Each November when the weather turned cool, pioneer families of the area would gather together to butcher their hogs. Everyone pitched in. It was hard work, but it provided an opportunity for folks to get together and visit.
Lard was one of the byproducts of the butchering process. It was boiled down through charcoal and ash to produce soap. The soap was placed in kegs and divided between all the families.
One year as everyone headed home, there was a slight accident. One of the wagons loaded heavy with salt pork, bacon, and soap tipped a little in the ford of a nearby creek. A soap keg fell off the wagon and splashed into the stream where it lodged under an old tree trunk. Since the water was cold and there was more than enough soap to go around, the keg was left there to rot.
No one gave it another thought until next spring. That's when folks living downstream from the ford noticed something peculiar about the creek--everytime it rained hard the stream filled with suds. Before long these same folks discovered that they could wash their clothes in the creek without bothering to use their own soap. And there was plenty of spring water nearby for rinsing. The sudsy water only lasted a season, but that was long enough for the story to spread.
And that's how Soap Creek got it's name.
(Soap Creek is located on the west side of the Gravois Arm, at mile marker 5.)© 1999-2000 by Michael Gillespie. All rights reserved.