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The Crawford County Historical Society recently pinpointed the various hellish-sounding geographic features around the Maddox farms in Crawford County, Illinois.
The Devil’s Backbone was a stone’s throw east of the Maddox farms. It ran north-south from Heathville and probably paralleled or traced the current route 33. It was so called because it went up and down so many hills. The Devil’s Backbone was also called Purgatory Road, earning the name after a snake-infested swamp in its path swallowed too many livestock.
Devil’s Neck was the site of “The Battle of the Devil’s Neck” along the Wabash River, 3 miles south of Palestine. The “battle” was really just an effort to arrest recalcitrant Southern sympathizers – mostly men who had avoided draft into Indiana units, including the “notorious” Harvey Beshears.
Hell’s Half Acre was a foreboding hang-out for horse thieves and other ne’er-do-wells, along the shores of the Wabash River in Northeast Montgomery Township.
Source: E. Tennis, Crawford County Historical Society Newsletter, January 2014.