Limberlost Swamp

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Coordinates: 40°36′00″N 84°56′50″W / 40.60000°N 84.94722°W / 40.60000; -84.94722 The Limberlost Swamp, parts of which were also known as the Loblolly Marsh, originally covered 13,000 acres (53 km²) in eastern Indiana of present-day Adams and Jay counties. The wetlands had mixed vegetation and supported a rich biodiversity, significant for local and migrating birds and insects, as well as other animals and life.

According to the History of Jay County by M.W. Montgomery, published in 1864, the name Limberlost came from the following circumstance: A man named James Miller, while hunting along its banks, became lost. After various fruitless efforts to find his way home, in which he would always come around to the place of starting, he determined to go in a straight course, and so, every few rods he would blaze a tree. While doing this, he was found by friends. Being an agile man, he was known as 'limber Jim,' and, after this, the stream was called 'Limberlost.'

The Indiana State Museum contends, "The swamp received its name from the fate of 'Limber Jim' Corbus, who went hunting in the swamp and never returned. When the locals asked where Jim Corbus was, the familiar cry was 'Limber's lost!'"[1]

The Limberlost Swamp was the setting of Gene Stratton Porter's popular novels A Girl of the Limberlost (1909) and Freckles (1904), as well as her numerous books on the swamp's natural life. The author and her husband built a large, rustic home nearby, which they called "Limberlost" and where they lived until 1913. Indiana now operates and maintains it as the Limberlost State Historic Site.[2]

Romance of the Limberlost is a 1938 American drama/romance film directed by William Nigh, set in the Limberlost region of Indiana in the year 1905. Jean Parker and Eric Linden are the stars.

In 1991 local citizen Ken Brunswick established "Limberlost Swamp Remembered", a group to restore some of the wetlands. The work has included removing or blocking drainage tiles, allowing water back on the land, and planting native species of trees, bushes and flowers. Other groups such as the Ropchan Foundation and Indiana Heritage Trust have supported restoration efforts. Loblolly Marsh (an alternate name, from a Miami word for "stinking river" from the sulfur smell of marsh gas[3]) has already attracted numerous species of birds, animals and insects as the first major section has been restored; the 428-acre restoration project was dedicated as the Loblolly Marsh Wetland Preserve in 1997.[3] Among activists have been students from Ball State University, who participated in restoration activities such as planting native habitat. Approximately 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) have been purchased and restored.[4] The novel The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter contains the names of many of the plants found in the swamp circa 1912 when the book was written.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Land of the Limberlost", Indiana State Museum, accessed 27 February 2015
  2. ^ "Authors: Gene Stratton-Porter", Our Land, Our Literature, Ball State University, accessed 7 January 2012
  3. ^ a b "Limberlost and Found", Audubon Magazine, accessed 27 Feb 2015
  4. ^ "Limberlost Restoration", Our Land, Our Literature, Ball State University, accessed 7 January 2012

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