Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Broken Springs Originally a Penal Colony

Recent historic documents have been uncovered which suggest that Broken Springs was originally set up as a penal colony for other surrounding states. The documents, now lodged in the Broken County Courthouse Museum, were unearthed when Farmer Bob Barleykowski discovered them while digging a new sewer pipe line on his property on US 13.

“I thought it was buried treasure,” he says, wiping away a small tear at the passing thought of striking it rich. The historic documents were in an iron chest, its hinges soldered together to withstand the test of time. The farmer, hoping to get rich quick and blow out of Broken Springs faster than the Adventists flock to the soy bean aisle in Slaters Supermarket on a Friday night before sundown, axed open the vault and only found tattered logs of paper inside. “Once I saw how old they were, I thought they might’ve been worth enough to rent a U-Haul, so I called the Broken Springs 1839 Courthouse/Museum Curator, Bob Pliers. He drove right on out.”

The curator comments on the curious story.

“I always believed that Broken Springs built the first courthouse in the state of Michigan because we were the county seat. But as these BS Dead Sea Scrolls have shown us, our courthouse was constructed in order to conveniently sentence the criminals sent here. That makes a whole lot more sense than that crazy county seat theory. It also explains why we lacked a railroad, obviously so the criminals couldn‘t hop on the next train to a normal town.”

The box contained several ledgers, each marked by a location and date of recording, some dating back to the early 1800s, when we used to think that only the red man inhabited Broken Springs.

Not so, according to these newly discovered documents. Although there was a large Indian population already in Broken Springs, from as far back as the 18th Century, it’s now believed that they were killed off by the many convicts, criminals, and dissidents sent here by neighboring states. The aged books retell in grisly description the harrowing history of the founding of the town, and the eventual mutiny of the prisoners to establish the village square. Among the notable citizens of the penal era were:

George B. Kimmerly, who was assigned a lifetime of hard labor near where we now locate the Spanish Adventurer Church, and STD Auto, was sent to Broken Springs from his home state of Pennsylvania for shooting at meddling neighbors, who he insisted were trying to steal some of his 800 acres of valuable property. Unfortunately on 8 September, 1828, he was found guilty of attempted murder of an old biddy named Elizabeth Goodchilde, as she tried to deliver him cupcakes on his birthday. She suffered third degree burns from the explosion of gunpowder near her bosom, and could never breastfeed again, so say the documents. Once he arrived in Broken Springs, Kimmerly was eventually displaced to Quaker Farm Lane, where his penalty of hard labor resulted in the erection of a large Farmhouse later used by a religious sect known only as the Shake and Bakers.

Pitt Black, a saloon owner from Ohio, was transported to Broken Springs after one too many drunken bar brawls over the price of a pint of ale. He was accompanied by his nephew, Horace Freegood, and the two were shackled to one another by chain in the area near the river, below where our present bridge now stands. Horace was eventually transferred to Lake Township, but Black lived in Broken Springs until his death in 1842. He became notorious for sailing Broken Springs first water vessel, the Cirrhosis of the River, to and fro his post office/tavern that he established soon after the Broken Springs convicts all mutinied and established the town as we know it.

Jacob Buffoon, a blacksmith from Virginia, was conveyed to Broken Springs after what he always claimed was a foolish accident with a horseshoe that maimed three Virginia police officers, a woman pedestrian, a mule hauling goods, and the horse the shoe originally came from. Mr. Buffoon was, according to the ledgers, a prolific alcoholic and philosopher, yet was never accessed by a head doctor who didn’t recommend segregating him from normal society. In the penal Broken Springs, he was said to have been a Freemason with a strong belief in the hereafter, especially for stray dogs, for which he had a habit of attracting with particularly placed globs of peanut butter on a certain area of his personhood. He lived a long and totally meaningless life on the Bluff of Broken Springs.

These and other numerous criminals eventually rose up against local law enforcers, who fled out of town quicker than a Broken Springs parade, and established a village government in 1831. A slightly modified version of law and order was recognized by these self appointed government officials, and the trend has continued until our present era, when modern day delinquents sit in rule over our town. Not that we deserve any better, since most of us still living here are descended from dissident ancestors ourselves.

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