Grandfather talked about a lynching and burned at the stake murder of a Black Man by a mob of white men who wore masks. He said the Black Man; named Zachariah Walker was accused of shooting to death a white cop; named Edgar Rice. He was supposed to have been a special police officer in Coatesville.

He went on to say, “The Colored Man was chased and treed in the woods in or near the Robert Faddis Woods near Youngsburg. The Black Man tried to shoot himself in the head, but failed. They took the Black Man to the hospital were his injuries were treated. A gang of white men broke the window in the main hallway, corralled the police officer guarding him and dragged the Black Man from his sick bed to the Sarah Jane Newland Farm just to the right of the road and almost directly opposite the farmhouse. In a grass field about fifty feet from the road, they gathered dried Chestnut Rails and old fencing to build a fire. It took all of three minutes to get the fire up to a height of ten feet or more. They asked him if he had any last words…he didn’t. He was then thrown into the fire. The flames burned his clothes and seared his flesh – he managed to leap from the fire-pile and jump over a fence. They caught him and tied a rope around his neck and dragged him back onto the burning fire. Walker tried two more times to get out of the bonfire. He tried to get out of the seething furnace of hell. But he was beaten and pulled back on the burning pile with each try.”

Great-Great-Grandpa continued on with the graphic details. “The sickening smell of burning flesh permeated the air. Folks came from all around to see and take pictures of the burning Black Man. They laughed and drank liquor. Their children had fun too. This all happened on or around Saturday April 12, 1911…we packed and moved to Philadelphia.” The Willice’s are descendants of America’s lucrative Industry of Black Slavery.

On day two of the group's hunt, the skies cleared at 8:30 a.m. The group of rangers set out to follow a creek bed upstream looking for tracks...some sign of the quarry. One of the trackers was carrying a .300-caliber Winchester Magnum. Glenn was carrying his significantly more powerful .338-caliber Winchester Magnum and a quiver of arrows with a bow in case the thing crossed their path.

The team continued following the creek upstream until they came to a small island ringed with thick brush in the middle of the Schuylkill River. Some end-of-season berries clung to the surrounding brush. In the middle of the island was a spruce tree larger than what Glenn or Genailia could fit their arms around. At the base of the tree were signs that something had tried to dig a hole…a large hole.

Suddenly, out of nowhere it lunged and snapped its jaws…another man was gone!


“Well son, take a lesson…sometimes you just got to have a little bit of an imagination, especially when you’re dealing with the unimaginable.”

Added Labels:
Books, Fairmount Park, Fantasy, Fiction, Hunting, Killing, Murder, Novel, Philadelphia, Schuylkill River, Sport, Stories, Regatta, Terror, The City, The Park, The Zoo, Thriller, Native American, Spiritual Leaders, Black Slavery, Jacob Stroud, a lynching, Northwestern Indian Confederacy, Boulware, Willie Lynch

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