Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook July 18, 2014
Caption: The old Red Bridge, looking north on the Black River.(Pictures courtesy of the Richard Harts)
Caption: Dead Man's Bend south of the old Red Bridge on the Black River.
Cruising the Red Bridge Plains looking over the blueberry crop this week brings back memories from many years past. My dad ran a trap line in this area starting some 70 years ago for this writer. I know of three generations of Chapmans who skipped school to fish suckers at the High Banks on the Red Bridge.
Our late friends Jack and Ruth Larson used to camp at the "Birch Hole" for a month when the mullet were in. Harry Moran and Homer Preston used to set up a generator for lights and stay for several days and nights.
My family has put up a year's supply of canned suckers for some 50 years now. The sucker run has dwindled to almost one or two-day run now. The sturgeon research program has now become the main attraction on this stretch of the Black River.
The Red Bridge now crosses the Milligan Creek on the Tony Matelski farm. The bridge and the sucker run may be gone but our memories will live on for many years to come.
Taken from an old Onaway Outlook Paper, the following information is the origin of the name for "Dead Man's Bend" given to the Onaway Outlook by John and Oscar Roberts.
The bend in the river just south of the old Red Bridge was bad for logjams. Most of us know what a logjam is. On or two logs would get stuck in the banks or bottom of the river and would stop the entire flow of logs. To break up this jam was dangerous and required skill. Once in the long ago, a man was killed in breaking up the logjam at this particular point on the Black River.
No one knew who the man was, or where he came from. So he was buried on the banks of the river. For a long time his grave was marked and the point on the river is to this day known as Dead Man's Ben.
From the Onaway Outlook, July 18, 2014, page 3.
Retyped by J. Anderson