Some of the little villages in Brown County require an explanation to understand their naming.

For instance, Shake Rag Hollow was so named because several ragged children lived in the vicinity. We’ll write more on this subject another time.

This little story caught our eye. and we would like to know more about the area.

It is said that there is an old map that places Milk Sick Bottoms slightly west of Shake Rag Hollow on an old road that ran due west from Nashville after the Helmsburg road turned north to Helmsburg. When the hills were cleared of the trees, the cows in the fields and on the hills of that region had little to eat when there was a drought and the hills were bare and parched.

In the early fall, a weed blossomed profusely, the white snake root. The cows often ate this weed. Not only did it make the cows sick but the people became sick who drank the milk. There was a time it was thought that Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of Abraham Lincoln, died of this illness. (“Tales and Trails”)

That old road led straight to Scarce O’ Fat Ridge, also called Skeerce O’ Fat and Skacity Fat. The land on top of the ridge was so arid that crops grew most scantily. It was said by native Brown Countians that the hungry cows had to lean against a fence to bawl, and that the hills are so steep the hogs slipped and slid downhill.

Better farming methods now used have made the ridge more productive. The ridge divides Bear Creek on the west and Schooner Creek to the east. (“Tales and Trails”)

In this same area there are two long trails. The longest trail is the Ten O’clock Line Trail, at 16 miles from Yellowwood to Brown County State Park. This trail, for some peculiar reason, is blazed only in one direction, from the state park to the forest; to follow it the other way is chancy and involves a lot of looking over your shoulder. Still, it’s a nice trail for the most part. Some parts are along heavily rutted logging roads and gravel county roads. The other trail is Scarce o’ Fat Trail, which runs mostly along a streambed to an overlook of Yellowwood Lake

We would very much like for you, the reader of this article, to share any information about these two subjects that you may know or remember stories told in your family about these areas of Brown County.

Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society